Tag Archives: Self-Love

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

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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-

Exploring My Backyard

“Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.” – Mark Twain

With graduate school and work being my top priorities, it feels like I don’t have time for much. However, I realized that for not having time like I used to, I have been doing quite a lot. Yes, clearly except for keeping up with this blog, which I truly apologize for.

So you may be asking yourself, what exactly have I been up to with my limited time? Well school work, of course! But also exploring my backyard. No, not my actual backyard, there’s not much there but a great space for contemplating life. What I mean is that I have been exploring New Jersey and my surroundings. I love to travel, but when you have so much going on, seeing what new adventures you may find close to home doesn’t sound like such a bad idea.

I realized that for not being much of a big deal, New Jersey can be quite surprising, and with neighbors like New York and Pennsylvania can one really complain? Alright, yes, but you get my drift.

My backyard exploring began with wine tasting at the Working Dog Winery in Robbinsville, NJ.

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There are so many wineries in NJ and PA that I have no idea why I haven’t become a winery expert by now. It’s honestly the perfect thing to do on a cool Sunday afternoon with a few friends.

Where I found myself next? Well….Even though Atlantic City seems like it’s not part of NJ, well at least to me, it actually is. My best friend Shakia and I attended the 2016 Atlantic City Seafood Festival.

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As I walked in I asked myself if there was such a thing as too much seafood and beer?

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“Some beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost” – Erol Ozan

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I had what, at that time, tasted like the best Crab Mac and Cheese ever! My taste buds were so happy they urged me to take a cup with me home. Unfortunately, the next day it wasn’t as marvelous. It must of been the hunger and moment wrapped into one.

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We came across a friendly Chowder cook-off. All proceeds went to charity so it was only right to taste ALL of the Chowders. I never had so much Chowder (corn, clam, vegetarian) in my life! I think I had enough for the next year and a half.

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To finish off our adventure at the AC Seafood Festival we did a beer tasting of New Jersey beers! It couldn’t have been anymore perfect! Never underestimate the power of a good ‘ol festival. There are tons of festivals all year around. Look up some festivals in your backyard and give it a try, you might just be pleasantly surprised.

Philadelphia Restaurant Week snuck up on me, but there was no way I was missing out. Shakia and I ended up going to Fratelli’s Italian Bistro where I had the Stuffed Cremini Mushrooms, Penne Alla Vodka, and Tiramisu for desert.

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I would give the restaurant/food a 3/4. Food and service could have been better but it was still good overall. I think I’m going to make it my personal mission to indulge in Restaurant Week every time. There are just so many restaurants! And I sure do love food!

Then I found myself creating art at ArteVino Studio in Hoboken, NJ for my friend Stephany’s birthday. This would make my fourth painting! Maybe I should open up my own studio at the rate that I’m going, but paint and wine events are so much fun. There’s a ton available all over, not only in NJ, NY or PA!

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I wasn’t really pleased with how my painting came out, but I had a great time with my friends and the experience was well worth it.

I like to think that I can do it all because time will never be just right. I don’t fear stress or being tired (my newfound life on a daily basis,) but I do fear not being able to explore and enjoy the small pleasures in life. Though I’m swamped with adulthood, I will never stop looking for my next adventure, even if it’s in my own backyard, and neither should you.

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…]

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. 

Last Day: Golden Gate Bridge

“It always seems impossible until it’s done” – Nelson Mandela

We have reached the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge! We were so excited to finally have made it to San Francisco’s most iconic monument. [Read Here: Beginning of Day 3]

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The bridge was an impressive view; stunning. It was 1.7 miles of beauty, connecting San Francisco to California’s northern counties. It was as if we entered into a new world. The sun and warmth was no longer with us. The area surrounding the entrance of the bridge was foggy and windy. Again, we longed for a warm coat, but not enough to deter us from our adventure and making it to the other side.

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We were so excited to be walking the Golden Gate Bridge. It was one of those experiences you only dream of doing, until somehow you catch yourself living the dream.

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We were surrounded by beauty. A scenic view full of possibilities as we walked away from the city. I remember walking and thinking, if this moment was possible anything could be possible. The same smile I conjured up that day resurfaces as I reminisce. At that moment problems were nonexistent; I saw all the possible doors I could open by just starring at the vast sea.

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Slowly, the fog started disappearing and the sun resurfaced. It was magical as if we were crossing into holy grounds. However, we didn’t really know what to expect on the other side.

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Turns out that at the end of the bridge is Vista Point, a place where you can take in the beauty that is the city of San Francisco, along with the beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge. It was simply breathtaking. Vista Point is located in the town of Sausalito, CA. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to explore Sausalito being that it was a 15min walk into town. However, on our way towards the Point, we did receive great reviews from a friendly couple we came across.

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By the time we finished taking in the view we realized how hungry we were. It took us a bit of time to order a Lyft because Vista Point has no exact address. Luckily, we found a Lyft that was already at the Point and was able to pick us up without any hassle. We headed straight to Liquid Gold, after reading reviews, hoping for a great meal. Come to find out the place is strictly beer and BYOF (Bring Your Own Food.)

We asked for some close by places to eat and the bartender directed us towards Cordon Bleu, a Vietnamese restaurant. Cordon Bleu is a San Francisco must find. It is nothing fancy nor special but it was amazing! Think of it as authentic Vietnamese comfort food. Something you would get if you were to visit the household of a Vietnamese family. There’s nothing better than eating those type of meals on vacation. Happiness in a plate, simple as that. After stuffing our faces we made it back to Liquid Gold for our beer tasting.

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Liquid Gold is a new Bottle Shop and Tap Room in San Francisco. I’m a beer fanatic so I was super excited about finally experiencing a beer tasting. Beer tasting at Liquid Gold includes four beers (local and international beer) of your choosing from the Live Tap Menu.

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This was our last day in San Francisco so we enjoyed our beers as we looked back on our adventures. After about an hour, we started getting ready to wrap things up and head back to our Airbnb. We had to head to the Greyhound station in about 1.5 hours to catch our overnight bus to Los Angeles. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Damaris decided that she needed a San Francisco hoodie and then that’s when I decided that I needed a California hoodie. Stephany gave us the side eye, but after deliberating back and forth, we chugged the last of our beers, ordered a Lyft and headed back down to Fisherman’s Wharf. We ended up getting our hoodies from the same shop Steph got her’s. Why didn’t we just get one back then? Who knows. Once we got our hoodies it was time to head back and say bye to Nob Hill.

To be Continued…