15 Things That Bring Me Joy

In January, I set the intention of doing more things that made me feel good throughout the day. I wanted to do even the smallest things that bring me joy and improve my mood. As the self care industry is bigger than ever it seems like it’s all about trendy infrared saunas and over priced facials, I have to be honest, it does get very overwhelming especially for someone who is into wellness trends. So this month, I went back to simplicity. What makes me feel good every single day? Some things I did everyday, others a few times a month, but it did show me that even the smallest things can make a difference. So here are the top 15 things that made me feel good this month.

  1. Wearing earrings—it takes even the simplest outfits and transforms them. I love going for a pair of hoop earrings with a cute sweater and jeans to go out; makes me feel empowered and put together.
  2. Diffusing essential oils as part of night time routine
  3. Having a go to fragrance – currently going back + forth between this and that


4. Having a go to fragrance – currently going back + forth between this and that

5. Wearing makeup; even if it’s a little mascara. Makeup and I have been through some phases in lifetime. Sometimes I want to hoard it all, and other times I want nothing to do with it. I’ve realized that as long as wearing makeup is done because I want to do it then, then it will make me feel good.

6. Matching PJs sets

7. Dancing in the middle of the dance floor with my best friend.

7. Being in my childhood home–something I took for granted in 2018, but realized it as important to visit home as it is to go and explore.

8. Carbs–no more carb shaming in 2019!

9. My #NoScariesSunday Rountine–-read more about it here ; )

10. A long phone call with my mom—thank you for always listening to me rant!  

11. Making my bed–I’m very proud that I’ve built this habit in 2018

12. Being warm in really cold weather—the 2019 Polar Vortex is not cute

13. Taking a SoulCycle class with friends [duh!]

14. Making homemade cafecito—I don’t know what took me so long but I finally got a mocha and espresso cups, I’m ready to shout at all my friends quien quiere cafe?

15. Dinner parties with my friends, what’s better than fresh seafood, wine, and friends?


Overall these things improve my mood, which has been hard to do with the weather in Chicago. It is always about coming back to the simple things? What makes you feel good? What should I try this next month?

Besos,

Anais

Winter Skin Care Routine

Hello!

If you read my last post, you may know I’m trying to build one healthy habit a month and exploring different techniques, products, and overall gaining more knowledge on doing so. This month I dedicated it to doing small things everyday that make me feel best self. I like to call it Feel Good January. One of the habits I’ve been working on is trying to cracking down on my skincare routine. Today, I wanted to share my skin care holy grails, and my tips and tricks.

But first, here’s a little background on my skin;

I would say I have normal to oily skin and can be a tad sensitive to harsh chemicals. When I was about 11 years old, puberty hit me like a ton of bricks. I was the only person in my 5th grade class to have acne. I would show you a picture, but it’s a tragic situation and nobody needs to see that.  That was when I started the intense skin-care routines, Proactive, dermatologist appointments, harsh face washes with 2% salicylic acid, the total works. I was so embarrassed of my skin. Looking back, it was definitely 100% hormone related. Fast forward I do think my skin looks great, I don’t get large breakouts, a few small pimple maybe when I’m about to get my period, but nothing major.

IMG_5367

My skincare routine—

I wash my face about once a day, twice if I’m wearing makeup. I usually wash in the shower, so after a workout or when I take a shower at night. For me, I realized when I washed my face first thing in the morning and at night, it would remove all the natural oils in my face, and I was breaking out frequently. I always make sure my face is clean, without excessively washing it. I do also want to preface that I use more moisturizing products in the winter to keep my skin as fresh and glowy as possible. Winter is not cute and there isn’t a fountain of youth around.

When it comes to products I try to use as many clean and organic products as possible. All the products I use are cruelty free and can be found at Whole Foods. I use the Think Dirty app on my phone that helps me detect how clean my products are. This app is amazing if you are just getting into clean beauty. It will tell you what ingredients in the product are harmful to your skin. You can find me in the skin care aisle scanning all the face washes.

As for face wash, I’ve been loving the Avalon Organics Intense Defense. It is filled with Vitamin C that helps keep my skin moisturized and smelling like a cute orange. Then I’ll go in with my Pacifica Coconut Water Rehab Moisture Cream. This product is great for someone like me who is a total #girlboss, is up late at night getting work done, or deals with little stressors throughout the day. This moisturizers definitely helps my skin when it gets put on the back burner.  

Every Sunday as part of my #NoScariesSunday Routine, I do a facemask. For the past three years, I’ve been using the Aztec Healing Clay mask, mostly because one bottle has lasted me this long, but I love it. The mask comes in powder form, and I add equal parts water, apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil and rosemary oil.

