Image

You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy books…

There is something magical about finding a quaint little bookstore in the middle of the hustle and bustle of a city.  A place you can slip into and escape the outside noise.  That’s not exactly what happened to me, but close enough.  I found this treasure on a quiet side street in Montclair (NJ).

If any of you know Montclair, have visited, worked, or lived in Montclair (or still do) you know that Montclair is known for its chic little boutiques, bougie international eateries, yoga studios and cozy cafes.  It’s a mini NYC right in our very own backyard.   https://www.montclairnjusa.org/

We weren’t looking for a bookstore.  We meaning myself, my photographer, Geraldine and her assistant.  We were just looking for a location to shoot some photos for my blog when we happened upon the Watchung Booksellers, a cute bookstore near the train station.   https://www.watchungbooksellers.com/.   

I literally felt like Dorothy arriving in Oz or Cinderella at the ball.  Watchung Booksellers has got to be the cutest little gem I’ve come across in a long time.  It was like a three scoop sundae with all the toppings! Want to know what the cherry on top was? Well, even if you don’t I will tell you anyway.   

IMG_9527
Look at that smile….books stores feel like home to me…

As I walked in absorbing the wooden shelves, rows of books and cozy reading areas, I turned to my left and to my wandering eyes what should I see?

A little cafe – Da Pepo.  Complete with chalkboard announcing “Wait to be seated”, wine glasses for BYOB, farm-style grey washed tables where you could partake of paninis and things. 

I wanted to squeal like a kid on Christmas morning!  We immediately took over the cafe, after ordering three coffees and asking for permission to shoot some photos, of course.

We were having a ton of fun and just loved the space, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the bookstore next door.  I had peeped a wooden stepladder through the connecting doorway and I really, really, really wanted some photos on it!  I kept thinking Carrie Bradshaw with my cute french beret.

I finally asked an employee if we could take photos.  I explained that I am a blogger who blogs about a little bit of everything and I loved their space and really wanted pictures.  She referred me to a younger girl who I guess is in charge of social media.  She asked about my blog, agreed to the photos and asked that I tag her so they can follow me. Oh! She also asked for my blog site so they could follow it! Winning!  

IMG_9579
Books, books, and more books!

Look I know we have bookstores like Barnes and Noble and they serve their purpose, but it’s so big and bright and formal.  This book store was small and quaint and familiar.

Now let me back up a second.  I wasn’t planning on writing about this bookshop – it really was just a prop.  But something stirred in me as I walked around, posed, touched and smelled books.  A long hidden memory was tickling the edges of my mind.

And then I suddenly remembered a bookstore I used to frequent  (no let me rephrase that – nearly lived in ) back in Passaic where I grew up.  I can’t remember but I believe it was just called the Passaic Bookstore.  It was located at the end of Main street.  I remember spending hours a day several times a day after school in there as a depressed and angry teen.  LOL!

I would get lost picking up books, touching them, browsing, reading the first few pages trying to decide if it was worth the 75 cents it cost (clearance shelf).  And there was so much clutter!!!  Heavenly clutter! Every wall was lined with books, aisles had baskets filled with books and little tables piled high with more,  nooks and crannies where you could hide and get lost in.  

I remembered  that when I was no more than 15 or 16, I told myself I wanted to own a little bookstore when I grew up.  

IMG_9700
Cozy cafe attached to the bookstore…Da Pepo…Go check them out…they literally had a soft opening the day before the shoot..

I wanted something that felt like someone’s living room with dark wooden shelves, comfy plush seats, the smell of coffee brewing in the background mingled with the smell of old pages in a book. 

I haven’t held a book and read in a long time.  I used to read 3 or 4 books a month growing up.  Now I listen to 1 -2 books a year on Audible because I am always running around.  I have to say it’s not the same half-listening to a book while waiting to order coffee at the drive thru.

IMG_9590

Books are like heaven to me!!

I didn’t buy any books that day as much as I wanted to, but something about that bookstore stirred a long dormant love of books.  I don’t know if I will ever own my own bookstore, but I will definitely be going back to the little community bookstore in Montclair because if I can walk into a space that brings me as much joy as it did that’s a place I need to frequent more often.

