Wednesday June 30, 2021
HusBae is back! To celebrate Delilah being promoted to the 3rd grade (and having a brilliant report card), we took a trip to the Bronx Zoo.
Fun Fact: I love animals! Once upon a time, I wanted to be a veterinarian. Maybe I will volunteer to help a conservation when I retire.
To prepare for a hot day and hours of walking, we strapped on our lightweight sneakers, packed plenty of water, my wagasa, and snacks including these DELICIOUS oatmeal apple crumble bars from nature’s bakery.
Now, the native New Yorkers know that the Bronx Zoo is free on Wednesdays which makes it the most popular day of the week, but, due to COVID restrictions, you now have to secure your tickets in advance (Monday evenings at 5pm to be specific) and each ticket has a timed entry.
We opted for 11am. Since the Zoo closes at 5pm, that gave us plenty of time to explore. And there was PLENTY of that!
Our first stop was the “World of Birds” exhibit.
We saw all types of exotic birds from all over the world in all shapes, sizes , and colors. Check out this exotic Turkey we found.
Haha, it must’ve known I was recording and decided to put on a little show for me. I appreciate you, bruh.
Being able to see fowls in their natural habitat peaked my interest in them. It was cool seeing how they interacted with one another.
Well, THAT escalated quickly o.O
And of course, there were plenty of fun facts, resources, and tips about the species of birds, how they live, and what we can do to prolong their lives and habitats.
Like, did you know there are over 10,000 species of birds and a new species was discovered as recently as 2013!? (Delilah was happy to learn that since she was born that year).
I’m a nature enthusiast and animal ally so, if I have to switch my brand of coffee and avoid palm oil to help the bird population, I’m willing to do that.
Delilah and I spoke about installing a bird feeder on our terrace, one of many recommendations by the Bronx Zoo.
Next, we stopped by the Madagascar exhibit which featured monkeys, lemurs, large birds, and reptiles. I was REALLY impressed by the sights of the crocodiles. I’ve never seen one up close o.O
There were 2 inside of the tank. I tried to get a photo but it moved so I recorded a video instead.
Do you see the size of this thing!? It’s tail reached the tank!
We eventually made our way to the infamous Dancing Crane cafe which has a nice picnic area and food court. We went in with intentions of not buying any food but that changed immediately when the smell of funnel cake hit my nose.
I can never resist funnel cake, it’s my favorite carnival food 🙂
It was fresh out the fryer so it was hot, crispy, and delicious.
The cake was moist and spiced perfectly with hints of vanilla and cinnamon. It was topped with an even coat of powdered sugar. YUMMMM!
We washed it down with a red cherry slushy and then we hit up the gift shop.
Bae always buys souvenirs whenever we go to any outing. He likes the idea of capturing moments and memories through memorabilia.
I walked away with a pretty beaded bracelet, a sparkling purple stone necklace, and an elephant statue to decorate our fireplace.
Bae got himself a canteen, and Delilah was treated to a pink and purple fox plushie along with a color changing best friend necklace in the shape of a heart. It was divided in half and meant to share. She gave me the other half ^_^
In between the exhibits they had these interactive Eric Carle activities and displays set up, including these life size cardboard stands from one of my favorite children’s books, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
As our day at the Zoo came to an end, Bae and I made a pit stop at the Brew at the Zoo stand which offers beer and wine. I got a red sangria. Haha I was litttttt.
It’s nice to see them offering something for adults specifically because although kids enjoy the zoo, a lot of adults do too! It’s definitely on my list of date ideas.
Before we left we enjoyed the views from the monorail which had breathtaking views of the Hudson River as well as various breeds of deer.
We also saw rare sightings of Rhinos and a male lion!
It was a fun, adventurous day filled with laughs, smiles, treats, and education.
Instead of stressing ourselves by worrying about things like cost and the weather, we showed up, shelled out, and invested in our day together. Going with the flow made a world of a difference and allowed us to focus on the things that were truly important: quality time with family.
