Finding My Roots and the Aftermath

I’m a first-generation Latina. However, I would consider myself Americanized. I speak English, and my Spanish isn’t the best. Growing up in Southern California, I experienced snippets of Hispanic, Asian, European and Middle Eastern cultures through friends and through travel. Even though I grew up with so much culture, I never truly experienced my own roots.

That changed this summer. For the first time, I was going to travel to Mexico for a family trip. However, it was more than just a family trip. I was going to see where half of my genes came from, I was going to meet some family members for the first time, and I was going to a place where English was not the primary language. People here valued different things.

Aguascalientes, Mexico, or Aguas for short, is sort of similar to Los Angeles in that it is a center for business, tourism, and night life. Deeper into Aguas is Pabellon—a smaller city that lacks the urban feel of the center of the state. Despite this, it was everything you would want as a first impression of your roots.

If I could describe this place in one word, it’s humble. It is small but lively. The architecture here is old but simple. The people here are generous, despite not having tons to give. The food is high quality, and super inexpensive (in American currency).

This place was nothing like anything I imagined. I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb. I looked like the people from here, but at the same time, I didn’t. My clothes were different, my style of interaction was different, but even with my differences, everyone was accepting and no one intentionally made me feel out of place. I spoke broken Spanish, but the residents of this city made every effort to understand me.

One thing I learned from this trip is that family is extremely important. The unity between my newly introduced family was unreal, and frankly very respectable. The bond between this family is unbreakable, and I felt like I was inducted into this life-long bond during my week-long stay.

Another lesson I learned was the value of our surroundings. Getting to know my familial roots was incredible, and getting to know my geological roots was a sight to see. The buildings here were so vibrant and simple, but breathtaking all the more. The land was green and healthy. Mother Earth surely takes pride in this area.

Pabellón: "Proud of this land, its people, and its history."

The photo above says,”Proud of this land, its people, and its history”. There are many wonders of the world, but one of the most valuable and heartwarming experiences is getting to know your roots. Take the opportunity if it comes your way. You won’t regret it.

Have you ever visited family out of the country? Let me know where in the comments below!

5 Things to See and Do During A Day in Toronto

As a citizen and frequent visitor to Canada, our neighbors to the great white north, many a day trip has been spent in Toronto, Ontario’s largest city. The sheer quantity and quality of great shopping destinations, restaurants, and activities make Toronto a great destination for tourists and locals alike. A recent trip to Toronto for live music’s sake inspired me to write about some of the city’s most interesting attractions.

1—Kensington Market. Home of all things eclectic and bohemian, Kensington Market is the place to go for high-quality vintage, record stores, quirky coffee shops, and unique restaurants that embody the diverse cultures of Toronto. The streets are lined with vibrant murals and the shops and homes in the area are all painted in unusual colors. There are 15+ stores dedicated to vintage clothing, accessories, and furniture!

2—CN Tower. The Toronto equivalent of the Empire State Building, the CN Tower is a skyline staple and one of Toronto’s biggest tourist attractions. It was the world’s tallest tower until 2010 when it was surpassed by a tower in Dubai. You can do an Edgewalk around the circumference of the roof or also eat in a restaurant at the top of the tower with a 360-degree view of Toronto.

3—Queen Street. Everything you could dream of is basically on this street! There is a wide variety of retailers, from large chain stores to small independent boutiques. My personal favorites include Aritzia, Fred Perry, and a Dr. Martens boutique! Queen Street is always bustling but never too crowded and excels in quaint cafes, perfect for a quiet break from shopping.

4—Toronto Zoo. The Toronto Zoo is a huge tourist attraction. It is the largest zoo in Canada and one of the largest in the world. It also holds the most diverse group of animals in any zoo. Be sure to bring good walking shoes because the zoo covers 710 acres of land.

5—Air Canada Centre. This is the reason this article is being written in the first place; I had the pleasure of seeing the UK band Gorillaz here! Not only can you catch some of the world’s biggest musical acts here, but you can also attend a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey game or watch the Toronto Raptors play basketball. On a budget or not in the mood for a huge arena show? Toronto offers many other smaller music venues like the Danforth Music Hall, Mod Club, and Lee’s Palace. The options are truly endless.

