Tag Archives: changes

Welcome to LA

“What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create.” – Buddha

It has been three months since I went to California and my life since then has completely changed.

 

It was a trip where I was able to put a lot of things in my life into perspective and remind myself that “impossible” still spells out “possible.” My trip to the West Coast played a huge factor in helping me stay determined, and continue to strive to accomplish the goals I had set for myself at that time.

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We can overcome challenges as long as we believe that it is possible.



My time in Los Angeles started with a challenge. It was a morning of revelations; realizing that what my friends and I envisioned Los Angeles to be, really wasn’t. It wasn’t a magical place where everything shines and beauty fills the streets like the sunlight fills the sky. It was a place with struggles and untold stories; a place where the sparkle of diamonds easily takes the attention away from what’s bleak and hidden.

After taking and overnight greyhound bus from San Francisco [Read about my last day] we find ourselves starring at the streets of downtown LA. It was not what we expected. The poverty was evident and it made us wonder how such a famous city got to this point. It was around 7am and the sun wasn’t out yet. We headed straight to my friend Albert’s apartment, who so generously allowed us to stay with him for the next four days. After settling in, we headed to the Grand Central Market to eat some breakfast. The market was filled with all types of delicious food! We ended up getting breakfast at the famous Eggslut. I had the best bacon, egg and cheese on a bagel I have ever tasted.

I wish that throughout our stay in LA we would of went back to try some of the other foods available at the market because I have heard some great reviews… so if you ever find yourself in downtown Los Angeles, please go get some food at the Grand Central Market. 

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After we were done eating, we picked up our rental car and parked it in a parking garage for the rest of the day. To make matters worse like if we weren’t already concerned by the poverty in the city, as we left the garage, the situation escalated when we were followed by two men. It was one of the scariest experiences I have ever encountered on a trip. Luckily, we were able to escape them but it definitely reminded us of the dangers that three girls traveling alone could easily encounter. When we arrived back to the apartment we were pretty shook and swore to stay with Albert for the rest of our stay in the city.

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Later that day we took the LA Metro to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Hollywood Walk of Fame is one of Los Angeles biggest and most known attraction’s comprised of all the Hollywood Stars. The area kind of reminded me of 42nd street in New York City because it was lively and busy. Honestly, I felt a bit star struck as I stood there and took in everything going on around me.

As we walked down the Walk of Fame and looked at all the different names on the stars we came across the TLC Chinese Theater.

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We didn’t go in but we inspected the outside and loved what we saw… a little reminder to go on and change the world.

After a few minutes of walking it dawned on us that we were hungry; it was time to get some In-N-Out Burger. This is a huge must do in the west coast.

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When we go in I see the biggest line I have ever seen at a fast food restaurant. However, they weren’t joking when they said In and Out. Regardless of the line, the food came out pretty quick and I must say that the burger and animal fries were quite delicious.

We had a rough start with the challenges we faced in the morning but by night time things definitely got better and we started seeing the city in a different light. After our burgers, we walked on the stars some more until we came across the Baja Beach Bar. We saw some great drink specials and just like that it was time to start drinking and time to start celebrating our first day in LA. I really loved this place because it had a nice relaxed vibe to it, a good beer selection and great service.

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Next we were off to Good Times at Davey Wayne’s. This bar was fun and retro with a cool 70’s theme all around. We walked in through a refrigerator door and I was sold immediately. The place was packed and it was before 10pm! That should say something, right?

We headed back to downtown LA and Mrs. Fish was our next stop. We ended up spending most of our night in this nightclub listening to an amazing live band. I had such a great time dancing and singing along to the songs that I knew. Even taught someone how to two-step. We left after the band finished performing straight to Perch Los Angeles, a French inspired rooftop bar. Perch has an incredible view of downtown Los Angeles.

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It was the beauty I was expecting to see the instant I stepped out of the Greyhound earlier that day. There’s beauty everywhere sometimes you just have to dig a little deeper to find it. 

We enjoyed the view and about an hour later walked back to Albert’s apartment. The streets of downtown LA were peaceful and in the darkness the sounds of laughter filled the skies. Before calling it a night, we went into Pellicola Pizzeria, a cute hip pizzeria that shows movies every night. The pizza was tasty and after we pleased our bellies we were happy to be safe and proud to have made it through the day.