It’s nice to see how much the Zoo has changed since I was a kid. You can tell that they’ve really invested in it. It feels less like seeing animals locked in cages and more like watching animals in their natural habitats. A lot of these exhibits were open and free range, allowing the animals to move freely.
I look forward to creating more memories there.
Be sure to hit up the Bronx zoo the next time you’re able! There’s so much to do there, it’s like an amusement park.
You won’t regret it 🙂
Until our next adventure…
Monday June 28, 2021
There’s nothing like a frozen treat on a hot Summer day. And mannnn, it’s HOT!
I’ve been looking for an excuse to take the little one to Milk and Cream Bar NYC for some time now and, with us being a duo this week (Husbae went away with the bros) and with this crazy heat wave, I figured there was no time like the present.
For those who don’t know, Milk and Cream Bar NYC is a cereal lovers heaven in which your taste buds can be blessed with cereal infused ice cream. I know, this sounds like something out of your childhood dreams, right? THATS BECAUSE IT IS!
It’s a brilliant concept! One I’m shocked I’ve never tried on my own… if you think about it, the creaminess of ice cream makes it a great substitute for milk. It’s the perfect dairy treat ^_^
First, choose from a huge selection of one of your favorite cereals:
- Fruity Pebbles (Delilahs choice)
- Cocoa Puffs
- Fruit Loops
- Lucky Charms (the first one I tried)
- Oreo O’s
- Cap’n Crunch (DYING to try this one)
- Cinnamon Toast Crunch (my choice for today)
- and Apple Jacks to name a few
Next, choose your ice cream base between vanilla or cookie dough (I usually go with vanilla because I figured the basic vanilla flavor would be a good canvas that would mix well with anything).
Put it in a cone or cup (or make it a milk shake) and lastly add your optional fruit, nut, cookie, or candy topping, and drizzle if you’re feeling fancy.
If free will isn’t your thang, fear not, they have preset signature combinations to choose from.
Delilah went with a vanilla-fruity-pebble-gummy-bear-ice-cream-cup,
while I chose the Cinnamon-Toast-Crunch-teddy-grahams-vanilla-ice-cream-cone a choice I’d end up regretting later (a cup would’ve been a smarter choice).
We sat outside in their outdoor lounge area which featured a wrap around wooden ledge that was perfect for a post up and snack sesh.
The cinnamon spice from the Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Teddy Grahams were a delightful treat but NOTHING compares to the fruity-vanilla profile of the fruity pebbles ice cream. It’s the best tasting ice cream I’ve ever had.
It was bright, colorful and sweet without being overbearing. Each lick was the equivalent of having a spoonful of Fruity Pebbles cereal, which is perfect for all my cereal killers (like my cuzzo and Husbae).
We annihilated our dessert, it was legendary.
When we were done, I grabbed a few extra napkins (again, should’ve went with the cup) and we headed back home. But not before spotting displays of love and affirmation around the city.
Sometimes, I love my ‘hood.
Living in NYC can be quite the adventure. Other times, I’d rather be anywhere else.
Either way, I’m glad there’s ice cream 🙂
If you could create your own combo of ice cream from the Milk and Cream Bar menu, what would you choose?
Let me know in the comments
Never take the value of a good friend for granted.
Yesterday I was feeling lost and broken as I was weighing in on a problem that I’ve been dealing with. I felt trapped like I had nowhere to turn and no one to speak to. I reached out to my friend Amanda and she made me feel safe and heard. After our conversation, I felt such a sense of relief.
I know it can be scary to be vulnerable but it’s important to surround yourself with people that make you feel comfortable enough to share your true thoughts and feelings.
Amanda, I thank you for lending me your ear. You helped me more than you know 🙂
Saturday June 26, 2021
I remember what it was like to live a life as an impostor. I would tuck my realness away out of fear of being outcasted and humiliated.
I walked around with fake skin and dimmed my light so that I could blend in with the regulars around me.
Sure it kept me free from harm and allowed me to move under the radar but it caused psychological damage that would take years of soul searching and therapy to undo.
At times, it felt like my soul was dying.
I felt empty, meaningless, and unfulfilled…is this the price you pay for fitting in to society?
