Fairchild Mango Festival: So Many Mangos

This article was originally published on Coral Gables Love.

There’s that one thing that gets us through the intense summer heat here in Miami, and I’m not talking about the beach. Yup, when dry air is nowhere to be found, and every time you step outside feels like you’re stepping into a giant sauna, it can only mean one thing: mango season. Ah yes, when the tropical climate becomes less like paradise and more like an oppressive hell of sun, and more sun, that’s when mangoes (do you sense a theme developing here?) thrive, dropping from your neighbor’s trees like your little cousin’s Soundcloud EPs. 

Mangos. Orange, juicy, and so so sweet. I know what you’re thinking, dear reader, “But, Nicky, mango season is over!” Think again! The world is full of mangoes from places far more exotic and tropical than this crazy town, and Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is the first to recognize that by celebrating with a world-class level festival. Fairchild Mango Festival, baby! And I was there to report on all the tropical fruit action. This year the festival was held on July 13th and 14th for all us mango-heads (nickname I just made up for mango aficionados). 


It was a sizzling Saturday with 100% humidity as I made my way down the mean streets of Old Cutler, past the gorgeous banyan trees and into Fairchild. I parked my car in the maze of a lot and followed a parade of bucket hats and cargo shorts to the entrance of the festival. After sweating my way past local vendors and getting the lay of the land, I found Victoria’s Flavors, a smoothie stand, and ordered a watermelon drink good enough to cool myself down in the muggy heat (didn’t I mention that it was about 100% humidity?!). I drank away while our photographer, Nabila, snapped photos of me. You can see the pure joy on my face.


With my delicious smoothie in hand, we made our way inside the Garden House—the one place in the whole festival where we got a reprieve from the heat. Not only were we greeted with a gust of central AC (bless) but also with a display of ALL THE MANGOS EVER. Didn’t I mention that mangos grow all over the world at different times of the year? Not just in Miami?—well here are the photos to prove it! 


We walked around checking out the ‘go selection (cool abbreviation I made up for mangos) while trying free snacks and goodies from other vendors like Trader Joes and Starbucks. Local artists were also present with their illustrations of different mango species from the wild. Cool, cool, very cool. 


After a pleasant stroll through the Garden House, we made our back outside where we were greeted with more vendors and tropical fruit stands. Nom nom nom. I got to check out the mango plants for purchase. After which, we had the opportunity to use the interactive science stand where we learned about different seeds and plants. Needless to say, it was pretty fascinating. 


Before leaving, I made sure to make it out to the Beer Garden, which was basically a tent full local breweries handing out beer samples. As another attempt to cool off from the heat, we figured it was a good call. I had Wynwood Brewery’s La Rubia, but there were plenty of other South Florida beers to try. Nearby was Gringa Flan offering mango-flavored flan. You know I had to try a piece. 


So sure, the mango festival was hot, but it was still fun to check out all the mangos of the world plus delicious snacks from local businesses and other goodies. The festival had a lot of other activities to offer as well, like lectures from mango botanists (the OG mango-heads), along with mango lunches from the likes of Chef Norman Van Aken if you’re into that kind of thing. 


I left with a new appreciation for my favorite fruit plus a dress drenched in sweat. All in all in a FRUITful day (get it? Because of the fruits?)! 


Go to the Fairchild Mango Festival! Okay, bye!

Finding Love in Miami: The New Tropic Investigates

This story was originally published on Coral Gables Love.

As a single gal in Miami, I’m always trying to find the equation to meeting the right guy. “How’d you meet your significant other?” is a question that’s always on my lips. “Does he have friends? Is he single? Would my mom like him?” are the next three questions. Some people think Miami is too shallow of a dating pool; some people wretch at the idea of swiping in Miami. “Finding love in Miami is too hard!” us singles chant in unison. But is it, really?

Miami’s The New Tropic spends each month investigating a specific topic and last month’s theme was Modern Love in Miami. They did their job right by talking to dating coaches, sex experts, and doctors. They even delved into the cutthroat world of swiping in Miami!

My perception of dating in Miami? I like dating! It’s fun! I’ve met some lovely dudes around town. Maybe only one horror story—and, honestly, it wasn’t even that bad! Have I met “the one” though? Didn’t I mention I was single in the first line of this piece? Come on, guys! Focus! So, when my friend Emily sent me an event being hosted by The New Tropic called “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” ya girl was already hooked. Three dating and relationship experts giving out free advice to a crowd full of Miami singles— it’s basically a gift to the public!

photo credit: New Tropic Miami

photo credit: New Tropic Miami

I gussied up and made my way over to WEAM, or World Erotic Art Museum. Yup, sexy stuff! We were allowed free access to the museum before and after the panel, which I gotta say is an underrated spot (again, this event was basically a gift to the public). The ceramic penis sculpture from A Clockwork Orange? Check. Nudes from Rembrandt? Check. An erotic cultural haven right in our backyard! Who would’ve known?

