The Women’s March on Washington

January 23, 2017

inspiration / life / travel / weekend

Well, we did it. We turned out in droves and marched across the country, across the globe and man, we were heard. My mom and I traveled to Washington, D.C. for the historic Women’s March on Washington and here’s what we saw…

We stayed between D.C. and Baltimore and planned ahead to take the train to the march. Even with tickets purchased in advance, we arrived at the station around 6:30 a.m. and waited for two hours. We were surrounded by a sea of pink hats and enthusiastic crowds. It was such fun to see everyone turning out but excitement quickly turned to panic when the southbound trains kept passing us because they were already full. We split an Uber with a group of ladies and as we pushed our way through the station saw the train stop and let people on. We waited for two hours on that platform in the cold, so we were crushed. We didn’t lose momentum, though. We crammed into a car and made our way to Union Station.

The ride was an opportunity to connect with the women we met on the platform. Two of them were from Kansas City, Missouri and the other was an Italian immigrant who traveled from Los Angeles for the march. I loved hearing their contrasting perspectives. They shared their fears about the upcoming administration and what inspired them to come to Washington. We told them how we impulsively purchased plane tickets on Christmas Day and they told us they planned the trip before the election. They wanted to be a part of history and see the first female president’s inauguration. What a turn of events, right? One of the women said her sister, who lives in Sweden, was marching too. I checked my phone and saw marches were taking place around the globe: Berlin, London, Paris, even Antarctica. That’s when I knew something big was happening.

We got dropped off at Union Station and bid adieu to our car mates. This is when the excitement really set in. We followed the sea of people toward Independence Avenue, chanting and taking photos along the way. We passed the Capitol and it felt so bittersweet that the day before I watched on TV as President Obama walked down the stairs to Marine One and departed for the last time. The buildings are so grand and beautiful and the whole scene felt even more perfect with the nation’s people marching by.

To be completely honest, I’m not sure where we ended up. March volunteers and law enforcement were kind enough to tell us when to turn and which direction to go, but once we reached Independence and… some cross street… the crowd was so packed, it was difficult to get anywhere. We managed to squeeze our way in to a spot where I could just barely hear the rally speakers. I actually didn’t know where the stage was or who was speaking so we pushed closer to hear Michael Moore, Scarlett Johansson, Ashley Judd, Alicia Keys, Sen. Tammy Duckworth and Sen. Kamala Harris. I caught a glimpse of the monitor and settled in for each speaker’s inspiring words. I didn’t catch Gloria’s speech, but watched it more than once at home.

I would have liked to have stayed longer, but we had a flight back to Florida to catch. Even as we sat on the train back to Baltimore, we mingled with fellow marchers about the success of the day. Twitter posts were shared about the size of the crowd and how every demonstration was peaceful. It was especially entertaining to listen to one woman explain Twitter to these two older ladies. They were amazed at the information being provided and one woman asked,  “How do I Twitter?” while the other emphatically piped in, “Can I see Donald Trump’s Twitter?”

Overall, the day felt like success. We were heard. We were peaceful. We were powerful. I walked away feeling like change is possible and for the first time, ever I think, I felt united with people. Everyone got along, everyone supported each other, and we came together (with creative and funny signs!) to make history. If anything, I’m more inspired to see the world through the eyes of people who are not like me and to listen to them. In listening to everyone, not just those who agree with us, we can learn, we can progress, and we can come together. Since sharing my experience, I’ve found that not everyone agreed with the march or they saw it as a movement of sore losers. We all marched for different reasons and even though we don’t all agree on the issues, I have found that more than anything, people want to be unified again. They want to come together as a country, and the first way to do that is to listen.

ICYMI:

America Ferrera

Michael Moore

Scarlett Johansson

Elizabeth Warren at the Boston March

 

 

2017

January 20, 2017

life

Oh, hi again. As usual, it’s been too long. As I write this, I should be finishing a project. It’s a Facebook page mock up for Leon County Humane Society and in the name of research I got on Facebook which led to scrolling through old photos (see above: Paris, 2013) and editing old photos and “What happened to those photos of x/y/z…?” and how about a blog post! So, here I am. This is my first post of 2017 and I feel like a lot has been going on, lots of plans in the works and so much to look forward to. So, here’s what I’ve got cookin’ for the year ahead…

