Tag Archives: LatinaBloggers

Colorful Cambridge Pt.1

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory” – Dr. Seuss

Life is full of moments that eventually become nothing more than a memory. Memories that will bring you everything and nothing all at the same time. Memories that will bring you laughter, empowerment, lessons, sadness and maybe even tears. Memories that will make you or break you. 

About two weeks ago, I went to visit my friend Claire in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was a trip filled with great weather and company manifesting into great moments.

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My friends and I arrived Friday night and immediately were ready to tackle on the city. We were so excited to see Claire, that the tiredness we felt from our drive and long day quickly went away. Our first stop of the night was Brick and Mortar. The place had a chill atmosphere, good music and Massachusetts beer; what more could I ask for? I love trying new beers so of course I tried something I never had before… Cisco Beer made right in Massachusetts. It was super delicious. For the rest of the night we laughed and danced until the bar closed at 2am.

Now, it’s 2am and Claire insist that we head over to the Clover Food Lab. We get there and find ourselves at an organic Fast Food Place! How chic is that? Here’s the best part, it’s the only food spot open after 2am! You don’t see that in Jersey! But why would we? with a McDonalds in every corner. I love these out of the ordinary experiences because they remind me that there’s more out there than what I am usually surrounded by.

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As quick as the blink of an eye it became Saturday morning. We started our day with homemade mimosas and delicious eggs (meant to be a huge omelette but instead turned into scrambled eggs.) We joked around so much we didn’t end up leaving the apartment till 3pm. However, we were worry free; time was irrelevant.

Our first stop was the Out of the Blue Art Gallery and More. Welcomed by a huge fluffy dog, we found ourselves in a place that housed the work of local artists and musicians. Art brightens the soul and encourages the mind. Why not submerge yourself in it once in awhile?

Then our race with the sun began! We were headed to Harvard Square where the famous Ivy League school Harvard University stands. When you hear so much about a place sometimes you just don’t know what to expect. You come up with these outrages notions of what things are “supposed to look like” that at the end of the day you aren’t really sure if you believe it yourself.

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So Harvard, yea, not what I thought it was. First off, the school is practically a tourist spot. I thought that was funny. It is also the least colorful place in Cambridge! Nothing stands out. Cambridge is very bohemian and colorful and then there’s Harvard right in the middle with its preppy and chic aura. Great oxymoron.

Has anyone heard about the John Harvard statue? I certainly have not. As we approach the statue of John Harvard we see people taking pictures. We ask ourselves, “why take a picture with this statue?” Casually, we overhear that if you rub Mr. Harvard’s foot you get good luck. Okay, cool! Let’s take a picture rubbing the foot!

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For the remainder of our trip I thanked Johnny for our fabulous luck! Now, today, I sit here writing this blog and decide to do a little research on “The Boston Girl’s” good luck charm! (From the moment we planned our trip, we thought we were visiting Claire in Boston because we had no idea Cambridge was its own city. We decided to keep our original group name despite the confusion in location.) What’s the first sentence I come across? “Don’t touch John Harvard’s foot!” “But why?” I ask myself. Apparently for some ODD reason people believe that if you pee on this statue’s foot you will get good luck! WHAT?! There you have it people…peeing can somehow bring you good luck. I rather not think about how my hands touched a foot that has been continuously peed on, but instead that I did not need to pee on Johnny’s foot to be given his well wishes.

Just like that we finished our visit at Harvard and went about our day.

To be continued…

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!

I love to eat

“People who love to eat are always the best people.” – Julia Child

I love to eat and I am not ashamed of it. I hate diets but I do enjoy a good workout! I have tried dieting once or twice but I just cannot stop myself from eating whatever I want. I rather eat, work out and continue eating! Why limit myself if I am treating my body right at the end of the day?

This past week, my best friend Linda kept sending me pictures of delicious meals she had, at different restaurants, as a part of New York Restaurant Week. Needless to say, I was jealous I couldn’t join her.

I decided to look up if Philadelphia had a Restaurant Week and to my surprise there was a Philadelphia Center City Restaurant Week January 17-22 and 24-29. I think I almost jumped for joy when I saw the webpage starring at me on my computer screen. Three-course dinners for only $35 per person at any center city restaurant provided. Next thing you know I made reservations for five (with a high-chair) at La Famiglia Ristorante.

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The restaurant was very intimate and sophisticated. The lighting was dim and there was no background music, but rather the sounds of talk and laughter. The waiters were beyond attentive. I cannot remember the last time I have received such great service. They went out of their way to make sure we were pleased with absolutely everything. It was a very pleasant experience.

