The Hidden Dangers of Botany

What can I say? I am a tree hugger at heart

Pursuit of botany starts off innocently enough: maybe you are a gardener interested in learning about plant biology, maybe you are a survivalist wanting to learn about edible plants, or maybe you are a wildlife lover who wants to attract hummingbirds to your yard. Whatever the reason, you need to make sure you are fully prepared for the havoc you may wreak upon your life.  Before you read that gardening book, click that link, or go to that native plant conference, take the time to educate yourself about the hidden dangers of botany:

  1. You can’t un-see the scenery.

Like walking in on your parents, plant identification is one of those things that you can’t un-see.  Before you learn about botany, the world around you consists of only vague categories of greenery.  Afterwards, plant scientific names practically scream themselves at you every time you go outside. Sure you might feel “more…

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From Cambridge to OC

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Nobody tells you how scary it is before you actually study abroad. It’s such an exciting adventure, woohoo. Once you make that deposit, that commitment, there’s no going back. Now, you have to pack and be smart about your surroundings. I have not left my house for so long. No, I do not live under a rock and obviously I go to school, work, and other extracurricular activities. However, I have never been on my own since 5th grade when we had a camping trip  with my whole class one weekend. Even that doesn’t count, let’s be honest.

I took this chance without even checking with any of my friends if they were willing to take the leap with me. None of them had the time or money to do it. Thus the cherry on top, I was going to study abroad at University of Cambridge with a group of people I’ve never met. Sure, we had a few meetings beforehand and a few classes too. Unfortunately, the tension and discomfort was still overwhelming for all. To my surprise, three out of the twenty-eight people who were going knew each other. We were all on the same boat.

July 2nd- departure day. My boyfriend and I get to LAX, and I leave with a worried, heavy heart. I get through security and we do not board the plane for another hour or two. At that moment, it was as if a light bulb turned on for everybody. We were all doing this together, it’s time to REALLY get to know each other.

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Cambridge is amazing. The scenery can make you stop what you’re doing and lure you to enjoy things you forget about everyday in California. There is more green than urban life. The livestock grazing in fields is astounding. Even the rain was so welcoming and delightful to be caught in. The best part? Getting to share those moments with my fellow classmates. We all knew we were experiencing something special together.

We stayed in flats at a complex called, Cromwell Court. The school we attended at Cambridge was named, Sidney Sussex College. Then our classroom was known as the Coach House. All three of these places, will always have a special place in my heart. I’d wake up in my own flat to go downstairs to wait for my friends in the central part of Cromwell Court. We would head to Sidney Sussex to either eat in the mess hall or use it as a short cut to grab some take-away from the local eateries. Later, we would  walk through Jesus Green (one of the biggest and most unbelievable parks I’ve ever seen) to make it to Coach House in time for class. It was a spectacular time.

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I was able to travel to London, Paris, and Amsterdam. When you take the first step to travel outside of your country, you kind of get the hang of doing it. You feel like a real adult and a lil’ adventurer. London wasn’t my favorite, but the history of it is incredible. Then, Paris definitely kept you on your toes since pick-pockets creep on the streets wherever you are, but it does not discredit the beautiful culture of this place. The food was fantastic (Croque Madame is a must), the Louvre contained breathtaking pieces I was so excited to appreciate (“The Raft of Medusa”, “The Olympia”, “Mona Lisa”, etc.), and the historical sights were so grand and beautiful in scale (Eiffel Tower & The Notre Dame). As for Amsterdam, it had to be my absolute favorite so that needs to be separate from this blog post for I have too much to say about it.  The transportation all around in Europe is so much more convenient and better for the environment. I envy that my country hasn’t transitioned to using bikes, trams, trains, and buses as often as they do. The produce and everything seems to have the sole purpose of benefiting the citizens.  Their lifestyle, I wish I can be part of it for the rest of my life. I really would love to move to Europe. Specifically, Amsterdam would be a great place to live.

By the end of this trip, the different countries were not the only things that enriched who I am. There were the people who were with me. There were those who challenged my patience, and I learned there were some battles worth fighting and some worth letting go. I learned people you think were certain ways were completely not what they appear, and people who seem to have dispositions have a past that influences their being. They made me laugh, they made me cry, they made me appreciate who I was. They inspired me to be more than the titles I have back at home. My creative side seemed to return with a will to not give up what I love to do most. I ended up writing a poem about every single one of them because they made that much of an impact on my life. Now that I am back, it is pretty obvious it won’t be the same. Luckily, my memories will never change because nothing in my life can make me see this experience as less than happy, ever.