In the winter of 2020 I took the very first steps towards liberating myself and have been making revisions and changes to my life ever since.
I’m proud to say, I’m a lot happier now 🙂
It doesn’t matter what people feel or what they think about the life you live.
It doesn’t matter if people take you personally or try to make you feel like a nut job or a weirdo. You have to walk throughout life in your own shoes and people will form an opinion about you whether you’re living one lifestyle or another, so you might as well be happy!
ALWAYS EMBRACE WHO YOU ARE. Never dim your spark for anyone.
And to anyone who dares abandon you for loving yourself, I say fuck ’em.
You’re better off without them.
True love doesn’t hurt and loved ones won’t hurt you.
Happiness Over Everything has an official Instagram account ^_^
You can follow the new instagram page, here.
See ya there!
Friday June 25, 2021
I used to take rejection really personally.
Every time my inbox would be hit with another “Unfortunately” or “we decided to go with another candidate” it would take a chink out of my armor.
Lately, I’ve taken rejections as a sign that the Universe has something else in store for me. (#issasign)
Some type of grander scheme at work that will point me in
the right a better direction.
I think the Universe is trying to tell me to dedicate this time to building up my own brand instead of trying to be apart of someone else’s.
I’ve been in the lab formulating new plans and I can’t wait to show you guys my ideas!
Brace yourself: phase 3 of Happiness-Over-Everything is coming soon
To everyone who’s been around from the beginning to witness the journey, I thank you!
And to the new comers, welcome aboard!
Stay tuned happy people and keep dreaming ^-^ Don’t let a few closed doors stray you from your path.
You got this!
PS. Oh yeah…this is happening ::smirks::
Monday June 21, 2021
Hello Summer 2021!
Summer solstice was yesterday and whenever I enter a new phase, whether it’s a year or a season, I like to start off with some self reflecting.
This was partially inspired by a conversation I had with HusBae about my parenting.
We purchased Delilah a guitar for her 7th birthday, and to my frustration, she hasn’t shown much interest in it. What I interpreted to be her laziness actually turned out to be my impatience, and HusBae got me to realize that. He reminded me that she’s still a kid, and she’s still learning and should be given the space to experiment and go through likes and dislikes as much as she wants. I now understand that my attitude stems from my upbringing and the lack of patience I was given as a child.
With this heavy on my mind and with a new season to look forward to, I escaped to my favorite neighborhood park, sat down under a bridge, and jotted down some goals I have for myself, including being more patient as a mom and a writer.
I must’ve filled 3 pages from top to bottom, front to back; I took it a step further and wrote down ways in which I’m preventing myself from accomplishing these goals (accountability is key). I promised myself I’d get rid of these habits and jumped right in to expanding and creating my future, which includes a new blog! (More on that later).
I’m getting better at zeroing in on the root of my issues and just being honest with myself. It’s not easy being self-disciplined but it’s a necessary hurdle to over come if you want to be good at, well, anything!
Check in with yourself as often as you can; keeping your ego in check is a healthy humbling habit to practice. Come to terms with not having all of the answers and choose to seek them out instead of beating yourself up for it.
You’re allowed to grow, even as an adult!
And if you need guidance, I’m working on a little something that should help with that 🙂
I hope this day brings you patience, enlightenment and new discoveries!
Until our next adventure! Keep growing
Saturday June 19, 2021
Happy Juneteenth everyone ^_^
This year’s festivities were one for the History books.
Not only because it was officially declared a Federal Holiday (putting it on par with Memorial Day, Labor Day, and the 4th of July, a validation I definitely appreciate).
But because it seemed like everywhere you turned, people were celebrating.
It was beautiful to see Harlem lit up with food, art, culture, and joy in memoriam of something that’s exclusively black: June 19, 1865.
What a joyous occasion it must’ve been to witness the transition to freedom and see it go from a dream to a reality in a lifetime. I’m going to make it a point to learn more about my history so I can truly understand the magnitude of what this day means to me and my people. I hope it inspires more people to research, too.
