Thoughts

It’s 2017.. Stop Saying “That’s Gay”

This piece was written by me for my school newspaper, The Pauw Wow, but I felt I needed to share it with you guys too!

Around two weeks ago I was in class when one of my peers said something along the lines of, “I hope he’s not doing that because that looks/is gay and that’s not cool”. You know what’s not cool? Homophobic slurs. Come on people, it is 2017 and individuals are still throwing around inappropriate shade?

I am a Hispanic woman with a ‘straight’ sexual preference. Does this mean that I think I am superior to all other relationships because it’s between a male and female? No, it does not. People of planet Earth I have a news flash for you: love is love. You are free to love whomever you desire and this is the greatest thing life has to offer.

My classmate is unaware that his/her words can inflict serious wounds on the surrounding public. This person did not consider the fact that someone else in the class very well could have a different sexual preference than him/her. For this person to cast his/her feelings as correct is insensitive.

Now more than ever  America needs love. Making others feel inferior based on their sexual preference should be a thing of the past. I believe we should appreciate the differences between all of us. Everyone has the right to choose the relationship or partner they want to choose.

One of my favorite campaigns is the NOH8 campaign. The campaign is a photographic silent protest created by celebrity photographer Adam Bouska and partner Jeff Parshley in direct response to the passage of Proposition 8. Their mission is to promote love, acceptance, and respect for all human beings will continue in pursuit of #NOH8Worldwide.

Time has passed since Proposition 8 was approved. In fact, on June 26th, 2015 the Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states across the United States. On this date I felt overwhelmed with joy for all those who could now legally marry the love of their life.

I hope my classmate reads this and hopefully will take from this a reevaluation of his/her actions towards others. This person’s identity is irrelevant and I want the readers to be aware that I want to stress the notion of hate that was being emitted.

As of lately I see more and more hate crimes on a local and national level. We need not forget that our differences make us the blended country that we are. It’s so much easier to love something than to hate it, love is the easiest thing in the world. We shouldn’t shame others for being of a different ethnicity, color, or orientation. We are all a part of the human race. We all bleed red.

Interview, Trending

Meet Joshua Stone

What you wear on your feet can reveal a lot about you. In recent years the love for sneakers has soared to an all time high. I wanted to know what all the ‘hype’ was about so I went to the shoe store Packer at their Jersey City location and sat down with their employee Joshua Stone. Here’s what he had to say:

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Josh is wearing a Packer x Lafayette beanie, Persol Frames, Harris Tweed x Goodenough puffer jacket, Uniqlo Selvedge slim fit distressed jean, and Karhu Aria x Concepts on his feet.

 

Where are you from?

I was born in London and raised in France. I was sick of France and wanted a change. I had dual citizenship so I figured it I’d check it out. I went to the French Caribbean, Martinique, for a couple months first. Then I went to NYC and then finally Jersey City.

At what age did you realize your love for sneakers?

At age 9. I had this obsession with cool patterns. My parents didn’t see the point in getting them [sneakers] because they were crazy expensive and my foot was still growing. My first pair was a pair of adidas dragons.

Where was the first place you worked when you got here?

When I got here I worked at Memes, a Japanese/American owned company that opened in the 90s. It was my first job getting into New York. I worked there for two and a half years. I left because I felt like I wasn’t growing.

What are your top 5 favorite sneakers of all time?

  1. New Balance UKRB 670 made in England “Red Devils”
  2. Le Coqsportif Flash x Sneaker Freaker “Summer Bay”
  3. Adidas Consortium LA Trainer OG MIG
  4. Nike Air Max 1 “87” “Curry’s”
  5. Visvim FBT OG

How did you end up at Packer?

I was walking around the neighborhood and friends of mine were telling me “Oh this used to be a sneaker store” but it was closed down and they said “yeah I think it was called Packer”. I thought to myself, ‘really a Packer in Jersey City’? As time went on I forgot about it. Then I was online looking for work searching sneaker websites through Instagram and I tried to see where the store [Packer] was and realized they were in Teaneck. One day I walked by [Jersey City location] and saw that they were doing renovations on it. I couldn’t find the owner at that time but then a pop-up came on Instagram telling me when they were reopening. It was perfect timing. I was there an hour before opening with my resumé in hand. I asked to see manager who took it and gave me the same “Oh just come back if we see you more often we’ll see how things go”, and so I came back and when I did he remembered my name after that we built an organic relationship from there. They usually don’t hire anyone from outside in the company but they hired me.