Now let’s talk about my favorite skin care brand–cocokind. This is a clean and conscious skin care brand, and I truly think it is amazing if you are just diving into clean beauty. After I get out of the shower I use the raspberry vinegar toner which is great for acne prone skin, and does remove the few blemishes I do get. Then I will use the organic facial repair serum. This leaves my skin feeling so smoothe, I am obsessed. Two pumps goes along way. Lastly, I use the the MyMatcha stick for literally everything else. It is great for chapped lips, or even underneath my eyes to make sure I don’t look like a zombie. I also have the Macabeet stick which is my go-to tinted chapstick. They also have a turmeric stick for spot treatments, which I will gladly accept as a BDAY gift ; )

Cocokind can add up to be on the pricey side, but I definitely think skincare is an investment, and pro-tip they sell some products at TJMAXX for a discounted price.

Fancy skin care is great and all but what you put into your body truly does affect the outcome of your skin. Water is your bodies BFF + your skin will love you the more water you intake. Foods high in good fats like avocado, nuts, and fatty fishes are essential for healthy looking skin. And plenty of sleep will go along way.

Everyone’s skin is different and it does take some time and work to figure what is best for you and your skin! At the end of the day, do what makes you feel your best + make you glow from the inside out.

XOX,
Anais

Thank You 2018, Next.

Hello my little croquetas,

I hope everyone had a happy holidays filled with family, lechon, and cafecito. I enjoyed every second of stuffing my face with pan cubano and soaking up the Miami sun.

I can’t believe 2018 is coming to a close. The best way I can describe this past year is it was somewhere between well that didn’t suck that much and suddenly so much has changed and everything is different. 2018 brought me closer to so many people [shoutout to my SoulCycle fam], I’ve challenged myself as a leader of the CHAARG community, and finally graduated college! And ultimately, I’m truly grateful to be alive. 2018 was the year of a lot of letting go and seeing things go away. I spent the year trying to relieve baggage. From donating//throwing away physical items I was holding on to, to watching many of my friends move away to chase their dreams [and I’m so freakin’ proud of them]. 2018, you were good, but I’m ready for better.

Now for 2019…I can feel it in my bones–it’s about to be the year we make sh*t happen.  If I post it on the internet, I’m held accountable, right? This is how this works?

IMG_5522
Photo by Cristina Ramos Photography 

But seriously, 2019 is going to be BIG. It’s going to be a year of a lot of growth, the year of big accomplishments, the year of everything I’ve been manifesting to physically come true.

I’m the kind of person where I am writing out my goals and intentions 3 weeks before the new year. I get so inspired and I love preparing for the new year! *bringing out the palo santo as we speak*

A few of my new year resolutions are to travel to 3 new states, do small things everyday that physically make me feel good [apart from working out and nutrition], do more things that are out of my comfort zone, and ultimately keep growing and really become the person I truly want to be.

IMG_5399
Photo by Cristina Ramos Photography 

This upcoming year I want to document and share more than ever! I want to document my growth, and what better way than that the platform I’ve created! I’ve been taking inspiration from The Happiness Project  by Gretchen Rubin and Refinery29’s Try Living with Lucie by adding elements that matter to me, and creating my own project and taking inspirations for what I’ve read in the past. I mostly want to build off of my habits each month and document how it helps me grow as a person. This little series doesn’t have a name yet, but I am excited to document it through content on this platform.

I hope everyone has a great New Year! Don’t forget to eat your 12 grapes and walk down your street with a suitcase for good travel in the New Year!

See ya in 2019,

Anais

Last Post

Cristina Ramos Photography

Instagram 

Facebook 

Read When You Are Not Ready

I worry, alot. Especially when it comes to the future. Hand in hand with my worrying comes planning. I’ve tried to plan ever since single moment of my life since I could remember. From what I am going to do 10 minutes from now, to 2 weeks from now, to 3 years from now – or so I thought.
Recently there has come a point where I don’t have the next moment planned. My chapter of undergrad is coming to a close and I am not ready.

I am not ready to start writing a new chapter, mostly because I don’t know what I am going to write. The ambiguity has left a very unsettled feeling in my stomach.

For the beginning of fall, I was in a constant state of anxiety. I was wide awake at odd hours of the night playing in my head how the future could play out. I made to-do lists, and constructed plan A-Z. Then I had to take a step back…

Why I am really freaking out?

Am I freaking out because this chapter is closing or because I don’t know what the next chapter brings?

I think choice B was correct, did I just pass the test of life?

Then came the sigh of relief. Fear is me holding back. Fear is what is always holding us back.

It’s okay to not be ready for the next chapter. It’s okay to not know what your first word might be or in what direction the story is going. It’s certainly okay to just have a big question mark on everything.

It is not okay though to live through fear. That’s the energy sucker right there. It’s like having your phone brightness on 100% and playing 3 hours of candy crush and then wondering why your phone is about to die.

