Posted on July 27, 2018
We’ve been counting the days. I recently peer pressured Kat into taking a trip with me,and guess what.. it worked! She hasn’t had a vacation in God knows how long, and I was on a mission to get out of New York. Seemed like a win-win to me.
I did all my homework, our itinerary was done (see how I make mine HERE) and I was already packed. (See how I travel with only a carry on HERE). I couldn’t wait to go through TSA and just land my butt on my seat. I left work early and mid way to airport I realized I had forgotten to pack a bra.
Oh, well… it’t not like I’ll be needing it. Let them breathe!
Kat and I landed in Bermuda at 10:30pm, I got us a bottle of wine from the duty free and made our way to our airbnb. Our hosts Ashleigh and Pedro were sweethearts. Especially when they mentioned that most restaurant have already closed their kitchens, so she stocked us up on bread and cheese.
Grilled cheeses and a glass of wine before bed. Yum.
In the morning we were giddy, and it hit us…. we just woke up in Bermuda!
Since we were going to be starting our day in the island of St. George’s, we called our cab and put on some comfy sneakers. We knew we were going to be doing a lot of walking today, and I was ready to see all of it.
Our cab driver Philip gave us a bit of a run down on the island, and after talking to him for a few minutes we all laughed at how funny life is. Apparently he was on the same flight we were! I guess we made a new friend.
He dropped us off at Gates Fort, one of the tips of the island. We wanted to start all the way in the beginning.
The wind was blowing, the view was absolutely stunning, and everyone was so friendly. I put on my glasses because I want to be able to see everything, I want to soak up every single second of it. We pass by some construction workers, they greet us, and we greet them back. It looks like they’re working on some of the streets lights. They have the nicest tans I’ve probably ever seen.
We keep walking and in between every other tree you can see a glimpse of the water right past it. The blues are so bright, both the sky and the water meet, and it seems like tie dye, swirling different shades of blue.
Blue seems to be the color of the island because every time I pass someone new, they’re screaming at me
” You’re wearing the right colors!” The first time I said thank you and smiled.. but then it kept happening. ” That’s right girl, Blue!!!!” I keep laughing, but I have no idea why.
Kat and I keep walking and a jogger passes us. She had just stopped to take a breath and greets us. “Hi girls, welcome to Bermuda” I swear.. everyone so far has been so inviting and this alone makes me love Bermuda to the fullest. Cheryll shared some of the island’s history. She pointed to islands across the water and it seemed like everyone here was willing to share a bit of their culture with us. It was inviting, and most definitely helpful because we didn’t have to pay for any tour guides! hahaha
Posted on July 26, 2018
Flashback to October 2017, my parents are getting married in the Dominican Republic. Everyone is jumping on a plane and there’s so much to bring a long with us.
I’ve already packed about 4 days before our departure. My carry on is by the door, and a few days later, the night before our flight my dad is trying to pack at last minute. Everything is overstuffed and many things are missing like socks, both regular and dressy. He looks at me, proud of himself, and I’m like —No, move over.
I ended up packing his, my little brother’s and an extra bag.
Fast forward to today and it’s time for another one of my escapes. If you’ve been paying attention, I like to spend as little as possible when traveling. (See how I travel on a budget HERE) one of the things that saves me some cash, is not checking in a bag. Some airlines charge about $50 per bag. I avoid those fees by traveling with a carry on bag that’s included with my flight.
Carry on’s are pretty small, so I constantly get asked how I travel with only a carry on all the time. This time I decided to share.
I’m a huge list maker, and if you’re not, that’s okay. Maybe mine will help you.
And to make things a little quirkier and colorful, I decided to draw a little something for the occasion.
This is how I pack my carry on:
In the event you can’t read my chicken scratch, some of my favorite tips are :
– wear comfy slip on sneakers at the airport, it makes it way easier to get through TSA. You don’t have have to worry about laces, or falling over when doing so when someone behind you is trying to rush. Also, wear some thin socks so your feet don’t have to touch that cold and dirty floor.
-When picking out your clothes, try sticking to the same color scheme. It makes matching much easier, especially if you want to mix and match pieces. This is also a great way to have a cohesive look on your Instagram!
-If you like dresses, you’re in luck. I like packing a bunch bc it means I don’t have to carry extra things to coordinate an outfit. Dresses and even rompers are a complete fit.
-When packing, try the the rolling method. Everyone is different, and lately I’ve been seeing alot of the packing cubes, which I’m sure are great. But rolling the clothing nice and tight gives me the ability to squeeze a lot of clothes in one place. It’s like playing Tetris, making sure every space is filled. Rolling also means no wrinkles, when you decide to wear.