What is your favorite thing about shoes?

It’s one of my favorite accessories that is affordable. They are timeless pieces. You can go back to any era.  I love New Balances a lot, the quality of comfort is up there and they have great color schemes.  There’s so many brands of shoes that I like, if I start talking about them all we’d be here all day. I don’t have a favorite pair, it’s more of favorite time periods for me.

Is your family supportive of your sneaker endeavors?

My mom has always been a positive supporter of me. My dad never understood it until recently.

What is the definition of a “hypebeast” and would you consider yourself one?

laughs-

Let’s say a hypebeast is a random guy who could be new to it and has no idea about anything with fashion and decides to walk his way into liking it. He’d be over the top with every new drop and follow everything the blogs or websites say. No I am definitely not a hypebeast I don’t jump on every ‘hype’ product that’s out there that everyone wants. In this business you have a lot of access to things and it jades you. You’re not really the consumer so much. Everything doesn’t have to be bought to me. I don’t need it when it drops. I don’t subscribes to Hypebeast or Highsnobiety or any of the sites that push out what’s ‘hot’, the only magazine I have a subscription to is Sneaker Freaker.

What’s it like at Packer when there’s a new drop?

It depends on how hype it is, if it hit Hypebeast or Complex or any of these websites it can get so crazy. We can have lines out the wazoo lasting over two hours. There’s a lot of s*** that’s being sold out, like NMD R1 is just a hype shoe. It’s a bang average pair for me. (Bang average= not worth the hype). It’s just a product Adidas is making money off of. The shoe that I think is going to change the game this year is the Adidas EQT Boost 91/17.

What’s your style?

I feel like it’s a mix of the 90s, 80s, and Japanese-ish. My style is my own and really depends on two things: the weather and my mood. If i wake up and have a shoe I want to wear then I’ll build my outfit based on that. There’s definitely levels to it.

You can follow Josh’s sneaker Instagram @gnihsoj ! Packer is located 382 Marin Blvd, J.C. and 941 Teaneck Road, Teaneck.

Food, Travel

A Weekend in Pittsburgh

As we know, I enjoy travelling to see my loved ones. This time it wasn’t all the way across the country (sorry Less).  This time I went to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to see my best friend Meghan who attends the University of Pittsburgh.

Travelling from Bayonne to Pittsburgh is usually about a five and a half hour car ride.  Meghan’s mom and I hit some traffic along the way so it took us seven hours to get there. This was not my first rodeo. Believe it or not I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve gone to PITT to see Meghan. Usually I take the Megabus and it’s somewhere between an eight to ten hour bus ride.

I’m not sure whimg_4781at it is but there’s something about the atmosphere that makes me all the more appreciative to be in Pittsburgh when I am. The first time I was there I said something along the lines of “Oh my God that’s the bridge from The Perks of Being a Wallflower!” That’s when I knew I was going to love Pitt.  We arrived at 10 p.m. and there was no time to waste! Meghan told me to get ready because we were going out. For those of you who do not know, Pittsburgh is a college town. You see nothing but students when walking along Forbes Avenue.

That night we went to three bars: Garage Door Saloon (G Door), Hemingway’s Café (Hems), and Peter’s Pub (Peter’s). G Door is right down the block from Meghan. So naturally we stopped there first. This bar is fun if you want to shoot some pool. I hate pickles, but I had my first pickle shot there. Next up is Hem’s this bar is great because they put gummy worms in the drinks and there’s always a big crowd. img_4821Finally, Peter’s is perfectly split between a chill atmosphere on the first floor and a dance floor on the second. The next time I go to Pitt Meghan’s going to take me to bars in Shadyside and South Side.

