Vlog: Santo Domingo 2017

This family trip has been pretty bonding. I’m a big sucker for creating and saving memories. I keep my camera on me at almost all times. As much photos are pretty telling, videos are everything. I remember my mom having countless home videos, and the older we got, they seemed to fade. Now that we have so many kiddies running around, it’s time for me to pick up the habit.
This is a quick summary of our 2017 family vacation. —- Enjoy!

Family: La Hora Loca, After the Vows

After the ceremony it’s time to party!

What, did you think we weren’t gonna get get down and dance all night. Ha! You must not know Dominicans very well.

After we left the church, we arrived in style back to El Palacio Royal. Everyone was already seated and waiting for the wedding party to arrive. Mami seemed liked she was in a better mood after the vows. And knowing my dad, as long as Mami is happy, he’s happy.( Plus less of a headache.)

The venue was absolutely gorgeous. The attention to detail was insane. The little trinkets at the table fit right in with the romantic and coral theme.

I was kinda peer pressured into saying a few words, and even though I’m a great speaker—in English. I knew I had to shut this down in Spanish.

Knowing all the up and downs we have all gone through over the years, all the bickering we have all done towards each other, family is family. And even though we don’t always get along, you guys are it. My step dad to me is my dad. He’s the kindest man I know.  If anyone ever asks— he’s the real deal. And I know, I’m so blessed to have him in my life, our life, mami’s life. Being her rock.

The spot light was on them, they danced their first dance in the most of bubbles and confetti, and they looked so magical on the dance floor.

After taking a bunch of pictures (I couldn’t really hold my own camera all night, since I had to be posing. I handed it off to my Michelle and she rocked it)

1

The food was delicious. I wish I had a plate right now and  I heard the drinks were on point. I think all the dancing I did was enough to keep me occupied. Everytime I would go up to the bar for water, the bartender made sure he picked on me in a flirtatious way.

After taking all the wedding pictures mami kept hassling us to do (and which we still haven’t received from the vendor) I wanted to change. I had a second dress I couldn’t wait to get into. A mermaid style yellow number that made me feel like “chiquita banana”. I loved it, and apparently so did everyone else, because I kept getting compliments all night.

“La hora Loca” (which translates to “the crazy hour”) happened in a blur. The lights dimmed down, the fog began, and the music changed from soft to party mode. Right on time too. Mami changed into dress number 3. Funky hat’s and glasses were given out , and the crowd goes wild. I even caught Mami playing limbo, and my dad dancing to La Macarena!

This was such a special day for my family. My parent’s looked absolutely gorgeous. We don’t always see eye to eye, but now that I’m much older, I’ve learned to appreciate them so much more. I wish them all the happiness in the world.
And before I go, here’s a little drawing. I wouldn’t be me, if I didn’t create something new!

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!

London 2017: Who’s Scamming Who?

Who’s the hottest in the world right now? Just touched down in London town, bet they give me a pound. Tell them put the money in my hand right now.
-Estelle

Told you guys, I have a lot of catching up to do. In the past, I would usually break my travel posts in a per day kinda thing… yeah, this isn’t happening this time. I have way too much to catch you guys up on and I don’t plan on dragging it out.
Last time I was in London, it was a blur. (Read that HERE) We  were only there for about 5 hours or so on a layover. We headed to the famous Parliament, and rushed right back to the airport. We were troopers.
This time around, there was still plenty of walking to do, except I had more time to explore. On our first day we had the best plate of Steak & Frites with mushroom sauce. We walked towards Mayfair, where all the shopping is done. Pull & Bear was one of the stops I told myself I was going to walk into. When I was in Madrid and walked into the store, I wanted to buy everything. When I tried to find a store in the states, I failed. Most of their stores are out of the country. So I knew I had to find it. The rain didn’t stop us of roaming around, and I ended p walking away with a cute black faded jean jacket for only 17 pounds. Win!

On day two, I had my mind set on catching the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace, but who’s really getting  up early in the morning when they’re on vacation? —Not I.
We walked about 3 miles to The British Museum, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Big Ben & The House of Parliament, and The Palace of Westminster.
We missed the London Eye by 14 minutes, how disappointing. There was a couple re-selling their tickets for the next day.  They stopped us to ask if we were interested, but naturally as New Yorkers, we were ready to hustle. Can you believe, they wanted the same price they paid for their ticket!?
We walked away, and after a few moments they returned, and we got just the number we were looking for. Now all I was worried about is if they actually worked or not. I guess we were going to find out the next day.

Day three was a day I slept in until 2pm…. I was not with it. All the walking we did the day before. I felt like my feet were on fire. Today’s main goal was finding out if we got scammed or not. We made our way back to The London Eye, and I gotta say, we’re getting much confident taking the underground everywhere. I guess their subway map isn’t that complicated, but I guess compared to New York City’s every other map is simplified.

We made our line to enter Coca Cola’s infamous London eye. I wasn’t panicking, let’s get this straight, but I was worried this ticket wasn’t going to work. According to the couple, yesterday was their last day in the UK, and since they also missed the eye, the voucher will go to waste. Sounds like the ultimate scam right? Well I wasn’t getting got. Turns out I had nothing to worry about. Whew! — see, not panicked. The eye was a success, and now I kinda feel bad for being kinda mean to the couple. Well, I wasn’t really mean.. but my personality is  genuinely pretty assertive… mix that in with talking about money— I’m about that paper. Today was our last day to get to wander around and catch anything we thought might have been important to not miss.