To celebrate this honorable day I supported a local black business, something I thought would be more impactful than participating in some big name company’s pandering campaign (and although I do this naturally, I will especially support a black business every year on Juneteenth).
I participated in a yoga event in Central Park called Yoga N Dub, it infuses cannabis with yoga creating the ultimate marriage of wellness and spirituality.
It’s orchestrated by the majestic Chyna Ikairwa, a local entrepreneur who also specializes in cooking cannabis cuisine.
Our yoga instructor was Jen, (@thebxyogi) you may remember her from my previous posts about my hiking adventures in Upstate, NY. She was the guide during my first ever hiking trip!
Jen is a triple threat, she’s a vegan chef (you MUST get her recipe for vegan tuna), a yoga instructor and a hiking tour guide! Her brand is centered around health and wellness; since meeting her, I’ve developed new sisterhoods. I’m so grateful to have their presence in my life ❤
Jen was the perfect instructor. I was happy to have her guide me through a yoga class. She was patient, encouraging and corrective. Just when you thought you nailed a pose, POW! She’d come around and position your body until you hit the mark and man, did it make a world of a difference (I guess doing Youtube yoga doesn’t make me an expert? )
We gathered in a camouflaged grassy area that was hidden by one of the park’s staircases giving us the seclusion we needed to feel comfortable.
We spent the first half hour becoming acquainted with one another, sharing laughs, weed, sage and positive energy.
Afterwards, we kicked into action as Jen led us through an intensive yoga workout. It was a gratifying routine; I stretched places I’ve never reached and activated muscles I didn’t realize I had.
I felt powerful, strong and impressed by how much effort everyone put into it.
Over the course of the 1.5 hour class, we stopped for water (which they provided, complimentary), laughs and totes.
The soundtrack was a blend of Afro-Latino music which naturally made me want to wine and twist, so I was glad that Jen incorporated that in the routine.
By the end, my body felt fluid, my mind was at ease and I felt accomplished on top of being euphoric. I was happy to be apart of this social collective of like minded women, I hope to see them all again at the next event.
After that, there was nothing left to do except make my way home to HusBae but not before journaling in the park.
I hope your Juneteenth brought you joy and education.
I hope you learned something new and spread nothing but inspiration and positivity.
I hope you got to enjoy the Sun and share a smile with a stranger.
And remember, if someone isn’t familiar with Juneteenth, don’t shame them.
Educate them instead.
It’s more helpful to spread awareness than it is to ridicule.
If you’d like to participate in the next Yoga N Dub event, here’s a link to the mailing list. All levels are welcome 🙂 I hope to see you there!
Thursday June 17, 2021
Remember once upon a time I told you I had an impromptu photoshoot at Governors Island!?
Name a better duo than us, I’ll wait 🙂
Until our next adventure!
Sunday June 13, 2021
After spending a day alone with just my thoughts and sense of adventure, I decided that it was time for another best friend date.
I reached out to Lisa Best Friend Bae and we decided to visit City Island. You know that part of the Bronx that doesn’t claim the Bronx but is very much the Bronx? (you too, Riverdale!)
Lisa’s just a bus ride away (a 15 minute walk, a train, and a bus ride for me) and since she’s always commuting downtown, I figured why not make it convenient for her? She’d been meaning to shoot over there, thanks to it’s beautiful marina and small town feel.
It was a mild temperature day, clouds were overcast and despite the iPhones weather app telling us otherwise, it definitely looked like rain was in our future. But that didn’t stop us from enjoying our time together.
We stopped at the end of the 253 acre strip and posted up by this little sitting area overlooking the harbor. Not sure if it was the waves or the quality alone time but we poured our hearts out to one another as we spoke about our troubled pasts, our complicated presents and our optimistic futures.
I appreciate our heart to hearts.
After having the most lack luster lunch I’ve ever had, we started our trek to the other side of the Island.
She got some cool shots along the way, including a dead end street, a small garden and some houses with major curb appeal.
But none of these subjects was more fascinating than 239 Play.
The store front was screaming our names from the vintage merch, to the colorful aesthetic to the gay flag and black lives matter sign, we had to stop by.
