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Monday, February 17, 2014

I'm back on my blog AND in Guatemala!!

The last time I visited Guatemala I was 16 years old....exactly 16 years ago! I visited probably the most tourist city, Antigua, for two weeks while studying Spanish and touring the sights. When my high school friend and I left, despite being sick from some type of food poisoning the entire second week of our trip, we vowed to one day return to Guatemala. And, well, here I am. Yes, I'm still practicing Spanish, but not in formal classes. This time I'm interning at an international health organization creating an advocacy campaign to encourage lawmakers to improve health conditions regarding maternal and child health through legislation. The internship is the practicum portion of my final Master's of Public Health graduate project. The objectives: Learn public health jargon in Spanish, enjoy all that Guatemala's culture has to offer, and increase my knowledge of maternal and child health.

Plans: Visit Lake Atitlan, the Chichicastenango Market, and Antigua.

I'm writing this as I sit in front of the terrace....
Relaxing after eating homemade Guatemalan Chiles Rellenos: Stuffed peppers served with rice, salsa, avocado, and homemade tortillas!
My host mom loves to cook! Lucky me... :)
So delicious! I make stuffed peppers at home but not like this! 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Inspiration Monday: Miracles bring about change

Change is inevitable. We cannot stop it. As much as we want to, change will occur in our lives for a multitude of reasons. As we all start our weeks, let us be reminded that change is good. Change is positive. Change can be what you make it. Change can come in the form of newly formed relationships that alter your life or in old relationships that alter their meaning in your life.

My meditation mantra today is: Today I will be open to the presence of miracles. I will accept the presence of miraculous relationships.
Photo Credit
I'm embracing change by breathing life into freshly forming and transforming relationships. Let's go forth together, be mindful and enjoy the journey that change brings us.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Boston: Shopping on Newbury Street and Massachusetts Ave

The Boston Tea Party, Crispus Attucks and The Boston Massacre, The Boston Red Sox and Fenway Park, and so on and so on are the events and places that usually come to mind when Boston, Massachusetts is thought of for most people. But wait, this is me that's typing! As much of a history fanatic as I am, sometimes when only given a few hours in a new city, I skip the museums and hop on-hop off bus tours and do what I do best: SHOP 'TIL I DROP! And to my credit, this trip to Boston was more about giving than taking (buying). The trip was planned as a new baby gift to my friends who've just had twin girls! I gifted them 5 nights of nanny service so they could get a few more hours of sleep. As my reward, I was able to sneak out for a few hours to bike through Boston shopping my tail off! With the few hours I had, I visited thrift and vintage stores on Massachusetts Ave and new clothing boutiques on Newbury Street. Check out my delightful discoveries below. Scroll to the bottom of the page for location details and a list of shops I wish I'd had time to visit.

I made it across the Charles River bridge on Massachusetts Ave on my rented Hubway bike. The bike rental system is super easy and cheap to use!
This store is chock full of summer goodies: printed tees, tanks, denim shirts and jackets, maxi skirts, and open knit sweaters. 
Notice the YOLO sign. I love it! You Only Live Once
This boutique has two locations on Newbury Street, one is a bit larger than the other. 
All of my favorite colors to wear-coral, turquoise, and peachy nude!
I was torn about which dress to purchase so I decided on these Irregular Choice shoes instead. On sale $50! Blue is my new POP color. Now I just have to find a bag in the same color. 
Dresses, dresses, and more dresses!!! And a few pieces of jewelry and other complementary items. 

For some strange reason I couldn't find one clothing item that spoke to me enough to purchase it here. But I continued to browse and chat with the shop attendant....keep reading...
I wanted to put my bags down, sit cross-legged style with a cup of iced tea and just stare at this mural all afternoon long.
The perfectly dressed couple! 
And then I saw this.....*takes a deep breath* This is by far one of the most unique pieces that I've ever purchased IN MY LIFE!! $30=priceless
Goodwill: $5 shirt and $6 lavender, suede skirt- YES PLEASE!
I thought this was a joke. As I'm checking out I see a brown and black pair of size 8 (I'm a 7 1/2) YSL suede pumps and my mouth dropped. I was thinking "Wait, but I'm in Goodwill." And the plot thickens. They were in pristine condition and were only $30. "I'll take them both!", says the oh so savvy shopper. The brown pair ran a bit big so I gave them to the new mommy! Fashion karma is real...

Brandy MelvilleOnline Shop!
Lit Boutique: Website!
Lipstick Boutique293 Newbury St, Boston, MA 02115
Phone:(617) 267-6900
Goodwill520 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139
Phone:(617) 868-6330
Oona's: Website! 1210 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone:(617) 491-2654
Other Vintage Shops:
Bobby from Boston: Dubbed the best Men's Vintage store in the country!
The Garment District: Website! 200 Broadway, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139
Phone:(617) 876-5230

Shopping: Little Five Points Atlanta, Georgia Vintage and New

As you may be able to tell, no trip of mine is ever complete without a shopping detour. While in Atlanta for my family reunion, after having seen all of the remarkable historic but usual tourist stops (MLK's Ebenezer Baptist Church and MLK's casket site) I revisited one of Atlanta's best kept secrets: Little Five Points. Most of my conventional shopping family members did not know about Little Five Points until being enlightened by moi! A few were pleasantly surprised and delighted to join me on my jaunt, but others, the more timid, shied away. Here's what we found! Note: After spending three hours walking up and down Moreland Ave, I, shopper of the millennium, had not been tempted to buy ONE THING! I think I was just tired and hungry (never stopped me before),  but not the recommended way to start a shopping trip. Enjoy my Little Five Points pictography!

