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GUEST POST | How to Spend 24 Hours in Miami

Guest Posts, TravelPaula LandrónComment
Pic via  @PaulaLandron

You can find a new yoga studio, café or club in Miami every weekend. There always seems to be something to do in this city. As long as you don’t mind the 70-80% humidity and 90+ degree weather, you’ll be bound to have some fun. 

Tip #1: Bring water with you at all times.

I lived in Miami for three years, therefore, I’m going to tell you what I would do in Miami on a Saturday on the regular:

9AM Panther Coffee

Amazing espresso and they have macadamia milk (if you haven’t tried it, it’s worth the try). They have various locations, but I recommend the one in Wynwood because post-coffee you will have some yoga to do! 

10:30AM Wynwood Yoga

A cool yoga studio with amazing vibes and awesome classes. The 10:30 AM Hot Power Vinyasa is my favorite! #BeThere

12PM Plant Miami

Post yoga you’re going to want to eat something since you only had an espresso and dropped all your worries (and calories) on your mat. If I were you I would go to Plant Miami for some vegan delights. They have a beautiful garden, with zen vibes.

2PM Perez Art Museum

After your lunch you’re going to want to chill and be indoors because it’s too hot to be outside during lunchtime in Miami.

Hit up the Pérez Art Museum. Their gift shop has items you won’t find anywhere else.  Chill out in their restaurant, Verde, while soaking up the view.

4PM Bike Ride

By the time you leave the museum, the sun has gone down (hopefully). Rent a CITI bike, cross the Venetian Causeway and you’re in South Beach. Admire the mansions and feel the ocean breeze while getting your second workout of the day in.

6PM LIDO Restaurant & Celestial Treasures

Post-workout you’re going to want to have a drink. On your way back to Downtown Miami on Venetian Causeway you can find LIDO, the restaurant at The Standard. Amazing oceanside views. The hotel is art deco inspired. Sangria, please. #Cheers.

If you want to get spiritual, go to Celestial Treasures in Coconut Grove. They sell stones, books, incense, candles, and tarot cards. Every souvenir you can imagine for your crystal collection or for your bruja girlfriends back home.

8PM Lagniappe

If you want a chill night out with friends in a place that’s not as pretentious as the rest of Miami, you can’t leave without drinking wine in Lagniappe. Buy a bottle (or two), sit down wherever you want, order a cheese platter and talk your night away. It closes at 2AM.

10PM Go Clubbing!

Luckily, you’re in Miami and you can go clubbing at LIV, MYNT, or STORY, dance house until sunrise at Trade or Space or grab late night munchies at La Moon in Brickell.

Enjoy, 

Paula

Paula Landrón

Meet our Guest Blogger

Paula Landron is a meditation, fitness instructor and blogger behind thedeeplifestyle.com. She enjoys exploring different ways to express her
true self through poetry, workouts on the beach, or dancing deep house late night in Miami. Born in Puerto Rico, she loves the simplicity of island life. She began her fitness journey at 17 by giving free Zumba classes in her high school. She continued her journey at the University of Miami where she created her signature workout class, DEEP®. Since then she has taught classes at Equinox and private events in Puerto Rico. She also hosts women empowerment circles and workouts at the beach. This website is an outlet for conscious creative
expression

GUEST POST | I Completed a Master's Degree in Barcelona with Zero Debt. Here's How I Did It!

Real Talk, Travel, CareerKrystel SierraComment

People often speak about the midlife crisis, but little is told about the mid-20’s struggle. I was experiencing it at 25, when life isn’t how you thought it would be and childhood expectations vanish in front of you.

I had finished my bachelor’s degree at 20 and had a stable 8-to-5 job. I had been saving money to do a master’s degree someday. Nonetheless, something was missing. I was not happy. I felt stuck, with little to no growth opportunities and a routine that was killing me.

I had searched for jobs in and out of Puerto Rico, and when I got called and interviewed for a worldwide Public Relations agency in Miami, I was super excited. The interview went well but then I was told that the only thing I was lacking was “agency experience”. But how could I get it if no one was willing to give me the opportunity to “train” me? I had decided that if I didn’t get that job, I would do a master’s degree that allowed me to do an internship. After getting rejected, that would be it.

