Tag Archives: learning

Punta Cana

So far 2017 has been a weird year. I started off wanting to do it all; now I simply feel like slowing it down. I always knew I would have a quarter life crisis, just never thought it would feel this overwhelming. In May, when I went to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, I felt the need to take a few steps back, analyze and slow things down.


“Once she stopped
rushing through life,
she was amazed how much more
life she had time for.”
Unknown


For those who are not familiar with the Dominican Republic, Punta Cana is a resort town located in the municipality of Higüey, in La Altagracia Province. 

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I was super excited because this would be my first time in Punta Cana. I took the trip with my best friend Shakia and my sorority sister Jadira. After the ultimate struggle to book everything, we managed to find a round trip flight with Dominican Wings and stay at Meliá Caribe Tropical all inclusive resort.

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I was nervous to fly Dominican Wings because they are a fairly new airline with only one airplane. In the end, it wasn’t so bad. Other than the excessive waiting to board the plane (on the way there) and the lack of good snacks (on both rides,) we managed to get to the Dominican Republic and back to the United States safe and sound (all for a good price!)

Meliá was perfect. What I loved about it most was how true they stayed to the Dominican culture. To be completely honest, throughout the entire 7 day vacation, I felt like a true Queen. My hair was flourishing, my skin was vibrant, my vibe was chill and the world seemed to make sense (at least for the week.)

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We did two excursions. The buggy ride with Adventure Boogies and a boat ride to Saona Island.

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The buggy ride was so much fun! We all took turns driving around the dusty back roads of Macao; experienced Macao Beach as well as a secluded ranch where there was a cave and free samples of delicious hot cocoa, coffee and Mama Juana (the famous aphrodisiac Dominican drink, which we drank all throughout the trip.)

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On our way to Saona, our questionable transportation ride stopped at a gas station, which had the cutest little cafe. There, I had the best Yuca Pastelito I have ever tasted! Eventually, we made it to the dock site where we got on a speed boat and headed towards some shallow waters. Once we arrived, Shakia and I managed to hop into the ice cold water and take a few pics with some Star fishes. Miraculously, right after that, what was supposed to be a gloomy rainy day turned into a day filled with bright sunshine. Right on time for Saona.

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Saona Island was extremely touristic. While we were there, I learned that the vendors are only allowed to make a living from the tourism. I ended up buying my aunt a bracelet made out of Larimar, a gemstone only found in the Dominican Republic. It makes you really think about the importance of tourism for some countries.

My favorite part was the Yacht ride back to Higüey. Despite the music and the people getting drunk on cheap rum and coke, I felt such a peacefulness. I loved every second of it. I even enjoyed a few dances with an Argentinian man who was sitting next to me. I have come to realize that it’s the simple moments that I appreciate the mostLife is merely but an arrangement of moments, both good and bad.

While at Meliá, if I wasn’t drinking a Coco Loco, I was sipping on a Cosmo. If I wasn’t eating, then I was most likely laying on the beach or enjoying the pool. I mingled a lot with the staff and learned quite a few things about life in DR. It still makes me laugh when I think about how different you are considered if you are Dominican-American, like myself. Though the same yet different, but then again we all are different.

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Overall, it was a good vacation. It made me really put 2017 into perspective and brought into light the need to go slower. There’s still a lot I have to figure out, but you have to start somewhere, right?

xoxo
-Tiffany

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Love Illuminated

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I haven’t been the most fortunate in the game of love. So of course, when I came across Love Illuminated by Daniel Jones, the editor of the New York Times Modern Love column, I picked it up and decide to indulge in it.

I picked up the book hoping for some clarity, heck some divine intervention as to why I have been so unfortunate in this love mess. To my luck, in just the first few pages, he says that’s exactly what we should not expect in reading the book. Great, I still read it though.

