2018 Reflection

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

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#Thisis30 – DAY 55: Realization

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.

#Thisis30

November 11, 2018.

Love at first sip with T’HO COFFEE: A New Type Of Brew.

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?! 0

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 Knutsen who 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

Chicago International Salsa Congress 2018 – Recap

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This year marked the 17th annual Chicago International Salsa Congress and this exciting 4-day event was filled with musicians, performances and dance workshops. The feeling once you step into the salsa congress is like no other. There’s a joy that comes over you and it doesn’t matter if you’re not a dancer because the overall experience is breathtaking. Many come for its sole purpose and that is to enjoy themselves, experience and witness what the event is all about.

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As always it never ceases to amaze me on how performers from different states, cities and around the world come together under one roof to showcase their best performances. Passion, creativity, love for music and dance is shared with the crowed. This year in particular there was more of a focus on the youth program and dance. I was stunned to see such young kids go on stage and dance their hearts off. After learning what Rosita Ragin-Alamin, co-founder and producer shared with me, she noted that it is important because these kids go on stage in front of many people and learn to become confident. I could not agree more because if there is something where kids can learn how to feel that poise within them they can conquer anything.

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During the day, DJ’s and guest DJ’s play music continuously throughout 3 ballrooms and the main hallway area to keep the energy going. The evening weekend line up featured, JR and his bachata band from New York, Orquesta Guayacan direct from Colombia, La Sonora Ponceña of Puerto Rico and Sunday night closed with the best of the best from the Midwest with an incredible jam session under the direction of Chicago’s own Edwin Sanchez and Angel Rodriguez.

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Each year I always look forward to the different workshops held during the day such as, SalsaArobics, Bachata Footwork, Ladies Styling, Mambo Shines, Cuban Salsa, Cha Cha, Brazilan Samba, Afro Mambo, Kizomba, Vogue and the list goes on! The classes are an hour long and usually there is one or two instructors leading the class in each ballroom for different classes. At the end of each workshop session the instructor allows the class to record him/her as they demonstrate the routine one last time. Instructors also offer a one-on-one private dance session.

Alafia workshop 3

If you’re interested, then you definitely do not want to miss out on next year’s Chicago International Salsa Congress! February 7 -10, 2019. For more info, click on the link below and visit them!

www.chicagosalsacongress.com

Ericka Dip and Antonio

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Rosita Ragin-Alamin & Saladeen Alamin (Co-Founders and Producers)

Puerto Rico/Wedding/Vacation

With Puerto Rico being just a few days away I can’t wait to share all the great things there is to do on the island. I hear many great stories but this time I get to experience P.R. for myself. My beautiful sister is getting married at Casa De España in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico and it is known to be a historic place on the island.
Casa de España is the headquarters of a private social organization whose members are those of Spanish descent in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Avenida de La Constitución in Old San Juan. The building was designed in a Moorish Revival style by architect Pedro Adolfo de Castro. The building dates from 1934. Although it is named “Casa”, it has never been a dwelling place for a family; rather it is a “house” whose members claim common ancestry. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.[1] It is not open to the public, but private affairs may be arranged. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casa_de_Espa%C3%B1a

Sharing some of my fave throwback beach photos in the meantime…

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Sun if life…Beach is life
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Into the clouds

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Level of excitement….1000
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Splish-splash

Last night I had the pleasure to support Ms. Erin Leary the owner of BeBuddhaJewelry on her blog launch. The launch party was at Maybe Sunday Collective a small boutique located in the Pilsen neighborhood in Chicago. Inside the boutique there were tables which displayed the many different handmade BeBuddha accessories from earrings, necklaces, bracelets to rings and shirts. A photo booth was also in the mix and necklaces were the props. Ms. Leary also made key-chains for those who attended. When I asked Ms. Leary how she felt about her event she said, “excited and nervous.” Outer piece for Inner Peace is her motto. Ms. Leary has made her passion her business. The pieces of jewelry are bright and bold or soft and subtle and you can’t go wrong with either one.

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You can check out and purchase BeBuddha Jewelry  at: BeBuddhaJewelry.com  and make sure to follow her on Instagram @BeBuddhaJewelry

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Ms. Erin Leary rocking her handmade tassel earrings 

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