Catch Up With Me

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I’ve completely lost any sort of schedule I may have had for this blog. I firstly want to say sorry. I didn’t mean to. I got caught up with things going on which include traveling/living in London temporarily, enjoying time with my boyfriend, learning about film production, networking with various producers, trying to see friends and family, writing a bit for Huffpost, looking for job prospects, etc. You name it, I’ve probably been trying to sort something out in that arena.

So right now, although I know I owe multiple Sicily stories, I’m catching you up on me and my thoughts. What’s changed? I still find life hard, or rather, challenging. Every day is a new battle. I’m fighting negative thoughts of what am I doing with my life (as in, who do I think I am, taking time off again to be in London like I’m some sort of privileged individual). Thinking, did I mess up? Should I have stayed longer and earned more money at my previous job? Thinking, where are you actually getting on your quest of applications, new business emails, networking and the like. But I need to give myself more credit. I’ve done a lot and been through a lot.

These past two and half months (nearly three!), I’ve had a lot of happy moments and trying ones. I’ve doubted my ability to succeed and earn a living up to my standards (nice quality of life where I can help some family members if they need but also take care of myself to do the new things I’ve grown accustomed to doing (travel, nice brunches, etc).

I want so much but I want to be grateful. I also don’t want to want for too much either. Like, I don’t want to be greedy but I don’t plan on denying myself things that I’m capable of getting and making happen.

I want others around me who are striving for things and putting their all into it, to get what they want. I want people to achieve because I think if you put in a lot of effort, don’t let people talk you out of things or let self doubt throw you into a spiral, your dreams can come true.

Me, I’m trying. I’m still optimistic about what I can do and how it can be done. I’m not being naive – I think I’m being realistic about it but I need to positive as well. Positivity can change a lot of things for you – how you see certain situations and opportunities. It also can motivate a person into putting themselves into more situations where even better things can result just because you take everything in stride.

That’s what I’m doing. Taking things in stride and learning day by day. That’s my excuse for the lack of blogging. I’ve been hustling as much as I can with the intention of blogging at night but sometimes, my mind just needs a break. Some Youtube clips of The Real, movie reviews and news of Trump and Theresa May have distracted me. I’ll try to do better!

Samana Day 1-3

The title of this blog post is called Samana Day 1-3 because although we were in the DR for two days at this point, we officially arrived and started our day / true vacation from this moment forward.

Day 1

We woke up in our beautiful all white minimalist villa to a natural green landscape covered with wildlife. Sun poked it way through the clouds as we got dressed for the day and sipped on our morning coffee and / or tea.

Beginning our Caribbean holiday the only way we knew how, we made our way down to the private beach with down our secret / private entrance.

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At the beach, we thought “Why not plan our next holiday to Italy?”  because that is what one does when tasked with sitting in the sun all day.

Later we decided that we needed to get moving and splashed around in the ocean as well as built a rather impressive sandcastle.

Full of sun, we then made our way into Las Galeras (the specific area in which we stayed in Samana) to explore the town in the daylight as well as to grab a bite to eat. We didn’t know where to go exactly but stopped in a small cafe that served sandwiches (if they want to call them that). It was quite underwhelming (some toasted bread with a thick cut cheese and ham barely melted between the two slices topped with ketchup). It was edible and cured the hunger pain but would I recommend? No.

After that, we strolled about for a bit and picked up some pastries to eat for breakfast in the morning and grabbed some food from the local market (which color me shocked – didn’t have pre packaged meats). That would be a task for the next day but let me say, it was something to cook a meal from scratch.

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We spent the remainder of the day, lounging about and finally went up the hill from our villa to a tasty restaurant serving Italian food.

Day 2

It was time to head to the beach again, this time, for a bit of working out and swimming.

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Getting a bit restless, we moved to the bar at the beach where we sipped on some “Coctel de casa” and ordered a fresh fish meal. The beach we spent most of our time at was called Javo Beach – very well maintained and lovely.

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The kitchen on the beach however, I wasn’t a fan. We ordered our meal and stood by waiting but it took like half an hour to eat. It was frustrating as people came after us and were served way faster. Maybe it was because of the language barrier or the fact that we wanted the meal to go but they forgot about us. No one wants to be forgotten on vacation – it ruins the magic of it all!

