HEALTH: Take the Challenge and Learn Something New in 30 Days



Few days ago, I glossed over an email from Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits blog asking readers to join the 30-Day Learning Challenge and study one topic for at least 10 minutes a day, every day of the month. Initially uninterested, something struck me as odd. Why not? What was stopping me from wanting to spend a mere 10 minutes to make my life a little better? Absolutely nada, which is why I’m writing today.

“Health and wellness” has become more than a trending catchphrase since diagnosed with severe rheumatoid arthritis. The degenerative autoimmune disease often leaves me immobilized, fatigued and in various stages of chronic pain 24-7. An aggressive regimen of RA medications to manage debilitating symptoms like inflammation, stiffness, decreased muscle strength and joint damage come with a long list of nasty side effects. That said, I am even more determined to live a fuller life as best I can. Integrative holistic alternatives are always on my radar, so expect more posts on the subject. Always on the lookout for ways to improve current circumstances.

First, the 30-Day Challenge sounds fun and encouraging (flying a kite, mastering a new language or cooking technique). Second, you’re never too old to learn something new … my precious mom lived everyday with that in mind. I’m ready to dive in: meditation and Qigong are on the agenda! Changing habits isn’t easy, but you may surprise yourself trying. If needing a nudge, the Zen Habits Sea Change program is a good place to start.

FILM: Groundbreaking Documentary ‘Rubble Kings’ Finally Hits Theaters June 19


Filmmaker and director Shan Nicholson’s long-awaited project of love, Rubble Kings, gets its official summer release this month after years of hard work and dedication on all fronts (Kickstarter and Twitter offer a glimpse). The feature-length documentary uncovers the real-life drama surrounding 1970s New York City gang culture, its remarkably inspiring message and undeniable influence on the birth of hip hop. Take my word, don’t miss this film when it comes to town (in theaters and on demand June 19). Earning full audience support the night I attended its 2011 screening at HBO’s NY International Latino Film Festival, Rubble Kings goes back in time while being timely as ever. Painstakingly researched, this is an important story that needs to be seen and heard … finally. Catch the new trailer on iTunes.


ART: Exquisite Body Paintings Transform Nature Right Before Your Eyes


Look closely at the mesmerizing creation above by fine art body painter Johannes Stötter. Admit it, you can’t help but be in awe of this creative vision as the scene shifts to reveal what’s actually right before your eyes. Every day, we should find something to give thanks for in our lives. Today, I’m happy to turn our attention to such wonder and beauty with audiences visiting here. Watch the following CBS Sunday Morning segment to learn more about Stötter’s amazing body of work, his simple approach to spreading a little more joy in the world and what’s next for the award-winning artist and musician. Then, drop by his website for more cool projects on display. Guaranteed to brighten the day wherever you are.

TRAVEL: Go Bare Feet with Mickela Mallozzi This Holiday Weekend


Memorial Day weekend signals fun in the sun after a long, hard winter for most of us across the nation. Wherever you are, remember adventure is within reach even when you can’t leave the comfort of your home. Limited funds? Dreading traffic to the beach? Take a detour and catch the second season of Bare Feet with Mickela Mallozzi on NYC Life. Check your local listings for this easy, breezy Emmy-winning travel series that lifted my spirit when I really needed it this year. Professional dancer and vibrant travel host Mickela Mallozzi inspires viewers as she “experiences the world, one dance at a time.” New episodes air weekly. Enjoy the journey!

LIFE: Keep It Simple on New Year’s Eve as You Count Down to 2015



I woke up early with New Year’s resolutions on the brain and it dawned on me to keep it simple. The obvious basics are a good start for 2015 and, of course, there’s an app for that! Just remember, you still can dream big while fearlessly setting goals within reach.

What’s on the top of most people’s list? Lose weight, get organized, downsize where necessary and live in the moment as much as possible. A word of advice: grab the book, Small Move, Big Change by Caroline Arnold. The author and Wall Street tech innovator presents an easy enough premise to follow. Rather than expecting epic fails midway through all those grandiose plans, set yourself up to succeed by making microresolutions that may lead to saving more, eating less and improving the quality of your life in the long run. Contrary to popular belief, we can keep our resolutions beyond Jan. 2!

Somewhere in the world it’s already 2015 (shout out Sydney, Australia, and my readers down under who kicked things off in grand fashion). Cheers and Happy New Year! May it be prosperous and blessed.


LIFE: Home for the Holidays and My Hiatus Comes to an End in Memory of Mom

Mom taking in the sights in Iceland.

Mom taking in the sights in Iceland. Photo: Tania Fuentez


If you’ve wondered what’s been going on here lately, kind visitors, don’t fret since I’ve been away from the blogosphere. Simply put, I’ve been noticeably silent for months while faced with a progressively debilitating illness, financial hardships but most challenging of all, the recent death of my dearest and best friend _ my mom.

On the heels of the festive holiday season and High Holy Days, I find it especially difficult to write without a steady stream of tears. So, I promise to keep this post short as I fondly reminisce priceless moments with mom and our travels together. I speak with deep gratitude for the lessons and blessings she imparted over a lifetime. Despite all obstacles, I’ll “step out on faith” just like she would reassure me during our daily talks. I’ll respect my mom’s legacy by upholding her generous spirit, genuine kindness toward anyone she met and that famously boundless sense of adventure and humor.

While I miss her profoundly every day, our bond remains strong. It is my mother’s unconditional love that keeps my grounded and focused on being a better person who can make a difference in someone’s life while on this Earth. That’s something I felt was worth sharing today.

Now, let’s see what tomorrow holds for the hopeful.

ART: Welling Court Mural Project Felt Just Like Family for TOOFLY




Multitalented artist and longtime Queens resident TOOFLY returned to NYC in time to share her creative aesthetic at the fifth annual Welling Court Mural Project by Ad Hoc Art. Of course, the turnout was amazing and community-fueled for this massive public art project, with 128 murals by dozens of internationally renowned participants. TOOFLY’s back in Ecuador now, but she’ll be more than excited to see the fam again for the next installment.



Ad Hoc Art Gallery:

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