Farewell Letter

Dear Reader,

Hello, old friend, it’s been a while. It’s been over a year, in fact. I have not written to you since my travel stories from Cuba and even then, my blogging was sporadic at best. Why? I ask myself that question every day. I think my failure to write has been part distraction and part denial. Keep reading as I attempt to explain what’s gone down in the past year and a half.

First, there’s something you should know about me: I box. I’m a habitual, almost addictive, boxer. And by that, I mean I love keeping things in neat boxes! I have small boxes for little things like buttons and pennies and bigger boxes for the things I can’t seem to let go of like all the size 8 clothes I outgrew in 2016. In my kitchen cupboard, the spice bottles are placed in threes, inside Ziploc bags, inside transparent plastic boxes. Inside my purses, boxes aren’t very feasible. So, I have bags. A red bag I keep tampons and liners in. A clear bag with over-the-counter allergy medicine, pain medicine, and band aids for just in case. A fabric bag where I keep my aligners, toothpaste, and floss in. The most important bag within my bag is the one where I keep the pens in, always a minimum of three colored ones. In my office, I have jars. A mason jar for paperclips, another for magnets, another for rolls of tape.  I keep post-its and stickers in 5” x 8” sheet protectors – organized inside a mini-binder. I own (and use) 2 planners. Still, all my events are entered in my Google calendar, color coded, and synced to my phone. Notifications always on.

I’d be downplaying it if I simply said I like having things in my life neatly compartmentalized. It turns out I have been compartmentalizing my self too.

Online, I was safe keeping all my personal writing on the A Girl in Her Thirties website. For years, I shared raw confessional memoir essays and advice on this website. I gave you pep-talks and tried to share the lessons I was learning. When I felt inspired, I shared my travel stories to illustrate how finding yourself in your thirties can mean losing yourself in unknown places. That was one compartment, the other being social media. I’ve been sharing about my mental health and self-care practices on Instagram and even tweeting the occasional poem or quote.

And, let me tell you – it all just got to be so overwhelming! Often, I felt as though I was watching myself drown – like if I was in a dream sequence I couldn’t wake from.

All photos by VNZ Photos 


#Let’sGetUgly | Vixen Workout Review

Originally appeared on CoralGablesLove.com

Last month for 60 minutes, a room full of women became hunger posing, kitten stretching, vixens. If it sounds ugly, that was our intention. As part of the new “Let’s Get Ugly” campaign, Propel Electrolyte Water teamed up with the city’s hottest DJs, fitness studios, & instructors to perfectly curate three days of workouts in Miami as part of this summer’s Propel Co:Labs. So, what does it mean to “Get Ugly”? The term refers to the post-workout grit one feels after a particularly challenging routine. It’s embodies the feeling after a workout session that was so intense you finish head-to-toe drenched in sweat, feeling the need to lie down, while at the same time adrenaline and endorphins are running through you.

#LetsGetUgly with Blogger Mei from Blame it On Mei

Photo Inspiration for Havana, Cuba

Reflexiones

Después de haber pasado 5 días en La Habana, y haber recorrido por Matanzas, Mayabeque, El Cotorro, Regla, y el Barrio Chino, sigo pensando que las fronteras son el sistema más divisivo. Cierto, el sistema de Cuba tiene sus flaquezas, pero ¿no las tiene el de nuestros países también al mantenernos tan alejados los uno de los otros?

Todos tienen muy presentes sus traumas del pasado. El temor. El rencor. Extrañan a sus seres queridos que se han ido. Los ven tan lejos no sabiendo lo cerca que están y aunque no los culpan, cada uno que se ha ido ha dejado hoyos; vacíos que se han hecho difícil de llenar debido a la corta inspiración.

Existe una especie de rebelión del trabajador. Muchos que se niegan a trabajar y aun así tantos en Cuba nos hablaban del dinero, de sueldos, de escasez. Temas que se considerarían tabú en muchos otros lugares. Han borrado de sus mentes los sueño y conocí a un pueblo falto de esperanza, hambrientos de cambio. Oíamos “oye, llegaron papas, ¡corre que se acaban!” Y, aun así, vivimos la hospitalidad en carne propia.

Me di cuenta lo efímero que pueden ser algunas cosas por las cuales nos obsesionamos en muchos lugares. Fue así que aprendí que la inspiración y la cultura deben ser independiente del dinero. Un pintor debería de seguir pintando. Un maestro debería amar su profesión y un alumno el estudiar. Me di cuenta que el educarse vale más que el precio, aunque nadie se lo page. Aprendí a ser agradecida. Porque, al no serlo, correría el riesgo de convertirme en una amargada. Aprendí que la hospitalidad viene de adentro – de lo que uno tiene, no de lo que no se tiene. Aprendí a apreciar a los recién llegados que tuvieron el valor de soñar y ambicionar. Pero, por primera vez, pude apreciar a los que se han contentado con el sustento y el día a día. Los que han tenido el valor para amar, esperar, y aguantar.