I know what you’re thinking.. “Bri you went all the way to Pittsburgh and all you did was drink?!” Well the answer is no! Aside from drinking we went to three notable restaurants, Social House Seven, The Yard, and Naturoll. If you know me you’d know that I’m all about Asian food. So I was delig
hted when we went to Social House Seven, a Japanese izakaya-style restaurant.  We ordered spicy edamame (my one true love), a series of rolls, and ginger pear egg rolls for dessert. Definitely try the Poke Aloha roll if you go. Switching over to a more American-style restaurant is The Yard. They are known for their gourmet grilled cheeses, burgers, and craft beers. I ordered the Mac Attack, which is mac and cheese with bacon bits on two fat Texas toast slices. It comes with a little tomato soup and I got Parmesan fries on the side. Let’s just say I was drooling from the first bite all the way to the last. Lastly, we went to Naturoll. I’ve heard so many good things about rolled ice cream so I had to see what all the hype was about. I ordered the s’mores which is chocolate ice cream, graham crackers, and toasted marshmallow. It was chocolate heaven and you can see from the picture how nice the presentation was (totally Instagram worthy!).

All in all I had a great weekend filled with food, laughs, and love. See you soon PITT !

Food

Where to Eat This Weekend

Where to eat: Umi Sushi – 118 E 31st St

 Got love for sushi? If you answered yes to that question then I have the place for you!

Alright, I can’t take all the credit here. My good friend/soul sister/confidant, Chelsey, led me to Umi Sushi.

The Japanese restaurant has a kind of hole in the wall feel to it and is located in Korea Town, a short walk from the 33rd Street Path Station (for all my New Jersey natives).

img_4274We went to Umi Sushi on Thursday around 5 p.m. and there was no wait. As soon as you walk through the door you are greeted with a welcoming smile from the hostess. She led us to our seats and luckily we got the window seat that overlooks the sidewalk traffic (I told you I love people watching!!) The menu has classic Japanese food.  For drinks, I went with Pinot Grigio and Chelsey went with Pinot Noir. As for food, we ordered two miso soups, edamame, a shrimp tempura roll, and a yellowtail & avocado roll.

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Edamame, Shrimp Tempura, and Yellowtail Roll

Everything came out quick and the service was wonderful. Our server checked on us a number of times. Getting back to the food, everything was mouthwatering. The edamame was cooked perfectly and had the right amount of salt. I could eat edamame five times a day for the next seven years and still not get sick of it. That’s love. The rolls were delicious and I stepped out of my California roll comfort zone and tried the yellowtail & avocado. I think the best thing about this restaurant is how fresh everything was. You could taste the freshness and this is so important. No one wants to eat old sushi.

Umi Sushi has great service and food to compliment. The atmosphere is very causal so don’t worry about looking fancy. This is a good spot to go on a friend date, a real date, or alone!  Definitely check them out for yourself. #treatyoself

Food

My Trip to Krispy Kreme

We all have a sweet tooth we can’t ignore.  My problem is I have about six or seven and I cannot deny their requests. I remember the first time I had Krispy Kreme I was with my cousin in Florida. When I took my first bite of the deliciously warm doughnut I knew this was potentially dangerous and I was thankful there were none up North because knowing me I would buy a dozen every day. It’s safe to say it was love at first bite.

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Krispy Kreme Grand Opening

This was around two years ago. Then one day on my drive home from work I notice a new billboard. It read: “Krispy Kreme Coming This Fall! Downtown Near the Grove St. Path” I thought to myself this was it. This was the moment I had been waiting for the last two years. When Fall rolled around I noticed the billboard changed, now it read: “Coming This January!” How could Krispy Kreme play with my emotions like this? When January made its way to the calendar the billboard changed again and this time it said Krispy Kreme was to open on February 7th, 2017. Could I trust this information to be true? I was tired of having my hopes crushed by this billboard.

The seventh day of February was a particularly cold one. My love for donuts lead me to the new location. I don’t know why I thought going at 3 p.m. on the opening day was a smart idea, but could you blame me? I was eager to get that savory taste I had been missing out on the last two years. The line was outside the door. I waited on it for fifteen minutes in the cold air and just as I was about to get through the door I realized I told my sister I would get her from school to save her from taking the bus. I abandoned my doughnut dreams and chose to be a good sister.

