Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Champagne Stroll with OPEN Downtown Pop Up Shops

Hi loves! A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to co-host an event with my good friend Christina Ochoa, entrepreneur, blogger and founder of The Social Butterfly Gal. We had this fabulous idea to lead a Champagne Stroll in the beautiful historical area of La Villita, right after one of our favorite boutiques, Zelle Boutique, opened a long term pop shop in the shopping village with OPEN Downtown Pop Ups SA. This organization finds unused spaces in the city and rents them out to local shops for a 90 day period maximum in an effort to drive traffic to the area, so potential investors how the spaces can be used and of course create awareness of these wonderful local shops that don't have a storefront, but mostly run online or on social media. We thought, well there are about 5 shops with the program open in La Villita, why don't we host a fun event to hit them all up in one night?! And so we did! We were able to partner with OPEN and host the Champagne Stroll as a blogger event, because who more than us will make proper use of our social media influence to bring awareness to the amazing shops in the program! I mean, we DO love shopping! We had a blast! We visited Zelle Boutique, Bird & Pear, B.Link, Capistrano Soap Co. and Indigo Makers Collective. Each shop offered us champagne, cocktails and treats and an exclusive look into their collections while we played a fun social media driven Scavenger Hunt. It was so much fun! Definitely looking into hosting more events like this in the future.
First Stop: Zell Boutique
Next Stop: Capistrano Soap Co.
Next Stop: Bird & Pear
Next Stop: B.Link

Christina and I at the last stop, Indigo Makers Collective. All shiny after running around, lol.

*Special thank you to OPEN Downtown Pop Ups SA for sponsoring this event!*

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Shop for a Cause with Stella & Dot

Earlier this month I hosted a small event, partnered with Stella & Dot Jewelry with stylist, Valerie Garrison at the most amazing chocolatier that recently opened in San Antonio, Chocollazo. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we displayed the latest Fall/Winter Collection including the beautiful and delicate Rose Gold pieces from the Wishing Collection to benefit Bright Pink. All purchases of those pieces would have net proceeds sent to this wonderful organization is the only national non-profit organization focused on prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women. The ladies of the San Antonio Fashion Society were present, along with other lovely guests were also in attendance. It was a fabulous turnout, especially since Mary Collazo, of Chocollazo prepared delicious treats for us! We had chocolate covered strawberries infused with Rosé and the glasses of Rosé were flowing. The jewelry was all just so beautiful! If you didn't get a chance to attend, don't fear! You can still shop from my Trunk Show until October 27th, 2016! Don't miss out on tthe gorgeous Fall/Winter Collection! Shop the latest collection here: Stella & Dot.

Al principio de mes, fui anfitriona de un pequeño evento en conjunto con Stella & Dot Jewelry con la estilista Valerie Garrison en la increíble chocolatería que abrió recentemente en San Antonio, Chocollazo. En honor al mes del Cáncer del Seno, mostramos la colección de joyería de la temporada de otoño/invierno junto a las hermosas y delicadas piezas en tono de oro rosado que benefician a la organización de Bright Pink. La venta de esas piezas de la línea Wishing otorga 100% a esta excelente organización, la cual es la única sin fines de lucro que se enfoca en la prevención y detección temprana de cáncer del seno y de ovarios en mujeres jóvenes. Las chicas del San Antonio Fashion Society hicieron presente aparte de fabulosas invitadas que disfrutaron de deliciosos entremeses hechos por Mary Collazo, de Chocollazo. Tentamos al paladar con fresas cubiertas de chocolate, rellenas de vino Rosé entre copas de Rosé, a su vez. La joyería provista por Stella & Dot estaba preciosa! Si no tuviste la oportunidad de asistir al evento, no te preocupes! Aún puedes comprar de mi presentación hasta el 27 de octubre de 2016!  No te pierdas esta oferta, compra tu joyería y aporta a una buena causa! La collección de Wishing y de otoño/invierno está disponible a través de:  Stella & Dot
Lovely ladies of the SA Fashion Society. (Left to right: Ward Riaz, Me, Marisa Guerra of Chic in the Heart of Texas)
 *Photography by Mike Thompson*

*Edit: The $25 off $100 sale has ended*

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Rooftop Vibes

I'm loving the rooftop locations popping up in San Antonio! Paramour Rooftop Bar opened in 2015 and has been THE hotspot in town. They recently added a coffee bar menu and people are flocking to get their lattes with a view of the city. We recently had the San Antonio Fashion Awards and the official afterparty was held at Paramour and it was the chicest party in SA, but more on that later. Still having very warm weather, so we can still wear off the shoulder looks without feeling any chills. These chunky shoes from JustFab are the real winners, though. I've been wearing these with everything! I'm obsessed!

