Travel Guide to Puerto Rico

Zae and I just got back from an incredible trip to Puerto Rico that rocked my world (that’s a rock pun because I GOT ENGAGED on day 2 of the trip!!! *squeals*). We shared a lot of our trip via Instagram and received so many questions about where we stayed and how we planned. Before going, I received tons of recommendations from friends and family, and spent hours meticulously scrolling through travel sites. My hope is to pass this info on to others planning their own trip!

We travelled to Puerto Rico for 10 days, but you can easily hit the highlights in half the time. During our trip, we hit 3 major areas: San Juan, El Yunque Rainforest and Vieques.

Why Puerto Rico?? For me, the island holds significance because of my family’s Cuban and Puerto Rican heritage. After leaving Cuba post-Castro in the early 60’s, the majority of my family relocated to Puerto Rico. It’s always been a place that is near to my culture and my heart.

Puerto Rico is a BEAUTIFUL vacation spot in the Caribbean that offers a mix of history, city life, stunning beaches and outdoor adventure. Puerto Rico is part of the United States, meaning you don’t need a passport and can enjoy the familiarity of safe food (cough Dominican Republic) or a quick Walgreens run.

A lot of people are hesitant to visit Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, but it’s actually one of the best things you can do to help in their recovery. Tourism makes up 10% of Puerto Rico’s GDP, so spending your money on the island will help build up the local economy (read more about this here).


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We stayed in San Juan for a total of 4 days, which was plenty of time to explore. Because we planned beach days ahead in Vieques, we chose to mostly skip the beach in San Juan and just experience the city. However, if you’re planning a shorter trip to PR, you could easily see the city in one or two days and hit the beaches in between.

WHAT TO DO:

Walk through the streets of Old San Juan…We spent most of our time here because Viejo San Juan is home to the majority of the historic landmarks, shopping and restaurants. Be prepared for an aesthetic overload: the cobblestone streets are lined with the most bright and beautifully painted buildings.

Photo opp at 100 Calle del Cristo

Walking down the street at 54 Calle San Justo

See the big Puerto Rican flag mural on Calle Imperial

Hit the landmarks…Puerto Rico was one of the first places Christopher Columbus landed in the New World and became Spain’s most important military outpost in the early 1500s. And long before colonialism, the Taínos infused the island with a rich native culture. With all of this incredibly history, there are so many great landmarks to visit while you’re in San Juan. Make sure you see the big hitters: El Morro, Castillo de San Cristóbal, La Fortaleza, Cathedral of San Juan Bautista, the Raíces Fountain and Paseo de la Princesa.

Photo opp in  las garitas  at El Morro or Castillo de San Cristóbal

Photo opp in las garitas at El Morro or Castillo de San Cristóbal

La Puerta de la Bandera, which is  now painted in black and white  in solidarity of the fight for social, economic and political progress in Puerto Rico.

La Puerta de la Bandera, which is now painted in black and white in solidarity of the fight for social, economic and political progress in Puerto Rico.

A night out in Santurce…One of San Juan’s hippest neighborhoods is Santurce (think Wynwood in Miami). There’s a great food and nightlife scene in this area— you could plan for a dinner around Calle Loiza and salsa dancing later around La Placita!

(Photo via    Uncommon Caribbean   )

WHERE TO STAY:

The San Justo Loft via Airbnb | We loved this place. This classic Spanish style apartment is in a colorful building in the heart of Old San Juan. We were steps away from the best restaurants, shopping and landmarks. We were also a cheap (like $5!) Uber ride from Playa Condado, the main beach/resort area.

The Dreamcatcher | We spent our final night in Puerto Rico at The Dreamcatcher and WOWWW this place made it hard to leave. This boutique hotel felt like it was out of the pages of an Anthropologie catalogue. Tropical lounge spaces. Yoga classes on the beach. Delicious local breakfast made by their in-house chefs. Our specific room had an outdoor bathroom space that made me reconsider everything I’ve ever wanted in a future home. It was a MOOD. 10/10 recommend.

