Photography: Kathy Familia

I met Kathy when I was about 18 years old. She walked into the retail store I used to work at, looking gorgeous. Always a Fashionista. We quickly bonded when we agreed to share each other’s discounts for all the clothes, shoes and accessories we could afford at the time.

Naturally time passes, and ten years later she’s still a rockstar with style, this time with an afro I fell in love with it. I had to photograph it, her, all of it. In my mind, I thought I was doing her a favor by giving her new images, but in all reality, she was the one who had a bigger and better gift for me.

Our night started off kinda messy. Looking for a place to shoot at night is not my strong suit. I’ve been currently teaching myself manual mode in my camera, so things took longer than expected, but It was so worth it.
We roamed the streets of Chinatown, and instantly I was drawn to all the background lights, making anyone who likes to take a pictures, a dream come true for bokeh (the blurry background with the lights)
We had no specific place in mind, so while roaming I made a turn into a street, it was pretty dark but there was some neon lights that were calling my name, then that’s when I saw it.

A gorgeous old school powder blue Buick. Oooomg, I saw the whole scene come before me. That fro, those boots, that car. I’m one to respect other people’s belongings, so I didn’t want her to lean on the car, and get all comfy then have someone come and bitch to us about it. My mental was all wrong.
The owner came down and noticed Kathy posing in front of the car, he says not one word, takes out his keys, opens the door to the car and tells her to get in, then walks away.
Did that just really happen? I was soooooo ready and so grateful. My camera was working over time. I had to get the right shots and I I messed this up, I could never forgive myself. What a sweetheart!

But I gotta say, Kathy’s aura was amazing and so refreshing. After our little photo session, we went to get some pizza, and her prayer was bringing me to tears. Not only was the food blessed, but she prayed for our encounter, she prayed for me and my well  being, for a better future, for the strength to make better decisions and  for a better future… she even added a little prayer for God to send me a man who respects and adores me.

Oh, man…. is anyone cutting onions in  here!?

You always tend to hear to surround yourself with others who teach you, help you grow, wish you the best, but Kathy was a blessing, and I only hope she’s rewarded everything beautiful in life, like she deserves.

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To see more of my photography please visit HERE or follow my Instagram HERE

 

Illustration: Home Sick

This is basically what I mean, if I ever say I’m home sick. There’s no better feeling like being home, and doing absolutely nothing.
Here’s an illustration I drew reflecting my mood… and yes, that’s what my room looks like!  

Rome 2017: Pizza, Plazas, Pasta & Palatine Hill

   I honestly think I was more excited for Italy than the UK. I was ready to get so fat!
   Our flight was quick, and this hotel was a dream compared to London’s. For one, our outlets actually worked. (Don’t even get me started on me trying to use a flat iron, or even something so simple as charging my phone.)
One of the first things I noticed was a mural of one of my favorite artists right next to our hotel, so I was already jumping for joy. I tried to find out if Tara McPherson had a studio there so I can go take a sneak peek in, but it turns out, her painting spot is closer to home than I thought—Brooklyn. Womp womp… (but secretly… yay!)

We made our way towards The Colosseum, and it was packed….and when I say packed, I mean.. you can’t even find the entrance. You have a bunch of tour guides coming up to you.. you know hustling, and a bunch of scalpers, trying to get you to.. gotta make that moolah.

I don’t know if you guys have ever watched the show Scam City..all I could do is chuckle right now.. bc let me tell you– slickness. 
The show’s main purpose is to open your eyes to some of the famous scams locals target tourists with.. and when this guys came came up to us… that’s all I kept thinking about.