The book is actually entertaining as Jones uses examples of a multitude of situations to discus pursuit, destiny, vulnerability, connection, trust, practicality, monotony, infidelity, loyalty and wisdom. After reading the book, I came to the conclusion that love is…well impossible to understand. It’s messy, annoying, consuming, tiresome,  a high, weird…to be honest I can go on for days. There are just so many different types of loves and ways of loving, no wonder some of us find ourselves lost and confused. We are weird creatures, sometimes even finding ourselves not really satisfied when we have something we’ve dreamed on for so long. Jones reminded me of all of this. He made me remember that I don’t have it as bad as I think I do.


“Let’s try to embrace love’s complexities as much as we try to explain them away” – Daniel Jones


I’m only 25 but it feels like I’ve been searching for love for years. In love with the idea of love; (ironic I know) I never find it in the right places. There are days I just get tired and want to give up. I’ll admit, I find myself crying some nights at how lonely I feel. That’s my problem though, I’m focusing too much on what I don’t have welcoming in people I don’t need. A lot of you could probably relate. feels like humans are addicted to love.

So in the end, I think you can say I learned a little something from this book. Embrace the complexities of love and take the experiences for what they are worth. Don’t fall in the search but fall in the moment. Most importantly, love yourself the deepest above all other loves.

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Letter to my undergraduate self

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” – e.e. Cummings

college

Dear Tiffany,

I know you’re stressing. You will stress everyday for one reason or the other so do yourself a favor and stop. You’re actually stressing right now as you start taking on your first semester as a graduate student. Just take the time to enjoy the small moments like the way the campus looks filled with autumn leaves on the ground. Don’t overthink every single assignment you receive in class. Go with your gut because after two hours of over-analyzing, that’s essentially what you will end up doing.

I applaud you for your organization and time management skills because those will help you get through the crazy moments when you are drowning in school, work, internships and extra curricular activities. Don’t worry you will somehow manage to have a life because you live by your planner (and you still do at 25.) Talking about your internships, take more advantage of the networking opportunities presented to you. Build relationships and strengthen them because they will come in handy after you graduate and start job hunting. It’s not easy out there and bills start piling up. Don’t be afraid of part-time jobs even if it’s not exactly what you want at the moment. 

You won’t go to the gym but you really should. You seriously lucked out in not gaining the Freshman 15. I mean, you did gain the Freshman 5 though (no, that’s not a thing.) Go on adventures with your friends because you only get to experience college young and free once; life after gets more complex than you think.

Please please please don’t focus on love. College is not the place for it. It may seem like your life falls apart junior year but you’ll survive. Trust me when I say that in the end you become stronger from the disappointments. Don’t stop smiling because it’s your way of pushing forward during those tough times. Overall, you honestly don’t do that bad in college. You slack a bit first semester of freshman year but then you get it together after seeing your GPA. High five for staying focused on school and making it your mission to graduate with nothing less than a 3.0. You definitely learned that it’s easier to drop your GPA than bring it back up!

Enjoy your family. You never know what the future may hold…

However, my most important advice to you would be to never stop loving yourself. You lose track of that for a bit. Remember that this is your life and you matter the most in it. I love you girl and never stop reaching for those stars!

Love, yourself-

Just Breathe

Have you ever forgotten to just breathe? I mean to just take a second to sit down, stop thinking and simply just breathe

Today, I was reminded of how important it is to just stop everything and take some time to reenergize. I was reminded that there is such a thing as taking on too much.

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A few weeks back I realized that November is around the corner and that 24 is peaking through my window. I started panicking because I haven’t even completed half of My List. I quickly started planning the remainder of August. After I finished packing up August with plans, I took a few minutes to think about my year and realized that it has been quite a fulfilling year:

  • I saw three Broadway Plays
  • I had my five year high school reunion
  • I vacationed in Cancun (snorkeled and swam with dolphins)
  • I celebrated St. Patricks Day for the first time
  • I ran my first 5K
  • I got my first massage
  • I rock-climbed
  • I have read three books
  • I roller-skated (I thought it would be a huge fail but it was amazing)
  • I partied on a cruise with friends
  • I took GRE prep courses
  • I went wine and cheese tasting
  • I went to a concert

Of course, after I wrote this down and took a look at it, it didn’t seem like enough. For the next few days, I started juggling so much that I was practically walking around holding my breath. Every second of my day my mind was racing with something I had to do or needed to do. 24 hours just wasn’t enough; everything needed to get completed as soon as possible.