Anywho, after a peruse around the museum, we made our way to the panel room full of—well, mostly women. Given, there were a few couples and guys but let’s be real, it’s the girls that want the scoop on love in this town! What do single men even do on a Thursday night in Miami? Seriously though! I’m asking for myself.

It was finally time for the panel discussion hosted by the local director of The New Tropic, Natasha Del Toro. Our three dating experts included Virginia Jimenez, a Transformational Love Coach, Dan Silverman, Dating Coach and Matchmaker, and Dani Spikes, a ~Loooove~ Coach.

Each panelist brought their unique perspective on dating in Miami. To them, it’s sometimes less about the town and more about the way we’re dating and going about finding dates. According to Silverman who travels all over the country “everyone complains that their city is the worst.” Maybe there are some differences between cities, but that’s just the culture! Spikes said there’s a major issue with superficiality in Miami. Come on, Miami! Get it together. According to her “we’re not having those deep connections early in the relationship.” Ouch. Jimenez urges us to get past those superficial connections and seek out the right connection. So, less about harping on the negative and focusing on the positive. I can hang with that.

By the end of the event, I learned a lot! Our three panelists put their unique view on each question asked. When it came to finding love, Jimenez told the crowd to focus on what they want in a relationship, Spikes talked about the importance of self-love, and Silverman—I actually don’t remember what Silverman said. I tend to black out when men speak for too long, which could explain why I’m single…JUST KIDDING. Silverman gave us the male perspective on dating and got into technical details to help us when we’re out there in the real world trying to trap a man.

What a great way for a single gal to spend her Thursday night! Seriously, if you’ve got no plans or no friends in Miami, get out of your comfort zone and learn more about the city you live in by attending one of The New Tropic’s events. At the end of the panel, we had a chance to network and meet some of our fellow singles, some of which were honest about being new in town and trying different things around the city. That’s the way you do it! Be sure to stay on top of The New Tropic’s website for more events like this one!

Unpopular, but Totally Awesome Opinion: My E-Reader Rules!

If you’re a book lover who’s all about romance and dreams of having an at-home library the size of the one in The Beauty and the Beast, this post is not for you. If you’re a book lover who’s all about living your damn life the way you want to live it, this IS the post for you.

Dearest reader, I love my e-reader. I have no shame in admitting it. Every time I turn it on and that screen lights up my face, pure joy enters my heart, body—you get it.

Listen, don’t hate. Physical books are cool. They smell good, you can hold them in your hands, they have words in actual INK, you can set it on fire once you’re done with them etc. Books are a novelty… I get it. I really do! It’s just that my e-reader is way cooler! No, no, seriously! And like any good writer, I have some opinion based evidence that’ll prove my point! Read on to learn more!

I Can Read in the Dark- I’m all about things (who needs people or experiences or love when THINGS exist?), but I’m not about extra accouterments for reading a book in the dark. A reading light? Too bulky, too big! Where will I store it? I’d rather destroy my eyes with the backlit LED of my beloved e-reader.

E-Readers are Convenient- I love the library. How can I not? It smells so good, it’s quiet, and full of library crazies who talk themselves when you’re trying to work. There was a time where I used to take books out of the library, and it’d take FOREVER for me to get ahold of said book. There was always a waiting list. I’d have to wait weeks to read the new Rainbow Rowell book. WEEKS.

It’s 2017. Instant gratification is the name of the game. The second I finished The White Princess by Phillipa Gregory on my e-reader, and I mean the second, I went on to read American Gods. You guys! Two books that inspired Starz TV shows all in the same night!  Hours of entertainment and so much easier than waiting for the lib! E-reader for the wiiiin!

E-Readers Are Compact- I wasn’t a true convert until I went on my infamous solo trip through Europe. I knew e-books were around, but I was still checking out those pesky library books. Before I left, I knew I was going to be reading a lot with all those long train, plane, and automobile trips I’d be taking. No bulky books for me! I bit the bullet and got my e-reader. It was so compact; it fit in my super tight 30Liter Osprey travelers bag without a problem. It went with me from Sevilla to Lyon and then later to Italy and Greece. Amazing!

That's me above Santorini's famous bookstore, Atlantis Books, reading from my e-reader. No books for me! I'm a rebel, my people! 

E-Readers Can Work As Weapons- I like to read in the dead of night when the entire house is asleep. Everything’s all creaky and dark. The light of my e-book gives my room some illumination and comforts me. At the same time, I can read soundly knowing that if there ever was an intruder in my home, I could always use my e-reader for protection. I’ve been working on my hurlin’ arm, people!

Thet's it for me! What do you prefer to read on? Books? E-readers? Let me know in the comments section! Til next time!

The Coziest Comfort Zone

The Internet is full of all sorts of articles about happiness, and bettering yourself. “’5 Ways to be Happy Now’ ‘How to Focus on the Positive’ ‘Get Your Mood Up With These Tips.’” I could list a million made up articles that you’ve probably seen while scrolling through your Facebook feed. Well, maybe not a million, but you get the picture.

