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Un Mundo Mágico Inspira Proteger la Naturaleza / A Magical World Inspires the Protection of Nature #VisitPandora

Un Mundo Mágico Inspira Proteger la Naturaleza / A Magical World Inspires the Protection of Nature #VisitPandora

En febrero, tuve el honor de recibir una invitación especial…de los Na’vi. No es ningún secreto que una de las adiciones más anticipadas a Walt Disney World es Pandora, The World of Avatar. Si viste la película “Avatar,” Disney ha logrado replicar el mundo mágico 

{Receta} Bizcochito de Chocolate en Taza / {Recipe} Molten Chocolate Mug Cake

{Receta} Bizcochito de Chocolate en Taza / {Recipe} Molten Chocolate Mug Cake

  Hace unos meses, mi familia y yo nos pusimos la meta de comer menos afuera para ahorrar dinero, y así aprovechar juntos en casa (¡y ahorrar para viajes!). Pero a veces a uno se le antoja comer una comida o un postre que uno probaría en 

Before the Storm

Before the Storm

 

Note: I wrote this during the power outage after Hurricane Irma, while visiting family in Bayamón, Puerto Rico. When I wrote this at the time, I couldn’t have anticipated the devastation that Hurricane María would wreak in just a few short weeks. Still, I felt the need to share my thoughts about what a strange vigil this was, waiting for Hurricane Irma.

 

We waited. And waited. And waited. And then, we waited some more. Indeed, the hot, humid breeze seemed rife with an anticipation that rivaled that of Noche Buena Christmas Eve.

 

 

The neighbors all seemed to prepare for her with the same level of excitement, that same level of camaraderie that one feels just before the biggest holiday of the year. I arrived at this conclusion as I enjoyed my last cafecito break at Panadería Madrid in Bayamón before her arrival.

As my Papi and I sat, and I let my café con leche go cold, biding my time, savoring the moment, I felt it. The energy in the small cafeteria, which has been largely unchanged for the past 20 years or so, was one of excitement, not dread.

Continue reading Before the Storm

8 Travel Tips / 8 Consejos Para Viajes

8 Travel Tips / 8 Consejos Para Viajes

Por / By: Laurita Tellado & Myrna Calderón   “I don’t know where I am going, but I am on my way.”                                               

El Café Que Pruebas, La Gente Que Conoces / The Coffee You Taste, The People You Meet / Café Jíbaro

El Café Que Pruebas, La Gente Que Conoces / The Coffee You Taste, The People You Meet / Café Jíbaro

Hay personas con quien uno forja amistades de repente, sin pensarlo mucho, porque las personalidades se complementan y se llevan bien. Son como almas gemelas aunque sólo se han conocido una o dos veces. David Belmar es una de esas personas para mi…y ahora entiendo 

Prospanica Offers Tools to Pave Way for the Next Generation of Hispanic Professionals

Prospanica Offers Tools to Pave Way for the Next Generation of Hispanic Professionals

“It’s the next generation that will savor what it feels like to have a Hispanic community that is thriving.”

— Claudia Romo Edelman 

 

Maybe it doesn’t come as a surprise to you that a person who feels “caught between two cultures” could experience conflict because of that. Indeed, there has always existed an internal battle waging within me— the battle to be “American enough: to enjoy the privileges that come with identifying as an American citizen, while clinging to my native Puerto Rican culture with every last fiber of my being. 

For many like me, it can be an exhausting battle that makes us feel even more isolated from everyone— Latinx or not. 

When I was invited to attend the Prospanica 2019 Conference in my town of Orlando, I was thrilled to get to connect with others who, perhaps, share similar struggles to mine. 

I noticed almost immediately that I wasn’t alone. There were people who preferred speaking English instead of Spanish, and vice versa, people who have never visited their family’s native country, and people with every different type of accent you can imagine. 

 

With Silfredo Padilla, my longtime friend who supports Hispanic professionals in every way!

 

 

 

 

But, more importantly, we all shared a common thread— each of us was looking to establish or further our professional careers.

 

With my very dear friends, Giancarlo Serrato and Sandra Palacios-Serrato, and LaChelle Drayton of UnitedHealth during their opening reception!