He comes up to Phil and I… ” Hey, my friend… I know you right?
Phil: Nah, you don’t know me man.
Vendor, carrying a bunch of bracelets: Yes, my friend… Where you from? (Phil answers) aaaah. me too! I came here some time ago.
P: Yeah, that’s cool.
V: Here, my friend, a gift for you (hands us bracelets) you know, we gotta stick together!
P: Thanks man. (vendor walks away)

Phil and I look at each other- and we didn’t even have to say anything to each other, we kinda communicated telepathically at that moment (he didn’t even ask for money… hmm.. maybe we were jumping into conclusions)
Vendor, who is currently abut 20 feet from us, turns back around and flashes us a smile.
Vendor: My friend, I didn’t charge you for the bracelets, but how about a donation? For my daughter, (flashes us a picture of his daughter on his cellphone) Phil and I just chuckle, like daaaamn… we knew it. we got got.
We tell him we have no money, and start taking off the bracelets to return it back to him.. He shrugs it off, and says no… that was a gift… just a little something, yet he’s telling us the amount to “donate”.  He settles for about half of what he asked for and walks away. Phil and I just start cracking up , like damn… the hustle is real!

We decided to start off at Palatine Hill,  the ancient ruins of Rome. The sun was beaming hard, and I regret not bringing my sunblock with me. (I’m not much of a tanner, but I get nice little bronze when I do– latinas, you know!)
I don’t read much whenever I visit an exhibit, museum or anything historic along those lines, which kinda made Phil laugh, because I kept rushing off someplace new every other second. I tend to find a tour guide, and sneak my way into their group without them noticing.

After the tour, and the endless walking it was time to eat, and we were starving. We stop at the first spot we see near the tourist attractions (BIG mistake, don’t ever do this) but we were desperately hungry. Phil orders the shrimp scampi, while I go on and order the gnocchi, which is pretty much like tiny dumplings. It was pretty good, but not what we were expecting from ITALIA! Not to mention how rude our waiter was. I wanted to get out of there before I gave him a piece of my mind.
I tend to be the wild child in many situations, but compared to Phil, I’m super lowkey. This time though, I put on the peer pressure, and we randomly walked into a tattoo shop, where I insisted we get something done. After all of my convincing, we decided to get our noses pierced. The price was pretty steep, and we could have easily gotten this done back  home for half the price, but why— when we can say ” I got my nose pierced in Italy.
I’ve had plenty of holes in my body– that sounded weird even as I wrote it. But piercings are nothing new for me. The rockabilly babe with blonde hair holding the big needle told me I was trooper, in italian of course, and I just smiled. She couldn’t say the same thing about Phil though… (evil laughs)

When looking for The Trevi Fountain, you could tell we were close, because you can hear the water, from many feet away. The blocks around this neighborhood were like a maze filled with small shops selling all type of souvenirs. After we dropped our coin in the fountain, which legend says when you throw it over your shoulder, you are sure to return back to Italy. (Here are some other cool facts about the famous fountain) we decided to go spend some money. Well, I decided.
One of the things my mother insisted on me NOT doing, was buying souvenirs. According to her, I spend too much money on buying presents for other people (which is true, traveling or not) and that I should just do something for myself.  I tried to listen, but I couldn’t hold back. It’s just how I am. I bought my mother the cutest little olive oil dispenser, my father a bottle of limoncello, and my niece and nephew customized, embroidered bibs. They were so damn cute!.

It’s off to get food again, because– fat asses!  We stop at this really nice restaurant this time, that I didn’t get the name for, because, it’s me. (shrugs)  We order a pizza for the table, and our meals… and it was delicious. The couple next to us starts conversation, and they were the absolutely sweetest. We start talking about Trump and how much of a disgrace he is to USA, and immediately bonded.  After our food, even though there wasn’t much space left, I invite them to join us for gelato.

   Gelateria Frigidarium, (you see, that I don’t forget) was soooo good. I’ve been warned about gelato spots in Rome, since most of them are tourist traps and are not really tasty.. but this one was highly recommended every time I did my homework. And me and my research.. I get it done!

One of the man things we really wanted to do was go to The Vatican City to go see the stunning Sistine Chapel. We just didn’t have the time (cries myself to sleep) .  I guess our wish at the Trevi Fountain better come true… because I definitely need to see that next time I come to Rome, and there well be a next time!

​Per usual, my OOTD illustration:
When you Spend the day roaming the ancient Roman ruins, and secretly want to climb on everything!
I didn’t though, I promise!

Illustration: Aching Arches

I don’t know why I bothered packing heels…. and two pairs at that!  I’ve bee roaming the street in little skippies this whole time, who am I looking cute for again?