Fridays at Coney Island

There really is nothing like SUMMER. The days are longer, the people are happier, and minus the B.O. one encounters on the subway, life is perfect. The best part of Summer is definitely the beach and Coney Island has tons to offer this Summer. Coney Island Brewery is hosting Friday Fireworks every week until the end of August and they are spectacular. I don’t know what it is but there is something about Nathan’s that makes my 85% vegan self crave a hot dog. So if you are still trying to figure out what to do this Friday, here is my encouragement, head to the beach, take a dip in the ocean, grab a bite to eat, and sit back for the firework show!

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Happy Friday!

Xo,

Gen

The Iron Bowl

I love these little bowls, they remind me of a coconut shell but more than that, I love this smoothie bowl. Passion fruit yogurt, cacao powder, maple syrup, topped with my favorite toppings make for an absolute treat. I call this the Iron Bowl because of the Cacao-Yogurt connection, cacao is a great source of iron and the calcium in yogurt is a great partner to absorb the iron better. I topped it with raw cashews, coconut flakes, chia seeds and the little bit of banana that I had left.

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The Iron Bowl

  • 1 Passion Fruit Yogurt
  • 2 tbsp. Cacao Powder
  • 1 tbsp. Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp. Chia Seeds
  • 1 tsp. Coconut Flakes
  • Raw Cashews or your favorite nut
  • Banana
  1. Mix the yogurt, cacao powder and maple syrup together and place in bowl.
  2. Top with your favorite toppings.
  3. Enjoy!

Xo,

Gen

Nothing Like Summer in New York

Late nights illuminated by fire flies, early morning yoga classes and all the fruit one can eat? That’s my kind of summer! Whereas most people travel during this time, there is no place I’d rather be. Once winter hits? Catch me if you can! Ha!

There is something so magical about summers in New York. I always say that I fall in love with NY every summer and breakup every winter 😂

Below are my favorite summer activities:

1. A day at Brighton Beach 🏝

If you can make it to the Hamptons, do it! You won’t be disappointed but if you don’t get the invite, head on over to Brighton Beach! It’s clean, it’s beautiful, it’s a lot of fun and you can walk to Coney Island if you feel so inclined 😉 Bring something to lay on, some snacks, something to read, but more importantly come ready to enjoy yourself!

2. A day at Governor’s Island!

I have two words for you! Hammocks Everywhere! If you want to chill on hammocks? Gov Island is the place for you! If you want to try something amazing from a food truck? Gov Island is the place for you! If you want the best views of NYC? Gov Island is for you! Bring your bike or rent one there, have a picnic with friends, cuddle with your love on the hammocks. Whatever you do, you will surely have a blast at this beautiful island that’s all of 5 minutes away from Battery Park. Find more info on how to get there HERE.

3. Movie Series at The Intrepid

The Intrepid has to be one of my favorite museums. Perhaps it’s because it’s the first museum that I went to when I first came to the US. Perhaps it’s just because it’s awesome. During the summer season, they become even more amazing by hosting movie nights and there really is nothing like it. If you are in the area, you have 4 weeks left to check it out. Bring a blanket, food and non-alcolholic drinks, and kick back to watch a movie on a boat, under the stars, in the greatest city in the world. Check out the schedule for what movies are coming up next.

4. Friday Nights at The MoMa

On Friday Nights, UNIQLO sponsors Free Friday Nights. That’s right, you can head over to The MoMa for free! It’s open from 4pm to 8pm. Check out all of the exhibits and get an amazing selfie or two. My only advise is don’t bring a backpack, you’ll be forced to wear it on the front and that’s just not a cute look.

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5. A day at Central Park

Whether you are going on a hike, biking or running along the path, having a picnic at Sheep’s Meadow, checking out the zoo, a concert, or riding a row boat at the Loeb Boathouse. The possibilities are endless. If you do decide to go rowing, remember to bring cash as they do not accept any other form of payment. Bitcoin not allowed, for now.

What do you like to do during summer? Always looking for new ideas!

