Its first light of day, sunlight attempts to combat the newly created winter wonderland that lies just outside my patio doors. The sunlight is losing but in its attempt, it sacrifices itself to produce a brightness that can only be found on a sunny winter day. It’s a heavenly glow that makes me feel like I just walked through the gates of heaven where angels await. Angels like the beautiful (inside and out) Lauren Rivera, who is our newest member of the HTM family.
It’s true… I’m almost obsessive in pursuit of the things I find important to me. Many things get sacrificed to the cause that presently has me completely consumed: HTM or as it is affectionately known; Hidden Treasures Magazine. I must be absolutely honest, HTM is my heart and in some form or another I am in love with all the ladies featured. It’s a love conceived from my love of beauty, design and purpose. This extends to Lauren as well. And in some way or another they all own a small part of me, consider it a small sacrifice on my part. To make this known to her and as circumstances so blessfully allowed, it was important we met. I needed to know… what sacrifice meant to her.
“When I think of sacrifice,” stern with unwavering eye contact she begins, “first thought I have is of my parents. They sacrificed time, energy, hard-earned money and peace of mind to give me all the opportunities they never had. I think of how my father has worked two jobs since I can remember to put my sister and me through private school our entire academic careers. He knew that the public school systems in our town of Perth Amboy would only be detrimental to our futures and success with regards to being ready for college. He sacrificed time away from my mother and the family to be able to pay for SAT classes, tutors, a car so that I could commute to Rutgers University when I was accepted. My mother has been sacrificing time for herself so that my sister and I would always be comfortable, safe and happy. This is why I have such a strong work ethic and never minded working a job or two while going to school and receiving honor roll. My family instilled in me a sense that only through hard work and sacrifice can one achieve greatness and make it possible for our loved ones to do the same.” I was temporarily transfixed by this truly lovely girl who spoke like Miss America.
Digital recorder playing hide and seek, I was forced to attempt short hand and failing to keep up as Lauren continued, “Sacrifice means to me, giving up luxuries and/or aspects of ease in our lives in order to aid in facilitating happiness and opportunity in other peoples’ lives. I am a believer in working for everything I have and taking risks and putting myself out there with the glaring chance of being hurt or rejected, in order to accomplish my goals and realize my big dreams.” Thankfully she spoke clear, precise and impossibly rehearsed.
Caught in her steady gaze, hand working feverishly to take notes, I listened intently, “If I have learned anything from my family it is that one can only be truly happy when we are able to share our happiness with others. Just like my parents sacrificed for me, I sacrifice my time and many nights of partying to study a little extra or work overtime. Sacrifice is the key to being happy, because when we are finally rewarded with success, be it monetary, materialistic, spiritual or other, we can say that we really deserve it. Those who are handed anything in their lives can’t ever be as happy as those who sacrifice, because they’ll never be able to appreciate anything as much. Anyone can come from wealth or have a handsome face, but who we are; our character, our heart, and our strength, really make us who we are and will be our guide to happiness.”
“My father was born in Honduras and my mother is Italian and a little Irish,” she says of the parents who sacrificed so much for her, “I am a mutt. People don’t know what I am usually. I have been called Hawaiian, Asian, Greek and even Indian! I am proud to be Latin, Italian and Irish. I can dance with you until you fall, eat like a man, drink you under the table!”
Now we know how she feels about sacrifice and family but how does Lauren feel about HTM? “Hidden Treasures has what every magazine should have: articles and photography that are equally enthralling,” she explains, “ As a journalism student I took many courses on magazine and other styles of writing, so I love checking out new and interesting kinds of magazines. Hidden Treasures features some of the most beautiful, sexy young women and they are multicultural, which is something I value. I love how this magazine is not afraid to show a woman’s sex appeal. I love to be proud of my own sexuality, body and mind and Hidden Treasures is my kind of magazine because of all this.” After her erudite display of sentiments, I find myself loving her a little more: A treasure worth a sacrifice. HTM.
Photography By HTM Contributor: Nick Young
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