Quellie and Lena Try…Aqua Zumba

So here’s a bit of a little known fact about me for you all: I tend to stay away from doing much exercise in the fall and winter. Why? Well I know the reason may seem superficial to many people but it is because of my hair.  When the temperature starts to dip below 60 degrees I make a point to straighten my hair, be it with a roller-set or using my Instyler. As much as I love my natural curls, I started this cycle back in college as I found that having my hair straight in the fall and winter just made it easier to manage. While the overall time it takes to get my hair from curly to straight is not as bad as my curly routine, it is a lot of work that can easily be for naught if I so much as perspire a bit or let some water, like rain or snow, touch it.

Thus any strenuous physical activities, like exercising, are regulated to the warmer months in spring and summer when I go back to my natural curly hair routine. But even then gymtimidation keeps me away from  and using arm and leg weights while playing DDR at home can get pretty boring after a while. Which leads me to this post.At the start of the summer I did some research to find some out-of-the-box exercise classes preferably in water because let’s face it, summers in NYC are the worst. Thanks to Google I found out about Aqua Zumba. As someone who used to go to Zumba classes (on land) twice a week, I found the concept interesting so I mentioned the idea of giving this a try to Jonquel of Jonqel Art as well as to two co-worker friends of ours that have built in gym days to their weekly schedules. They all immediately jumped at the idea and we bought our first time passes for the following week. Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

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Reflecting on 27

2017 was a very interesting year. It marked the year that I turned 27 – the same age my mother was when she made the decision to drop out of college in Puerto Rico to build a life here in NYC. This is also the age she took steps towards creating a family as she also met and later married my father. All of the above are major life events that I can’t even come close to relating to being single and still living in the same city I was born and raised in.

I don’t know if I’m the only one that does this but I think its only natural to look at the path my mother took in order to gain some sense as to where I should “be” at my age. Which is why reaching 27  meant that I should have parts of my life “together” as an adult and yet I found myself feeling like I hadn’t made any real moves. Continue reading

Let’s Get This Straight! – Natural Curls in the Workplace

Five years ago when I told my mother I had an interview for an internship position with a renowned fine art and antiquities auction house, her immediate reaction was, “go straighten your hair.” I had really long waist-length tightly curly hair—a gift from my mother’s side of the family—that tends to get a lot of unwanted attention. Though choosing to retain my natural texture for most of my life, I had a love-hate relationship with it- until I realized that my hair wasn’t a curse but something that made me more unique. Maintaining my curly hair was long, tedious process so as a child I often complained about my texture, while my mother was always the one championing  its natural beauty, so hearing her “go straighten your hair” declaration threw me off a bit. What did my hair have to do with my qualifications for the position?

A lot apparently.

2015 Office Selfie

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“We Were Here” – Concert OOTN ft. Dare Fashion

“You’re a tea drinking, highly educated, otaku, goth black Latina that listens to metal. That’s as out there  as it can be.” – Jonquel of JonquelArt

Truer words have never been spoken. I’m a “weird” Afro-Latina girl. I accepted that years ago. I watch anime, read comics and get excited by new Harry Potter and Disney merch/collections whenever they drop but weirder still for most people, I listen to A LOT of metal. Beyonce may be everyone’s queen but mine are Tarja TurnenSharon den Adel, Simone Simons and Floor Jansen. Yes, I did just list a bunch of Scandinavian names. What can I say? They are masters of the genre over there.
I should pause here to explain something. Metal is a very broad term that covers countless sub-genres, one of them being symphonic metal – a genre I was introduced to around 2005 with “Once,” Nightwish’s final album with lead singer Tarja Turnen. I found out about this band thanks in part to the internet and my obsession with the “Phantom of the Opera.” (Long story but true.) I somehow got my hands on a copy of “Once” and with the first verse of “Sleeping Sun” I was hooked. Continue reading

When Positive Changes Lead to Negative Reactions….

Time for some real talk – I have hated myself since I was around 6 years old.

That was around the time when three things happened: (1) My parents separated which later led to divorce, (2) My mother, little brother and I ended up homeless for the first time and (3) It was the first time I was told I had to lose weight.  Of the three obviously there are two things on this short list that should hold more weight in terms of importance, yet they all greatly affected my self-esteem, body image and mental health.

These pictures were taken only 4 years apart! Same dress (Kara Lace Dress from SWAK) but different attitude. (Left -2017, Right – 2014)

It wasn’t until I entered my 20s, inspired by the bloggers I followed online, that I decided to look past the qualities that others celebrated and worked on loving the “flaws” I was always told I should make every effort to correct.  I replaced my old wardrobe with new items. I learned to accept compliments. I started experimenting with makeup in ways that I found comfortable. I accessorized more. I cut my hair. Twice, even going shorter the second time. I’ve colored my hair a bold color. By all accounts, I’ve become a different person. Continue reading