 

From the first evening’s receptions and icebreaker activities to the crash-course on how to use LinkedIn to position yourself as a thought leader, each of the events of this three-day conference was purposeful and intentional with the goal of getting us each out of our comfort zones and allowing us to learn about ourselves in order to improve our personal brands. 

LaChelle Drayton of UnitedHealth challenged us from Day One to figure out “Who is wearing your T-Shirt?” It was a key reminder to think about who are your brand’s best ambassadors.

 

With LeChelle Drayton of UnitedHealth. 

Hands-down, one of my favorite moments of the Prospanica conference was the session titled: Latinas in Leadership: The Challenges and Keys to Success.” The session featured speakers Kristina Williams-Buhl of Edward Jones, Ciléia Miranda-Yuen, Yvonne Martin, Claudia Aulik, and Lupita Colmenero.

Getting to meet and speak with Lupita Colmenero of LATINA Style magazine afterward was one of the true highlights for me! These women are so passionate about sharing their stories to encourage fellow and future entrepreneurs. 

 

With Lupita Colmenero of LATINA Style. 

 

I’d like to share a few takeaways I gleaned from that panel: 

 

  • When you have your heart connected to what you do, thank God it’s Monday!
  • Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to someone who can be a mentor. 
  • Do not disregard the wisdom of people older than you in the industry. 

 

 

With Kristina Williams-Buhl of Edward Jones. 

 

 

Prospanica’s Career Fair was one of the best-organized I’ve attended, with top global companies ready to take résumés and conducting job interviews onsite. It was an awesome experience for me to get to share with company representatives what The Laurita Spina Bifida Project is doing across the globe! 

The Brillante Awards Gala served as the culminating event for the conference, and it took my breath away!

I loved meeting Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez, Hartford Public Schools superintendent, winner of the Brillante Award for Educational Excellence, and fellow puertorriqueña! She became a strong advocate for the 450 students from Puerto Rico who arrived at her school district after Hurricane María displaced them.

 

With Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodríguez, Superintendent of Hartford Public Schools.

 

While the delicious Latin food and stellar Halloween decor genuinely impressed me (I mean, I grew up frequenting Disney’s Haunted Mansion!), it was Claudia Romo Edelman’s keynote that brought tears to my eyes and prompted thunderous applause. I had been wanting to meet her for several years. Her work as a Special Adviser at the United Nations and the We Are All Human Foundation, as well as her work with UNICEF, has served as a great inspiration to me.

 

 

 

Don Orlando welcomed everyone to the gala! 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll admit I geeked out when I gave Claudia my card and took a photo with her! I’m continually humbled by moments when I can cross paths with amazing women role models. I am so grateful to Claudia for sharing her story with us about the struggles of being taken seriously as a Latina from early on in her career. Her story resonated with me in a profound way, as a fellow Latina who battles with her duality to be taken seriously as Latinx and as an American citizen.

 

With Claudia Romo Edelman, Keynote Speaker and Special Adviser at the UN.

 

 

This year’s Prospanica Conference was all about “Sin Fronteras” (“Without Barriers”), and about empowering New Leaders and Next Gen Ideas. 

 

With Gabe Zayas of the Prospanica Orlando Chapter board. 

 

 

With Doris Alcivar of UCF Career Services. 

 

The LinkedIn session I attended emphasized that thought leadership demonstrates expertise, invites collaboration, and collective learning with others. What an honor to be able to learn among such creative, passionate, and forward-thinking minds in many different fields, all with the goal of breaking down barriers for fellow Latinx people. We’ll soldier on, even if it’s the next generation that will get to enjoy the fruits of our labors. 

Thank you to my very dear friend Sandra Palacios-Serrato, President of Prospanica Orlando Chapter, and her dynamic board and team for everything!