Xo,

Gen

The Tungurahua Takeover

The debate stands on how many days we spent at Tungurahua. The truth is, it wasn’t enough. If you have never been, I highly recommend it. And even if you don’t consider yourself a daredevil, swing from The Swing! Something beautiful happens when you swing off “The Swing at The End of The World”Initially, I screamed loud enough to revive the dead. You may scream in delight, sheer euphoric bliss or perhaps in fear, after all, you are swinging 2,600 m (100ft) above sea level. Once the screaming ends, you look around and you realize where you are. Crossing things off your bucket list while contemplating if anyone has ever fallen before haha! And then everything became more beautiful. As my friend says, it’s hard not to believe in God when you are surrounded by His creation. I saw God’s love in every sunset, in the beautiful waterfalls we toured through, in every mountain and mountaintop, in every animal and most of all, in every human. God’s glorious beauty reflected in all of His creation.If you visit Tungurahua, or anywhere in Ecuador, load up on Coconut Water. Never costing more than $2, it’s the best way to stay hydrated. As far as places to stay, we stayed at Hotel Passiflora on a recommendation and the place lived up to the hype. It was clean, it boasted of a friendly staff, and it’s proximity to attractions was unbeatable, oh and hello, free Wi-Fi. Sold!For dinner, head over to Sativa Studio Cafe located at Luis A. Martinez Street & Eloy Alfaro Street Behind the supermarket Banos Tungurahua Province 33130. The vegan tamales? Beyond delicious and the place itself is uber cute! With various seating areas, books, and giant Uno cards, you are bound to run into a fellow tourist or two. There’s even a little garden in the back, which the salad above is said to have come from. There is a 3 hour tour all around the waterfalls called “Ruta de las Cascadas”, it was a dream! The bus itself is called a “chiva” and the music made it feel less like a tour bus and more like a party bus! Along the way the tour guides will give you the option to bungee jump, hike, or zip line. We ventured through el Pailon del diablo. A ride on the Tarabita was a must. This provided a beautiful view of the Manto de la Novia. A day’s worth full of activities was less than $20, a total win in my book and after a couple of days of adventures, we headed to a small spa that for $50, treated us to facials, accupressure therapy, and full body massages. Heaven on earth! Wherever you end up and whatever adventure you decide to embark on, you will not be disappointed. The town hosts some of the friendliest people I have ever met, the air quality is incomparable, the craziest activity we embarked on which was ziplining was only $10, everything else is less than that so your money will go far, the fresh smoothies were a hit, all in all, it was great.  Baños de Ambato, Tungurahua, you will forever be the place where I changed the way that I looked at life.Xo,
Gen

Mental Wellness

When we think of wellness we tend to solely think about our physical health. A healthy diet, a fitness regime, an organic skincare routine and while I am a big proponent of all of those things 💯 We cannot forget about our mental health!

How many of you know that your body and face may look amazing but if you’re battling an off day then it won’t make much of a difference. In an interview, the ever talented, Mindy Kaling, captured the sentiment of looking great physically while feeling less than great mentally:

“It was years and years ago that that breakup happened. I was so sad, not angry, sad. That was the hottest I ever looked ‘cause I stopped eating. When I get depressed, I stop eating. I was so miserable and so beautiful.”

I am no expert but I am here to reassure you that off days happen with or without you being depressed. I know because they happen to me.

After undergoing intense testing for a disease that doctors couldn’t seem to find, I began getting restless. Questions and different scenarios kept me up at night and intense discomfort woke me up in the middle of the night. Getting out of bed was challenging at times. I often felt like I was on the outside looking in at my once healthy body.

Perhaps the most challenging part was fighting this battle on my own. In hindsight, it was foolish of me to do. It was a battle that I needed reinforcements for and I am glad that little by little I started calling my troops in and they are the ones that got me through. God places amazing people in our lives for the celebrations, for the road trips, for the adventures, but also for the breakups, for the illnesses and for everything in between.

Mental wellness starts with me. What’s the one thing that flight attendants always remind us before takeoff? In case of an emergency, please place the oxygen mask on YOURSELF before helping others. We cannot help others if we’re bleeding to death. We must first take care of ourselves, invest in ourselves and love ourselves enough to recognize when something is off.

How I do it:

Taking Care of Myself:

I carve out 5-10 minutes in the morning to meditate on a devotional and process what my day will look like.

I ensure that I am having some face to face contact with my best friends on a weekly basis. This is real life so I don’t see them all on a weekly basis but I see at least one friend a week. With long-distance friends, this requires a bit more planning but there’s nothing like laughing with a friend even when you’re thousands of miles apart.

I set time aside to do something just for me. Most days that’s taking a long walk to a place where I can see the skyline while listening to a podcast. I am a huge fan of:

Investing in Myself

I thank God for my pastor, who for the past year has spoken to our church about the importance of mental health and the benefits of seeing a counselor. Having someone to chat with freely and openly who will help you process things is something you cannot put a price on. It’s a wonderful investment into yourself that will yield long-term results. The founder of To Write Love on Her Arms, Jamie Tworkowski, said it best on this podcast.

Loving Myself Enough to be Self-Aware

Whenever I see that I’m crying more than the usual or like my patience tank is getting smaller by the day, I know something is off. Now I could pretend that it’s the people around me that are wrong but loving myself enough means that I have to recognize that something is off with me. It could just be that my blood sugar is low and I’m simply hungry or perhaps I’m not sleeping enough. It could be more, it could be a sign of something that I’m not dealing with that is boiling over to the surface. Sometimes chatting it over with a friend helps, other times it means an extra session with my counselor. Whether it’s a jog to clear my mind, a well balanced meal to counteract HANGRY feels, a chat with a friend or a counselor, or time alone with God. Get away, laugh until your belly hurts, refill your tank! It’s very important to take care of yourself especially if you want to help out and be there for your friends and loved ones!