Anyway, around November of 2015, I was clicking on these articles pretty hardcore. I was on what they call a “journey of self discovery.” Dang straight, gang! I was on my own personal hero’s journey! Just call me Frodo Baggins, or whatever.

I, as many of my fellow Millennial friends, was feeling pretty unsure and insecure about myself and my situation. I wanted to be a confident, bad bitch queen of Earth, but alas.  So, what did I do? I started a list, dear reader. Yes, a list. I wrote down a list of things I was scared to do —activities or plans that freaked the bejesus out of me. Why did I do this? Because all those articles and listicles about bettering yourself seemed to have one unifying concept: get the eff out of your comfort zone!

Don’t just get out of it; destroy it. Throw it to the ground and stomp all over it. Blast it with a blaster from like Rick and Morty or something. So I decided it was in my best interest to make this crazy list. I’m not going to tell you everything on that list, but let’s just say I started small. I took a ballet class.

I’d say I have a healthy amount of anxiety so just doing this one thing—taking a stupid beginners ballet class—was a pretty big deal. I ended up signing up and showing up to almost every single class. Ask me to do a pirouette, just ask me!

Once 2016 rolled around, I decided to knock off an even bigger fear of mine: travelling solo. If you’ve read my travel post “Falling for Madrid (Like, Literally)” then you’ll know why I decided to take the leap. The thought of travelling solo was pretty terrifying. When I first heard of the concept, I was like “I could never do that.” But, then again, I’m a loca who made a list of things that scare her, so I did it. I went on a trip for 40 days all by my lonesome self. It wasn’t always perfect and I probably looked like a complete lost puppy throughout the entire thing, but I did it anyway. Then, I went on to Florence, Italy for 6 weeks with complete confidence of this whole Europe thing. How cool is that?

A photo from my Instagram Circa April 2016:

Now here we are! It’s 2017 and over a year after my pirouetting days. I’m feeling more confident and better about myself than ever. It’s crazy what going out of your comfort zone can do. I’m less afraid to do the small stuff. Can you believe I’d never watched a horror movie before this transformation? Now I watch them all the time. Bring on the scary movies, fam! It’s also calmed my social anxiety. I could talk to the guy next to me at Starbucks without an ounce of anxiety (The guy to my right though. The guy to my left keeps talking to himself and it’s weirding me out).

Any who, at the same time, I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s some extra room for growth. I get it, I’m pretty great as is, but am I that confident bad bitch queen of Earth that we discussed earlier? I don’t think so…

That why it’s time for me to continue living out of my comfort zone. Don’t think I’m not scared despite all that chatter about scary movies. I’m always scared.

Also, my comfort zone is pretty flipping great right now! I have good friends and a sweet job. It’s the coziest, warmest little comfort zone ever. Why would I want to ruin that?

At the same time, there’s something gnawing at me, tugging at me, whispering in my ear before I go to sleep at night. Wait? Is my house haunted? That could explain the old lady that always hangs out in the living room …

Anyway, I’ve got a feeling; a feeling that it’s time to grow up just a little bit more. So, what’s next on the list of things that scare me? I guess you’ll just have to stick around to find out.

In the meantime, I suggest you make your own list! Bust out that journal that’s been collecting dust next to where the old lady sits in your living room and get cracking.

Do some soul searching, dear reader, and tackle your fears one at a time. I believe in you! I really, really do.

Getting Back to It!

Yup, dear reader, the rumors are true…

I’m back!

I'm bigger and better...

And more willing to talk about myself than ever!

I know, I know, I was gone for so long! You missed me! I know. I missed you, too.

So what’s different this time, Nicky? Are you really going to stick around and give us that “stellar” content you’re always going on and on and on about?

Yes, for the most part! I came to a realization recently. I love the written word. More importantly, I love writing the written word. My own words… mostly about myself. I thought I’d dust off that ‘ol blog of mine and get back to it.

So, here we are! Am I blogging (bogbling, babglinbg, babbling) for good? I want to! I want to write up a storm for you guys, but you know me, dear reader. I come and go as I please.

Either way, I suggest you keep up with me on my blog and Instagram for content about things like my adventures around the world as an anxious person (Anxious peeps, this one's for you! How did I navigate? How did I make it out alive? Where will I go next?). 

Also keep up with me for my thoughts on stuff like movies, books, and restaurants, along with a few "best of" lists! Learn about my life as a remote worker, and my love of THINGS (who needs experiences or people or love when THINGS exists?)! 

Finally, listen to me babble on about the most important topic, ME (bc it's my blog and I make the rules, bucko!)! 

It’s the good stuff you love in one compact blog. So preparate. Get excited. Do a little dance (okay, that's enough of the dance. You look pretty dumb, tbh) because I'm BACK and it's a pretty big deal. 

With that, I must bid adieu to you and you and yooohoooo. But, before I go, I need to know, what would YOU like to see on this blog? (I know, right? For once it's not about moi)! 