Giving Your Life to Someone Else- Women are Using Tech for the Greater Good | #GHC 19

Giving Your Life to Someone Else- Women are Using Tech for the Greater Good | #GHC 19

“It is often easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.” “The most dangerous phrase in the language is, “We’ve always done it this way.” — Both quotes by Grace Hopper      Whenever I stumble through my elevator pitch, there are a 

Cómo Yo Hago Mi Espumita de Leche para el Café / How I Make My Milk Foam for Coffee

Cómo Yo Hago Mi Espumita de Leche para el Café / How I Make My Milk Foam for Coffee

Espumita. Es una palabra sencilla, o mejor dicho, un diminutivo de una palabra que sin embargo connota tanta euforia y alegría para muchos. Significa un cafecito bien hecho con mucho amor…o por lo menos, con mucho cuidado y atención a detalle. En el día nacional del 

Highclere Castle: An Iconic Gateway to the Past Embraces its Future / Un Portal Icónico al Pasado se Adapta al Futuro

Highclere Castle: An Iconic Gateway to the Past Embraces its Future / Un Portal Icónico al Pasado se Adapta al Futuro

 

“Life is a game where the player must appear ridiculous.” 

                                           — Violet, Dowager Countess, “Downton Abbey” 

 

“La vida es un juego en el que el jugador debe de verse ridículo.”

                                         — Violet, 

 

I must say, I’ve been pretty fortunate and blessed to have so many amazing travel experiences and stories to tell over the years, but none can compare to the unbelievable opportunity my parents and I had to visit Highclere Castle in mid-August 2018 while we were staying in London. 

 

For those who are not familiar with Highclere, it is a country house situated in Hampshire, England, five miles south of Newbury, Berkshire. The grounds were designed by the famous 18th century landscape gardener Lancelot “Capability” Brown. The 5,000-acre estate includes an 11-bedroom mansion that is the primary setting for the highly-popular television series, “Downton Abbey,” as well as for the film of the same title– which will be in theaters on September 20th! 

 

Tengo que admitir que he sido bastante afortanada y bendecida de tener tantas experiencias maravillosas de viajes e historias para contar a través de los años, pero ninguna compara con la oportunidad increíble que tuvimos mis padres y yo de visitar a Highclere Castle a mediados de agosto del 2018 mientras nos quedamos en Londres. 

 

Para los que no son familiares con Highclere, es una casa de campo situada en Hampshire, Inglaterra, a cinco millas al sur de Newbury en Berkshire. Los terrenos fueron diseñados por el famoso paisajista Lancelot “Capability” Brown. La propiedad de 5,000 acres incluye una mansión de 11 habitaciones que es el escenario principal para la serie televisada muy popular “Downton Abbey,” igual que la película del mismo título– ¡que saldrá en los cines el 20 de septiembre! 

 

 

 

 

When Mami and I found out that the first stop of our family trip last year was going to be London, we immediately did research on Highclere Castle! We are huge fans of the show and had binge-watched the entire series in less than two weeks just months before. As much as we fell in love with the characters and immersed ourselves in their stories, both of us were very curious about the real-life “Downton Abbey,” Highclere Castle. 

 

¡Cuando Mami y yo supimos que la primera parada de nuestro viaje familiar el año pasado sería en Londres, inmediatamente hicimos investigación sobre Highclere Castle! Somos súper fanáticas del programa y habíamos visto la serie completa en menos de dos semanas sólo hacía unos meses. Por más que nos enamoramos de los personajes y nos inmersamos en sus historias, las dos teníamos mucha curiosidad acerca del verdadero “Downton Abbey,” el castillo Highclere. 

 

 

 

When we looked at our (tentative) travel itinerary, we realized there was only one day on which Highclere would be welcoming visitors that would coincide with our stay in London…and the website indicated they were sold out of admission tickets. 

Cuando nos estudiamos el itinerario tentativo de viaje, nos dimos cuenta que habría un sólo día en que Highclere recibiría visitas que iba a coincidir con nuestra estadía en Londres…y el sitio web de ellos indicaba que se habían vendido todos los boletos. 

 

Mami and I were devastated. This was the one “touristy” thing we wanted to do while in London, and we felt defeated. Not one to throw in the towel when I’m told I can’t do something, I decided to do a little more investigation. 

Mami y yo nos sentíamos devastadas. Esta era la única actividad “turística” que queríamos hacer en Londres, y nos sentíamos derrotadas. Siendo alguien a quien no le gusta tirar la toalla cuando me dicen que no puedo hacer algo, decidí hacer un poco más de investigación. 