Do you know about any of Toronto’s hidden treasures? Think you have a good addition to this list? Let us know in the comments!

You, Me, the World, and Fashion’s Carbon Footprint

After doing much research on sustainable fashion, I have come to the conclusion that I myself am not a sustainable person. Looking at my closet, it is filled with items that I may never wear again but hope that I might. With the new school year coming up and fall clothing stocking onto the shelves, I needed to find other options. Rather than spending my money and piling more items into that closet, I needed to make a change.

According to the Council for Textile Recycling, I found that about 25 billion pounds of textiles are created each year. 85% of it goes into our landfills while only 15% are donated or recycled. A reason as to why this is happening is that not many people know that textiles can be recycled. That is why many people would rather buy new and trendy items instead of dealing with finding a way to recycle them. I for one am guilty of this.

So, here are some things that you can do to reduce your carbon footprint!


For the items that are still functional, you can send them to your local thrift store and get a tax reduction. Plus, you can shop for vintage items that can cost less than $5. Now that’s a steal!

Be Creative

See that old dress that you forgot in the back of your closet? Take it out and cut it up! By doing so, you’re giving them a second life and you’re making it unique to your style.

Look for the Green Tag

If you’re a shopaholic like I am, there are lots of companies that are on the fast track to sustainable fashion. Some of these companies are H&M, Nike, and Adidas, only to name a few. There are also many other brands who are 100 percent eco-friendly or are converting their practices to become eco-friendly. All you have to do is look for the green tag and there you go! You have an item that is made out of recycled materials or can be made into one after your life cycle with it.

In the end, the one who makes the decisions will be me and you. So, let’s celebrate the earth and help it rather than creating more damage. It is the one and only earth we have!

What do you think about sustainable fashion? Let me know in the comments below and show us how you’re helping the earth! Don’t forget to tag @Cfashionista.

Fashion and Beauty Culture Shocks From Taiwan

Despite my Taiwanese ethnicity, some would say that I’ve been “white washed.” I was born in America and have lived in areas with low Asian populations my entire life. This past month, however, I had the pleasure of flying to the great motherland of Taiwan to see family and adventure to attraction sites. During my stay, I discovered five fashion and beauty “culture shocks” that I’d like to share!


Ever since Coco Chanel’s accidental sunburn from her Riviera trip, tanning has been all the rage in western civilization. Yet in Taiwan, society finds beauty in pale skin. This perspective stems from ancient dynastic times when fair skin resembled wealth, nobility, and feminine beauty. Thus, people in Taiwan, especially women, will go to great lengths to avoid evidence of sun on their skin by applying skin whitening formulas and carrying umbrellas on sunny days to shade from UV rays.

2—Hair Texture

With the humid and sweltering weather, it is impossible to maintain frizzy hair. The solution to this issue is perms! Perms are basically a necessity because they allow men and women to attain smooth or curly hairstyles without much fuss throughout the day.


Since the workload for high schools is more rigorous and demanding than for colleges, public schools require students to wear uniforms from elementary to high school years. The main purpose is to create unity to reduce distractions. Additionally, for scholarly reasons, students typically do not cater to their appearances with cosmetics, hair products, fragrances, etc. until they begin college.

4—Dress Code

Although both Americans and the Taiwanese will wear black to a funeral, they definitely have conflicting dress code beliefs. Americans dress to the nines to exhibit respect for the dead, as the service is an honoring event. In contrast, the Taiwanese pay tribute by dressing sloppily to show distress from the dead’s passing. Moreover, it is inappropriate to attend in Taiwan a funeral in a lace dress, fancy veil, sleek tuxedo, or pair of pointy pumps.


The weather in Taiwan is cooler and more bearable in the evenings. Therefore, it is common for streets to be bustling even at midnight, and night markets are quite popular! Night markets are streets filled with boutiques, restaurants, and vendors that open for business once the sun goes down. Many teens buy clothing from these hotspots, as pieces are more affordable from night markets than from malls. Fashion from night markets is extremely trendy (you can easily find identical items in multiple shops) and generally imitates Korean or Japanese styles.