At first I had considered a university in the United States but discarded the idea. I was not willing to take a loan worth a house to pay for a degree. That was when I began considering Europe, where education  is more affordable. Also, I had fallen in love with the continent and its lifestyle since my first vacations. There I felt home, I fitted in. I had spent my whole life putting everyone before me and it had taken a toll on my emotional health. I needed to get away in order to find myself, grow and be happy.

I needed to get away in order to find myself, grow and be happy.
— Krystel Sierra

After a lot of research, I found a great program from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. It was what I wanted: in Public Relations, affordable, with internship opportunities, and abroad. I applied, was accepted and began all the paperwork. I never thought about it so much. If I did, I would eventually be overwhelmed with all that could go wrong. I was leaving everything I knew, a home, and a stable job to move to a city I had never been to, thousands of miles away. I told my plans to my parents, who didn’t hesitate a second in supporting me. I cried when I sent the first tuition payment  because I knew there was no turning back. That day, my life changed forever.

krystel sierra traveling

A lot of people wonder how I was able to pay for it. I come from a very humble family and I had to fully support myself. When you grow up struggling, you learn that money is no joke. Due to that, I was a compulsive saver. One of the things I am prouder of, is that I didn’t take a single loan. I worked hard since I was 17 and saved for as long as I remember. I was a very dedicated student and that paid off too. I had won a scholarship that I saved strictly for educational purposes. I would rather drive my very old car, bring lunch everyday to work, buy clothes one time a year, and go to the movies once every few months than spend a scholarship on material things. I had plenty of spreadsheets to calculate my monthly expenses in Barcelona. I knew how much money I needed, I had calculated the risks and it was now or never.

barcelona

A week before moving, I cried every night. I had the occasional second-guessing but a friend -whom I had previously encouraged to study abroad- told me, “you are scared now but once you land here, you will not know why you were so afraid.” And she was right. I packed two big suitcases, set up my blog Chase the Feeling where I would document my journey,  and moved to Barcelona. I lived in a shared room at the university. The first time I walked around the city, I knew I was where I meant to be.

Of course, despite the beauty of Barcelona, the first two weeks were incredibly hard. It was exhausting to figure out every bureaucratic paperwork that came with moving to a foreign country. So it was adjusting to share a room with a stranger, figuring out the transportation system, doing grocery shopping and learning how the ingredients were called there. It was hectic but it all fell into place. In October, I went to the program’s welcome meeting. We were divided into work groups that would last until the end of the master’s. It was the beginning of the most amazing year of my life.

krystel sierra

A month into it I had mastered the transportation system, the grocery shopping, adapted to the teaching style, and made a best friend whom I call now my sister.

My next goal was to land an internship. To my surprise, the university didn’t have placement, so it was basically like a job search. I applied and sent e-mails to plenty of local PR agencies every day. By the end of November, I had landed my internship. Now it was a matter of balancing an almost full-time job with classes, group meetings, presentations, and adulthood responsibilities. But there’s nothing in life that you can’t do if you work hard for it. My internship experience was enriching. I learned a bit of catalán, my coworkers were very supportive and I earned the “agency experience” I was looking for.

krystel sierra inglaterra

I wanted to travel too. Before leaving Puerto Rico, I had budgeted a trip to Munich to meet with my sister in January. Also, I had set myself a monthly allowance for traveling wherever I could afford. I eventually became an expert at budget travel and visited more countries than I thought I would. My first trip was to Iceland in December to see the Northern Lights -which I didn’t get to see- but I will forever dream of the Blue Lagoon and the country’s breathtaking nature. Then the Christmas break arrived. I spent my first holidays away from my family, but joined my friend and her relatives in northern Germany and later in Girona, Spain. In January, I was beyond happy with my sister in Munich, a city I fell in love with.

