Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Life Update!

Hey everyone!

It has definitely been a while since the last time I properly posted. It hasn't been due to the lack of ideas, but my life has been crazy and full of changes lately. I know many of you will not care about a life update, but someday I want to look back and be able to know that 2017 was a year full of changes and doing things that have pushed me out of my comfort zone. Cause trust me, 2017 has been a rollercoaster of a year and it is only October. 

First big change was that I was able to monetize to some extent my blog, which to me is a huge accomplishment. I'm sure many of you have noticed the appearance of ads throughout my content and page. I've also had a lot of more traffic, especially with my rushed Hurricane María post. 

If I look back now, I can tell that it all kind of went super speed crazy in July when I had an interview to become a translator and copywriter for an advertising company. Needless to say, I GOT THE JOB! The whole thing had me scared to the core because although I have done translation as a freelance before, I had never been a part of a creative team or an advertising company. I've been a part of a pretty amazing team for almost four months now and I can say that I truly enjoy and love my job. I have learned so much and I have a pretty amazing team that made me feel welcome from day one. Even now with all the changes that have occurred due to Hurricane María, I have had to be able to push myself every single day to excel at my job and learn along the way. 

Due to my new job and long hours, I was forced to make the decision to move to a new place due to parking. My old place only had street parking. Now I don't live in a small studio apartment anymore, and I am renting a one bedroom apartment that I love. I am extremely excited to be able to decorate it. Yet, that might take some time as I get payments in order and also sort out my savings. Which is something that may not happen right away with everything that is happening in Puerto Rico. 

All of these changes have been completely mind blowing and I cannot believe how much have changed in the last few months. If you would have asked me in May how I thought my year would be ending, I could not have told you that everything would be like it is now. I can't wait to come back into a regular schedule here on Love, Nashi. I have so many amazing things planned! Also, even though I have not been very active on blogger, I have posted a few things on my Instagram and I am always active on twitter. 

Some exciting and rare things have also happened in the last few months, like for example the solar eclipse! I was able to enjoy it with everyone from work. We spent a day out of the office and made it a field trip out of it. It was definitely a sort of thing I had never experienced before and I am glad I did. Also there have been some unfortunate things like Hurricane María passing over Puerto Rico. You can read more about my experience here. I hope to be able to do an update on that soon.

So keep an eye out for me because I am coming back and stronger than ever! If you have any suggestions about content you would like to see in the future, be sure to let me know in the comments below or in any of my socials. Until then, I'll write to you all soon.

Love, Nashi 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Experiencing Hurricane María in Puerto Rico

Living in Puerto Rico, hurricane isn’t a strange word or phenomenon. Every year we are on edge during hurricane season, knowing that at any moment one of these natural disasters could cross our 100 x 35 island. For the past 20 years or so, we have been blessed with the fact that a big storm hasn’t affected us greatly like George, San Felipe or Hugo did. On September 20th 2017 that changed.

I woke up at 5 am and there was a type of stillness in the air. It chilled me to the bone. You could hear the beginning caresses of the winds. The swaying of the palm trees could be seen from the windows. It was still pretty dark out. We had been without power since the night before, and that same morning our phones flashed an unfamiliar no service back at us. I couldn’t have begun to imagine that this was just the beginning, and I have to admit that me and my family were some of the lucky ones.

At 7 am, after having gone back to bed, I was woken up by the strong sound of a palm tree falling at my neighbor’s house. I swear I could hear how it had been torn from the soil and how it hit the ground with force. When we walked to our balcony to assess the damage, we could also notice that most of the trees had lost branches and leafs. The winds weren’t even that strong yet in the West of the Island, which is where I spent the events of Hurricane Maria at my parent’s home.

By 8 am, the winds had begun picking up. By 9 am, we had no water anymore. At 10 am, the passageway next to my house where we keep some crops had flooded.

If we weren’t already uncommunicated without power and telecommunications, we experienced how one by one all radio stations begun to come off air at around 11 am. We were lucky if we found at least one to listen to, and still nobody knew anything of what was going on. We had no clue where the eye was, what damage had it already caused in other islands or coasts or municipalities.