[To Be Continued…]

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I’m Not Patient

“Patience is the calm acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in mind” – David G. Allen

I’m not a patient person. I overthink, fantasize, imagine, expect, worry and doubt. I freak out whenever things don’t end up how I envisioned them and when life puts me in a tough situation, I feel like my world has fallen apart.

I’m simply impatient…

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However, this past summer has taught me a lot about the power of patience. See patience is tricky and play’s mind tricks on you but ultimately, patience just wants to make you stronger. Patience doesn’t promise you a smooth road but if you maintain determined, it promises you success. Patience doesn’t bring instant happiness, nor gratification, but it does bring valuable life lessons. In the end, patience will only give you as much as you will allow it too.


“Patience just wants to
make you stronger…”


At the beginning of the summer, I got into a minor car accident. I freaked out and within seconds my world fell apart. The damage done to my car was pretty severe and repairs would of been super expensive. However, without me realizing, life prepared me for this event. For the past few months, I had been saving up money to pay off one of my school loans. This money allowed me to put a reasonable down payment for a new car. I no longer had to worry about my check engine light turning on every three months and accomplished one of my 2016 goals. What I learned: Patience; what may seem like a negative situation could actually be a blessing in disguise. 

I applied to three graduate programs. Summer time meant I was going to find out the outcome of my applications…I was freaked out. I worked so hard on my applications; I couldn’t imagine going through that process again. The uncertainty was driving me crazy. I ended up encountering a few bumps, I was worried and scared, but in the end I accepted the right offer for me. What I learned: Don’t lose hope nor patience, in due time the right choice will appear, or become clear, when you least expect it. 

Professionally, it was time for me to spread my wings. I gave myself a goal that by the end of August, before school started, I would find new employment. By August 1st, two years of job searching and seven interviews later, I was still at the same job with no offers. I was freaking out, having a pre-quarter life crisis, and crying every other day at my supposedly failure. In what seemed like the blink of an eye, after a great interview, I received an offer for an amazing opportunity that will jump start my career. I cried tears of joy and disbelief. What I learned: Be patient, I know it sucks, but at the right time, everything will make sense and your struggle will help you shape your future. 


Impatience will always get the best of you. It will lead you to think the most absurd things…but you must try and rise above it. Believe in yourself. Stay determined, don’t lose focus of your goals and through the darkest times, stay persistent. Every experience I thought was a disaster ultimately, ended up shaping itself into a perfect piece in my life puzzle. Believe me when I say, that when you put in the work eventually, everything will fall into place. 

Remember when I longed for a warm scarf?

“Trade your expectation for appreciation and the world changes instantly” – Tony Robbins 

The sun was out, the wind was blowing and the day was still young in San Francisco, California. [Read the beginning of Day 2] We ordered a Lyft and headed straight to Mission Dolores Park located in the Mission District. Dolores Park was once a Jewish Cemetery and ironically it is one of San Francisco’s most popular parks.

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The park was filled with happy people, dogs and music. We picked a spot and just hung out for a bit looking at the scene and the clear blue sky. I only wished it wasn’t as chilly as it was but, we made the best of it. While walking out, we bumped into a few swings and of course, I took advantage. I absolutely love swings! 

After the park, we were off to explore the famous Mission District. Our first stop was Amnesia Bar. The bar was small and quaint. We sat on the stools, ordered our beers, and appreciated the live band playing Bluegrass. It wasn’t really our scene but we made the best of it.

A few minutes in and we realized how hungry we were. Our last Lyft driver recommended a Mexican Taqueria that apparently had the best tacos in San Francisco. Since we were only a few minutes away we figured it wasn’t worth ordering a ride. However, at this point the wind was becoming unbearable and we were freezing. Few seconds into the walk and all three of us were shivering, but somehow when we saw Xanath Ice Cream, Stephany and Damaris craved some. So yes, we had desert before dinner. They both ended up getting cones and I got the smallest cup available. The ice cream was really delicious so I wouldn’t say it was the worst decision made during our trip. After finishing our ice cream, we went back out into the freezing wind, not stopping until we reached El Farolito Taqueria.

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Steph, Damaris and I walked into a dark and sketchy place filled with drunk men. We stood by the door confused; I refused to eat there, even though Steph actually contemplated the thought of staying. **shakes head** Turns out we were in a bar and not the Taqueria. I was so relieved! I already craved tacos and I was extremely hungry. The line was long, the place was not that big, and it wasn’t the most sanitary. Oh well.