 

 

That’s how I found Justine, who handles marketing for the estate. I reached out to her via E-mail with a wish and a prayer. It was a last resort for me, and after a few days, I completely gave up hope. I was stunned when I received a reply from her less than a week later! “We would be delighted to welcome you and your parents to Highclere Castle.”

And so it began. With that response, we three embarked on an adventure of period drama proportions!

 

Así fue que yo encontré a Justine, la publicista de Highclere. La contacté a través de correo electrónico con un deseo y una oración. Era un último recurso para mí, y después de unos días, perdí completamente la esperanza. ¡Estuve totalmente asombrada cuando recibí una respuesta de ella menos de una semana después! “Sería nuestro placer darles la bienvenida a tí y a tus padres a Highclere Castle.” 

Y así comenzó. ¡Con esa respuesta, los tres embarcamos en una aventura a nivel de un drama histórico! 

 

 

Since we were staying in London, we had an interesting journey to get to Highclere. We took a taxi to Paddington Station (YES, the Paddington Station!), then a train to Newbury for about an hour, and finally another cab to Highclere Castle. 

Como nos estábamos quedando en Londres, tuvimos una jornada interesante para llegar a Highclere. Tomamos un taxi a la estación de tren Paddington Station (¡sí, ese Paddington Station!), y luego un tren a Newbury como por una hora, y finalmente tomamos otro taxi para Highclere Castle. 

 

 

 

 

Finally arriving at the gates of the iconic Highclere Castle is breathtaking. Immediately, I was reminded of practically every “Downton Abbey” opening scene featuring an impressive take of that unmistakable building. 

El llegar finalmente a los portones del icónico castillo Highclere es impresionante. Inmediatamente me recordó a la primera escena de prácticamente cada episodio de “Downton Abbey” con una toma extraordinaria de ese edificio inconfundible. 

 

 

 

Can you tell I’m geeking out?

¿Se ve mi emoción? 

 

 

Soon after arriving, we were warmly greeted by Justine, who arranged our visit. To say I was excited to meet her is an understatement! We toured Highclere at our own leisure, then met with her for tea and scones with clotted cream (and cafecito for me, of course!) on the castle’s grounds! 

 

 

With Justine, who made my visit possible! Thank you!

Con Justine, quién organizó nuestra visita. ¡Gracias!

 

 

 

Drawing Room. Photo courtesy of Highclere Castle.

Foto cortesía de Highclere Castle.

 

Library. Photo courtesy of Highclere Castle. 

Foto cortesía de Highclere Castle. 

 

 

Dining Room. Photo courtesy of Highclere Castle. 

Foto cortesía de Highclere Castle. 

 

 

Poco después de llegar, nos recibió cálidamente Justine, quien coordinó nuestra visita. ¡Estaba bien entusiasmada de conocerla! ¡Exploramos a Highclere a nuestro propio paso, y luego nos reunimos con Justine para compartir té y scones (unos panecillos típicos de Inglaterra) con crema espesa (¡y claro, cafecito para mí!) en los jardines del castillo!

 

 

Afterward, Justine took us to visit Lady Carnarvon’s private garden, where she picks her own herbs to make teas and remedies. And Justine was happy to spill the tea about how the Countess will even prepare her a cup of the favorite national beverage when Justine is a bit under the weather! 

Después, Justine nos llevó a visitar el jardín privado de Lady Carnarvon, donde ella corta sus propias yerbas medicinales para hacer tés y remedios. ¡Justine con mucho gusto nos contó cómo la Contesa hasta le prepara una taza de la bebida nacional favorita cuando Justine se siente un poco enferma!

 

 

 

 

Here’s the downside– if you cannot walk or have mobility problems, there is no lift (elevator) access to the second story of the mansion. However, fortunately, the majority of the magic is located on the ground floor! The main rooms photographed here are all accessible on the ground level. 

Guests are not permitted to photograph the interior, but Justine was gracious enough to send me some official photos of some of the most recognizable interior rooms to share here! 

Bueno, lamentablemente, si tu no caminas o si tienes problemas de movilidad, no hay ascensor (elevador) para llegar al segundo piso de la mansión. ¡Pero afortunadamente, la mayor parte de la magia se encuentra en el primer piso! Los salones principales en las fotos aquí son todas en el primer nivel. 