Thanks for stopping by lovies! PC|geri_1221   http://www.geritorres.com/

P.S. Here a list of some of my favorite books EVERRRR! (I hope you share yours with me too!)

  1. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
  2. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  4. Pillars of the Earth . by Ken Follet
  5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (of Course!)
  6. Passing by Nella Larsen (A MUST READ!)
  7. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Marquez
  8. Counte of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  9. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  10. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

books4

♥LolaUncorked

Image

Get out of your own way!

Hi loves!  It has been so long since I’ve been on here. But I’m back to school and also transitioning to a new job, redecorating apartment.  Anywayssssss, I have been thinking a lot about this idea of self-sabotaging behavior.   sabotagequote

As much as I haven’t wanted to see it, even after years of therapy I have come to the conclusion that I am a professional self-sabotager – AND I need more therapy!!!! LOL. Someone call the doctor!!!

I hear my friends complain all the time (and I chime in) about a perfectly great job or relationship.  About Not making enough money, etc. But they complain almost with relish! This is how the online dictionary defines self-sabotage

Behavior is said to be self-sabotaging when it creates problems and interferes with long-standing goals. The most common self-sabotaging behaviors are procrastinationself-medication with drugs or alcohol, comfort eating, and forms of self-injury such as cutting.

This is concise and to the point, however, we all know there are endless ways in which we self-sabotage.   We self-sabotage our relationships, our jobs, our diets, our future goals. Why???

I can come up with several reasons for each of these, but I am going to focus on relationships for now.  Way more fun! How many times have you heard people make some of the following statements when it comes to dating or relationships?-

  • I am meant to be alone.
  • I don’t mind ending up alone.
  • Who wants to put up with someone else’s bad habits.
  • I am too old for this shit.
  • I am just waiting for red flags.
  • I’ve already been married and divorced, who wants to go through that shit again.
  • There are no good men or women out there.

These are only a few of the comments I hear from my girlfriends and that I myself have let slip through these lips.

Self-sabotaging our relationships is how we protect ourselves and our hearts.  When my last relationship ended, I told myself I would NEVER get serious about anyone again. I would live with them, much less get married! I would never give someone that much power over my emotions.  NEVER!  selfsabotage3.png

I wrapped myself up quite tightly in my circle of friends, family, shopping, eating, drinking, the gym, and a part-time job.  I had no time TO date, let alone get serious.  This was exactly how I liked it. 

When I did date, I subconsciously or consciously (depends on the day) chose unavailable men who were in complicated situations.  This did two things for me.  It validated the idea that there are no good men or women out there. The minute I felt anyone getting close, or wanting more, I was like BOY BYE!

Why do we self-sabotage??? For many reasons.

We self-sabotage because we feel unworthy and undeserving of all wonderful things, whether it’s a great job, relationship or financial abundance.

If we feel unworthy how can we open ourselves up to believing that we are good enough to receive a great partner.  We believe if we let someone get too close, they will see all our glorious imperfections and run the other way.  And guess what?  They may.  But that only means he or she wasn’t the one.  That you weren’t compatible, not that you weren’t worthy.

We self sabotage because we are afraid of being dumped.  selfsabotage2

If there is one thing we can’t deal with is rejection.  We take someone’s rejection so personal.  Could it be possible that the other person just wasn’t ready for a relationship? Or that perhaps they just had their own stuff they were dealing with? 

When someone rejects us it doesn’t mean we are unlovable, it just means, they weren’t ready to love anyone and that perhaps they felt unworthy themselves.

We self sabotage because we like drama!! This is huge.

When we are not fulfilled with our lives, maybe a boring job, or no social life, we like to create drama. 

Sometimes we just want a little excitement or we want to push buttons to try to get assurance or confirmation that he or she is really into us.

Here’s a great scenario and I am sooooo guilty of this (I have to laugh..LOL)

Me: (I text him): Hey.

Him: 

Him:

(5 minutes later)

Me: You ok?

