New City, New Me?

New City, New <b>Me</b>?

New city, new me…how cliché of me (hence the question mark). But yes, new city, that one’s true. For those of you who know me or those friends who share my IG Stories and Snap adventures with me, you’ve probably witnessed some of my transition, if not all. For everyone else, last year I made a choice of moving back to the good ol’ bay, the city I once lived in back in my “heeeey” day (like how I did that?). So, shortly after celebrating my four years in Los Angeles, I was on my way to San Francisco.

Now, back to the new me part…there’s no newness to me really but it feels that way sometimes. Returning to a city I had done a lot of growing in, coming back around this time, things felt new and better. This could also have to do with the fact that I am returning as a grown woman (sorta)…29, almost and this time around I’m no college sorority girl living wild & free…(for the most part). You know when you get to a point in your life and you start reflecting… like, “what was I thinking back then?” and then you begin loving and accepting yourself for who you truly are and are actually thankful for the bumps you’ve encountered? Yah, that’s sorta where I am now. I feel new…

Now, a resident of San Francisco and a sorta grown woman…I sit at a café, the one down the street from my apartment. Laptop open, coffee by my side and I sit and think…what am I really getting to? What has really made me change? Where am I at now (mentally and emotionally)? After a few minutes of pacing back and forth and a lot of latte sipping, I listed some of the answers below. What have I learned so far, in my 20s and what will I take with me to my 30s? Here we go…

1. No one will love you enough…

“Geeze, way to set the tone!” Right?…but no, really. No one will ever love you enough, only you can do that for you. Additional love is always welcome and will only bring more love and joy to you, but it all starts from within. I learned this one a few years back, I was single. It took a lot of soul searching and heart break to get this one, to fully understand. Now, happy in love…I can only say it’s 100% true.

2. Nope, you’re not where you want to be…that is OK.

After a career change a few years back, I felt that I needed to start up again and it felt quite frustrating. “If I had stuck it out, I’d probably be a whole lot more successful than I am today”…I would tell myself. While that could be true, I know 100% that I would not be happier. Things change, passions change, you always have to follow your heart and listen to your gut… things will eventually play out the way you never thought they would, just trust. 😉

3. Traveling really is everything!

I think it has to do with the fact that I am the daughter of two very hardworking immigrants, but for a very long time, I thought work was all I needed to do and invest my time in. Travel was always something I wanted to do but never saw it as a priority…after taking a few trips here and there and big ones across seas; I’ve begun to see life very differently. I’ve felt the happiest (no pair of gucci’s can give you that). It’s motivated me and given life a different meaning…more living, more to share.

4. It all comes from within…

This one is a lot like number 1…but there’s gotta be a lot of emphasis on this one, it’s important. I’ve been investing a lot of my time and efforts to eating clean, balancing things out, and working out consistently. The moment I stop or I make a bad choice, it all comes tumbling down…it’s simple. Start taking care of yourself, for real… you’ll see everything start working out.

5. You never ever stop learning and growing!

I come across this one every so often… I do a lot of self-growth and entrepreneurial reading. After reading it so many times, I  began to actually pay attention to what it meant and how it affected me. I took notes, I opened up my mind a little, at work and with relationships…a little reminder never hurt anyone. Take a moment to stop and listen.

As I take the last sip of my latte and a last glance at my blog…I feel some sort of relief. I missed blogging, I missed sharing, reflecting, and writing it all down. As I settle in my new city and make it home again, I want to share even more. Stay tuned, I promise…there will be so much more.

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Questions, comments? Show me some love in the comments or shoot me a tweet, @Joanna_Renteria. XOXO

Photography by: Sindoora Satyavada

Feeding My Tummy and Soul, Rome

Feeding My Tummy and Soul, <b>Rome</b>

To feed one’s tummy is one thing, but to feed one’s soul is another. I needed a little bit of both, so I decided it was time to take a break. Where would I go?

Where I’ve always dreamt of, Italia.

