Welcome to Bermuda

Flying out of work like a bat out of hell, suit cases in hand Milli and I headed towards the airport. I was so ready to leave the hustle and bustle of New York City, have my passport stamped and dip my toes into the clear blue waters and pink sand beaches of Bermuda!!!
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We arrived at our Air BNB at about 10:30pm and starving. Hoping to grab a bite at the famous Swizzle Inn which was located walking distance from our home away from home (aka AirBNB) our host Ashleigh informed us that the kitchen closes at 10pm! Luckily for us Ashleigh knew we would be flying in late and went out of her way to provide us with bread, cheese, coffee, tea and milk. So our first meal in Bermuda was grilled cheese and a bottle of wine we picked up on our way in. That bread and cheese came through every morning for breakfast. Now when I have grilled cheese and coffee I think of my time in Bermuda.
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We wanted to get an early start on our day but when Milli’s alarm went off the beds were just too good to not hit snooze…once… twice.. three times… “SHIT!! Wake up it’s almost 10am!!” We showered, ate, got cute and headed out the door. First stop, Gates Fort.
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Our taxi driver Phillip was so sweet! He gave us a mini tour while we took in the beautiful scenery.  We actually learned that Phillip was on our same flight from New York! Coincidence or faith? Either way we were grateful for his kindness.
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Phillip dropped us off at our destination. Milli and I walked through the town taking in all the beautiful colored houses and ocean views. As we were walking we happened by a local named Cheryl on her daily jog who stoped to let Milli know that she had on the right colors. Milli had no idea that the flowy blue dress she choose to wear represented the color of the towns cricket team. And apparently there was a big game happening this weekend.
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Phillip was right about everyone being friendly and we quickly learned that everyone knew everyone. Everyone smiled said good morning, afternoon and evening to you as you walked by even if they didn’t know you. Those small greetings and kind smiles were much appreciated for a couple of New York City gals who are used to getting eye rolls and attitudes. It make your realize that this is how it should be every where!
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**All photos by Milli Stephania.
As if I you guys already didn’t know**

How do you forget everyday things??

I’m leaving for a girls trip and even though I had slowly started putting what I would be taking to the side I still hadn’t transferred them over into a suit case. To make things easy I even wrote up a check list for things I need/want to bring and a To Do list for things I needed to do before I left. The night before my trip I started transferring my things into the suit case and going down my check list scratching things off as I packed them up.

Unfortunately, I still had forgotten to put things on my check list and the morning of the day I was leaving I realized I hadn’t packed underwear! Yes! Something I use EVERY SINGLE DAY was over looked. Luckily I still had some time and asked Ed to take a few pair out for me as I was getting dressed so that I can put them into my already packed suit case. I looked over and see him tossing underwear in my direction from the other side of the bed. I look down at the pile he’s made and notice that he’s only taken out the sexy lace thongs. Again, this is a girls trip that he will not be joining. Confused, I ask

Um, who are you expecting me to look sexy for??”

He replies

“I don’t know which ones you want!!”

I chuckle,

“Pass the granny ones! Their the most comfy and no one cares what kind of undies I’m wearing”

 

One would think this conversation be the opposite way, Ed packing all my granny undies and me trying to be cute. But these days I’m all about comfort something that must have come when I hit 30. I used to suffer in the name of cuteness. Not anymore!

I left my apartment excited but I couldnt shake the feeling that I had forgotten something….

SHIT!!!… I forgot to pack socks!! 😨

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Parenting: 10 Years and 10 Lessons

This has been a year of milestones for ZJ. He turned 10 years old on April 6th  and will be officially entering school this fall as a Jr High Schooler. I can go on and on about all the 1st we have entered this year but I’ll spare the details. Having had ZJ just 4 months shy of my 21st birthday I had no idea what to expect nor was I prepared for the bumps along the way. With the help of my mom and just about everyone in my family I’ve been able to survive the first 10 years.

Here are 10 lesson/ pieces of advise I’d like to share.

