Test Drive - 2017 Kia Cadenza

With summer time right around the corner, there is so much to do and see!  As many of you may know, I love to travel.  If I'm not flying to an exotic island or freezing my tail off in Iceland, I'm always down for a road trip! 

In partnership with Kia Motors, I had the chance to experience an exclusive at-home test drive in the all-new 2017 Kia Cadenza and let me tell you, I was immediately impressed!

Our driver Joseph arrived at my place at 3pm, ready to start our trip around Washington, DC. I was greeted with a friendly smile and the opening of my car door.  But I have to admit, I was distracted.   The sleek exterior with chrome details was the last thing I expected from a Kia!  

Ok now on to the ride.  The interior was just as chic as the exterior.  The black quilted Nappa leather seating provided so much comfort and all the more reasons to go for a drive. Throughout the ride, I learned so much about the functionality and features of the car.  One of the features that stood out to me was the Smart Blind-Spot Detection (SBSD). It's function is to help locate vehicles in your blind spot. It also warns you when it detects your vehicle switching lanes unintentionally, and, in some cases, will apply localized braking pressure to help guide your vehicle back into its lane.  How cool is that?!!

During the entire ride, I listened to my favorite tunes with the windows rolled down and the lofty panoramic sunroof open that offered a full sunny sky view.  Needless to say, I was not ready for this test drive to end.

Check out some of the highlights below...

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The wide, wraparound dash and clean interior lines give the cabin an open, inviting atmosphere. There is great deal of space for both the front and rear passengers to have their own room to relax.

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Another one of my favorite features of the 2017 Kia Cadenza is the Apple CarPlay.  You can make calls, use Siri, send and receive text messages, and listen to your own playlists while staying focused on the road.  

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Sleek aerodynamic shape, LED lighting and a freshly-sculpted grille, it’s no wonder why Motor Trend calls this year's Kia Cadenza “still the best-looking car in its class."

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Test driving this sedan completely surpassed my expectations. The 2017 Kia Cadenza provided an overall sophisticated and exceptional driving experience.  From the smart technology to it's superior control,  I would recommend anyone to test drive it.

But guess what?! You get a chance to have the same experience too! 

Sign up for your own at-home test drive HERE!  It's a complete one-on-one experience where you can sign up to have the vehicle delivered to your home or office, learn about the vehicle and take it for a short drive. 

You also get a sweet prize for participating! It’s something a little more than you think – Kia Motors is all about lux life.

Participating cities: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas , Houston, Miami, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC

A huge thanks to Kia Motors for such a wonderful driving experience!

xo,

Mel

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored; however, all thoughts an opinions expressed are my own.

Photography: MalekNaz Freidouni Sedehi

Sterna Tours - Iceland

I was super excited to take a tour. Yes, our rental car gave us the freedom to come and go but I was looking forward to the full experience of each location and the history. Sterna travel offers a variety of tours around Iceland.  We decided to tour “The Beautiful South Coast.” Our trip started with an 8:30am pick up at our hotel and about an hour ride to our first location.

The first stop was massive Skógafoss said by many to be one of Iceland’s most beautiful waterfalls.

Second stop: Lunch! We ate in the small village of Vík.  FYI: Hot dogs are a huge deal out here.  Kind of like what pizza is to NY.

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Reynisfjara beach: I had the chance to walk along this beautiful black sand beach. It was full of columnar basalt formations and ocean carved caves. It was breathtaking!!

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My favorite part of the tour was being up close to the fast melting Sólheimajökull glacier...

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Last stop: The Seljalandsfoss waterfall where you can walk behind in mild weather.  I decided to be brave because YOLO and I got about half way because the spray of the water was frigid, LOL!

My hat and jacket were SOAKED but so worth it!

I wanted share some info with you all that will be useful when planning your trip to Iceland.