Me encanta el hecho de que locales con azotea están apareciendo por todo San Antonio! Paramour Rooftop Bar abrió en el 2015 y ha sido muy popular en la ciudad. Recientemente añadieron un menú de café, así que ya pueden disfrutar de su café con una hermosa vista de la ciudad. Recientemente tuvimos los San Antonio Fashion Awards y el lugar oficial de la pos-fiesta fue Paramour. Fue la fiesta más chic en SA, pero comparto más sobre eso más adelante. Aún estamos teniendo un clima muy cálido, así que podemos usar looks con los hombros expuestos sin morirse de frío. Estos zapatos estilo "chinky" son los reales ganadores de esté outfit. Me los he estado poniendo con todo, recientemente! Estoy obsesionada!

Photos by Ciara Johnson (Hey Ciara)

What I wore / Llevaba puesto:
Dress: SheIn
Belt: (It's actually a choker from Snazzy Jewels)
Shoes: Marlea from JustFab

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Finding My Place: Growing up as a Hispanic-American

*Getting a little personal on this post as part of the #HispanicHeritageMonth*
I was born in Brooklyn, New York to a Dominican family. My parents emigrated to the U.S. in the early 70's and spent their teenage years and young adulthood living in New York. Although NYC is known as the global melting pot, my parents did tell me stories about High School cliques being racially driven. They told me about the racial slurs thrown at Hispanics, just because. I thought it was pretty hilarious that they called Dominican immigrants "Plátanos", which translates as Plantains, or Green Banana. I thought to myself "How is that an insult? They are so delicious!" 

Regardless, I was a New Yorker, and proud! Every Summer we would visit the Dominican Republic and my cousins and I were the American kids when we went down to the clubhouse pool. I was ok with that, because most of the time, other kids thought we were interesting and wanted to hang out with us. When I was 9, we moved to Puerto Rico for a family business opportunity offered to my father. I remember being so sad because I was leaving everything I knew in the city, my family, friends, ice skating in Central Park, visits to the World Trade Center, the Pearl Chinese Restaurant we went to on special occasions. I'd miss everything! Most of all, I'd miss diversity. In Puerto Rico, I was the odd one out. I was the immigrant. I was the outsider. They called me "La Gringa". I was placed in a private school, but the entire curriculum was in Spanish, except for the English class, and some language courses as electives. I knew very little Spanish and this was going to be hard. I had to take intensive Spanish after school, apply myself and since all the kids only spoke Spanish I had no choice  but to fully submerge, strong "Gringa" accent and all. Then came the kicker. I'm of Dominican descent. I learned the hard way, that in the early 90's in Puerto Rico, this was not a good thing. Kids would ask me "Where are you from?" and my natural New Yorker response would be "I'm Dominican". This response lead to many "Oh, well, you don't look Dominican?" Of course this hurt my feelings! Just like Puertoricans, Dominicans come in a variety of shades, but as Puerto Rico received so many illegal immigrants many shades darker than me, they weren't used to me and my "kind" was not accepted.
Flying over the city if San Juan, PR

My sister, brothers and mother.

I lived in Puerto Rico for over 20 years, fighting to defend my heritage as an American living on a culturally charged latin island. Even though the island is a U.S. Commonwealth, and the people are U.S. Citizens, I always felt like I wasn't fully welcome. "La Gringa" was how I was referred to on a constant basis, even though I managed to learn perfect Spanish, orally and written, even better than some folks I knew. College was a different experience. I embraced my Dominican culture even more, but I saw it as a badge of honor. My peers were so much more accepting and I started to feel more Caribbean than just Dominican. I lived on this amazing tropical paradise and I was set to fully enjoy my life there. Reveling in the beautiful beaches, rainforests and incredible food, that's when I felt the most at home. 