So what now? We celebrate. We celebrate that my hard work the past 4 years has payed off. We celebrate the unknown. We celebrate the possibility of anything happening. We celebrate the changes that are about to come, that are going to help us grow. How amazing is that? How amazing is it to know that literally anything can come your way.

Being afraid keeps us staginant. It doesn’t move us forward.

I am still not ready for the next chapter, but I no longer live in fear of it.

Thanks for coming to my TedTalk,
Anais

Last Post
Instagram
Facebook
Photography by Allie Klawitter

Hello, Universe? Yes.

Greetings from sunny LA,

I’m in the LA for the week + even though I am preparing to write an LA Wellness post, I know it might take me a few days to get up after my trip… Let’s be real maybe a week, but I wanted to share an experience with you. When I started Cafecito in Chicago, I wanted to write posts similar to conversations that I would have over cafectio with my family + friends. So make your espumita, grab your cafecito + let’s have a conservation over cafecito.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a Friday off of work and I woke up from a text message from my friend Kellen asking if I wanted to go kayaking. A million thoughts raced through my head, “I have to help CHAARG with a project at 4, what if I don’t make it on time,” “I have so much work to do” “Money! Financial responsibility!”  and a bunch of blah blah blah, but something in me said Anais, stop with the excuses, get up, go have fun, and kayak. It was on my summer bucket list, and something I really wanted to do. Why would I say no?

We went out and kayaked on the Chicago River and it was a great time. It was everything I wanted it to be filled with adventure and great memories. It felt so rejuvinating to be back on the water and I felt so connected with myself.

It dawned on me, I need more YES. I need to say YES more often to the opportunities the universe naturally brings my way. YES to what is right in front of me, instead of looking to see if I can find something else. This is the time. There is no tomorrow, next week, or later guaranteed, it is right now. I am definitely guilty of thinking too far into the future and thinking of the “what ifs”, but I am vowing to letting that go. I vow to say YES. I am leaving the “I’m not sure because” behind, and I invite you to do the same.

One of my daily affirmations is “I am exactly where I need to be”, yet sometimes we push back thinking we have too much going on and tend to ignore/ trust the Universe’s ability to guide me to where I need to be.  Without that trust, these opportunities will not come [if you haven’t read the Universe Has Your Back, I 100% recommended doing so]. Trust that you are always being guided on the right past and to the best life you want to live and those opportunities will come to you.

This week  I’ve been taking this skill and trying to implement on my California Adventure. This isn’t my first rodeo around Los Angeles, so I asked myself “how do I make the best of a trip that I’ve lived multiple times and even once was my temporary home” The answer was right in front of me, I say YES to the flow of the day, I accept the journey the universe has to offer for me today.

Since kayaking, other opportunities have come my way that before I would have probably turned down. Opportunities that have strengthened my relationships with colleagues and friends, which when those vibrations are the highest, my life is at its best. I’m excited to see what adventures life will bring today. 

How are you vowing to say YES? What opportunities are you going to allow to come your way?

Adventure awaits,
Anais

Last Post
Instagram
Facebook

Empowered by Cafecito: KennoDecor

IMG_0415

Hello my little espresso beans!

I am so excited to release my new series; Empowered by Cafecito! I love surrounding myself with people who take control of their life, work hard, and empower others along the way.  And of course; those who can do it all do it with a cup of cafecito in hand.  I truly believe we have the power to lift each other up + that we shouldn’t take that for granted. I wanted to give back to the fellow bosses that I’ve look up to + have gotten to love in my community!

This week I am featuring Shannon Kennedy; the owner behind the Etsy craft business KennoDecor. She makes customized hand-made wood pine + twine signs. It’s the perfect home decor! Talk about a straight up #girlboss!

KennoDecor_Logo

Read more about Shannon’s story + business:

  1. Can you tell us more about your business? When and how did you get started?

KennoDecor was founded July 2017 when I opened a shop on Etsy.  Witnessing my mom start her business when I was fifteen gave me the courage to begin my own. KennoDecor grew out of my passion for creating. I have always used arts & crafts as a stress reliever so creating a business incorporating the combination of calligraphy & wood seemed like the perfect way to share my love of creating with others.

  1. What fuels your inspiration? Where do you get inspiration from for your pieces?

Every piece I create is something I would hang or feature in my own home. I’m into personalized decor so my pieces reflect that. Typically, when I go to the craft or hardware store and see slabs of wood, an idea for a piece immediately pops into my head. I’d like to say that I have a creative eye so that makes things easy for the most part. When I’m in a rut, I browse through home decor magazines and websites for inspo!

IMG_0248.JPG

  1. What//who empowers you?

Knowing that the pieces I create are cherished by my customers truly empowers me. Receiving kind words and thank you notes from customers gives me the courage to continue forging my path as a small business owner. Outside of Kennodecor, exercising and finding a way to move everyday rejuvenates my body and empowers me to take life by the horns.

