Category Archives: Travel

#TravelBlog: 5 Reasons Why I Love New Orleans!

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That’s me and my best friend/sister Maria. We spent our 4th of July weekend in New Orleans for Essence Fest. There were so many amazing things about this magical place. I’m going to share some highlights about our adventure to NOLA and why I think everyone should go there at least once in their lifetime!

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“5 Reasons Why I Love New Orleans!”

1. FOOD FOOD FOOD

OF COURSE this is number one for me. One of my favorite things to do is EAT. Although I keep a fairly healthy diet at home, I eat anything and everything on vacation, and New Orleans is the place to indulge! NOLA has many dishes that will make you consider not buying anything but food while you’re down there. In fact, yes when you’re visiting New Orleans, spend all your money on food. And take food back home with you as souvenirs (if you’re flying within the United States). You’ll thank me later.

Other foods we enjoyed: Gumbo, Crawfish Bisque, Jambalaya, Muffuletta sandwich, Drumettes, and other seafood dishes.

Beignets

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From Cafe Du Monde
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nom nom nom

Crawfish (Cajun seasoning)

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My first time eating crawfish! I’m hooked!!!!!!! New favorite.

Po’Boys

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Catfish Po’ Boy

2. THE ART — A CREATIVE’S PARADISE 

At night Frenchmen Street in New Orleans turns into an outdoor market, selling things like homemade jewelry and paintings. We even saw artists painting live.

There are streets filled with art galleries and cute cafes. Maria and I also visited the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) and the Sculpture Garden. If you love art, you will leave New Orleans with your heart filled.

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Frenchmen Street
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Store window

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Street Art

3. THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE

First shout out to all the amazing natural hair women we saw in NOLA!!!!!! Maria and I fit right in, and we bonded with some fellow curly natural hair chicks!

On that note, Maria and I talked to strangers everyday in New Orleans. We met so many amazing, incredible, inspiring people– from musicians to artists to cab drivers to store owners and fellow travelers. Hearing people’s stories will make you build a connection with the city itself. I feel like I have family in New Orleans. The people are incredibly nice.

When you travel, talk to strangers… we’re all family on this planet!

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4. LIVE MUSIC — HERE, THERE, AND EVERYWHERE!

The purpose of our trip to New Orleans was Essence Fest. A huge festival with thousands of people coming from all over the United States to hear empowerment seminars during the day, win contests/giveaways, and dance the night away with performances by Missy Elliot, Mary J Blige, Kendrick Lamar, Usher, etc.

However, you do not need to buy an Essence ticket to enjoy music in NOLA. There is music everywhere, literally. The streets are filled with musicians–the bars, cafes, and even the museums had a pianist playing live. No wonder I felt so merry and light on my feet, prancing and dancing around the streets of New Orleans.

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Louis Armstrong Park
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Jackson Square

5. HISTORY & CULTURE

 I felt transported back into time visiting some of the museums and walking down the streets of New Orleans. The French Quarter is probably my favorite place because it still has European influence in its structure, truly a cultural gem inside the United States. It was so pretty walking around all the little shops and cafes. Until we got to Bourbon street aka the biggest non-stop frat party– at anytime of day people are drinking and partying in the street, smells like pee and beer, but still fun at night. Try signature drinks like the Hurricane and Hand Grenade.

Other cultural and historical places to visit are the Voodoo shops, the cemeteries, the Louis Armstrong Park, the Bayou, the big Southern-style mansions in the Garden District, and the National World War II museum. 

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In front of Jackson Square.

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World War II Museum

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Louis Armstrong Park

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I hope you go see New Orleans for yourself!

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Dear NOLA, Maria and I will be back soon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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4 Things I Learned Working for a Global Company

A global perspective  is growing to be so important in business, with new markets in Europe and Asia on the rise.

It was always a dream of mine to work for a global company.

Here are four things I’ve learned since interning for a global communications firm in Barcelona.

1. GLOBAL NEWS IS NOT BORING

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It’s not fun reading about the tough situations around the world: the natural disasters, bombings, politics, corruption–but being abroad it was good to read the news, and I gained a new appreciation for it. I would read the New York Times and New York Post online every morning to know what was going on back home. I would also pick up a newspaper here in Spain and read their local news. It was especially fun for me, because I was in Spain during the 2014 World Cup! Reading world news is pretty cool!

2. LITERAL TRANSLATIONS DO NOT  ALWAYS WORK (Don’t let Google Translate Fool You)

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Although I’m fluent in Spanish I still use translation sites to automatically translate long emails because it makes my life easier. That was when I realized just how horrible most of these translation resources were. EEEK!

Context is key.

While interning abroad in Spain I was given a task to write a press release in Spanish. At first I was so excited, a new challenge! Then as I began writing, I second guessed everything I wrote because I realized I’m not well-versed in Spain’s culture. It’s not easy trying to write a captivating press release in a market you don’t know much about.

For example I would say “alquilar un apartamento” they would say “alquilar un piso”.

Knowing the culture is key.

So for all the global business junkies like me, the lesson here: 

It’s important to know the language but it’s equally (or more) important to know the target market’s culture.