My next trips were highly spontaneous and based on opportunities that came along.  I ended up visiting Munich two times to attend football matches (THE dream), Italy, and England. Google Flights is a blessing with its calendar of ridiculously low fares. Traveling within Europe is very affordable. With what you spend on a weekend in Puerto Rico, you can visit three cities in Italy and cover ALL expenses. I would also go out every weekend to lose myself in the city I now call home. La meva Barcelona. I visited museums, landmarks, beaches, markets, and nearby cities like Sitges and Montserrat. But it was not all fun and games.

With 2017 kicking in, it was time for my next goal: to move from the university dorms to an apartment in Barcelona city. Looking for pisos in Barcelona is a nightmare. The demand is extremely high and so are the prices. I had to stay on budget so when I was about to give up, I found a great apartment shared with two people – a guy from Ecuador and a girl from Poland. They became my family and I will always cherish our time as housemates.

Motivated by my love for languages, I searched for opportunities to learn German. Gladly, I discovered a summer program at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. It was perfect and affordable and as my spending projections were accurate -plus I was earning a bit as an intern- I enrolled. After finishing my degree, I would move to Germany.   

krystel sierra
krystel sierra iceland

Back to college life, I will not say that everything was perfect. The teaching style is based a lot on you figuring things out on your own. It’s designed with a professional approach rather than academic. Also, the grading is subjective, rather than based on a mathematical sum of points. Naturally it was a challenge to create our final project: a Public Relations plan for one of the biggest toy makers in the world. However, with countless of hours of hard work, Whatsapp conversations and Sunday meetings, we did it.  We presented our plan to the client in June, had a graduation a few days later, and it was over.

graduation krystel sierra

I had proven to myself how strong I was. I cried, I laughed, I fell, and I got up. I thought that the most valuable thing that I would obtain was a master’s degree, but it wasn’t. My experiences as an immigrant, an international student, an intern, a solo traveler, and an adult away from home made me better, stronger, more tolerant, smarter, independent, more respectful, and optimistic. It helped me believe in myself more, be spontaneous and see the good in people. The people. It was those whom I met and the relationships I developed what I cherish the most. If there is a reason why I would do it all over again, it is so I would have them in my life.

krystel sierra friends
krystel sierra friends

In August I moved to Munich to learn German. It was an intensive three-week course. I took lessons every day, made new friends, experienced the city in the summer and, of course, attended a Bayern Munich football match. I even got my jersey signed by my favorite player. Life doesn’t get a lot better than that. I finished the course and did a 3-day trip to Poland, Czech Republic and Austria. Then I went back to Barcelona. After a year, it was time to get my bags and fly to Puerto Rico. I was devastated for what I was leaving behind, but hopeful for the future. Now I have a different mindset, friends in almost every continent and a clear goal in mind: to eventually relocate to Europe.

The biggest lessons I learned from this experience? The most important thing in life is happiness.

Experiences are better than possessions and material things. You can live with a lot less than you think. Meaningful relationships are what stay when all else vanishes. When you are determined and believe in yourself, you can achieve anything. Set your goals, work on a plan but let life surprise you. And last but not least, when you follow your passions, you are on the right track.

If you have ever considered studying abroad, do it. I encourage anyone to take on the challenge of moving and immersing themselves in a completely different culture. You are not only growing academically or professionally, but also as a person. And at the end of the day, that is the experience you will treasure the most.

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   Meet our Guest Blogger

Hello there, I’m Krystel and I'm the blogger behind Chase the Feeling and the creator of the Chase the Feeling Travel Planners. Born in the 90’s, I love music, football ⚽, and The Office. Cat person, old soul, and languages enthusiast -I’m bilingual (English and Spanish), currently learning German. I've also studied Italian and French but I want to improve a lot more. I enjoy writing and learning about different topics. I will always google anything I don’t know and open too many tabs at once. 

 

 

Want to stay in touch? Follow me on Instagram or Twitter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shop my Travel Planners here

GUEST POST | 12 Ways to Become a Successful Freelancer

Career, Guest PostsMari NievesComment
mari nieves pink studios

Oh, hello! My name is Marii Nieves and I am the Founder of Pink Studios - a full-service boutique digital marketing provider; specializing in digital media presence for small & medium-sized businesses; and you probably heard about me and my story, here.