The Vortex restaurant was the perfect landmark and beginning point for us. I heard the burgers are great!
Thrift store/costume shop/ & anything else obscure they can get away with selling!
What an immense space!
Costume Shop
Cute duck print skirt that can even be worn to work.
My fashion sister entering Wish Boutique: Men and Women's On-trend Fashion
Aztec prints and mixed fabric garments are ready for any summer music festival!
Funky print sneakers atop faux book shelves.
Jumpsuits and body con dresses perfect for a night of club hopping.
Or this fab floral dress that can be worn to brunch and/or during a shopping trip! This little number was $25 on sale! Disclaimer: The chain strap broke the next morning and she had to fix it herself (No refunds on sale items).
Thrift Store with great low prices!
From The Clothing Warehouse, a chain thrift/vintage store on the corner of Euclid and Moreland Ave. I loved this dress but would have had to have it altered-no bueno. Plus, it was around $40 and I don't spend more than $25 on any non-leather/fur item in a thrift store-period. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Guest Post by Tamyra: Wanderlust: A Series of Summer Flings Las Vegas

Due to interesting circumstances, I ended up in Vegas for 7 days with my parents. It was HELLA hot (pun intended) and pretty monotonous (wake-up, wander down the strip, wander through casinos, eat at fine restaurants, repeat). We made the most of it, however, and it ended up being an overall great trip. We all know that Vegas has great shopping, gambling, drinking, restaurants (Joe's Seafood in Caesar's Palace was superb) and casinos, but I was also pleasantly surprised by some detours on and off the Grid.

This was such a joy to watch! The soundtrack made me nostalgic and the art direction was amazing. My mother and I had a great time! I'm sure all Cirque Du Soleil's would pale in comparison.

The Bellagio had a small gallery and they were featuring Warhol's work. I'm not super familiar with his work, but I really enjoyed his self portraits and was amazed by the details he captured via silk screen.

By far, my favorite part of the Vegas trip was a short 30 minute drive to Red Rock Canyon. This scenic 13 mile loop drive was peaceful, serene and had beautiful views. It was the perfect capstone to a great family vacation. Apparently, even Sin City has a softer side.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Guest Post by Tamyra: Wanderlust: A Series of Summer Flings Dallas, Texas

According to Wikipedia, wanderlust is a strong desire or impulse to travel and explore the world. I've been a wanderer all my life, but in the last 3 years I've caught the travel bug in a major way. Being an educator affords me 2 months of unadulterated summer so this summer I took full advantage by taking 3 wonderfully whimsical trips.

Fling 1: Home is Where the Heart Is

My parents and many of my friends live in Dallas, TX. After being in the Bay and away for many months, I felt compelled to recharge and reconnect with loved ones. It turns out that going home was a great way to start my summer! While there, I was pleasantly surprised by many familiar faces and renewed some key connections. Also, true to southern form, I had a good ole time eating and drinking. Some of my favorite haunts:

Mi Cocina in the West Village has great drinks (Mambo Taxi and the Mango Margarita are tops) and great Tex Mex. It's also a favorite hangout for the professional crowd.

Glorias at the Highlands in Arlington also has great drinks and Tex Mex options. The Pomegranate Margarita is pictured above.

Bishop is my favorite neighborhood in Dallas because it's so eclectic and has so much flavor. A string of bars and restaurants have popped up. Hattie's is fab, serving up sophisticated soul food and cocktails.

Everything in Texas is bigger, including the sushi rolls. These two rolls were from a great Sushi spot, Piranha's at the Highlands in Arlington. One of the rolls even added some jalapeno for a little Texas flair.

Aside from all this eating and drinking, the best part of my trip was an up close and personal encounter with one of my favorite artist and perhaps one of the most prolific performers of our time. That's right, I buzzed my way right into the "B" hive! Bey is truly amazing and she gave a phenomenal performance 
( I mean gave life honey!) two of my favorite boo's and I had a great time. It was the best last minute decision of my summer by far.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

August Getaway: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles!!!

Oh August, the international vacation month. I’ve never really participated in this yearly ritual, that is, until now. During the beginning of July, I thought to myself, “I’ve been working hard, attending classes, and working since January with no break.” So I said “Self, it’s time for some real R&R.” And the planning began. My family reunion was already scheduled for the first weekend in August in Atlanta, Georgia, so I let that be my launching pad. A friend of mine working in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic emailed to say “Mi casa es su casa”, so that became destination numero 2! And finally, my friend and his fiancée had twins the last week in July, so making a trip to Boston to see the little munchkins seemed to be the perfect end to my three week jaunt. Stay tuned as I’ll be posting about all of my adventures in Atlanta, Georgia, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and Boston, Massachusetts. I’m off to the wonderful sunny skies and white sand beaches of the Caribbean…….up, up, and away!!!