The Reason Why I’m Choosing to Visit Cuba as a Cuban-American

Typical street in Old Havana

 

Mi Vida. Mi Tierra. Mi Cuba.

My Life. My Land. My Cuba.

A country that for 26 years I have longed to know and am finally getting the chance to visit. As a product of Cuban immigrants, my decision to go has been nothing short of a difficult one but one that I have selfishly made anyways. I am sure you must be thinking, “How can you go? How can you hurt your family by going to the place they escaped to give you a better chance at life?”

Since booking I have read countless articles about what a terrible human being and even worse Cuban I must be for even entertaining the thought of stepping foot into Cuba. There is a side of me that completely agrees and that side fills me with the guilt I have felt since booking my ticket. The guilt feels like I am carrying a bag of bricks up a steep hill, each brick weighing me into the ground the further I go. Yet, I am still going. I am going to CUBA.

This was an extremely emotional decision for me to make, one that has caused me many tears and one that I knew my family would not agree with. So why am I going? For 26 years I have heard countless stories about our beautiful Cuba. Stories from my mom, my aunts, my grandparents, and family friends. Stories that described a place full of history, culture, great music and even better food. Stories of how my grandparents fell in love and how it took another man asking for my abuela’s hand in marriage to get my grandfather to finally propose. Stories of my aunts and uncles on the breathtaking beaches of Varadero. Stories of the lives that were lived in a country I’ve never known, a country they loved but had to leave behind.

I have never considered myself “American” by any means, I have always been very proud of where I come from and while I may have been born in the US, I am Cuban. Now, this does not mean I do not love my country, I love the USA and I am so grateful for every opportunity this country has given me. Without my family coming to America I would not be where I am today. I consider myself more Cuban than American simply because of the environment and culture I was raised in. A culture full of Cuban traditions, mantras, and some superstitions (i.e if you sweep your feet with the broom by mistake you’re not getting married LOL). I love everything about our culture; the loudness, the food, the music, and the people but I have always felt a certain disconnect to my roots. A void that I feel can only be filled by visiting Cuba.

This trip means so much to me. I have only dreamed of the day when I would be able to visit Cuba and while I hoped it would be a free country when that day came, I cannot turn down the opportunity I have been given to go. This isn’t a vacation, this is a trip where I hope to learn as much as I can about the country I hold so dear to my heart. I’m not going for the mojitos or Cohibas, I’m going to connect with the people and immerse myself in their reality and culture. I will be the first of my family to “return” to the island, and while I continue to think about just canceling my trip I would only be punishing myself. This is an experience, an experience that I have no doubts will be a very special and emotional one.

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#PerfectNever with SIX:02

Hello beautiful people. This week’s post is in collab with Six:02 and Reebok for their #perfectnever line. As someone who has constantly been after a “perfect” physique, it felt great to step outside my comfort zone and shoot sans shirt. As women, we are pressured to believe that unless we have a Kim K booty, toned legs and a flat tummy we aren’t perfect. Well ladies, that’s some BS. No matter what size you are, a 0 or a 16, our bodies are without a doubt, BEAUTIFUL. Perfection is unattainable and instead you should aim to be healthy and do what makes you and your body feel good. As Reebok says: Remember that perfect is boring. Perfect never gets better, never learns and never grows. You are who you’ve worked to become and should be so very proud that you are not perfect. PERFECT NEVER & BE MORE HUMAN.

 

Outfit Details: Head to Toe from SIX:02



Trending Now: Fillers, Are They Right For You?

 

In today’s day and age, getting an injection or two to your face has become a normal thing thanks to celebrities like Kylie Jenner and The Kardashians. I had the chance to sit down with Danielle from BOTOX Labb again to talk about the latest in facial augmentations, fillers. Last time I spoke to Danielle, we spoke about Botox and if it’s the right choice for you and your quest to never having a wrinkle, but fillers are used as more of a cosmetic enhancement then a correction. Read our interview below! xx

 

T: Hey Danielle, so great to see you again. So tell me, what is a filler exactly and what does it do?

D: Dermal filler is an injectable soft gel that acts as a volumizer, providing a subtle smoothing, plumping, volumizing effect as well as lifting areas of moderate to deeper folds or volume loss, such as smile lines, marionette lines, down turning smiles (oral commissures), lips and cheeks.