  1. Pick and choose your battles.
    • There are curtain things I will refuse to fight about. Wearing a Buzz Lightyear costume to the store was one of them. Trust me! There are definitely worse things they can possible want. Fighting over wearing a costume well passed Halloween was one battle I wouldn’t even bother with.
  2. Its okay to give options
    • I’ve always tried to give ZJ the option to choose certain things for himself, insuring that he knows the consequence for the decisions he makes. Life is all about options, making decisions and understanding that there are consequences for every decision you make.
  3. Keep them up during those super energetic moments.
    • One thing that’s more stressful than anything is trying to keep kids calm and quiet during a sugar rush or those days when they wake up full of energy. My little method of dealing with times like this is to simply keep them up. Basically help them burn all that energy off, take them to the park or the yard and have them run around until they can’t anymore, put on some music and have dance party because when they finally crash, and believe me they will, it will be the best silence you have ever heard. Sometimes, when ZJ was about to hit his wall  I would set up a bubble bath with lavender essential oils than rub him down in some calming lotion. Knocks him out every time.
  4. Stand your ground.
    • I’m very easy going, I’ve been known to give second and third chances even when someone doesn’t deserve it. There is no denying that I have the biggest soft spot when it comes to ZJ. He’s charming , cute and knows just what he’s doing when he bats his eyes and tells me how pretty I am and how much he loves me. I’d be lying if I said those green eyes don’t make me just want to melt. However, after a few times of falling into this trap I knew I could’t continue to let him run all over me. If he did something unacceptable I had to stand my ground, let him know he was wrong and not show any signs of weakness.  If I said he was going to be punished I have to stick to my word even if seeing him upset or sad broke my heart
  5. If you say something mean it. Keep your word.
    • Along with standing your ground, keeping your word is important on things much more than just punishments.  ZJ holds me to my word especially when it comes to doing something cool. If told ZJ we would do something he’d get really excited than plans will fall through and I’m left feeling extremely bad. I learned to use words and phrases like “it’s a big maybe” and “I’m going to try” instead of promising anything I wasn’t 100% sure on. Sometimes I wouldn’t say anything until the day has come and we need to start getting ready to go.
  6. No baby talk! They are people too.
    • From day one I’ve made it a point to never baby talk to ZJ. Of course when he was a cute tiny little baby I would coo him up and down, I’m not made of stone for crying out loud. But when it came down to talking to him I never used “baby talk” I spoke clear so that he can understand me which also tough him how use his words and express himself clearly. I don’t do the whining and pointing with any child. Sorry, not sorry!
  7. Don’t underestimate how much they understand.
    • Often times as parents we find ourself having to explain difficult or even uncomfortable situations to our kids but never underestimate how much they understand. I am appropriately open with ZJ when it comes to a lot of things. Especially when it comes to friendships, changes in his body and most recently girls and why he’s heart races every time one in particular talks to him. Sometimes we as parents stress about how to break things down making the conversation more difficult or uncomfortable than it has to be.
  8. Don’t hover. Its okay for them to learn on there own.
    • This is still a learning process for me. I have some what of a difficult time letting ZJ do things on his own. I’m guilty of still serving him his dinner plate, sometimes even heating up left overs for him and even up until a year ago getting him something to drink when he was thirsty! I know he’s fully capable. But it’s the mom and the hispanic in me that won’t let me stop catering to my little king. So now with one eye on him and a few tips I let him figure things out on his own. Not only in the kitchen but when it comes to cleaning and organizing. They’re not going to learn survival skills if we as parents do EVERYTHING for them. A lesson I have to still keep reminding myself about. Like I said, still a learning process.
  9. EVERYONE needs to be on the same page. 
    • Most recently I’ve been having to deal with “pre-adolescent” behavior. Luckily for me I have a lot of family behind me to back up all of the ground rules I set into place. I like to make it a point with everyone who’s involved in ZJs life to be on the same page. If I say no TV for a week as a form of punishment than that rule needs to apply in everyone’s house. That doesn’t mean that even if we go to my moms house during his no tv punishment that he’s going to get a free pass because we’re at “Momma’s house” (Momma is what ZJ calls my mom). And it surely doesn’t mean that if he acts up at Momma or his Dad’s house that his consequences aren’t going to follow once he’s home.
  10. Hug, kiss and tell them you love them everyday as many times as possible. 
    • Finally, the last and most important thing to do when it comes to your child it to not be afraid to hug them and kiss them everyday. Build their confidence let them know that they are loved and they matter. The most important things that they can ever learn starts at home. I do my best to remind ZJ everyday not only about how much he is loved but to also love in return, to be kind, to be patient (something he constantly needs to be reminded of), to show compassion, to be brave and to give his all in every little thing he does. Because when you put all of those things together, the greatest blessings are sure to follow.

