Like so many, we begin to reflect as we enter the new year, and if there is one thing these last few years have taught me, it’s to continue to be resilient. I say “continue” because I’ve had my share of heartbreak by losing those I love close to me. Going into 2022, I’m not saying it will be easy or another challenging year. Instead of the “new year, new me” crap let’s make some goals and attain them. This year I told myself I wanted to travel again and explore. Before I knew it, I was standing in front of the Eiffel Tower in awe. I know this craziness that we’re all experiencing will be here for a while, hell maybe forever. Nevertheless, as we enter the new year, take a moment to clear your mind, reset and take life day by day.
Cheers to another year mi gente!
“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” ― Confucius
If you love Italian food, then Casati’s Modern Italian Restaurant should be your next stop for some delicious meals and cocktails. The restaurant offers outdoor and indoor seating. Reservations are recommended to promote social distancing and disinfecting in between customers. Outdoor/indoor seating is set up so that you are inside of a glass hut. The ambiance for the indoor seating is exotic looking with warm lights. An elegant chandelier hangs right above where customers sit in the glass huts and during this time of year, Christmas décor fills the room.
Casati’s offers savory meals and refreshing cocktails to go. The restaurant also has a curbside stand where you can order a spiked hot chocolate, alcoholic Italian Mulled Wine or their signature holiday drink Spiced Almond Tea.
I had the opportunity to have a meal, cocktail and spiked hot chocolate to go. In particular, I had the Pappardelle Ragu entrée, Adriatic Peach cocktail and their Spiked Hot Chocolate with Bailey’s. The entrée was flavorful and the portion size was filling. The peach cocktail was semi-sweet and refreshing. Lastly, the hot chocolate with Baileys was creamy yet smooth and just what was needed for a finishing touch.
Thank you Casati’s Modern Italian restaurant I can’t wait to go back!
If you know me then you know I’ve become at trip addict. In the last few years I’ve gone on several vacations but 2019 was the year of being booked and busy. I truly believe it’s important to plan trips whether they are local, domestic or international. Taking time away from your every day routine is needed for the mind, body and soul.
Houston, Texas – February 2019.
My first trip of the year started down-south in Houston, Texas. My best friend had recently moved to Houston and being that it was my first time there I spent the weekend with her. The atmosphere was different yet amazing because the weather towards the end of February was not scorching hot, but in the low 70’s to mid 50’s. Coming from Chicago in the dead of winter that felt like heaven. Although, my weekend was short I would definitely go back and explore a bit more.
Miami, Florida – May 2019.
My second trip of 2019 was in Miami, Florida with my two close friends from work. This trip was in celebration for one of my friends birthday and of course we wanted sun, beach and sand. Hotels in Miami are pricey but some suggestions I recommend would be to stay at a boutique hotel where it’s much smaller but let’s face it you’re really just in your room to sleep and get ready. Another recommendation is to stay at a hotel that is off the strip because the closer you are to Ocean Drive the more money you will pay. Either way you can’t go wrong with a girls trip to Miami because there’s always a party going on day and night.
Seattle, Washington – July 2019.
My third trip of 2019 was to visit my family in Seattle. I have to say I got lucky when my sister married my bro-in-law because I gained a beautiful-loving in-laws.
I’ve always wanted to visit Seattle and see its main attraction The Space Needle and when I did I was in awe. The Space Needle stands at 605 feet tall and while up there I was a little scared but excited.
Pike Place Market was another iconic place to visit in Seattle and if I had to describe it I would say it’s like a Farmers Market day in Chicago only 10 times bigger. Also, the first Starbucks built is at Pike Place Market, so you know I had to take picture in front of it. Did you know that the infamous Gum Wall is also located at Pike Place Market? The brick wall’s are covered in used chewing gum in Post Alley under Pike Place Market in Downtown Seattle. Of course I had to place my used chewing gum on the wall and as nasty as it sounds it was something I can say I did once in my lifetime.
