Smoothe Sailing – Tips for the Commuter Chick

So just like you other hard-working, on-the-path-to-success Latinas, I myself am busy doing the same. At the moment I have two trabajos. Half the week I spend in the city as an events assistant, and the other half I’m selling high-end electric cars. Extremely different jobs, I’m aware, but you’re not reading this for your interest in my choice of jobs.

photoOn the days I commute into the city, I am lugging around enough stuff to consider estos días lifting days at the gym. And everyday as a carry on through my routine, I think about all the solutions to making my commute a smoother, hassle-free experience. From one commuter muchacha to another, here’s my tips on how to commute and enjoy it:

1. Always wear comfortable shoes. This is the primal rule to commuting. If you’re shoes are uncomfortable, you won’t be able to walk as quickly, which means if you are running late, you will be late. If you plan on wearing heels, purchase a pair of comfortable flats that will easily fit in your bag. I came across CitySlips, which sells commuter-friendly flats with a carrying bag that opens up large enough to hold your heels.

2. Do not buy an oversized bag. Studies show (and by studies I mean my own personal experience) the larger the bag, the more space you are going to feel compelled to fill, therefore the more junk you will find reasons for needing to carry with you. Basically, the larger the bag, the heavier the weight you’ll be carrying resulting in more back problems and shoulder aches.

3. Bring reading materials. No matter how short or long your commute, you’re going to want some form of entertainment. And since as a society we refuse to make eye contact and smile at others, find some reading material worth focusing your eyes on. I carry my iPad mini with me everywhere, I even have a keyboard case for it, which comes in handy when I have a blog post idea or work to do on the road. I have all of my magazine subscriptions right on my iPad mini, as well as my Nook books, so it consolidates the space that books, magazines and a laptop would take.

4. Don’t forget a charger!! As an events assistant, there’s nights where I have to stay in the city later to work an event, which means a full day of cell phone usage. Thankfully, I’ve learned my lesson enough times to know, it is of the utmost importance to always have my charger handy. If I am headed home late night and I have 0% battery life than I feel like I’m setting myself up for danger. Outlets are everywhere, but chargers aren’t. So invest in a spare charger and throw it in the bag.

5. Something warm. Even in the summer months, though we are sweating bullets outside, as soon as we step into our office the shivers will kick in. My cubicle happens to be right underneath the AC, which makes me feel like I’m working inside an igloo. I always throw a cardigan or an over-sized scarf wrap in my bag so that no matter which igloo I end up in, I’ll be a warm Eskimo.

6. Transit Apps. These are key to not getting lost or missing trains. I work in NYC but live in NJ, the NJ Transit app helps me track train times, warn me of delays or schedule changes, and lets me know if I have to make connections where to do so. I also have the Kickmap app, which is a map of all of the subway lines in NYC. That app helped me learn how to master the subway system in NYC and I am forever agradecía to it. Last but definitely not least, Hopstop. Hopstop helps you in any city, and it was my saving grace when I had my very first internship in the city. I remember feeling as though running an errand was the most daunting task my boss could give me, until Hopstop entered my life. Just input the start address and end address and wala! directions that tell you whether to make a left or right at the next intersection while on foot and which train to catch if a train is needed. You’re welcome.

Now that you have the 6 most important tips on commuting, time to use Sunday to prep for the beginning of a new work week! ¡Buena suerte! chicas.

What About Spanglish?

A few days ago, a Pew Hispanic Center report came out showing that Latinos are consuming their news in English more and in Spanish less. The entire report is super interesting, going further into which outlets Latinos use most for their news consumption, as well as how often they consume the news among other interesting details regarding the topic.

I am not surprised that Latinos are getting their news in English, it makes sense when you think about it, even the Latino aimed news sources post primarily in English. What does surprise me is that Spanglish, as a language of consumption, did not make its way into the research. The report does mention the statistics for those who consume the news in both languages, but not in Spanglish, what the Latinos of my generation have embraced as a language all its own.

Spanglish is an outlet for Latinos to merge their American and Latino cultures. Spanish stands alone as a beautiful language, but to me the mixture of English and Spanish is far more beautiful. It is so difficult for other languages to ever melt together quite as perfectly as Spanglish has done, and it is a language that deserves recognition.

As a Latina, born and raised in the U.S. I speak Spanglish on a daily basis, whether I am talking to my grandma (Spanish fluent only) or my parents (Spanish & English fluent), and either way what I speak is understood. It is a great way for me to identify myself in everyday conversation with others as an American Latina.