-This is probably a given, but make sure you charge everything before leaving home. Your phone and camera should be full. If you have a camera, invest in extra batteries, Amazon even sells third party batteries, and it’s nicer to switch batteries rather than lugging around another charger.
-Since we’re talking tech, try getting a solar powered power bank. I personally like the solar powered ones because I can clip I on to my backpack and it charges itself throughout my day. I bought this one. It won’t ever be uncharged. (unless it’s night time and the sun isn’t my friend)
-Before even leaving to the airport you should get on Google and download their offline maps. Find the instructions HERE. This has been a huge game changer for me. In some places you don’t have access to Internet. When I visited Cuba, I was so glad I had maps downloaded, I always knew where I was, and even with no internet the maps are interactive because you have saved all that information. Try “starring” your favorite places too. Like where you want to eat, or even where your hotel or Airbnb is for easy finding.
-Always wear SPF. You should be doing this evening you’re not on vacation. And if you’re somewhere tropical don’t get blinded by the “I want a tan so bad” craze. You will get one, the sun is stronger in certain places and your health comes first.
-On the plane ride, bring a big scarf with you. Parshminas are perfect because they double up as a blanket. It gets pretty cold up there. You can also use the scarf at night in case you didn’t bring a jacket. And if you’re going somewhere warm, you can always use it as a sarong. When sleeping you can use it as a head wrap. Pieces that are multi purpose are perfect for traveling.
-I like to pack granola bars. I keep some in my backpack for the flight. Sometimes the snacks are teasers and pretzels and water just don’t cut it. They especially come in handy when I’m sightseeing and can’t find somewhere I want to eat. It can hold me down until I actually get to dinner time.
– Also, bring an empty water bottle with you. Yes, you read that right. When going through TSA, you’re not able to bring liquids. Bringing an empty bottle is efficient because yo can fill it up at a fountain and avoid paying $7 for a bottle at the duty free. Also, you get tiny bottles from the flight attendant.
-Have your passport and itinerary ready and close to you at all times. If you don’t know how to make an itinerary you can read this post HERE. I explained how to go about making your own. This helps with knowing which gate to go, and information needed. Another tip I like to do is to make a scan of my passport and paperwork I might need and email to myself. You never know if you misplace something and you don’t want to get stuck overseas with no identification.
-and my last tip for now… You’re on vacation, try unplugging from social media for a bit. Bask in all the culture around you. Have fun, meet new people and experience life. You can always upload later.
I hope this has been helpful, and if you use any of my methods, please share with me! I would love to see how it worked out for you.
Stay tuned for my upcoming posts about my trip to Bermuda!
Posted on July 25, 2018
A friend recently called me “The Human Planner” I giggled because it’s the first time I’ve heard that about me. But when I stopped giggling I thought about it, and she’s kinda right. I plan everything.
One of the many things that have to be in order is when I decide to travel, things like what to carry in my bag, an itinerary with details like flight information, my stay address and contact info, and of course what I actually want to do, see, eat… all broken down into days.
Yeah, it sounds like a lot, and most likely irritating. In my defense it’s more like a guideline, so I know where to start off my day.
The worst part of being on vacation is being limited to time. So why would I want to start my day not knowing what I want to do, which means I’ll be wasting time thinking about where to go first and not knowing if it’s open or not. Let alone on how to get there.
In my personal experience these are a few things that work for me:
These are a few of my favorite tips when I’m planning my next trip. I hope they have helped you. I know it sounds like a lot, but remember that everyone is different, you don’t have to do everything as listed. Many times, I use my itinerary as a guideline of my vacation. I don’t always do every single thing as described. Remember to have fun and let the wind take you. Safely of course. Make friends with people, be open to new experiences and most importantly make memories.
Happy planning, and of course, if you have any questions or tips you also want to share, feel free to drop me a line.
Posted on November 19, 2017
Posted on September 3, 2017
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.
Posted on January 20, 2017
That was a good night sleep, I was so cold though. I snuggled up next to Tanya just to get more warmth. It’s 10am and our taxi is waiting for us. Mitchell is quiet, and also very polite. He drives us to Varadero. Cuatro palmas is a gorgeous beach. I noticed there were way more tourist around, I guess the resort explained it. The loud speaker was playing some salsa and when I turned around there was an instructor teaching older folks how to dance. Varadero became a fashionable beach for the wealthy, after Castro took power in 1959, the area was opened up to all kinds of people.
The girls went straight to the water. Olivia in her red two piece was being cheeky, and every time a guy passed her they made sure to turn around and look at her butt. I wanted to catch up on some writing, I stayed on the sand and typed away. There may be no internet here, but my iPad came along with me, so I would be able to draw and write on my leisure. The sun was beaming and I was so glad I decided to wear a huge floppy hat.
