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Learning to Celebrate both NEW and Old Thanksgiving Traditions

"Isn't it peculiar, Charlie Brown, how some traditions just slowly fade away?" - Lucy Van Pelt

When life throws you curveballs, you have to learn to roll with the punches, which is not always easy. I know this firsthand.

After losing half of my immediate family in a span of three years, the holidays became a time of sadness for me. I could not even think of getting out of bed, let alone celebrating family holiday traditions.

But in time, as I allowed myself to start healing and not be defined by my grief, I learned that it's okay to celebrate new traditions while still honoring the old ones. 

My mom doesn't cook anymore at home since it is just she and I. We go to my aunt Maria's house where there's salsa music blasting, lots of chatter and cooking in the kitchen and lots of laughter. My nieces celebrate the holiday with their mom, where they now have their own traditions.

One of my favorite traditions around the holidays is drinking coquito, which is the Puerto Rican version of spiked egg nog. 

And I have to admit, I also have my laptop in front of me, as I drink, trying to get in on some pre-Black Friday Thanksgiving online sales. Last year, I bought a new winter coat for $25 and scored some major deals for Christmas. Sometimes I don't sleep for 24 hours on Cyber Monday. Shopping on a budget is that serious to me, especially with three girls to buy gifts for.

While I am shopping online, my mom will sneak me some pasteles to eat while I wait for dinner to be done. Bless her heart. Man, I live for some pasteles, which we usually don't indulge in until the holidays. They're like tamales but the masa is made of plantains and yautía with chunks of pork in them. Yum.

My uncle is usually sitting in his recliner in the living room, some egg nog in his cup, watching soccer aka football -- he's from St Kitts and very serious about his soccer. I laugh when I think of him and his thick West Indian accent, yelling at the TV. LOL! When the turkey and pernil are done, he then has the honor of slicing the meat up for us to eat.

Some of my aunt's friends will come by for dinner and we say grace before we eat -- I have to admit, I always add (to myself) "Miss you Dad and Danny! You are never forgotten". While the old family traditions we shared don't happen anymore, I honor them to the fullest in my own way because the memories forever remain. However, part of moving on with life is going with the flow of change and in this case, that means embracing new traditions and things. This is what my dad and brother would want me to do.

We usually end dinner with dessert (and some more coquito, LOL) and sometimes we'll play Uno. My aunt usually makes sure to have pumpkin pie, apple pie and sweet potato pie. We leave the flan for Christmas and I'm drooling as I type this because flan is my world.

Enough about food... I still have a week to go before all that deliciousness so let me not digress.

Part of my new Thanksgiving tradition is also choosing a fabulous outfit to wear and making sure I am wearing something I love that's also comprised of the three C's: Chic, Casual and Comfy. 

Fashion has become a saving grace for me because it helps boost my spirit and make me feel good. I walk with an extra pep in my step when I am wearing something I love.

I can't believe I am saying this but I am in love with plaid and velvet this year. I used to hate them so much but the styles that I have been seeing this season has made me fall in love. 

When I saw this Love & Legend by Addition Elle Babydoll Mini Dress in Plaid at Gwynnie Bee, I knew this would be perfect as a Thanksgiving look. The fabric has stretch and almost feels like a light fleece, which is great for those brisk fall to winter days. The keyhole shows some cleavage and I love the knee length. It has 3/4 sleeves with elastic cuffs. I love the little ruffle detail at the waist too.

And this Military Velvet Jacket from Drew via Gwynnie Bee is a winner! Once I put it on, I felt like this jacket gave me LIFE. It elevated the dress to chic status and made me feel so fancy. I'm actually buying this jacket so it will not be going back. It's mine!

For me, this is such an easy look that makes me feel great. And that is perfect for Thanksgiving and beyond. 

This outfit is SO chic, casual and comfy that I am tempted to venture out on Black Friday this year. My cousin and her boyfriend usually go after dinner and I am feeling daring this year. I guess fashion has that way of pushing you out of your comfort zone in other ways outside of dressing your body. It changes your attitude and fuels your confidence.

What are your favorite Thanksgiving traditions? And I would love to know what you're wearing this Thanksgiving. Comment below and let me know. Hope it's fabulous!

Fit/Size Deets...

-- I'm wearing a size 26 in the plaid dress and a size 4X in the jacket. 

-- My boots are from Lane Bryant but unfortunately, they are two years old and I have yet to see any new boots from them this year that fit a wide calf over 18". Mine measure 23" around and this was the first time I found tall boots that fit my calves comfortably.

