Chicago, IL

OMG YOU GUYS!

I have a new favorite city! Chicago was the stuff of dreams! (Pictures at the bottom!)

Davey and I had a wedding to go to in Indiana, and so we flew into Chicago and drove the rest of the way, thinking that after the wedding, we would spend some time in Chicago before our flight back. Gosh, am I glad we did! It was such a beautiful city…I absolutely loved that you could take a walk along the river, and there were so many places to sit and have lunch; I loved the bridges, the architecture (blame my husband), THE PARKS, and just the whole vibe the city gave off! It felt very magical to me.

I don’t really know where to begin on this post- so forgive me if I am all over the place!

First, we were only there for like…24 hours. Which totally sucked and I so want to go back!

Secondly, IT WAS SO FLIPPIN HOT. Maybe this is TMI, but I got so sweaty. We both did haha! There was a heat warning that had been issued and it was going to get close to like 100 degrees or something absurd like that, but we explored regardless of the warnings! Stupid of us? Yes. Worth it? Totally.

We basically just walked anywhere we could from our hotel; We went to Millennium Park, we walked to the piers and dipped our feet in the blessedly frigid Lake Michigan, we took tons of pictures, gawked at beautiful architecture…it was amazing. I would have to say that my favorite thing in the park was this swooping and arching walking bridge- while you were on it, you just got the best view of the city. The big bean was pretty cool too, but I found out that it was kinda gross…everyone touches it..and that just makes me cringe. I touched it and immediately felt the need to scrub my hands lol. So. Many. Germs.

We also had deep dish pizza for the first time, and for someone who grew up with NY style pizza,  it was quite the experience. It was SO GOOD. Super weird, but super good. I didn’t know you could make pizza that thick!! We went to this place called Giordano’s, it’s supposedly some of the best DD pizza in Chicago (according to the internet). It takes them an hour and a half to make ONE pizza. Because it is so dang thick. That just blew my mind. The wait was crazy long, but we were exhausted and decided to just wait it out, and I think I can safely speak for both of us when I say, we were so happy we waited! Our waiter kind of forgot about us for a while at first, but it all ended well when our pizza arrived! I’m pretty sure I waddled out of that restaurant.

Moral of this insane post is: Go to Chicago and do all the things. You can do and see a lot on a budget, which was a plus for us. Explore and just walk around! You won’t be disappointed! The people are super nice, and the sights are breathtaking!

Until next time!

Much love,

Tori xx

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Blogging

Funny…I’m blogging about blogging. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t giggle a little at myself. Why you may ask, am I blogging about blogging? Because it’s so dang hard! I mean, let’s really think about it: You spend your time as a blogger (any type of blogger, beauty, fashion, lifestyle, etc.) coming up with ideas and things to write about. You may get writer’s block (me basically all the time it feels like) or simply tire of blogging. It can be exhausting to blog. Depending on the blog itself, any given post could be emotionally draining, or very hard to write due to content. It takes special people, who are willing to open up to literally the world, and who have no problem sharing their personal opinions, or beliefs. Now, I’m not just saying all of this to make myself feel or look good- I think that I have so much to learn about blogging and how to really make sure I keep up with it and fit it into my life.

It takes discipline, dedication, hard work, and a fair share of openness and honestly. It also requires you to be vulnerable. Real talk: The internet is a tough place. Yes, there is freedom in that you can say whatever you want, but then on the flip side, there are mean people out there who can also have the freedom to say whatever they want to you and about what you are saying; It can be immensely hurtful and sometimes carry into your personal life. You may not know the person who called you names, but it feels like they know you and like they are attacking you personally all for the sole purpose of entertainment.

Sorry, that was a rabbit trail…but in all seriousness, blogging about really anything opens the writer to a world of harsh critics, who they don’t even know. That, in my opinion, makes you, the blogger, brave. You are carrying on even though you have perhaps heard a  harsh word or comment. Perhaps someone doesn’t like your opinion on politics or how you care for your child. Nevertheless, you continue to press on and keep on writing whatever makes you happy. That, my friend, makes you brave. Don’t forget that.

Another thing that, at least for me, always seems to get in the way of blogging is my schedule. I applaud all the bloggers that have posts up in a timely manner! I can’t seem to get a schedule down at all. It’s basically if I have time, and if then, if I feel like it? I know that sounds awful, but it’s just the honest truth. Sometimes I think “Oh, I have time today to blog…but it’s such a beautiful day outside…” I end up putting my blogging off to go outside with my puppy and husband! I know it’s never a bad thing to put family first, but I would like to prove to myself that I can have a balance between family time and blogging- so any tips or tricks that you would be willing to share, would be amazing!