When I finally made it in the water, my good mood was ruined in a few moments. My brand new underwater camera was swallowed by the sea. I was and still am so upset. All I could do was pout, I didn’t want to see the water any longer.
We roamed around Varadero City, and enjoy the view while riding on a trolley that was being guided by a beautiful horse named Caramelo. He dropped us off at the market and we all kind of went crazy with souvenirs. The vendors were sweet, and were all trying to make their money. Adonis one of the vendors kept flirting with me and asked if I wanted to try some of his coffee. Que rico.
I told myself that I wasn’t going to go crazy with souvenirs… I lied to myself. I fell in love with a cute little baby girl dress that I bought for Harlie, and I purchased an original Cuban all white suit for Amaury…. my future nephew. I saw a gorgeous dress that I’m still debating if I should keep for myself or give to my mother. It’s a nice orange ombré crochet dress.I purchased a small knick knack that holds a small bottle of rum for my dad, but there was this hammock, a one seater hammock swing kinda thing that was crocheted. I fell in love at first I just had to have it. It’s going to look so wonderful in my mother’s backyard. I have no idea how I’m going to pack it, but it’s going to get done.
We hopped on an old school 20’s Ford, I loved the mixture of the neon pinks, green and yellows together. Our next stop, Las Cuevas Saturno. According to the locals this cave has a spring that many enter because of its youth regenerating abilities. We grab some food first, and my dish, rice and beans with pork was only 3 CUCs. Super cheap. I lost the girls for a few and went in anyway. I walk down the steps and the view is gorgeous. The cave was old, dingy yet beautiful. I’m snapping away and some guy comes to speak to me.
“Hola, pero tu si eres bella.” (Hello, but you sure are beautiful.)
I thank him and he tells me his name is Tony. I ask if he’s visiting and he tells me no, he’s cuban.
“Y tu esposo?” (Where’s your husband?)
“No estoy casada.” (I’m not married)
“O, y entonces, tienes novio?” (Oh, in that case do you have a boyfriend?)
“No, y no quiero uno tampoco.” (No, and I don’t want one either.)
He invites me go dancing with tonight and I politely decline. The girls finally spot me and make they’re way down the steps. Tanya passes him and he’s already trying to flirt with her too. I laugh and ignore it.
I meet the lifeguard, Joé, who guides me into the water. I warn him that I don’t know how to swim and he assures me that I’ll be okay. He leads me into the shallow end of the fountain and I step on the rocks that lead me towards the middle. The girls are already on the other side of the cave. The water is a stunning blue, almost turquoise. The water is so cold, and I do my best to suck it up. It’s now or never and I go underwater…
My curls are ready to make an appearance on this trip. Tanya swims back to me, and tells me she wants me to go on the other side. Um, no… I’m so scared. I don’t know how to swim and I keep screaming it. She’s like ” just grab on to me!” ” Don’t let me drown.!” was my response. I grabbed on to her and she swam towards the elephant shaped rocks.
Joe was sitting on another rock that facing us and was snapping away. I noticed the tour group that was there with us, was now gone. We had the place to ourselves, all while doing our little photo shoot. The life guard was telling us how to pose, and kept calling us mermaids the whole time.
After our swim, Mitchell our taxi driver was waiting for us to pick us up. I was starving. I was tired. All that water and sun today exhausted my body. We got back to Dona Edita, the name of our Airbnb, we washed up, scrubbing away all the sand from our bodies. Amelia de el Mar was a cute little restaurant that we managed to walk into. We were trying to find food, and almost everything was closed at 8:30pm. We walked into the supermarket called “La Sirenita” (The Little Mermaid), who recommended the restaurant.
The outdoor seating area was packed, figures since there was almost nothing open. She sat us in a tiny room with another couple. We were pretty loud, I felt bad… Okay, let me rephrase that.. Tanya was pretty loud. She blames it on her being Puerto Rican and a New Yorker. The girls were talking up a storm but I was in another world. All I wanted to do was lay down. The food arrived, and it wasn’t the best. Olivia hated her spaghetti, according to her it was bland out of the can tomato cream, with grated cheese that wasn’t even melted. She was upset. I ordered the same thing except with shrimp… I ended up just adding the shrimp on the pizza I also got myself. Tanya liked her garlic shrimp with moro, and is already wanting to come back to this restaurant tomorrow. After eating my plate I was ready to lay down. I let the girls keep talking and I walked myself home. I watched the rest of my downloaded episodes of Celia on Netflix, and fell asleep before I could l finish the last five minutes of my novela.
Posted on December 14, 2016
Who buys flights on a whim? Apparently we do.