A bit after digesting, we left the beach and went on a stroll to watch the sunset at a nearby beach.

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Later we (or I) made some grilled chicken (our chicken was freshly killed, umm…..), sweet plantains and some home fry styled potatoes. It wasn’t half bad considering I was out of my element with this freshly killed chicken. haha

We ate dinner and then played some cards (rummy) in the villa, drinking our own homemade cuba libres. Was a fun relaxed night and great way to spend Valentine’s Day.

Day 3

We ventured to Play Rincon from Las Galeras. Such a hard walk considering I was wearing trainers and a dress when we had to cross a beach during high tide to get there. I enjoyed it but we also got lost for about an hour before we even got started. Wandering up hills and faux paths, we trampled through the “forest” in circled before a local popped up out of nowhere and pointed us in the right direction.

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I almost died along the way and lost my shoe to some quicksand like mud. I hiked quite a bit in the blazing sun and had only a small bottle of water to hold me over. I think what made the journey seem more agonizing was the fact that we passed by multiple private beaches along the way.

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The beach was beautiful though – very quiet and the waves were crashing all around us. The one thing I did forget to do – remove my jewelry. The waves were so strong that when one smacked me in the head, it took my earring with it.

After spending a few hours here and enjoying an alcoholic drink from a coconut (aka Coco Loco) – we took a boat back as opposed to walking from three hours in the sweltering heat.

Later, I forced us to go out to dinner at a local joint we had a burger at upon arrival in Las Galeras the first night.

Stay tuned for more!

 

 

Dominican Republic Vacation #tired

Forgive me. I planned on writing about my trip to the Dominican Republic while in the Dominican Republic. I was just there to lounge with my boyfriend so figured we’d have a lot of downtime, some of which would lend itself to writing. I was wrong.

Surprisingly enough, downtime just sort of disappears on vacation. You’re doing one thing like building castles on the beach and the next thing you know, you’re making dinner and playing rummy and sipping on Cuba Libres. The night’s done and then it all flows into the next day once more.

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The trip – 8 days in the Dominican Republic. Time spent relaxing and sunning in the Caribbean as neither of us have ever been . It was an amazing time!

I plan to elaborate more but I literally just got back today after running around and trekking back on a long trip involving buses, taxis, airplanes, and more. I need a nap.

Posts will soon come but just to tide you over, below are some quick pictures from our second day in the DR. The first night was spent in Santo Domingo but we were so worn out, I forgot to take pictures (I did Snapchat so you can follow me there for in the moment updates, @aliciacbarnes).

 

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Women’s March + Trump Thoughts

America, what is happening? World, what is happening?

There’s nothing wrong with the Right side in theory. I believe in balance. In Yin and Yang. In dark and light. We need opposing forces at time to counter one another, preventing someone or something from feeling as if they are so powerful that they can do anything.

Now, I feel we are in a time where one side feels they can do anything. The Right.

Daily, I come across or am informed of new articles about right-winged members pushing forward their agenda and calling for a rise of right power around the world (that sounds alarmingly close to another type of power). This scares me. Not because they are the new majority, but because of the statements they are making about what they feel is good for the people seems completely off. Maybe I’m biased. I am liberal. I’d prefer if Trump had not become the President of the U.S (as I’m sure many wished this as well). But, the real question is what’s happening?

Why does it appear as if we’ve come so far only to see injustices and inequality to tip the scales once more? Why are people calling for isolationism and exclusion when we are supposed to be one? Why does it seem like we are falling down some dark abyss into this dystopian society Hollywood and authors have been scribbling down as of late?

I’m confused. I want to help but I’m not sure how. Did I participate in the women’s march? Not really, I stumbled into the NYC one. Why didn’t I? Wasn’t it my right and duty to help the cause and do what I could make change come about?

Well it was brought to my attention that although the women’s march was inclusive and a fabulous show of support. There were still exclusionary properties to it. Women, I believe, are any females on this planet. No matter the color or age. The Women’s March when first created tried to brand itself after a march that already took place featuring all black women standing up for their rights. Why did the new march try to poach their name? Because they had no idea it existed. How can women not be aware of other women struggles for people of color? I think that’s wrong. It’s not right and still, even as a woman person of color, you’re fighting for not only your gender but your race. Life!

