Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Last week(¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡!!!!!!!)
I found myself feeling lethargic. 

I think it was a combination of:
1. colder weather (hello 30° !!!), 
2.weeks months of one too many crazy Sundays , 
3. coming clean to a friend about something that had made me feel d e e p l y vulnerable at the beginning of the semester (I cried all during graduate student donut days & it wasn't just because they were out of cake donuts!), 
4. a mild case of unrequited love  like, 
5. the stressful realization that the semester is coming to an end (gulp, final projects. econ midterm, double gulp). 
6. My roommate/one of my greatest friends moving out. :'(

Literally every day last week I woke up feeling tired and not my usual happy/refreshed self. I tried combatting it with my time proven regimen of getting a priesthood blessing, serving others, thinking out loud with my Mom, calling my bishop (thanks Tomasso!),pouring over conference talks, hitting up the temple twice, fasting, having more lengthy personal prayers, feasting on scriptures, etc.

So, I was more mad than anything really when I woke up Monday morning and found that I STILL wasn't feeling back to normal. Why wasn't my usual talk-myself-out-of-it-with-positive-thoughts routine working? & then somehow, Monday night when I was sitting on my favorite brown little couch it happened. 

Happiness crept back in. 

I'll attribute it to everything mentioned previously but also add in the magical properties of a feel good episode of Jane the Virgin (obsessed!), a trip down 90s-00s music video lane (we're talking Britney, Mandy, and even a little bit of Center Stage clips), some leftover cupbop, perusing my secret Pinterest board of highly motivational quotes (TRUST THE TIMING OF YOUR LIFE),  and a hot shower with my nostalgia playlist as a soundtrack (a little bit of lauryn hill, early beyoncé, S Club7, and Janet Jackson). 

& as I showered it all came back. My life is really good! I love my new grad program! (all exclamation points very necessary! <-- including that one). 

When people ask which grad program I like better, law school or the MPA, I feel something akin to what a mother must feel when asked which child is her favorite. I love them both equally for very different reasons! They both appeal to different aspects of my personality.

My classes for the semester are:
1. Quantitative Decision Analysis—learning how to make excel do some REALLY cool things
2. Administrative Environment—A MPA intro course if you will
3. Econ Decision Making for Managers—the Econ 110 course for grad students
4. Organizational Behavior—learn how to work really well in teams, a crash course in leadership skills
5. Communication in Public Administration—A review of my undergrad + twists
6. Lecture Series—hear from some really great people about the really great things they're doing with their degree!

I have been blessed to just "know" exactly what I needed to study in school. I think it was around my Sophomore year in college when I saw online that there was a joint JD/MPA degree program offered at BYU and it immediately felt like the right decision. I didn't really understand what a MPA was, but I just knew it was what I had to do. I have loved my experience so much so far in the program. Rather than explain what having an MPA degree means, I'll share this video the program just finished that sums it all up perfectly.

& here are some LONG overdue photos from our MPA retreat at the beginning of the semester!

^^This is my team for the semester! We work SUPER well together. (L to R) Esteban [he's from Uruguay/Argentina], Kelly [we're practically next door neighbors! & I love her so much], Courtney [funny story, she was actually my MTC teacher! too small of a world], and Kate [she's so passionate about making the world a better place and is President of BYU's Anti-human trafficking club]
^^We had an outside of school gathering last week! It's something I've missed about law school. Dinner parties with friends. 
^^School break at Slab pizza

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Halloween & Día de los Muertos

I love holidays! I think part of this festive spirit can be attributed to my culture, but I also love holidays because of the traditions that surround them! This year Angela & I dressed up as piñatas. 

We purchased dresses from the clearance section at Forever21, party streamers, foam cones, and headbands. The costume cost us about $20 each. I spent the weekend before Halloween cutting party streamers and gluing them on the dresses and had the X-files playing in the background while I worked. 
I spent Halloween at my family's 'Witches Brew.' There's a sort of magic that being around children adds to the Holiday. We had delicious food like pumpkin shaped pizzas, pumpkin vomiting guacamole, and because we're Mexican—elotes!
On Sunday, Nicole, Kyra, and I made sugar skull cookies with some Día de los Muertos themed cookie cutters that my mom had sent in my Halloween package this year. I hadn't baked in a long time and it was kind of relaxing to be in the kitchen baking with friends.
^^I have no idea why, but I just really love this picture of Me & Kyra! (Good work Nicki!)^^
Our FHE group went through quite the traumatic experience; we were told we were being broken apart because there were no leaders for our group. We all cornered brother Swartz on Sunday and begged not to be broken up. He told us that if someone was willing to get a second calling, then we could probably stay together. I think he was a bit taken aback by how many of us were willing to get second callings just so we could keep our group!

On Monday, we decided that we'd go to a local Día de los Muertos celebration as an FHE group. I would be lying if I said I grew up celebrating day of the dead, but as I've grown older, I've appreciated the beauty behind the holiday. 
^^I wanted this nativity scene so bad! Not only does it feature the birth of Christ, but it also has Joseph Smith's first vision!
FHE family portrait.