Tips:

  • Bring an extra set of clothing (including underwear and socks). While I was on this tour, it rained the ENTIRE time.  So needless to say, I was soaked throughout the whole trip.  But besides that, like I’ve mentioned before the weather in Iceland is very unpredictable so you have to be prepared.
  • You can drink the water out of the tap!  It’s good *think Smart Water*. Just bring an empty water bottle and fill it up in the bathroom.  And no need the worry about the cleanliness of the bathrooms, they are all super clean.
  • Pack snacks!  There was at least 45 minutes to an hour to reach a destination and the worst feeling is to be hungry on the road. I would suggest bringing something easy like trail mix or dried fruit.

To sum up, I was able to stand in front of two waterfalls, touch a glacier and walk on a black sand beach. And you can too! For more pricing and info on other tours, click here.

THANKS to Sterna Travel for such a wonderful experience!

Disclaimer: This post is in partnership with Sterna Travel however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Travel: Laugarvatn Fontana pools

During our visit, we arrived at Laugarvatn Fontana Geothermal Baths around 2:00 pm.  Just in time to catch the tour of their traditional Icelandic geothermal bakery, which goes on every day at 11.30 a.m. and 2.30 p.m.  We experienced it first hand and I was blown away!  Our tour guide explained to us the history of the bakery and what the process entailed. Honestly, I don’t remember all of details because I was so hungry and I wanted to just try whatever was cooking. Our tour guide proceeded to dig out a pot of fresh rye bread from the hot black sand that was buried underground and baked for 24 hours.  Check it out!

As a guest, you are offered to taste the bread, served hot from the ground with some butter. FYI: It was sooo delicious! Even though the tour is not free (it costs 1500 ISK which is about $14.00) per person, it's definitely worth it.

So after I indulged in several pieces of buttered bread, it was time to relax. I went around the various pools testing out each of them before settling on the Viska, the hot tub.  It is positioned at a higher level than the rest of the pools so it provided such an amazing panoramic view of the mountains and beautiful landscape.

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All of that relaxation definitely put me in the mood to eat.  The restaurant at Laugarvatn Fontana offers a selection of healthy and locally produced dishes and refreshments (including beer).

They offer a soup of the day, a lunch and dinner buffet that is served daily. I was really ecstatic that the buffets offers a variety of fresh and healthy options.  The line up consists of fish, meat (beef and pork), chicken, salads, and vegetarian options. 

Pricing:

  • Soup of the day 1.200 ISK (about $11.00)
  • Lunch buffet 2.950 ISK (about $26.50)
  • Dinner buffet 4.500 ISK (about $40.00)
Coconut, carrot and ginger soup with a side of rye bread.

Coconut, carrot and ginger soup with a side of rye bread.

The food was just as delicious as it looks!

Before I forget, I want to offer you all this tip.  ** Bring your own towels, bathing suits and bathrobes. Even though they are all available for rent, you can save quite a bit of money by bringing your own.

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My experience at Laugarvatn Fontana pools was delightful.  I really enjoyed my moments of solitude and being surrounded by such breathtaking views was definitely a treat on its own.  

Many thanks to Laugarvatn Fontana pools for the lovely accommodations!

Disclaimer: This post is in partnership with Laugarvatn Fontana pools; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Travel: Driving in Iceland with Lagoon Car Rental

I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to drive all over the world but I honestly had no idea what to expect in Iceland. I just imagined being surrounded by glaciers lol, just kidding. From what I researched, I knew Iceland was cold and had some breathtaking landscapes but had no idea how my friend Carla and I were going to get around.  Thankfully, we partnered up with Lagoon Car Rental to make getting around the island easier.  I chose the Mitsubishi Outlander because it’s a great car for traveling out of the city in all road conditions. Like I mentioned before, the weather in Iceland is very unpredictable and this car had four wheel drive and great ground clearance which definitely came in handy during the winter weather conditions we experienced. 

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So here are some tips you should know about renting a car and driving in Iceland:

1.  To rent/drive a car from Lagoon Car rental, the driver needs to be at least 20 years old. The driver also needs to have held a driver license for at least one year.