If you aren't a member of Gwynnie Bee and want to try the service out, you can try it for 30 days FREE of charge. Just click here to sign up.  You can get this dress and jacket for yourself for FREE. Go for it, Girl! Take a chance on fashion.

**This post also contains some affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them.  This is one of the ways I can continue to bring you inspiring content. Thank you!

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How An All-Girls Staycation Weekend Reminded Me of My Fearlessness

"When you feel like you don't fit in anywhere, find the people who fit you because there is no one else like you." ~ Issa Rae

The G6 minus Nanthale who was taking this pic (Left to right: Me, Jonquel, Fabiola, Brooke and Marlena)

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Fabiola, Marlena, Nanthale, Myself, Jonquel and Brooke at Sunday brunch at Alice's Tea Cup. All looks provided by Eloquii.

How An All-Girls Staycation Weekend Reminded Me To Be Present in the Moment

Every day is a reminder to accept myself as I am. ~ Molly Tarlov

This year, my 47th birthday fell on a Saturday. That had to be a sign, right? The last few birthdays I spent feeling sad that my dad and brother were not here in the physical sense to celebrate with me. And I also made plans that I never followed through with.

I always want to be THAT person who hangs out with friends on my birthday or walks in on a surprise birthday party that friends organized for me. But it never happened. I learned over the years that I had to be accountable for that because I wasn't always present or put myself out there to build those relationships with others.

This year, when I mentioned that to my blogger sister Nanthale of N.E.C. Style, she came up with this wonderful idea to have a girls only staycation and do it during my birthday weekend. 

I was down but nervous. It would be a group of six of us and while I had hung out with four of the other five girls in the group, I have never been one to hang out with a large group of women before and this was for two days!

But we did it and I have to say, I am very surprised at myself. This weekend was life-changing for me.

Nanthale, Brooke, Me, Marlena, Jonquel & Fabiola

Marlena from Big City, Curvy Girl, Thin Wallet gifted me with the most amazing crown to wear during my birthday weekend.
Day #1 kicked off at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where we did the #MuseumHack Badass Bitches Tour. Museum Hack offers what they call "renegade museum adventures in NYC, DC, SF, LA, and Chicago". 

The tour was super dope and our guide Sara was the best. We learned that only 6% of the art in the museum was created by women (I know, damn!) and we also learned more about fun things like vaginas and how bootys were considered magical.

Seriously, I loved this tour because it was a feminist's dream. It was inspiring, empowering and very eye-opening. There are so many women like Audrey Munson (America's first Supermodel), who changed history and are still not given major recognition.

It was a great way to see the Met from a different point of view. We also had a blast from mirrored ceilings in the elevators to taking fun pictures and laughing a lot.

Us posting with Sara, our awesome tour guide (lower left)

We also met Lilith, Adam's first wife before Eve, who became a demon who steals babies in the darkness. Yeah, it was creepy. Sara said that the statue is moved periodically along the wall so it never stays in one place.

I highly recommend doing this tour if you're interested in learning more about the history of women in art and female artists. 

Best part of the tour was when Sara asked Brooke what her name was for the name tag and she said "Cardi" as in Cardi B. LOL! 

Plus, Sara also works at The Meatball Shop location on 76th St and 2nd Avenue and she told us to stop by with our name tags and we'd get a free ice sandwich, which we did. Fresh baked cookies and in-house made ice cream... yes, please!

We ended the day with dinner and a movie at iPic Theaters in downtown Manhattan at Fulton Market. We thought it was fitting to see Girls Trip. I had never been to a theater that had pod seating and was a bit scared I wouldn't fit but I did and it was super comfortable!

I decided to go full-on cute and comfy for my birthday, wearing this amazing Chelsea Studio Smocked Knit Dress from Woman Within via fullbeauty.com. I ended up wearing my Adidas sneakers after the museum tour because my feet were killing me but it was so worth it.

Special thanks to fullbeauty for the pretty birthday dress and to the Met for the tour as well as the ice cream sandwich at The Meatball Shop. I had such an amazing time and it showed me that I can be present in a group of women and be myself. That's the most magical gift I received on my birthday.

Stay tuned for Day #2 of this All-Girls Staycation Weekend to come on the blog on Saturday!

Want to hear more about this magical day? Click on the links below to read about it on Nanthale's, Marlena's and Brooke's blogs:

You can shop my dress here at fullbeauty.com.

Year 47 is looking to be amazing so far!

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