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The Colors of Old San Juan

December 7, 2016

travel

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When Puerto Rico comes to mind, most people imagine the colors of Old San Juan. From the bright buildings to the blue cobblestone streets, to the vibrant ocean water peeking through the cityscape, every inch of Old San Juan is bright and happy and bursting with life.

callesansebastian

We stayed at an AirBnB on Calle San Sebastian, and I couldn’t have been more pleased with the location. I highly recommend staying in Old San Juan for your first trip to Puerto Rico because it eliminates the need for a car, which is great because parking is next to impossible in this area. The red building above is home to my favorite bar, Aquí Se Puede. One evening Victor, his father (also named Victor), my dad and I had the whole place to ourselves. The bartender was a phenomenal mixologist (he made best old fashioned I’ve ever had) and even played Sam Cooke upon my request.

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Forward

November 29, 2016

life

elmorro5

Okay, we’ve all had time to process the shock of the election. If anything, I think it woke us up as a nation and made us pay attention to a divide we had previously been trying to ignore. Many people, including myself, are more inspired than ever to act out in hope, kindness and love. As disappointing and scary as it initially felt, I found solace in the blogs, articles and public figures that promoted the importance of positivity. Here are some of the people, places and things that shared my grief and lifted my post-election spirits…

The season finale of Showtime’s The Circus

The Daily Show election special

Desus & Mero on Viceland (The election special is good, but just watch ’em on the reg anyway.)

Hillary Clinton’s concession speech

Women on the heartbreak of watching Trump win

Chelsea interviews Senator Barbara Boxer

Leslie Knope’s letter to America

Coming Together by Joanna Goddard

Emily Henderson asks her readers why they voted for Trump

Alan Sorkin’s dramatic letter to his ex-wife and daughter

A podcast about Oprah…unrelated, but hey, it made me feel a lot better.

I registered on Issue Voter to weigh in on issues before Congress votes and reach state reps directly.

Before the Flood (free on Hulu)

Anything and everything Gloria Steinem

What the Fuck Do We Do Now?

November 9, 2016

life

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Listen, I’ve never been one to post political rants on a Facebook page or stir up a political conversation in mixed company, but this is my tiny sliver of the internet and for once, I have a passionate feeling about an election. This is the first election where I really paid attention. I read the articles, visited the candidates’ websites, and watched the debates, and all the while, I really didn’t believe this would happen.

I want a woman in the White House, yes, but that’s not the reason I voted for Hillary. She has experience, relationships with other countries, and QUALIFICATIONS that tell me she can do the job. I don’t care if she lied; every politician lies. I don’t care if she’s been under investigation for Benghazi or emails. She held her ground on both fronts and endured rigorous investigations and nothing came of any of it. She is qualified, she is a public servant, and she has spent her life trying to help people. At the end of the day, that woman has the strength of ten men put together. And Beyonce. She has Beyonce.

And, if that’s not enough, looking at Trump should make up one’s mind. This is where I feel a real disconnect because I cannot wrap my head around any woman voting for a man that says and does the things he has during this campaign his lifetime. It’s one thing to be a crass old man with narrow opinions, but to lead a country with these views? Are you not bothered by the racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic comments and actions? He thinks so little of you and you want him to lead you? To represent you? To defend you? To inspire your children? What am I missing here?

At the end of the day, the bottom line is this: the purpose of public office is to serve the people. To be a voice of the people. To inspire and encourage. To. help. people. One candidate has spent her life listening to others and making changes to improve policy. The other has perfected the art of self-promotion.

I’m still processing everything, I’ve truly never dealt with these feelings before. I think I’m still shocked, still trying to understand how this could happen. I’m angry at this country and feel like people aren’t good. They can’t be if this is a testament to their judgment, right? Like, that feeling I get when I’m driving (sidenote: I “suffer” from incredible albeit internal road rage) and I feel like everyone is a raging idiot and the future is doomed because if we can’t even drive down the road, how the hell are we going to get through something serious? Well, it’s like that. Times ten. Sprinkled with the incredible fear that an egomaniac has the nuclear codes.