A hopeless writer and romantic, I thought my time in Italy would be just like Julia Roberts’ in Eat, Pray, Love. I’d wine and dine and watch the sunset, meet Italians and watch some passionate fútbol (soccer) in a local bar and fall in love with every word and scent I stumbled upon. Well, that all happened… but so much more did too. I ate too much, I learned even more, I got lost a few times, and I fell in love with travel. With that said, this blog entry is the first of a few.

This one is all about Roma… or Rome.

My Arrival:

For a girl that’s always dreamt of visiting this particular country, I was anxious and excited to see what it all entailed. Would I understand some Italian? Will the pasta be as good as I’ve dreamt? Will the love for food and romance be as vivid as I once imagined? With flight delays and an unexpected missed connecting flight, I arrived In Rome around 10pm on a Wednesday. I was nervous, I was clearly unfamiliar with the area but thankfully I had some euros in my pocket and it was clear enough what train I needed to take to get as close to my hotel as possible. I caught the last train and was on my way. Arriving a bit late to the Roma Termini station, I wasn’t able to get that lively italian experience I was hoping for…oh well, tomorrow will do. I got a cab and was on my way to my hotel. It was about 11pm or so when I arrived, being a Wednesday, not much was open… but ding ding! I found a pizzeria. After getting my first taste of Italian pizza (which yes, is very different), I concluded my day….I was in Rome.

Day 1:

Jet lag?! Ugh I forgot all about it. Did I prepare? No. Should you? Yes. Once I got myself some zzz and some medicine, I was able to explore the city. Rome is apparently not as big as we all think, at least not the central areas… and you can pretty much get around by walking (in comfy shoes). Where to?

For the next few hours, I visited:

•Trevi fountain

•The Pantheon

•Piazza Navonna

•Spanish Steps (closed but was able to see from a distance)

•Vittorio Emanuelle monument  (general entrance is free, but for view there is a small fee)

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All locations were free for the most part and no long lines needed to be made when I visited (not more than a 5 minute wait). While I was done exploring Rome for the day, the next thing I wanted to do was eat… a lot. Nothing beats eating an italian meal like cooking an italian meal and learning from local Italian chefs, so I took a cooking class with Walks of Italy.

The class was held on the top floor of a local neighborhood overlooking the city (I felt as if I was in the heart of Rome). From 6pm to about 9 or 10, I learned how to make spaghetti and ravioli all from scratch. I also learned that Alfredo sauce is a “no no” as it isn’t an authentic Italian sauce, tomato sauce will do! While I sipped on Prosecco (not Champagne), I got my hands dirty and cooked alongside a few other travelers who were there looking to do the same thing, explore and eat. The class was held in English but I was introduced to some Italian, like how to say grazie and not pronounce it as “grazi”. Altogether, we chatted, exchanged stories and laughs as we indulged in Prosecco, spaghetti, bruschetta, and ravioli.

Looking back at my trip, this was probably one of the most authentic experiences I had.  Chef Roberto and his assistant were welcoming and very informative. They made the entire experience fun, and I can honestly say that the meal was one of my favorites from my entire trip. This was the perfect conclusion to day one.

Day 2: 

Today was dedicated to visiting two very important monuments in Rome, the Colosseum and the Vatican. I knew it would be a long day of walking and standing under the hot sun, so I prepared. Tickets for both were purchased in advance and my tour of the Colosseum was guided by Walks of Italy.

I arrived at the Colosseum just in time to meet with tour guide, Maristella. Fluent in many languages, this tour was done so in Español. No line needed to be made, I think this is because we went in with a tour guide. A casual security check was done, but all throughout that time Maristella introduced the history of the Colosseum and what exactly we would be looking at. While many decide to visit the Colosseum on their own (no tour guide) and read from the pamphlet as they wander their eyes, I wouldn’t recommend doing so. My three-hour tour not only visited the Colosseum, but also the Foro Romano and Monte Palatino that are just on the other side of the street. No pamphlet or book will give you the same experience as visiting these locations with an expert by your side… plus, it’s not too pricey.

I won’t go into all that I took in, but I will show you this.

