Saturday, February 18, 2017

looking back on Faces of 97.

Do you ever get this profound sense of project idea overload? There are too many things I want to do with my life and not enough time. I want to tell the beautiful stories of fearless individuals, but I also want to work in the legal landscape. I want to plan and host really amazing gatherings and travel the world. I wish I had all the time in the world to craft and learn to take beautiful photographs and edit podcasts. In short--I want it all. 

I distinctly remember a time when I was six or seven, and I had the sad realization that there was no feasible way for me to do all the things. I had dreams of being an olympic swimmer but also a ballet dancer but also a singer but also really good at the piano but also be president of the United States. It was a crushing thought; if there's anything I'm looking forward to in eternity, it's the infinite amount of time to perfect all my talents and gifts. 

Faces of 97 was one of my many fond projects. I regret that this year I haven't been able to be as faithful to the project (& this isn't necessarily my way of saying I won't be continuing the project anymore). The project has metaphorically left the back-burner and somehow ended up spilled on the kitchen floor. 

Storytelling and interviewing still continues to be a great love of mine, but sometimes the medium or form may change. I'm grateful to everyone who jumped in the handcart and helped me make Faces of 97 possible. 

To Lauren--for letting us film in her cute little house + for being a fabulous co-interviewer
To Arielle--who lent her time and talent in the form of filming and video editing & for listening to my jumbled idea and really helping to piece the idea apart and make it work.
To Russell-who helped create a little logo for the cause!
To Chase--for stepping in when Arielle moved out of the ward 😢 and really being the one to suggest we reboot
To Meg--for helping with video editing and encouraging me that this was a good idea

I couldn't have made Faces even 1/2 of what it became without the help/support of these humans!! I will be gone for a majority of the remaining Sundays left in this semester, so the likelihood of new Faces of 97 coming out from now till then is slim, but there is this glimmer of hope called spring + summer. 

& in true Lauren Flores fashion, I have another project swirling in my mind like the leaves in the Pocahontas colors of the wind segment [you know the one!]. That other project feels timely and sort of is taking precedence in my mind in a nagging, can't ignore type of way. 

I'll always have some sort of Faces project going on. I love the word and the concept much too much to let it wither into insignificance. 

Here's to a plethora of projects and the people who make it all possible!

Friday, February 17, 2017

The semester of civil rights.

(Jenna, Me, and T.Betti at the MLK Walk of Life & Commemoration--from the Daily Herald's website)

Really, a more appropriate title for this post would be "the year of civil rights." I mentioned in a previous post, that while registering for classes this past fall, I was hit with a hard wave of FOMO. I wanted to take every undergrad class with a civil rights focus. I literally typed in "BYU Civil Rights" into google, and I'm so glad I did.

It is because of this google search that I discovered the Civil Rights Seminar offered at BYU--a class that meets once a week, and delves d e e p into everything leading up to the civil rights movement. There was a whole application process, and twelve of us were selected for the class. Why so selective? The culmination of the class is a trip to Georgia & Alabama to visit some of the most historic sites of the movement.

The happiest part about this? Three of my closest friends from my racial minority & group relations class from last semester are in the class along with Tbetti! So much of my free time this semester has been devoted to remembering the civil rights movement and celebrating diversity in Utah.

As a confirmation of sorts that I'm headed down the right educational path, I got my grades back from last semester, AND HOLY WHAT A CELEBRATION!!!!! I got the highest grades of my law school career to date, I made the deans list, and even had the top score for a class! (By way of reminder, last semester I took the 14th Amendment, Federal Indian Law, and Criminal Procedure Adjudication) I was on cloud nine the day grades came out. I had worked so hard last semester, and really before checking grades I thought, "whatever they are, I know what I've learned, and I know how much I've loved learning about it." I was so happy I treated myself to my first burger of this year! haha.

This semester my love of civil rights continues with Civil Rights Skills, Evidence, Law & Public Education, plus an internship with the greatest mentors I could ask for. It seems a very appropriate year to be studying all this; I'm gaining the tools and skills I will need to fight for what's right in an ever more hostile future. In light of all this, I feel so blessed to have such great opportunities at BYU. I have been richly blessed.

Apparently I was on BYU's insta story? Who even knew that was a thing!? I'm so out of the social media loop these days. 