  1. What is one piece of advice would you give to someone wanting to start their own business?

Find your passion. For years and years I was unable to identify my own, but I am happy to say that I have finally found mine in creating. Once one finds something they are truly invested in, mold that into a business model.

Interview friends & family with their own businesses. This is something I did and continue to do. It’s a great way to learn tips and tricks to maintaining one’s business and can be inspirational, as well.

Be fearless. There are times that you will second guess yourself in starting your own business. These moments of self-doubt are when you need to push even harder.

IMG_0457

  1. Where do you hope KennoDecor goes? What is one big dream do you have for your business? 

My hope is that in the next year or two, I’ll be running my business fully part-time. Of course, I want to continue expanding my business and the products I create. The next step for KennoDecor is emerging into the wedding and events arena. My ultimate goal is to make a living with KennoDecor by opening my own home decor store.

6.Where is your favorite place in Chicago to get cafecito? 

It’s so hard to choose! When I’m wanting to splurge, the Cortadito from 90 Miles in Lincoln Square is one of my top picks. However, on a normal weekday you’ll see me strolling around with a Dunkin’ iced coffee in hand.

[90 Miles has such great Cafecito!]

Follow out more about Shannon:
Instagram
Etsy Shop

I can’t wait to tell the stories of all the people who will be featured during this series!

XO,

Anais

More about Cafecito in Chicago:
Instagram
Facebook

Cafecito To Go: New York City

“So maybe it won’t look like you thought in high school, but it’s important to remember that love is possible. Anything is possible. This is New York.” -Carrie Bradshaw

IMG_5813.JPG

I have finally crawled out of my post-New York City depression to be able to share my wonderful trip to the Big Apple [tbh still don’t understand why it is called this]. My mom invited me on a 5-day trip to New York so I mean… I guess… sounded like it could be fun.

The last time I visited NYC, I was in about the 3rd or 4th grade, so I was going into this trip with fresh eyes, an open mind, and a jammed packed itinerary [seriously, I wrote up an hour-by-hour itinerary, so hit me up if you want it]. I wanted to share what I did; from the food I ate, to the classic tourist things, and everything in between.

I do want to thank my mom for flying me out to New York so that we could enjoy the city together!

Pocion Lounge
As soon as we arrived, we knew we needed a drink. Our friend Silvia took us to this cute place called Pocion Lounge which was a vegan bar and lounge. There motto is “Healing with Booze + Natural Bites”. SIGN ME UP. This place was so cute! It was decorated with neon lights and floral arrangements . I had a margarita served in a science beaker which was everything a science major could ask for in this life. The menu was filled with vegan bites and exquisite cocktails. Definitely a hidden gem in the Washington Heights.

img_2670

img_2684

Ludlow Coffee Supply
We woke up bright and early to the questionable smell of the city. What was the first thing on my mind when I woke up? Well, coffee of course! We had a mini-spa day planned in the Lower East Village so we hopped on the subway and walked around to find coffee and breakfast. We stumbled across Ludlow Coffee Supply, a cute coffee shop! I got an iced almond milk latte and avocado toast. The toast was pretty standard and the latte was creamy and strong in all the right ways.The vibes in this shop were everything I did not know I needed, and I wouldn’t mind if my next apartment looked like this coffee shop. Decorated with record players, plants,  and wooden accents; this was a place I could see myself writing a blog post or catching up with a friend if I lived in this city.

img_2718

img_2708

Chillhouse
I first learned about Chillhouse by watching Refinery29 videos and really wanted to go. I wanted to do something really nice for my mom so I booked her a 50 minute The Works massage and the Full Rodeo manicure. She said the massage was great and the mousse hit all the right spots. I chilled around the lobby while my mom got her massage.  Then, I went in for a Tier 2 Gel Manicure, which obviously meant I had to get an intricate design. I went with the Discoteca nail design, and I am still in love with my nails. I got to pick my own colors, and even though it’s been about two weeks, the nails still look brand new. I also should give a special shout-out to the staff because our appointment was running about 5 minutes late.  I didn’t even notice, but they felt bad about it and got us free drinks! A++ service.

Screen Shot 2018-08-01 at 11.59.01 AM.png

img_27401

World Trade Center
After a relaxing morning, we headed to Tribeca to visit the World Trade Center and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. I didn’t take many pictures, but all I’ve gotta say was the museum was absolutely beautiful and definitely worth checking out if you ever find yourself in NYC.

img_2843

Then, came my favorite part of the trip: heading to DUMBO, Brooklyn. This was not something I had on the itinerary, but it was one of those instances that the best times are always unplanned.  We took a ferry down to Dumbo. Taking a ferry across the Hudson River is officially my favorite form of transportation, and Chicago needs to get with the upgrade [I’m actually sure there is some kind of water taxi…]. We walked around the port and hung out by the cliffs to watch the sunset. ABSOLUTELY MAGICAL. Couples were taking engagement pictures and dogs were splashing around in the water; I could see why Dan Humprey never wanted to leave Brooklyn. Next trip, I want to dedicate more time to have dinner in Brooklyn, so I will definitely be returning. The night ended with a ferry trip through the Hudson River, which took us back to Manhattan.

img_2798img_2802

img_2812

img_2855

Central Park
What the itinerary stated: Go to Strawberry Fields in Central Park then go to Plaza Hotel

img_29943

How the day went: Took a $140 bike tour around Central Park, stop to have a mini photoshoot with your tour guide, and an hour and a half later actually see Strawberry Fields.