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Assorted Flavors

Naturally, I was back on the line the next day. To my joy it was gorgeous 60° weather with not a cloud in sight. This time around I went at 2 p.m. and the line was much more pleasant to be on. I waited for a strong twenty minutes. Once you’re inside you are led to a glass window and through the glass you can see the doughnuts being made on an assembly line. I progressed to the counter and ordered a half dozen of the original glazed doughnuts with an iced vanilla latte. You’ve got to treat yourself am I right? I stuck with the classic original donuts, but Krispy Kreme actually has over ten different donut flavors for you to try. I bit into the warm dough and it was love all over again. The sweet taste of the icing filled my mouth and I was smiling like a fool. I was a happy camper and my doughnut cravings had been satisfied (even though I’ll probably go back for more next week).

I was so relieved to be off the line and felt over the moon with satisfaction, but something was missing. I wanted word from one of owners on how they were feeling. I went up to a man with a black Krispy Kreme shirt and introduced myself.  He told me he was Riley from Krispy Kreme corporate. He seemed to like that I was wearing a PITT hoodie and asked me if I attended the university. Once I said no his mood shifted and he seemed to want nothing more to do to me. Going so far as to take a phone call during our conversation. He declined to comment on the traffic of the restaurant or answer any of the questions I had.

I did not let this negativeness ruin my experience. I am still so excited they’ve opened a location so close to me and think it is a brilliant spot for business. If you’re a doughnut lover like me I highly recommend making a trip. They are located at 95 Columbus Avenue Jersey City, New Jersey.

Travel

8 Hour Layover

I planned a trip to visit my dear cousin, Celeste,  in Washington state. When booking my flight I realized I made a major mistake. I booked a flight that was not flying directly to my destination. Instead it had two stops. The first stop was Chicago, Illinois for five hours and the next stop was Phoenix, Arizona for another 3 hours and then I would reach my final destination. Most people would see two stops and freak out. My first thought was to consider myself lucky because I’d never been to either of the places listed. Of course I’m going to make the best out of a crappy situation!

Fast forward to when I arrived at Chicago O’hare Airport. It was a relatively quick flight from Newark, New Jersey to Chicago. Overall I was in good spirits. Then the thought crept up in my mind again… Five hours to go… F i v e H o u r s… This is when anxiety snuck up on me and I knew I wouldn’t be able to stay in the airport for that long. Sure, I love people img_4023watching but not for five hours straight.

I went over to the directory and saw that there was an earlier flight out to Phoenix. This flight was scheduled to depart 40 minutes then and a good five hours earlier than. To be frank, I figured Phoenix was a safer (and warmer) place to travel alone. I walked to the assistance counter and asked the woman wearing a welcoming smile if there was any possible chance I could be on the next flight to Arizona. To my joy I was able to get a seat on the flight (a window seat at that !!). A quick 3 hours later and I was looking out my window to pink desert sand.

Of course I don’t know anyone in Arizona  so getting picked up from the airport was out of the question. Nor did I have the slightest idea what I was going to do for the next 8 hours but I seeing the mountains from my plane was enough for me. Fortunate for myself, I was equipped with an iPhone and Siri gave some great suggestions. map

I decided to go to Desert Botanical Garden. It was ten minute drive from the airport. Naturally, I took an Uber. Special shout out to my driver Larry, he was very friendly and offered all his knowledge on the background of Phoenix. The garden itself was absolutely beautiful. You can see from the figure on the right how far it expands. I spent hours there admiring all the cacti and everything else they eye could see. If you ever find yourself in Phoenix definitely check this place out!

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Uncategorized

Welcome to my world people!

Ever since I was a little girl I have dreamt of creating my own space where I am free to share my thoughts, feelings, and ideas with the world. Now I have this space and I am thrilled to write it all down! You should expect a long list of posts from me ranging anywhere from reviews on restaurants, movies, and books to the next place you should visit.