Loving came to BYU, which was perfect because it was only showing at two other theatres in all of Utah. &&& this meant I got to cross another thing off of my BYU Bucketlist (yeah, still working on that!)
#37 See a movie at the Varsity theatre

Embracing Diverse Voices is a art exhibit currently at the MOA. We went to the opening celebration featuring a beautiful gospel choir. It brought me back to my childhood in Compton when every Sunday I would hear the loud gospel music from the baptist church across the street from my house complete with it's loud drums and powerful voices. Melodie was on cloud nine during the whole thing, "You better sing!! I'm writing the First Presidency and telling them THIS is how MoTab needs to sing."

Emmanuelle & I went to the Women in Freedom Movement at SLCC where we got to hear Angela Davis speak! Emmanuelle even got her book signed. My favorite part of this whole experience was Emmanuelle's commentary: "Angela Davis is silencing her phone." "Angela Davis is laughing." "Angela Davis and I are breathing the same air."

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Soy Chicana. vol 4.

While drafting this post, I realized it's been over a YEAR since I did a "soy chicana post." Unacceptable! The small consolation prize I gave myself? most of these pictures technically were from, there's that... 

But fear not, I was every bit of Chicana in 2016!

#1. I decorate my law school carrel to remind me of why I'm at law school (because sometimes you need tacos for motivation).
#2. I get the cutest doormat for my apartment, because being greeted in Spanish just makes coming home that much greater.
#3 I make the occasional bath of Mexican wedding cookies.
#4 When friends from the mission wanted to get together, I suggest a tasty Mexican place for breakfast. Their chilaquiles are the BEST.
#5. I buy Mexican themed gifts for white elephant parties, and then debate whether to keep said gift for myself. Taco Truck Taco holders you guys!!!!
#6. I buy Mexican themed fairytales for my unborn daughters. You know how some people buy clothes for their future children??? I've never been that person, but when I saw this book at the Museum of Art on campus, I couldn't resist!
#7. I turn into the impromptu photographer at my cousin's daughter's quinceñera.
#8. I come home to gifts on my bed from roommates who know the key to my .
#9. I suggest Salsa soireés as a going away party theme.
#10. & finally, when my mejor amiga wants to meet up over winter break I naturally suggest we check out the greatest dessert place Paramount, CA has yet to see. 
**Just realized that ALL of these photos are from 2016. ooops. Better late than never, no? Here's to more Chicana days ahead.

Friday, January 13, 2017

winter break!

Disclaimer: This is a REALLY long post--sorry!
By some miracle BYU's winter break was three weeks long this year (+/- the extra days I had thanks to not having finals the last couple of days). Having this much time off felt like a luxury, and in the weeks leading up to the break I went through a number of potential vacation scenarios. It's always been a dream of my Mom's to go see the Rockettes--this year we made it happen. We took a mother-daughter trip to NYC. 

I hadn't been to NYC since summer of 2011. Coming back to the city felt like coming back to visit an old friend. Everything felt familiar, from the chapel where we attended church, to stops on the subway. If I had to describe New York this time around, it would be tiny, but yet big. Tiny elevators, tiny hotel rooms, tiny restaurants, and yet big skyscrapers, big city.

You know those trips or events in life where everything falls in to place and you think to yourself, "this is divinely blessed." That was New York for me. I joked, 'the gods are looking out for me.'

Literally the day before we left for NYC, I saw a facebook post that my melhor amiga was in the city with her husband on an anniversary trip. What were the chances?!? There was some changing of plans, and she and Mahonri were the sweetest and delayed their departure so we could spend time together. It was the first time we had been physically in the same place in 5 years, and yet it felt like time hadn't passed at all. We had ramen, talked politics and life dreams. Seriously, Mao & Shelly you are my couple goals.

^^pointing to an invisible Daniela, because we love her.

^^There was something special about being in Times Square and watching the Light the World campaign play on a big screen. It was a beautiful moment of stillness amidst the bustle of the city.
^^We visited the Christmas Market at Columbus circle and resisted spending all our money on these beautiful lamps.

On Sunday we attended Church where I ran into two of my neighbors from Freshman year who now live in NYC. Such a happy reunion. My Mom and I snuck into the ward's kitchen after the services to eat the subway sandwiches we had purchased the day before. We then caught the subway (train--not food this time) and visited the 9-11 memorial/museum.
^^Leanna & I were next door neighbors in the dorms our Freshman year!

I could not think of a better way to spend a Sunday in New York. I cannot begin to describe the sanctity and spirit I felt at the 9-11 memorial. The museum highlighted the best and worst in humanity, and I can still physically feel the reverence I felt in my heart that day. It was beautiful.
^^ The Rockettes were perfect! & Honestly, I shed tears at the end with the Nativity scene. There was a woman sitting next to me from Virginia, and afterwards she said, "wasn't that something?" & then pointed to her tears.