I know this sounds like the most tourist thing in the world and quite pricey, but I’m so glad we did it. I got to see so much more of the park than I originally intended. I also got to learn so much about the history of the park from different TV and film trivia, as well as all the activities that go on year round. Plus, our tour guide was such a sweetheart. Definitely one of those “say yes to the adventure” moments.

img_29011img_2918img_2928
img_2982

img_29892

The Shops at the Plaza Hotel
img_2999

Okay, I told you this got pretty touristy, but the going to the Plaza Hotel has been a dream of mine, ever since I first saw Eloise at Christmastime (one of my all-time favorite movies). I’ve always said [well tweeted] that I will one day stay at the plaza hotel. Unfortunately, non-guests can’t technically enter the lobby of the Plaza. Instead, we went down to the shops and enjoyed a glass of rosé at 2 PM, paired with mini donuts from The Doughnuttery. The Doughnuttery has a few locations around New York City and has a bunch of unique and delicious flavors from fruit cereal donuts, which is one I had to chai tea donut flavors! They were honestly so good, I ate them before I could photograph them.

img_3020

The Sex and the City Tour

img_3038
Yes, Pleasure Chest is a stop on the tour.

When my mom first booked our trips my mom had one request; to go on a Sex and the City Tour. How could I say no to that? She booked our tickets through On Location Tours and got us premier seats. This was a great way to see many parts of New York and to see where one of my favorite shows’ was filmed. We stopped for New York pizza, got to see Carrie Bradshaw’s stoop, and drank Cosmos [we are bringing Cosmos back ladies, get your Tito’s ready]. I don’t want to give too much away, because it is definitely an experience you want to live out.  I also was thriving off the fact that I was probably the youngest person there and knew most of the answers to the trivia questions.

If you are a fan of the four fiercest women who lived in Manhattan in the early 2000’s, this tour is for you.

IMG_3062
Carrie Bradshaw’s Stoop

Blue Bottle Coffee
Blue Bottle Coffee was high on the list of top things to do in the city. I had seen this coffee shop all over Instagram and needed to experience the hype for myself. And, would I really be Cafecito in Chicago if I didn’t try some of the best coffee the city had to offer? Blue Bottle is only in select cities, but all over New York City, making it super accessible in NYC. Once my “6 PM I need caffeine crash” came along, I figured this was the perfect time to try it.  This espresso was STRONG, let me tell you. I had an almond milk latte which kept me going for the last few hours of the day. Bonus: they used MALK almond milk in the latte so I knew the ingredients were clean and legit.

img coffee.jpg

Spring Natural Kitchen

img_3115

Located in the Upper West side, we decided to go to this cute health-conscious restaurant. The menu had a had a variety of gluten-free and vegan options, as well as grass-fed, free-range meats. This was my kind of heaven. I started with a gin-based drink called The Herbalizer and a Fresh Black Linguine with Seafood, both of which were FREAKING AMAZING. The seafood was so fresh and delicious, making it natural that the whole plate was gone in under 15 minutes. If you are more restricted when going out to eat, from either health or dietary reasons, I would definitely recommend Spring Natural Kitchen. It truly has something for everyone.

img_3121

IMG_3449

Jack’s Wife Freda
img_31411

I had planned a whole trip to SoHo around eating brunch at Jack’s Wife Freda. This cute brunch spot lived up to the hype. The space was quite small for how popular it was, but we got there at the right time to score a table with no wait time. This food lived up to the hype. I got the Madame Freda, and I am still dreaming of it to this day. I mean the egg was on TOP of the sandwich, life-changing!

img_3147

SoHo + Chelsea Market

img_3166

IMG_3451

I categorize these two together because they both were great places for shopping and dining. SoHo had every store you could imagine for shopping, and the Chelsea Market was filled with cute shops and tons of restaurants. My favorite part of the Chelsea Market had to be all the rooms that featured so many different kinds of local vendors. The vendors sold anything from custom bags to jewelry, candles, and art prints.  