I’ll be right here next Wednesday with a new post! See ya then!

Name *

Falling For Madrid (Like, Literally)

No big deal or anything, but ya girl just got back from traveling through Spain, France, and Portugal for 40 days. Yup, ya suckers. I was there, traveling all by myself for 40 days.

Also, when I say, “I just got back,” I mean that I got back about a month ago.

I’ve been procrastinating on blogging a little. So what? I needed time to process the whole thing. I’m not the type of person who comes back from a once-in-a-lifetime trip and writes about it willy nilly like that. Come on, guys. Also, I needed time to watch season two of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and all of Lemonade, along with, like, 100 hours worth of Tasty videos…

I’ve been busy.

Four weeks, a scroll through Pinterest, and about ten more Tasty vids later, I’m here to finally tell you about my experience. Here’s the thing about solo travel, dear reader: you can’t really talk about it without sounding like the lady below.

Yeah, jerks. I’m woke as hell now. It was nothing but a trip full of bourgie experiences, during which I rode donkeys. Not really ... but I did take a picture of some cute little lambs in Portugal.

Look at them! They’re so tiny!

Anyway, I’ll stop distracting you with pictures of adorable animals and funny videos and just come out and say it. Traveling on your own is kind of the best. I navigated cities I’ve never been to, met cool people, and ended up staring out into gorgeous views on top of monuments older than dust, wondering, “How did I get here?”

At the same time, traveling alone is full of mishaps and missteps that are sure to make you feel like a f*cking idiot. You'll make wrong turns, say wrong things, and fall on your face. Literally.

This is not a story about those gorgeous views, friendly travelers, or charming medieval hamlets, but rather one of me falling on my face.(I did say literally, didn't I?) Enjoy!

I was scared before I left. The reason I wanted to get into this whole travel game was because many moons ago (okay, fine, it was like a year ago), Kat Armas told me about her own solo adventures in Europe, and I thought, “I could never do that.” Nevertheless, I decided, for the sake of conquering fears and all that, that I should try it. (I know, right? I’m like insane and super brave.)

I booked my ticket, and before I had time to organize a travel plan, my take-off date had come. I tried to keep cool, but as anyone who knows me knows, I have no chill. I have negative chill (which is pretty chilly). It’s the worst. So I tried to sleep on my flight. I even used my inflatable neck pillow and earplugs, but the lady next to me was a mouth breather who kept having to stand up to go pee. Plus, the plane had turbulence and, oh my god, I was on my way to a foreign country all by myself.

So we land and I’m all nervous and sweaty and smell like the breath of the lady sitting next to me. I’m also exhausted and terrified, and did I tell you I smelled like the breath of the lady next to me? So I made the decision to take out cash and drop 30€ on a cab from the airport to the center of town.*

After a seemingly quick ride, the cab driver stopped and said, “this is the place.” So I exited the cab and thought nothing of it. Oh, except one small problem: my hostel was nowhere in sight. I was on the right street, but couldn’t physically find the name of my hostel. Like anywhere. So, I walked up and down the street, trying to spot my hostel. Right as I looked up to see a huge neon sign that read “hostel,” I fell...

over a pole...

the size of my shortest friend...

By the way, this was in Spain, pre-siesta hour, where everyone was on the street before their wine-infused lunch dates, yelling vale at each other. I ate the pavement, backpack on my back and all (my bag was huge, btw. I lovingly dubbed it ‘The Monster,’ after Cheryl Strayed’s backpack in Wild, but also because it was huge). My whole body fell onto the sidewalk. Two guys had to pick me up off the ground and put me on my feet. I didn’t even say thank you. All I said was that I hadn’t seen the huge pole on the ground.†

So my introduction to the whole solo travel game wasn’t exactly cherries and diet cokes. I walked into my hostel all shaky and crazy-eyed because I’d just experienced un tremendo golpeado.√

A few days later, I slipped on the rainy tiles of Lisbon while looking for my hostel, except this time I laughed it off. Also, there were less people on the street, and I was like a super expert at solo traveler by this point. All it took was a couple of days! Who would have thunk!

So what's the moral of the story? Time heals all wounds? Accept the good with the bad? I don’t really know, dear reader. All I know is that my knees were scabby for a while and then they weren’t.º 

Anyway, I’m now a worldly babe, and you’re the coolest for reading this post. I’ll be back with more soon.∞ Namaste, scoobedobedo and all that. BIIIIIIII!

*Who am I? A big money baller? No, I was just that nervous and crazy that I was willing to drop money on an easy ride than deal with the metro.

† To those fine Spaniard dudes, gracias! You helped a sister out. I was understandably a little preoccupied in the moment because there was a giant travelers backpack crushing me a second before our interaction. You understand, right? Of course you do because you’re Spanish and Spanish people are cool. Bless you.

√For you gringos: a major hit to the head

º No, seriously. I think that’s just the moral of the story.


Where'd You Go, Nicky Valdes?

Where did I go? I believe the correct question is, where have you been?