By midday, the sounds of the wind were extremely loud. Roofs had been lost. The smell of sea salt lingered in the air. You could hear doors rattling. The metal of the windows and some roofs was whining. If you touched the walls, you could even feel them rumbling. The trees swayed. Objects flew. Our bedrooms began to leak water from the closed windows. Thirty minutes later, we had to seal the front door because our street had begun to flood. In just 15 minutes, water quickly reached our balcony. All I could think about was how much the air smelled like the ocean. Five minutes later, visibility was low. To the point that we could not see the houses across the street.

By 1 pm, we were reinforcing the back door because we could swear that the door would implode on us succumbing to the strength of the winds. At 1:23 pm, we found a working radio station, but they had no clue what was happening. We did learn that barely any radio stations were working and that all Puerto Rican TV channels had gone off air.

At 1:30 pm a calmness surrounded us. The winds completely stopped. So did the rain. We walked outside and realized that we had reached the eye of the hurricane. Our neighbors came outside as well. They quickly got to work. Cleaning the drainage, hiding anything that could be a projectile. The eye lasted two hours and forty-eight minutes.

From 3:30 to 4 pm the winds and rain had slowly begun again. We had heard that the first half of the hurricane was always the worse. That it always carried the strongest winds and the strongest rains. That wasn’t the case. The winds change direction during the second half. They were also much stronger. I had not been able to comprehend the fact that things could actually be worse the second time around. There was less rain, but the winds had come back with a vengeful strength. The howling was so strong, at times I felt like screaming for it to stop. The house was rumbling as well, groaning at the abuse it was receiving.

The rain didn’t come again until 6:15 pm, and since the winds were now directly hitting the front of the house, most of the rain got in through the windows. We were forced to close all of the windows now. The water that splashed onto our faces was salty. The temperature had dropped, and it felt much colder inside the house.

By 7 pm, the night had surrounded us in darkness. We could no longer see the damage being caused by the hurricane. We could only hear things falling, the rustling of the wind and the rain as it hit against the windows and the street. If we peaked outside the windows, we could only see a white wall of rain just beyond our balcony. And by 8 pm, our street had begun to flood once again. Not as bad as the first time.

The strangest thing happened by 9:15 pm when suddenly we found a working radio station from Venezuela and we found one speaking in English. We heard this same story from others in the following days.

The winds didn’t stop until Thursday at around 5 am. That crisp Thursday morning we still had rain but no sustained winds. Sometimes we would get gusts reminding us that this system was still in our region, slowly crawling away in the sea. We learned that a curfew was established. Most of the day was spent doing clean up.

Without communications, we resorted to go out into the streets to be able to know if some of our family members were okay. We learn little by little that they are, but we can’t communicate that to all of our family members around the island, our friends or those who live outside of Puerto Rico. During our drive we see the extend of the damage that was caused by the hurricane. I can’t recognize my Island. You can see the despair and the desperation on the people’s faces as they clean up or take pictures of the damages that were caused to their properties.

On Friday, long lines begin in any establishment that opens. You have to do a line to get cash from the bank. You have to stand in line to get any type of food from fast foods, restaurants, bakeries, supermarkets, etc. Worse were the long lines that people were making to be able to find gas. People would stand in line for over ten hours to find $10 or $20 of gas. Most of the time, they were in line for closed gasoline stations unsure if they would even open.

I didn’t know that this nightmare could actually crawl on and on for days. It wasn’t until Saturday that radio stations and TV channels began to come back. We had no power or water, but with a generator and water reserves we have been getting by. It has been three weeks and I still can’t make sense of everything that has happened and continued to happen. Our telecommunications are still limited, but we have been able to speak with our friends and family. Gas and food isn’t being rationed as much anymore. You can find almost everything in stores (water is still very hard to find) and you can get a full tank of gas.

What Maria left in me was a will to continue forward for myself, and my family, but it also left a lot of fear. I fear that we may get sick. I fear that a plague may start. I fear that the death tolls will continue to go up. I fear that I may lose my job. I fear that my little Island will not be able to make it through this. Yet, I know we are strong and we have been able to get past this before, and we will once again.

Please, if you can and care, donate and raise awareness that we cannot do this alone. We need help. Many communities need access to clean water and a meal. There are families that have lost everything.

Love, Nashi


PD: As soon as I have a more stable internet connection and power to charge my laptop I will edit this post to include pictures and videos of that day.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Ideal Summer Park Reads

by: Courtney Hayes

While there’s nothing quite like curling up in your bed or in your favorite chair with a good book, the Summer weather brings on the opportunity for another kind of reading experience, one that can bring you closer to strangers and change the way you perceive the words in front of you.  There are coffee shops, libraries, and beaches, but there’s also a magical place out there where people go to play, to relax, to be alone, or to be with friends: the park. So if you’re about to venture to the park to enjoy a beautiful Summer day, what conversation starting, thought provoking, or feel good reads can you bring along for company?


Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur


This poetry book about blossoming from the dust of an old relationship into the light of a new life came to popularity last summer. Kaur’s mix of short and long poetry and her experimentation with form and imagery make this book an experience in emotion. If you want to feel something this summer that is both heart-wrenching and hopeful, this quick read will be your saving grace! 


As You Like It by William Shakespeare


It’s never a bad time to give Shakespeare a try. As You Like It has an undoubtedly summer vibe about it: Rosalind and Celia flee into the forest, meeting up with the likes of Orlando, Oliver, and Phebe, but since the girls are in the disguise a mess of a love web begins to unfold. You may know this as the play that She’s the Man was based on, so why not dive in and see where the similarities end! 




Once and For All by Sarah Dessen


 A queen of summer, Dessen knows how to write a realistic and enriching novel. In this one, the daughter of a wedding planner is cynical about love, but can one boy (a former king-of-dating) change that? With romance and wit galore, Once and For All is definitely a novel that will get you hooked on Dessen (or if you’re already a fan, make you dig your claws in deeper).



The Turn of the Screw by Henry James


This may seem like a random addition to a summer reading list, but no list is truly complete without a thriller. James’s novel is short and spunky, offering a great introduction to British Literature. When a governess takes to a country house to take care of two orphans, weird things start to happen. Time to curl up in the park and start reading about ghosts and ghouls in the beautiful countryside!



Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson



Both a novel and a poem, Carsons’s Autobiography of Red is a truly unique read. Based partially off of Greek mythology, it tells the story of Geryon, a boy who is also a winged red monster, as he takes on adventures in artistry and romance. Moving and lyrical, you won’t be able to put it down, or stop visualizing the images Geryon captures. 




Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates


This memoir, written in the form of a letter to his son, captures the essence of living in American as a black man, both in the past and today. Coates has a wonderful way with words and this book is enlightening in both complex and simple ways, and it feels deeply personal. This memoir offers a great opportunity to learn and discuss social issues in America today.





The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares 



Another queen of summer, Brashares (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) knows how to paint the perfect picture of summer friendship and romance. This novel is a family drama: two families who were once one family own the same beach house and use it at alternative times so that their new kids have never actually met. Sit down and enjoy the drama and the emotion that Brashares is so good at creating. 


Things That Happened Before the Earthquake by Chiara Barzini



The events of this book take place around the 1994 earthquake in LA and follow Eugenie, a Roman teenager whose family does not understand much about American culture. You’ll be inspired and intrigued by her unique character as she swims in new seas, and since summer is all about adventure and discovery, it’ll give you some insight on the trials of adapting to a new environment. 





Children of Eden by Joey Graceffa




A true summer escape needs a little fantasy. Graceffa’s novel follows Rowan, marked for death by population control in a world that has been ravaged by climate change. This dystopian novel introduces new characters for us to fall in love with, and it’ll keep your heart racing from beginning to end! 








So Much I Want to Tell You: Letters to My Little Sister by Anna Akana    



Akana has used her social media platform to talk about mental illness. After her younger sister committed suicide, Akana put together this compelling collection of essays about dealing with depression, self-esteem, and self-love. Moving and insightful, it’s the perfect read to really make you think about life.



What are some of your favorite Summer Park reads? Have you read any of the ones in Courtney's list? We'll write to you all soon! 



Love, Nashi & Courtney

About the author: Courtney Hayes is an editor and writer with a degree in English Literature from McGill University. She has a passion for adventure, comedy, animals, and theater. You can follow her on Instagram @x_courtneey_x

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Favorite Picture Editing Apps


Editing pictures so they look perfect on our feeds is a daily job for a lot of us. I don't use them for all of my posts, but sometimes pictures need a little extra magic, especially when they come from our phones. I use them a lot to create the edits I post on Love, Nashi's Instagram feed. That's why today I want to share with all of you, my favorite picture editing apps so you can use them to make those Summer pictures perfect!

