Infinity Mirrors Exhibit: What to Expect

If you haven’t heard of Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors exhibit, you’ve likely seen the images somewhere on your Instagram feed. It was about a year ago when I came across a picture of endless glowing pumpkins and was instantly intrigued by this mind-blowing exhibit.

To give you a little bit of background, Yayoi is an avant-garde Japanese artist who transformed her visual and auditory hallucinations into art. The result was an experiential sensory overload: her Infinity Mirror Rooms.  Needless to say, I stalked the exhibit until it finally made its way to the High Museum in Atlanta. Tickets went super fast but I managed to snag two for opening day.

The exhibit will be in Atlanta through February and for those who have tickets, here’s what you can expect:

  1. Get there early! They begin the line for each time slot a half hour early, so best to arrive at least 30 minutes before so you’re at the front of your group. They only let small sections of people up at a time.

  2. Lines on lines on lines. You’ll get a private experience of all seven of the Infinity Mirror Rooms but you have to wait in line outside each room. However, since you don’t have much time inside, the line moves pretty quickly. We didn't wait much longer than 20 minutes for each room, and were done with the full exhibit in an hour and a half.

  3. Be ready to soak it all in when it’s finally your turn. While you get solo time in the rooms (they only let in two to three people at a time), you don’t get longer than 30 seconds. Make sure you have your fingers ready to snap those pics.

  4. You’re allowed to take photos in every room except one: “All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins” or the pumpkin room featuring bright-yellow, dotted pumpkin sculptures. Apparently, Yayoi is extremely protective of this one and prefers to control the amount of photos of it on social media. I was bummed and even contemplated slipping our attendant a $20 to sneak a pic but you know, gotta respect the artist. ~

  5. The exhibition also features more than 60 paintings, sculptures and works on paper along the walls, giving you something to look at/read about while waiting in line.

  6. Sadly, advance tickets are sold out. BUT there will be approximately 100 tickets available onsite each day through February 17.

It was by far one of the most unique and immersive art exhibits I’ve ever been to. And turns out Yayoi is one dope chick. I’m also going to Tokyo in the spring (CAN I GET AN AMEN) and hope to visit her gallery while we’re there.

Let me know if you have plans to visit the exhibit!

 
 
Cartagena Travel Guide

For the past four years we’ve been dating (wow, four already?), Austin and I have gone on at least one trip abroad each year.

We love traveling and it’s something I hope to always make a priority. This year, we ventured to Cartagena, Colombia. It’s been on the travel bucket list for a while now and I could not wait to finally plan our baecation to South America.

There’s so much to say about this city but I’ll do my best to put it all in one blog post. We stayed at two different Air Bnbs during our week-long trip. We crammed in as much as we could while still having time to relax, read, nap (for grandpa Austin), etc.

And now, for the spicy recs!

Food/Coffee:

La Taperia - I smile just thinking about how cute and yummy and fun it was. We went about three or four times during our stay. An older couple owns this tiny tapas restaurant and neither of them speak any English. We all know I had to carry us through this trip since Austin’s Spanish is SUBPAR (love you, babe), but we managed to order the necessities each time. OK, we mainly just came back for the sangria but they were the sweetest couple and the food was quality, too.

Cafe de La Mañana - This is such a great spot for breakfast and it’s extremely affordable. We both ordered avo toast, eggs, coffee and orange juice and left paying less than $15 USD. Wild.

Sushi Masaki - Sushi pizza with crispy rice. Enough said.

Pezetarian - Calling all rice bowl lovers! They serve sushi, salad, ceviche and more but we went with their popular rice bowls, which were fresh as hell. They also have a great responsible food policy along with vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. Fantastico.

Maria - Please note: locals do not eat dinner early in Cartagena. Many restaurants don’t even open until about 7 p.m. so when arrived here as soon as it opened, we had the place to ourselves until normal people started showing up. It’s a bit fancier/pricier but the food was delicious.

La Cevicheria - We had to stop here for Anthony Bourdain (RIP) and because it was right down the street from our Air Bnb. Overall, not bad but not the best ceviche I’ve ever had.  

