Finding ‘wings’: Life after a 4-can-a-day Red Bull habit

Pretty on the Outside

As of today it’s been four months since I’ve had a Red Bull. To understand why the the 27th of December, 2012 is an important date to commemorate is to know the following:

  • I’ve tried to give up my Red Bull habit more than 5 times since I started drinking them in 2006
  • After 2006 my weight began to creep steadily upward to scale numbers I never imagined I’d see
  • A conservative estimate of my annual Red Bull purchases comes to almost $3200
  • My adult skin acne issues were becoming much like if not worse than my teenage skin issues
  • The janitor at work who didn’t know me enough to tell me when I first started, would take out my garbage and tell my co-workers that he was afraid for my life upon seeing 3-4 empty cans
  • More exhausted than ever, I don’t think that I ever felt the much ballyhooed ‘wings’ they promised

The last half of 2012 was a time of many transitions in my life. A time to stop just throwing things out into the world to see if anything stuck, and actually make some adult decisions about the direction of my life. I was coming to a place I hadn’t experienced. I celebrated an entire year of living in my own apartment. I had a new job that combined my love of writing and communications and my passion for community work. I was also beginning to balance out my social life with old friends and new alike. Yet, I was miserable in my own skin and uncomfortable with being out there in the world. My skin was at its worst and the jeans, already a size I never imagined ever having to purchase, were already uncomfortable and ill-fitting. It was time for a serious change. I’d already made so many external changes, it didn’t make sense not to make the internal changes I needed to enjoy them.

I won’t go into details about all of the changes, aside from the no red bulls. I think everyone has their own path even if they’re going to the same place (though I’m happy to share privately if anyone wants to contact me), and there is rarely a singular way to do things. I will tell you, however, that these days, though I still have a ways to go, I…

  • Have much more energy than I’ve had the last 6 years or so
  • I sometimes walk home from work just because
  • I am so busy with work and social commitments that I gave up my cable TV
  • My skin, even during PMS, is much more clearer than ever
  • I just got a bike that I’ll be riding to and from work
  • I can see my beautiful hourglass figure again

These days I work very hard but I also make time for a social life and spend my ‘me’ time doing things that I love, instead of sleeping. I will be celebrating 2 years in my apartment in the next few months, the longest I’ve lived anywhere since I was a kid, and maybe since I feel somewhat settled, I’ll actually start to furnish the place. I feel balanced and at peace; the days of my life being days of either high highs or low lows are now in the past. And maybe this peace and calm, and feeling of home have finally helped me find the illusive ‘wings.’

Ana Maria Soto

From traveling the world to ensuring its access to education

Seriously Though

One of the greatest things about life is that it’s sometimes surprising. A great example of that are the people who come in and out of

Ana Maria Soto

your life. One minute you’re meeting someone new, and a year and a dozen cups of coffee later, you have a dear friend. Such is the case for my friendship with the great Ana Maria Soto. We started and ended a job at the same company on the same days and became great friends in the process, bonding over our common views of the world, backgrounds in higher education, and our penchant for ensuring that life wasn’t all work and no play.

But it’s not just our commonalities that made us friends, for me–a girl with wanderlust–there’s an admiration for someone who has an incredible story. She knows the world, not only because she’s read about it, but because she’s lived it with years in countries such as Ecuador, El Salvador, and Spain just to name.

She’s a networker, a connector, and an education expert. She’s “La College Guru” answering students’ questions weekly for Latina Smart, and doling out helpful advice on her blog Edúcate Latina.

Oh, and did I mention she’s a great cook? Get to know her and she may just make you her delicious tres leches or pumpkin flan. Trust me, you’ll say thanks.

Follow her on Facebook and/or Twitter.

I ♥ NYC!

Mi Vida Loca

A new friend who writes here took on the challenge of writing something, anything for 30 days during the month of April: National Poetry Month. I thought it would make for an interesting challenge so I decided to take it on as well, though I am five days late. I got a few of our Being Latino writers involved to help with accountability as I am notorious for breaking promises to myself, but too embarrassed to not come through for others. As CCO, what better way to help develop our writers’ skills than to take them on this journey with me.

The preceding is merely an introduction, my journey begins below…


I was in New York City a few weeks ago. Though I had been there for a long weekend a few years ago, this trip was different. I was feeling first-date butterflies. As crazy as it may seem to an outsider, to me the nervousness made perfect sense. I had fallen in love with a group of people over the internet and I was finally going to see them in person.

Would I like them? Would they like me? Would they think I’m cute? Was I prepared for potential real-life lulls in conversation that aren’t so evident in online communication? Most importantly: What would I wear)??? I was a mess of emotions and thankful that at least, unlike a real date, the question of a kiss was not a factor.

To share the details of my weekend here would be to diminish its beauty. Suffice it to say, it was perfection. The love I felt for this group of people before meeting them was merely a drop compared to the love I feel for them today and I am officially changing our status to ‘in a relationship.’

‘Cause I’m a gypsy…


In the fall of 2003 I had the opportunity to travel to Spain for 10 days. Having grown up with the last name Juliá, not a common Puerto Rican name to be sure, I’d been told that it had its roots in Spain and France and though Spanish was just one part of those roots, I was beside myself at the opportunity to explore them. I fell in love with the country, specifically Madrid where we stayed, as soon as we left the airport for our hotel. My 10 days visit was spent trying to figure out how I would move there.

But in retrospect, it wasn’t the lure of Spain that called to me, after all, I had the same feelings about Florence, Italy the year before. In fact, it’s how I have felt about almost every place I’ve ever visited. From visiting my birth town of Rochester, New York—a place I never really knew—to Boulder, Colorado, to Miami, Florida; every place I’ve ever visited has been like holding a blouse up to my torso to see if it fits. And just as that method isn’t really a good way to measure fit, a quick trip isn’t a way to know if I could live there, but it’s never stopped me from thinking I could. I fall in love and like any true romantic, I dream.

Though I never did make the move to most of those places, I’ve moved a minimum of every two years since I was eight. I’ve lived in a total of four cities, three states, and two countries in my lifetime. And now as I prepare for a move to yet another city, I wonder if I will ever settle down. I sometimes fear that my life will never be anything more than looking out into the horizon to see what else is out there.

I recently shared my fears of my nomadic tendencies with a friend, and he responded, “it’s ’cause you’re a gypsy.”

Yes, I like that. It’s…

cause I’m a gypsy!

My Caguas, Puerto Rico

Picture This

My mind is way too all-over-the-place right now to even attempt writing. Well, I’ve attempted it, but it’s not working out right now. So instead of words, I will share my memories of a beautiful place called Caguas, Puerto Rico. The town I hold dear to my hear as it holds my family and many beautiful memories.

Click to enlarge and enjoy…


From el jardin

Pajaros en la Plaza de Caguas

Above Rio Bairoa

View from the roof on a rainy day


Remnants of rain

Path in la plaza

He knows how to whistle at girls


Not as shy as he seems

So old school and quaint

So vibrant

Spent many afternoons sitting there


Cool clock


My niece rides off...



(Not So) Wordless Wednesday- Roots

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday- Roots

Picture This
As I spend more time in Puerto Rico I learn a little more about my roots from my Dad’s stories.  My last name Juliá (notice the accent on the a) has Spanish and French roots.  Though we’ve never done much genealogy work my Dad has said that for years.  When I traveled to Spain in the Fall of 2003 I made it my mission to find out something about where we come from.  It turns out that we have some roots in Toledo, Spain and lo and behold look what I saw and was able to photograph upon our arrival there.
Very exciting indeed, but the best part…being able to show my Dad the proof that he was right along :)