Him:

Me: (Fuck this shit! Then I proceed to type some of these or all of these depending on the level of self sabotaging I am going for) You know what? I am not into playing games.  If you want to play games go right ahead. But I am too old for that shit.  I need consistency. Go play with your little bimbos. Don’t ever text me again.

Him: I was at a funeral.

Me: (cricket, cricket, cricket)

ruin-it
These memes, tho! LOL!

Now tell me who hasn’t done this ↑? More than once? Twice? Repeatedly? We are all guilty of this. 

Right away our brain goes into defensive mode. He’s probably with someone else.  Which means he’s not into me. Which means, I knew it. Which means, let me cut him off before he cuts me off. Sheesh!  I would dump me too after one of those scenarios.

We selfsabotage because in todays age of technology IT IS SO MUCH easier to do.  Cell phones and social media support and enhance our self sabotaging ways.  

We say and post things on social media and through texting that we probably would never say face to face.  It’s quick, it’s instant and it’s cowardly.

How do we stop this behavior? 

These are only suggestions understanding that these are practices that with repeated implementation will be become habits!

  • Love and accept yourself.  Just as you are. With all your flaws and imperfections love yourself, because if you don’t love yourself, how can anyone else?
  • Remind yourself every day that you are worthy and that it‘s okay to mess up.  We all do we just have to recognize the mistake and do better next time. Grow from the mistake.
  • Know that there is enough of everything to go around.  Enough good men and women who want loving healthy relationships, enough money to give us financial security, enough great jobs so we can find THE ONE! lifetip
  • And finally, THIS IS SO IMPORTANT, give yourself a 10 minute time out before you react or say things that you will probably regret.  I find that after 10 minutes I am no longer upset about whatever assumptions I made up in my head about why someone is not returning my text. Put the phone away and take a nap or read a magazine, or even my blog. LOL.  Then go back and construct a kinder softer message, kind of like, “Hey not sure where you are, but I hope all is good.  Text me when you can.”

Listen, in theory this all sounds so easy.  It may strike a nerve for some and for others give rise to a chuckle, but the reality is that we all deserve to be in a loving, healthy relationship if that’s what we really desire.  And when one falls apart, it means nothing more than, it wasn’t time.  Your time will come.  Our time will come.

Thanks for stopping by my loves!  Happy Friday!

dontstand2

♥LolaUncorked

Image

Thinking of Kyrzayda…

So you may all ask why am I blogging about Kyrzayda,  when I didn’t go to the wake. Well I have my reasons and my story.

I met Kyrzayda in 2009.  The Riverside Manor.  Paterson, NJ.  What I most remember is her perkiness and positive energy.   She always complimented me on my style. Ha!  I was ten years older and I dressed well but I wasn’t styled.  Not like her. 

k4
This is about the time that I met K.!

But we connected.  I remember one of the first conversations we had was about her wanting a boutique.  She loved fashion.  She loved clothes. She wanted to go places.  She wanted to do things. 

She was this petite bundle of energy with a beautiful smile and BIG, BIG, BIG dreams.  Now let me back track by saying that we were in the hood and this was way before fashion blogging and social media were anything familiar to many of us here, at least me.

Anyway, eventually I became a bartender at the Riverside and it was always refreshing to run into K (as I heard she was lovingly called by many).  She eventually started working at Once Upon A Skirt and she helped me choose outfits a few times.

k3
This is how I want to remember you!

Always had an eye and was always honest with me about what worked and didn’t. We talked about life and boys and fitness while I tried on outfit after outfit.

So, being a non-fashionista-wanting-to-have-my-own-boutique kind of person, when Kyrz started blowing up my FB thread with image after image of her fitness and fashion journey I unfollowed her.

For no other reason except that it would take me 3-5 minutes to get to any posts of family or other friends. Seriously.  (Not understanding that this is part of the business, right?) Building your brand.  

kfave2
Even while dealing with her health issues, she continued her hustle. One of my favorites!

Fast forward to last year when I believe it was that I saw www.liverpooljeans.com post something about her that I started following her again and learned of her diagnosis.

I began to follow her journey which now included cancer.

Some people may have loved her and some may not, but there is a lot to be learned from her journey.