While waiting in line to order my two tacos and tostada, we encountered yet another man under the influence of drugs. At this point we all thought, “you’ve got to be kidding me!” Things got extremely awkward. I wondered if we could take our tacos to go, but eating outside was not an option…way too cold for that. Fortunately, after a few minutes of ranting about some girl, the man ended up leaving because they kept telling him to be quiet. Once we sat down it was all history from there. Goodbye tacos.

We were so full we didn’t think walking was possible but somehow, we were determined to do a bit of bar hoping before calling it a night. Remember when I longed for a warm scarf? Well as soon as we stepped foot outside, we all longed for a warm winter coat! It was insanely cold outside. The wind and chill was unbearable. We managed to make it to Cava 22 Bar. I was so cold I had no desire to even have a beer. Steph and Damaris ordered something to drink, but as soon as they finished we ordered an Uber to head back to Nob Hill. We fell asleep as soon as we reached our beds and wrapped ourselves with the warm blankets.

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Thursday welcomed us with a bright and sunny day. We had our morning mimosas and were ready to enjoy our last day in San Francisco. It was such a beautiful morning that we decided to walk to our first destination, the Full House, house.

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Not even five minutes into our walk and we decide to stop in a cute little coffee shop, Peet’s Coffee and Tea, for some tasty coffee. I had the Coconut Crème Javiva. I was extremely pleased with my selection as we walked and talked about our trip thus far. About 10min into our pleasant walk we came across St. Dominic’s Catholic Church.

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The church was absolutely stunning and we couldn’t pass the opportunity of checking it out. It was super peaceful inside. There wasn’t a mass going on so I took the opportunity to give thanks for the experiences and memories I was making. I also prayed for my grandfather who at the time was seriously ill. I’m not Catholic but I believe prayer is universal; it is received regardless of where it’s done.

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Finally, we reach the house of Danny Tanner and we were shocked! So everyone remembers the white house with the red door, right? Well that house no longer exist! The owners transformed the house completely [please refer to the picture above,] probably to confuse the tourists. Almost had us for a second too. I mean it’s a genius idea, but we were pretty bummed out by the transformation…[cue Full House theme song]

What ever happened to predictability?
The milk man, the paper boy, evening T.V

Everywhere you look (everywhere)
There’s a heart (there’s a heart)
A hand to hold on to….

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To be Continue…

I longed for a warm scarf…

“Better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times” – Asian Proverb

Day 2 started with homemade mimosas and extreme bewilderment as to why it was so ridiculously cold. [Read Day 1] I longed for a warm scarf and a cozy jacket. So what do I do? I purchase the fluffiest scarf I could find at Walgreens. Once I had my fluffy warm scarf, I was ready to tackle on the adventures that awaited us.

Our first stop was the Painted Ladies. We decided that it would be ideal to walk there since it was approximately only a 15 to 20min walk from where we were staying in Nob Hill. During our walk, I was just in awe by the beauty that surrounded us. There was something about the architecture in San Francisco that gave the city a modern vintage look.

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On our way we passed Japantown. Apparently, the Japantown in San Francisco is the oldest of the three remaining Japantown’s in the U.S. which, all happen to be in California. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to explore Japantown, but it was nice to learn of its existence.

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When we finally arrived to the Painted Ladies we were confused. For some odd reason we thought that the Painted Ladies was the location of the Full House (the sitcom) house. However, it’s not! The Painted Ladies is actually one of the most photographed locations in San Francisco. Right in front of the Painted Ladies is Alamo Square Park where people usually sit on its hill and enjoy the view of the beautiful colorful houses. Unfortunately, the hill was fenced up and tourists had to take their beauty shots from across the street.

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The infamous Chinatown was our next stop. San Francisco’s Chinatown is the second-largest Asian community in North America. Chinatown was filled with an abundance of culture and history. There were stories being told all over the streets through the form of art.

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By this point we were starving and wanted some food. We go on the look for some authentic Chinese food but, instead end up having Sushi at Sushi Taka, a Japanese restaurant specializing in sushi burritos and rice bowls. The irony, we skip Japantown to eat in Chinatown and end up getting Japanese food. Sushi Taka was a small spot in the corner of Kearny street and was only take-out. The line was long but we waited because that only meant that it would be worth it. All three of us order the Sushi burrito and decide to eat at the park in Portsmouth Square, known as the heart of Chinatown.