2. If you are picking up a car in Keflavik Airport, a representative from Lagoon Car Rental will be waiting in the arrivals for you with a sign with the Lagoon Car Rental logo and your name.  This was a life saver for us and THANK GOD the airport has great wifi.

3.  When you pick up your car, you will be required to provide your normal driving license, issued by your country of residence and your passport.

4.  PURCHASE THE EXTRA INSURANCE!!  I repeat, PURCHASE THE EXTRA INSURANCE!

Ok, let me explain. The rental fee includes mandatory vehicle insurance, including liability insurance and accident insurance for the driver and the owner as well as a collision damage waiver. The self risk cost is 2980€ (about $3,200), self risk meaning what you would pay in cost for an accident on top of other damages. 

Additional insurance that can be added:

  • Super collision damage waiver (SCDW) lowers the deductible of the standard collision damages waiver from 2980€ (about $3,200) down to 600€ (about $635) Cost : 13€ a day. 

This was confusing for me because in the US if you purchase full coverage insurance for a rental car, you are covered but in Iceland it just lowers the deductible. So if you were to get into a wreck and did not purchase this insurance, you would have to pay the full amount of 2980€ plus the cost of any additional damages.

Other additional insurance for purchase:

  • The Gravel protection (GP) covers the windscreen, headlights and the body of the car from damages resulting from gravel or stones that can hit the vehicle by another car. The self risk is 98€ (about $103). Cost 11€ (about $12) a day.
  • Theft protection (TP) covers the theft of rental vehicle. The self risk is 0€. Cost 5€ (about $5) a day.
  • Sand and ash protection (SAAP) offers insurance against damage due to ash and sandstorm damages to the paint of the car, windows, lights and plastic. The self risk is 600€ (about $633). Cost 9€ ($9.50) a day.
  • Insurance bundle:  includes all the insurance coverage offered at a discount. It includes the SCDW, SAAP, GP and TP for the cost of 32€ (about $34) per day.

** We went with the most common issues and purchased the super collision damage waiver and the gravel protection.

5.  If you have a great data plan on your phone, use you Google maps to for directions.  We ended up getting an Icelandic GPS but it was kind of confusing for me to understand and to type in certain Icelandic letters.

6. Beware of speed traps!  I could not understand what some of the signs said but if you see a blue sign with a white camera – follow the speed limit!  Speeding tickets are extremely expensive and the last thing you would want to spend your money on is a ticket.

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During our road trip, we came across an Icelandic horse farm!  They totally look like ponies but they are just that small.  

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We took full advantage of the beautiful landscapes to take some pictures like most bloggers do :-)

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All in all, I’m so glad we were able to drive around Iceland and just explore.  It gave us the freedom to enjoy everything at our own pace without an itinerary.  A HUGE thanks to Lagoon Car Rental for providing us with such a great vehicle to make this road trip worthwhile and special.

Disclaimer: This post is in partnership with Lagoon Car Rental however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Travel: Hotel Reykjavik Natura - Iceland

If you have followed me on Instagram, I'm sure you noticed that I LOVE to travel.  I really enjoy just getting on a plane and waking up somewhere sunny and warm but I decided to do something different this year and check Iceland off my bucket list.

I had the wonderful opportunity to stay at the Hotel Reykjavik Natura located in central Reykjavik. After driving for about an hour from the airport, I was excited to see what the hotel had to offer. The first thing that stood out to me was how clean it was! I have to admit, I am very particular about this.  We had a little bit of a wait to check into our room since we arrived three hours earlier than check-in time but that was fine because the lobby was cozy enough to relax until our room was ready.

A cool detail about the hotel is that it's dedicated to Icelandic artists.  The lobby displays sculptures by native Adalheidur S. Eysteinsdóttir in all of their properties.  Each sculpture tells a different story on what they represent about Iceland and its culture.