I remember in college when I double majored in public relations and Spanish culture & literature, I had to be able to transition during the brief time in between classes from one language to another and Spanglish made that transition fluid. Since my everyday speak is pretty much Spanglish, it wasn’t a rigid change from reading Don Quixote to creating a public relations campaign. The language makes us more adaptable, it allows us to cut in and out of both languages without losing our marbles on the way.

I firmly believe as my generation begins taking over the media outlets, we will see a growth in consuming news in Spanglish. Hopefully the next time we see a research report on Latinos’ news consumption language of choice, Spanglish will own its category, and its numbers will probably be through the roof.

Fitcation

With all of the activities lined up this summer, we tend to skip town on our workout routines, but this doesn’t have to be. In fact, there is a solution to keeping toned while vacacionando. Just pack a bathing suit, which was probably the first thing in your maleta.

I noticed that every time I come visit Miami (I have a home & family here so I visit often throughout the year), I would slim down just days into my stay. Here’s what happens, on vacation we have nothing but free time to fill, whereas when we are busy shuffling around back home working, we barely have minutes to spare. You’re probably thinking, no Katerina, there’s no chance I’m going to workout while I’m on vacation, but just wait don’t roll your eyes at me just yet!

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Where do we spend most of our free time throughout the summer, and especially while on vacation? The pool! It’s an awesome gym, trust me, it’s my favorite gym. While you’re already in there soaking up el sol, go ahead and work it out chica. Everytime I dip in the pool I do some crunches, in every position I can manage to do without drowning myself (y si, I do swim), some lunges in the more shallow end of the pool, and a few backstrokes, for the little back chichitos I’m dying to get rid of–so I can sport those open-back numbers again. Buy a noodle or a beach ball at the closest store for an extra kick to the workout. Adding a flotation device to the workout = greater resistance = better results.

It may not feel like you’re doing a damn thing while you’re in the water, but you will feel the soreness the next day. It’s an effortless way to keep some fitness in your routine this summer. You’ll be feliz de la vida when you’re not limited to oversized crop tops and loose sun dresses!

Couch Correspondent: 2013 BET Awards

This will be the first of many Couch Correspondent posts to come. Award show nights are my favorite nights throughout the year, mostly because of how comedic my Twitter timeline gets with all the commentary. I’m kicking off Couch Correspondent with the 2013 BET Awards, so here’s my commentary. I look forward to the dialogue we will all partake in, with many more award shows yet to come, as I continue to grow the blog!
1. The Mani Cam Gone Wrong. Come on, nobody thought about the glare? This is a pre-show for the television viewers, and no one considered that perhaps showing off intricate designs on nailbeds via a framed screen would not exactly be easy on the eyes for us on this side of the TV? The mani cam is a great idea to borrow from E!’s Red Carpet coverage, but E! got it right the first time. So if you’re going to borrow an idea, borrow it the right way. I can appreciate that they tried to remake the idea, but instead we ended up with not a damn clue what was so special of the mani’s!
2. Chris Tucker tucked me right into bed. There’s no dount Chris Tucker had his time to shine in the business of funny, but that ship has sailed, and with it sailed my interest on many occassions when Chris took the stage and the mic. His stint as the host of the awards consisted of him scanning the crowd for a familiar face to inspire a joke out of him. Yes we respect when there’s no script to follow, pero no nos gusta watching someone struggle for a funny. Then there was the long period of time where he disappeared and by the time he took the stage again, I had even forgotten we had a host!
3. Miguel wins the R&B Pop award. What is R&B Pop?
4. Don’t Mess with Gabby. Gabby Douglas accepted her Young Star Award looking so classy, I dared people on my timeline to find something to pick on. She looked stunning and her arms reminded me I should probably make my way to the gym sometime soon.
5. Meagan Good God. Presenting the Gospel Award in a dress mami would smack you for leaving the house in, was Ms. Good. This J.Lo type dress exposed all the goodies God gifted her with. We’ll just leave that at that.
6. Charlie Last Name Wilson. Charlie’s songs melt our hearts, but this tribute performance lit us up completely! By far the best performance of the entire show, and of course we couldn’t help but drool over tailored-to-perfection JT and Pharrell’s ankle baring get up. Snoop is just too cool for me to say he was out of place. Charlie worked his moves and showed us he still got it!
7. Then we had a body party with Ciara. And boy did that body party get 50 shades hot and heavy. We see Future is winning. We’re all losing because we don’t have Ciara abs and legs when drop down and twirl it. She’s definitely not the prototype for a Latina body, but if Latinas wanted to be slender, we’d probably want to have her bod.
Tweet with me in the future during the shows at @katerinatorres & @quelatinablog !