Juan del Mar - Seafood on the inside, Italian on the outside. Doesn’t get much better than that. We opted for Italian, AKA pizza, so we were seated in the outside portion but the inside of this place looks amazing. Think hanging foliage and open ceilings. It’s a good option for a quick, casual dinner.

Beiyu - We ventured here for breakfast one morning, located in the neighborhood of Getsemani. It’s super quaint but the menu is pages long - you’ll find everything from açaí bowls to wraps.

Bohemia - This is a STUNNING restaurant located inside a restored house dating back centuries. I loved the food, vibe and staff. 10/10 would recommend.

Epoca Espresso Bar - We got this recommendation from a friend and she did us good because this was another place we frequented throughout the trip. So. much. coffee. Any way you could want it. They also have a pretty extensive food menu and everything we ordered was on point.

Abaco Libros y Cafe - This small cafe is surrounded by a library of books. The coffee is OK, but it makes for a cute photo opp.

Other Activities:

Free Walking Tour (Plaza Santa Teresa): There are various tours but we did the “yellow umbrella” tour. We booked it online and our tour guide took us through the old city as he explained some of the most important history.

Movich Hotel: If you’re looking for a rooftop pool, this is your spot. I’m talking AHHH-mazing views. But make sure you ask the front desk if the pool is open for swimming to the public. They only open it for non-hotel guests on certain days.

Shopping: My favorite store was St. Dom; I was drooling over the clothes, shoes and jewelry that I couldn’t afford. But even the smaller gift shops have the cutest bags and trinkets.

Palenqueras: Say hello to one of the biggest Colombian icons. During our walking tour, we learned the true meaning behind these beautiful ladies and how they came to be a national staple. Palenque is a small village outside the city which used to be ruled entirely by runaway African slaves: Palenqueros and Palenqueras. In the 1600’s, the women began walking by foot into the city every day to sell fruit from hand-woven baskets. Now, they make their money from tourists wanting to pose for the Gram. They are much more than women in pretty dresses - they represent resistance, courage and Afro-Caribbean heritage as direct descendants of the world's first free slaves.

Bazurto Market Tour - If you’re looking for a truly local experience, take a tour of Bazurto. We booked this through Insider Tours benefitting FEM, a nonprofit org. We had two guides, one who spoke Spanish and one English. Our translator was the most down-to-earth student who immersed us in the local ways, from experiencing natural herbs to Champeta music and finishing us off with lunch made by chef Cecilia herself (another Bourdain spot). Be sure to try Plátanos en Tentación, a dish of plantains boiled in their local red soda.

Alquimico - Austin and I stopped off at this rooftop bar after dinner one night. We met the COOLEST bartenders (shoutout Arleis!! If you’re reading this ily) and had the best time getting lit off cocktails and chatting about life.

I could go on and on but chances are, only a select few actually made it this far. If you’re one of them, you is kind, you is smart, you is important. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions. ¡Viva Cartagena!

Taco Turkey Bowl

I am the queen of meal prepping and letting half of it go to waste. Anyone else with me? I’ve realized that I need to switch it up (I can NOT keep eating the same quinoa bowls day after day) and that means I need to cook throughout the week. I also need meals that actually taste good but leave me leftovers.

I’ve been trying to incorporate more protein into my diet, so I’m starting with ground turkey. I shared the beginnings of my taco turkey bowl on Instagram this week and it turned out so yummy, I had to share the recipe. And the best part: it’s cooking-for-dummies level easy.

What you’ll need:

  • Ground turkey

  • Taco seasoning

  • Veggies: Trader Joe’s sells pre-chopped veggie bowls that include broccoli, carrots, green and red cabbage, jicama, green bell pepper, radish and celery. That’s what I used here.

  • 1 can of black beans

  • Avocado

  • Herdez medium guacamole salsa

Directions:

In a large pan (large enough for turkey and veggies), cook the ground turkey first and add the seasoning once done. Then, add in the veggies and sauté. I like adding them to the same pan because you’ll get some of that seasoning on the veggies, too.