Sculptures made by Adalheidur S. Eysteinsdótti

Sculptures made by Adalheidur S. Eysteinsdótti

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Now on to the important part - the Room!  You will notice upon check-in that the rooms here are small but that was the intention.  They were specifically designed so visitors would go out and explore and not stay in the room. I was fine with that since we only had six hours of daylight.

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Flora Deluxe Rooms (pictured above) are more spacious.  Guests staying in Flora Deluxe Rooms get access to Lounge on the 4th floor between 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm, with complimentary non-alcoholic beverages and snacks. They also enjoy free admission to the Soley Natura Spa.

Pictured: 4th floor Lounge with a view of Icelandic Air private jet airport where celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber have landed.

Pictured: 4th floor Lounge with a view of Icelandic Air private jet airport where celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber have landed.

Speaking of the Soley Natura Spa, this was the highlight during my stay at the Hotel Reykjavik Natura hotel.  Even though we had a short amount of time to enjoy it (since we were exploring and taking pictures all day), I made sure to maximize every second.  It was definitely the perfect way to unwind and it's conveniently located on the ground floor.

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There is an entrance fee. The regular price for one time access to the spa is ISK 4.900 (about $43.00) but for hotel guests the price is ISK 3.000 (about $26.00)

Here are the list of services offered at Sóley Natura Spa:

  • Massages
  • Facials
  • Body Scrubs
  • Spa with a relaxing warm pool, steam bath, sauna and hot tub

The spa is open from:

10:00am - 8:00pm (Mon - Friday) , 10:00 AM - 9:00pm (Sat) , and 12:00pm - 5:00pm (Sun)

NOTE: If you forget your swimsuit, you can rent one at the Spa for ISK 500 (about $4.40).

To book your appointment, click here .

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On our last night, we decided to just have dinner at Satt Restaurant which was also conveniently located at the hotel. From the menu, I noticed the food is locally sourced from the best available farmers and fishermen. The meals are all prepared from scratch which is common in a lot of the restaurants in Iceland but to my surprise they are known for their PIZZA!!  I ordered the Shellfish pizza which was absolutely delicious.  Now this pizza cost me about 2690 Kr (about $30.00).  Yes, I know it's pretty expensive but everything in Iceland is. (I'll talk more about that in upcoming posts)

Pictured: Shellfish Pizza (Marinated shellfish, avocado, and herb salad)

Pictured: Shellfish Pizza (Marinated shellfish, avocado, and herb salad)

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Pictured: Buffet Breakfast.  Cost: ISK 3000 per person = about $26.00

Pictured: Buffet Breakfast.  Cost: ISK 3000 per person = about $26.00

I really enjoyed my stay at the Hotel Reykjavik Natura.   I would highly recommend during your trip to Iceland staying here. The staff was very helpful and friendly, it is conveniently located to local cultural attractions, and the food/bar scene were well worth every penny.  Stay tuned for more posts about tips on how to get around Iceland.  

Góða ferð! (Safe travels)

XO,

Mel

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Disclaimer: This post is in partnership with Hotel Reykjavik Natura; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

 

Cruising with Chrysler Pacifica

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by FCA US; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

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Christmas came early because I needed new tires for my car and I was worried about how I was going to get around since it was in the shop. Enter Chrysler, who offered me the wonderful opportunity to test drive the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica for a week.  Can we say PERFECT timing!!

I have never driven a minivan before so I was looking forward to the experience and I have to say, it was fun. You'll be able to tell in the pictures you are about to see.

 

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I took full advantage of Chrysler Pacifica's Stow and Go Seating and Storage System.  All I had to do was slide the seats forward and they fold into the in-floor bins so I could utilize all that space for the damage I did at the mall. What you see here is not even half of the bags.  I made a second trip the next day *insert surprised eyes emoji*.  I mean that's what the space is for, right?