A little over a year ago, Pink Studios stopped being a part-time gig to become a full-time-with-overtime monster - and I could not be happier about it. Regardless, I feel the obligation to admit that making the decision to quit my full-time job as a Digital Marketing Director at a multimillion dollar company was not easy. Not at all. You can read about it here.

The financial stability, the routine, the classic “what would people say?” and “what if I fail?”, were constant thoughts running through my brain.
Why are we wired this way though? Instead, why don’t we think “I am confident in myself”, “I can do this!”, “I will kick-ass!”, “I will prove them wrong.”

When you are making a decision like this, you are allowed 5 minutes to be sissy and curl up in a corner.
— Mari Nieves from Pink Studios
beyonce slaying

When you are making a decision like this, you are allowed 5 minutes to be sissy and curl up in a corner; after that you gotta pull up your big girl pants, be gangsta and say: “I’ll get this shit done!”

Being organized and establishing processes and routines made this journey a whole lot easier. Today, I am sharing with you my favorite tips to becoming a successful freelancer and get things done:

1. Establish some sort of online presence to present your services.

People spend the vast majority of their time online. Whatever your industry is, you need to make sure that if people are searching for people like you - they can find you. Whether it’s a website, Facebook Business Page, Twitter, Instagram, you name it. Be there.

2. Update your personal social networks, specially Linkedin.

Everyone you are connected with should be aware that you are now flying-solo and that they can reach you for special projects. ambinity has a GREAT article about it: 10 Ways to Maximize your LinkedIn Profile

3. Create a routine.

When you become a freelancer, you are most likely to work from home; distractions and convenience might come in your way. Just because you are working from home doesn’t mean you get to wake up at 10:30am, take 3 hour lunch breaks and squeeze in a Netflix marathon. Get up early, fix yourself a cup of coffee or tea, eat breakfast, dress up and get to work. At the beginning, you might find it annoying but trust me, it gets you in the right mindset.

4. Organization + a project/task management app are key!

In order to be successful at #4, you NEED to have a proper way to manage tasks. Something I have learned over this past year is that whether I successfully execute my morning routine or not; if I don’t have a set list of what I need to work on the next day - my morning is wasted! Ain’t nobody got time for that! So, before your day ends make a list of all the things you have pending;  that way the next day you’ll be ready to get stuff done instead of wasting time running in circles figuring out where things were left off the day prior.

But how do I make my to-do lists? Paper? App? Both? This is something I get asked constantly. Paper lists are great until you go to a meeting or to work somewhere else and you left your list at home.That sucks! You can use post-its if necessary for quick reminders; but… hey, we are not The Flintstones - use the technology resources available. There are great tools such as: Asana, Trello (my favorite) and Basecamp that can work wonders. Are you using any of these?

marii nieves pink studios

5. Setup a dedicated workspace.

I need to brag for a second - I LOVE, LOVE <3 my workspace! Now that I got that off my system I have to tell you something. Working remotely and having your office be a home-office is hard! To be able to focus all of my energy on work, I needed to set up a dedicated space where I could forget about all the distractions around, be inspired and really get to work.

A few essentials for me: Macbook Pro, external monitor, bluetooth keyboard and mouse, lamp, lavender candles, comfortable chair, speaker, couch - mostly for visits and when I want to change scenarios a little bit.  Make it work for you!

Shop Mari's Office Must Haves!

6. Get your numbers in place.

Hopefully you’ll start making money soon and once you have to fill your taxes, etc; you’d need to have everything in place. At the moment, I swear by Wave App. It allows me to send estimates, convert them to invoices, send payment reminders, track outstanding balances and expenses. It has worked wonders for me and those I have recommended it to. Try it out and let me know.

7. Use a contract or agreement for every project.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a small project or a large one - you want everything discussed and covered. This will save you a lot of time and headaches. There are different website that provide pre-made proposals, contracts and agreement that you can sign up for such as Proposify. Alternatively, you can also sit down with an attorney to make sure everything is covered.