Once done, scoop turkey/veggie mix into your bowl and add black beans, avo and the guacamole sauce. Enjoy!

See, it’s fool-proof.

How I Survive My LDR

Ahhh, LDRs (long distance relationships). If you're in one now or have ever been in one, you know it comes with its struggles with a capital S. Since I've been in one for what seems like eternity, I thought I'd finally share some of my personal journey and what has helped me most when trying to survive a LDR.

I used to always say I didn't believe in long distance. That I know different strokes work for different folks, but me? I couldn't deal with that. But here I am in a four-year relationship that's been long-distance for over half of that. Let me give you a little background. 

Austin and I started dating in November 2014 and shortly after, he moved to Charlotte. We did the long-distance thing for about a year until he got transferred to Raleigh and I decided to join him. Shortly after that, he was transferred back to Charlotte so we moved again but about a year ago, he got an awesome offer on a new career path in ATL. He took it but I decided to stay in Charlotte because I had a great job, liked the city and it wasn't right for me at the time. So here we are. My life has consisted of lots of FaceTime calls, drives up and down I-85 and comical attempts to simultaneously watch Netflix shows. I have proved myself wrong these past fews years, though. I can, in fact, do long distance. But it hasn't been easy.

Here's how I manage to stay sane.

Working out
This one might sound cliche, but working out has always been my #1 stress reliever. When I moved to Charlotte, I immediately joined ClassPass and it got me out of the apartment, into new studios all while giving my endorphins the boost they need. When I'm stronger physically, I somehow feel stronger emotionally. 

Finding a schedule that keeps me busy
Speaking of working out, having a busy schedule is key. I plan workouts throughout the week, I recently joined a book club and I try to schedule happy hours/dinners/lunches with friends to keep me busy. When you have a lot going on, you tend not to dwell on the fact that you're missing the shit out of your boyfriend. 

Lots of FaceTime
Listen, you gotta do what you gotta do to make it work. Text, FaceTime, Skype - download all the things and keep in touch in all the ways that work best for you. We both have super busy schedules so we don't even get to talk on the phone many nights. Time just slips away and then before we know it, we're both drained and getting into bed. But communication. is. key. 

My mom
I bitch to my mom so much it's unreal. Whether it's about the roach I found in my apartment or how my job is stressing me out, she literally takes it all like a queen and never gets annoyed. I only have limited time with Austin, and limited time to talk to him each day, so I don't want to spend it venting and complaining (I'm making myself out to be really negative but it's only every other day!! :)). Of course I tell him everything but it's important to have people outside your relationship to talk to as well. 

All this being said, we've really had to find what works for us (together and individually) to keep this love train going. There have been bad days and worse days but I wouldn't trade it for anything and I always remind myself of the end game - that this isn't forever. Everyone is different but it definitely takes extra effort and patience. When you have a person you know is worth it, you do whatever to make it thrive. 

Studio Style

I'm officially a Plaza Midwood resident! 

My lease in South End was coming to an end in August and I wanted to move for a couple reasons; the main one being I needed something less expensive. I shopped around within various neighborhoods including South Park, Dilworth and NoDa. But I managed to find the cutest apartment in Plaza for about $200 less per month. My lower monthly rent came with a bit of a downsize, but it wasn't extreme. It's technically a studio but the bedroom still has walls so it feels more like a one-bedroom apartment. 

Now that I had a smaller place, I had to buy new decor/furniture (DRATS!!) because some of the old stuff didn't fit.  If you recall my last post on the apartment decor, you'll remember most of the furniture was from Austin's first place. I was so excited to make my new space my own and get some CAYUTE new things. I'll likely be paying off my credit card bill for the next few months, but here's a breakdown of some of the new stuff I got! 

Rug from Urban Outfitters (they have SO many great options)
Coffee Table from Amazon
TV Stand from Amazon
Sheer Curtains from Amazon
Curtain Panel from Urban Outfitters
Snake Plant and Planter from Lowes

Stay tuned for more updates! 

