Katherine Herrera

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SAFE SEX: How to talk about your limitations in bed

Everyone has sex, but everyone has sex differently. Some may like it quick, some take their time, some have a list of limitations and some push the limitations. We never know exactly what the other person is into until it happens. We then find out if it is what you expected or not. The most important thing is to practice safe sex when boundaries are involved.

As mentioned before, everyone has sex differently. One person may not be into what the other person is into and that should never be compromised. There have been times where some people just go with it because they do not want to feel some sort of embarrassment in front of their partner. But there are a few ways to practice safe sex without having to compromise one’s own limits.

We are adults, so the best way is to have a conversation before having sex. I assume the majority of everyone sexts each other sometimes. With a bit of sexting, you can follow up with questions to find out the other person’s likes and dislikes, what they are into, what they have done before and what they are not willing to do. The easiest way is mainly discussing the dislikes. Men might prefer discussing sex limits beforehand since they tend to be straightforward.

The other way of communicating limits is during the moment of the action. If you skipped the conversation and jumped right into it and realized you have limitations that could potentially be crossed, quickly come up with a safe word. Keep it simple, like Kevin Hart’s safe word “pineapple.”

Photo by Creative Commons via Pixabay

Another good way for an in-the-moment situation is to switch positions. Everything may be going well in bed until you start switching over to a position you may not be comfortable with. A good way to help is to switch back to a different position or offer to do something else you are more comfortable with. By experience, this has worked for me and I didn’t have to deal with any awkwardness. In all honesty, I doubt the guy even noticed I switched positions for a certain reason.

Last, but certainly not least, is making sure you are with the right person. Man or woman, always make sure that you are with someone who will respect your limits. Do not let anyone force you to do anything. Do not let anyone hurt you. Do not let anyone take advantage of you.

If a person has the potential to do any of the above, do not give them the time or day. They are not good for you and situations can go very wrong as we have seen plenty of times on the news. There are so many other people on and off campus that will not put you in a difficult situation. Sex is great, it is just not worth it to get hurt.

We normally discuss safe sex in terms of using condoms and birth control and preventing diseases but not as much in terms of one’s own boundaries. It is important to note that everyone is different and that you must be careful who you intend to have sex with. Not everyone is as they seem to be, and because of that, we fall into difficult situations we sometimes cannot get out of. Having awareness and more discussions of safe sex in terms of limits is very important. It goes for men and women. No matter who you are, having that understanding can keep you safe and comfortable during sex.

Always clean your beauty products

Have you ever caught yourself throwing out makeup products because it is time to? I was told to throw out my makeup a year after I purchased it. At the time it made sense, but makeup can be expensive, and do we really need to throw it all out after a year?

Not necessarily. There are a few tips that can help with the longevity of makeup products. You may be able to find the expiration date on the product itself. There are ways to keep all your beauty products clean and sanitized to increase its longevity and to most importantly protect your skin from harmful bacteria. I will share with you some of the best tips on cleaning your beauty products as well as their benefits.

The first tip is important and it makes a difference all around, and it is to always keep your makeup brushes clean. There is a way you can keep them clean: washing your brushes weekly or every other week with Dawn dish washing soap. Dawn is good for brushes because it deeply cleanses the brushes without damaging them. Just fill up to half an inch of Dawn in an empty container. Dip all your brushes in the container and let it sit for a few seconds. Thoroughly rinse the brushes with warm water and let them sit to dry for the night.

Using Dawn to clean brushes is a good way to save money because you probably won’t have to buy a new one for about another three to four months. The brushes may also last for a few years or longer since Dawn does not damage them after every wash. Another good thing about this method is that, because your brushes are now deeply clean, the makeup will look much more flawless. One last thing to keep in mind is: if you have ever feel your skin becoming irritated or starting to break out when you apply makeup and your brushes haven’t been clean in weeks, wash your brushes immediately as it is a possible cause to irritating skin.

Now that we covered makeup brushes, the next most important thing is, of course, the products itself. Most makeup products can last up to five years. Some products also have an expiration date. To keep makeup products lasting long and usable is through sanitation.

Cleaning any product that has some sort of pump with a disinfecting wipe, as well as disinfecting your whole makeup vanity with the same wipes, will prevent possible harmful bacteria roaming around. Keep all the lids on as well because that will prolong the use of the products without them wearing out or building up bacteria.

Photo by kaboompics via Pixabay

Using a clean tissue, wipe off the first layer of everything that is powder form. It will keep your product fresh and clean. Powders can last up to a couple years. Personally, I use up my powders fast. The longest I have had a powder was about a year. Powders can easily contain bacteria, but if you sanitize them at least once a week and keep all powders closed, they should last much longer.  You can also use a clean tissue to wipe down eyeshadows and lipsticks.

From your vanity to your makeup products, everything must always be sanitized for your protection. Make sure everything is closed, as this prolongs most of the products.

I do my best to sanitize everything weekly, but I may forget to here and there. I have gone a month without cleaning because I have been busy and tend to forget. So, when I keep using the products that have not been sanitized, I do see my makeup being a bit messy and my skin beginning to irritate. I have also been told by other people they experience the same things, so I shared some of my tips. Hopefully this becomes helpful for you in many ways.

Charlotte’s Rooftop Bar Scene: Nuvole Rooftop 22

As you walk into the AC Hotel lobby, you are greeted by the front desk and an attendee who escorts you to the elevator all the way to Nuvole on the 22nd floor. You have a choice to sit inside or walk straight down a few feet outside and enjoy the great high view.