8. Rate cards.

Depending on your industry, this may be viable or not. Set some time to define your pricing structure. Are you gonna charge per hour? Per project? Per service? Establish those from the beginning, that way, making proposals will be a breeze instead of a nightmare.

9. Limit distractions.

Distraction could be your worst enemy; from watching TV to laying down for a second (that turn out to be 2 hours) and our fatal attraction: social media. I am a firm believer that you need to work hard but breaks are 100% necessary. There are several apps that can help you with this. From Focus (download for iOS | download for Android) which focuses on the Pomodoro technique to Freedom, ColdTurkey (download for Mac | download for Android) and InMoment (download for iPhone) which allow you to track and/or block time spent on social networks or a list of websites you determine for a certain period to allow you to better focus on getting things done.

10. Ask for testimonials.

From past clients, to ex-bosses, supervisors, colleagues, etc… they probably have great things to say about you. The easiest way to compile all of these is to ask for Recommendations on LinkedIn. From there you can extract their testimonials and use on your website and promotional material. It is always encouraged that you let them know that you will be using their testimonials - I highly doubt they will say no, but it is a courtesy.

11. Don’t be afraid to say “no”.

Choose your clients carefully. You are allowed to say “no”. Is this new client from an industry you don’t feel 100% comfortable with? Does it not align with your business values and standards? Do you feel like the chemistry is not there? Are you fully booked but don’t want to say “no” because “it’s a new gig”? Don’t feel bad. That is absolutely okay.  This will happen and you need to be ready to tackle these type of situations. My recommendations, draft a nice email and propose a plan: either let them know that at the moment you are not able to work with them and, if possible, provide an alternative vendor to fulfill their needs.

12. Never stop learning.

Easy as that. Information is at our fingertips these days. Never stop learning. Find ways where you can increase your knowledge on certain topics and trends and even find time to learn new things. Doing so will allow you to stay up to date and be able to react within your industry when something is relevant.


BONUS: The occasional day off is totally fine!

People ask me: “how do you stay motivated every single day of the week” and my answer is: “sometimes I don’t”. Their reaction is priceless. The reality is, this is one of the perks of being your own boss. You set your time and if you don’t feel productive for a moment, it is okay to take the day off if necessary.

ambinity

On days like that I like to catch up on my Netflix queue, watch crappy reality shows (this right here is my guilty pleasure) from Real Housewives of Orange County, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, RHOA and RHONJ, Keeping up with the Kardashians, Botched, Naked and Afraid, Shark Tank and I also love to read a good book, listen to podcasts and try and just pay with Pakko Petardo and Lola Inés del Pilar.


 

Last but not least, make sure you make the most out of your time as a freelancer or entrepreneur. Get stuff done. This is your time. Don’t ever let your creativity die. Do you have additional tips or questions? Leave them in the comments section below.

If you want to reach out to me, I am always available via inbox or you can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. See you there.

mari nieves pink studios

Meet our Guest Blogger

I’m Marii, your Facebook-loving, goal-crushing, digital marketing-obsessed professional. I’m a Computer Engineering turned digital marketing-entrepreneur who believes in the power of helping others succeed in life or their businesses with the right tools by their side. Founder of Pink Studios and The Digital Strategy Lounge and mom of #PakkoyLola.
Wanna know me? Shoot me a message here or here.

GUEST POST| I Got Into Law School and Here's What You Should Know

Guest Posts, CareerAna María BaezComment
what to know before you get into law school

We are excited to announce that Ana María Baez is our first Guest Blogger for ambinity! We really hope you like it, so make sure you send her some love by sharing this posts or leaving her a message in the comments section.

It’s no secret that becoming a lawyer isn’t exactly a piece of cake. Pursuing a career in law requires the utmost commitment, responsibility, and perseverance. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment that I decided to study law; it happened very organically. As I was doing my undergrad in Communications and Political Science, I was struggling to decide what to do after college. I knew I wanted to continue to grad school, but it wasn’t until I took a class on law and the media in my junior year that made me realize how many of my interests aligned with becoming a lawyer!