I recently watched a Super Soul Sunday with Oprah featuring Dr. BJ Miller https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0TAs_QQKHM.  (If you guys haven’t heard his story, you should head over there and watch it.)

In a freak accident Dr. Miller lost both his legs below the knee and his arm.  Instead of feeling defeated, he decided to embark on a career in palliative care (caring for people who are dying) and now works with the Zen Hospice Project in San Francisco.

That is neither here nor there.  What I want to share is that he says this of death: We view death as an occurrence separate from life, when in reality death is a part of living. Because we are all going to die at some point.

When we hear that someone is dying from some incurable disease, such as cancer, we automatically start viewing or treating that person as if they are already dead, when in reality, they are living to the moment of their last breath.

Kyrz was the epitome of this theory.  I mean a week before she passed she was “deciding” whether or not she would go to NY Fashion week and had her outfits laid out. 

This was a woman who was in so much pain, but still kept her faith and believed she would be there.  No she didn’t attend, but that’s beside the point folks.  Imagine the joy she felt just believing and imagining herself there.   

k2
Grace under fire…

The morning before I learned she had passed I watched an episode of Dr. Oz and his guest speaker, Dr. Sam Parnia https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHcZc-JJEFw who conducted a research study on what happens when a person dies. Guys! It sounds morbid, but let me tell you, what a refreshing eye opener.

We fear death so much.  And we worry so much about the pain and suffering.  But this speaker explained what happens physiologically to our bodies right before we die.  The first thing is we start losing oxygen, when this happens we fall into a deep sleep – a coma.  He describes it as going under (anesthesia). 

He then said that of course your heart fails.  This is when doctors record a time of death.  BUT! you’re not yet done.  Your cells can take a few hours to shut down.

So it is in this space when your cells are still alive that near-death experiences occur. This is the time when people who have had this experience and come back describe a very blissful existence, they see the doctors working on them from above or a removed space, they see a flashback of their life.  They oftentimes don’t want to come back because it is such a beautiful feeling.

I know, I know ! Kyrz didn’t come back but what a relief to know that she was in this space of bliss and joy and comfort.

Listen, I lost touch with Kyrz however her journey touched me too.  I kept thinking and I have often said this to people like “we” could be her.  What happened to her can happen to any one of us.

As humans we question like “why?”.  “Why” .  She was in her prime.  Her blogging career was taking off.  “Why?”

We can be angry at God for taking her.  But I am a firm believer that though she served her “fashion and blogging” purpose here on earth, her death is meant to serve an even greater purpose.

That purpose is that she and her journey will hopefully teach people how to live! Now! because folks as we all know and say – “Life is entirely too short.”  And our time of death is pre-written and set in stone. But we forget quickly.

Kyrzayda’s journey left an indelible imprint on me.  I found myself constantly sending prayers for her, I started reading the bible in her name even bargaining with God to give her more time.  Lord, I’ll quit drinking, I’ll go to church, I’ll volunteer with the needy.  Anything to gain her more time.

It broke my heart to hear she passed, but it also cheered me (after hearing these podcasts) that her transition was easy, and pain-free and joyous.

I chose not to go to the wake because #1 I am way too emotional and didn’t want to be that person in hysterics and #2 I wanted to hold with me the memory of Kyrzayda as I knew her back in 2009.

AND #3 I had a dream with her the night she passed.   Random, right?

I dreamt we were in this outdoor space like a vineyard or some kind of outdoor courtyard.  We were talking and laughing and she had on this flowered two piece flowy pant suit.  She kept saying she wanted to go down to beach and so she went.

I didn’t follow because I felt like she was happy and she was joyous and ok.  So she went down this staircase filled with flowers and gone. 

I woke with this sense of “Oh! She’s fine!”  Kyrzayda is good.

Kyrzayda did what most people wouldn’t dare do and even if some do not agree with her decisions or her way of living – who fucking cares?!?!

What we should be focusing on is how we are going to live.

We shouldn’t be questioning God or the Universe or whoever we believe in “Why her?” or “Why did this happen?”

We should be asking, “What have we learned?” What has she taught us?” “How are we going to live OUR lives NOW?”