No one seemed to be bothered by the temperature the day I went to Nuvole because they have heaters installed all around to keep the guests warm and comfortable to be able to enjoy the sky-high views in the heart of Charlotte. That’s amazing!

Photo By Kat Herrera

Rooftop bars have been becoming a popular trend to enjoy a night outside of a nightclub. There are 17 other rooftop bars in Charlotte and Nuvole is the 18th. Recently opened back in spring 2018, this is the one that has been receiving all the attention since then.

Nuvole is on the 22nd floor of the AC Hotel located in Charlotte with spectacular views. It is a modern, upscale rooftop bar that is open to anyone who wants to have a good time. It is also one of the biggest rooftop bars in Charlotte. The floor plan is a big open space with a bar and areas to sit inside to watch games, but if you want to sit outside and enjoy the views, you can just walk straight to the outside portion of the lounge.

Noah Sheer, the general manager who has been with the company since February, explained why they are different than all the other rooftops in Charlotte. He said they strive to being unique. Unlike others who want to be unique by finding different ways to separate themselves, they focus on being unique. Everything they do has to be unique and it makes them Nuvole.

Since it has opened, they have been busy every day. Being open to anyone who just wants to drink, eat and relax with friends allows them to have a variety in demographics. From young people to the older crowd, business people to any local in Charlotte (or those visiting). Noah mentioned that one day they had about 500 people walk through their door.

“It’s been unique for us because we were busy [the] first day. First day we did our soft opening, primarily we didn’t tell a lot of people and it was just our ownership that came in, [but] we had a lot of folks that came in and everyday it’s been busy for us,” said Sheer.

It makes them unique because Noah has worked for other companies that have opened and usually it’s a slow start before it becomes busy and known. Nuvole has been busy since the first day.

Because Nuvole has been doing so well since it opened, the AC Hotel has decided to open another rooftop on the fifth floor. They have plans to have it done and opened to the public within the next year and a half.

Everyone has grown to love Nuvole so much, from the guests to the staff and managers. “For me, every night is new night; it’s really exciting. I think personally I take a lot of pride I think business premier the top rooftop in Charlotte and so it’s really exciting to come into work and be associated with that [sic]. We have great views, incredible theme,” said Sheer.

Mark Crabb, a server at Nuvole, expressed that he loved working at Nuvole because he finds it to be very professional and organized compared to other places he has worked at before. Of course, his favorite is the view he gets to see every day.

Besides the view, Nuvole is also known for the food and beverage menu. All the items on the list have been handpicked for the public. The food items are small yet satisfying. All on the menu are all local products. They do a lot of local drinks for the guests to be able to get the sense of fresh local products when they have a drink and/or food. The bartenders take a lot of pride in their hand crafted drinks.

Photo By Kat Herrera

You get a sense of Nuvole when you first step on the 22nd floor of the sophistication, local and hardworking environment from the whole staff. You don’t have that feel of servers competing for tables or see managers above their shoulders. They take a lot of pride in recognizing teamwork for their hard work. Not only is the staff happy while working, but its relaxed when you know you can rely on everyone to work as a team.

Danny Mullin, the manager of Nuvole, expressed the importance of working together to create a unique experience for the guests and the rooftop bar. With their success since their soft opening, they continue to focus on giving their guests a unique experience every time in order to set Nuvole a part from the rest of the rooftop bars.

“We’re ready for it, whether it be an event or hotel guests or someone down the street, we want our name to be out there a little more,” said Mullin. “It’s all about word of mouth.”

I love Nuvole and I plan on going back. You feel so welcomed, all the guests did their own thing, the drinks were delicious and the views were spectacular. I can’t wait to go back and try out the food menu. Everything about it was unique and a great experience. I highly recommend anyone to check it out, and it’s not as expensive as it sounds!

(Fall Fest) Planning the perfect fall date night

Dates during the fall are just the best. Charlotte hosts so many fall events that are so much fun for couples wanting to go on dates for a good time. You can go to SCarowinds, a drive-in movie, a corn maze, festivals and more. It’s just so much fun and a lot to look forward to doing. But what if you don’t want to go out and spend money or be in public, yet you want to have a fun date night? Charlotte has a few good things to do for a perfect fall date.

Going out on dates is fun and all, but there are times where you still want to fill the fall festivities but in a private setting where you don’t have to dress up and be surrounded by people and you can be very comfortable at home. So, to having a perfect date night, you just need a few things.

For the date, maybe you can coordinate matching fall pajamas or something comfortable. It sounds silly, but trust me, it’s cute and fun and your selfies will look bomb! Plan on cooking a dinner together. Comfort food is perfect, and for dessert you can have any kind of pie with ice cream on top and maybe hot chocolate or coffee on the side. That’s perfect, almost like a mini version of Thanksgiving dinner. Or you can always just order in some pizza and wings. You can never go wrong with that.

Courtesy of Pexels

And of course, movies and chill. I’d say Netflix and chill, but Netflix doesn’t have a lot of good classic scary movies to watch. They really haven’t come out with as much as I thought they would have since it’s October. I will say the Freeform app or Hulu do have more to watch from the scariest movie to the more family-friendly scary movies. You can also rent movies.