After finally truly embracing my Caribbean life, my career took a strange turn and the island was in the midst of an economic crisis (it's even worse now), and my company offered me to relocate to a new location on the mainland. This would be the toughest decision I'd ever had to make. I was engaged to be married, had purchased a home and was extremely happy. If I didn't take the relocation offer, I was to lose my job and had to jump into the pool along with the tens of thousands of other young professionals trying to get a job. So, after much deliberation, my then fiancé and I made the jump. Now we're the outsiders together. This transition was tougher for him, since he had never lived in the states. He speaks english, with a heavy Spanish accent and this is a source of anxiety for many Puertoricans. I could definitely relate. I helped him by only speaking english to him for months, kindly correcting his grammar and phrasing, and going over mock interviews. This helped him tremendously to land a job where he would use his bilingual skills. Today he has a dream job, and I couldn't be prouder!
Life in San Antonio, TX

My experience is a bit different from most Hispanic-American people I know. Most immigration stories are the other way around. Not all, one of my best friends in the world shares my exact same story. From New York, to Puerto Rico and back to the States. People have asked me how it felt going backwards. What a strange statement! I understand that you mostly see people leaving a non-US country and never looking back, in order to improve their lives or whatever the case may be. My father actually helped improve our lives when we LEFT New York, in my eyes. When we left, crime was at an all time high, and we had an amazing opportunity on the island, leading us to a beautiful upbringing full of values, culture and beautiful natural surroundings. It was the farthest thing from backwards. We had a truly wonderful experience. Circumstances have oddly brought me back, I'm still an odd woman out, but now I fully embrace the diversity I bring wherever I go. I will always belong.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Fitness Friday: My First Cycling Class

 Happy Friday! In an effort to get back to my fit self, I've jumped at every opportunity to workout outside of my regular routines. They say this causes muscle confusion and that's when you really see the change. I was so happy when fellow blogger Christina Coker of Champagne Taste, Beer Budget invited us to a cycling class at newly opened CycleBar at Stone Oak. I've been dying to do this but kind of terrified because my very first cycling class ever was in Puerto Rico with my best friend Kathy (with a Groupon), I almost fell off the bike and totally lost my lunch after the class. It was intense! So, I decided to give it another try, after 5 years from the traumatic experience, and I have to say, it wasn't bad! I threw myself into it and actually even made 9 out of 36! They monitor your progress after you sign in and they even send you an email with your scores for the day. I was very proud of myself! They have pay as you go and package options that are pretty affordable. Plus the instructor, Brittany was the BOMB! She's so motivating and uplifting, just full of life! I loved her! I will definitely be coming back!

Feliz Viernes! Continúo con mis esfuerzos de regresar a estar en forma, así que me he aprovechado de cada oportunidad de hacer ejercicios fuera de mi rutina regular. Dicen que esto cause confusion muscular y ahí es que verdaderamente se vé el cambio. Me alegré cuando mi amiga bloguera, Christina Coker de Champagne Taste, Beer Budget nos invitó a una clase de cycling en el nuevo CycleBar que abrieron en Stone Oak. He estado por tratar esta clase de nuevo, pero con algo de miedo porque la primera vez que lo hice fue en Puerto Rico con mi mejor amiga, Kathy, (con un Groupon) y casi me caigo de la bici Y perdí mi almuerzo después dela clase. Fue súper intenso! Bueno, pues decidí intentarlo de nuevo, a pesar de la experiencia traumática, y debo admitir que no estuvo tan mal! De hecho, me esforcé y logré hacer el 9no lugar de 36! Ellos monitorean tu progreso al anotarse en recepción y te envían tus estadísticas por email luego de la clase. Estoy muy orgullosa de mi! Ellos tienen opciones de pago por clase o paquetes que son  a buen precio. La instructora también fue la mejor! Brittany si que sabe motivar con su alto nivel de energía y actitud positiva. Me encantó! Definitivamente que regreso!

Thanks to Christina Coker of Champagne Taste, Beer Budget
and CycleBar SA for hosting the event