Last time I was in Florida I was probably 19 years old. I had a new boyfriend, and was pouting the whole time I was there. Wishing I was back home so I could suck face with a guy that now looking back definitely didn’t deserve my attention. It was one of those family vacations we hate at the moment, yet cherish when you’re older. Now I’m hoping we take more of those to make new memories. This time however, my family stays at home and it’s my first time having an all girl’s trip. You see it in movies, you don’t make time for it as adult. Well it’s time to make time. Tanya, Olivia and I purchased our tickets and this just either may be one of the most genius things we have done, or the stupidest. I guess we’ll soon find out.
Not wanting to miss any days of work (hello, fake adults here) we booked our flight for Friday evening, landing at 1am on Saurday, so we could be back on that plane on Sunday at 6am. Yeah, I know. It’s going to be a hell of a weekend.Arriving at the pick up spot for our Airbnb keys, the host suddenly realized that there was an accidental double booking. Since her family and herself were in Sabbath, there was no way for her to contact us and give us the news. B, was super sweet and managed to find some space for us at almost 2 in the morning so we wouldn’t be stranded in the streets of Miami. We tippytoed our way through the house while we introduced ourselves. Yes, we’re all artists, no we aren’t show casing in Art Basel. (secretly hoping that my answer is different next time around)Art Basel has been on my bucket list for a some time now, not necessarily because of all the hype and partying that gets done, and what everyone thinks anyone goes over there for. Which I’m sure they do, but Tanya and I were focused on networking. Our backpacks full of business cards.
We entered the tiny shed that was recently built in B’s backyard and got comfortable. We will have a long day tomorrow, but we still stayed up a little bit. Doing homework on all the artists we wanted to see. Tanya with her laptop, typing away with works on a new website she’s working on. I was personally studying up on the artists and where exacty the location will be for their work. Knowing we would only be here for a short amount of time I wanted to be able to prioritize my “must-see’s”. Olivia was somewhere on Instagram scrolling through her feed.In the morning, we made our way to South Beach, sneaking in a little sun and sand in our adventures. The palm trees danced because of the winds, but that didn’t stop many from soaking in on same rays and some waves, bearing skin. I fell in love with the lifeguard shack. It’s purple and orange hues felt like a sunset.
Arriving back at the mini shed, we thanked B for her hospitality and made our way to our actual Airbnb. The beach must have taken longer than expected because it was already about 2pm and we still haven’t seen some art. The girls looked beautiful in their printed flow dresses. While I looked like I was ready for war in olive green. Our first stop the convention center.
Goodness, the place was a maze, it was packed with art lovers and many selfies taken people. I too was taking pictures, and even though I packed so many photography equipment. I noticed almost of my footage was being covered via my iPhone. It seemed more convenient at the time, and while I type this on the note section of my phone, I’m hoping the quality still looks great via desktop and not just on mobile. Maybe that’s just the ocd geek in me. The convention space was a maze. I was given a map and was glad I had a pen in my pocket. Every section that I passed I was sure to mark off, trying my best to go in a pattern and not hit the same stations twice.
I noticed I kept gravitating towards the more colorful pieces of work, and maybe that says something about myself as an artist.
There were so many different takes, visions, mediums being used. I have a habit of getting close to the works, maybe it’s because I like to see detail. I follow the brush strokes and see the texture, the way it flows and try to get into the artist’s way of thinking. “I’m not touching it!” I told one of the curators.After the convention center, we made our way to the infamous Wynwood Walls. I was so excited to walk into the garden. I hear someone calling out “Minx” and when I turn around looking all confused, because who could I possibly know here? I bump in to an old friend I used to know when I was a teenager in my graffiti days. I say my hellos and run off to the walls.I take my list and start to make my rounds. I was excited to see Fafi’s work in person. She’s been one of my inspirations for a very long time. Her dolls are always on point, always telling a story.
The girls and I got a little camera crazy, and many many pictures are not making it into the post ( I’ll probably drive you guys crazy)
You know I’ve heard some people have opinions about making Art Basel in to a huge hype. That you shouldn’t go if you’re not going to buy art. Granted they may have half of a point, but I disagree on so many other levels. I’ve been in a bit of a rut lately, and being surrounded but not only good friends, but being surrounded by an environment full of art is so inspiring. I made my way to go network, I had the chance to speak to many artists, pick their brains and get some ideas on how to wiggle my way into making moves into the next one.I walked out of there feeling motivated, I’ve been creating non stop since I’ve been home.
I’m so proud of myself. I’ve been putting myself first for the time in a very long time. I’ve been making more digital sketches, my camera is always on my side now, I’ve been on time for my blog posts, and I’ve even been more focused on creating videos for the site. Which bring me to my next post. I”’ be uploading a quick video from our trip, and I hope you guys like.For now, I’ll say my good nights, I have work in the morning and I have sooo much to tell you guys, so stay tuned, muchos besos. ♥, M