For it all to come together, cook or order in, but make sure there is dessert. It is a must have for it to work. Buy scented candles so you can turn the lights off in the house and have a dim, romantic, warm setting. The room will also smell so good like fall. Set up the list of movies you want to see together and be in comfortable matching clothes. A night of movies and of course everything in between…if you know what I mean.

It’s a perfect date night. It’s inexpensive and private. I feel like a lot of couples now want to enjoy each other more indoors because of that sense of privacy and comfort. You can be more yourselves with each other.

Another good idea is camping out for a weekend. The good thing is that it has been warmer than usual in October. It is very romantic. You can have fun fishing and go hiking out in nature. There is also the enjoyment of looking at the stars a night, listening to music and having conversations.

Charlotte has a couple of places for wine tasting. Going wine tasting for a date is so much fun. If you haven’t tried it, you should. Wine lets you get loose, there is a lot of laughter, and learning and tasting new things. Wine tasting can lead to so many things afterwards. I’m just saying that sounds like a perfect start to a date.

A date is perfect no matter what you do as long as it is fun and romantic. The fall is the perfect time to enjoy new things. You can keep things simple and indoors by putting effort in the first idea, as I have done date nights at home plenty of times and it never gets old, but having them now during the fall is perfect because of the movies that are out and the food. I don’t know what it is about fall, but it’s perfect.

(Fall Fest) Fashionably falling into this season’s trending accessories

The joy of fall is the reason we look forward to the season the most. The things we love to do because it is not too cold or too hot. Although, it has been a little too hot, but that’s okay because the most excitement comes from the fashion trends for the fall. We all cannot live without shoes at all. Every single person has at least one. It is a must-wear for life and the only change is the styles. Accessories are amazing because they change every season, but fall 2018 is going all out with every trend from makeup, hair, shoes and accessories. Fall is not playing this year and it is making a big statement!

For women, the shoe types in trend are interesting. What do we love? Boots! The slouch boot is in. You can wear it with anything. It gives you some sort of edge to your outfits and dresses it up. If they are high knee slouch boots, they give you more of a sexy look. High knee boots were everywhere last year and they should be coming back since everyone loved them so much. Ankle boots, of course, and cowboy boots, now they will always be in style, but what is different this year is the colors and patterns — snake skin pattern. A white snake skin pattern is a statement piece to have. Suede boots are so gorgeous and the colors this year to have are blue, pink, red, brown and black. Leather will never go out of style, but you will see more unique designs and patterns embedded in leather boots.

Courtesy of Pexels

Sneakers are coming back with more of an 80s style. They will have more patterns and colors and we will be seeing more high-top sneakers as well. Here is a twist, low heels are trending. Don’t get me wrong, high heels will never go away, but the focus for fall is low heels. It’s very classy and still gives you a little height, plus they are easy to walk in. Pointed toe shoes with a low heel is a favorite. It is perfect for work or any professional event. You could also wear it out if you want to be a bit dressy but not over the top. The best place to find shoes in season is Macy’s in Herald Square. I know it’s far from here, but if you ever go to New York, go to Macy’s in Herald Square and take the elevator to the shoe department. It is the best feeling ever because the whole floor is dedicated to women’s shoes. There are shoes everywhere!

Now that we got our shoes down, we can’t sleep on accessories. They are just as important! Carrying a large handbag will be eye catching. Last year it was little handbags, but this year, bring out your large handbags and wear them. Any color, any pattern; it doesn’t matter as long as it is big, you’re good.

Want to know what else is going big? Oversized sunglasses! No smaller thin sunglasses. For this season, oversized, bold, unique sunglasses are the new must have. We used to think that they were an old-style decade ago, but not anymore, and they are trying to remain in style for the rest of the year. We will see if this trend will remain in style next summer.

It is an exciting time for jewelry. As there is no surprise, jewelry is also going big. Big statement pieces and chunky earrings are trending, but that’s not all. You will be seeing bling, crystals and shiny pieces. They are so beautiful and can take your simple look to another level. We love shiny, pretty things when it comes to our jewelry and now we can have it all for fall.

These trends may seem funky and odd and you may be wondering how they all tie together. Well they do, and you can get inspiration by looking at the fashion shows for Fall 2018. Don’t be overwhelmed in trying to do it all because you may like something but not all, which is totally okay. If you love some of the trends, make it your own, you got it. I guarantee you people will want what you have. It is all about being creative. One more piece of advice so you don’t break the bank, look in your closet, because every season they always bring something back and you may just have it!

Fall 2018 is making a bold statement, don’t fall short this season.

First love is never the only love

Love is what everyone seeks in life. Finding it is the hard part. We all have our first love, and some of us are lucky enough that it becomes true love and that person is with us forever. Unfortunately, many times our first love is not really love and the relationship can be deceiving. It is kind of rare finding true love the first time but it’s very common falling for deception. I was one of many that was in “love” and suffered long-term effects.

I supposedly fell in love when I was 14-years-old with someone that was a couple years older than me. I met this guy through Myspace. He was friends with some people I knew, and I don’t remember how, but we started talking. We met in person and a few weeks later he said he loved me. I was very young and naïve and I didn’t have an older sibling or anyone to talk to, so I was learning as things were happening, but I wasn’t learning honestly because I was being lied to from the very first day.