The last time you were here, we were on another platform with an entirely different blog name. RegularLady.com is officially obsolete. Now we’re operating on NickyValdes.com. Yup, as I always say, change is the only constant. The tides change, Jimmy from Degrassi is now Drake from the ‘Hotline Bling’ music video and the world continues to turn on its axis (is ‘Hotline Bling’ still a relevant reference? Can I still ask you how your new year is going? Is it all irrelevant? *hopelessly shrugs*).


New year, new look, new Paige. Just kidding, new RegularLady—well, more like new Nicky Valdes.

So, why did I stop blogging in the first place?

1.    I got a big girl job! That, coupled with my other writing endeavors took some serious adjusting and ya girl could not keep up.

2.    My writing voice is exhausting. I mean, you’ve read it. It’s loud. Imagine that going through your head, then writing it down, and sharing with friends. It gets weird, you guys.

3.    I did some traveling.

Where did I go?

I did a two-month stint in New York from the beginning of June to the end of July. Here’s what I have to say about it: crowded, smelly, exhausting, mesmerizing, fun, and an all around exhilarating experience for a sheltered, mild-mannered girl like myself. Also, it’s a good town for writing (and thrifting and everything else. New Yorkers are so spoiled, you don’t even know).

In August, I did a road trip around Texas for a week along with a quick stay in New Orleans. Why Texas? Why not Texas, I ask you? Texas is the state and I regret nothing, but more on that in a future post.

Next, I went to Chicago to visit a friend. I didn’t take many pictures, which is on me, BUT it was another fabulous experience. 

Then I went to Key West, New York again and Savannah, GA.

NOW, I’m back in Miami, back to blogging (blobging, bobbling, babbling). But, I ask, I beg, I request, dear reader, that you do not, I repeat, do not —CALL IT A COMEBACK.

Is it obvious that I’ve been waiting to use that line?

So, what has changed? Everything, dear reader. Blogging on my new schedule is a little complicated, but I promise to do my best. Aside from that, I’m going to Europe in March, for like, the entire month (which is really soon, I know).

I can’t promise you a post every week, but I can promise you sporadic posts that will make you laugh, cry, or hopelessly shrug. I’m aiming for hardy laughs, and so-good-it-moved-you-to-tears cries. If you hopelessly shrug, it’s okay. It happens.

How I Learned to Accept a Compliment

This story was originally published by HelloGiggles.

I won’t deny it. I’ve kind of become a master at graciously accepting compliments from friends and fellow passerby alike. Oh, I have great hair, you say? Why thank you. My nail art is a thing of gods, you say? Well, hello, thank you.

See, I make it look easy, but the truth is that it hasn’t always been all that easy for me. Compliments are difficult to accept and easy to evade. They oftentimes leave people feeling awkward, uncomfortable, and undeserving. At least, that was true for me.

But the thing is, compliments are really just a form of validation. Even when it’s a compliment that has to do with a pair of earrings you’re wearing or a homework assignment you aced. You picked out those earrings, and that homework assignment is just an extension of yourself because it’s your work and you made it happen and HOW COOL IS THAT?

If you think that it’s narcissistic to shamelessly accept a compliment, well I wholehearted disagree. People are allowed to marvel at themselves. Not enough folks do it if you ask me (which you didn't, rude).

You’re kind of amazing and probably do that double-jointed thumb thing that I can’t do which is awesome so why not accept that awesome one-of-a-kind thing that you can do? If you’re still struggling on how to accept those “you” things you do when people bring them up. No worries I, have got your back with a fool-proof scenario based guide.

Complimentor: I like your scarf.

You: Thanks, I like it too.

Complimentor: You’re the most beautiful person I’ve ever seen.

You: Thanks, I’ll let my grandmother know her genes didn’t go to waste.

(Other option) You: Thank you, my grandmother thinks so too, so I guess it must be true.

Complimentor: Great bangs!

You: Thanks, *touch bangs in a flip-like motion* they practically blow-dry themselves.

Complimentor: You’re just plain amazing.

You: Thank you, I try.

OR, a personal favorite that can be used in any situation:

Thanks, I’ll effing take it. *then walk away leaving all humans stunned by your graciousness, ya cool girl*

I give you all #props ever, friend.

Affirmations Are Like Spells and Here's Why You Should Incorporate Them into Your Routine

This story was originally published on Tigress Mag for Girls

I started using affirmations after I read Louise Hay’s The Power Is Within You. Despite the cheesy book title, I quickly learned that Hay and her affirming techniques are pretty prime for getting to where you want to be and—well, your general well being. After reading some of her books, I slowly immersed myself into the metaphysical (not a word to be afraid of! It’s just another title for the study of life’s big questions: What are we doing here? How can we be cool about it? The answer: Meditate, affirm, be present and so on, ya dig?). 

Hay taught me everything I needed to know about letting go of the past and negative vibes and the first step to doing all that is affirming. Curious? Read on, my friend.

