Tag Archives: Latina

Philly, Hey!

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly time flies. One minute I’m traveling; the next I’m back in school preparing assignments and presentations. Sometimes, I truly wish there were more than 24 hours in a day.

Last month, right before I started my my second semester as a Graduate Student, I decided to do a small weekend getaway trip, with some of my girls, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I booked us a really nice hotel room in Center City at Loews Philadelphia Hotel. We had such a breathtaking view of the city. It was one of those views that reminded you of the beauty of architecture and sunlight brightening up the sky, and the serenity created by skyscraper lights. Can you tell I love cities? Because I do. I’ll admit Philadelphia is far from my favorite city but on that weekend, it definitely grew on me.

We decided to walk to our first destination. It was supposed to snow in a few hours and we wanted to enjoy walking, while we could. It wasn’t too cold so it was perfect. In the middle of Midtown Village we came across Finn McCools Ale House.  Here I discovered and had my first White Russian. I don’t know much about cocktails, and at 25 maybe I should know a little more than I do,  but wow was it strong. Luckily, I shared the drink with my friend. We left Finn’s very happy and probably a tad buzzed.

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As we walked towards the Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens we came across beautiful murals and graffiti art. Had to stop and take pictures.

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The Philadelphia Magic Gardens is a beautiful project that started in the late 1960s by Isaiah Zagar. It’s a remarkably stunning work of art that opened up to the public in 2008. At first sight, you can’t help but to look in awe at how detailed everything is. Every corner, every inch, is truly magical. We literally stayed there for about two hours just mesmerized by everything. We took so many pictures wanting to capture every moment we created there.

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It started getting colder and that was pretty much our cue to walk back towards are next destination. On the way, we stopped by Strangelove’s Bar. I’m 100% a beer girl so I was more than enthusiastic to try something new. We ended up spending about 1.5 hours just talking and enjoying our beer selection. It was a nice spot and we clearly got sucked into the vibe.

Before heading to Philly, almost everyone I talked to told me to check out the Reading Terminal Market and that’s what we did next. At this point we were starving and all we wanted was food. The place was crowded and the options to eat felt endless. We ended up separating, half of us got Philly Cheesesteaks  while the rest of us got some Soul Food at Keven Parker’s Soul Food Cafe. I devoured my food. It was absolutely mouth watering delicious. There’s no other way of putting it. We couldn’t leave the Market without getting some famous Beiler’s Donuts. The line was insane but totally worth it.

It was early, around 7PM, but it was raining, and phones were dying, so we decided to head back to the hotel to charge for a bit. The plan was to head back out for a few more bar hops, before preparing for our evening festivities, but the bed felt too good for a few of us. The rest of the group headed down to the hotel bar. Never underestimate the hotel bar! You might just end up having a pleasant time with some fancy delicious cocktail, that you keep calling by the wrong name…yep, totally me.

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Eventually, we got dressed for the night. It was an interesting one to say the least. If I had to summarize the night in one word it would be random. We spent most of our night at Time Restaurant. It was a great place divided into three sections: one for dancing, one for live music and one for simply sitting and drinking. After that we somehow ended up at Wawa. That had to be the most crowded Wawa I’ve ever seen.

The next day, before heading back to my house we had Brunch at the famous, and highly loved, Green Eggs Cafe. Beforehand, we had mimosas at Caribou Café, a Parisian bistro, to kill the 1 hr and 45min wait we had at Green Eggs. It was such a cute little French place it took everything in me to not order food.

To end our Philly adventure we took a picture with the Love sign like any other tourist. It was absolutely freezing at this point and we couldn’t wait to get back to the car.

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Philly, was a good adventure. The trip definitely warmed me up to its possibilities. Philadelphia might not have the best public transportation system, but it’s not lacking great bars and places to eat. So if you want a nice weekend getaway why not give Philly a try? I did.

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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…]

Colorful Cambridge Pt.2

“Travel far enough, you meet yourself” – David Mitchell

How is it that you can easily get consumed by everything going on in your life? It feels like in the blink of an eye so much has happened! It’s exhilarating realizing that a positive mentality will eventually bring you positive outcomes.

So what do I do with all my positivity? Clean out my bank account and book myself a trip to California! Yes, I’m broke, happy and going to Cali! But that’s a story for another day…

It has been weeks since I last wrote and I never finished my story on my trip to Cambridge, Massachusetts. [Read part one]

Ah yes, Claire, Damaris, Stephany and myself just finished our trip to Harvard University and are now headed to dinner. Claire picked a nice little spot, Grendel’s Den Restaurant and Bar located on Harvard Square. Grendel has half price hours from 5-7:30pm where most items on their menu are half priced! (yes, we caught the special!) Also, the portion’s of food served are spectacular! We were all so full. I’m not sure how we managed not to take a nap right there and then.

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Damaris had a chocolate craving so next thing you know we ended up at L.A. Burdick Chocolate Cafe, also located in Harvard Square. The place was small and chic with limited seating. Luckily, we managed to score a table while Damaris ate her chocolate cake. I was super excited because as I bought my first macaroon ever (yes, ever!) there was a French couple right next to me speaking Français! Talk about the full French experience. So as any other moment when I’m indulging in French culture, I freak out and start eavesdropping; feeling super proud of myself that I understand the couple I start saying French words like a total creep. After, my moment of excitement it was time to take a bite of my hazelnut macaroon…it was perfect.