Friday, October 30, 2015

my first love.

There are days (let's call today one of those days) where I will go on a language splurge.

I'll inhale any piece of good journalism I can get my hands on, treat my eardrums to a smorgasbord of beautiful lyrics, and read essays that make me feel like I've had a cool glass of sophistication.

As a child I was a bit of a PBS junkie.

My mornings would start with a walk down the stairs from the apartment my family lived in, to my grandparent's home (which was conveniently right next door), and straight to the big screen TV. I'm not talking plasma screen televisions; no these were the monsters of the early 90s where the hull of the television was big enough to stuff two people inside...comfortably.

I could have probably given TV guide a run for its money with how well I had the channel schedule down. Even now a piece of the memory space in my brain remembers that day began with Sesame Street and ended with Ghostwriter.
I inhaled all of it.

I think my love affair with beautiful phrases began with Reading Rainbow.
I hardly remember the content of the episodes ( I think I remember one involving a hat shop that transported you to different places). My absolute favorite portion of the show took place during the last five minutes. Every episode there were mini segments of children who would give a review on a book they had read.

Those five-year-olds had a way with words.

I loved the library.
I resolved to read every book in the Compton library.

I still own my original green and yellow, County of Los Angeles Public library card. I couldn't sign my own name at the time, so my mother's neat handwriting spells out, "Lauren Marie Flores" under the contract-like language, "I agree to be responsible for all library materials issued on this card."

After every library trip, I would go home read the books I had selected as quickly as I could and then lock myself in my room and roleplay (I wish I was making this up!) what I would say if I was selected to give a book review on Reading Rainbow. Let it be noted that I had 5 years as an only child.

I've always had a desire to communicate well, have perfect pronunciation, and articulate my thoughts into a way all can digest.

One of the proudest moments of my grade school years was when my sixth grade English teacher Ms. Isenberg had me read a passage of the Secret Garden out loud and praised me in front of my classmates for being able to read at the level of a 12th grader. This was a lot coming from a teacher who was known for being callously harsh. It was after this sign of approval that she became my favorite teacher for the year.

I sometimes forget how much I love writing.
How much I love telling stories.
Being a JD/MPA will do that to you sometimes.

Sometimes it takes a day like today when I find myself laughing to myself on campus not because of the halloween costumes around me, but because of the NPR podcast that I'm listening to.
It takes a few minutes of indulging in the New Yorker online.
It takes a TED talks spree. to get me here. to this point. where I resolve to write more.

If nothing else, I want this blog to be the online memoir of a little girl from Compton.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

half 1.

Progress! I'm not giving a whole month update, just a half month (& two days, but 'meh!'). The leaves are changing colors outside! I feel like it was just this week though that we saw them here in Provo in all their glory. Although, it's been pretty warm these days. I've only worn a sweater like twice, and really it was because I wanted something to snuggle in in my freezing classrooms. 

This month started with LC's birthday! There was a little birthday party for her with some delicious muffins and a pineapple upside down cake. 
I had probably more fun than I should have buying her a little present, and also, isn't that birthday card the greatest, slightly Mexican thing you've seen?
Last Friday, we had a friends dinner up the canyon and snuggled and collected leaves. We ended our night at the Provo Beach Resort—our stake had rented it out for an activity. Mostly we were there for dole whips. 
Oh! & Franc came to visit!!!!! I had this sensation of worlds colliding as I gave him a tour of BYU campus. He maybe wants to move to Utah. It was such a neat thing to give him (and one of his friends who it turns out is a member of the church) a tour of BYU and watch them be filled with so much wonder at the campus. It helped me to appreciate BYU, appreciate the Spirit of the Y if you will, appreciate the difference that having a honor code environment brings to your life. 
I fell in love all over again with my school.
We met up with Franc's friends at Provo Towne Center where there was some serious shopping going on! I then directed them to Ross and we ended up going to Applebees. I unfortunately was SUPER sick during the whole thing and while normally a late night outing wouldn't be that bad, I was dealing with leaky eyes, a leaky nose, and a horrible sinus headache. Not my favorite conditions for meeting awesome Argentines. Mostly I love the following photos because...

#1 how I was really feeling inside.
#2 How I pretended to feel inside
'Tis the season to carve pumpkins! :) My Family Home Evening group currently doesn't have leaders ("parents") assigned, so we've established ourselves as Orphans. We've made our own Facebook page and plan our own activities. We decided we'd carve pumpkins and Chase (in the hat) volunteered to make us yummy kettle corn (fue muy delicioso!). I'd say for Orphans we're doing pretty good!
The pre-stages of my Pocahontas pumpkin. It was browning for some reason, but then I put lemon juice all over it!
Mostly I love this pumpkin because Chase made it to look like Jesse
Charles accidentally threw away the top to my pumpkin and was went dumpster diving to retrieve it. Seriously, top notch. 
I sort of stayed up till 1:30 am carving my pumpkin. I tend to get really carried away invested when it comes to pumpkin carvings. Case in point, the last pumpkin I carved
Hopefully it's not another two weeks before I post again!