Simply put, fillers fill.  They add volume where volume needs to be added. Volume is super important as we age because we tend to lose it in our face resulting in a hollow, drawn and droopy look.  By using dermal filler injectables you can really build the face back up to look youthful and plumped.  Aside from age prevention, fillers are amazing for those who do not have the features that they want.  We can create those features for them.  Whether it is a full, plump lip or high contoured cheekbones.  We can add volume to various areas of the face to fix almost any superficial imperfection.

 

T: So fillers are used to get those model cheeks and Kylie lips?

D: Yup! Filler, such as Juvederm Ultra Plus, is used to enhance and plump lips for those who want a little extra. I do warn my clients though to start slow and work their way up to more volume to make sure the achieve the look that’s right for them. Fillers can also be used for cheek augmentation or “waterproof contouring”.

The main objective of cheek contouring is to provide definition to your cheek bones to enhance and pronounce your natural features.  In addition, to giving you the toned- definition you have always wanted, this procedure can have a drastic effect on reducing sagging skin on your lower face.  Both younger patients looking for more definition and patients looking to reduce lower face skin folds can hugely benefit from this procedure.

 

T: I’ve heard you mention Volbella as a new filler, is that good for lips as well?

D: Volbella is the newest dermal filler from the Juvederm family by Allergan.  This is by far my favorite product to inject.  What makes this product so incredible is how thin the molecule is and how smooth and soft the gel is.  It glides right into the finest of lines and creates the most amazing contour on the most delicate of edges.  For example, on the cupids bow of the top lip, you want a product that can create a very precise definition and contour.  That being said, this is not the product for volume or plumping.  Ideally, patients looking to add volume to their lips would start with a syringe of Juvederm Ultra Plus to build the base.  Then we would finish it off with the fine-tuning and enhancement of subtle details with Volbella. We have quickly started referring to Volbella as “The Finisher”.  We are one of the first offices in Miami and the US to offer this product and it is quickly becoming one of our most popular products.

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September Beauty Must Haves

A little late on this one, but hey better late than never right? This month includes my HOLY GRAIL of a primer for oily skin, a frizz-fighting lotion and a mascara that makes my lashes look fake. Let’s get started, shall we?

  1. Sephora Collection Sleeping Masks – I love these little masks! I mostly like them for travel purposes, stick a few in my beauty bag and I can still treat my skin while on the go. There’s about 12 to choose from, each focusing on a specific skin problem. I personally like the Pearl and Green Tea ones best. Just cleanse your face throughly, apply toner and then one of the pods before bed and let it get to work. If you’re careful, you can get about 3 uses out of each pod. ($4 each)

2. Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer – THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER INVENTED. I’m sorry to yell, but seriously guys this shit is awesome. I have super oily skin and this has saved my face from looking a mess. This is pricey, but a little goes a long way. It glides on like silk and leave your skin ready for your makeup. Pores? GONE. Oil? GONE. I put this to the test in the Miami humidity and my face was shine free after about 5 hours, and after that only a slight shine popped through. I cannot recommend this enough. If you get one thing from the round up, this needs to be it. (1.0 oz for $54)

3. Estée Lauder Pure Color EnvyLiquid Lip Potion – These are great for my lipstick loving gals. This innovative liquid lipstick hybrid plumps with continuous moisture. It saturates with high-intensity color without sticky shine so lips look pretty much perfect. Color lasts close to 8 hours (tested it!) and the finish is a satin-matte look. I loved how my lips felt good wearing these, not dry and gross like my matte lipsticks. I also loved the applicator. It’s shaped perfectly for your lips and makes application a breeze. ($32)

4. Ouidad Climate Control Heat and Humidity Gel – Second favorite thing in this round up is this bad boy. I have thick and wavy hair that frizzes as soon as I walk out the door and this worked great to control that. I put this to the test both in Disneyworld and Key West humidity and it kept my natural beach waves looking perfect and frizz free. It does feel strange on your hair if you put too much so make sure to apply only a little bit to sectioned off hair and then style as usual. Your hair will not expand in the heat and stay all pretty and perfect. Must have! ($26)