I didn’t know I was being played until things ended badly our third year. Crazy right? I was cheated on for the whole three years. Were there signs? Of course, but I was too young to know. First couple advice that I want to give out, and it goes for men too, is the first evidence you have of the other person cheating, just leave and move on and never look back because you can do better. There are people out there that know what love is and won’t cheat at all. Is it harsh or straight forward? Yes, and I have taken my own advice. That person will cheat again, and if not, why forgive them? Because they deserve the consequences and you deserve someone who won’t do it at all. Cheating is something that cannot be tolerated.

There are traits to look out for when dating or in a relationship that’s not normal and can be very dangerous. Obsessive is one of them. If they have to text or call you every minute, that’s not a good sign. That’s extreme. I remember eating dinner with the family, and I’m sure most of you can’t be on your phones during a family dinner because it’s rude. Well, I didn’t text him for literally 10 minutes because I was eating with my family and I started receiving endless messages and calls. I put my phone on silent and after dinner I checked my phone to respond, and mind you I told him I was eating dinner before I sat down at the table. Well, he was upset and accused me of cheating because I didn’t respond for an hour or so. After explaining again what I was really doing, he still said that I am supposed to text him all the time no matter what. Well, I fell for it and blamed myself and I had to text and call all hours of the day no matter what. I couldn’t have friends or go out without his permission. I had to share my Myspace. He lied about a lot of things and they started off small and gradually the lies became bigger and frequent.  

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

He always had to have his way. If you see any of these signs for the first time, leave the person immediately. If someone loves you, they won’t have traits like that. You don’t have to hurt for love and you shouldn’t have to. I learned the hard way unfortunately. If you see any sign of control, obsession, cheating and aggression the first time or at least the second time, I advise you to leave immediately.

Abuse. I went through it too and all types of abuse and all of this is with the same person. Sexual, emotional, verbal and kind of physical. Any one of those, you need to report and leave. I was so blinded by “love” and I think what it really was is the thought of what if I never find love again. What if the first is the only one because maybe no one will ever love me? I feel like that fear and already having love blinding me made me suffer through all of it just to make sure I had some sort of love.

For years I still deal with issues in myself and with my relationship with my current boyfriend because of the previous one. I have worked hard to move on, but I was very young and went through a lot of trauma, and I am now realizing the extent of what I went through. No one should go through any trauma or abuse in a relationship. I wish I had someone around to tell me sooner and I strongly advise for anyone that if you see any signs of what I mentioned to leave because there are so many chances to find actual love that will bring you happiness and growth and comfort. I have been in a relationship with someone different for 6 years and I have never been hurt, physically or emotionally. I have never been forced to do anything or dealt with obsession or been cheated on or any of that matter. I am blessed to have had a second chance at finding someone that knows how to love, and because of him, a lot of my issues have been resolved. It won’t be an easy process when you get that second chance, but just don’t get caught up in that “first love” that you know is not real.

There is real love out there and so many good people looking too; you don’t need to settle for a crazy person. You will find someone else and your chance is coming. Just don’t think of the first love as the only love.  

(Fall Fest) Fall forward into fall beauty trends

This season is exciting for beauty trends! It is like there are no limitations; you can really do anything. Creativity is key for fall looks. Every company is launching something new and unique about every week and I have seen some of the colors from different brands that should be launching soon. This is the year where you get the chance to take your look to the next level. Of course, hairstyles change as much as the seasons do, whether it’s your hair color or style.

If your hair’s on point, so is everything else. There are a few styles trending this season. Slicked back hair, the bob, bangs and wavy hair. These will complete your whole look for a night out, date, work, anything. You will also be seeing a lot of long hairstyles that are either super straight or wavy. Also, styling your hair in a high, tight ponytail is perfect for the fall, and of course, the messy bun is coming back in style.

Hair colors are also changing. If you haven’t had your hair colored but you want to, now is the time. If your hair is already colored, you can change it. The color that is in is chestnut brown. It is a perfect color for the fall. Most people don’t want to change  their hair color entirely, and chestnut brown is the best way to start by either doing your whole hair, the ends or highlights. Are you blonde? Or want to be blonde? Changing your hair to dirty blonde is in as well as a very cool blonde or platinum. I actually have blonde hair and went from a warm brassy color to a cooler blonde with some warm tones. Hopefully, you’re inspired to make your appointment with your hair stylist. Change is great, especially when it comes to hair! 

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

The excitement is unreal! Let’s start with highlighters. Highlighting is everyone’s must-have for this season and it is a step you can’t skip. Brands like M.A.C. Cosmetics, Becca, Nars and a few more are launching new highlighters for the season. Glitter, metallic and shine are in. They have taken their highlighters up a notch. Not only is the look in, but color! You may already have a couple of these, but a pink or purple highlighter (or any that have a hint of color) is over the top amazing. If you already have a highlighter with a color or glitter in it, pull it out and put it on! Keep in mind that metallic wear is in with bright colors.

Lips! Everyone wants a pretty lip, yet so many ask what dark colors are in as if you’re only allowed to wear certain colors. NOT this season! You can wear the darkest reds to the brightest purple to the nudist brown. Any color and any formula. Although, metallic overall in fashion is in because a few brands are launching metallic lip products as well as a range of color. If it’s not metallic, brands are also launching glosses, liquid lips and lipsticks in a variety of colors like pink, blue, purple, green, orange, red, brown, gold, silver and more.