For the most part, we stuck to Healthy food spots (organic, veggie, gluten-free type joints), but I cannot deny my love for Burgers. Favorite food. Hands down. So, of course, I knew if we were going to have one bad meal, it was going to be at a burger place.

We went to Black Tap, and waited in line in the frigid cold for 1 1/2 hours. I felt like one of those people that Rory interviews in the Gilmore Girls revival. I had become a person who waits for things! AND, not just that, but a man approached us and kind of rudely asked, "what are you waiting for? Those better be good burgers. Good luck with that."

Worth the wait.

I got the Mexico City burger, because #mexican [pepperjack cheese, pickled jalapeños, chipotle mayo, crispy onion ring]. Mouth watering.
^^That milkshake was a sweet and salty fantasy in a cup. 

Not Pictured, but worth mentioning:
- The Emilio & Gloria Estefan musical. Of course the one musical we went to see in NYC was a Latino musical.
- The Nutcracker Ballet. I owned a VHS version of George Balanchine's nutcracker growing up and would watch it religiously. You know, the one featuring Macaulay Culkin (yeah, I had to google how to spell his name). I have that whole Ballet memorized, and getting to see it live was a dream come true.

The day after we came home from New York City, we went to San Diego. If you have followed this blog, you know that my family is a HUGE fan of Old Town San Diego. That is San Diego for us. We usually go to San Diego in the summer, but my Dad & Brother wanted to see BYU play at the bowl game. Naturally, no Flores trip to San Diego is complete without a day in Old Town.
^^I want this Nativity scene!
^^One day my I will have a Christmas Tree in my house that looks like this. 

Christmas Eve is a much bigger deal in my family than Christmas Day. A friend from my Home Ward posted this on Facebook, and it is too accurate & true. 
Christmas day is just like any other day for us...This year for Christmas Eve, my Mom invited over a family who used to live in the apartments my grandparents rented. The bond that my mom and her siblings have with this family is absolutely beautiful. The spirit was so strong in our home when they were over, and the memories shared was just pure happiness. We watched old family videos [like 1960s old] and watched Christmas parties of years past. There were old jokes told, and stories about my grandparents shared. I know they were there with us. 

^^This woman was like a second mother to my Mom. The emotion of the reunion was so beautiful and strong.

On Christmas day we went to church! Can I just say I wish every Christmas was on a Sunday!!! I wish there was someday to make Christmas more of a Thanksgiving type Holiday where the day of the week is the same, but the actual day rotates. I mean, Christ wasn't even born on December 25th. We also got to skype Elder Flores--last skype of his mission (where did the time go?!)

I got together with Daniela (Mejor Amiga) who was in town for maybe two days [thanks for making time to see me Dani. We met up at Horchateria a cute little coffee-shop type place with a Mexican twist.  I saw a meme about it online one day and figured the place was maybe located in Houston--turns out it's 10min from my house! Daniela and I always try and do something that pays homage to our roots when we get together we call it our #letsbesupermexican hangouts. ha! Daniela, Shelly, and I were quite the trio at BYU, so it was so nice to see both of them during one break.
^^Some of the BEST churros I've ever tasted topped with Horchata ice cream and a dulce de leche drizzle.
^^Concha stuffed with horchata ice cream and dulce de leche. Heaven.

I grew up going to MOLAA (the Museum of Latin American Arts Museum in downtown Long Beach). A friend from middle school now works there, and gave me free tickets. I treated Pay (I call my Dad by my first name, because I love his name and think it sounds so endearing [it's pronounced Pie]). My dad is a talented artist, and I knew this would be up his alley. 
^^I wrote my life motto and contributed it to the museum's wish wall.
^^Attempting to take a selfie.
^^Actual selfie.

Lastly, New Years. We had two families from our ward come over for my Mom's delicious pozole on New Year's day. We have been blessed with the greatest people in our ward! I've been very fortunate to hit the ward jackpot.

My Mom has also had a lifelong dream to go to the Rose Parade. This year was the year of my Mom's holiday dreams coming true!
^^I had to get a ghetto dog, because look at it! OF COURSE all the latinos were out there selling elotes, churros, tamales, ghetto dogs. There was a literal squad stationed at a street corner with about 10 different vendors—even the paleteros were there. 
^^Probably my favorite float. 
^^Definitely my favorite band. Aztecas!

^^Although, LAUSD comes at a close second because I am a product of that school district.