 
 
Sudio Moments

I love my music and I absolutely have to listen to some hip hop when I’m working out. But, I hate cords and fiddling with the tangled mess that is ALWAYS my iPhone earphones.

Apple came out with wireless earbuds but the price tag didn’t seem worth something I’d potentially lose within two weeks. When I learned about Sudio and their wireless options, I was intrigued. It’s a Swedish brand that makes earphones with a contemporary Scandinavian design. Their take on earphones is that they should be easily integrated into everyday life as a stylish accessory. They really want to change the attitude from earphones being purely a tech device to something people wear all the time. I could jump on this earbud train so I tried the Vasa Blå earbuds in Rose Gold/White (they also come in black, blue and pink). It’s a wireless model with great battery life, rose gold detailing and studio-quality sound.

Honestly, the sound quality is awesome. And all their products are designed for active lifestyles, so they’re all sweat- and water-resistant, too. One thing I like about them is you’re still able to remain aware of your surroundings. If I’m running, I can hear people or cars around me.

My style features the following:

  1. Four pairs of extra sleeves
  2. Leather carrying case
  3. Range: 10 meters
  4. Battery time: 9 hours (active), 10 days (standby) Charging time: 10 minutes (quick charge), 120 minutes (full) 
  5. Built in mic

Fun fact: Sudio stems from an incident when one of the founders spotted the musician Phil Collins in New York having problems with his headphones. With the frustration of not yet being able to offer any better alternative to Phil, the only words he could utter were: “trust me I know the feeling,” as they shared eye contact. The name Sudio is a homage to the Phil Collins song Sussudio.

Sudio generously provided a 15% discount code for my followers: SOMEWEARWILD.

Let me know what you think!

 
 
I Got a Nose Job

So I got a nose job.

First, let me start by THANKING GOD FOR THIS MOMENT. JK, really just a huge shoutout to my family for making this possible. My new nose was actually a gift (an extremely generous one; you’re looking at somewhere between $5-6K) and it’s the best gift I’ve ever received. 

Now let’s back up. All the way to maybe 10 years ago? I’ve wanted a nose job for a long ass time. The real ones know. I had a big hump, possibly the result of getting hit with soccer balls, smacking it on the leg of our couch but probably just genetics. It was really only noticeable from my side profile but I’ve always wanted to shape that and my tip. Fast forward to December 2017 and I was ready to see a surgeon about it.

There’s so much stigma around plastic surgery and altering your God-given bod. It’s dumb. You fix your teeth when they’re crooked and I wanted to fix my humpy schnoz. If you’re considering doing it too, I’m breaking down what you can expect from start to finish.

Before surgery.

Do your research. Luckily, I had a very trustworthy recommendation from someone who already had it done (I don’t reveal my sources). So finding my surgeon was a little easier. I still researched multiple docs and weighed my pros and cons, risks, costs, etc. I was not about to settle on something that could potentially eff up my face. Once you find your surgeon, make sure you both know exactly what you want. I saw him in December for my initial consultation. I didn’t end up scheduling my surgery until almost seven months later so I met with him again to make sure he remembered everything we talked about. The best thing about my doc was he told me what he’d do to my nose before I even walked through it. And he nailed everything on my list.

I’ve had my wisdom teeth and tonsils removed and both times, the last thing I remember is looking at the ceiling and then waking up in my mom’s bed. Waking up with a brand new nose this time? It sounded wonderful. But for some reason, I was so anxious in the weeks leading up to my surgery. I would have dreams that it turned out crooked or flat, that I would wake up during or wouldn’t wake up at all. I have a case of an overactive mind. Just know this is SO routine and if you’re going to a reputable doc, you have absolutely nothing to worry about.

My surgery was at 6:30 a.m. so thankfully, I didn’t have much time to feel anxious the day of. I changed into my robe, the nurse gave me something to "calm my stomach” and before I knew it, I was being pumped with sedatives through an IV.

After surgery.