This is me talking frustration. I’ve traveled to many places and met people from all over. I haven’t been to every country or even what I consider a lot (maybe I’ve been to about 10 or 12), but I’ve met a lot of women. Each one unique, distinctive, with their own set of problems and opposing forces that they face in their country. It’s freaking crazy what some have been through. But all I can think, we need to get better.

We need to find a way to survive Trump. Not in a victim way but actually figure out a solution to all his wrongdoings so America and the world comes out relatively unscathed from his term in office. There has to be a way. We need to find it.

We need to be better as people. We need to be inclusive. We need to remember that a racial slur is a racial slur no matter if you’re progressive and only joking. We have to be aware and make changes. Continuing to grow and better ourselves, one day at at time. We have to!

Tenerife – A Canary Island Story #3

More adventure awaits! It was time to ride bikes in Tenerife so we went to Bike Point El Medano.

The place is known for their high quality bikes mainly used for training or extreme sport but we wanted to do a leisure pedal along the beach. Partly because I’m no BMX rider and the other reason was although many people travel by bike on Tenerife, there aren’t any real dedicated bike lanes.

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We were geared up with helmets and state of the art bikes for our ride through El Medano. I was quite wobbly and afraid of getting smashed by a driver but I survived! I did scratch up my leg a bit but the ride was really nice. We got to get our blood pumping, take in some sights of the town and then stop off for a cute little picnic of sandwiches on one of the volcanic beaches nearby.

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I’m not sure if the photo is doing this any justice but our sandwich making skills were on point. Olive oil, salami, jamon and cheese, fresh tomatoes – DELICIOUS!

We carried our bikes down onto beach and listened to music while chatting about random stuff. It was great! The weather was perfect and it was nice to just lay there and relax.

Pretty soon, we realized we had to get going as we were trying to make a special dinner to celebrate my birthday. We didn’t take many pictures but it was delicious and so filling! Two appetizers (basically the size of entrees), fresh bread and spreads (aioli, butter, creme fraiche), and then a large meal of pork cheeks for me (sorry not a vegetarian) and lamb for him. Both super tasty!

We ended the meal with creme brulee and my boyfriend tried to get the waiters to come out and sing happy birthday to me but they seemed to have forgotten the request or misunderstood. Whatever, the thought was there.

We later went back home where we danced in front of the fire (it sounds romantic and I guess it was) and then watched some Fresh Prince on Netflix because it’s awesome.

For our last full day, we spent most of time in this cute town called Garachico. We went to the beach, strolled the streets, took photos and had some ice cream.

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We then made a dash to the market to buy supplies in order to make ourselves NYE dinner.

Totally amazing time. Super low key, great weather and lovely company. Tenerife was the best and I’d definitely recommend going there if you want gorgeous views, nice weather and loads of things to do!

 

Tenerife – A Canary Island Story #1

This year (or rather last) was my golden birthday. 27 on the 27th. I’m glad to be alive and get older but really, that much closer to 30 and still moving through life like “huh?” I guess there are worse things. And at least, I have a better idea or inkling to do something but back to the point.

As it was my golden birthday, I decided to keep the Birthday travel tradition alive and go away this year as well as rendez vous with  my boyfriend. The meeting point, Tenerife Spain. One of the canary islands. It’d be an island getaway full of romance, sun and adventure.

To begin the trip, I left from JFK on the 26th. Desperately trying to over come some cold or flu thing that tried to take me down on Christmas Eve. I didn’t care though, I wanted to see my boo, my bags were packed and the trip had been paid for. See ya NYC!

I took two flights. A long flight from NY to Madrid and then the next leg was Madrid to Tenerife. I actually got to Tenerife at around 2:30 PM on the 27th – my birthday. I then spent an additional five hours waiting for my boyfriend’s flight to arrive so the holiday could really start. At around 8 PM, we picked up our rental and were off to our Airbnb. Yay!

Although the 27th was my birthday, we didn’t go crazy doing much. We ended up missing all the restaurants so had a dinner of scrambled eggs and bread before heading to bed and exchanging Christmas gifts. Low key but very sweet. The next morning though, we were ready to run about the island.