Another place we went to visit was Rattlesnake Ridge, a hiking trail in Washington that’s in the Snoqualmie Region — North Bend Area. The hiking trail lasted about 2 hours going up and a little less than 2 hours coming down with small breaks in between for water or to rest. The elevation of Rattlesnake Ridge is 1,160 feet and the highest point is 2,078 feet but once we got to the top the scenery was breath-taking. If you’re into hiking like I have become then this is definitely a place to visit.
Click on the links below to learn more about the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, The Gum Wall and Rattlesnake Ridge Hiking trail.
Colorado has been the place where everyone around me has gone to visit. Finally, I had the opportunity to visit for myself. Hiking the Rocky Mountains and going on trails was on the agenda. Our first hike took place at Gardens of the Gods and I was amazed to see such a beautiful park with red/orange colored mountains and learning the history behind it.
Another trail I hiked while in Colorado was the Rocky Mountain National Park. Unlike Garden of the Gods this park encompasses protected mountains, forests and alpine tundra.
“It’s known for the Trail Ridge Road and the Old Fall River Road, drives that pass aspen trees and rivers.”
This is definitely a hike you don’t want to miss out on when visiting Colorado.
Aspen, Colorado – November/December 2019.
My last trip of 2019 was also at Colorado but this time in the beautiful city of Aspen for a wedding. I stood in a small town known as Snowmass, Village and the scenery was breathtaking. Homes, hotels, boutiques and stores are surrounded by mountains.
At night the sky is filled with stars and the lights from the city cast a silhouette of the mountains. There are many activities offered from skiing, hiking trails, gondola rides to the night scene at bars/lounges and everything in between.
I stayed at the Limelight Hotel and the amenities offered were amazing. Breakfast is complimentary and there was a play area for kids with computers, a television connected to a Play Station and games that adults can enjoy too such as, Ms.Pac-Man and foosball. The hotel had a spa area and an outdoor heated pool overlooking the mountains.
The day of the wedding was like a fairytale out of a Disney movie. My first winter wedding and I was lucky to be a part of it. Aspen was definitely the place for the perfect winter wedding overlooking the mountains.
Although my trip was not as long as I would have liked it to be, I am grateful for my time spent there. Aspen stole my heart and I definitely would go back.
2019 was a year of losses, gains and most importantly self-growth and as always living and learning. (:
Reflection time..2018 was a year of many changes. In the beginning of the year I told myself I could do more, make more and be happier. I didn’t realize that all along I needed to leave a place in order to come back to what would be a different role but what I’ve learned being there in the past is something I appreciate even more because I brought that new knowledge into this job. I also took chances and went to a media/journalism conference in Miami by @hispanicizeevent it was inspiring and put many things into perspective for me and I met some awesome entrepreneurs such as @lejuanjames 🙌🏽 After my conference I came back to some wonderful news that I got the job I’m at now and although I was sad to leave those coworkers who helped me, I was also excited to start a new journey. From covering the international salsa congress and many more…This year I also hit an milestone in my life…my 30th birthday. It’s crazy how much a person can change the way they think…from my 20’s to now I see the world differently and yes sometimes I may still overthink (who doesn’t?) but overall I feel even more humble, conscious and I’m taking more chances in life, scary or not. Life doesn’t wait for you and you shouldn’t either so laugh often, take chances even if it feels scary but also be wise about them. It’s ok to say no and it’s ok to say yes. Learn from your mistakes and move along. To those new friendships I’ve made this year I truly appreciate you all. I’m not going to be “cliché” and say I’m coming into 2019 a new person but I will say is that I’m ready for the new year and whatever else life brings me. Good, bad or neutral that’s just life. 🤷🏻♀️🙃 #happynewyearseve
Sunday thinking had me realizing it’s been 55 days since I turned 30. Whoa! Where does time go? Can someone hit the pause button please?
To be honest lately I feel like I’ve been going through some self changes. However, it seems like I’ve been feeling like this for the past year or so. I’ve noticed that I don’t worry or dwell too much on things I can’t control. That doesn’t mean I still don’t overthink things because as human beings that is totally normal. But, every thought you have in your mind YOU control. This is something that I’ve learned to do because thoughts can also kill you emotionally. I’ve also learned to be a happier person and to just go with the flow of things. Now many of my close friends and family would say I’m already a goofy and happy person. But, sometimes the silliest people hold a lot inside.