So, What Is An Affirmation? An affirmation is in the name. It’s a positive statement made in the present moment. It’s having control over your subconscious thought. It’s an attempt at changing your narrative by literally changing the narrative. It’s about having more control over your thoughts than you once did. Thoughts become things, so might as well keep your thoughts positive.

Affirmations Are Kind Of Witchy: I like to think that an affirmation is like a spell, which makes you a witch and how cool is that? With an affirmation, you’re telling the universe, God, etc. exactly what you want and exactly how you want to feel. You’re not going to get instant results (like a spell), but you’ll get everything you want or need in due time as long as you keep at it and believe in your thoughts as well as in yourself.

You’re Not Lying To Yourself: When I first starting using affirmations, I used them to affirm my self-love. I would look at myself in the mirror and repeat: “I love and accept myself just as I am now.” A little voice at the back of my head would pop up and call me out. “LIES,” it would say. It was rough, but I kept repeating my affirmation. Eventually, I found myself opening up to new experiences and immersing myself in activities that brought me joy. That little voice disappeared and loving myself feels like much less of a struggle these days.

Any new radical thought that you tell yourself is going to feel like a lie, but you’re changing your narrative, which means that you’re trying to make a change in your life and that’s kind of huge. It’s going to take some getting used to.

Start Affirming Now: Make it a part of your routine. Do it before you shower, while you get ready in the morning, or before going to sleep. Here’s how: look at yourself in the mirror; smile at your gorgeous face and say cool calming things out loud (it feels straight up WEIRD at first, but you’ll get used to it). If you want to work on self-love, tell yourself you love yourself. If you want to work on becoming money-positive, say some money positive things to yourself (ex. I am a money magnet. Sounds corny, I know).

If you can’t think of any affirmations, you can use the Internet for help or read some books by Louise Hay (the queen herself). It’ll take some practice but affirm away and see what cool awesome new developments pop into your life. Despite popular belief, it’s all in your hands, babe.

Tricks For Staying Present—When You Need it the Most

This story was originally published by HelloGiggles

Showering isn’t good for me; neither is putting on my makeup. Car rides are a big problem, even when there is a decent song on the radio. The thing is, I can’t be by myself for too long- well, at least while doing mundane tasks. I get lost. Whatever fantasy, memory or thought that is swirling around in my head is way more interesting than waiting for a friend to come back from the bathroom. Even during conversations I tend to… what? What was I saying? Oh, yeah, daydream. That’s what I do.

This is me in all my greatest fantasies^

This is me in all my greatest fantasies^

This is a bad habit, a really bad habit. First, life is all about the physical experience. Meaning, the here, the now, the touching, the feeling, the people around you. Second, those fantasies and ideas can just be plain distracting (did I mention that thing about life being a physical experience?). Finally, sure all those thoughts are fun now, but they tend to lead to more thoughts and more thoughts that almost always lead to worrying. Anxiety, fears and nonsense scenarios that haven’t actually happened seem to creep their way from the deepest depths of Who-Knows-Where-sylvania just to make me feel frustrated and stuck.

Now, we don’t want that. Nobody wants that. So how do we get out of it? Meditation is cool. Meditation is very cool. I say you do meditating. Focusing on your breath. In, out. You get it. But sometimes you need a “right here, right now” fix. Trust me, I’ve been there before so I’ve got your back.

Using the senses

The senses are a helpful tool. When you notice your brain going off, stop. Focus on the that’s song playing, the sight of the tree on the corner of the street, even the weird smell emitting from the air vents of your car. Wait, there’s a weird scent coming from your car? You should get that checked, dude. If you’re eating alone, and you find yourself in a daydreaming haze, stop. Focus on that delicious sandwich you ordered from your favorite cafe, because darn it, you deserve the deliciousness. It’s not just time to be in the present moment, It’s treat yo’ self time.

Do something. Anything!

Night is another problem for me. The day’s work is done, meals have been eaten, so… what’s next? Look at my phone? Check Twitter to see if I’ve gotten a notification on that hilarious tweet? Do nothing until I get lost in the idea of the glamorous and star-studded wedding I’m going to have someday with Chris Pine? No to all of the above! Instead, I read, write, or draw. Yeah, I’ve got hobbies, and you should get some too. Read a book, write a book, or dance around in your undies until you get sleepy. Get it done, girl.

Say Something Nice

You’re thinking about a situation where you did or said something awkward. Something you shouldn’t have said. The negative talk has set in. I’ve been there, friend. Don’t worry, we’ll get out of this together. First thing’s first, you have to stop. I know it’s hard. I know the bad feels are addictive, but you got to kick this habit stat. So take that deep breath and think these magical thoughts: I release this situation with love and blessings. It’s over, it does not define me. I am free of it. I now choose to focus on the present moment (shout out to Louise Hay and her masterful affirmation tricks). Then do that thing where you use your sense to focus on the here and now, because you deserve it.