About an hour and half later, I woke up to my nurse’s voice in the recovery room. I was very out of it but remember everything. She told me he had to break my nose - the doc usually decides that once he gets all up in there. Then she told me I woke up smiling and she wished all her patients would be as happy waking up LOL. I heard my mom’s voice as she came in to see me, and next thing I knew, my nurse was dressing me and helping me into my wheelchair. It's really important to eat before taking any pain meds so our first stop was Chick-fil-A for fries. Yes, you can eat normal food immediately after. I did surprisingly well my first day - it consisted of lots of icing, peeing from all the gatorade I was chugging and apparently having full-blown text conversations with friends? Had to go back a read a few of those….

The first few days are definitely the worst. I swelled up a lot and looked like an avatar or some kind of rodent. I don’t do well with pain pills but honestly, the pain wasn’t bad unless I accidentally hit it. Which I did. :) I left surgery on Friday with a stint/cast and had it taken off that Tuesday. After that, I had nose strips until the weekend and those just came off in the shower. I also couldn't breathe through my nose for a week but, sorry TMI, I finally pulled out a disgusting booger clump (you can’t blow your nose for while) and it was the most glorious feeling. I could breathe again. 

If you have a job, plan to take off a week after surgery because your face will not look work appropriate.  My boss was super understanding and I just ended up taking a couple days off and working from home for the rest. You'll definitely need to rest as much as possible that first week. 

Results

All in, my doc shaved my top hump, slimmed it out and refined the tip of my nose. I could immediately see the changes as soon as he took off the stint but it swells a lot. And changes slightly every day. The final results can take up to 10 months to a year but that’s because your skin, the same skin that’s been formed to your nose your whole life, has to reform to the new shape. There are definitely some restrictions as you heal. I think the hardest thing will be not being able to work out or wear my glasses for a month. Pray for me.

I’m so happy I did it and I love it already and I would 100 p do it again. If you’re considering ANY kind of procedure, do it for you and no one else. I’m all about doing what makes you feel happy and at your best. Please message me/comment below if you have any questions!!

 
 
The Skinny on Fré Skincare

For the past few months, I've been having trouble with my skin - breakouts around my chin/cheeks and stubborn pimples. At 27 years old I'm just like...WHY THOUGH?????

At the time, I was using CeraVe and it had been working for me for the past few years. I tried various products and dropped serious money on solutions from Rodan + Fields to Sunday Riley and nothing was helping. That's when I learned about FRÉ Skincare. At first, I was a little skeptical and feeling really discouraged given the state of my breakouts and lack of success, but I felt like I had nothing to lose at that point.

FRÉ says that 90% of skin damage is caused by sun exposure and that sweat increases skin’s photo-sensitivity and causes sun-related problems. I've been working out MUCH more than I ever have over the past six months and definitely have had one-too-many sun sessions. Were my breakouts caused by all the extra workouts recently? FRÉ’s products sounded like the perfect skincare match based on what I had been experiencing. I gave it a try and am happy to report I’m starting to see a difference after just a few weeks.

So what's the scientific tea here? FRÉ Skincare products are the solution to treating sweat rash and other issues like bumps, blisters, pimples and other random spots. They use a combo of antioxidants and Argan ingredients, and it's meant to protect skin during and after you workout. I tried the 123FRÉ set, which includes the following:

  1. "Protect Me" - ultra-light moisturizer with SPF30
  2. "Purify Me" - hydrating facial cleanser
  3. "Revive Me" - deep replenishing serum

No lie, I started seeing improvement in my breakouts after using the full set for just a few weeks. I honestly couldn't believe it. I do NOT mess around with my skin (or yours) and wouldn't be telling you this if I didn't feel like it helped my skin issues.

To make all of this even better, they have an awesome social impact program in place. With every skincare set you buy, FRÉ will plant an Argan tree, also known as the "Tree of Life", to help replenish the endangered Argan forest and support women who harvest Argan oil in Morocco. Planting these trees has a multi-layered impact by creating sustainable development, protecting the planet and empowering women. A triple whammy, if you will.