From being a kid to my teens, 20’s till now I have learned that this thing we call LIFE can change in the blink of an eye. Here are some things that life has taught me in my 20’s and how I feel now.
My 20’s have taught me growth, that it’s ok to NOT be in charge all the time and that it’s ok to say no, to love like it’s your last, hate less and laugh more, to be patient, believe in yourself and that you don’t need validation from anyone. To be grateful, remain focus and stay grounded.
My 20’s have taught me to be open, to not compare myself to others, to be vulnerable but still have my guard up, to be positive, humble, to learn always and take notes, to not give up because the hardest part is starting something but the finish point will be worth it. Don’t worry about failing because the best stories come from those who have failed but got up again and succeeded. I’ve learned to not take people for granted, to try new things that scared me before, to treat everyone equally, to refrain from saying something and walking away if it’s not positive, to help and give more.
My 20’s until now has given me the realization that I needed for myself. Life is not always what it’s meant to be and that’s ok. Nothing is written in stone and you are the author of your life. Everyone’s story is different and that’s what makes us unique.
I’ve loved and also lost loved ones at such a young age. Those early moments in my life has kept me elevated and a stronger person to help me reach this path of realization.
My friend/blogger invited me to an event where Entrepreneur Patricia Acheson the CEO of T’HO Commodities Coffee (Pronounced TEA-HO) held an event to help kick-off the coffee brand here in Chicago.
My first experience sipping the coffee was “whoa” this coffee is amazing. A rich taste was left in my mouth and I was drawn in. The aroma in the atmosphere had a cocoa like hint to it from the coffee being brewed. I also love how T’HO gives back. The coffee comes in a brown biodegradable bag and reusable cans. T’HO is also looking into a program where the cans are able to be reused/refilled. The coffee brand also accommodates to their customers, as stated on their website under Coffee Inquiries, “T’HO Coffee will cater to all your coffee needs and and even customize a blend that fits your restaurant’s unique brand. T’HO will help take your Brunch Menu to a whole new level…” Once you fill out the form a specialist contacts you in 24 hours! How neat is that?!
The idea of T’HO Coffee was proposed by the Founder, Diego Rodriguez when het met Patricia Acheson in 2017. Ms. Acheson was working a full-time job all while picking up extra shifts at “Crown and Acre, a high-end bar in the Financial District, where Diego supplied his specialty coffee.” A friendship was then developed as the two discussed over coffee, life lessons and business. Mr. Rodriguez has hosted his own cuppings, opened coffee shops in the Bay Area and is now a master roaster.
The name T’HO comes from the city in which Diego Rodriguez was born in T’HO, Mexico; The Crossroads of Maya history and today it is now known as the city of Merida, Mexico. From his childhood memories of working on cocoa farms while his mom and grandmother roasted beans all day to growing up and meeting “legendary coffee connoisseur’s” he was already on the path for great things.
“When he was 22 he moved to San Francisco in hopes of opening chocolate shop, but his plan took a pleasant turn when he met the specialty-coffee living legend, Erna Knutsenwho introduced him to the magnificent wonders of the coffee industry. Soon after his experience with Erna he was introduced to Alfred Peet, owner of Peet’s Coffee. Peet adored Diego and took him under his wing. Diego mentions many times how they were very close friends until the day he passed. Peet even left Diego a gift with a note and at the end it said: “Diego, you really are a great coffee man”. “
There mission is simple yet positive as stated below T’HO is all about giving, encouraging and motivating.
WHAT’S OUR MISSION AND VISION?