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We continued our walk in Harvard Square and decided to have a few beers at Charlie’s Kitchen. We found outside seating by the fire and our shivers from the cold wind quickly disappeared. You don’t realize how much you miss catching up with your friends until you sit down and look back at the moment. It’s a great reminder as to why the friendship exist. Distance isn’t a problem for true friendships.

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We then find ourselves at Alden and Harlow an upscale place known for its fancy cocktails and snacks. I decided to get the Common Place cocktail (Gin, Sage, Clove Honey, Lemon, Benedictine and Egg White.) I am happy to say that I ended up getting the best cocktail out of the group!
**FYI this is a great date night place!

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We ended our night in Harvard Square at Hong Kong Restaurant which, is also a lounge and a nightclub. The night consisted of a Scorpion Bowl, a dancing bouncer and an unexpected dance battle! With exhaustion sucking our bodies dry of energy, we headed off back to the apartment pleased with our great day!

Sunday arrived and so did our departure. We were truly saddened by the end of such a refreshing weekend.

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But before leaving we had breakfast at The Friendly Toast. What an amazing breakfast! Located in Kendall Square, The Friendly Toast is a superb breakfast and brunch restaurant with a hipster vibe and a unique menu. The service was amazing and the food beyond delicious! I couldn’t have been more satisfied with everything.

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Every time I travel I discover something new wether it be about the people I’m with, the location or myself. This trip helped me discover the possibility I thought I lost. It helped me remember that, “Thinking here goes nothing could be the start of everything” – Drew Wagner
I am truly proud of Claire for taking that leap into the unknown. She made a new home for herself and seemed so happy with her new life. It was truly inspiring to see her in her element. We all need to take that leap because we might find true happiness where we least expect it.

Why Be Great?

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new” – Socrates

In the past few weeks I have been throwing around the word “great” quite often.

Be great!” “You’re great!” “Simply be great!” “Don’t be afraid; just be great!

Then I was finally asked why? Well, why not? In the past I spent too much time focusing on the old and not enough time focusing on the present, on the new. I didn’t realize that it diminished my ability for greatness. It stumped my capacity to achieve greatness and simply made me stuck. I became depressed and lived day by day wishing I could go back to fix where I believed it all went wrong.

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One day I woke up and looked around me… I realized that there is a lot that I should be grateful for. I realized that life is merely but a puzzle that I have to slowly piece together. I realized that there’s no other version of myself that I rather be than the version that is simply great and thus, this blog came about.

It’s time we all start accepting ourselves for who we are with our flaws, mistakes and failures. We need to realize that despite of it all, there’s nothing else we can do but grow because greatness isn’t defined by our accomplishments, but by our self-acceptance and belief in our potential to succeed and achieve whatever we put our minds too.

I have two quotes that I wake up to everyday:
“Write your own life story.”
“I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy. I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it”

So here it is: I am not telling you writing your own life story will be easy. I am telling you that writing your own life story will be worth it, if you simply believe it. Therefore, do yourself a favor and SIMPLY BE GREAT!

Not that long ago I had long hair…

Not that long ago I had long hair. Actually, I had processed long hair. Every 6 months I would relax my hair and make sure I killed my curls, what at the time I considered “bad hair.”

“Everything has changed and yet, I am more me than I’ve ever been.”– Ian Thomas

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Let me start from the beginning. I am Latina; born of parents from the Dominican Republic. My mom has very curly hair and my dad does as well so naturally, I was also born with very curly hair. However, my hair wasn’t only curly it was thick! I remember I wore my hair curly a lot and that straightening it was a process my mom struggled with. One day I went to the hair salon and was told I was getting a “deep conditioning treatment” and next thing I know I had beautiful straight long hair. It was like that for the next 14 years, but don’t get me wrong, I still “curled” my hair…so I thought.

Fall 2012 I went to study abroad in Europe. My biggest concern was my hair. I have no idea how to straighten my own hair  (I still don’t.) I was so nervous because I didn’t know if I was going to find someone who knew how to manage my “processed” hair correctly. For the most part, every week abroad was a different hair stylist until, I gave up the last few weeks, and washed and go everywhere I went.

I learned a lot about my hair abroad. I realized that my hair wasn’t curly anymore. They weren’t coils, they were loose waves…kind of looked like spaghetti. Every time I relaxed my hair I killed my curls and damaged my edges. Throughout the years, every hair stylist I went to would tell my mom and I that I didn’t need a relaxer but, I was too obsessed with my straight hair to care. Abroad, I finally understood why I didn’t need to continue relaxing my hair…

My curls are beautiful!!

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It was time to become obsessed with my curls. It took me a few years to make the actual move but last year, I chopped a reasonable amount of my processed hair, and started my transition from processed to natural hair. With all the internal changes I was going through, I thought it would be the perfect time to get rid of everything that hid who I was. It was finally time to be ME! It definitely hasn’t been easy. There are days where I miss my long hair and wish my hair would just grow already. Then there are days were I am so happy I don’t have to straighten my hair every single week! However, I don’t regret my decision. My hair is healthier and stronger than it has ever been in the past!

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My transition still has some time before it is fully complete but I am changing with my hair. I’m cutting the bad out of my life, conditioning the good so it can get stronger and better and slowly growing into the woman that I am…because there isn’t anything else that I wish to be than Simply great!