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The square was filled with pigeons, adorable Asian elderly locals, kids and your few random scattering civilians/tourists. Everything was so serene. We sat by the kid’s playground. As soon as Steph took a bite of her Sushi burrito, she saw a new world and stated that it was the best thing she has ever had. In the midst of Steph’s revelation, an elderly man decides to feed the pigeons right by where we were sitting. The pigeons flocked towards us, and as the man grinned with happiness we fled to a new bench fearing the pigeons and their hungry eyes.

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Apart from the awesome Sushi burrito, the best part of Chinatown was the dance group composed of older Asian women. It was the cutest thing ever! They were performing traditional cultural dances. If I knew what they were doing I would of joined in the dancing festivities.

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Off we go to find a view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Beforehand, I do some quick research and read that there was a nice view of the Bridge in Presidio Park. Therefore, we tell our Lyft driver to take us to the park. After our awkward drive, we find ourselves in the middle of a huge hill with no idea where to go. So what do we do? No, we don’t climb the insane hill as shown above instead, like good tourists, we ask a local girl walking her dog. She points us towards Inspiration Point.

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Inspiration Point was truly inspirational; just breathtaking. From the point you can see Angel Island, Alcatraz, the Palace of Fine Arts and the East Bay.

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I am absolutely obsessed with scenic views because there is so much power in them. They hold dreams, inspirations, love, hope; they hold stories of success, failures, sacrifices, beginnings and ends. All we simply have to do is get lost in them and we are sure to discover something valuable. 

Inspiration Point and all its beauty did not have a view of the Golden Gate so our search continued. After waiting for our lost Uber driver for about a half hour, we made it to the Marina District.

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The Marina District houses the Palace of Fine Arts. The Palace was designed by Bernard R. Maybeck and the design reflects the impression of a Roman ruin. It was stunning to look at. There’s always so much meaning behind historical buildings. I always find it interesting.

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As we started walking towards Crissy Field we came across baby ducklings! Yes, it was an exciting point in our trip! We don’t see baby ducklings everyday.

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Finally! We found our view of the Golden Gate Bridge. It was perfect. However, in the midst of all the perfection was the strong cold wind blowing so fiercely that my scarf didn’t feel as warm as it did in the morning. There I was again longing for a warm scarf. I sat down as the cold winds caressed my face and took the opportunity to call home. It was nice to feel home close to me as I viewed a historical landmark.

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I looked at the Bay with gratitude and thought of how perfect the moment was. I was truly and genuinely happy.

To be Continue…

Trust.

“Trust the wait. Embrace the uncertainty. Enjoy the beauty of becoming. When nothing is certain, anything is possible” – Mandy Hale

Trusting is hard. However, the funny thing is that you can’t live without trusting…I mean at least yourself. No trust in yourself means no faith in yourself and ultimately, that negativity limits your changes of succeeding. 

About two years ago I didn’t trust anything. Love was playing games, I seemed to keep failing and though I truly wasn’t alone, I felt like I couldn’t trust anything but the dreams that lightened up my night while I slept. I was scared, scared to be stuck, scared to fail, scared to not find love, scared to wait and embrace the uncertainty of the future. I was fragile and my heart was filled with insecurities.

Then, as many already know, I was encouraged to do my list and tackle on things I had put on the back burner. I didn’t realize it at the time but the list challenged me to trust. It challenged me to trust in myself and my capability of not only accomplishing the things on my list but, trusting that I could discover the bits and pieces of myself that make me who I am.

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When my friend Krystal asked me to join her May writing challenge I was excited because who doesn’t love a challenge? [Check out her Blog] Each week we will focus on a word and funny enough this week’s is Trust. Trust is the foundation of my blog because when I had none, this blog allowed me to open myself more as I unfolded the tasks on my list.

I also challenged myself to trust in the uncertainty of life. I have come to realize that because nothing is certain everything is possible. Two years ago, when trust was merely a word without any foundation, the thought of uncertainty made my cringe. Today, I proudly stand on the ledge of uncertainty and look straight, awaiting the unknown.