Yes, we have a passion for high quality coffee, but that’s not all that defines T’HO. Every day that you wake up and put your feet on the floor, we believe an opportunity for positive change awaits us all. T’HO wants to be a part of helping people make that change, and we decided to start our movement with coffee. We chose coffee as our first product, not only becauseDiego is a professional coffee connoisseur, but also because 83% of the adults in this world start their day with a cup of coffee. And when you open a bag of T’HO Coffee every morning, you will find “T’HO ENCOURAGEMENTS”; a motivational card that promotes a positive change in all aspects of life. We plan to encourage this change within offices, cafes, homes, stadiums, restaurants, and all other venues. Any place you can get a cup of coffee- T’HO will be there.
Mission: With coffee, we will strive to create the reality of aesthetic living.
Vision: To start a movement that promotes positive change by creating products that make life more enjoyable while keeping the environment clean.
HOW DO WE GIVE BACK?
T’HO is keen on paying it forward. We promote a clean environment by using 100% biodegradable bags and reusable coffee tins. We promote a clean mind by donating time and funds to Mental Health Awareness throughout the world. Learn more on our “Giving Back” page.
To know more about THO Commodities, the origin of the coffee and where to buy it…you can visit https://www.thocommodities.com and visit their Instagram @THOCOMMODITIESCOFFEE
Hello lovelies…excuse my lateness on a post but I’m working on trying to add more on here to share with you ALL! 🙂
Let’s talk about summer attire for the office. For most women it can be difficult to find a summer outfit for work that will still look professional. Luckily, there are many stores that have dresses, tops and pants for an office job. However, in most cases you will find yourself spending a lot of money if you don’t shop at the right places. Now many of you know one of my go to stores is Discovery.
I like to play around with different pops of color from my wardrobe to even my eyeshadow. But, also try to keep it professional for work.
Yesterday’s work attire I had on these ankle-crop black polka dot pants. But, I do have to say they are from the Limited which last time I checked they closed ALL their stores. However, it seems like their online store is still running so that’s a plus. The turquoise shirt is from Forever 21 and I had it for years now. To compliment the look I did a winged eyeliner look with a soft turquiose eyeshadow color. Thanks to my NYX Ulitmate Shadow Palette.
Overall, I remember buying the pants from the Clearance rack and the shirt was already a reasonable price. Remember ladies and even gentlemen, it’s not always about spending lots of money on what attire you buy but how you put it together. ;
Follow my moves…on IG @Littlelulu2u & Twitter @Littlelulutou
Happy first day of summer! What better way to bring summer in then to do a fun photo-shoot on the famous River walk in downtown Chicago. I met a former fashion blogger (Becca Chic) and model/actress/writer (Rachel Moretti) and together we had different summer looks we wanted to share with you all without breaking the bank. Summer is about having fun, creating memories, exploring and showing off your style. I broke down in detail what we had on in our photo-shoot and how you can recreate our looks for any occasion.
Becca Chic – Has on a ruffled off the shoulder white blouse and jean shorts from Forever 21 and heels from Guess. This casual look is perfect for any time of the day and night. You can also choose to wear sandals and accessorize the outfit with a necklace or choker. I love how she complimented the entire look with a hand chain bracelet and ring attached to it. For more about Becca Chic and her fashion blog you can find her at www.beccachic.com
Rachel- Has on a white button up dress with a neck collar from Forever 21 and pink vibrant heels from Crossroads. She accessorizes her outfit with a gold watch and necklace. Just like Becca this outfit can also be worn anytime of the day or for a night out in the city. For more about Rachel and her fashion blog and many more you can find her at http://rachelmoretti.weebly.com
I had on a fitted bodysuit from Mandees, ripped jeans from American Eagle and shoes from Payless. Now because I have such small feet, it’s sometimes a struggle for me to find heels my size (5). However, I’ve found some of my nicest and comfiest heels at Payless.
Summer is about having fun, creating memories, exploring and also showing off your style. Now don’t get me wrong it’s nice to buy things that are more on the expensive side and heck if you work for it then you can buy it. But, if you’re on a budget and are looking for outfits where you’re not spending a ton of money then stores like Forever 21, Mandees, Charlotte Rousse, Khols, Payless, thrift shops, etc…are great places to find outfits for a low pri\
A tip of advice: I sometimes check out the clearance section first because you can find some hidden gems in there.
And remember to stay cool on those hot steamy days!