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Where the hell have I been?

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I am not going to lie, I have been pretty absent from writing on this blog. I will call myself out on that. Sometimes, taking care of yourself in real life is more important. My blog became one my last priorities, something I hoped going into it would never happen. Furthermore, what were my priorities that came before my blog? I will tell you but it won’t be in order of importance. I needed to focus on finals, my boyfriend, and everything in between before I descended into studying abroad at University of Cambridge.

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Yep, you are getting a blog post coming from the UK. I am currently sitting in a room full of people who I barely knew 3 weeks ago. Now, they are the family I needed more than I knew during this whole experience. This group of people I am traveling will be the only people who are experiencing the same exact events and walks I am dealing with during this adventure. There are people who I love, there are people where we can’t seem to get pass our differences. Either way, I am having the best time. I had to prepare getting here and I have to absorb my time here while I still have it. THIS was one of the big reasons why I’ve been missing. Had to make sure all of my ducks were in a row before I left, and had to make sure I was enjoying my time here without isolating myself from great people who are here.

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To the people who ever are debating about whether they should take the jump to study abroad, DO IT!

P.S. I plan on doing separate blog posts focusing on certain topics (why you should study abroad/my experience, my boyfriend maybe ;), etc.) but for now I wanna claim my presence is back!

Interview #9: Krista Marina

(Krista currently attends Orange Coast College and is a rising singer/songwriter)

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1. When you look back to your childhood, what was your favorite thing to wear and why?

A: Headbands. It helped get my annoying hair out of my face, but it would make an outfit too!

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2. Describe what you’re wearing and what do you think people think of you in this outfit?

A: I’m wearing essentially all black, open toed boot heels, black jeans with holes at the knees, a black blouse with thin white stripes & bell sleeves, and a starry bracelet. I’d like to think people think that I am confident, I am comfortable with myself, and that I’m free spirited thanks to the bell sleeves.

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3. Imagine your future in a year from now, what would you hope you have accomplished and what would you be wearing?

A: I’d hope to progress significantly in my music career. I’d hope to wear black jeans, some type of cute comfy shoes that makes me taller, probably a signature shirt, a piece of clothing that makes a statement, and quaint jewelry.

Interview #8: Zoe Muratalla

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1. When you look back to your childhood, what was your favorite thing to wear and why?

A: I loved wearing Roxy shirts and board shorts because I loved going to the beach ever since I was a baby, I wanted to be like the cool surfer girls I saw in magazines.

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2. Describe what you’re wearing and what do you think people think of you in this outfit?

A: I’m wearing a black denim skirt, white tank top with intricacy, and a Levi denim jacket. I think that people see it as simple style, not super crazy. An easy-going outfit besides leggings.

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3. Imagine your future in a year from now, (somebody from that future visits you in the present) what would you hope you have accomplished and what would you be wearing?

A:  I’d hope I’d be continuing my education at UCSB, and be at the beach wearing comfy beach sundresses that I love. Plus, sunglasses because I love sunnies!

Interview #7: Louise

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1. When you look back to your childhood, what was your favorite thing to wear and why?

A: I used to wear a lot of sweaters and hoodies.

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2. Describe what you’re wearing and what do you think people think of you in this outfit?

A: I’m wearing street-wear, Kanye West Yeezies, distressed jeans, rapper clothing line shirt by YG , a tiger shark bomber from Toronto. I think people see me dope as hell.

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3. Imagine your future in a year from now, (somebody from that future visits you in the present) what would you hope you have accomplished and what would you be wearing?

A: I hope to be playing rugby for Cal next year, I’d be wearing rugby attire and street-wear.

Interview# 6: Kadi Ali

(Kadi attends Orange Coast College as a Communication major, transferring to Cal Berkeley in Fall 2017, and won OCC’s Woman of the Year 2017). IMG_3341

1. When you look back to your childhood, what was your favorite thing to wear and why?

A: I liked to wear shorts, I would usually cut up my long pants into shorts. Yeah shorts and skirts! Even though my mom and dad would get mad at me for wearing shorts because they’re Middle Eastern. But I still liked wearing them and I would always try to ask them if I can.

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2. Describe what you’re wearing and what do you think people think of you in this outfit?

A: I’m wearing loose high-waisted black pants, a black crop top, a jacket from American eagle, and my favorite shoes from reflection. I guess I look cute ya know, I like wearing black and loose things because it makes me look cute.

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3. Imagine your future in a year from now, (somebody from that future visits you in the present) what would you hope you have accomplished and what would you be wearing?

