Sunflower Seeds: Comfort Zones

In this seed, I’m working on getting out of my comfort zone. But just for a second, let’s think about the Cheesecake Factory…

Every time I go to the Cheesecake Factory I always order the Godiva Cheesecake. Not that anyone cares as to what my order is, but this is a habit for me and I’m too scared to try something else that I might not like.

I find myself eager to try new things and see new places, but I also get very comfortable with what works. The whole idea of it ain’t broke, don’t fix it kind of sticks with me. However, I must say that I have been getting better at stepping out of my comfort zone especially in this the past year.

This past March when I went to New York, I didn’t know anyone that was a part of the group. People had familiar faces, but I didn’t really know these people on a personal level. I’m not going to lie at first, I was a little nervous since I ended up getting lost on the subway alone, but I was able to make some great friends from that trip. I saw a city I had never been to with fresh faces. 

I usually don’t make the first move with guys, but within the few times I have, I have been pretty successful. I haven’t had a Cinderella story from my reaching out, but I have had a few fun dates from these. Besides spontaneous trips and flirty moves, I have been saying yes to a lot more in life, and I find myself enjoying life even more. I have done things that I never thought I would do, and I couldn’t be happier! The next time I go get a desert, I might just branch out. 

Written by: Nina Capuani

Sunflower Seeds: Summer Aspirations

With summer here, I have done some serious self-reflecting over the past school year and now have some summer aspirations.

I couldn’t be happier with how my third year of college went, but I am eager to accomplish more. In the past, I used a timeline for events in my life that should have or will happen at certain ages. For example, I expected to know exactly what I wanted to do with my major/career by the time I was a sophomore, but now I am going into my senior year and I still debate changing my major at least once a month. It’s not too practical to live your life on a time line, so now I just like to set different goals for myself! Therefore, I thought this summer would be the perfect time to set and accomplish some personal goals!

First and foremost, my number one goal is work full time.

As an extremely broke college student, this will really benefit my wallet. I’m currently in the fourth and final stage of interviewing for an internship, so if I get it I will be accomplishing this goal! If not, it’s not the end of the world but I really need to pick the slack and work a job or two. Since I am going into my senior year and being 21, I would like to not worry about expenses like going out or going to concerts. Besides having extra cash for fun spending, I want to have enough saving to be able to afford rent right out of college. I don’t know what is going to happen in a year, and I really don’t want to have to move back home to Chicago. I am just trying to look out for my future self!

A second goal I have is to travel more!

If I am working full time it might be hard to travel, but I am positive I can work something out. I’m not necessarily trying to go out on international rendezvous’, but I would like to see more of the West Coast. I have never been to the Grand Canyon and its not that far away! I would to do more fun weekend trips even if it’s to places near San Diego like Julian, CA. However, I do want to go back to New York at some point in early June, so hopefully I can come up with enough money for that!

Lastly, I just want to have a ton of fun!

This will be my last summer ever as an undergrad, and I want to have as much fun as possible before I’m in the real world. In my seed about New York I stated that I lived in an atrocious, filthy, and cockroach infested apartment this past summer. I lived with 6 girls in a tiny two-bedroom apartment. All of our twin beds touched because we didn’t have much room, but that wasn’t really a problem compared to all the others. Besides it being filled with cockroaches, it was abnormally hot (sometimes I would sleep outside by the pool because there were less bugs and it was cooler there). Anything and everything that you think could go wrong did. Even though the living situation wasn’t ideal, I had the time of my life! It was the most fun summer I have ever had given that I had cockroaches for roommates. I met so many incredible people and explored. I hope to do that again, but without the bugs of course!

All in all I think it is good to motivate yourself and have different goals. Mine really come down to making money, traveling, and fun! That’s not too much to ask for and they all relate to one and another, so I’m sure ill accomplish them. Weather your goals are big or small you really can accomplish them if you put your mind to it!

Written by: Nina Capuani

Sunflower Seeds: A Road Trip to Remember

A road trip to remember: travelling from desert to desert, we traversed a great Spring Break!

This past Spring Break two friends and I ditched the traditional college affair (going to Cabo and getting drunk for a week) and decided to get in touch with Mother Nature. We rented one of those colorful hippie vans and had absolutely no plans for the week but it was a freaking blast. 

On the first day of our escapade we had to take the train to Los Angeles to pick up Gidget(our super cool surfer van). After we picked her up, we got some yummy vegan food for lunch and headed to the grocery store. By the time we were done it was about 7pm and we were headed for the desert! We had planned to go to Arizona for the first night, but we were just too exhausted to make the trip that late, so we camped out in a random parking lot in the middle of Joshua Tree, CA. It wasn’t necessarily what we had hoped for, but it worked out in our favor. 

