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.