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Since I don't have children (yet), I called my friend Jessica to go for a ride in this family friendly minivan.  We brought along her gorgeous baby girl Lu for the ultimate test.  As you can see, there was enough space for me to sit comfortably (on Alloy Nappa Leather Trim with Axis Perforated Insert seats by the way) as I strapped Miss Lu into her car seat.  Within minutes on the road, Lu was asleep.  I would love to say it was my driving but I'm sure it was the comfortable conditions. 

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The baby carriage fit perfect with tons of space to spare. 

The baby carriage fit perfect with tons of space to spare. 

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The 360 Surround View Camera provided that much needed assistance for parallel parking in the city. 

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This was definitely a treat! Heated seats and steering wheel options - for someone who's always cold, I really enjoyed this feature.

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When I went to pick up my friends to hang out, they were taking forever to get ready so, I popped in my favorite movie (Coming to America) in the Blu-Ray player and watched it on the 10.1 inch HD touchscreen.  It was the perfect way to make use of some free time. 

Who said minivans aren't stylish?  

Who said minivans aren't stylish?  

I really enjoyed my week driving around in the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica.  This top-rated vehicle definitely dispelled my preconceived ideas about minivans.  It was spacious, quiet, has excellent gas mileage, and was such a pleasure to drive.  I totally understand why it's one of the best options in its class.

 

Celebrating with Toyota Latino! #LULAC16

The League of United Latin American Citizens’ (LULAC) Annual National Convention and Exposition is considered the nation’s premier Hispanic event.  More than 20,000 influencers from across the country, including top leaders from government, business, philanthropy and the Latino community attended. 

In addition, Toyota - the top auto brand among U.S. Hispanics returned as presenting sponsor of LULAC's 87th Annual National Convention and Exposition.  The highlight of Toyota’s participation was the 50th anniversary celebration of the Corolla, the top selling car among U.S. Hispanics.  

Did you know, one out of every four Corollas in the United States is sold to a Latino! To mark the occasion, Toyota brought the Corolla’s national birthday celebration- Recorriendo Historias.

 

All photos: Emma McAlary

As part of Toyota’s “Recorriendo Historias” celebration, conference attendees were able to share their favorite Corolla memories by sketching a picture on one of the canvas-wrapped Corollas, or by recording a short video at a booth.  Those who shared their drawings on social media with hashtag #VayamosJuntos and #Corolla50automatically were entered into a raffle for a chance to win either an Apple Watch, GoPro HERO4, Ipad Mini, or Polaroid Snap!

Thanks to ToyotaLatino for such an awesome experience at #LULAC16.  Had a blast! #VayamosJuntos

xo,

Mel

 

Facial at HelaSpa

Since I cut my hair, I felt the need to pay extra attention to my skin care regimen.  My cleansing routine is pretty simple. I use a gentle cleanser, exfoliate ever so often,  and apply a hydrating lotion both day and night, but I knew I needed to step it up a notch since I started noticing some pimples were starting to surface. So, I scheduled an appointment with the DC's award-winning HelaSpa for a cleansing facial.

Bonnie was my esthetician and before she began my treatment, she explained some of the benefits of getting facials.

1.  Circulation:  Facials help restore circulation to the layers of your skin by increasing the flow of blood to your skin cells.  With small massaging movements, the flow of blood rushes throughout the skin giving your skin a healthy and youthful glow.

2.  Anti-Aging:  We can’t stop the aging process but we can delay it.  Facials can help slow down the aging process by removing dead and damaged skin by using products/treatments that increase collagen and cell growth which will offer you once again, a glowing youthful look.

3.  Cleansing:  A normal at home cleansing routine doesn’t always get to the root of your skin issues. Facials offer a deep cleaning of the skin by helping reduce an overabundance of sebum , which is an oily secretion of the sebaceous glands.  An excess of sebum, dead skin cells and dirt trapped inside yourpores can lead to acne and blackheads.