As a current third-year law student, I won’t lie: law school can be intense. But despite the difficulties and the ups & downs, I have found it to be rewarding in the most unexpected ways. However you come to the decision, if you’re considering law school as a possible option for you, here are a few tips that were passed on to me, along with some of my own:


1. On selecting a school

Choosing where to study law depends on a various amount of factors. From the admission requirements to where it’s located, every detail counts. Take into consideration your lifestyle, financial needs, and areas of interest.  After all, if you’re accepted, this will be your home for the next few years! Spend time developing your own criteria. I would recommend to make a list of schools and research their websites, and if possible, visit the campus you’d like to attend or contact them for more information and clarity.

2. Speaking of admission requirements…

Navigating the law school application process can be tricky, but preparing in advance will ease the stress of the process. Many schools in the United States and Puerto Rico require a test called the Law School Admissions Test, or ‘LSAT’. The exam is divided into five 35-minute parts, testing reading comprehension and certain logic skills. While meeting the LSAT requirements is an important part of your application, take note of any other elements that may necessary towards your admissions, such as additional entrance exams, letters of recommendation or writing samples. Make sure you don’t miss your deadline!

3. Cracking the LSAT

Whether you study alone or with friends, preparing for the LSAT is one the most vital steps in the law school application process. If you’re a self-starter, there are many practice tests and review books are widely available. If you prefer studying in groups and need more guidance, companies like The Princeton Review dedicate themselves to providing tutoring sessions for a fee. In any case, it’s recommended you study at least six weeks before the date of the exam, which is administered a few times per year and has a maximum score of 180. To familiarize yourself more with the requirements for the LSAT, check out their official website for the Law School Admissions Council

Once you’re in…

ana maria baez her campus

Welcome to the madhouse! The first few weeks of law school will be a bit overwhelming: heavy course loads and long nights of reading lie ahead. However, those first few weeks are also a perfect time to explore and familiarize yourself with your school. From joining the law review to pro-bono activities, take note of any extracurricular that interests you. Another tip? Time to work on that résumé. Job fairs are usually held at one point during the semester, and if you want to score an internship early on, it’s best to have your résumé ready to go. Studying will take up a lot of your time, so make sure you’re organized from the beginning, and you won’t miss out on important opportunities.

 

#CareerMode: ON

Going to law school is practically a full-time job on its own, and doesn’t leave room for much else.  However, if you find yourself working while attending law school, time management can definitely become a challenge. In my case, I’ve found that it all boils down to how I organize my tasks. By setting weekly goals instead of daily ones, I found that I wasn’t under so much pressure if one thing didn’t go exactly as planned. I’d suggest that if you find that your course load is too heavy, consider taking a night class if possible in order to shift your schedule, and make more room during the day. In terms of your job, be clear with your supervisors as to how much time you will be dedicating to your studies and to your responsibilities at work. Honesty is the best policy, even with you.

Studying will take up a lot of your time, so make sure you’re organized from the beginning, and you won’t miss out on important opportunities.
— Ana María Baez on Law School
law school students



Find your balance

One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced so far is keeping a positive outlook in law school. One can become so immersed in the day-to-day stress of your studies, it’s easy to forget: you’re allowed to have a life. Many times you’ll have to say ‘no’ to going out or being with friends and loved ones. Even so, I’ve learned that it’s of vital importance to be realistic about the number of hours you study each week. Even though you’ll probably be studying more than you’ve had to ever in your life, locking yourself away with your books all day isn’t exactly a recipe for success. Be mindful of how you feel. Staying consistent throughout the semester will be helpful if you want to achieve higher grades. And while a high GPA is important, always remember to include time for people and things you love in your weekly schedule. Whether it’s playing a sport, making art, or simply meeting with a friend, find a happy outlet that will anchor you throughout this remarkable odyssey.

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Meet Our Guest Blogger

Ana María Báez is a third-year law student and a graduate of communications and political science. She has done freelance content writing for Merodea’s lifestyle section and for HerCampus.com. She has a love for all things media and writing; and she has a passion for cooking and yoga.