Inspirational Women in Their Thirties | Whiskey Ambassador Alexis Green

Have you ever wondered what’s on the other side of that ever elusive ‘road less traveled’? What actually happens when you make less traditional choices in life? For Alexis Green, who claims to have never been a “sit quietly at her desk for eight hours a day” type of person to begin with, it meant realizing that city life wasn’t for her, quitting a full-time salaried marketing job, and moving to cottage country in Ontario, Canada. I first met Alexis Green at a Women Who Whiskey[1] event in Miami where, as brand ambassador for Collingwood Whisky, she was completely in her element having conversations of substance with like-minded women while educating them about whiskey.


Hey, Girls Drink Whiskey Too!

Disclosure: Although I was invited by Cooper’s Craft to attend the Summer Sipper’s event and try their bourbon whiskey, all opinions come from the bottom of my tiny blogging heart. ❤

Have you ever stopped to think how confined we are by traditional gender stereotypes; these tiny social constructs that affect so many of the trivial daily decisions that we make? Anything from what we wear to what we drink is affected by societal norms. But besides being exhausting, the stereotypes we use can be so limiting. That’s what I realized when I was invited to the Cooper’s Craft Summer Sipper’s event to try their bourbon whiskey.

Traditionally, whiskey is considered an old-fashioned man’s drink. So, just as I hadn’t learned to drink beer until I was in my thirties, in keeping with tradition, I had never tried whiskey until my thirties either. But since I’ll do nearly anything for a writing assignment, I decided to attend the event and give this bourbon whiskey a try.

Photo Credit: Nabila Verushka


7 Tips for Responsible Tourism in Cuba

 “Visiting other countries and peoples today has helped many to realize that we are truly one human family and that we have the potential of living together on earth in peace [source].”

Aside from experiencing a glimpse into a beautifully unique culture, visiting Cuba allows you the opportunity to practice responsible tourism and sustainable practices which, aside from minimizing negative social impacts, will generate greater economic benefits for locals. For me, this meant enjoying my travels on a much higher level.


The Viñales Valley

Llegamos a Viñales y sin inconvenientes. Nos dieron la bienvenida los mogotes, una brisa fresca, y el gentío cuya personalidad es tan colorida como las cabañitas que adornan este pueblo. Un pueblo que subsiste a base del turismo, donde hay exceso de extranjeros y esperanza.


5 Female Characters Who Changed My Life

The beauty of a woman is that you’ll never be the same once one has entered your life. It doesn’t matter how long she stays, if it was for the worse or for the better, the fact is once she’s gone you’ll never be the same. This is the effect women have. And this is the case whether she’s real or imagined, dead or alive. So, in honor of Women’s History Month, I will share with you five female characters who changed my life. (Keep in mind the list is not exhaustive, and only includes characters from books I read in my formative years.)


Dating the Introvert I Married | Lincoln Date Night

Stop and think for a moment, to what extent have you been conditioned to value loud and in-your face vs. quiet subtly? Society would have us believe that arrogance equals power and that quiet voices are a sign of weakness. I must admit, in the past I may have been partial to these views because as an extrovert they often excuse my misbehavior. Even harder to admit, at times I may have allowed these to seep into my relationship. Having married an introvert, it has taken me years to understand my husband as “the introvert”. It isn’t until now, in our thirties, that I have started learning to value our differences. Which is why as a brand, Lincoln’s “Quiet Luxury” has always appealed to me. I like the idea that power can exist in the absence of arrogance. In fact, Lincoln seems to understand my husband a bit better than I did. So, I arranged for a date night sponsored and inspired by Lincoln Motor Company’s theme of quiet luxury. I placed myself in the mindset of an introvert and planned our date with these 5 buffers in mind:


5 Ways Printing Your Photos Can Change Your Perspective

When you think of 2016, what emotions do the memories evoke?

It’s true, the lives of many brilliantly creative people were lost in 2016, wars were fought, there were protests, and just general sadness. On a more personal level, this year was one of my worst and when 2017 began, I was exhausted! I needed a change in perspective! To combat the emotional exhaustion, I set out to look back on 2016 more reflectively. Using the photos on my phone’s gallery and the Kodak Moments App, I printed my highlights of the last year. When I sought out the good, I realized that there were so many moments in the past year that I’m grateful for.