Then my friend sent me this, “Never give up on something you really want. It’s difficult to wait, but more difficult to regret.” This really made me think… Why are you rushing? What’s the real problem? I let those questions sink in and today received this advice…don’t take on too much to the point where you jeopardize everything you have been working for…prioritize and don’t forget to take a moment to just relax. Funny, because not that long I was asked when was the last time I relaxed. I didn’t have an answer. For the rest of my afternoon I sat on my backyard, with my grandfather, and simply read my book as the wind caressed my face. I was finally breathing.

I decided that for the rest of the week I’m going to just focus on the first task at the top of my list and take it from there. It’s easy for me to forget that the only person on this journey with me is ME. I need to focus on what I am doing and not rush to catch up with everyone else. It’s easy to get distracted and be consumed by the idea of “catching up to others” or “feeling left behind” but the real triumph is staying true to your journey and working towards your goals at your own pace.

I love to eat

I love to eat and this holiday season I could not be more excited to dig in! However, I wanted this year to somehow be different… I wanted to feel different than I did the previous years. I decided that instead of just eating, I also wanted to contribute to the array of dishes that are made for the holidays….I wanted to cook! Everyone was in absolute shock when I stated that I was going to cook. For some odd reason my family thinks I cannot hold my own in the kitchen…well it was time I proved them wrong.

To me, being able to cook is essential to life. You never know when you will be put in a position to provide for yourself and living on take out is just not the best, healthiest and most economical option. No one really taught me how to cook, which is probably why everyone was in such shock when I told them I was cooking for the holidays. I have mainly watch my aunt, mom (who hates cooking even though her dishes are always delicious) and grandmother throughout the years as I walked around the kitchen. So it was a huge surprise to me when in college I was able to whip up meals for me and my roommates. That is when I started realizing that I actually enjoy being in the kitchen and making a delicious dish. It is actually soothing. Every time I finish I get this sense of accomplishment and self-pride and that is exactly the type of emotions I want to be indulged in this 23rd year of my life.

Now, how did I go about selecting dishes? Simply by searching for recipes online. I even own two cook books that I will take a look at for Christmas dinner. I made three dishes for Thanksgiving dinner and for work festivities I made two.
1. Stuffed Tomatoes
2. Baked Chicken Drumsticks
3. Coconut Custard (I got this recipe from my sorority sister)
4. Mini Pumpkin Pies
5. Green Beans Wrapped in Bacon w/ a Brown Sugar Sauce

My favorite recipe from all of these definitely had to be the Stuffed Tomatoes. It was simple and delicious! Plus you can change up the way you make it every time. All you need is tomatoes, and whatever you wish the stuffing to be.
This is the version I made for work:

Ingredients:
1. Tomatoes
2. Cheese (I chose Cheddar and Mozzarella)
3. Ground Beef
4. Mushrooms
5. Diced Tomatoes in a Can
6. Bread Crumbs

Steps:
1. Cut the top of the tomato and then take out the inside. You do this by using a knife to cut around the inside. Then with a spoon you scoop the inside out. You must be very careful to not break the tomato in the process.
2. Cook the ground beef to your liking. I added the mushrooms as I cooked the ground beef. (My own personal preference.)
3. Make your stuffing. Mix the cook ground beef, diced tomatoes, bread crumbs, and cheese in a bowl.
4. Fill the tomatoes with the stuffing.
5. After the tomatoes are filled add a coat of cheese to the top.
6. Bake in the oven until cheese is golden brown and tomatoes look cooked. (Bake at about 350 degrees.)