The product selection was INSANE! They had pop culture buttons and pins, CDs, vinyls, trading cards, it was a lovely tribute to the past. A greatly appreciated nostalgia.
We went inside to browse the selection and the awesomeness continued as we found vintage dolls, toys, board games, records, practically anything you could think of.
We were so impressed, we took business cards and introduced ourselves to the friendly cashier. Lisa is planning to reach out the owners for an interview and a feature on her blog, 4inthemorning.net.
She has a segment where she highlights small businesses and content creators. Reach out to her for a feature!
I can’t wait to hear their story. Once it’s published, I’ll share it with you!
We wrapped at about 4pm after 3-4 hours worth of shooting. But not before treating ourselves to some ice cream (even with the rain, I TOLD YOU IT WOULD RAIN!).
The entire weekend left me with a great taste in my mouth. Maybe it was all of the yummy treats or maybe it was the adventures in NYC. It made me realize how in control of my life I am and how nothing can stop me from experiencing joy, whether it’s by myself or in the company of others.
I hope your weekend brought you joy, too.
Share it with me! Let’s be happy together 🙂
Saturday June 12, 2021
Lately I’ve been learning to appreciate my own company.
Hanging out with people can be fun but there’s nothing quite like spending time with yourself.
I feel like you learn things about you because you get to focus on you, your likes, dislikes, what you’re willing to tolerate.
Plus, after being cooped up in the house for like, 2 years, I look for excuses to be outside, even if I have to go alone.
With Delilah hanging out with my parents for the weekend, I was ready for an adventure. (when am I not?)
I was having trouble deciding where to go. I was torn between the Brooklyn Bridge, Chelsea Piers and the Highline.
I really wanted to be near water (I often do) but I wanted some place I could stay for a while…then it hit me!
::to self:: If I go to Chelsea Piers, I can make my way to the Highline and then walk along that until I get closer to my train! Yass two birds one stone!
I packed my necessities: lighter, journal, pen, headphones, keys, and at least two books to give my eyes (and life) a break from a screen.
I wanted to be as invisible as possible (can’t say I always like to be seen) so I dressed down and put my jacket on for this unusually cool day. (High of 65!? Wasn’t it just like…90 degrees!? o.O)
By noon, I was on the road. (Thank you fellow C train occupants for maintaining your peace and sanity. I appreciate you. Signed a NYC commuter)
I got there in no time thanks to my Manhattan zip code (no thanks to my sense of direction, seeing as I had to about face once or twice lol) and found a secluded spot along the piers gates.
By 12:12, I spotted the COOLEST thing.
A tugboat was pulling a float from this cartoon I saw on Netflix.
Tuca and Bertiiiiiie. I guess they’re on Adult Swim now.
Bestie loves that show. She said it reminds her of us. (lol, which one do you think I am).
When I came down from the excitement from that (I literally jumped), I walked along the pier and eventually found a shaded spot under a tree to do some journaling.
Just me, my thoughts and the sounds of the sea. I made a mental note to look into some local cruises over the Summer.
I poured my heart onto the pages until there was nothing left, read some Bad Ass Affirmations, packed my things and moved along.
I decided I was ready for the High Line so I walked across town.
My go to entrance on 34th and 12th was gated off o.O There have been updates since COVID.
A few blocks later, I found another entrance and voila!
I wandered the 1.45 mile attraction aimlessly. It’s cool what you’ll find when you don’t have a destination in mind.
Like this cool artwork:
Each of these pieces captured my attention so I had to stop and see what they were about.
They had really touching politically inspired stories. Stop by this exhibit and read them, it’s worth your time.
Most of the attractions were gated off due to COVID
Hudson Yards was accessible!
Hudson Yards is this extension of the high line that offers interactive attractions and events. There’s even a mall there now!
This fascinating structure is called “The Vessel” and can be found in Hudson Yards. For $10 you can walk throughout the exhibit.
Bae and I are planning a date night here!
All the walking and exploring made me hungry.
I knew the perfect food that would make the entire day complete…cookiesssss.