I’m angry at the sound of his voice. I’m angry that everything that is good is his idea and everything that is bad is someone else’s fault. Is this what our country believes? HOW did we get here?  HOW did we come to the conclusion that an unqualified man that has insulted so many people should lead the free world? (Have you ever seen this really dumb movie, Idiocracy? I keep having flashes of that movie when I think about our future. *laughs turning into tears*)

I’m angry that I still don’t know how he’s going to fulfill these wild promises that are ultimately scary and dangerous. Matter of fact, I don’t know anything about any of his policies because he’s been too busy tweeting petty insults to offer anything of substance. I’m angry that I feel like my voice was overshadowed by irrational racists, and I’m angry that I’m angry at the people of this country. I’ve never been good at holding on to anger. It’s a waste of time. I want to do something, anything, to feel better. To fix it. To bounce back. To shake this feeling of loss. So many have started on the path to rebuilding. I look forward to overcoming this feeling and pushing forward, and although this got me misty-eyed, I’m not there yet.

El Morro

October 26, 2016

travel

elmorro4

Guys. I am so behind. I’ve traveled to some really fun places this past year but I’m so behind in sharing. Truth be told, I didn’t even finish posting the rest of L.A…. and that was in January! Maybe I’ll do a flashback post.. idk, haven’t worked it out yet. Stay tuned. ANYWAY. Look! I went to Puerto Rico! It was fun and colorful and adventurous and here’s what I did first…

elmorro1

We stayed in Viejo San Juan, which is like the Orlando of the island: touristy and colorful. It’s totally walkable which is exactly what we did our first morning. We walked to El Morro, a national historic site located at the edge of the island. It makes for a beautiful photo opp, and it was free and relatively vacant, so you know I was all about it.

elmorro2

This type of history is not exactly my cuppa tea, but from what I gather, Columbus landed on PR, claimed it for Spain, later the Dutch wanted in on the action but didn’t last, the British invaded somewhere along the way, and after the Spanish-American War, the U.S. took control of it. It was partially restored and used to monitor the surrounding waters in WWI and WWII, and the surrounding lawn was converted to a golf course.

elmorro

elmorro3

We climbed to the top for the gorgeous views. I’m not sure if you can tell, but my knees are totally wobbly here. Anything for that vacay shot…

elmorro9

elmorro8

I didn’t anticipate such a hilly lanscape in Puerto Rico but it adds to the character and beauty of the island. We returned to the El Morro area a few days later and the lawn was filled with families flying colorful kites. It was a really cool sight to see.

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Stay tuned, I still have brightly colored buildings, blue cobblestone and a rainforest to show you! Xx

summer music / 3

October 18, 2016

entertainment / life / weekend

quad

My last hurrah of the summer music scene was a Blink-182 concert in Tampa. I went back to the same venue where I saw Dashboard, this time in celebration of my sister’s birthday. Blink always brings back amazing memories (like wearing out Take Off Your Pants and Jacket on my Discman during a family vacation to Key West).

Funny story: All-American Rejects and A Day to Remember opened the show, but we got stuck in an hour-long traffic jam trying to exit the highway for the venue. I guess the show was more popular than we had anticipated. My sister really only wanted to see A Day to Remember, she didn’t care about the other bands, and as the minutes were ticking by and we were not moving, all I could think about is that we were missing the only band she wanted to see ON HER BIRTHDAY. We pull into the venue and run from our car like bats outta hell. As we we’re walking up, I hear Swing, Swing playing. All-American Rejects opened the show and ADTR hadn’t played yet! I was so relieved we didn’t miss her band. We hightailed it to our seats just in time and the rest of the night was on cruise control.

fuck

blink2

I was somewhat heart-broken to learn that the original three members had broken up and singer-guitarist Tom DeLonge had been replaced by Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba. DeLonge’s distinctive voice was missed, but the new Blink’s new album, California, which they played a lot of at the show, was on brand and sounded fantastic. Obv, I took some liberties with my iPhone concert photos..

bored-to-death

Favorites of California include: Bored to Death, She’s Out of Her Mind, and Kings of the Weekend

finale

The stage effects were better than any I had seen all summer. Jumping right out of the gate, the band came on stage, flaming “FUCK” a blazing, and flashed album art by Lichtenstein-esque street artist D*Face on a huge screen in the background. The encore and my favorite, Dammit, ended with a big burst of confetti that caught the stage lights perfectly.