Snapseed

Snapseed is one I use quite a lot because it allows me to edit small details. What I use it for the most is to enhance colors. Sometimes we want the pinks, blues, and greens to look brighter to give a picture life. The brush option and saturation can help me do just that. The app also has some other cool features like lens blur and glamour filters. It is a quick and easy app to have on your phone. 

PicsArt

I use this app to make so many edits. You can crop, add stickers, add text, make your pictures square, and so much more. It also has a great variety of filters. My favorite feature about this app is that it makes making those black and white pictures with color accents. I also use it a lot to blur things in the background. It takes some time to figure out to use all of the features, but it is even fun during the process of learning. 

Pic Collage

This is the most basic of editing apps. We all need that to be able to make collages. What I like about this app is that sometimes I can even make my own phone backgrounds with quotes and sayings. So it isn't only about making collages. 

Font Candy

Font Candy is another app I use for the edits you see on Love, Nashi's Instagram feed. You can edit pictures for different social media outlets, they have a big library of pictures, and even artwork and sayings. I use the shapes in artworks a lot and simply add some text. You can also do some interesting things to edit background pictures, even blur them out behind some text. Their font library has got to be my favorite thing about the app. 

Ripl

Ripl has been a recent obsession and if you follow my Instagram, you've definitely seen me use it for my Let's Talk Coffee Series! I love the way that you can make short videos or moving collages with your pictures. You can even add text and music. They have different types of layouts you can use and you even have the options for them to be static images. It is really fun and easy to use!

What is your favorite picture editing app? Have you used any of my favorites? Make sure to join the conversation in the comments or any of my socials. 

I'll write to you all soon. 

Love, Nashi

Monday, July 17, 2017

Too Faced vs L'oreal (Better Than Sex mascara dupe)

It’s been a major talk in social media for over a month now. Is the new Loreal mascara a dupe for Too Faced Better Than Sex? Many beauty gurus, bloggers and beauty enthusiasts like myself have reviewed it and put it face to face against this high-end mascara and they agree that it works just as good if not better. I wanted to put this theory to the test. Especially since Better Than Sex is one of my top 3 mascaras of all time.

After looking for L'oreal's Voluminous Lash Paradise mascara since May, I finally found it at Walgreens on sale for $8.99. It was literally a surprise to find it because that day I hadn't even been on the hunt for it. Getting right into the comparisons of the two, the price is one of the biggest differences between these two mascaras. The Better Than Sex mascara sells at Sephora for $23. While the L'oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise Lengthening Waterproof mascara retails for $9.99

Another big difference is that the Loreal Paradise mascara is waterproof, while the Better Than Sex mascara is not. Although there is a version of the Better Than Sex that is waterproof, I have never personally used that one myself.


Other than that, even their packaging is similar! They did not hide the fact that they are trying to imitate this high-end brand. Their mascara tube colors are both a beautiful rose gold, and when you open them, even more, similarities come up. One of them is the hourglass shaped wands. Yet, their bristles differ. L'oreal's bristles are shorter and stiff, while Too Faced has longer and more flexible bristles. The mascara formulas are very similar. Not too dry, but not incredibly liquid either. 

I wore these side by side and have worn them separately on various occasions and despite in the way the formula applies and consistency I have not found any major differences. They both wear and look incredibly similar.  My lashes curled beautifully and the curl lasted without dropping or making my lashes feel heavy. I had lashes for days with these! 

I didn't experience any flaking or smudging during my trial runs with them. I sometimes even forgot I had makeup on and would scratch at my eyes. So, I am definitely calling this one a dupe in my books. What do you guys think? 

Do you think is a dupe? Will you try this new drugstore mascara phenomenon? 

I'll write to you all soon. 

Love, Nashi

Friday, June 30, 2017

All The Bright Places Book Review

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself – a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

This was a book I never expected to love, with characters I thought I would soon forget. Yet, it has clung to my heartstrings in a way that I know it will be one of my favorites for a very long time. Jennifer Niven has written such an eye-opening story through Theodore Finch and Violet "Remarkeyable" Markey that actually left me speechless after finishing this novel. It was not at all what I expected. All The Bright Places is the type of book that changes you and your outlook on life. 

It is important to remember that this book is about mental illnesses and these illnesses are a big part of the plot and who these characters are. In my opinion, it talks about heavy topics in a light and serious way, until it becomes heavy entirely towards the end. Lately, I am really into books that talk about all of these taboo topics in a very open way. Especially in a way that the message can reach the younger generations in a way they can understand. 