See more shots from our stay here on my “puerto rico”  Instagram  story highlight.

See more shots from our stay here on my “puerto rico” Instagram story highlight.

Amazing green lounge spaces

Amazing green lounge spaces

This outdoor bathroom situation was SO. COOL.

This outdoor bathroom situation was SO. COOL.

WHERE TO EAT:

I was given so many recommendations that I compiled them all in a Google Maps list (linked below). I like to use the Google Maps app for travel because (1) it organizes all the places in one spot where I can easily access restaurant info/directions (2) wherever I am in the city at the moment, I can pull up the map to see what saved places are nearby!

Here were some of our favorite food spots:

  • La Bombonera — for a great bakery-style breakfast. Try their famous (since 1902) Spanish-style mallorca, which is like a pressed breakfast sandwich sprinkled with powdered sugar.

  • La Casita Blanca — for the best, most authentic Puerto Rican food we experienced in PR. The restaurant has a cozy, airy vibe that was perfect for lunch. Get the mofongo!!

  • Santaella — I hate to set high expectations, but…this was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. It was a lil pricey, but worth it for a nice dinner night out. The cocktails are incredible (try the Parchita), and we INHALED the starters (try the croquetas and the goat cheese quesadilla). For our main course, the pork belly and the sea bass had us genuinely jaw dropped for the first few bites. So. Damn. Good.

Lunch at La Casita Blanca

Lunch at La Casita Blanca

 
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Visiting El Yunque was a must for me (did you know it’s the only rainforest in the United States??) It’s easy to schedule a guided day trip to El Yunque from San Juan because it’s only an hour drive away. But because I’m a nut for the tropical outdoors, we decided to rent a car and spend the night in the forest to maximize the experience on our own time. Worth it.

WHAT TO DO:

You don’t need to be some kind of expert to tackle El Yunque without a guided tour. It’s a U.S. National Park, so El Yunque is very much open to the public with easy trails, parking lots and park rangers on site to direct you around. We stopped by the visitors center to get a paper map and have someone tell us where to go if we wanted to see a waterfall (lol).

Here are the spots that we visited, which were easy for noobs like us: La Coca Falls, Juan Diego Falls, Yokahú Tower and Angelito Trail.

Driving into the entrance of the park

Driving into the entrance of the park

At the Coca Falls within El Yunque park

At the Coca Falls within El Yunque park

WHERE TO STAY:

We spent the night in the most quaint cabin in the forest— probably one of the highlights of the trip for me. Sue’s Place on Airbnb (her pics don’t do it justice) was tucked away at the end of a winding drive through the most beautiful tropical hills. The property is surrounded by lush plants and incredible views of the mountains…I woke up at sunrise to lay in the hammock and watch the morning rain. It was such a charming experience that really made us feel like we were comfortably glamping.

The porch view from  Sue’s Place . See more footage from our stay at Sue’s Place on my “puerto rico”  Instagram  highlight

The porch view from Sue’s Place. See more footage from our stay at Sue’s Place on my “puerto rico” Instagram highlight

WHERE TO EAT:

As you could imagine, there aren’t a ton of restaurants up in the mountains. However, there’s a gem called the Luquillo Kiosks or “Los Kioskos”, which is a strip of about 50 food stalls that serve everything from pizza to Puerto Rican food. Picture a food truck experience, but open air restaurants with seating. Go at night if you’re up for a divey reggaeton bar scene.

Terrible pic, but we got ceviche and beers at Ceviche Hut (Kiosk #38). YUM.

 
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After spending the night in El Yunque, we drove to catch the ferry to Vieques, a small beach island (still part of Puerto Rico) off the east coast of the mainland. The ferry only costs $2 and takes 30 minutes (you can buy tickets in person or online at porferry.com). We spent 4 days in Vieques, which was plenty of time to unwind and bask in the chill island life.