Pretty simple right? It tasted amazing and everyone at work loved them! The compliments went on all day!

My challenge to you is to do something that makes you feel accomplished and gives you that feeling of self-pride. It could be something as simple (or challenging for some) as cooking.

My Happy Place

Phoenix 44

I woke up wanting to look pretty for my internship. I put on stockings (it’s getting chilly here,) a dress, my brown boots, which have thick semi-high heels, and a nice scarf as a finishing touch. I felt very pretty and professional because I picked up my hair to make a perfect bun. But before heading to my internship I had to buy ID tags for the Art Fair this weekend. I felt ready for the journey since I looked up the directions, to one of the 10 locations the store’s website gave me, the night before on Google Maps (I realized the Belgian website for directions is just as bad.) I left my house at 9am towards my internship office because I figured it would be easier to get to the store from there. I started off at the circle with the Phoenix 44 sculpture (the first sculpture I laid eyes on when I first stepped foot in Avenue Louise the day of my internship interview.) 

“Schleiper” store

This is where the story gets complicated so pay close attention… So it took me like 20min to find the bus stop. Circles are a pain!! Yet again, I went around the entire circle before realizing I just had to make a left at the office .__. I end up getting off at the wrong stop because the bus decided not to activate the screen that tells you the name of the different stops… I ended up miscounting the stops I needed to pass before getting off… I try to find the bus that would take me back how I came but since I couldn’t find it I try to backtrack the route the bus took to the last stop. I was successful but soon came to realize that the bus to go back didn’t stop at the stop I needed to get off at .__. I decide to try what I did the last time and find the stop before the one I was currently at. However, unlike the first time that was a complete FAIL! I walked for about 45min until I just decided to go back to where I was before and catch the bus to the next stop and just take it from there. I waited for that bus for almost an hour! When the bus finally arrived and I get off at the next stop I was so annoyed to realize all I had to do was walk down the road! Of course the stop ended up being another circle ._. So what I do? I go around the entire circle before realizing I should of made the turn away from the circle. Makes sense that none of the streets around the circle would be the stop I needed to get off at since the circle had it’s own bus stop. Finally! I found the right bus stop and eventually found the store! It was awhile since I have gotten lost. Guess it was about that time.

So I’m at the store and it turns out to be a cute arts and crafts store. It made me think of how much I miss scarpbooking. After looking around and not finding ID tags I decide to ask the employee where to find them. She goes on to telling me they don’t have any at that store; that the cashier can give me the address to the store (one of the 10) where I can find them. I immediately call my co-intern and turns out that I’m at the wrong store! I was suppose to go to the office supply store (one of the 10) that turns out to be around the corner from the Conrad Hotel (where the Art fair is taking place.) .__. 

The simple park

At this point it’s taking everything inside me to not get furious. My feet were throbbing from walking with those boots! As I walked back to the bus stop I kept telling myself “go to a happy place.” Then I stopped and realized I found a park! I sat down, closed my eyes, and felt the breeze on my face. At that moment I thought how amazing it would of been if the park had a swing! I thought about how peaceful it is to swing and not think about anything but the breeze and how free it feels. Instead on focusing how I just wasted two bus rides on my transportation pass, I thought about how happy swinging makes me… I found my happy place 🙂 

Caesar Salad

 I got to my internship at about 12:30pm and decided to treat myself to a Caesar salad from this place called Guapa. Omg! It was the freshest Caesar salad I have ever had!! It made everything better! The chicken was so tender and it had fresh slices of parmesan cheese! Even the right amount of dressing was given! I was impressed! 

My new heels

Finished off my adventure with purchasing my first pair of European heels! I realized that I needed heels for the VIP Night of the Art Fair on Saturday. So I went off to do the quickest purchase ever! I don’t take long to shop. The heels here are much thicker because of all the cobblestone streets. I don’t really like the shapes of the heels here so I tried finding something close to what I’m used too since I won’t be walking on cobblestone while I’m wearing them. Cute enough right?