NOTE: You may not notice a vast difference in the Before and After pictures except for a little redness from the extractions, but my skin felt ahhhmazing!  It was incredibly soft and I had a JLo glow for days.  *Insert lady in red dress dancing emoji*

BEFORE

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

Products used:

SkinCeuticals: Gentle Cleanser, Micro-Exfoliating Scrub and Phyto Corrective Gel

Skin Medica: Calming Mask

Young Pharmaceuticals: Moisturizer Riche

What I loved is that Bonnie customized the products and included chamomile oil and used rose water as a toner -who knew!

With the lovely esthetician Bonnie Brenkman

With the lovely esthetician Bonnie Brenkman

For more info or to book an appointment, click HERE! 

Empowered by you!

I am empowered by being imperfect.

I LOVE how cute and comfortable these seamless undies are by @empoweredbyyou and am so proud to be an ambassador for this brand!  They are the perfect everyday panty.  Honored to be a part of such an incredible campaign that helps #empower women out of poverty.  20% of net profits will go to the Seven Bar Foundation to empower women out of poverty and into business via microfinance.

Check out more on:

Facebook: @Empoweredbyyou

Twitter:  @Empoweredbyyou #Empoweredbyyou

Instagram: @Empoweredbyyou

 

Photo: Malek Naz Freidouni

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The Golden Hour

I just love that time, right before sunset, when everything just seems to glow.  Those few minutes when the sun is low in the sky and creates such a beautiful warm light.  

Soooo perfect for pics (no filters needed.)

 

Photos: Emma McAlary

Jacket: Gap

Sunglasses: Ray-Ban  (thanks Emma for letting me borrow them!)

Top:  All Saints

Jeans: Rag & Bone

Boots:  Steve Madden

Cherry Blossoms - Washington, DC

Spring is truly my favorite time of the year.  Everyone starts to come out of hibernation, you can shed layers of clothing, and for me, it's the all about the beautiful flowers that start to bloom. Which is why I totally look forward to the Washington DC Cherry Blossom Festival every year.  It also reminds me of being in Japan where I lived for my last tour in the United States Navy.

Just a little bit of history, the famous trees were donated to Washington DC from Japan in 1912 in efforts to enhance the friendship between the two countries and to also celebrate the continued close relationship. 

Besides all of the fun events which include concerts, parades and even fireworks,  proper planning is definitely important in order to catch them at their peak bloom.  This year the festival runs from March 20th - April 17th.  You can find out more info here.

It is without a doubt worth experiencing!

xo,

Mel

 

Photos by: Malek Naz Freidouni

Tourist in my own city

Ok so, how many of you have been born and raised or lived in a state/country for a long time and have yet to visit any of the known tourist attractions?  I know, I'm guilty too.  I mean I am originally from New York City (The Bronx to be specific) and I haven't been to the Statue of Liberty yet! *insert surprised emoji face* 

So I started this ritual of taking myself on dates to the Smithsonian museums here in Washington, DC.  Not only because they are free (yes, free!) but I've lived here for almost five years and if someone asked me about them, I couldn't even respond without googling. So I wanted to learn more about my city than just the restaurants and bars.  

Here is what I found out during my visit to The National Gallery of Art:

  • The museum has an East and West building.
  • The National Gallery of Art owns the only painting by Leonardo Da Vinci in the Western Hemisphere.
  • They have a sculpture garden and the garden's centered on a circular pool, which is transformed into an ice skating rink during the winter.

 

Photos: Malek Naz Freidouni

    Coat and scarf: Zara

    Boots: Rag and Bone

    Three stripes

    I have always had this "thing" for Adidas.  Fron one, they are super comfortable but I totally associate them with growing up in the Boogie Down Bronx.  I will never forget when I saw my first pair on a girl on MTV back in the day when they used to show music videos. I just knew I needed a pair and that's when my love affair began.  I mean, I remember when I used to save my allowance to go to B Boy (breakdancing) competitions but mainly to see what everyone was wearing and how they were rocking their shell toes.