Lastly, skin! Many of us love a matte finish to our look and find it appropriate for the fall, but not this time. Don’t get me wrong, you can still have a matte finish; you can do anything for this year’s trend. Glowing skin is the new trend this fall! That glossy finish is everything. I know many have concerns for oily skin and find that the matte finish is the only way, which is fine, you can keep it matte or change it. Just throw that new highlighter all around the face and it will accomplish the look. You can also use one of M.A.C. Cosmetics’ setting sprays in gold or pink to get the glow finish as well. I actually got to try a new highlighter that’s launching in a month or so and the highlighter all around my face like my cheeks, my nose, my cupid’s bow, above and under the brow looked amazing. I received so many compliments all day and had people ask me what it was so they can buy it and I said it’s not out yet, but it will be. My face was glowing!

The images show everything for the fall trends after consulting with makeup artists and my hair stylist. I changed my hair and had on some fall forward makeup products on. I did mean what I said: creativity is key for this fall’s trend to be looking beautiful for Fall 2018.

Break-Up With Social Media

It’s safe to say the majority of all of us love social media and have either Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and/or all of them. I am guilty of having all of them and I use them all day, every day. I wouldn’t be surprised if most of you are just as caught up with social media.

Social media can be very consuming for a few different reasons: it gives us easy access to so much information, we can easily connect with all of our friends, family or strangers, and they provide fun activities for us to participate in. We can do about everything we want to do on our phones by using any of those platforms. What keeps us involved is being able to connect with anyone and stay up to date with people’s lives and vice-versa.

I was caught up in social media and most of my time went into checking my phone for updates, posting pictures, talking to people or just making sure to stay relevant. For some reason, I got so caught up that I felt that if I didn’t post or update others, it would be like I went missing or something.

Another thing is that anyone can try to connect with you unless you block them. Well, I had a bunch of people wanting to talk to me that I personally didn’t want to talk to. I don’t like negativity, so I try to avoid the whole person all together. I had people try to friend me and communicate with me. People don’t like everything I post and it was feeling like a job to me. I became so invested in social media. This is my last semester and I became very distracted, so I finally made the decision to just break-up with social media all together.

I heard about people cutting social media off completely or doing a detox from social media. I was very skeptical, which is why it took me so long to do it. I did a detox and deactivated Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Anyone that was important to me had my number, so I wasn’t worried.

My first day after deactivating everything was kind of hard. I had my phone and barely had anything to do since I was so used to having all of my social media. That was a bit of a struggle. I even asked myself if I should even go through with the detox and questioned if it even works because I wanted to reactivate my accounts. I stayed strong, focusing more on my school work and other stuff in life.

After a few days, the struggle became less hard and I found myself finding more time to do things and focus more in class (just a bit). A few weeks later, I finally got into the habit of not having to check my phone or have the temptation to want to reactivate any of my accounts. I didn’t even want to reactivate them at all at this point. I felt free from social media, I was back to doing more things, I wasn’t worried about anybody else, and I didn’t have to deal with people and other issues. When I tell you I felt free, I felt free and was free from social media.

I have been off social media for a couple of months and until last week I reactivated all of my social media for work purposes. It’s not so bad anymore because there were some long-term effects in my life. I was afraid I would get consumed right back in, but I didn’t, and because I detoxed for a couple months, it helped me for the future. I haven’t been so consumed with it. I barely check my social media pages. I don’t care about making sure I keep everyone up to date. Social media is not as important to me anymore. I did get people messaging me asking where I went and why I got off of the platform, but at the same time, it was not that serious as to where people cared that deeply about me  being gone.

If you feel caught up in your social media and it’s becoming very distracting to other things in your life, I suggest taking a break. I know it’s hard and you’re wondering whether it may or may not work. I thought the same, but I had to stick with it for the first couple of days and it became easier as time went on. I think because we are surrounded by so much technology, it is so easy to get caught up with it, and I recommend for everyone to try it for a couple of weeks. It will make a difference, make your life a bit easier and help you become more focused on what’s going on in the moment.

La Santa Muerte

There is an interesting new religion among us; I am sure it’s been around for years, but lately more and more people are converting into the religion. It was first originated in Mexico, where the majority of people believe in La Santa Muerte. Now everyone feels very strong about their beliefs, but Latinos like Puerto Ricans, Salvadorians, Cubans and so on are not in favor of La Santa Muerte because they say it’s like believing in the devil and that’s what makes it controversial.

La Santa Muerte is the goddess of death. The kind of people that follower her, but not limited to, are the LGBT community, the poor, the criminals and drug dealers. They find her to be more accepting of everyone, and it is one of the reasons as to why La Santa Muerte is spreading to thousands of people. Because there is no judgement and she is acceptive of everyone, it is attracting hundreds everyday giving them a new perception.

Photo by Wikimedia Commons

So, what is La Santa Muerte about? Well, many look up to her and ask for protection from any life dangers or situations for themselves, friends and/or family. Many people have La Santa Muerte statues in their homes and pray to her everyday and at any time. They even have a script they preach for her protection to work better. It reads:

“Blessed Nina Black, formed by the hands of the Almighty given supreme power over the living and the dead. This morning I come before thee, broken, beaten tears in my eyes begging for your sympathy and compassion. Look down upon me, look into my eyes see who I am. Your loyal, faithful, devoted chil, asking the for thy mercy. Blessed Nina Black, I beg of thee to grant to me thy divine intercession on my behalf before Christ the grand redeemer, and joint your prayers with mine and please grant me this favor (your favor). Blessed Nina Black, I offer up to these two humble and modest candles from my heart, asking thee for thy sole protection from all crime, harm and evil. Amen.”