There is another (even smaller) island next to Vieques called Culebra that also has beautiful, top-ranked beaches. You could take another short ferry ride over, but we were told by a few locals that it was not much different from what Vieques has to offer. Maybe they were biased, but we listened and skipped Culebra for this trip.

WHAT TO DO:

When we arrived in Vieques, we picked up a rental Jeep. I highly recommend getting a car, specifically one that can withstand bumpy roads, to best experience Vieques. It’s a small island, but everything is spread out and Uber is not reliable.

Beach is what there is to do in Vieques. We visited in the off season (June), but even in the peak season (winter), Vieques is a sleepy island, perfect for a relaxing getaway. Our favorite beaches were La Chiva and Sun Bay— at some points of the day, we were the only people on the beach.

Vieques is also home to 3 out of 5 bioluminescent bays in the entire world. EPIC. One of the main attractions is taking a kayak tour to see the glowing bay. When you splash your paddles in the water, bright blue microorganisms light up the water. Make sure to plan your trip around the full moon— sounds silly, but if you go during the full moon, you won’t be able to see the glow in the water because the moon will be too bright. We were very unlucky and visited during the full moon. So. That sucked.

Chilling on La Chiva beach. Be ready for beautiful natural beaches with all kinds of shrubs and palm trees in the sand. And did I mention the turquoise water?! *cries*

Chilling on La Chiva beach. Be ready for beautiful natural beaches with all kinds of shrubs and palm trees in the sand. And did I mention the turquoise water?! *cries*

One of the coolest parts about Vieques is that horses roam free all over the island. We went horseback riding with  Esperanza Riding Company  which was an amazing way to see Vieques.

One of the coolest parts about Vieques is that horses roam free all over the island. We went horseback riding with Esperanza Riding Company which was an amazing way to see Vieques.

WHERE TO EAT

Vieques is a really small island without a ton of resources, so the food scene isn’t terribly exciting. However you can count on fresh seafood, which is really all that matters in this life anyway. Here are a few spots you should try, but be warned that the restaurants run on island time:

  • Arenamar’s Sun Bay Cafe — a little shack on Sun Bay beach that serves rum out of a coconut and fresh fish they caught on the boat that morning.

  • Isla Nena Crabwalk Cafe — If Anthony Bourdain were with us, he’d have a heyday with this little shack by the airport. It’s run by a Chinese woman who makes authentic NYC Chinatown-worthy dumplings.

  • Tin Box— We didn’t end up eating here because it was closed, but it’s a really cute space that everyone said serves good happy hour tacos and BBQ.

Fresh lobster and crab rangoons from Isla Nena’s

WHERE TO STAY:

We stayed at an Airbnb in the Esperanza area, which was super close to the main strip of restaurants in town. We didn’t love the property, but it did the job and allowed us to save a few bucks to afford the rental Jeep. If I could do it again, I would’ve stayed at the Hix Island House, which looked waaay cooler. I love the aesthetic and open air concept, but wasn’t sure about staying at the beach with no A/C (which I had read about in the reviews).

Outside of our Airbnb in Esperanza

In summary:

  • Day 1-3: San Juan

  • Day 4: Rent a car in San Juan and drive to El Yunque; spend the night in El Yunque

  • Day 5: Drop off car in Ceiba, then take ferry to Vieques

  • Day 5-8: Vieques

  • Day 9: Take ferry back from Vieques to Ceiba; Uber back to San Juan to spend the last night

  • Day 10: Final day in San Juan

Here are some additional resources to learn more about Puerto Rico before your trip:

 
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Feliz Navidad from DALE!

[This post originates from !DALE!, an email series that I’ve created to share relevant stories from Hispanic pop culture to my peers at Wieden+Kennedy.]


While you're clinging to your final shreds of productivity before vacation, here are a few blurbs that I hope could add perspective to your work here, but could also make great talking points for when you meet your sister's Dominican boyfriend at Christmas this year. 

Karol G & