3 Simple Tips To Make Traveling Not So Stressful

The idea of traveling sounds romantic but that’s because most people are only thinking about the destination and not the 3 hour drive or 18 hour flight to get there. Not to mention the crowded airports, traffic jams and instances of plain old bad luck like losing your luggage or missing a flight connection. But wherever the road takes you this holiday, use these 3 tips to actually enjoy getting there. After all, the journey is part of the adventure!

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  1. Bring Snacks | Traveling can be really expensive even before stepping foot anywhere, so lighten up the load by bringing some pre-made snacks like PB & J sammies, empanadas, and fruit to munch on. If you’re flying, bring a reusable water bottle to fill up on the way. If you’re driving, make sure to bring a gallon of water and a thermos of coffee.
  2. Listen To A Podcast | Listening to the same songs on your playlist can get boring, so why not listen to some meaningful conversation, witty chatter, or learn something new on a podcast? Lately I’ve been listening to the Girl Boss podcast by Sophia Amoruso and it’s awesome! Sophia brings lots of business women from all walks of life on the show and they really dig deep into how they went from working as cashiers and waitresses to being the CEO of their own company. On my radar to listen to next is A Piece of Work with Abbi Jacobson and the Influencer Podcast with Julie Solomon.
  3. Bring A Notebook | Some people like sleeping on the plane, others like to watch movies. I, on the other hand, HATE sleeping on planes and my seats’ tv screen never seems to work so I opt to ditch the technology once I’m done listening to my saved podcasts and bring out my notebook. I like to create lists of activities I want to do once I get to my destination or plan my work schedule for the weeks ahead. You can write down your thoughts or draw and just the feeling of using a pen and paper makes the process so much more relaxing and organic than doing it on an iPad or phone.

I hope these tips are helpful for all of you traveling to see loved ones during this time of year!

Bendiciones y Feliz Navidad!

Melanie.

 

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Sundays in Brooklyn

After a full weeks worth of work and then a nights worth of drinking the stress away, Sunday is when I go into full on hibernation mode. Typically I sleep in, cuddle with my fur baby, and lock myself in the apartment all day. On the occasion that I actually want to do something other than be a potato my boyfriend and I have a traditional outing planned in Brooklyn that never disappoints. Check out my guide to a day filled with eating, drinking and exploring in Brooklyn, New York!

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Coat:Fashion Nova, Shirt:Forever 21, Pants:Gap, Boots:Target

Eat: The first thing on the list is brunch at Harefield Road. This full time bar, part time brunch spot offers the best deal in the city that not only satisfies your poached eggs fascination but your wallet as well. Their $14 brunch includes a coffee or tea and a Mimosa or Bloody Mary and let me tell you I have tried almost everything on the menu and never have I encountered a miss. Everything is delicious and fresh, and they’re happy to customize plates so vegans are welcome!I take everyone I know here for brunch, it just can’t be beat.

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Drink: Walk off that big brunch and enjoy the graffiti art that’s quintessential Williamsburg. When you start feeling thirsty, head over to Barcade. This mecca is where childhood dreams and adult fun combine to create a memorable experience…until you had one too many beers and forgot where you left your phone! Play old school games like Pac Man and Donkey Kong while sipping on a smooth one. Come for the games, stay for the local beers on tap.

Do: Head south to Dumbo and stroll through the Brooklyn Flea. Local food joints and vintage connoisseurs gather to offer the community an eclectic market of goods. Here is where I’ve found vintage art pieces and old Playboys that have made my house their home. The day is not complete until I’ve had a Cafe au Lait donut from the Dough stand. They are pillowy mounds of sweetness in your mouth, you shall not be disappointed!

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After all the eating, drinking and walking around I love to spend the rest of my Sunday at home watching movies and eating popcorn before a new week of possibilities begins. 

I’d love to try out some new places, so let me know your favorite spots around Brooklyn! 

PS. I have a 25% off discount code for you from Fashion Nova! Yaaaas girl, go get you some new threads for the winter, gogogo!  https://share.fashionnova.com/x/g41mTi 

Hasta Luego,

Melanie.

Statement Jewelry: What To Own & How To Wear It

Hola Chicas,

Ever since I can remember the women in my family have always worn the same pieces of jewelry, no matter the occasion! Through casual dinners, weddings and family portraits I’ve seen the same gold hoops and name plate necklaces pop up everywhere. The tradition has stayed with me as even I wear the same earrings and necklaces everywhere I go because I feel naked without them. I can leave the house with no makeup, hair up in a bun and still feel dressed up with just my jewels on.

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Some of my pieces are sentimental hand me downs, gifts I’ve received or one’s that I’ve bought myself. It’s taken me time to curate, but I’ve finally reached a level of satisfaction where I want to share with you the top pieces that I think everyone should own. Follow my tips below and start creating a signature look with your jewelry!

First Things First: Gold or Silver? The general rule of thumb is that warmer undertones such as peach, olive or yellow should stick to gold jewelry. Cooler undertones such as pink or blue should stick to silver, and there are the lucky neutrals who look good in both. In my opinion, it’s all up to how you look and feel with the jewelry on. Do your eyes pop with silver studs or does your skin glow when you have a gold necklace on? Choose a shade that makes it look like you’re wearing the jewelry, not that the jewelry is wearing you.

Jewelry everyone should own
Earrings: Gift, Rose Gold Watch: Guess, Silver Watch: Gift, Bracelet: Gift, M Necklace: Delicate Raymond, Cross Necklace: Bali Catina, ME Necklace: Hand Me Down

Necklaces: I have a variety of necklaces from short to long to choker length and I can wear each one on their own or layer them up. Every necklace have a different meaning and reflects my personality more so than any of my other pieces. My M necklace has become like my name tag, my cross with the roses spiraling around it symbolizes my grandmother, and the ME necklace was a hand me down from my dad who received it from my great grandfather.

Jewelry everyone should own
Bracelet: Gift, M necklace: Delicate Raymond, Rose Cross Necklace:Bali Catina , ME Necklace: Hand Me Down

Earrings: Without a pair of earrings, I look like a man so I keep my choices limited to feminine studs and hoops. You can’t go wrong with the classics!

Jewelry everyone should own
Hoop Earrings: I bought on a trip to Ecuador, Gold Necklace: Gift, ME Necklace: Hand Me Down, Black Choker: Burlington Coat Factory.

Rings, Bracelets and Watches: You give hand shakes, write emails and tell stories with your hands so they are the most visible and interactive part of your body. I like to keep my rings, bracelets and watches feminine, sharp and professional because thats what I want my hands to reflect about me.

Jewelry everyone should own
Earrings: Gift, Watch: Gift, Necklace: Street Fair in Tribeca

I hope you’ve found this helpful and let me know what’s you’re favorite piece of jewelry! Is it sentimental, expensive or just a great find?

Hasta Luego,

Melanie.

Welcoming Fall in Middlefield, Connecticut

It’s officially Fall! But the jacket, thigh highs and chunky sweaters are on hold in the Northeast until the weather stops feeling like it’s the middle of July. Even so, the warmth is a blessing in disguise because I was able to spend all day outside last Sunday in Middlefield and Middletown, Connecticut. My boyfriend and I decided to go pumpkin picking and grabbed a few peaches for a tart I’d like to make (If all goes well I’ll have it up on the blog!). We then went to a nearby waterfall which was like something out of a story book! Our romantic Sunday out ended with a scary movie at the cinema. I definitely recommend going to Connecticut because it’s the perfect place to see the foliage change while enjoying what nature has to offer.

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Do: Start your day early and head over to Lyman Orchards. They have an array of crops you can pick on your own like apples, peaches, pears and during this time of year PUMPKINS! The views from the hill tops are amazing and the rows of crops were so cool to take pictures in. I even saw a couple taking their maternity portraits in the pumpkin patch! Not to mention, the best part is eating and picking your fruit at the same damn time. #YAS.

Lyman Orchard

 

After being out in the fields all day, take some time to relax at Wadsworth Falls State Park. Dip your feet by the waterfall, take a deep breathe and listen as the water crashes down. This is such a gorgeous place to cool down and destress.

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Eat: Unfortunately I didn’t try out any restaurants in the area. However, if you are heading to Wadsworth Falls then grab some food from the supermarket and have a picnic! I personally have a friend who lives near by so my boyfriend and I headed to their place for a BBQ. Twas delicious and the perfect way to end the day.

Pues chicos, that’s all I have for you today. Let me know where your favorite outdoor spot to go during Fall is, I’d love to check it out!

Muchos besos,

Melanie.

Cook With Me: Tostones con Salsa

Hola mis amores! Ever since I was a little girl, my family always had tostones on the dinner table. There were some variables, like my Dad’s would be saltier and my Mom’s would be crunchier. After I moved to New York, I had no one to make these for me so I was left without tostones for years ! Imaginate una vida sin tostones, it was crazy!

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Recently, I had a craving for them so I scoured the internet and made phone calls back home to find the perfect recipe. Mi gente, what I bring you today is the BEST way to make flavorful tostones that are both chewy and crunchy. And while these bad boys are delicious by themselves I’m also going to be sharing 2 easy salsas that you can make to accompany them. So preparate, because your family and friends are going to ask you for more once they’ve had the first batch!

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What you’ll need/Lo que necesitas

Tostones

  • 2 Green Plantains
  • Corn Oil or Grapeseed Oil to fry the plantains
  • Water
  • Salt

Salsa Rosada

  • Ketchup
  • Mayo
  • Lemon

Garlic & Oil Sauce

  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Olive Oil
  • Lemon
  • Salt

Directions:

  1. Peel the skin off of the plantain.
  2. Cut it in half, then cut those halves in half. For smaller, bite sized tostones you can cut the halves in half once more.
  3. Soak the plantains in salty water for 20 minutes. Your water should taste like the sea. This is not only going to give them flavor, but also make tostones come out juicier.
  4. Start heating up the oil. Pour enough oil in a deep pot to cover the plantains. I don’t like to use a skillet because the oil IS going to pop at you and that WILL hurt. I learned from experience…
  5. Once the plantains are done soaking, dry them up with a paper towel and place them in the hot oil. Once they start turning golden, take them out to flatten with a pilon (or if you don’t have one, then use anything with a flat surface like the bottom of a cup or a plate.)
  6. Return the flattened plantains to the hot oil and fry till they turn a golden brown. Don’t leave them in for too long or they’ll end up being super dry and crunchy.
  7. Place them on top of a paper napkin to absorb all the excess oil. And VOILA! Your tostones are ready 🙂
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Love…
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At first bite!

The accompanying sauces are very easy to make.

Salsa Rosada:

  1. Mix equal parts Mayo and Ketchup
  2. Add a squirt of lemon juice.
  3. Mix it up and dip your tostones for a sweet and tangy kick.

Garlic & Oil Sauce:

  1. Dice up the cloves into chiquitito pieces.
  2. Place it in 4 tablespoons of olive oil.
  3. Add a squirt of lemon juice and a pinch of salt.
  4. VOILA ONCE MORE! You have a sophisticated sauce to pour on top of your tostones that will impress your guests and their tastebuds.

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I hope you’ll enjoy these as much as my boyfriend and I have. I made tostones 3 nights in a row because he was addicted and couldn’t get enough! That’s what you get when you introduce some Puerto Rican spice to an Ecuadorian 😉

Hasta luego mi gente!