The prayer is very interesting. You’re probably wondering, how do you seek help in the goddess of death? Well, they don’t really fear death. People who pray to her love her and adore her. They are okay with death and know it happens, but they feel by loving her and praying to her that she will protect her followers from any situation. If something were to occur — like a death — it is celebrated because the loved ones think she is taking care of the one who passed and their family.

What is also intriguing is that you would think they only pray to La Santa Muerte and believe in her, but come to find out, many of them also believe in God. How so? It is very hard to have more than one religion. I saw in an interview of a woman who praises La Santa Muerte as well as God and that she still puts God first.

It seems a little scary having pictures or statues of La Santa Muerte in your home or even thinking of praying to her, yet her followers think she is beautiful and that she will bring them joy. They don’t find it scary or odd at all. For a couple of days in Mexico, all the people come together and celebrate her.

There is a show on Netflix called “Dark Tourist” with David Farrier that tours strange places around the world and meets different types of interesting people. In one of his episodes, he visits Mexico and looks into La Santa Muerte and the people that follow her. If you want to see it for yourself, I would recommend watching the episode as this is becoming a popular religion.

Well-Being vs. Your Job

We all have to get a job at some point, whether it is when we are in high school or when we’ve graduated college. Having a job is a must in this world to be able to survive and afford the basic needs. A job is a job, but that can be argued. The best thing about America is that there are jobs everywhere. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy trying to find one either; what I mean is that you at least have a choice to leave and find another job if you need to.

Many have said that people shouldn’t quit their job because it is like giving up, but that’s not exactly true. There are jobs that can be stressful and take a toll on someone. There are lines that shouldn’t be crossed and there are times when it’s just not worth it. I know this because I have experienced it and witnessed from others who’ve gone through bad situations.

If your well-being is compromised, it’s time to quit because it can be dangerous and cause some health concerns. It can also affect you outside of work and the people around you. This happened to me where I realized my health was a top priority. Retail is not easy and it can take a toll on some people. I knew a manager who was very nice and worked for the company for many years. Well, the holiday season can get pretty hectic, and he was working very long shifts and sometimes didn’t eat. Customers weren’t always very nice to him either, but he was great manager because he handled those situations very well. After the Christmas season, everyone was still busy working hard because we had corporate visits and inventory. Inventory is where we check every single item in the store to verify statistically how much product we lost and what we did not.

The manager was stressed but he wanted to make sure he was on top of everything. He barely ate, slept, he got yelled at and he had a load of work he had to deal with plus employees. He had a lot on his plate until unfortunately he was rushed to the hospital. From the last thing I was told, he was half-paralyzed and had to learn how to talk again and do other things. Unfortunately, I lost contact and I’m not sure of his progress. It is terrible what happened, but it also shows that things like that actually happen because you’re being overworked and you’re being loaded with so much that one person can’t handle alone.

With that being said, if you’re starting to feel a bit stressed or you’re not able to handle the workload or anything like that, it is time to find a new job that is a bit more relaxed and something you can handle. Money is not worth it if it means putting your health at risk.

If you are being treated unfairly, getting picked on or if your job has overpowered your life, then it’s time to quit immediately. No one should be treated differently. Everything is supposed to be equal. Your work life shouldn’t be so difficult and chaotic to where you’re not okay even going to work. I have personally experienced bullying by managers, racism, and I even had to work even harder than anyone else because I was given made up tasks that were complicated just because. It was becoming so unbearable I had to quit. I know there may not be a perfect job, but if it’s unbearable, it’s time to find something else.

If you relate to any of these things, you might want to start looking for something else. It doesn’t mean you are a quitter, but that there are hundreds of other jobs that are most likely much better. You can do so much better! Never put your health at risk, never compromise your education and never let yourself get treated unfairly. It is okay to quit and find another job. Also, for a good tip with any job, when you get hired and you get a packet for being a new hire, always look for the information about HR or anyone else that can help you resolve any problems if you don’t want to quit and find something else. A job is a job, so why not just go find another one.

Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Making money moves

Debt is the worst burden to have. It is stressful; it is a headache; it is annoying. No one wants to have debt, but unfortunately, everyone has some sort of debt, from $800 to thousands of dollars. As for us college students, student debt is enough and it’s best to stay clear from other debt, although it is not easy. It is not easy because no matter what, we have to build credit in order to be able to do things like buy a car or house or even get a new phone with a plan. Credit is so unfortunately important that they make us think that we are contributing to society.

I will provide you some tips on using a credit card the smart way and what I did to maintain my bills low. First thing’s first, if you’ve never had a credit card, I would start by applying at your bank for a student credit card because you can use it for school or anything else. The interests are low and sometimes they give you months of interest free. In case you get denied, make sure to wait about six months to reapply or apply for a store credit card until you get one. Also, don’t get more than three credit cards, because if you have more than three, you will be tempted to use them all and it will get hard to keep up with.

NT File Photo

Personally, I had four credit cards and one I used for shopping, school classes and other stuff. I had about $1500 on it. My other credit cards had about $500 to $800 on them and they were store credit cards, so I did a bit of shopping. I also had other bills so I felt overwhelmed monthly and felt like I could not save money because it kept going into credit card bills. Eventually, I got tired of it and I knew if I didn’t do something, it would either keep going up or take a long time to pay them off. Another tip: never pay the minimum, always pay more because it helps avoid interest and you pay it off faster. Anyway, I paid all of my credit cards in four months.