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It was a lot of fun, and the perfect ending to my summer concert series. There’s something about summer that makes me nostalgic and happy in general. Maybe it’s the way the sun feels the same every year, or the fact that loud rock music played outdoors takes me back to the same state of mind, no matter how old I get. Whatever it is, it feels like a little piece of magic, and I’m glad I got to feel it again this year.

For other show recaps and playlists, check out: Weezer, Panic! at the Disco!, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness | Dashboard Confessional x 2

Part Two: Williamsburg

October 12, 2016

travel / weekend

williamsburgcover

Day two of my Virginia adventure took me to Williamsburg to visit my oldest friend (not in age, but in relationship). Leigh and I have been friends since freshman year of high school. I think we bonded over a mutual love for Celebrity Jeopardy and mutual hate for pep rallies and school spirit in general.

shugshack

shack

I didn’t want to arrive empty-handed to Leigh’s so I popped in Sugar Shack on my way out of town for a few sweets. Oh-mah-gah. I grabbed blueberry donut holes to snack on while driving to Williamsburg and I still dream about how fresh and delicious they were. Coupled with a big cup of dark roast coffee, and I was in heaven. They had so many fun donut flavors to choose from, so I highly recommend this place if you have an opportunity to pop in one of their many locations. (They’re in Florida!)

williammary

Leigh, her husband, Ben, and daughter Harper lived in Williamsburg and since my visit, they’ve welcomed baby Caroline and moved back to Florida.  They were gracious enough to show me around Williamsburg so after getting settled, Leigh, Harper and I took to the streets and explored America’s second oldest college campus, William & Mary, and Colonial Williamsburg.

hall

williamsburg1

williamsburg3

We walked around and caught up on life, all the while feeling sorry for the kids who’s parents took them on an educational vacation instead of to Disney. We made it to a cute cafe where I almost had a panic attack when tasked with pushing Ms. Harper and her stroller out of the door by myself. I don’t know how people do it. There were chairs, and people and maneuvering and I literally wanted to say “Make way! Lady with a baby!”. It was seriously only 10 feet but it was easily the most difficult thing I did that day. Fortunately, Harper was all smiles and oblivious to my panic sweat.

jamestown

Our next stop was Jamestown Settlement. It was pretty cool, even though the weather had turned chilly and misty. Nevertheless, we saw some cool old stuff, walked around, and chatted. Some of my favorite things.

pubsign

For dinner, Leigh, Ben, Harper and I ate at Dog Street Pub, the cutest little gastropub in Williamsburg. They have an extensive beer list (always a win), delicious food, and a bustling atmosphere. The building itself used to be a bank and remnants of its history can be seen in the classically shaped windows and marble floors.

ferry

The next morning, I left a very gray Williamsburg early to drive back to Florida. Per the recommendation of my hosts, I took the ferry across the James River as a scenic alternative to going back the way I came. I was grateful I had an opportunity to visit with friends, even if it was a short stay, and that they were kind enough to welcome me into their home. Of course, I’m even happier they’ve moved back to Florida so I can bug them on the regular now.

 

 

healthy chicken meatballs

October 10, 2016

food

cover

Free time has been nonexistent around here lately, so my apologies for (once again) for my absence. BUT! This recipe is kind of perfect for those with no time to spare. I actually made these healthy chicken meatballs while my facial mask was drying and decided to snap a few photos on my phone for this post. Multitasking: check. This recipe makes four servings so I make it on Sundays and reheat for dinner during the week. Also, this recipe is low-carb, low-sugar, low-fat and therefore, low-guilt. I don’t think comfort food gets much better than this…

spinach

Chop spinach and wilt over medium heat on the stove. Drain any excess water from the spinach. While it cools, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and prepare a 9×12 baking dish with cooking spray. Dice a whole red onion.

onion

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Part One: Richmond

September 19, 2016

travel / weekend

cover

What would summer be without a road trip? For the long July 4th weekend, I drove north to Virginia to visit friends in Williamsburg. My first stop though, was Richmond, a city I had not visited before, but immediately took a liking to for it’s natural beauty, culture, and good food. Here’s a glimpse into my one-day highlight tour of Richmond, Virginia…

8am

libby3

libby2 copy

My first stop was Libby Hill Park. Located in the Church Hill area, quaint brownstones line small streets leading to this picturesque park. It was a great way to get acquainted with Richmond because the Jamestown River and downtown cityscape can be seen from the same spot.

alch

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