Phil was in charge of day three’s itinerary. I’m pretty sure I annoyed him with all of my OCD planning on my day. I look every detail up from addresses, directions, timing, what else is around there, where can we go to eat after- things like that. Yeah, Phil’s not like that, we were winging it.

Once it was dark, it was time to dance. We wanted to hit up a club and just move. Well, I wanted to move more than he did and that I did.
But wait… Due to Phil’s lack of research, we took the underground for about 45 minutes into the direction we thought Fabric was. A club with a crazy type of party vibe, when we arrived, the doors were closed. That’s when he decides to use the ever so handy “Google” to find out that on this weekday, the club is closed. —-amazing.

I was already pouting because in my head all I can think was “this could have been avoided, if you checked this before we left”. But instead I sucked it up, and noticed that right next door was another spot that was playing all kinds of music, so we walked right in. This was more of your corporate after work “let’s go get a beer” kinda place turned wild. In Smith’s SOS Bar, I saw all kinds of weird dancing, that I couldn’t figure out how it even matched with the music, but to each their own. I ordered my cocktail while Phil went out for a smoke that lasted too long.

Everyone was so friendly and in good spirits and it didn’t take long for me to make some friends. When leaving, the coat check lady told me that I was the only one in here that knew how to dance, so that pretty much made my night.

Now it’s time to make my morning, and I’m pretty sure you guys know where I’m headed next—–Rome,Italy!

Ps. You know I wouldn’t be me, if I didn’t include an OOTD illustration:

Mood Board: Passport Portfolio

Untitled

It’ time for another trip.
This time I’ll be roaming the streets of London and Rome. What a perfect time to get away.
I’ve kind of been on my “loner” thing these past couple of months. I’ve had so much on my mind, re-evaluating my priorities, the energies I want to be surrounded by, and finally just focusing on myself.  I don’t go out as much as I used to, and I find myself spending my afternoons and nights alone, just drawing.
I’ll tell you this though, I’ve been creating like crazy. New illustrations, and so many shoots.
Europe will be no different. I won’t be drawing, but I’m taking all of my photography equipment to produce more images for my portfolio. I’ve been using my camera more and more and I’m loving it.
I hope you guys stay tuned and don’t forget to check out my new photography website and my photography instagram.
See you soon.
-Milli

Color Scenes: An All Alpha Female Experience Exhibit

This Friday I had the opportunity to present my work at a small exhibit in Bushwick, Brooklyn. The show was curated by Color Scenes & La Femme Cheri. The exhibit was a collection of 40 talented ladies, all displaying 2 pieces each.
I displayed 2/3 of the “Oracle” pieces I have been working on, and guess what… sold 2/3 pieces.
What a blessing. Pictured above is the proud owner of the small green piece, who now gets to go home happily cared for.
The larger Oracle piece in blue is ready to be shipped to Orlando, Florida. I gotta say, I’m feeling pretty blessed that my babies get owners who appreciate them. If I kept all the pieces I have made thorough out the years, I wouldn’t we be able to walk through my tiny apartment. I have one more “Oracle” piece that’s looking for a new owner, you know how to find me.
→ millistephania@gmail.com

Event: Write Off Cancer

All photos taken on an iphone 7+

I’m going to start this entry with a big thank you. Thank you to everyone who came out last night, and showed support for such a great cause.
Write Off Cancer, is a group exhibition that was curated on the behalf of legendary graffiti queen, Diva. This benefit featured original works for sale, from a collective group of artists. All the proceeds fro this exhibition will be going to help Queen Diva with medical expenses and her battle with cancer.

Kaystar, the beautiful soul that she is asked me if I wanted to be a part of this installation. It was bit last minute for me with the move and all, but there was no way I was going to say no. I happily donated 4 older pieces I had hanging out in my bedroom. Two of the pieces were displayed,while the other two will be auctioned off, at an online auction. That link is coming soon, so please stayed posted.

The love and support was so real. It was such a great turnout.
I’ll update this post with a quick recap video of the night. See you guys soon!

Event: Fem.Is.In

artwork by : Lady Pink
artwork by: Queen Andrea

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love to attend art shows. It’s been a little while, but Fem.Is.In was a great way to get me going again. Seeing Swoon, Queen Andrea and Lady Pink‘s pieces in person again, are always a reminder to get my craft together. The push to start creating and stop making excuses. Great show Ladies!

Video: Cuba 2017

Many ask me, “How was Cuba?”
How could I possibly explain the experience of this tragic beauty. The island is poor, all you want to do is turn around and help someone. It turns out, that even though the architecture of all the historic structures are stunning, my favorite beauty happened to be the people. Almost every single person I encountered happened to have such an inviting personality. So humble, so willing to take the time out of their day to initiate conversation. Many Cubans were just as curious about us, as we were of them. The patience and the manners that the locals had, made me wish I can take the manners, behavior and the politeness back to the states.
We’re all so caught up in what’s in front of our screens, we don’t take the time out to speak to people. We’re so used to having options, we don’t care if we were rude to you…”Oh, well

It’s taken me some time, 300 clips, 28 minutes of footage. I’ve tried my best to condense it as much as I could, and all this time later, the video is finally done. So now, when you ask me, “How was Cuba?” You can see for yourself!