The Teen Witches I Wish We're My Friends IRL

This story was originally published by HelloGiggles

Teen witches get a pretty sweet deal. They usually start out as shy, sometimes nerdy, teenage outcasts that grow up into killer babes with all the power in the known universe. They have the ability to make things happen, like really happen.

Sometimes all it takes is a snap of their fingers, a wiggle of their nose or a complicated spell, complete with a cauldron full of steaming potion. Either way, teen witches get sh*t done. In honor of October and Halloween, here are some of pop culture’s baddest teen witches.

AHS: The Coven

It’s hard to say who out of Miss Robichaux Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies was the baddest. A solid argument could be made for any of the girls on the show. Even the witch considered the weakest of them all, Zoe Benson, who had a —um, a killer talent (anyone she sleeps with dies instantly of a brain hemorrhage), grew into her powers. The plot line of The Coven ended up being a confusing and complicated rigmarole that few viewers could follow, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that these ladies, despite their age, had the ability to kill, destroy and resurrect. Plus, it gave us Madison Montgomery’s famous one liner. Oh, you know the one.

Hermione Granger (and the rest of the female Harry Potter gang)

Duh, Hermione and her fellow teen witches from the HP series are on this list, and they may be the baddest of them all! Ginny was a kick-butt Quidditch player, Luna Lovegood surprised everyone with her strength and wisdom and —well, Hermione was Hermione dang Granger. Not only was she under constant stress from school (and still succeeded with flying colors), but she also fought some of the world’s top dark wizards while keeping Ron and Harry in check. If Weasley is our king, then Granger is most definitely our badass queen.

Willow Rosenberg

Ah, Willow. She started out as an unassertive, quiet nerd and turned into one of the most powerful characters on the series. She may have begun Buffy as a wallflower, but her true nature began to blossom as she slowly became more and more assertive. She grew up from teen to powerful-as-hell teen witch. By the end of the series she was using her magic to resurrect folks, almost end the known world and take her rightful spot as the most powerful witch around.

Bonnie Bennett

Bonnie Bennett is a teen witch extraordinaire! Not only will she offer a warm shoulder for you to cry on while you try to understand your feelings for a set of vampire brothers, but she’ll also save your ass from a doppelganger or an Original or whatever supernatural being they’ve got on The Vampire Diaries. Vampire hunter? Anyway, Bonnie is and has always been ready to sacrifice herself for her friends and those that she loves; to the point where she actually sacrifices herself over and over and over again. She’s suffers some serious trauma in order to save everyone, so I’d say that gives her some pretty bad teen witch cred.

Sarah Bailey

The teen girls of The Craft used their powers for some dark stuff that, in the end, led them to fight each other while killing off a couple of guys along the way. Before all that, there was sisterhood and declaring weirdo-hood to bus drivers, which was great. Yet, things took a turn for the worse when Sarah Bailey started questioning the groups true intentions as witches, leading to a major stand off between herself and coven leader, Nancy Downs. Sisterhood over. In the end, Sarah’s balance and light led to winning the battle, making the group’s powers her own.

Honorable Mention- Louise Miller the original Teen Witch, herself. Sure, her “bad” level may have been a little more PG than the rest, but she was still able to manipulate people into singing random musical numbers like no other!

ANOTHER Comprehensive List Of Stuff I’m Into

This post was originally published on my old blog, RegularLady. It has been edited and modified to help me feel less embarrassed for my past self.

Hey friends!

Do your guys remember that thing where I would write a fairly comprehensive list of things I’m pretty into (is that not general enough for you?)? Well on this day, I’m at it once again with a comprehensive list of stuff I'm into, because Julie Andrews; because I have to; because for the sake of humanity!

Just get on with it already? Your wish is my command.

Here’s a fairly comprehensive list of stuff I’m pretty into: Mugs with elaborate designs, mugs with quotes from my favorite TV shows written on them, those mugs that change designs when they got hot or cold, tea in mugs, café con leche in mugs, flowery trees, my neighbors gardenias, crossing off things on my to-do list, short to-do lists, 60’s mod-style dresses, my new sunglasses, which, omg, I totally have to show you, but let’s keep going because this isn’t the right time or place, finding old-but-still-super-cute bracelets, Mad Men and Game of Thrones Sundays, punk, garage punk, and beach pop punk, cat themes accessories, cat themed t-shirts, cat themed purses, cats, I like cats, aimless doodles that turn into aimless artistic pursuits, stepping on crunchy leaves, chocolate chip cookies, especially chocolate chip cookies, weird sayings like “pulling my chain,” a sun-kissed glow, brows on fleek, evening weather, brisk evening walks, chocolate ice cream, sugar, clean smelling incense, gel pens of every color, sparkly gel pens, and old Taylor Swift music videos (I’m talking old, like, Our Song old).

That’s it for today! I hope you end up having the best week ever.

A Comprehensive List of Stuff I’m Pretty Into

This post was originally published on my old blog, RegularLady. It has since been edited and modified to help me feel less embarrassed for my past self.