Road Trip!
Road Trip to the Sonoran Desert

When we woke up the second day we couldn’t wait to go to the Sonoran Desert!

(Our Uber driver from when we went from the train station to get our van had told us that we should go to the Sonoran in Arizona). After a few hours we had arrived to what we thought was the Sonoran, but it was really just a dirt road in the middle of nowhere Arizona. We concluded that the Sonoran isn’t a destination, but a massive desert that has an area of 100,000 square miles. The other two girls were from Maryland, so this wasn’t common knowledge for any of us. Note to self – do some research before driving to another state. After feeling like fools, we found a real camp site that we stayed at for the next three nights. We really enjoyed our time in Arizona and we did some pretty spectacular hikes that we had no idea even existed, for sometimes being lost somewhere unfamiliar can bring you great treasures.

We went back to Joshua Tree for the the last two nights of the trip.

The first night we couldn’t find a camping spot, so we asked this man if we could share one with him and he thankfully let us. He was a really cool guy that made us a bonfire and everything, and it turns out he is a film writer who has worked on some movies like The Terminator. It was nice to be out and about in nature with genuine kind-hearted people. For the duration of our time there we did a few more cool hikes and saw some massive rocks. Needless to say, our Spring Break was filled with great 6-hour work outs. 

My favorite part of the trip was being able to enjoy the wonders of the world with two of the most awesome girls I know. We spent our nights under the stars listening to Fleetwood Mac with lots of wine and even more laughs. We had no plan at all, and I think that’s the best plan to have. I know it might have made my mother a tad bit worried since I didn’t even know where I was, but we were safe and it couldn’t have been better!

I didn’t have the best cellphone service for the duration of the trip, so not too much time was spent on my phone. However, it was a bit stressful at times when we were lost, but we all figured things out one day at a time. It was rewarding to push myself out of my comfort zone for a bit since I plan out almost everything. I learned a lot about myself during this week and I believe everyone should experience something like this at some point in their lives.

This trip will always hold a special place in my heart because it was the first road trip I have ever done and every moment of it felt like magic. In the desert you really can remember your name cause there really ain’t no one for to give you no pain.


Written by: Nina Capuani

The Pansexual Panel: Time To Love Yourself!

The Pansexual Panel

The Pansexual Panel focuses upon fashion, and alternative means of expressing oneself in this week’s segment.

Today became awkward when the gloom of the rain really seeped into my life and into my consciousness. For one reason or another I became acutely aware of my clothing and how much I hate it. After years of trying to find out what my own Pansexuality meant to me, this must be where I get off. More color! Time to embrace the love I’ve been harboring inside myself.

For years while growing up with my mother constantly doting upon me, she chose every piece of my clothing. The most masculine things she could find with randoms bits of color. What she didn’t realize was all the time spent shopping and offering opinions on women’s clothing and makeup was so incredibly enjoyable. She assumed I was straight and just went about her every day routine and I tagged along for all of it. When I became older and started living on my own, I kept with the utilitarian clothing, often convincing myself that I had chosen them because it made sense.

The truth is none of my clothes make sense anymore. They feel uncomfortable, loose; they’re not the colors that represent me anymore. My sexuality, my preferences, my desires all exist on this ever sliding scale that floats on a spectrum. Balance is key and I’m here to tell you that there isn’t a set standard for anything anymore. I want you to do what ever you damn well please.

Yes this is about being Gay, Queer, Pansexual, about pushing those boundaries. In my early twenties I worried constantly about what people would think of me. What they would thing of my queer lifestyle choices. What I eventually came to find was my happiness grew as my worry about others lessened. To put it bluntly:

Who cares what they think?

I can honestly say people are too wrapped up in their own minds to care if you are wearing bright pastels and combat boots. So go out and do it! The best advice I can offer is if it fits and you like it, then wear it. Sure you might want a certain aesthetic but how the hell do you think new fashions come about? By trying new bold choices and walking around with confidence. Your queer! So why not make every single place you walk a runway in your mind.

Maybe I’m an over dramatic queer, but it sure makes me feel better when I know my fashion, my outward appearance is something all my own, something unique and hardly replicated. So I hope you are feeling comfortable in your own skin, your own clothes. Because it’s the first step to loving who you are and if no one else has said it lately; I want you to know I love you very much.

Written by: Jonathan Sotelo