A: A year from now I’d hope to be in a university, and I’d hope I’d be interviewing for an internship or job perhaps that relates to my communication major. I’d probably be wearing black pants, black shirt, heels, and a blazer, real classy!

Interview# 5: David Vo

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1. When you look back to your childhood, what was your favorite thing to wear and why?

A: I used to love pollo sweater vests, slacks, and khakis. I loved putting myself together, I was just a typical church kid.

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2. Describe what you’re wearing and what do you think people think of you in this outfit?

A: The jacket I’m wearing is very pastel inspired I think of it as ice cream colors. There’s green tea, there’s vanilla, there’s strawberry, and underneath I have a light chocolate shirt. It makes me feel really happy so I think it makes other people happy!

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3. Imagine your future in a year from now, (somebody from that future visits you in the present) what would you hope you have accomplished and what would you be wearing?

A: I’m still gonna be at OCC, but I’ll be working on transferring to UCLA for psychology. I go through phases I’m very prep, or casual. Overall, I can’t predict what I’m wearing but it will be me, and I’ll be happy with wherever I go.

A Week Into Having A Blog…

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A lot of things happened in a span of a week. I tried to sell my old clothes with an idea of an Instagram pop-up shop. Unfortunately, that idea got shot down real fast by my parents because they are royal worriers. I am not too bummed because it is a bit complicated figuring out the transportation and delivery service for my inventory. I’m gonna just take quick stop at a thrift shop and/or donate my clothes somewhere where they’re needed more probably.

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Why did I decide to mention this story? Simple. It is easy to get caught up and consumed with something new. We all have experienced something that involves so much attention and excitement, you almost forget everything around you and who you are. We come from a generation where we enjoy instant gratification. Instagram likes, re- Tweets, and even views on Snapchat stories are tiny boosts of esteem. I even wrote in my journal to remind myself that my blog is meant for my own enjoyment along with helping others with advice and fashion inspiration. To entertain and enlighten is my cause. In other words, I guess I got too excited about my blog with social marketing. Furthermore, once I hear one person say I should sell my old clothes, I was hooked and suckered. Donating my clothes like I usually do, barely crossed my mind!

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I am a busy gal. Most of us are busy. And if one of my readers finds their life not too busy, try to get out of your comfort zone and search for what makes you want to be busy. Follow your passion, something you’re good at. A job that doesn’t even feel like a job when you’re doing it because that’s how much you LOVE it. If you feel you can’t do it because you feel not up to the task or not good enough, I know exactly how you feel. You just need to take the risk, and maybe it’ll lead to your happiness. For example, once I found that one thing I loved, I took the opportunity. What was that? Tennis! I played tennis for most of my life so once I was given the opportunity to play on my community college’s tennis team, I agreed. That was the beginning of everything for me. One opportunity after the next, I took it and tried to perfect it. My rambling is to convey that overall, you need to do something that defines you. It shouldn’t make you lose yourself even more, that’s just a negative way to live a life. Be busy with things that are worth your time and character development, not what others think you should be doing.

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Although, working all the time can cause stress in one’s life. Luckily, looking at your surroundings, eating good food, working out, and remaining involved in your community does wonders too. Live your best life, for all we know, we only got one!

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Interview #4: Cecilia Arzaga

(Cece attends Orange Coast College as an Anthropology major, part of OCC Women’s Tennis team, and is a training cadet for Beverly Hills Cops).

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1. When you look back to your childhood, what was your favorite thing to wear and why?

A: When I look back, my favorite things to wear were my brother’s clothes or a softball uniform! I was such a tomboy and hated when my mom wanted to dress me up and do my hair, and I grew up in the dirt playing softball in cleats and knee pads (lol). I eventually grew out of that though and started creating my own unique style.

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2. Describe what you’re wearing.

A: Today I am wearing this beautiful crochet top I got from my recent trip to the Philippines, these jeans I’ve had for years that I ripped up myself, platform sandals I got on clearance from Target, this pendant necklace from my best friend, Kat’s boutique 😏, and this watch, a gift from another best friend.

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3. Imagine your future in a year from now, (somebody from that future visits you in the present) what would you hope you have accomplished and what would you be wearing?

A: Imagining myself in the future, I hope to have experienced as many different countries as possible, had the most stimulating and fulfilling conversations with amazing human beings like the ones at this photo shoot and the host herself, and I hope to have accomplished wealth in family and friends. Lastly, I would see myself wearing some printed harem pants with a peasant top, some cute wedges, and eclectic jewelry from all my good friends and the countries I’ve been.