How did I do it? Well it took a lot of planning and a bit of calculations. I had to make sure I could afford to pay them off. I first looked to see when the payments were due for my credit card and I paid one credit card a month. I looked to see what was in my bank account and calculated the total amount I had in credit card debt. Since I decided to pay one each month I knew I would get some money back. So, I paid the card that had the highest amount in credit right off all at once. Make sure you document you paid off the card. Once I paid all of my cards, I closed them all, but not at the same time as that can hurt your credit. I personally wanted a fresh start and to think smarter when it came to having a credit card again. That’s one way to help pay off your credit card debt.

The best advice when having a credit card is charge what you can afford. Don’t assume that because you have $300 in credit that you can afford to charge it, unless it’s an emergency, that’s a different case. You could make small purchases using a credit card because sometimes you get a discount and that’s fine, but pay it off that same day or split it in half for two weeks. Getting it paid off faster is key.

Lastly, something to keep in mind that should help you better to keep up with credit yet avoid debt is to know that having a credit card is having imaginary money. It’s the truth. That money isn’t yours. If you have a debit card or cash, use it. If you have the money for it, then you can afford it and just pay out of pocket. It’s best to use credit cards for vacations, serious big purchases or small purchases you can handle paying off. Make those money moves!

Fall Into Fashion

Welcome back! Fall classes are in session and so will the fashion trends for the new season that will hit all stores soon. Goodbye sundresses and bikinis! Well…maybe not in the next couple of weeks just yet, as we all know, it’s been quite hot. Even too hot for jeans.

Have any of you noticed that some online stores have launched their new arrivals for the fall collection yet? So far, they started launching the new fall arrivals with sweaters, vests, scarves and more. By mid-September and towards the end of the month, all the fall fashion trends should be in stores ready for us to buy the latest.

Before I get into the trends this fall, may I mention that now is a great time to go out and buy swimsuits for the low, low price?

Photo By Pixabay

Anything that came out for the summer, from shoes, tops and skirts, are now all on sale for the lowest price. If you read my article last year, I mentioned the best times to get what. Everyone can afford name brands, you just have to keep an eye out for the sales. Everything towards the end of the season ends up going on sale for the lowest so they can bring in all the new stuff for the new season. Stock up for next summer! This also goes for all men out there too, not just women.

Back to the trends for this fall and what you will be seeing a lot of. Who loves the ‘80s? I think everyone! Yes, the trends from the 1980s are coming back and it is so exciting. Black leather is everything, and it appeared on the runway quite a bit. It’s sexy, bold, chic and you can wear it with anything. Black leather pants or skirts can be mixed with a causal sweater to dress it up, or however you want. The options are endless when it comes to leather, especially black leather. Big shoulders, oversized wear and bold colors are also part of the return of the ’80s trend.

Another big trend that is coming back is animal print! The sexiest thing you could wear is animal print. From shoes to accessories to outerwear. Of course, your classic leopard print and also zebra print in different colors. Animal print for this fall is not meant to be neutral; by adding color to these animal prints, it makes a bold statement. Not only will you have confidence, but you will look fearless.

Suits have been reinvented with a more of sexy twist. Dressing up for work doesn’t have to be boring anymore and can turn into an easy night-out look. The runway showed more of the shoulder tops, low v-necks and shorter bottoms.

Plaid is back! It’s always a must-have for every fall to be honest. A plaid outfit with an oversized handbag is in style. Big bags and bright colors, like pink and puffy jackets, will be some of the latest to trend this fall. A lot of designers are pushing a variety of styles this year. There is so much to look forward to this year in fashion and I can’t wait.

Since there are some throwbacks for the fall, you might come to find out you already have some of these styles in your closet. You can always change up your look by reusing what you already have; just another way to keep up with trends while trying to save some money. I know we covered more of the fashion in what to wear, but also keep a look out for new hairstyle trends and makeup trends. Stay FEARLESS FOR FALL 2018! #fearlessfall18

Ceviche for Spring

 

Courtesy of Katherine Herrera

It feels like it is spring already, so why not start it off with something delicious like ceviche. Ceviche is a very popular seafood appetizer in Latin America. There are different types of ceviche and the one we have today is ceviche de camarónes (shrimp). The main ingredients you’ll find in any ceviche are, lemon, green pepper, onion, tomatoes and cilantro. As I said there are different kinds of ceviche and each has their own added ingredient.

I have had ceviche de camarónes since I was a kid and I still eat it like it is my first time eating it. To me it just never gets old. In my family we have ceviche de camarónes a lot during the holidays to where it has become a tradition to have it on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. I can also say we have it during family parties whether it is a graduation or birthday, you will see a two big bowls of ceviche.

Honestly, Ceviche is so good you can make it anytime of the year and it is a great appetizer for special events, holidays, and family reunions. Although, when it comes to my family reunions it becomes serious because everyone wants more and the last of it so we kind of fight for it, in a good way though.

To make the appetizer you will need:

  • 1 pound of already cooked frozen shrimp
  • 1 bell green pepper
  • 1 red onion
  • 4 fresh lemons
  • 3 tomatoes
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Salt and pepper
  • Hot sauce (optional)

The total time is approximately 40 minutes.