 

I am in no way an expert at kids. I don’t even believe that “experts” are actually experts. I believe that every child and every person are unique and different. No two kids are alike and it definitely takes a village. I believe in taking advise but also trusting your instincts.  Patience and having my family behind me has always been key for me. However, I can only hope I’m doing this parenting thing right.

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Gov Ball 2K18

Well hello there! Long time no see.

I’ve been super slacking on my blog lately. If I’m going to lie it would be because I do nothing but work. But I’m going to be honest, I’ve just been super lazy. But I’m back with an experience for you guys. You guys can thank Milli and Ed for this one because every day I have one of them asking when’s my next post. A perfect example of my we need people in our corner to keep pushing us. I love them for it.

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Governors Ball was about 3 weeks ago and once again Milli, Jeremy and I were festival buddies. This year there was one name that was headlining that I COULD NOT pass up the chance of seeing preform. EMINEM! Now, if you know me you know I am one hell of a “Stan”. I’ve literally been a fan since the 6th grade (once again rebelling against my Mom who hates the fact that he curses WAY too much). As always, he didn’t disappoint. Between him bring out 50 cent and N.E.R.D preforming there old classics I felt like I was in high school again.

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However, looking around at the crowd I literally felt like I was in high school. There were a bunch of teenagers all around me. Milli and I vowed that next year we would be getting VIP tickets. We’re getting too old for the pushing and shoving and having to deal with people who obviously can’t handle their liquor intake.

dscn0590.jpgNone the less we has a blast. Nothing screams memorable more than rapping along to your favorite rapper, bopping to your favorite songs and dancing in the rain.42692068632_16ea00cdda_c.jpg2b3dd532-d9e9-4525-a822-30ee4520dde4.jpg

 

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*Of course all photos were taken by Milli because I can’t get my photography life together. Click here to visit her website and don’t forget to follow her!* 

What’s Been Up

Hola Queridos!

I realize that I haven’t been posting as much as I normally do, but I just started a new job so I’m still trying to get my routine together. I had a few minutes so I thought why not let you guys in on whats been up. Which honestly hasn’t been much.

A few weeks ago Milli invited me be her plus one to her friend’s wedding. It gave me a much needed reason to dress up all fancy. The wedding itself was beautiful. Everything from the music to the drinks to the father of the groom’s speech was amazing. And of course the bride looked like absolute perfection. I had such a great time.

However,other than that I have nothing exciting to brag about. I’ve been very mellow lately, staying home like the homebody that I tend to be. Mostly because I’ve been trying to catch up on bills which have left me broke and wondering why I wanted to be an adult and on my own so bad.

“The biggest mistake I’ve ever made was becoming an adult” – Unknown

But, according to my calendar and the weather there are exciting days to look forward to. Which only means more exciting things to post about. So I had better pay these bills off, and fast!

Until next time my loves!

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P.S. Click here to check out Milli’s newly updated site. xoxo

Yes, They’re Real

We’ve all read or at least heard of the book Freckle Juice by Judy Blume, who had to be my favorite author growing up.