Rooftop Szn
If you know me, you know I love a good rooftop bar. We ventured around the Flatiron District, going to a couple of rooftops.

img_3249

230 Fifth Rooftop Bar
This was definitely a spot to be on a Sunday night in the city. The bar had a glamorous lounge surrounded by windows that created a breathtaking view of the whole city. Then, we headed upstairs to the rooftop, which displayed another breathtaking view of the city. The atmosphere was very chic. Also, no rooftop experience is complete without a $12 frosé.

img_3253

Top of the Strand
Located in the Marriott Vacation Club, this rooftop had a calmer vibe than the last place. What made this place so unique were there signature crafted cocktails that all looked so delicious. We got to try a bourbon cocktail, which is something I usually don’t go for, but it was smokey and delicious. A great way to end the night!

SoulCycle-East 83rd Street
Did you really think I was going to visit New York and not ride at SoulCycle? I rode with Junior at 10:30 AM and let me just say one of his walk-in songs was Burnin’ Up by the Jonas Brothers. From that point forth, I knew I was in the right room. I always enjoy a ride at SoulCycle and I love being able to do one of my hobbies in another city. Who should I ride with the next time I’m in NYC?  

IMG_5294

New York City was just a wonderful time, and I honestly fell harder for the city then I could have imaged. I can’t wait to go back!

IMG_8096

Are you an NYC lover? What places do I have to visit when I go back? Let me know!

Will this Cafecito in Chicago one day become Cafecito in New York? That’s one secret I’ll never tell…

XOXO
Anais

Read about my Beach Bag Essentials
Instagram
Facebook

What’s in my Beach Bag: Essentials for the Perfect Summer Day

img_2531

Happy Summer, friends!

Summer is hands down my favorite season, and after a few weeks of Chicago not getting the its summer memo, it is finally in full swing. Living in Miami meant summer  24/7 and going to the beach was socially acceptable year round. Over the years I have created my version of the “perfect” beach bag filled with every essential for the best beach day.

Beach Bag

img_2191
**Dog not included**

This is a total “duh moment”, but having the perfect beach bag is the key to the perfect beach bag. I personally love to go for an oversized tote bag, I used to rock a cute mini backpack, it’s not the greatest fit for all the items. A great tote bag has plenty of room, pockets, and comfortable straps [nothing hurts more than putting on a stramp after getting a sunburn, we’ve all been there ladies + gents]. The CHAARG Adventure Tote has been my go-to bag the last year and is the perfect Mary Poppins bag. The two side pockets are so big and keep from freaking out about losing my keys [again, I know you’ve felt this panic].

Water Bottle

Hydration is the number one important thing about going to the beach especially on a very hot day, so everyday in Miami. I always make sure I have a water bottle filled with water (most of the time ; ) ) I’ve been loving this LOLE water bottle, its made of metal and keeps my drinks so cold for basically the whole day. Pro tip: add ice to your bottle before leaving the house so your bottle stays extra cold while at the beach. Hydroflasks ++ Yeti’s also make great beach drink ware.

img_2543

Snacks

A beach day isn’t complete without any snacks. When it comes to snacking at the beach I always go for very hydrating foods. Watermelon, pineapple, ++ cherries were today’s pick, but cucumbers, strawberries, carrots, ++ coconut water are some of my favorites. Also, 21+ snacks are always appropriate, not a necessity, but appropriate ; ). If you’re staying for a good part of your day, it’s the perfect opportunity to try a new sandwich or wrap idea you’ve been eyeing on your insta feed.  

img_2546

PROTECT YO SKIN

Okay, let’s talk about the most important thing SKINCARE. As cute as the sun can seem, it honestly it is so bad to be out in the sun for more than a few hours, and even worse without any proper protection. I know we all want to be our best shade of coco-gold, but skin cancer is not cute either! We want to be wrinkle free as long as we can, ladies. I will be the first to admit [as I sit with my back facing a fan dealing with a  serious sunburn right now], I am guilty of only putting on SPF 4 Deep Tanning Oil and not understanding why I was so sunburnt?? Every skin type is different, so it is important to do what’s right for you. For those who need all the SPF, I recommend the Alba SPF 50 for Sensitive Skin. It is fragrance free, free of parabens +phthalates, ++ is good for the coral reefs and oceans, which most aerosol bottles can’t say. So basically this sunscreen is a win/win in my book, good for the environment, good for me. I personally layer both as I am blessed to be able to achieve the tan I want, but I can also burn easily if I am not protected. + for those who do burn, fresh aloe vera straight from the plant is so refreshing. Remember to reapply your sunscreen about every two hours and maybe more frequently if you decide to take a dip in the water.

Face

Fresh faces are beautiful faces, and during the summertime I take advantage not wearing any makeup, but protecting my face from harmful sun rays is so important. I’ve been loving the Burt’s Bees BB Cream with SPF 15. I’m pretty sure this product + I are beauty soulmates. It is a non-toxic, lightweight product, and has a powder finish. It doesn’t feel sticky on the face + most importantly protects my face from the skin. It is just enough coverage to hide any blemishes or dark spots.  The main ingredient Noni extract which is suppose to help protect your skin environmental stressors + help with anti-aging. For more about Noni Extract read about here! AND it’s under $20, AHMAZING.

Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray

I’ve been using this product for years, especially during the summer. It is a great spray to put in your hair after a long beach day to keep those beach waves for any post-beach activity. I always keep it in my bag in case my friends + I decide to go to go out for drinks + food after the beach. This product is also great if you want to create the illusion that you’ve been at the beach all day when in reality you’ve binged watched two seasons of Sex and the City [or is that just me…awk]
img_25601

Sunnies

“Future so bright, I gotta wear sunglasses”

 [I’m officially the lamest person we both know].

But seriously, find a pair of sunglasses that protect your eyes from UV/UB. When I’m not feeling sunglasses, I usually go for a baseball cap—this “But First, Cafecito” baseball cap has been my go-to lately + if I say so myself completely on-brand ; )

Here are some other favorites
Cub’s Baseball Hat
Ray Bans

Summer Reading

Okay, when it comes to reading on the beach, I’m a fake [lol]. 9/10 I bring a book to the beach I won’t read it unless I’m alone. If you are into reading a book on the beach instead of your twitter post, like me; here is my summer reading list:

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Run My World by Kesinger
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
Paula by Isabel Allendale

If reading hard copies isn’t your thing or you might wanna lay out, try audio books so you can enjoy both worlds with ease.

Am I missing any beach essentials? Let me know what your must haves for the perfect beach day? Let’s Talk!

Stay gold beeches,

Anais 

 

 

 

Stay in touch:
Facebook
Instagram

Missed my last post? Read it HERE!

Dear College Friends…

image

Get ready for this to get REALLY sappy + please consume a margarita and wear tiny glasses while you read this because it’s only fitting

I decide to write this blog post because what better way of saying I love you + thank you for being a great friend then writing a letter for the internet to see—if i didn’t post it online were we even really friends?

img_1829.jpg

girls.jpg

All jokes aside I’m currently in an uber on my way to watch many of you graduate AND LEAVE ME FOR THE REAL WORLD (I’m v emotional right now) but I’m thinking of all the moments we’ve had the past few years. All the overpriced nights out, all the laughs, all the long nights in the library, all the SoulCycle rides + sweat seshes,the hearts to hearts, and all the times I’ve I sat back and been so grateful for all the people in my life.

mels-birthday.jpg

img_16251.jpeg

My mom also preached the importance of friends. She would always say “Be good to your friends, because you one day wake up + not have any” [She’s a true philosopher], but growing up I always thought, well duh, but that statement really settled and made sense when I started college. Our friendships are so special because we show up for each other. No matter how busy we’ve been I can always count on you. + that is something I haven’t been able to say about a lot of people before.

IMG_0057

Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for changing my life and growing with me. Thank you for being my friends even when I wear tiny glasses in a bar after one too many vodka spirits.. Thank you for opening my mind to new perspectives, thank you for being genuine and kind[except for you Colin], being assholes sometimes[especially you Colin], being my people. [yeah Meredith grey I don’t just have a person, I have people].

img_1111.jpg
This is Colin

img_2835.jpg

Throughout life I was never one to be attached to places. In high school I was ready to leave, I didn’t really care who I left behind, and when I transferred to DePaul I didn’t  think about the people I would meet and the friendships I’d make. Graduating from DePaul is different because now I have something that I don’t want to leave behind. I know this isn’t all goodbyes + I’ll see many of you all the time, but  graduating college is a little extra special because I get to see you all flourish out in the world.

colin and ben

I am incredibly proud of where you are about to go in life. I am so grateful that I got to see you grow into the people you are today and witness your highs and lows. I’m grateful to have future PRs people [idk what you call that sorry I’m in the sciences], doctors, politicians, lawyers, physical therapist, whatever Liz + Colin do, in my social group + all the free stuff will be greatly appreciate it.

I am huge believer that we were all meant to cross each other’s paths and I couldn’t think of better people to cross with.  Whether I had gone to DePaul from day one or not, you all make the experience feel so full. Being a few thousands miles of home can be tough in college but you all made Chicago feel like home. Thank you for being my forever family.

Much love from the bottom of my heart

Your forever friend,

I AM MIAMI.

IMG_0612

Chicago Spring Staycation

IMG_1260.jpg

Hello friends!

Do your Spring Break travel plans ever go like this–you and your friends are planning a wonderful vacation to somewhere warm and tropical! Miami, Mexico, anywhere it is socially acceptable to drink a margarita at 9AM. Then as time goes on and spring break is right around the corner, you and your friends realize that you are all broke, have to work, or still have a final [my rage on the quarter system later]. That’s basically what happen to my friends and I this winter when trying to decide what to do for our mini vacation (DePaul only got 4 days of Spring Break…what the heck). Knowing that I was going to stay in Chicago for the week with a lot more free time, I decided to make it the best staycation ever.