¡No está permitido tomar fotos del interior, pero Justine tuvo la amabilidad de enviarme fotos oficiales de algunos de los salones más reconocidos para compartir aquí! 

 

 

 

One of the most fascinating, real-life tales of Highclere folklore is its ties to Ancient Egypt. What!? Yes! You read that correctly. 

George Herbert, The fifth Earl of Carnarvon and great-grandfather to the current Earl of the same name, had a passion for ancient history and an insatiable appetite for adventure. So much so, that he financially sponsored the excavation of Tutankhamen’s tomb in 1922 after he discovered it along with his colleague, Howard Carter. The Earl and his Lady Carnarvon, Almina, often spent winters in Egypt. 

The cellars of Highclere contain a breathtaking antiquities collection, along with replicas of items uncovered from Tut’s tomb. Wow. 

The Highclere Castle team itself can be found on social media– they are very active and responsive on Instagram!

It is always delightful to find that there are historical places still open and accessible to the general public. Great houses like Highclere continue to make history come alive for everyone– and for future generations! 

 

 

The official Highclere Castle store! I may have bought the T-shirt above, some spoons, and a pair of earrings. 

¡La tienda oficial del castillo Highclere! Puede ser que yo haya comprado la camiseta arriba, unas cucharas, y un par de pantallas.

 

 

 

Uno de los aspectos más fascinantes del folklore de Highclere es su conexión al antiguo Egipto. ¿Qué? ¡Sí! Leíste eso correctamente. 

George Herbert, el quinto Conde de Carnarvon y el bisabuelo del Conde actual que lleva el mismo nombre, tenía una pasión por la historia antigua y un apetito insaciable para las aventuras. Así fue que él patrocinó la excavación de la tumba de Tutankhamen en el 1922 después de haberla descubierto con su colega, Howard Carter. El conde y su Lady Carnarvon, Almina, pasaron muchos inviernos en Egipto. 

Los sótanos de Highclere contienen una colección asombrosa de antigüedades, junto a réplicas de objetos que fueron recuperadas de la tumba de Tutankhamen. Wow. 

El equipo de Highclere Castle se encuentra en las redes sociales– ¡son muy activos y responden en Instagram!

Siempre es encantador enterarse que hay lugares históricos que permanecen abiertos y accesibles al público. ¡Las mansiones como Highclere continúan logrando que la historia se mantenga viva para todos– y para las futuras generaciones! 

 

The iconic Highclere Saloon, seen often in the series! Photo courtesy of Highclere Castle. 

¡El salón icónico de Highclere que salió mucho en la serie! Foto cortesía de Highclere Castle.

 

 

As great houses like this one increasingly become museum-like tributes to an era that is no longer, I have deep gratitude for the current Lord and Lady Carnarvon for opening their doors to visitors like me, who are just now learning about the legacy of this and other families like theirs. 

 

Violet, Dowager Countess: It makes me smile, the way every year we drink to the future, whatever it may bring.

Isobel Crawley:  Well, what else could we drink to? We’re going forward into the future, not going back into the past.

Violet: If only we had a choice.

 

Mientras que las grandiosas casas históricas como esta se convierten en homenajes tipo museos a una era que ya no existe, siento un agradecimiento profundo a los actuales Lord y Lady Carnarvon por abrir sus puertas a visitantes como yo, quienes ahora estamos aprendiendo sobre el legado de esta y otras familias como la de ellos. 

 

Violet, Condesa Viuda: Me hace sonreír, como cada año brindamos al futuro, a lo que sea que pueda traer. 

Isobel Crawley: ¿Bueno, y a qué más brindaremos? Vamos hacia el futuro, no atrás en el pasado. 

Violet: Si sólo tuviéramos la opción. 

 

Oh– and guess who just bought tickets to see the film? This girl here!  🙂 

Oh– ¿y adivinen quién acaba de comprar boletos para ver la película? ¡Esta chica aquí!  🙂 

 

 

— Laurita ♥

The Street Song of Barcelona / La Canción de las Calles en Barcelona

The Street Song of Barcelona / La Canción de las Calles en Barcelona

    “A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” — Tim Cahill   “Una jornada se mide mejor en amigos que en millas.” — Tim Cahill    It all started in Elche. When my parents and I, during a seven-week visit to