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Once part 1 of the day was completed, it was off to part 2. The Vatican was difficult to get to, I walked… but I would probably recommend taking a shuttle or taxi to the location. I didn’t purchase a special tour for this experience (a bit of a regret), but I did have my ticket (€16) for an evening tour of the Vatican Museum (you know, that’s where the Sistine chapel is). I especially wanted to wander around Vatican City and take it all in, the history, spirituality and religion that brought this all together. I was more impressed than anything by the size of the church and the years of history that lied in the museum.

The Vatican

It was about 9pm when I finally concluded my long day. If I were to look back, I would have probably split these two visits into two separate days; there is so much to see and it can get a bit overwhelming, but these are two that you wouldn’t want to miss.

Not much food was consumed this day as I was still recovering from jet lag, but I quickly became a fan of Italian bruschetta and Italian beer. Water fountains surrounded the city and the water is known to be very clean, so feel free to grab a refreshing drink Roman style because the city can get hot. This would be the end of day 2 and almost the end of my time in Rome. Up next would be Venezia, but first…more food.

This post was written in partnership with Walks of Italy. While my cooking class and tour were sponsored, all opinions written are my own.

Dealing With Rejection and Turning That No Into A “Try Again”

Dealing With Rejection and Turning That <b>No</b> Into A <i>“Try Again”</i>

Last week, I spent two entire days at the #WeAllGrow Blogger Summit in Long Beach. This was the second time the annual conference would be taking place, and it was my first time attending.

“I like to call this more of a retreat than a conference,” words I heard from another blogger.

True? Looking back, I can confirm it.

Now, while much was shared and a lot was learned, it was listening to a keynote’s speech and a panel moderated by her that I felt moved, inspired, and relieved.

The topic of discussion was rejection.

Was I alone? Absolutely not. For the next hour, “blogueras” listened, questioned, expressed, and shared. See, bloggers are pretty much entrepreneurs and business owners. The word “no” is something we’re all too familiar with. Some don’t see bloggers as professional writers or journalists, I say we’re all storytellers. We all have a different voice, a different outlet, and while we’re all trying to reach a specific audience, we often face rejection for years or months before we ever receive a “yes”.

Rejection is an extremely difficult thing to deal with, at the end of the day, we’re all human.

With that said, I’ve gathered some notes from what I found most inspiring in hopes that you will begin looking at rejection as only a challenge, an opportunity, and not a closed-door.

“No means not right now”

Have you come across the phrase, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”? We can all discuss patience, but we all know how tough it really is to wait. However, at many times we have to grow and flourish before we can be ready for that one opportunity. When you get that no, take is a “not right now” instead.

“Don’t take a ‘no’ personally…be patient and prepared”

Easier said than done, right? When I started off in the journalism field and as a blogger, I shed tears every time I wasn’t offered that job I wanted or that campaign I thought I was perfect for. Now, I take every no as a challenge; maybe I need to better prepare myself, am I working hard enough? Ask yourself these questions and never take it personally.

“You have to be eternally patient for anything you want to achieve”

I am a strong believer in fate; I would have never started blogging if I hadn’t been told that I needed more experience writing. I would have never sought out a blogging community and I would have never met all the amazing women that I have. When our grandmother says, “lo bueno toma tiempo”… she might just be right.

“Embrace fear, let it out, fear is your friend” 

Anything that is outside of our comfort zone is a bit scary, but anything that is out of our comfort zone will help us grow. Some of the most confident, talented and successful people I know embody fear. One of my good friends is a TV reporter, I remember asking her a few years back if she still got nervous (she had years of experience); she said, “The day I stop feeling nervous is the day I quit my job”. Think about it.

“Don’t be afraid of the follow-up,  and pitch another idea. Turn one yes,  into more”

Follow-up emails are scary, if you’re lucky you will receive a response, usually that will be a “not this time around”. Whatever the case might be, you NEED to send that follow-up email, regardless of the situation. Show your interest; you might get a “yes”, and that “yes”might just be your ticket in.

If you’re a blogger or entrepreneur and you have something to add, I’d love to hear it! Feel free to comment below or shoot me a tweet, @Joanna_Renteria.