I oftentimes forget that an abundance of civilians on earth lives by completely different rules than I do. My vacation to Taiwan, the country of bubble tea and designer Jason Wu, reopened my eyes, exceeded my expectations, and brought me closer to my native culture. I highly suggest taking a trip to Taiwan sometime in the future, and if you do visit, save your receipts because they double as lottery tickets!

Which fun fact did you find most amusing? Let us know in the comments below!

7 Things You Should Always Do When Traveling Abroad

Traveling around the world is a dream and goal to be accomplished for many people. Each country has a rich culture, hidden gems, and beautiful attractions. Every new place you visit has something new to do, but traveling to a new location is so much more than visiting its touristy spots. Here are seven top things I love and recommend always doing when you travel.

1—Keep a travel notebook. Obviously you will take lots of photos on your trip, so why not get creative with it? Stick photos in your notebook, plan out your day, and write down your favorite details of your experiences.

2—Eat. Yes, try everyone’s favorite. You want to experience the culture of your destination, so of course taste their favorite foods. Also, never be afraid to try foods you’ve never tried before.

3—Leave your comfort zone. Of course, stay safe, but you’re in a new place so try something new. Afraid of heights? Zip line across your new scenery. Go off-roading, explore the non-touristy spots or set aside a day for unplanned adventures.

4—Take public transportation. Take the tube or take a bus, how else will you get a better feel for the city? Plus, being around the locals is pretty cool.

5—Talk to the locals. Always do some research before you leave for your trip and learn about the culture or learn important phrases—even a few words—to be able to speak to the locals. Being educated on important information before you leave is always nice so you can learn more while you are there.

6—Set aside one day to be a tourist. As I mentioned, visit non-tourists spots too as they may be overshadowed, but still take your bag and go see Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, or wherever you may be because they are popular for a reason. Ask the concierge where to go.

7—Relaxation. It’s okay to have one specific day devoted to your resort, especially the all-inclusive ones. Sit by the pool, read a book, or look through your pictures from your trip. Setting aside one day for this will help keep you present and focused on your scenery.

Are you a world traveler? Did I miss any important tips that you always hit? Show us your cool travel pictures and don’t forget to tag us on social media @Cfashionista!

5 Reasons Why You Should Study Abroad While in College

College is the time to create new experiences. This time in our lives is for trying new things, to experience life, and to find out what we love. One thing you must take advantage of while in college is the opportunity to study abroad. Whether it is because students do not know this is available at their university or just because they are not interested, this is something that not many students do. These are five reasons why you should study abroad while in college.

You Are Young and Full of Energy 

College is the time to get crazy and to go on adventures; and what age is better than when you are in your 20s? When we are this young we tend to be more reckless, which makes us more willing to try new things. Living in a new country for a period of time is already one crazy thing to do. Now, think of all the other things you can do while abroad. You can enjoy pub-crawling in Dublin to skydiving in Thailand while you’re still young.

You Get to See Amazing Places While Still Getting Your Degree

Why wait until spring break gets here to get out of the country when you can be out of the country and travel every other weekend? Seriously, traveling while you are studying abroad is really easy and in continents that are small like Europe and Australia, everything is really close. You can find yourself planning a trip to a different country every weekend by just taking a two-hour flight; all that while you are getting your degree.

You Will Become Open-Minded

The longer you are in a foreign country and surrounded by a culture other than your own, the more tolerant and accepting you become. Surrounding yourself with people from different backgrounds and nationalities will help you break any stereotypes you have in your mind.

You Will Make Friendships for Life

This reason is one of my personal favorites. Many students from around the world venture the globe just like you. Sharing an experience like this with someone will help you create memories and friendships that will last a lifetime.

It Will Help You Grow as a Person

Moving out for college to another city or state is life changing, but moving countries is a complete 180. It will help you grow, find yourself, and become more independent. I realized this when I wanted to book a trip to London but none of my friends were available to come with me. At that moment, I got rid of all my fears, grabbed my passport, and booked a flight solo. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Have you ever studied abroad? Show us your pictures on Instagram by tagging @Cfashionista.

Going From Traditional To Modern In A Kimono

Thanks to globalization, our millennial urge to travel, and technology, cultures have expanded across the world showing people like you and me their true colors in the form of music, books, news, photographs, and… fashion!