The book is about a boy named Andrew who wants freckles  just like his classmate Nicky. Anther classmate, Sharon over hears Andrew asking Nicky where he got his freckles from and offers Andrew a secret recipe that will give him freckles for fifty cent. Andrew goes home and whips up the gross concoction only to realize it wouldn’t give him freckles just a huge stomach ache. The next day he draws freckles on his face with a blue magic marker and goes to school. Andrew’s teacher than gives him her secret formula for removing freckles telling Andrew how handsome he was without freckles. Nicky than asks the teacher if he can have her secret formula because he hates every single one of his freckles. Which leaves Andrew questioning why Nicky would hate his freckles and Sharon to sell her “secret freckle remover recipe” to Nicky.

Growing up I hated my freckles! But I was bound to have them as both my parents and grandfather are freckly. Every time someone commented on how cute my freckles were I always smiled and thanked them politely but on the inside my eyes wanted to roll to the back of my head and what I really wanted to say was  “whatever, shut up!”

It was like the older I got the more freckles appeared! During the summer was the worse, they would get bigger and darker! I’ve had children ask me why I had spots on my face and my personal favorite was the time while working in a Daycare a little boy tried to clean my face because I had “cookie crumbs.” I’ve even had people like my pizza delivery guy and retail associates ask me how I did I get them… ummmmm what??

“What do you mean how? You get born with them. Thats how?”

-Nicky Lane, Freckle Juice

Apparently tattooed freckles are a thing. And it’s been getting really popular. Why would people want them; I wouldn’t know. But as much as I’ve disliked my freckles I’ve never inquired about having them removed or lightened. I’ve never used makeup to cover them. I just kind of dealt with it.

I had someone time tell me that without my freckles I’d look like a “basic bitch”. My freckles make me stand out amongst other girls. That comment however isn’t what made me love and embrace my freckly face. It wasn’t until I got my make up professional done for a wedding I was a bridesmaid for that I realized the guy was right.

Although the makeup artist did a fantastic job and my eye makeup was exactly what I wanted, I came off the makeup chair with my face caked up with foundation and concealer. He covered every single freckle I have. It was at that moment that I realized my freckles really did make me who I am and without them I didn’t look like myself. I looked like another plain face. That night when I got home I couldn’t wait to wipe the makeup off and look like me again.

I make it a point to tell makeup artist, whether I’m buying or getting my face professionally done, that I do not want or like full coverage makeup. And now when I get asked where I got my freckles done I say “You can’t buy them this perfect” 😉

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The Voice of New York

Growing up in New York City means something different to everyone. Some of my most fond memories are playing in the fire hydrant on a hot summer day, begging my mom for a few dollars so I can buy a limbel from the neighbor on the 3rd floor and hanging out with my sister and cousins on the fire escape of my Abuela building than rushing back into the apartment when I saw my moms car turn the corner of the block. With good reason she didn’t want us hanging out there. Abuela lived on the 5th floor and my mom was constantly arguing with her of how dangerous it was. And of course I remember tuning into Hot 97 with Angie Martinez as I scrambled to straighten up the house and clean any dirty dishes before my Mom got home and started bitchin’ (I’m definitely going to get a nice phone call after that).

Like most young girls in New York City, I looked up to Angie. She was and still is well respected in the hip hop community. Famous for her Radio Show on Hot 97, her straight forward interviews and guest appearances on a couple of rap songs. You never knew who was just going to swing by the station on any given day. Everyone loves Angie and when you heard her voice through your radio you shut up and listened. Even if you didn’t agree with what she was saying you couldn’t deny that her delivery had to be respected. You could feel how genuine and real she is in her tone. She’s most definitely a Radio Legend!

51krkAWdIhL._AA300_Fast forward to about 2 years ago, Angie Martinez had just published her first book and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. I’m not sure what I was more excited and intrigued to read, her life story or the parts of her infamous interview with the late TuPac Shakur that never made it and why? Before I was able to purchase the book Ed surprised me with it. I was super excited! I finished the book in a matter of days. It was truly inspiring. Reading about all the things she endured to get to where she is and through it all how she still managed to remain humble and true to herself. There were definitely parts of her life that I can relate to now as an adult who is still learning and figuring out her place and purpose in the world.

