Category Archives: Editorials

Travel choices: When ethics, community solidarity, and ambition for personal growth collide

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But first, let me tell you how spreading ignorance, fear, and misinformation of a place has influenced me personally.

When my husband and I decided to get married, we decided to do so in the Dominican Republic. It is not only a beachy, sunny, beautiful destination, it is also where half my family is from. Because my father owns vacation rentals there, we were able to secure a few beach apartments free of charge for my husband’s family all of which were traveling from Wisconsin and had never been to the island. We were all going to be close to each other and they would never have to navigate the area alone as I would always be around to translate.

We gave everyone a year’s notice to plan their trip and settle their budgets. Almost all of them were excited to come.

Except for one of my husband’s closest relatives. They were unsure about the safety of traveling to a “Third World Country”, a descriptor that no longer applies to the small island, whose technology is the same as that of the U.S. and which leads in comparison to most Latin American countries.

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Making the case for the “newbie” blogger

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When I started blogging, in 2008, I inadvertently joined a world that I was completely unaware of and unprepared for. What started as a way to talk about my life in NYC with my then toddlers and tween, while also sharing what there was to do here when you visit – specifically targeting my family out-of-state – turned into a step into a digital world I never even knew existed.

I confess, I hadn’t really read a blog. I didn’t know the key players, I didn’t understand this ever-changing landscape, and I wasn’t really sure what to do. All I had in my pocket were the years of working in public relations, an industry which itself hadn’t really caught up with blogging either, and a lot of sudden noise online.

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The Story of an Iranian Refugee: My Sister

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The discriminatory and un-American immigration ban set forth by the U.S. President has targeted and impacted many innocent people and has lead to the detention and deportation of families, professionals, students, and other hardworking members of our communities, legal residents and Green Card holders. The ban heavily targets immigrants of Muslim countries.

Though this feel very personal, I did not want to come on here to explain why I have joined protests and supporting groups that are fighting against this bigotry. 

Instead, I wanted to open up the platform for someone else, a former refugee herself, to share her story and the story of many others targeted by this ban.

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Letting go

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This morning I woke up at 3:30AM to drive my 19-year-old son and his girlfriend to the airport.

They were heading on their very first international trip alone, together. It’s her first time out of the country, his first time traveling abroad as an adult without us.

As I showered them with a check list of last minute items, made them confirm 4 times at least that they had their passports, gave them all the things to watch out for and be careful of, I could hear the excitement and nervousness in their voices and it made me smile.

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How to prevent your teen from driving drowsy

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‘Tis almost the season for festivities, gatherings and all that is good as we prepare for the holidays and having our college teen back home.

It’s also the time for exams, which means long nights of studying and even longer drowsy days. This is a fact. What is also a fact is that chances are your teen, like mine, will try to drive somewhere in this low-attention state.

Most parents, and certainly many teens, don’t really think much of driving a short distance while a bit exhausted. However, the number of teens who do this is rather high and quite dangerous for the rest of us. In fact, new research conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), revealed that 56% of licensed teens have admitted to driving when they felt too tired to drive their best, 32% are driving drowsy at least sometimes and nearly 1 in 10 teens have completely fallen asleep at the wheel while driving. One in every ten. Those are scary numbers.

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November was hard, but it also changed my life

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It’s the last day of November 2016 and what seemed like a hopeful time at the start of the month has become somewhat filled with uncertainty for so many. Who knew 30 days could pack such a punch?

However, this isn’t my first rodeo. There have been a lot of really tough times – which honestly have felt even tougher because they have been so much more personal in the past. I have allowed myself all the emotions that come as a result of these past few days (ahem, the election), but I also quickly was able to identify what I wanted my role to be and how I wanted to approach it all. For all its crappiness, November has brought some really positive changes too.

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Letting go of the parental wheel, to help your teen be safer behind the wheel

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One of the biggest hurdles I had to overcome as a parent was learning to let go once my oldest hit those teen years. Of course, any parent will tell you that “letting go” is something we are always doing, but when they become teenagers, and especially when they get their license, letting go is both heart wrenching and more necessary than ever.

Our teens need more opportunity to learn to navigate the world on their own, mistakes and all, without the hand holding and the constant check-ins. But it’s even more important to consider how our concern as parents can actually make it more dangerous for them, especially when they are driving.

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Getting Married with Elle King, and other things I am thankful for

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On December 30, 2003, my husband and I got married on a sandy beach in the Dominican Republic, just as the sun set.

Were I to leave that story there, it would be beautiful.

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Traveling while brown through Trump’s America: Tips, advice, and words of empowerment

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At the posting of this blog, it is day two post-elections. The country is more divided than ever and emotions are raw. But I know many of my readers, as well as many of my peers, on both sides, are already tired of hearing all the chatter and want the lot of us to just move on and get over it. But before I get back to business as usual, I will share some tips on how my community and peers can start to take care of themselves, because I know there are many of us out there living scared now and I am not going to pretend you don’t matter.

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It took me a year to write this, and just as long to return to me

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It’s been a little over a year since I gave a keynote speech at TBEX Florida. As far as my speaking career goes, keynoting at TBEX was a highlight for me. The topic, where I shared with the audience a very vulnerable experience during a press trip, had more to do with confronting my own insecurities, realities of the stereotypes I face regularly as a plus-size woman, and finding the courage and strength to move on to my goals, rather than specifics about the press trip itself. It was so well received and touched so many people who felt I had spoken to their own realities that comments and feedback were coming at me for many months afterwards. Giving this speech was therapeutic and empowering because I opened up and spoke about issues that I face and struggle with as a professional travel blogger and as a member in a space that doesn’t really acknowledge people like me and instead rewards and celebrates limited beauty standards, youth, and sex appeal over quality of content, experience, and knowledge. It was incredible to come off that stage having exposed all my vulnerabilities while simultaneously sharing how I overcame them and triumphed, and then to be surrounded by men and women of all ages, shapes, and walks of life who told me their own stories and thanked me for sharing mine – it was, to say the least, an incredible high.

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