Hey we could even ask: WWKD? “What would Kyrzayda do?” 

k8
Continued to work, blog, shop, post..

I am not concerned with K now and where she is because I know she is fantastically and amazingly and joyously existing in another space. Happy, pain-free, resting.

I just ask the Universe to comfort her mother, her family and her friends in this difficult time.

And more importantly, I pray that we figure out “Why?” not for Kyrzayda but for ourselves and how is having known Kyrzayda going to fundamentally push us to not be left with the question “Why?” at the end of our lives.

Kyrzayda, may you rest in eternal peace and may the Lord grant your mother and family the most comfort at this time.

It was a pleasure knowing you doll! 

k16
She did more than most … without fear!

LolaUncorked♥

Image

This is 40….Something…

Hey guys and gals! You know how I do!!! I don’t post for a few weeks and then I bombard you with posts.

This past week I had the pleasure of collaborating with the young, handsome and up and rising, YouTuber – bello_kevy! Finally!  Please go subscribe and follow.  Plug Plug!

Anyway, I was doubtful if it would turn out good.  Shame on me because all his other videos are A-mazing!  Anyway, we decided last minute to head over to Martell’s Tiki Bar and do a little video blogging about life in my 40s.  His mom, my BFF, joined us!  I’ll make sure to add link below so you guys can go check it out.

40 is what you make it !

I have to say that Kevin had some great questions and I sense a follow up video because there are so many things we can talk about as far as life in our 40s.  He wanted to call it “This is 40!” Considering I will be exiting this decade soon, I suggested “This is 40-something!” but you know kids. LOL.

Anyway regardless, he asked some insightful questions which is inspiring to me as an adult to hear this from a young man in his 20s.  We talked about what 40 means to us, aging (gracefully), the downsides of life changes, and how we party in our 40s. Oh! we also highlight my new boobs! LOL. Thanks Kevin for the boob plug.

Go subscribe to Bello_kevy YouTube channel! NOW!

So I felt I wanted to come and blog about this and add some lessons I’ve learned in my 40s with you all and hopefully you guys will share with me too.  I think in every decade we learn stuff.  Sometimes we repeat the same mistakes, but my hope is that as we age, we learn and grow and spread our emotional, spiritual wings.

So what has 40 meant to me?

Here goes. Me and my lists.

  1. 40 to me means that I have finally settled into myself and my own skin.  I feel like the dust has settled — in my professional life, personal life and spiritual life.What did I learn in my 40s?
  2. 40 has meant becoming freer and liberated from all the bullshit society says I should be doing and being.
  3. 40 has meant that it really is just a number.  I have felt just a young spirited and energetic as I did in my 20s and 30s.  Hangovers suck at 40.  Takes longer to recuperate but overall, I kind of feel the same.
  4. 40 has meant finding my voice.  Not the young aggressive angry voice of my 20s and 30s, but a calmer, more confident voice.  I learned how to express myself without being angry, and learned that you get so much more with honey.  Finally.  Of course, not all the time.  Every now and then the only voice that works is the bitch voice! So I keep her on reserve.
  5. 40 has meant not giving up on myself.  Being more forgiving of myself.  More loving.  Kinder to me.

And what did I learn? In my 40s, I have learned…

  • to accept that I am not ONE thing.  I am not just a mother, or daughter, or teacher. I am not just a woman or Latina.  None of these define me on their own, but rather all the roles I play make up who I am as a person.  I’ve also realized that I am always evolving.  Who I am today is not who I will be next month or next year, or even tomorrow.  And that’s ok.
  • not to settle in any area of my life, especially relationships.  I deserve the best from people, just as I have learned to wake up everyday with the intention of giving my best.  Yes, sometimes I fall of the wagon, because we are not perfect, but I get right back up and try again.
  • I am not perfect, but I can make daily intentions to strive to be better.
  • Broken hearts heal and you come out stronger.  I have never felt such pain like the pain I felt in this decade after having my heart broken by the one person I never thought would deceive me.  It hurt like hell.  And I remember thinking I would never be good again, whole again, confident again.  Guess what? I’m good.  Time heals E V E R Y T H I N G! Family and friends help too!
  • Forgive others.  Hanging on to anger and hate is so draining and damaging only to yourself.  So forgive and let go and move on.