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The menu consisted of Italian cuisine. Each dish was written in Italian with an English description of what it was. I had the following three courses:

Appetizer: Gnocchi Sorrentina
Homemade gnocchi with fresh mozzarella cheese, tomato and basil sauce
Entrée: Vitello Mandolese
Veal medallions stuffed with Prosciutto and mozzarella cheese served in wine sauce
Dessert: Dolce Misto
A sampling of Italian desserts: poached pear with a cranberry sauce, lemon cake with a vanilla sauce, chocolate cheesecake with a chocolate sauce

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Everything was absolutely delicious. I was not disappointed with a single thing that I ate that evening. My friends and I had an exceptional time and even the pickiest eater of the group enjoyed her plate to the fullest!

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The night was a complete success! I definitely am going to take full advantage next time Restaurant Week comes around. Like I always say, there’s nothing like a new experience so do not be afraid to try something new, even if it is food.

Cheers to a good night!

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New Meanings

Love is just a word until someone comes along and gives it meaning – Paulo Coelho

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As I sit here writing: I am thinking about love and all the different meanings my life has given it. I am thinking about the new year and the possibilities roaming around waiting to be found. I am thinking about what I left behind in 2015 and what I hope to gain in 2016.

I spent my Thanksgiving and Christmas surrounded by family and love yet feeling lost. I couldn’t shake this feeling that something was missing.  I’ve had this feeling for quite some time now and after a year of adventures and self-discovering it seemed out of place to feel so lost. Until it finally came to me, I’m terrified to feel comfortable where I am in life. I am not in a place of ultimate happiness; it’s not a place where I could add a new meaning to love.

It’s great to be surrounded by family, to come home to them and feel safe, but safe is comfortable, safe is settling.

I realized that what I need to do is find a new meaning to love and find happiness in something different and uncomfortable. 2015 was the year of self-discovery but 2016 will be the year of accomplishments. Don’t get me wrong, self-discovery never ends because there is something new to learn about yourself with each day that passes. However, this is the year I will discover new meanings to everyday emotions.

I challenge everyone to step out of their comfort zones and find new meanings to love, hope, faith, courage…to life. You might discover something unexpected, something that causes you to simply 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.*

Savannah, Georgia Pt.2

The adventure continues… Savannah, Georgia still had a lot in store for Shakia and I. [Part 1]

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist.” – Oscar Wilde

Day 2
We woke up to what seemed to be a rainy day. We were disappointed that our trip was being crashed by the rain, but my mom always says, “Tiffy, a little rain never hurts a flower,” and with that in mind we headed out for breakfast.

We ate at the famous Waffle House. You cannot go to Georgia and not go to the Waffle House. After eating real waffles in Belgium, I swore I would never have a waffle again, unless it was truly Belgian but I couldn’t stay away. Waffle House you did me good!

I would also like to say that I am officially a fan of biscuits and gravy!

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It was time to explore Savannah and its beautiful Historical District with 22 squares. As only true tourists would, we decided that a Trolley Tour would be most beneficial. We chose the Old Savannah Tours. It was great! Throughout the day we were able to hop on and off the trolley and enjoy real life re-enactors of important historical figures in Savannah. Nothing like a little history lesson to freshen up the brain cells.

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Savannah is stunning with such beautiful landscape and architecture. Gorgeous place to take a long walk or go for a nice morning or afternoon jog.

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Can you tell how much I was enjoying the scenery?

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One of the Trolley stops was City Market a cute little social center with little shops, bars and restaurants. By the time we arrived at City Market it was pouring rain and very cold. Apparently, the coldest it has been in Savannah since a very long time. So what do me and Shakia do? Go to Wet Willies and have ourselves a very freezing slushy. Yes, we immediately regretted it. Took us forever to finish our drinks. Not our brightest idea.

We made two other stops at City Market. First, this cute little Art Gallery. I’m a sucker for anything creative. I loved the gallery. It was filled with beautiful paintings and awesome pieces of art. There’s something fulfilling about art whether you’re creating it or infusing it. 

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Second, we stopped by Savannah’s Candy Kitchen. Shakia looked like a little girl who walked into a toy store. It was quite hilarious.

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The place was cute and they gave us free candy as soon as we entered the store! Even spoke some french with the candyman. I never pass an opportunity to <<parlez un peu>> of French. I do highly regret not getting fresh popcorn like Shakia did. She let me taste a bit and it was absolutely delicious! Cheddar popcorn never tasted so good!

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Finally, to end our day we went to dinner at Paula Deen’s The lady & Son’s. We lucked out because on Sunday’s dinner is buffet style! We were ecstatic! Can’t go to the South and not have some good ‘ol southern food.

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I was so hungry I completely forgot to take a picture of my first plate so instead I took a picture of my second plate. You can never have enough plates at a buffet. After plate three…or maybe four, we were ready for bed!

[To be Continued…]