    Man, those were the days!

    I really love these Adidas Superstar Up's because they've maintained their signature style but added a subtle 1.5" hidden inner wedge for us short girls.  Yaaaaas! Like if I needed another reason to love them.

     

    Photos: Ari Melenciano

    Top and Bottom: Zara

    Sneakers: Adidas

    Faux Fab Find

    Confession:  

    I have been looking for the perfect faux fur jacket since the beginning of the winter.  The ones I found, I thought they were ALL too expensive and just weren't the right color.  I didn't want buy the typical black or anything with patterns because I felt it would be too overwhelming for my small frame.  But I got lucky! I found this olive green beauty at Zara on sale for 60 bucks!! Wooo Hooo ! I think I have about a good two weeks to rock it before the weather changes * fingers crossed*

    What fab finds have you guys found?  (geez, try saying that three times, lol)

     

    Photos: Ari Melenciano

    Ready for Spring

    Hey guys!

    I know, I know.  I have been slacking on my posts (my bad).  I have been extremely busy and I am just trying to balance it all but I'm BACK!  I don't know about you guys but I am super excited for spring time to come.  You know, like when the weather is warm enough to just rock a simple tee and a pair of distressed jeans.  It's my favorite outfit to wear any day.

    What is your "go-to" outfit?

    Photos: Emma McAlary

    T-shirt: Gap

    Jeans:  Levi's 

    The reason why I shaved my head.

    HERE IT IS ! 

    Special thanks to:

    Filmmaker Sam Song of Spare Tire Productions for bringing my vision to light.  You are truly the best!

    Photographer MalekNaz Freidouni of Maleknaz.com for taking such beautiful photos and being such an awesome friend.

    Hairstylist Gianne Nascimento for buzzing my hair to perfection and being part of such a profound moment with me.

    Designer Virginia Arrisueño of DeNada for allowing me to use your beautiful studio.  I am forever grateful.

    And to ALL of you that constantly support and follow me along this journey - THANK YOU!!!

    I hope you enjoy!

    Xo,

    Mel

    Carol's Daughter #BornandMade Campaign

    I'm going to be honest, I thought once I shaved my head it was going to be over.  I mean my brand means "Rock Yo Curls."  

    I prepared myself for the negative comments and how I was going to respond.  I was afraid that I was going to confuse my audience because I was expressing the importance of loving your hair and I did the opposite.  I was worried that all the relationships in the hair care industry I worked so hard to develop were going to start to diminish since I no longer had my rizos to market products.  I anticipated not being invited to the hottest events and the list could go on but I must say I was wrong and all of that really didn't matter.  Once I was true to myself I was able to be honest with you all and I feel like that's what is important.   As you guys know by now, I am not my hair but it was a hard lesson that I needed to learn and I felt the need to share. Why? Because it's not always about how you look on the outside, it's how you feel on the inside. 

    Given these points, not in my wildest dreams did I think that I would be asked to be part of such a beautiful campaign that totally represents what I stand for (this was on my dream board though)  

    I'm a huge fan of Carol's Daughter products but also of their #bornandmade campaign because it inspires women from all over to know their self worth and celebrate who they are.  Thank you to the entire Carol's Daughter team for this amazing opportunity and being able to share it with nine other courageous women.  And thank you ALL for continuing to #rock with me!

    Xo,

    Mel

    #iamlettingGO DC recap

    Last week I held the #iamlettingGO video screening in DC at Eighteenth Street Lounge (ALL because of my friend Linda who made it happen) and the turnout was way more than I ever imagined.  I just want to say Thank You to everyone who not only came to support but who also shared their stories including Kristina who was so brave to "let go" on stage.  Each and every one of you have truly inspired me with your openness and watching you all connect because of your beautiful struggles.  Also, BIG thanks to Pierre Edwards of Districtdodger.com for capturing all of these beautiful moments so perfectly.

    Enjoy!

    Xo,

    Mel