We tore through Puerto de La Cruz, grabbing pastries, walking about the town and taking a few pics!

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Cabello Pastry  #yum

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After that, we jumped in the car for a windy road adventure toward Buenavista del Norte – sun was out but there was also a bit of wind.

Got a little bit vain but we also took some time to take in the scenery!

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As we only really ate a light breakfast and coffee treat, we ended our day grabbing pizza and ice cream. Was really delightful! No pictures unfortunately cause we were starved but I did Snapchat it (it’s gone now).

Tenerife part 2 coming soon!

2016, You Were Interesting

Seven days into 2017. WOW. I can’t believe it. I feel like time is flying already but I’m so excited about what’s to come this year. I have high hopes (and a list), much like how my 2016 started, and no real doubt as to why my hopes can’t mostly come true.

Right now, I’m currently nursing a weak stomach. I’ve either had food poisoning or some sort of stomach bug. This doesn’t make me happy as last night was quite awful and I’ve already had a small bug toward the end of 2016. But oh well, better to get these small things done and out of the way so 2017 can carry on the way I want. lol

2016 was crazy. I loved it though, despite the US election, Brexit, shootings and other awful world happenings. I mean, it didn’t seem like a good year for the world but in actuality, there’s always something not so bright and shiny going on. If I Wikipedia 2015, I’d bet that I could come back with a list of awful things that happened to America and the rest of the world. But like I was saying, I loved 2016.

It was the year I took more risks and put myself out there. I tested myself and pursued some passions come to find that it wasn’t the end of the world. Things I did in 2016 include (in no particular order):

  • Move to London for 5 months
  • Travel around Europe
  • Did a short film program
  • Interned at a few production companies
  • Went on more dates/found a great boyfriend
  • Started my blog
  • Got a tattoo
  • Met new people
  • Worked on film projects

The list isn’t too meaty but within each bullet is a chapter of stories I can reflect on. So much happened to me within each item that developed me as a person. Do I know everything about life and where I’ll be? No way! But I feel more assured about what I’m doing and taking the risks to get to a new path in life.

Living in London was a crazy experience in itself. Nothing was what I expected but I also didn’t go into my experience with mega expectations. I think that was a huge help! Not that you shouldn’t have expectations but I didn’t put too much pressure on myself to make things happen which I often do. I took things in stride and learned from each hiccup, success, and mini moments of embarrassment or failure.

I learned that I’m stronger than I thought, friendlier than thought, braver than thought and just as susceptible to stupid moments. I cried hard in 2016 and explored hard in 2016. Couldn’t do any better I say. I went to Amsterdam, Malta, Manchester, Mallorca, Cornwall and Tenerife (blogs for this coming up). Again, loved every minute of it!

There were no regrets in 2016, mostly. I’m not adverse to making a mistake but even with mistakes, I like to think I learned how to recognize them more and handle situations differently.

2017 – there are so many things on the books for you. So many plans! I feel I keep dropping hints and saying things but that’s mainly for myself. The more I make it public, the more I hold myself to it. That’s what I did in 2016 and I think it was a pretty smart tactic (helped me get that extra push to book my flight to London). I don’t want to be held back by fear or society, I just want to go for it. And I am. Stay tuned for more guys. As I said, I plan on staying on here for a bit (or maybe I didn’t say but I’m saying now!), developing my blog and keeping you posted on the latest. You’ll probably know what’s going on with me before my family does! haha

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Where Did I Go?

The December holidays sort of snuck up on me and I just got back from my trip to Tenerife. I didn’t forget about the blog though, don’t you fret!

I’m actually drafting up a number of posts – one which will of course chronicle my latest adventure and another on my 2016 reflections.

Stay tuned, there will be some pieces to read this weekend. 🙂

Wake Up & Smell The Hot Cocoa

So December snuck on me – that was lovely. Lovely because so many things are about to happen. A trip to Tenerife, Christmas, Holiday Parties, A Long Overdue meet up with the BF (I have one now), etc. All of this sounds so crazy but the craziest thing of all is the fact that this year is my golden birthday.

What’s that you may ask? Golden birthday is when you turn the age of the date you were born on (at least, that’s what I was told). For some, they experienced their golden birthday at the ripe age of 3. Me, I’m going to be turning 27 on the 27th this year.