Directions:

To start making this delicious appetizer, you would first want to defrost the already cooked shrimp in warm water. Then rinse the shrimp and cut them in half. Cut the lemons and squeeze the juice out into a bowl. Next, finely dice the bell green pepper, tomatoes and onion, mix it in with lemon juice and let it sit for 10 minutes and add salt and pepper to your liking. Then add the fresh cilantro and mix it all again and add the hot sauce which is optional, and it is ready to eat.

You can serve it in a small bowl with a side of crackers or with fried cassava also known as yuca frita which I personally prefer because they taste amazing together. Also, the appetizer serves up to 4 people, but you can add more to it to serve more people.

Courtesy of Katherine Herrera

If you are allergic to shrimp or any of the ingredients you don’t have to include it in the ceviche, but if not and you just don’t like something, I suggest trying it first because all the ingredients do come together so well. You can taste the citrus from the lemons and because it’s mixed with tomatoes, green pepper and onion and it balances out the lemon and you taste all the different flavors. If you added the hot sauce, you’ll get a kick right after you tasted the other flavors first.

Ceviche de camarónes is my favorite all time appetizer and I always eat it with yuca frita. Once I finish my first serving I honestly end up craving more of it and just want to finish the rest of it. I also like to enjoy eating the ceviche outside when it’s nice and warm because it is served cool and if you want to save the rest, you would store it in the fridge, so it is very refreshing to eat it on a hot day, which we have been seeing many warm days these past couple weeks. I am glad I got the opportunity to share this recipe with you and you can do this right in your dorm. Another good thing that came out of this is that usually my aunts and mom make it and I just eat it but having to write about it, I had to do it myself and I finally learned how to make ceviche de camarónes. So, make sure you give ceviche de camarónes a try, it is a must have. I can’t imagine life without it and I strongly believe it should be part of everyone’s life because it is that good!

It’s Just Simply Complicated

Relationships can be complicated because every person is different, and every relationship is different. There is no exact formula for a successful relationship and there is no such thing as a perfect one either. Although there are perfect relationships in a sense. See where it’s complicated? But I will explain it all.

As college students we stress a lot, so most of the time we go to our partners to relieve some of that stress in different ways like going to the movies, having drinks, or sex. Yet, every relationship still goes through some problem at some point.

We tend to miscommunicate easily by interpreting the other persons original meanings differently. For instance, I would say to him “hey babe, want me to come over to chill?” and he would say “if you want that’s fine.” Oh that really use to kill me because to me your saying you don’t care whether I go over or not and if you don’t care I don’t need to go over and if you did care you would just say yes because then that shows it does matter if I go over. I bet many of you understood that and had the same thought process before. To him in his mind just means that I can make that decision and he wouldn’t be upset if I didn’t go over but wouldn’t mind if I do did go over.

Courtesy of Pixabay

Miscommunication is very common, so it is best to never assume. If something isn’t clear, or you start to assume, then you should take a step back and simply ask a question. You ask a question to get an answer so why not directly ask your partner what they mean. Also, you can ask questions about anything because it is important to get the true information directly from your partner than get upset or stressed over an assumption that most of the time is wrong.

It’s also best to communicate without yelling and take your time to discuss the problem allowing you more time to think and make better decisions. It also makes it easier to listen to each other which could lead to a compromise or solution. Keep in mind that no matter what there will always be some sort of disagreement and its healthy if it does not end up harming one another or go too far. You know it’s real when you understand that there will be some disagreement, but that will not change your feelings for that person because after a disagreement, making up afterwards feels amazing in bed too. That’s what I mean by having a perfect relationship with imperfections.

I can’t tell you how many times my boyfriend and I argue, we do try to avoid arguments, but if it happens we deal with it at the moment and make up afterwards, because we know at the end of the day we love each other and we are not going to let an argument break us up because that’s silly. Now if there is cheating and/or abuse, I personally do not tolerate that. It’s been done to me before and I left my ex and never looked back because if there’s true love between two people, that shouldn’t happen. If you get hurt that way you leave the person without a thought and never look back because you can always do better, and I ended up doing better. My boyfriend is very intelligent, handsome, graduated from UNC Charlotte, and so much more, while my ex is the complete opposite.

Trust is very hard especially if you’ve been in relationships before that didn’t work out. Having trust takes time and that’s very common too. I had trust issues with my boyfriend and I put him through a lot for a few years, but he still stuck around. With my past I was lied to and cheated on from the very beginning of my relationship with my ex that lasted 3 years, so I came out of it with serious trust issues. I did learn something that I feel it would have helped me if I thought of it sooner. I am not saying to trust everyone, but I learned “trust your partner until they give you a reason not to.” If he or she has not done anything, then don’t worry and enjoy the relationship. Now if you have proof of cheating or lying, not assuming if they are, then don’t trust that person and you have the choice to leave. Simple!

Courtesy of Pixabay

I have been with my boyfriend for 5 years and we are very happy. We have been through a lot and trusting each other took a lot of time. We used to argue a lot because we had trust issues, I would assume, I was insecure and afraid he would do something, but the thing is we never gave up on each other, because we knew that we wanted to be together. We have never cheated or lied to each other just had some differences. I knew he was the one for me and I wanted just him, and he felt the same way. We take it day by day making each other happy and being there for one another. You just need to find what works for you and the person you’re with. You’ll know how to take my advice and make it work for your relationship by knowing its worth.