All I know is, after the initial excitement of having a blog wears off, it becomes really difficult to keep up with it. So to all you bloggers out there: Keep doing what you’re doing! Stay brave, and never let anyone intimidate you! Your blog is YOUR little slice of the internet- no one can bully you there ❤

Much love,

Tori

Growing Up Dominican

Hello, hello!
This is the first of a SERIES! Yay! So stay tuned 😉
If you haven’t clicked on over to the “About Me” section of my blog, then you may have missed that I am half Dominican! My dad immigrated to the United States when he was only 18 and never looked back. I like to think through him I have a strong connection to the Dominican people and its beautiful culture. Growing up in a Dominican influenced household held a lot of different traditions compared to the average American household. So there were tons of things that I thought were “normal” but found out the hard way that they were NOT. On top of that, I realized I hadn’t done many of the actual normal things. For example:

  • I never tried a s’more until I was well into my 20’s.
  • Breakfast ALWAYS included rice and beans (Actually that was EVERY meal).
  • You do NOT in fact vigorously hug and kiss both cheeks of a person you are meeting for the first time (They never spoke to me again).
  • Loud salsa, merengue, and especially bachata music during all hours in the home.
  • Evidently, not all weddings are wild multiple day occasions. (Still bummed about that one)
  • Flip-flops were never called “flip-flops”; the term you are looking for is “chanclas”.
  • I still have not tried french toast.
  • Family is #1. You have no other priorities. (No, really. None.)
  • Oregano is in everything and it IS everything.
  • We can all cook. Very well. (At least in my family??)
  • Coquito at EVERY Thanksgiving and Christmas gathering. (Will link a recipe for you to try this life-altering drink. If you’re of age that is!)
  • Every family reunion turned into a massive dance party (Noticing a theme?).
  • Pointing to literally everything with your chin.
  • We have the ability to recognize another Dominican from 7,900 miles away. No joke. (AND we hug each other vigorously!)
  • My dad still looks like he is 30…I won’t say how old he is, but it is WAY over 30. He hasn’t aged. Seriously concerned he is an alien. This is normal. Help.

You get the idea. We’re insane, love loud music, dancing, and being very over the top in the best way possible! We know how to have a good time. Growing up in this environment taught me to be a MAJOR extrovert and really embrace life passionately.
I grew up in Paterson, NJ in an amazingly awesome neighborhood. It is sadly rundown, and I wouldn’t advise going there now, but man. It was awesome. We had an adorable tiny house, where I, like Mr. Harry Potter himself, slept in a closet! (Don’t worry, it was a HUGE closet and I loved it!) I was born in 1993, (90’s baby, yeah!!!) so everyone was still friendly and helpful with no suspicions or stigmas attached. It was such a diverse place! So many different peoples, religions, and traditions. I could safely ride my bike throughout the entire neighborhood (and into a brick wall, a story for another time) with no fears of being snatched up or anything like that. I was lucky enough to live only a couple blocks away from two great buddies of mine (S/O to Samantha and Stephen! Love you both!) and we would do the dumbest things together! It was fabulous. Oh, how I wish I could raise my future children in that same environment! It was so peaceful, and simple. Safe and nurturing. Growing up there, I never noticed skin color or any other racial differences. People were people, and that was all that mattered.
One lesson my dad always taught me (by this I mean at least a minimum of twice a week) that a smile was the best greeting and to “always walk with your head held high”! Be proud of who you are and where you come from. I carry those words with me daily, and boy are they ever relevant today. No matter where you’re from, be PROUD! You are bringing something to this wonderful melting pot of a nation! You are bringing you and your super cool/ new traditions and culture! Always walk with your head held high and smile. You are amazing and I would so love to hear each and every one of your stories.
While all this is coming from the blissful memories of a 4 to 5 year old girl, the principle still remains: People are people. No one is lesser or greater, and the diversity in this nation is a beautiful sight to behold. I think more people need to remember that everyone has a story worth sharing and to be proud of their own stories. Those are a few lessons I learned growing up Dominican. We are a community. Everyone matters. When it comes down to it, we are all the same. Love people (hug them vigorously if you feel so led), and respect them. It’s what people will remember about you: if you love them, and respect them.

Hasta Luego friends,
Tori