Whether you live in Chicago and are looking for new things to do, or are visiting Chicago, there is a little bit of everything for everyone!

The week started on a Tuesday [Monday was spent as a total final’s recovery//spring cleaning day]. Bright and early, my friend Wes and I headed to the West Loop in search for The French Market, a charming market filled with different restaurants and so much variety. 

IMG_1281.jpg

Our first stop was of course a cubano, then we went to Flip Crepes for what was basically a lox crepe burrito, and ended our little trip for empanadas at Lito’s Empanadas–the chorizo and egg was too good! Safe to say I was stuffed for the day.

IMG_1270

IMG_1272

Later that day, I headed to Whole Foods with my friend Melissa for a margarita, because what is Spring Break without a good marg??

IMG_1287

On wednesday my best friend Katie and I had the ultimate best friend day planned. We started the day at AIR Lincoln Park for a challenging Aerial Silks class. After multiple attempts to the #AIRPOW, it was time for the next part of our day, well deserved R&R.

We went down to MudBum Facial Bar in River North for 30-minute facials. I took the next 30 minutes to completely unplug [which is honestly very hard for me] and enjoy the experience. I got the Detox Facial for a deeper clean it’s number one activate ingredient was charcoal which really helped with the process of really clearing my skin. I felt so glowy the rest of the night!

IMG_1323IMG_1325

Next on the ultimate best friend day agenda was dinner at Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba in Lincoln Park. I’ve had my eye on this restaurant for months and I was so excited to try it out. Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba is Spanish tapas bar. The food was worth the hype! We started with a pitcher Black Raspberry Sangria– a perfect combination of a sweet and tart drink. Then we each choose three tapas to share. My top favorites were the Chicken & Ham Croquetas [this is a total duh, gotta get my croqueta fix anytime I can!], which were so fluffy but crispy,  the goat cheese baked in tomato sauce, and the Citrus-Cured Salmon. All the tapas were amazing ++ I definitely loved going in and sharing different plates with friends. It’s a great way to explore what everyone’s variety in taste. We ended the night with desserts. Hanging on to my Cuban side, I of course had to have the flan! It was not as great as how my Abuela used to make it, but it was pretty darn close. It was such a great night, hanging out with my girlfriends, and trying new foods. I definitely need to go back and work my way through the menu!

IMG_1348

Thursday are for girl bossing day! I had to work in the afternoon, so I hopped on the bus and headed to Intelligentsia Coffee in Lakeview. I love coming to this coffee shop when I have a lot of  work to do. There long communal tables make it so easy for working with a friend and still having elbow room, the music they play are always BOPS [lots of ABBA this day], and don’t get me started on their coffee! My go-to is always an Oat milk Latte, but I wasn’t feeling coffee that day [alarming…I KNOW], so I got a iced-matcha latte which turned out just as delicious and creamy!

 

We started the weekend with a bang. **spoiler alert** We were running the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle on Sunday, and with every great races comes a great expo. We headed to McCormick Place, which is an adventure on it’s own. The expo was so fun; we tried samples from Power Protein, and Brew Dr. Kombucha, took photobooth pictures with Barefoot Wine, and checked out some awesome Nike gear.

IMG_1366.jpg

And at night we celebrated! My dear friend Katie passed her Organic Chemistry class so of course we had to bring the champagne out! Our friend Jesselyn had curated a perfect cheese spread with brie, gouda, different crackers, and pretzels. Just call us the Real Housewives of DePaul.

img_1601.jpeg

Then it was the event I’ve been waiting for..the Judah and the Lion concert!! Judah and the Lion is one of my favorite bands right now and they did not disappoint. The room was filled with some much positive energy, it was contagious. Their lyrics speak about unity, self worth, and love I’m getting chills just writing about it. It is always an evergrating feeling to come together with a room of strangers, singing your favorite songs at the top of your lungs, and feeling together. They covered Lean On Me by Bill Withers, and I’ve never had such a spiritual experience at a concert. Amazing. 10/10.

IMG_1371.jpg

 

When planning my spring break adventures, I thought “how would I love to end my last spring break as an undergraduate?” Running an 8K ofcourse! Katie and I ran the Shamrock Shuffle around Chicago! Besides it being 28 degrees when we started to run, once I felt the circulation back in my fingers it was a great time. I met my goal of running it under an hour! Last but least for the week, we ended at Goddess and the Baker for a post-run coffee.

IMG_1399

IMG_1408

IMG_1414

Spring Break flew by, but I spent the week with people that I love doing all the things I love! If you are in the Chicago area, let me know if you visit any of the places above! Tag me on instagram and use the hashtag– #CafecitoinChicago