3. HAVING COWORKERS FROM DIFFERENT COUNTRIES IS AWESOME!!!!!!!!

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Making new friends in a different country is great. You learn so much about countries, customs, and religions. You really get to see how different we all are, and in some cases how similar we all are. ❤

4. PREPARE TO BE SHOCKED AT SOME CULTURAL DIFFERENCES, BUT ALWAYS REMAIN RESPECTFUL 

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  I remember my ethics professor telling our class, “if it doesn’t feel right to you ethically, you shouldn’t do it.” I was researching potential events for one of our European clients to attend. One event that took place in UAE had a disclaimer stating: “No women are allowed to attend the event.” The feminist inside of me raged. I thought it was unethical, and I did not want to add this event to the list. BUT this was a norm in the UAE, and I had to respect it, even if I personally did not agree with it.

When it comes to cultural differences you may not always agree, you may think they’re weird, but then again, they may think you’re the weird one.  When working for a global organization you have to keep an open mind, and have mutual understanding and mutual respect for different cultures.

❤ Best experience ever.

Thank you Barcelona!

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Stupid Things New Yorkers Hear When Traveling Abroad

“Where are you from?”

I’m lucky to be from a city that is known internationally. New York City is a symbol of freedom, a dream city for many people living outside of the United States. It’s also a dream city for a lot of people living in the United States.

I’ve traveled quite a bit and I never get asked much about NYC, most people have been to New York, or at least seen it in movies, and have their own fantasy idea of what it’s like. But now that I’m making good friends in Europe, I’ve gotten pretty memorable questions asked. I don’t judge. But I thought I would share with my fellow New Yorkers.

 

1. “Is Times Square a square?”

More like a  polygon.

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2. “Do you live near Central Park or Soho?”

Neither i’m too poor.

3. “Is it like Sex & the City, that’s my favorite show here in Spain “

No. I JUST RUINED YOUR DREAM.

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4. “Do you go out and party every night?”

Do you go out and party every night? I have responsibilities like any other responsible adult. But partying is fun…..

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5. “Is New York City really expensive?  

Yes. No funny comment here, just Yes. It’s expensive to live there.

6. “Your apartment is really small though, right?” 

You’re hurting my feelings now.

7. “Do people speak Spanish in New York City?”

My grandma only speaks Spanish and has been living in NYC for over 20 years with no problem. So yes some people ONLY speak Spanish and get by.

8. “Why is everyone always in a rush?”

LOL I honestly don’t know.

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9. “New Yorkers seem so hipster, so cool, so different.”

If by different you mean some people are pretty weird. Then yes.

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10. “It must be easy to meet people, there are so many people!”

Yea except I walk everywhere with my headphones on and avoid eye contact at all costs. But other than that, we’re friendly.

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And the most asked question (I get this everywhere I go): 

11. “Do you like New York City or Barcelona/Rome/ etc/ better?”

 I love both. I love any place with good food.

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My Barcelona Journey: Lesson #2: Life feels like a maze. Find a beautiful place and get lost in it!

I got lost again.

This time it was in a cool maze!

Here are some pictures of my adventure at

Parc del Laberint d’ Horta.

Translation:

Labyrinth Park of Horta

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The story behind the Labyrinth is an interesting one….

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The labyrinth is actually located in the backyard of this amazing castle called Desvalls Palace. A palace owned by a noble family that was later donated to the city of Barcelona, because no one could afford to buy it.  😮

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I have a beautiful labyrinth and park in my backyard. No big deal!

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The backyard/park is divided into two gardens. An 18th century neoclassical (Ancient Roman and Greek style) garden, and a 19th century romantic garden. (Romantic, and yes I did see a lot of couples there, and lots of good ol’ PDA).

The first garden includes the labyrinth, a fun maze that I did get lost in. I felt like it was a metaphor for getting lost in the city of Barcelona.

But no the real story of the labyrinth deals with mythology. Minotaur (half-bull, half-man), Ariadne, and Theseus.

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According to Ancient Greek mythology, the Athenians were required to sacrifice seven young men and seven maidens to the Minotaur. One year, the sacrificial party included Theseus. Theseus volunteered to come through the labyrinth and kill the Minotaur. Ariadne fell in love at first sight, and helped Theseus by giving him a sword and a ball of thread, so that he could find his way out of the Minotaur’s labyrinth.

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The start of the labyrinth. Ariadne giving Thesus the string & the sword.
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Eros (better known as Cupid) is a symbol of love, located in the center of the maze.
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Numerous Gods and Goddesses are located throughout the park, showing the Roman and Greek architectural influences.

 

Once you find your way out of the maze you go to the romantic garden with flower beds, gazebos, animals, and a waterfall.

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Waterfalls
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Water canal
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The duck that couldn’t stop “twerking” shaking his tail-feathers.

 

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Life feels like a maze.

Lesson #2: “Find a beautiful place and get lost in it.”

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Live. Life. Phoneless.

I think the coolest thing one of my friends has ever done is live life phoneless. He chose to  spend a couple of months without his phone to enjoy life more, and I was the one who enjoyed life more just being around him. I looked forward to seeing him and although it was inconvenient to reach each other at times, the moments I shared with him were intimate and special. It was then that I felt closest to him. Our connection grew stronger, because when we hung out he was giving me his full companionship, and I returned the favor. I did not feel the need to pull out my phone to text or even check the time, instead I enjoyed every second together.

Our friendship blossomed, and when I saw this video I thought about him. Thought about the time we sat in silence in Central Park, just enjoying being around eachother. Looking around at my surroundings, interacting with strangers, –my hand was free of my phone, and my mind was free of worries. I thought about how much I made fun of him for not having a phone, but this video gave me a glimpse of what it might have felt like to be phoneless, I’m sure he was the one making fun of all of us for missing out on life and being so attached to an electronic device.

“I Forgot My Phone” http://youtu.be/OINa46HeWg8