I have been fortunate enough to travel to Japan, where one of our longtime favorite clothing items was born… the kimono. During this trip, I realized that numerous people across the globe use and love kimono-like garments, and even though most know where it comes from, it’s hard to understand what it means and how did this trend has evolved into the modern style it represents today.

Traditional kimonos are worn by men and women all over Japan and there’s a wide variety ranging from casual for any given day, to extremely elegant for unique occasions. Back in the Edo period (1960s-1980s) kimonos were used as a “code” to communicate social status and dressing out of the designated class distinction was frowned upon and punished. Even though tourists can now rent kimonos and walk around with them all over Japan, there’s a subtle truth to this ancient practice remains within a traditional society as real kimonos can a fortune if they follow the approbate guidelines, and it is an investment made to point out social status and etiquette.

I was lucky enough to be able to wear a real traditional, family-owned kimono and it is extremely different to any kimono I had ever worn before. The whole process of putting it on took around 30 minutes with two ladies helping me and by the time I was ready it was so tight I could barely breathe, my feet hurt, and I was sweating underneath all the layers, but… I was beyond delighted, I felt so effortlessly beautiful even though it took what seemed like forever to put it on.

Through this experience I understood how and have we developed this kimono fashion trend elsewhere in the world. They are mesmerizing pieces of clothing that can catch the eye of anyone coming to Japan with the bright colors, delicate elegance and nature imitating patterns. Now we can find this style in robes, jackets, jumpsuits, or trousers, like the one in the pictures, from Zara. With these you can still feel majestic with a touch of chic and modern heals and accessories without traveling across the world and spending all your college funds on one kimono!

Show us how you wear your kimono with a picture and don’t forget to tag @Cfashionista !


Yes, Everything Will Fit in a Carry-On

The word “carry-on” in the traveling world is no longer defined as an addition to your checked luggage. Instead, I propose that this domestic or international carry-on can be your only traveling partner, if packed correctly. I have four life-changing tips to successfully pack a seven-day trip in a trusty carry-on.

1—Plan your outfits ahead of time. I find it very effective to have your days planned out Even a simple idea in mind of what you want to do helps so that the outfits you are brainstorming correlate alongside your trip’s activities. Not only does this help branch out on fashion creativity, but it also forces you to take the initiative on organizing your new travel buddy. Not to mention it also saves time on your trip. Condensing down to three bottoms and three tops to interchangeably use will lighten the load and allow room for accessories to be packed to spice up those outfits. This step is crucial because this fashion foundation sets the tone for the guts of the luggage.

2—Shoe game. I pack in the rule of thirds. This term has helped us in photography, and now in packing your shoes for the trip. Packing one causal, one going out (flats or a heel), and last, a shoe that is fashion-forward chic such as, a mule or a loafer. I found this way is easier to manage, allowing two shoes in the luggage and the other is worn. This way allows for fashion to be available while condensed. A win, win.

3—Skin regime. Traveling can add a lot of unwanted irritation to the skin. The dry airplane air, the stress, and different environmental climates can cause this. This is why packing your daily skin routine is worth making the extra room for your cosmetic bag. Moisturizer is key, as well as a cleanser. This two-step process can do the job for the travel time. On a side note, always pack under 3.4 fluid ounces and take an extra Ziploc bag in case TSA requires it.
4—Electronic must-haves. Storing your electronics can take up more room than necessary. Finding a designated bag that can hold all these wires in one place will save every inch needed. A smart alternative option if you have a camera that is slightly large is to place it in the section of your luggage opposite your liquids, or to place it near clothes for cushion.

Think of your carry-on as a puzzle. Completing that puzzle requires finding all pieces that match, think of these four steps as such.

Let me know how this four-step process helped ease your travel experience in the comments below! Organization in your travel buddy makes for a picture-worthy opportunity before your flight. Tag @CFashionista so the Instagram world can see what a pro packer you are!

Top 3 Things to Do During Your Weekend in Havana

Now that United States citizens are free to travel to Cuba, the race is on to get down to the island and experience what has felt forbidden for so long. In my recent trip to Cuba, I decided to focus my time in Havana. I spent four days in this magical town, and for a determined traveler, this is just enough time to grow to love Havana and its people. Below are three things you cannot miss when visiting this summer!