My 40s have been good to me!  Through it all, trials and tribulations, financial woes, breakups, illnesses, I can’t complain.

40/40 Club

I still have half a year to go in my 40s, so I am sure there will be more lessons to be learned before I exit this decade.

But I have to tell you, if any of you are approaching 40 and/or sad about aging, don’t be.  I honestly believe that life only gets better!!!  I am so looking forward to what 50 brings!!!

Like promised here is my first video collaboration with YouTuber bello_kevy! Make sure to go show him some love too!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VjXx-f-vSY&t=0s

Thanks for stopping by loves!

♥LolaUncorked❤️

Image

One Love…One Jamaica…

traveling
About to take off!!! Jamaica here I come…

Hey loves!! It has been some time since I’ve been on here, but #1 I just don’t have pics and it’s really annoying. #2 Been doing stuff in order to build blog material. #3 it’s summa-time!!! So here goes! So I just got back from Jamaica! 

Oh what an AMAZING TIME!

Most of you know I am from the Dominican Republic.  If you didn’t, you know now.  LOL. 

I love the Dominican Republic and contrary to when I was younger when I used to go every summer to the same two places – the Capital and el campo, in the last ten years, I’ve tried to expand my Dominican travel palate. 

I branched out and visited places like Samana, Macao, actually stayed in Boca Chica and Santiago.  And I love everything about DR, Well, almost everything. That’s another blog.

Jamaica was E V E R Y T H I N G!  I flew into Montego Bay and drove to Negril where I was staying. Reunited with that high school friend and went with probably one of the best, easiest and low maintenance travel partner ever!!!  (Check out my blog about traveling solo.)jamaican flag

The people were hospitable! Actually that’s an understatement !! Every single Jamaican I encountered on and off resort was really great. So friendly and well mannered. Not that I expected anything other right??

Because I mean I don’t know about you but when I’ve worked all year and use my hard earned money to go away I want- no, I DEMAND exceptional service. Hence one of my peeves with my peeps in DR. Again another blog.

It just seemed to come easily to the people in Jamaica. From the grounds workers, my favorite bartender Paulette who I made sure to see everyday, to the poor pasta station worker who worked in 200 degree weather making the most delicious pasta ever!!!. I mean they were just downright pleasant I’ve experienced on vacation.  I’m just saying.

I didn’t do much of anything but hang poolside or beach, at bar, and/or eat! I was not trying to hang glide, go horseback riding or jump off cliffs. And it was just perfect. I wanted to rest and relax under the hot Caribbean sun!

livingmybestlife
Hanging at the beach! Feeling myself.

Only time we ventured out was to Rick’s Cafe which until I got there didn’t realize was THE spot for spotting sunsets. And I was a part of the most significant sunset.  

sunset
the sunset at Rick’s Cafe.

Good times. Good times. I will definitely go back and visit some other places. Like actually stay in Montego Bay and eventually go visit Kingston! Negril was fantastic. The water was so clear and clean and calm.  

onthebeach
Everything is better at the beach!

Oh and the food was awesome. Omg. That Jamaican jerk chicken?!?? Gasp. Had it every day. Delish! One of the problems when I went to Belize was that I didn’t find the Belize had a broad Belizean palate. 

redstripe
May I have a Red Stripe, please?!?!

Most of what I ate was American food, except for the lobster that was literally picked out of ocean for me. 

Not Jamaica ! Jamaica’s jerk chicken, roasted chicken, seafood salad, rice, and white rum were yummmmm!

Jamaica is definitely one of those places I will visit again. Left me yearning to see more and mingle more with the locals.  

 

 

 

Look at my little gallery I posted for ya’ll! Look at that sunset, tho?!?!

So if you haven’t been – please add to your bucket list and make it a point. After all, mon, Jamaica is all about one love, Jamaican-me-crazy, and some good ole healthy ganja. If that’s you’re thing!!

One love my loves!  

♥LolaUncorked