Normally insomnia cookies would be my go to but I was in a risk-taking spirit so I searched for the nearest bakery. That’s when I found Milk Bar.
It had these unusual flavors like corn, cornflake marshmallow and chocolate chip as well as blueberry cream.
My stomach was like “yes, please!”
I bee lined straight to the location on 29th and Broadway (I was on 30th and 12th so it worked out).
Spotted some groovy street art while I was en route
And had the perfect soundtrack
When I finally pulled up, I could swear I heard harps playing and angels singing. I was ready.for.sugary.goodness.
First of all, my cashier was lovely, engaging and had amazing energy. I was feeling her vibe and her head wrap. What can I say, I’m a sucker for good customer service.
I ordered the 3 aforementioned flavors and gifted one for Bae (marshmallow, corn flake and chocolate chip, im telling you!) by then, I was ready to head home.
Like those Milk Bar cookies, my day was great. It was filled with peace, culture, surprises and yummy treats. Who could ask for more on a Saturday afternoon in NYC?
Sometimes I wonder, am I better off alone?
Wednesday June 9, 2021
The bestie and I had ourselves a day date at Governors Island.
Governor’s Island is one of the many hidden inexpensive gems of NYC. It’s one of those spots that if you don’t know then you won’t know, ya know?
It’s a separated island that’s a hop, skip and a ferry ride away from the Financial District, South Ferry specifically.
I visited for the first time in 2017 for my 2 year wedding anniversary. It’s a vast space thats offers intimacy, sun light, great lawns and family friendly activities which include bike rentals, sprinklers, hammocks and a garden maze.
It’s so fun!
Lisa best-friend-Bae and I came here together once before a few summers ago.
We rented bikes, drank Pina colada and sweated our asses off. It was so friggin hot!
This time we went for a more laid back vibe. Just us, grass, our friendship and the occasional sea breeze.
I was grateful I bought this bad boy.
Isn’t this a lovely Wagasa? It was a baby shower gift ^_^ It got alot of attention o.O
Of course, there was a food stop. (Hi key thinking about doing food tours in the city ::ponders:: If I reviewed food, would you guys be into that? Let me know what you think)
We le googled good eats on the island and were attracted to this Kimchi taco truck we found, but, we couldn’t find it ::cries::
So we walked 12 minutes out of the way for this Mexican themed restaurant that offered vegetarian tacos. YUMM!
I was like, “we out!”
Me and the bestie don’t eat meat so sometimes eating outside can be a gamble.
(Uuuugh. I’m getting hungry just thinking about iiiit.)
First of all, this spot was a vibe. The soundtrack was tight. The playlist was old school and laid back, a perfect pairing with the marina aesthetic. There’s outdoor dining with amazing views of the New York Harbor. It was cool to watch the birds and the boats go by as we waited…
BUT THE FOOD! THE FOOOOD! O.M.G.
Lisa had the seared sashimi tuna taco that came with pickled jalapeño, crema, and pickled cabbage.
I had the vegetarian taco which came with portobello mushrooms, guacamole, pickled onions and cheese. THE LIME JUICE WAS SUCH A NICE TOUCH! And of course, I couldn’t forget my hot sauces.
All I can say is WOW! We were completely blown away! The food was seasoned perfectly, the tortillas were soft and warm, the pickled onion paired with the lime juice added this lovely bite of tanginess and the guacamole (I don’t even like guacamole) came through with the creaminess. I didn’t even NEED to add a sauce, tbh.
10s across the board.
Between the good eats, the water views, the soundtrack, and the friendly staff it is definitely a must visit spot. Check it out if you happen to be on the island.
All in all it was a lovely day. The only thing that was missing was the rain. (We would’ve welcomed rain with open arms)
It’s always dope getting to spend time with Lisa. She’s the homie, for real.
I look forward to a Summer filled with more bestie day dates ^_^
Oh, plus she bought her camera. More on that later…
Friday June 4, 2021
Just a girl from the Bronx fulfilling her dreams one photoshoot at a time ^_^
Photocred: Lisa Suarez
In the name of the moon, I encourage you!