It’s so easy to get caught up in all the things we don’t want. We’re always saying words like “don’t,” “hate,” and “not.”

Take me, for example. All summer long, my mantras were: “I don’t want to move back home.”  “I don’t want frizzy hair.” “I hate Miami accents.”

Before I knew it, I was back in Miami, my hair was bigger than it had ever been, and I developed that pesky Miami dialect I had tried so hard to relinquish (actually, I’m pretty grateful to be back in Miami & my hair isn’t big at all. In fact, it’s purple… and small! Also, I’ve never tried to get rid of my Miami accent. I’ll happily drop a “literally,” “bro,” or “like” if I have to… especially a “like.” I just mostly just needed an example).  

From my experience, when repeating all those "no’s," all we’re doing is attracting them when there were actually no “no’s” to begin with (I have a degree in English, so you’re welcome 4 that “no ‘no’s’” line).

I mean, when you really think about it, everything is okay, and if it’s not okay, then call me. I’ll iron your hair and we can gab about Gilmore Girls. Sorry, if that’s not enough, but that’s honestly the best I can do right now. So if the best that we can do is think, then let’s think about the good stuff.

Because this is my blog and I do whatever I want, here’s a list of my favorite things (it’ll make Fraulein Maria jealous):

Chocolate chip cookies, smooth opaque nail polish, the theme song to Veronica Mars, Dean and Rory’s meet cute, meet cutes in a general sort of way, a breakfast of café con leche and croissants, lanky boys in coke bottle glasses, Buddy Holly glasses, writing highs, planned thrift outings with BFFs, calls, texts, and all around gabbing with BFFs, BFFs in a general sort of way, listening to people laugh, listening to people laugh at my jokes, Harry Potter, movie musicals, complex braided up-dos, Bettie Page bangs, sheer cream blush in any shade, Limecrime lipsticks, grade-A eyebrow swag, quinceñiera pictures, coming of age stories, coming of age movies, designer perfume commercials starring elegantly dressed actresses and models who act as if they have all the answers to being a woman, Target commercials, cool girls,

stylish girls, stylish boys,  extroverts & introverts alike, a snaggle tooth or two, fun lipstick names, fun nail polish names, productive days, the internet, feminists, feminist males, hot pink, red, light blue, black and white stripes, sticking out my tongue at kids and then looking very serious when they get their parents attention, chatty people, watching Game of Thrones, talking about Game of Thrones, reading articles on Game of Thrones, naps, 30 Rock, Tina Fey and the like, funny girls, women, and children, pizza of any kind, finding new music on college radio stations, making fun of said college radio stations (even though I love them,) a sensible pair of ballet flats, polka dots, long haired black cats, purple hair, blue hair, red hair, all hair, and this blog too, I guess.

PS: We’re cosmic entities! How cool is that?

PSS: This post is loosely based off a tweet I wrote, so you should probably follow me on twitter because I’m hilarious and talk about Gilmore Girls: @nickyvaldeezy

Who is My Ideal Reader?

A year ago, I took a blogging class with #queen extraordinaire, Nikki Novo. All her classes are extremely informative and helpful for upping your blogging game. She’s got great advice for female creatives and not the kind of shoddy advice you never asked for in the first place. She tells it like it is! ….and also happens to be my mentor. I also edited her first book, so we’re pretty tight.

Anyway, during her blogging class, Nikki asked us bloggers and writers to really consider our "ideal readers;" an "Ideal reader" being the ideal type of lady (or gent) who would be reading our content. We were asked to consider questions like: Who is your ideal reader? What do they do? How many times do they use the word “fleek” in a day? Are they fans of Justin Bieber? I mean, we had to dig deep.

Long story short, I wrote down all the attributes that make up my ideal reader and now I'm posting it to my blog. Read on!


- Is AGELESS. She is a goddess/witch. She does not understand this concept of age you speak of.

- Is socially conscious and culturally aware.

- Has the strength of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the brain of Rory Gilmore, and the confidence of Tina Belcher.

- Prefers deep conversations with close friends, about the “big picture,” along with their shared goals and dreams, but can also handle small talk relating to deodorant brands, dating apps and Caro’s 80’s themed birthday bash, if she must.

- Owns a smart phone, but uses social media sparingly.

- Is slowly starting to shrug at images of impossible-to-emulate underwear models and accepting her arm flab as perfectly acceptable and absolutely normal.

- Is a femme fatale feminist.

- Is most likely a fan of Pitch Perfect and Bridesmaids, but respects those that came before. i.e. Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion, Clueless, Practical Magic and the like.

- Is ISO: a crooked tooth cutie that is emotionally mature.

- Is unsuccessfully self aware and perfectly imperfect.

- Would never use the name of Emma Watson, Beyoncé or Mindy Kaling in vain.

- Would totally be my best friend.

Is this you, friend? Are you my ideal reader? Welcome. You have found your place in a world full of macaroon pop up shops, weak eyebrow game and Justin Bieber. I just want you to know, I love you and thank you for reading my blog.