One day after work, Ed and I were walking to the super market when we passed a restaurant/lounge with a poster of Angie’s  book cover saying she would be having a Q&A that night!!! I couldn’t believe it! I knew I had to attend. I’ve probably never in my life shopped so fast. I must have just grabbed what I would need for the next morning and probably even forgot a thing or two. As we were walking back home with the groceries Ed stops and says “Look at her right there” I thought he was kidding and kept it moving, while Ed walked up to a black car. I had no time to waste. I needed to get home and change my clothes. Next thing I know all I hear is the same voice I’ve been listening to since I was in 12 years old say “Hey, whats going on?” I froze for a second before turning around, there she was sitting in a car recording me on Snap Chat. I was looking a hot mess, grocery bags in hand filled with tomorrows breakfast, and all of a sudden I became camera shy and stunned. I was on The Voice Of New York’s Snap Chat!! WHAT!!

She gets out the car, shorter than I expected her to be and gives me a hug. Still not being able to muster up the courage to say anything but “Oh my God! Hi” she asks if we’re going to the Q&A. Ed answers for me with a definite yes. I finally come to my senses and tell her I had to go home drop off my bags, change my clothes and get my book. She says “Okay, hurry! I’ll be waiting for you inside”

I practically ran the 3 blocks to my house, throw my groceries in the fridge without even bothering to take them out the bags. Open up my draw, thinking this is not the time to need to do laundry! I didn’t know what to wear, which is nothing new but I didn’t even have my favorite shirt or jeans or dress to throw on! I grabbed a plain dark green tank, a pair of shorts and threw on some Nikes, asked Ed a million times if I looked fine. His answer is always yes, but sometimes I think he will tell me I look great just so I can hurry up. Ed is the best at getting me organized when I’m in a rush but still need to check myself out in the mirror 50 times. He had my book, my wristlet and keys in hand while he waited patiently by the door. Finally I was ready.
img_2115We walked into the restaurant where we were instructed to go downstairs to the outside lounge area. We walk into the patio where she’s up front in the middle of answering someone’s question. It’s a small venue so she spots us as we find a seat somewhere and excitedly acknowledged our arrival. “Everybody say ‘Hi’ to my friends! I just met them outside. Did you bring your book?” Have you ever felt embarrassed but gassed up at the same time? Well that’s how I felt, embarrassed because I hate being put on the spot. But when someone you admire calls you a friend even though you just met them you can’t help but for feel a little full of yourself.

Everyone was going around asking question and when I got a little comfortable with the crowd I mustered up to courage to ask a question.

“Out of all the relationships you’ve made throughout your career, what made you asked J. Cole to write your foreword?”

A foreword is an introduction written by another person, which usually comes before the preface. And J. Cole had written the most beautiful foreword I had ever read. As a hip hop lover it warmed my heart and sat with my soul making me scream YAAASSSSSS!!! Snaps and all! I’ll admit, Ed helped come up with the question, I was to caught up in the moment to think of what to ask her. That was one of the first things I thought when I was reading the book. I would have thought she would have asked Funk Master Flex or Jay Z to write her foreword being as though her career had grown up with them.

Her response to my question was simple, she has asked a few people to write a blurb, which are those comment type things in the back of the book. Well, J. Cole’s “blurb” ended up being “a whole essay long” she knew she couldn’t ask him to shorten it. Like me, it warmed her heart. She decided to keep it as her foreword.

The event went on with waiters passing around free beer and appetizers. After a while my nerves settled and I was comfortable enough to ask more and more questions. The crowd was so small it was like we were all members of the same book club. We laughed and we teared up as we all went around explaining the impact Angie had on us growing up and especially during 9/11.

The night had come to an end a little too fast, even though Angie stayed well passed her expected time to just hang out with everyone there. It definitely was awesome kicking it with some you admired growing up. I will carry the memory and inspiration of that night with me forever. I am forever grateful to Ed for giving me that courage to simply say Hi and pinching me to insure me that I wasn’t dreaming. And of course to my empty fridge for forcing me to walk passed the restaurant on my way to the supermarket. Without them I would have just had a regular Thursday night at home.

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Look at the smile!!