The writing in the book is amazing. I think Jennifer Niven did an amazing job in creating this story. The character's voices are so raw and their thoughts are so full of emotion every step of the way. The characters (Finch and Violet) are so different and their individual voices can not be any more different. This is a great thing since narration takes turns between the two of them. 


I think my favorite part about this book is that you loose track of time while reading. Before I knew it, I had gone through half the book in less than a day. I finished the entire thing in like two days. 


I highly recommend this book, and I could spend hours talking about it and my favorite scenes but I would have to give away any spoilers. I truly loved this books, but you must remember that it is a heavy one emotionally and it could trigger those who suffer from a mental illness. It really centers around the topic of suicide, depression, and death. The book is a real tear-jerker. I cried so much that my heart still feels heavy and it has been a few weeks since I read this book. 

Have you read All The Bright Places? I would love to learn what everyone thought about it in the comments. In the meantime, I will write to you all soon. 

Love, Nashi

Thursday, June 29, 2017

How to Plan the Best Summer Staycation



Are you feeling bummed out because Summer Vacations are here and while everyone is traveling you think you will spend your days at home watching Netflix? Let me tell you that you are wrong! You don't need to splurge on a big vacation or travel to a different country or Disney in order to have an amazing Summer Vacation!

The truth is that I adore traveling as much as the next person, but sometimes I just don't have the money to hop on a plane to visit a new destination or even some of my favorites. Vacations can really take a toll on your pocket, but that doesn't mean that you can't enjoy your Summer vacation doing something amazing locally. Staycations can be just as fun as actually traveling to a different state or country, but they can be very budget friendly. Here are some ideas of how to have an amazing 2017 Summer Staycation!

Plan a Picnic at a Local Park

Picnics are such a great way to spend a day outdoors. You can fly solo or have a bunch of friends or family join. The best part is that everyone can contribute something and make it a special occasion. Find out what parks are nearby locally and you've never visited. Bring some food, drinks, music, and a big blanket and you're set! The Summer day will pass you by chatting about with your loved ones while you enjoy some delicious Summer themed recipes. 

Have a Themed Movie Night

Enjoy staying in and watching Netflix? Want to binge watch that hot new series? Or even rewatch an old one? Invite your friends and make it a party! Better yet, make it a themed party! A few years ago I had a Harry Potter Themed Movie Night and it was amazing. We had a table full of snacks and our wands ready! 

Don't feel like staying in? A movie night also doesn't mean you need to stay at home. Find a drive-in movie theater or see what they are giving at the cinema. Maybe there is an event nearby where they will show a movie in the park or anything like that. Do your research and let your town or nearby towns surprise you. The point is to make an event out of it and enjoy it! 


Have Some Water Fun

It doesn't matter if it is at the beach, in a pool or a water fight! Having some water fun is a big part of what a Summer Vacation is because it helps you cool down. You could have some great laughs during a water balloon fight, read an amazing book by the beach, or take cute insta pics with your friends by the pool. Maybe there is a water park in your town or a town nearby and you can make it a day trip with your friend or family. Just go out there and have some fun! 

Go to a Local Festival

There is nothing better than going to a festival. Here in Puerto Rico, we have festivals all year round, but during Summer my family and I like to look for which ones may be happening each weekend and simply making a trip out of them. You get amazing food, shows, and local crafts from vendors. Most of them are sometimes themed (especially here in Puerto Rico). You could also see if there are any Summer Music festivals happening near you. The trick for an amazing staycation is doing your research and finding out the best places to be and when. 

Plan a Road Trip

I live in Puerto Rico and there are a bunch of towns that I have not visited yet, many with attractions for only $1. So whenever I know I will have a free day with nothing to do and feel like adventuring I will research what to do in Puerto Rico, and if I find a place I like I see what else you can do in that town. That is how the road trip with my best friend came to be. 

You can do the same no matter where you are from. Find a few places you want to visit and make a road trip out of it! Trust me, you will have an amazing time and you can save loads of money by making it a one-day road trip and bringing lots of snacks and beverages with you in the car. 

Tell me, what is your favorite Staycation idea? I would love to hear from you in the comments below or in any of my social medias: Facebook (nadeshka.monroig), Twitter (@nashimonroig), and Instagram (love_nashi). 

I'll write to you all soon! 

Love, Nashi