I don’t really love my birthday in general. I mean, I’m glad to be alive but don’t really look forward to the whole getting older thing but this year, I don’t mind. Partly because it’s my golden birthday and I’ll be in Tenerife with my BF on that day, but the other half of that is I feel like I *may* be hitting a stride or turning point?

I don’t want to jinx myself but I’m very positive about the things to come and achieving what I ultimately want. I think 2017 will be wonderful, despite all the tragic political craziness happening around the world. I have to be optimistic though. What kind of life do I expect to lead if I can’t see greatness for myself in the future? A pretty dark one is what I think.

This feeling of general glee and excitement came over me while sipping on the hot cocoa pictured in the featured image. I was out this weekend and treated myself to some hot cocoa. Although the taste and the atmosphere of the shop I was in didn’t transport me back to London, I couldn’t help but reflect on all the progress I made and the transformations I underwent.

It was a heck of a time. A time where I experimented and truly tried to figure out who I was and where I was going. Everything was on me to figure out (how to get around, pay bills, find a place to live, find work/internship, make friends, etc). It was all hard but worth it. I accomplished so much and feel energized in a way to tackle more and continue to blaze down the path I’ve started to carve out for myself. I know I can do it, I just have to not get lost!

I feel like so many people, especially the millennial type in their 20’s, are so confused. Worried about blazing down a particular path or doing something that isn’t considered too risky for the sake of money. Money is an important thing for sure – we need it to live and satiate certain wants – but we are all soo sooo worried about it. I’d love if we could all find ways to break free of that vice. I mean I haven’t. Not even close. I still feel the pressure to bring home the green on order to live a life I can be “happy” with (note happy is in quotes because everyone has a different way in which they measure happy). I do wish we could escape it though, life might be better.

But yeah, this December I’m feeling excited about what’s to come. I believe a lot of good things have happened to me this year. I may have felt completely lost while they happened and experienced plenty of bad or traumatizing to balance it out but nonetheless, all of it needed to happen. Perhaps me drinking this hot cocoa needed to happen too – so I could truly think about the good.

Big City, Loads of Noises

Sirens again. Honking again. Screaming imbeciles again. That’s what I hear.

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It’s been three weeks since I’ve been back in NYC after spending 5 months away. Although I studied abroad and spent nearly the same amount of time away in Paris during my Junior year of college, this past experience feels so different.

Back then, when I had been a foreign country studying another language and truly living on my own for the first time, I was shocked. I was unprepared and didn’t really know what I had. This time while in London, my outlook was different. I loved nearly every minute of it. There were some lows, don’t get me wrong, but I truly saw another part of life and happiness. Even though I was spending my savings and putting myself through an endless test – joy ran through my veins. I was constantly going out to events, networking mixers, emailing companies and trying to do and learn as much as I could. Every day was a new challenge. I walked the city and discovered new restaurants and bakeries of course.

Now being back in NYC, I feel odd. I enjoy seeing old friends and family members I hadn’t seen in awhile but I do feel like I’m in a haze. I don’t want to lose all of the amazing things I learned and did while in London. I loved what I accomplished. I’d hate to let it go by being back “home” and falling back to the normal I wanted so badly to escape. Well, I guess not escape – I wanted to learn and feel a level of happiness I wasn’t quite getting. I found it in London and I don’t want to let go. In my heart though, I know I can’t lose it, unless I choose to.

I think that what I learned the most about London was not to be afraid of taking chances, putting my effort into something and asking for real results, doing me without too much hesitation, etc. It really informed my way of thinking and interacting with people. I already knew I gave too many s**ts about what people think and London helped me shake that a bit.

When I look around me, I see so many tall buildings. It’s pretty in a NYC way but the romanticism I felt in London isn’t here with me right now. Maybe I still need to get used to everything? But I don’t want to. I want to do what I want to and feel the same level of joy. I know I can still continue to push forward with the dreams that I was living in London. I also plan on going back. If there is something I know I haven’t lost, it’s my will. I don’t like to give up and I know the things that I’m after now are very possible! One step at a time. Nothing worth having is supposed to be THAT easy. It’s what they say, ain’t it?