Xo,

Gen

Nighttime Routine

How many of you want to wake up with beautiful, glowing skin? All of you yeah? Me too! Seriously how do we sign up for that? Now I don’t want to pretend that I have all of the answers and genetically speaking, I owe a lot to my grandma. This woman is 82 and has flawless skin with impeccable cheekbones! Unreal!

I have woken up with blotchy, uneven, and generally puffy eyes on plenty of occasions. Usually on days when I need to be photographed. Oh what a joy those days have been! I have also woken up with depuffed skin, glowy skin, and I have learned how to have more of the latter 😉

Below are the tips that work for me but start noticing your habits and figure out what works best for you!

Hydration is key 🔑

It’s simple, when I am well-hydrated, my skin is well-hydrated. Oh but staying hydrated isn’t always so simple! Especially during the colder months of the year. In order to ensure that I am drinking enough water, I sleep with a liter bottle of water that I drink as soon as I wake up. I like to read in bed for 5-15 minutes and I use that time to finish off my first liter of the day. After that, I refill my bottle and place it in my bag. I go about my day with my bottle in hand and aim to refill it at least once more. I aim for 4 liters a day but if I can at least get 3 in, it’s a win. Now that summer is here, I also eat tons of watermelon which is 92% water and is loaded with lycopene which is an antioxidant and is said to have anti-inflammatory properties. If I’m working out or spending time outdoors, I kick up the hydration game a notch and reach for more water as well as coconut water to replenish electrolytes.

Avoid Salty Foods Before Bed 😴

I have noticed that on days when I have salty snacks or heavy meals before bed, I wake up with a significant amount of puffiness. Limit your salt intake and try to minimize salt after 6pm.

Beauty Ingredients Can Help 🔍

I spend so much time reviewing the ingredients of my products and the feedback left by other users that I rarely pick up anything on a whim. However, at this year’s Yoga In Times Square festivities, I was gifted this wonderful face wash from Medimix Ayurvedic Face Wash that has become imperative to my skincare routine. The scent, the texture, one week in and I am already a fan! Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate has been on rotation for the last couple of months but it proved itself when I faced the worst sunburn of my life and this product significantly reduced the peeling on my face, neck, and chest 🙌🏽 Lifesaver! Side note, reapply your sunscreen. Not only is peeling skin not a good look, the long term effects of sun damage are insane! We’re talking sun spots, uneven skin tone, and in some cases melanoma!

Face Roller

This has to be the best part of winding down. Feeling the cooling sensation of this TBS Twin Ball Massager, soothes my face and preps me for bed, all at once. It has truly changed my life! Now I’m dying to try a Jade roller. That may just be my next beauty purchase!

Sleep!

Try as you may, skimping on sleep is going to catch up with you! Do whatever you can to get 7-8 hours of sleep, more or less depending on what your body is telling you. Showering with this Vanilla & Patchouli Shower Gel signals my brain that it’s time to unwind. Ensuring that my room is at a cool, yet comfortable temperature ensures that I won’t wake up cold or sweaty in the middle of the night. I also try to limit my liquid intake a couple of hours before bed to limit the amount of times that I’m waking up to use the bathroom. If I’m having a particularly stressful day, I rub a couple of drops of lavender oil on my wrists and my pillows and I focus on my breath until I fall asleep.

Try these tips for healthier, glowing skin! Remember that outer beauty begins on the inside so make sure you’re taking care of yourself both physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Xo,Gen

Top 3: Toronto Edit

MDW is meant to be a HOT celebration that Winter has ended and Summer has finally begun! When I think of Memorial Day, I think of hot weather, all-white outfits, and fresh fruit and fun all around. To be real, Summer is something I have been looking forward to for months. Heck, I even tried skipping winter this year but had very little luck haha! Which is why it’s even harder to explain that when MDW came around I headed North to cold Toronto. Ahaha! Life is hilarious! Toronto was in the 60s-70s throughout the weekend, and although I wore a jacket the whole time, I have zero complaints.

Toronto was clean, quiet, and such a chill city to visit. If you are feeling overwhelmed with how loud NYC could be, Toronto is your city. This was my first weekend in Canada (I definitely plan on going back) and I filled my days with all of the tourist attractions I could think of.

Here are my top 3 attractions:

1. Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls from the NY state line and from Ontario? Yup!

Ride on the Hornblower Niagara Cruise for the wildest experience you can imagine. We got freakishly close to the falls, it felt like being in the middle of a whirlpool. Insane!

2. The CN Tower

At one point this tower held the record for being the WORLD’s tallest free-standing structure! Standing tall at 1,1815.3 ft, you can see this beautiful building from almost anywhere in Downtown Toronto. And when I heard that there was a glass floor, well I just had to check it out! What I failed to realize that is that it stood high at the 1,122 ft. Walk on the glass floor of the CN Tower? Sure. Properly shaking but sure!

3. Thousand Islands

Touring through the castles of the Thousand Islands was amazing! There are 1,864 islands and the castles are as impressive as you could imagine. And did you know that the Thousand Island dressing was named after this place? Yumm!

Canada was an absolute dream! Equal parts relaxing and exhilarating!