Planning Ahead 

It’s the second week of December! The end of the year is creeping up on us. I think we can all agree that 2016 was one hell of a ride. Therefore, it is imperative to start planning for the year ahead. Personally I think about goal setting by September. So if you haven’t already, I encourage you to start planning for 2017. Set some goals – and crush them! 


I focus on four priorities when goal setting which include: God, family, career and health. However, be realistic about your goals or else you will set yourself up for failure and disappointment . Start off by trying to accomplish short term goals first. For example, paying off credit card balances, increasing the contribution to your savings account or getting a new job – all are manageable within a year. Take baby steps and I guarantee you will reach all your goals. 

Outfit details: Coat (zara) Bag (Celine) Track pants (Adidas) Sneakers (Adidas)

Vegan Grub

By Chloe is by far one of the best vegan spots in NYC. Seriously this place is like vegan heaven! Its located on the corner of Mcdougal and Bleecker street in the West Village. My favorite combo is the avocado burger with air fried fries; its amazing believe me! They also sell natural juices, coconut water and small snacks if you’re on the go – all at a decent price point.  


I’m far from a vegan but seriously considering changing my lifestyle. Thankfully, I haven’t had a problem with nutrition. I try to eat white meats such as chicken, turkey, fish and vegetables for the most part. However, transitioning to a full vegan lifestyle will be a huge a CHALLENGE. Honestly – I love chicken. 

Health benefits of going Vegan:

Cardiovascular disease – eating nuts and whole grains, while eliminating meat, will improve your cardiovascular health. 

Blood pressure – a diet rich in whole grains will lower your high blood pressure.

Breast cancer – Studies have shown that countries where women eat very little meat and animal products have a lower rate of breast cancer compared to countries where women often consume meat. 

Holiday Survival Kit


The holiday season is upon us! By the blink of an eye it will literally be New Years eve. Yes, let that sink in for a minute. Personally, I love this time of year because its all about family bonding, delicious food and dancing. However, most people get anxiety once the holidays approach. Lets be honest who wants to deal with intrusive family members? Have you gained weight? When are you moving out? Lets not forget the infamous “when are you going to get married?” question. I think its safe to say we have all been in that scenario before. Below are some tips that will get help you get through the holiday season. 

1. Planning is key – Use a planner to keep track of events. Don’t accept invitations with out checking your calendar. You don’t want to double book and miss out on fun.

2. Buy presents early – Don’t wait until the last week before Christmas to shop! Make a top priority list while being conscious of your budget. Take advantage of Black Friday and cyber Monday deals. 

3. Sometimes its okay to disconnect – Try your best to stay off your phone, tablets or computer during dinner time. We all are a bit obsessed with technology and forget to live in the moment. Try to engage in a real conversation, share memories or play board games. Refrain from taking pictures of your plate – No one cares!

With love,
Karen

Avoid people who.. 


Over time I’ve learned to protect my space. Its important for me to keep genuine people in my life. I’ve had my share of false, negative and toxic relationships. Therefore, I refuse to keep those types of people in my life. GOOD Vibes only! Below is a list of people you should always avoid. 
1. Mess with your head – Don’t ever let someone play with your emotions. Pay attention to ACTIONS way more than words. Once someone shows you who they are believe them!
2. Intentionally and repeatedly do things they know upset you – Sometimes the company you keep brings you down. Friendships should consist of trust, support and laughter. Stay away from those people that try to dim your light.
3. Expect you to prioritize them but don’t prioritize you – You are NOT an option. Make time for those that care. Its a two way street!

4. Can’t and won’t apologize sincerely – If someone apologizes after hurting you – forgive them. But don’t accept someone who makes up excuses for their actions. If they love you they will take responsibility for their mistakes. 

Montreal, Quebec


Montreal is truly the gem of Quebec, the largest providence of Canada. This city is very similar to Paris, France. Its the perfect destination if you’re on a budget and can’t afford Paris (yet). Its a six hour drive from New York City and 45 min flight from LGA. French is the main language, but most people speak English as well. Montreal is filled with cafes, restaurants, art galleries and historic landmarks. The architecture is AMAZING and the neighborhood ranges from cobblestone to french colonial style. In addition the city is very clean. Its the perfect place to escape New York City for the weekend.

Where I stayed:(Les Etoiles ) I gave Airbnb a shot for this trip. As usual, I was bit nervous but to my surprise everything was perfect. The apartment was located in the center of the old city minutes from the Notre Dame Basilique. Hotels in Montreal are expensive so your best bet is Airbnb.

Perks: luxury apartment building, cable tv, kitchen, laundry room and free indoor parking.

Where I ate: So many places to eat but so little time! I was able to try a couple of restaurants and cafes, but I found two AMAZING places which I absolutely recommend.

Breakfast:

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Olive & Gourmando located on the corner of Rue Saint – Pierre and Rue Saint – Paul is a small cafe with cool vibes well known for paninis, baked goods and coffee. A bit on the pricey side but its a great destination for brunch or lunch.

Dinner:

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Agrikol a small haitian bar & restaurant in the “Gay Village” area of Montreal. I loved this place as soon as I walked in! The interior design is jaw dropping and instantly transports you to the Caribbean. This spot serves authentic Haitian food and drinks. The menu is only in French so the waiter had to translate. I had a good experience given it was my first time trying Haitian cuisine. Definitely recommend this place if you’re looking for good vibes at decent price.

(left) griot, plantains and rice & beans (right) oxtails & white rice


Places to see:

City view from park Mount Royal

The front doors of Notre Dame



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As I turn twenty seven I cant help but reflect on all the lessons learned thus far. I’ve survived heart breaks, deaths, disappointments and lost many friends a long the way. However, through it all I’m happy that things turned out the way they did. I’m filled with gratitude knowing that I’m blessed with health, a loving family and a good head on my shoulders. I’m very focused, more than ever! At this point I only focus on things that add value to my life. Sounds harsh but it’s so importante. When you eliminate everything that no longer serves you purpose, things seem to fall into place on their own. Invest in yourself, this is the time to be selfish in every way possible. Cheers to this new year of life! 
With love,

Karen xoxo

Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Earlier this year I visited Costa Rica for the first time. My boyfriend and I took a risk and decided to go during rainy season which is from May to December. Despite the rain in the morning and cloudy afternoons this country was absolutely amazing. We stayed at the RIU Palace in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.  Not a fancy hotel at ALL, but they serve great food, drinks and have good entertainment every night. Plus you get to feed monkeys at the monkey bar (pretty cool).

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If you are staying in Guanacaste, I recommend booking an excursion with Buena Vista tours. This day trip was amazing! I booked this tour via Viator which makes booking activities super easy and most importantly SAFE. Our personal tour guide picked us up early in the morning. It took about 1 hour to get to Rincon de la Vieja National Park (an active volcano!). Once we arrived our tour director gave us an overview and reviewed safety guidelines. This tour included horse back riding, mud bath, zip lining tour, water slide and lunch. I overcame my fear of heights on this tour. I never would have imagined I’d be flying over the rainforest in Costa Rica. Yeah, this was pretty much breath taking.

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Tamarindo beach  is a must! This beautiful beach is praised by surfers and tourist. It’s known for its white sand and big waves. I enjoyed my visit because it was not very crowded with local vendors. The town is filled with cute little shops where you can find custom-made stuff and souvenirs. We couldn’t leave Costa Rica without going to Tamarindo.