FRÉ is a MUST skincare routine for gals that sweat. They’ve offered 25% off on your first FRÉ set by using my code SOMEWEARWILD25. It’s only valid only for the next 48 hours and for those who are mathematically challenged like me, the discount code brings the 123FRÉ set to $86.25 instead of the usual $115 (and it lasts for more than 3 months). Let me know if you have any questions, concerns or qualms. I’m so excited for you to try it!

 
 
Superica

There's a new restaurant in town, and I'm already in love. 

Superica, the Atlanta-based Tex Mex gem, recently opened its doors in Charlotte. We went for brunch last weekend and the menu had all the delicious things, featuring dishes like huevos rancheros and chilaquiles (both of which we ordered).

I was blown away at how big the Charlotte location is when we walked in. It looks like it could be two restaurants in one. The vibe was there but they seem to still be working out a few kinks. There wasn’t a wait and while we were immediately seated and served chips/an assortment of salsa, we started to feel like our waitress forgot about us. It had been a while since we even saw her, let alone put in any kind of order. Another waitress noticed and kindly took our order. The manager later came over and apologized for the mix up - turns out, they had recently done some rearranging of tables, so there was some confusion on who was covering ours. Even though we weren't upset, they comped our bill which made up for any extra wait time. 

Once the food arrived, I knew just by looking at it I was going to love it. And love it I did. I ate every last bite of my huevos rancheros but it also comes with a giant side of refried beans topped with cheese. I couldn't finish the beans but they were so.freaking.delicious. If you're wondering about cocktails: I got a Michelada (you're missing out if you haven't tried one). Austin got a margarita and confirmed it was "OK."

My ATL gals are coming up to visit next weekend and I am 100% taking them back here for brunch.  Have you been yet?

 
 
Birthday in NYC

If you know me, you know that my favorite city on earth is London. Not much can top it. But a close second would have to be New York. So, when Austin told me we were going for my birthday (OK I kinda begged) I was SO PUMPED!!

Luckily, my birthday falls around MDW so it’s a perfect excuse to take a long weekend trip. New York’s weather has been all over the place lately so I had to pack strategically. Sure enough, we had a combo of scorching hot sun and chilly, rainy weather over a span of four days. I must admit I don’t alllllways pack accordingly but here’s a breakdown of what I brought, and it all worked out.

new york.jpg

From rooftop chillin’ to twerking at work out class, I had the best trip. We arrived late Thursday night and started the trip with brunch Friday in Harlem. This year, we participated in Fleet Week festivities and toured one of the military ships on Pier 90, Intrepid. Neither of us had ever experienced Fleet Week and we got to chat with marines, learning about different weapons, bomb suits and touring the massive ships that protect our peeps.

That evening, we had dinner at Ruby’s - I ordered the pesto pasta and ate every last noodle. Friday night was LIT. We danced the night away at Hotel Chantelle and ended up in bed at a casual 4:30 a.m.

I’ve never seen Austin more hungover than he was on Saturday. Poor guy showed out for my bday party. :)  We recovered, or attempted to, at Gilligan’s at Soho Grand. The atmosphere is euphoric and filled with all the greenery and string lights. BUT the food isn’t anything to write home about. From there, the boys wanted to watch some soccer game (what’s new) so Dana and I started our own party #2 at Azul rooftop. This place was so much fun and the views of the Hudson spectacular. Gah, and that sunset. So good. I had an early night after eating an entire Margherita pizza on my own, slept for a solid 12 hours and woke up ready to shop on Sunday.

Soho is our favorite area to shop in New York and once I stepped foot in the Zara on Broadway, it was over for my bank account. RIP baby. They have some amazing stuff right now so get it while you can. We were all partied out by this point so decided to go see Solo at the AMC in Times Square. I’m not a Star Wars gal but thought it was pretty good!

Monday was our last day and I ended it at 305 Fitness with my girl Dana. She’d done the cardio dance class before and I could not wait to go. It’s a combo of hip hop and dance cardio, conditioning exercises and high intensity interval training (HIIT). YAS. Our instructor Jimmy was FAB and he definitely brought the sauce. I wish they’d open one in CLT.

My 27th was one for the books and even though I’m sad about how close to 30 I’m getting, I have a feeling this is going to be one of the best years yet!