5. Morgan Taylor Fall Nail Collection – I’m a gel girl but these colors had me swooning. They are super pigmented and go on great. My nails stayed chip free for about 8 days which is amazing for me considering my hands are always put to the test on a weekly basis. My favorite from the collection was Looking For A Wingman, a berry red color perfect for fall. ($9 each)

6. Giorgio Armani Eccentrico Mascara – I never stick to one mascara for too long, but this mascara seems like it will be my new go-to for quite some time. It is uh ma zing. First off, I love the mascara wand! It grips your lashes and fans them out. Secondly, the color is black as night , A+ for that! Then lastly the way it makes my lashes look is beyond perfect. My lashes look almost fake! Separated with some volume and curl that would rival even the best falsies. It also doesn’t flake off during the day and doesn’t get clumpy, thank jesus! ($32)

7. Drybar Prep Rally – If you’ve ever visited a Drybar, you know how awesome they are and their products are no different. I love their dry shampoo & conditioner, but their Prep Rally is a favorite. It smells great and has lots of hair loving vitamins to help keep hair shiny and healthy. It also detangles your hair prior to brushing and helps cut down on dry time which is a major plus! ($23)

8. Giorgio Armani Eye Tint – It took me awhile to grow to love these but in the end, they ended up being great. The thing I love about these eye tints are they stay on all day long and never ever crease. I like to use the lighter side (#24) as a base for my shadow on a daily basis. My absolute favorite was #12, Gold Ashes. It’s shimmery and oh so beautiful on. I’ve worn it alone with some liner and it looks gorgeous. The only thing about these is that you have to work fast as they dry from liquid to powder and once dry, it’s on forever. ($39)

9. Bella Aura Antioxidant Serum Booster – I cannot stress to you enough how important taking care of your skin is. This tiny but powerful bottle helps you do just that. The serum helps your skin detox from daily impurities that can cause your skin to age and lose its glow. It’s packed with vitamins, minerals and fatty acids to help smooth out skin, fight blotchiness and boost your radiance. I love how light it felt on my skin and how after a few days of consistent use, my face looked smoother and had a subtle glow to it. I put this on in the AM and PM after cleansing and before my sunscreen. ($125)

10. Level Shower Bombs – I’m sure you’ve all heard of bath bombs, but have you ever tried a shower bomb? It’s like a mini spa experience while you shower. What this little bomb lacks in size it makes up for in airway-clearing, spa-steaming, aromatherapy goodness. Menthol and lavender oils help to open your sinuses and relax the mind, surrounding you with a cooling and calming fog as you shower. Just place on the floor of your shower beneath the stream of water, but away from the drain,breathe deeply and enjoy! I love it for a mid-week treat or whenever I’m feeling extra stressed out! ($8 for a 4pack)

*Some items were received as gifts or in exchange for review. All opinions expressed here are my own*

August Beauty Must Haves

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Hello beauties! In this edition of the beauty round-up we have a powder foundation that sticks to your face no matter how hard you workout, my new favorite body cream and brush guards which have changed my makeup brush game! Check this month’s 10 picks below !

xx

  1. Trilipiderm All-Body Moisture Retention Creme – THIS SMELLS SO GOOD. No really, it does. Besides that it quickly became my favorite cream due to its non-greasy feel and ability to absorb into my skin so quickly. It has fatty acids and vitamin E which kept my skin feeling great. I love it for my hands and feet more than anything since that’s where I lose the most moisture. After a month of using I noticed my skin’s texture and tone has improved quite a bit which is why it made this list! ($14.95)

      2.Farmhouse Fresh Pudding Apeel Mask – If I told you I didn’t have an obsession with face masks, I’d be lying. This mask smells like pudding, delicious pudding. I apply an even layer to my face and let sit for 20 min. It gives this warm, tingly feeling that lets you know it’s working. Glycolic and fruit extract Alpha Hydroxy Acids combine with hydrating honey and coconut milk to infuse skin with moisture as you renew. The mask left my skin glowing and so soft. After continued use it helped control my breakouts, even my skin texture and kept my skin glowing. ($22)

3. Nassif MD Detox Pads– My skin has never looked better and it’s thanks to these bad boys. I struggle with oily skin and large pores around my nose and these have significantly reduced those pesky pores. These pads are an exfoliating and firming treatment in one that slough away dead skin cells while fighting big pores and fine lines. My skin looks smooth and pore-free after daily use of these pads, if there’s one thing you get from the list, make it this. ($45) 