If you happen to be staying in Habana Centro or Habana Viejo, throw on some durable sandals and a light sundress and hit the streets to explore the best of Havana because most of the locations I have listed can be found within walking distance.

1—Calle Obispo. Right across from Parque Central, you’ll find Calle Obispo, a vibrant street that provides the perfect mix of island tourism and Cuban authenticity. The head of this road features the Floridita.The Floridita is the home of the Daiquiri and one of Ernest Hemingway’s famous romps. Continuing down Obispo presents you with art galleries displaying work from local artists, street food stalls, and eventually, a market place where locals sell their homemade crafts and souvenirs. Be sure to have your wallet full of pesos ready, it is hard to resist the well-priced pieces the artisans are selling. Farther down Obispo, you will come across the Hotel Ambos Mundos, another Hemingway hot spot. It may seem like a tourist trap but the rooftop restaurant provides an unforgettable view of the port of Habana.

2—Museo de Bellas Artes, Colección Cubano. The epitome of Cuban spirit and culture can be found in the Cuban Collection building of the Museo de Bellas Artes. Bellas Artes has two locations that are both equally wonderful. If you are pressed for time, however, stick to the Cuban Collection. Exhibitions range from the late 18th century to contemporary works. Bellas Artes offers a mix of politically charged pieces, religious commentary, a variety of landscapes, and much more. What better way to feel a connection to Cubans and their culture than through the art they have created?

3—The Malecon. The Malecon, while beautiful, may seem uneventful during the day. Come back at night, however, and this sea wall proves to be a staple of Cuban culture and nightlife. Habaneros love unwinding and celebrating the weekend with a guitar and various refreshments while listening to the waves roll in. Spend your Friday night on the Malecon and mingle with the locals. This will ensure that your time in Cuba is enriched with the stories of the people of Havana. Without a doubt, you will be thankful you did.

Have you been lucky enough to visit Cuba? Let us know your top three must see’s on the island in the comments!

How to Pack Your Luggage Like a Pro

Summer is the synonym of traveling for most college students. Whether it’s going back home, traveling for fun, or for an internship, many students have to pack their suitcases at this time of the year but it is not always an easy task, especially for Fashionistas! It is essential to optimize your space when packing to get everything you need and not be stressed out.

I consider myself a very efficient packer since I grew up traveling a lot, but it took me a lot of research and stressful experiences to master the art of packing. Some general tips before starting the process is to, preferably, get a rectangular suitcase and plan ahead by writing down everything you need. It is important to be familiar with the destination and the whether to not pack unnecessary items and to have basic pieces that can easily match. It is also helpful to have ideas of combinations beforehand.

Now, to the important part of how to pack and get ready to go:

1—Roll your T-shirts, tops and blouses. After carefully rolling every piece, you will fill the uneven bottom of the luggage. It is terrible to get to your destination and have clothes full of wrinkles. This technique will keep your tops straight and ready to wear. It is also nice to take a picture of your suitcase so you will know where every roll is, without the need of searching the whole bag for it.

2—Fold your pants and trousers.  You will fold the pieces in half, just like the picture below, and lay them on top of the rolls. You can layer your pants to optimize space. You can also put more rolls on top of the folded pants and fold the pants over them if you have more tops to add.

3—Put your outwear on top of everything. After folding the pants and trousers with the rolls, you can put your outwear, like jackets and blazers, on top. It is ideal to fold them in half, just like in the example below, to optimize space. You can also put chargers, belts, intimate apparel, socks, and whatever you want on the sides.

4—Fit your shoes on the suitcase. You have to be careful on how to fit your shoes on the suitcase so they won’t get crushed or get your clothes dirty.  If you are not attentive to this step you might have a bad surprise when you get to your destination.

After packing don’t forget to wear a comfortable outfit to travel and put locks on your luggage! Also, don’t leave behind important items like chargers, personal documents, and electronics. It is important and beneficial to be careful when packing your bags since it will save your time, avoid stress and allow you to optimize space to take everything you want!

How do you pack before traveling? Let us know in the comments below!