Spotted in: Downtown Santa Cruz
Occupation: Social Worker
What are you up to today?
Actually I'm looking for housing. I'm kind of in-between places right now. It's a beautiful day so I figured today is the day to get out there and see if I can make something happen.
Did you just move to Santa Cruz recently?
I was born and raised in Santa Cruz, but I was in New Orleans for a couple of years so now I'm back to see if I can make something happen!
What were you doing out in New Orleans?
My grandmother, who was 109, needed a little help. My mom needed some assistance, so I went out there and was able to spend the last two years of her life with her. She was a wonderful, amazing woman. She was up and around up until the last three months of her life—she had all her faculties and was quick-witted.
That's amazing—and so great you got to spend time with her. Did you grow up with her?
Every summer I went back to Louisiana and spent time with her and my grandpa.
Have they always been out there?
Mmm hmm. Country folk. Just down to earth, had a lot of land. We call it organic, they just called it living.
Have you noticed any changes while you were out there?
Not as many people are cooking at home any more. There's not as much home cooking. It's a lot cheaper to go out to the buffets. But the food isn't as good. So, quality of life is a little bit different. People still love family though and that's great, but there's not a lot of farmers in my family anymore.
What are your favorite things to do whenever you go to New Orleans?
When my grandmother was there, I'd always ask her to cook up a big pot of beans or something and some homemade biscuits or cornbread. And we'd just sit around and talk about her and my grandfather and all the things they've been through. I like to hear the old stories.
Did you hear any stories that surprised you?
It was interesting because she was born in 1906, and I wanted to know if she had been through slavery, or if anybody in our family that she knew of. I found out that not her or her mother or anyone close that she could recall had been. I thought that was absolutely amazing and wonderful. So I don't really know the story behind all that—I didn't really get into it, but I learned that fact and I was happy about it.
I forgot to ask, what's your occupation?
I'm a social worker by trade, so right now I'm just doing temp jobs whatever I have to do to make ends meet.
What drew you to social work?
People. There's a need for people to find resources. And with me being in the situation I am now, it helps me to pass on information as I get it. There are different agencies other people may not know about that I'm finding, so when I'm back in my profession, I can reference them and hopefully be instrumental in helping other people.
What do you love about Santa Cruz?
Well, my family has been here since probably the 40s—my aunties and my uncles, so Santa Cruz has really grown up. It's a lot busier. There used to be not as much traffic, but I like the diversity. It's more diversified I feel now. I can hear a lot more languages, and I love that.
What are some of your favorite things to do out here?
Well, what I'm ready to do right now is have a piece of pizza at Pizza My Heart, because that's one of the best places to get pizza! Plus it's beautiful—the beach and the ocean. I love water.
Have you gotten or given any good advice lately?
Try to look at the positive. Instead of the glass being half empty, the glass half full. You got lemons, make lemonade. You can find the good in almost every situation—even if it's hard to extract it, you can.
When was the last time you were pleasantly surprised?
Probably two weeks ago. My mom and dad sent me a tablet so I could put in job applications and look for housing because my computer is on the fritz right now. It's like when one thing happens it's usually that domino effect? But they sent me a tablet out of the blue and so I'm very appreciative.
How would you describe your personal style?
Eclectic. I'm really into vintage when I can find it. It's become a lot more challenging to find, especially for the prices that I want to pay, which is nearly nothing. I like to thrift. There's nothing better than thrifting. I get up in the morning and however I feel, I just put something together. Sometimes it's more strategic than other times. This morning it was like, I'm not going to put too much of an effort into it, I'm gonna just grab and go.
What's something that's sparked your interest recently?
I'm getting a lot into color, so probably different vibrant lipstick and nail colors.
So tell me about your outfit because everything's so cool!
Everything that I have on is thrifted.
I love those clogs!
These aren't in the best shape but these are Danskos. There's a place over there on Pacific Avenue called My Sole, I don't know if you've been to it. You have to take a look in there—they have some really unique European shoes, and they have some of the Danskos in there. And the Sock Shop. So take a little peek in those!
I love your sunglasses, too.
These aren't thrift, they're Forever 21.