4. The Brush Guard – If you’re like me, you probably throw your makeup brushes in your makeup bag and hope they don’t get ruined. Well these little gems have saved my makeup brushes from being tossed in the bin. The brush guard come in different styles and sizes and go around your brush to help keep it’s shape and protect it in your makeup bag! I never knew I needed these things until I started using them and now I can’t imagine my makeup bag without them. Best part is they are super affordable! ($12+ a pack)

5. ShampYOU Conditioner – This conditioner left my hair soft, frizz free and smelling like a flower. Pair it with the customizable shampoo (I did a red color booster and curl enhancer) and it’s a pair that can’t be beat. ($10, currently Buy Two,Get One)

6. Enhance Brow and Lash Oil – I’ve been using this for months now and thought it’s time to share it with you all. I love this oil beyond words! It has helped my spotty brows grow in thick and full. It’s also helped keep my lashes healthy. I apply it nightly to my brows and lash line. If you have brows you are trying to grow and fill in, TRY THIS. ($12+)

7. Exuviance Intensive Eye Treatment Pads – If you read my last post about my issues with aging, you know I’m on the hunt to prevent wrinkles so I’ll try anything once. I like to use these whenever I feel like my eye area is looking dull or if I have had a long week where sleep was optional…which happens to often tbh. I put them under each eye and relax for 30 min then remove and massage the remaining serum into the area. Looking back at me in the mirror are brighter and firmer eye areas instantly. They have also helped my tiny crows feet over time become smoother, so yay no wrinkles! ($49)

8. Sweat Stick Mineral Foundation – Active girls rejoice! A brush on foundation with SPF 30 that lasts up to 80 minutes no matter how bad you’re sweating. You brush on this bad boy and it promises to not clog pores and not drip down your face when sweating your booty off in spinning or walking down the street if you live in Miami like I do. It stayed put and provided me with SPF which is VERY IMPORTANT! It comes in a range of shades and they also launced a sweat proof illuminator, yassss ($42)

9. Monat Restyle Instant Sculpting Taffy – I have naturally wavy hair and love products that help me achieve tamed beach waves with minimal effort. This is one of those products. This taffy is full of ingredients that protect my hair from sun damage, pre mature thinning and scalp inflammation. It also has oils to help thicken hair naturally and keep it strong as can be! You just rub some between your palms and apply to sections. I usually apply some then scrunch my hair and define my waves with my fingers. ($34)

10. All That Shimmers Dry Shimmer Oil– A perfect pick me up for my tan when it starts to fade. this light oil give you a gorgeous glow with a tad of shimmer. I like to use it for special nights out or events where I feel a little on the pale side. it makes my skin glow and is super easy to apply. All you do is rub it in to your skin and viola, glowing goddess like skin. ($32)

**All opinions expressed are my own, some products were received in exchange for honest reviews**

Mineral Fusion Beauty Tour & Giveaway!

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One of my favorite natural brands, Mineral Fusion is hosting a Mineral Fusion Beauty Tour at Whole Foods Coral Gables! During the tour, you beauties can get 40% off of all Mineral Fusion products including skin, hair, body, nail care and cosmetics. Guests can also enjoy complimentary makeup applications from passionate and experienced makeup artists in the natural cosmetics industry while exploring all that Mineral Fusion has to offer.  

The tour lasts all the way up till August 28th and to celebrate I’m giving away a bomb Mineral Fusion beauty package ! To enter simply head to my Instagram page, make sure you’re following me, like the giveaway picture and comment for an additional entry! The giveaway ends Aug 27th! In the meantime head on over to Whole Foods to explore the brand and see the awesome products you could win!

 

xx

                               

 About the Brand: Based in Denver, CO., Mineral Fusion™ launched in 2006, and has since then become the leading natural cosmetics and personal care brand. Its innovative collection of antioxidant-enhanced, mineral-rich cosmetics, hair care, body care, skincare, and most recently, nail-care products are infused with active ingredients that deliver wide-ranging benefits of minerals to revitalize, nourish and protect.  All of the products within the Mineral Fusion portfolio are safe for all skin types, eco-friendly and free of gluten, parabens, SLS, phthalates, artificial colors and synthetic fragrances, 100% Vegetarian, and most are 100% Vegan.