Trust can be scary but scarier is to live in fear of life. Trust in your failures because they will make you stronger. Trust in the unknown because it creates a bridge of possibilities. Trust in love because it gives us hope…. but most importantly, trust in yourself because you have the power to be great!

Savannah, Georgia Pt. 3

What better way to start blogging in 2016 than to finish off an amazing adventure. My trip to Savannah, Georgia, with one of my best friends, has come to an end. [Part 1] [Part 2]

On the third day of our trip, mother nature was completely against us. It was pouring rain and there were no signs that the rain would stop anytime soon. However, we were still determined to make the most out of our experience. There was no way we were spending an entire day stuck in a hotel room.

Our first stop was the Savannah Visitor Center. We didn’t find much inside. There’s a railroad museum there but I didn’t feel like exploring trains. Who knows, I probably missed out on something really cool. So a little piece of advice: Take advantage of every opportunity, even if it doesn’t seem too exciting.

After about 10 minutes inside the center, we decided to make our way to The First African American Baptist Church in North America.

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We were ready and so excited to go on a tour of the church.

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We get there and find a sign that said that the tours were canceled for the day. We were so upset. It seemed like we couldn’t catch a break.

City Market was down the street…

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I thought the area looked stunning, glazed in rain and serenity; breathtaking even. We walked around one last time and came across this small shop.

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It was so adorable inside. All things Georgia, no literally! Peach everything but unfortunately, they didn’t ship to New Jersey. Sigh! Wine tasting though was still available!

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All the wines were absolutely delicious. I thought it was amazing that the wine bottle labels were made by local artists. Forever a sucker for art!

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Everything seemed better once we left the shop. Wine tends to do that sometimes! 😉 

We walked towards River Street

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River Street was wet and cold. We mostly just did souvenir shopping. Lunch was at the Shrimp Factory. There we had the strongest Peach Martini and struggled trying to finish it. Don’t think I’ll be having another one anytime soon! Well at least I can say I had a peach martini in Georgia, the peach state.

Entrée time!

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This was my second time having shrimp and grits and wow! DELICIOUS! I am not even over exaggerating. It was heaven to my taste buds. If only I could find someone who could make me shrimp and grits THAT good! I almost cried when it was all gone. Shakia and I entertained the idea of ordering seconds for a few minutes….it didn’t happen.

Just like that we completed our trip to Savannah, Georgia. There’s nothing more fulfilling than traveling and experiencing new things. Don’t pass up the opportunity to travel, even if it’s in the states. Sometimes we forget that there are some beautiful places in the U.S. Don’t underestimate what’s in our own backyards! 

Absolute Truth, For Beginners

Time is everything. Time is uncertain and certain, kind and unpleasant, longed for and dreaded. Life is made of moments in time and thus, time is inevitable.

I recently just finished reading, Absolute Truth, For Beginners
By Katarina West [http://katarinawest.com]

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“Life (n.) A sitcom with no audience, runs till the day you die.” – Absolute Truth, For Beginners p. 273

This book made me think a lot because I found myself connecting with the main character, a 24 year-old girl uncertain as to where her life is headed. The book starts with Elisabetta arriving at her first job, after over a year of graduating college. She has suffered the post-grad struggle, which I know so well and finally, found something to keep her feet wet, even if it’s not in her field of study, Art History.

Throughout the story, taking place in Italy, a series of events unfold intertwined with the idea of time, love, unhealthy relationships, homosexuality, lack of self love, hopelessness, despair, mental instability and ultimately forgiveness. In just a little over 300 pages I was submerged into a story that really broke my heart.

I thought of how many people, including myself, go through this long period of self-doubt and lack of self-love; swearing on everything that they are the only one’s walking on this unfortunate and long path. I know, because I find myself there at times. Then you pick up a book like  Absolute Truth, For Beginners and you’re reminded that there is someone out there walking a path much similar to yours (maybe even worse and twice as complicated.)

Each reader is different therefore, a book can get interpreted in many ways. For me, this book is a reminder. It reminded me that time is tricky, precious and rare. That life is what you make of it and that love is the hardest puzzle to ever be made…but that there’s someone out there willing to make it with you. You just have to wait for time to be on your side.


 

Absolute Truth, For Beginners
Amazon Book Page
Author’s Blog
Goodreads

*I kindly received the book for my honest review.*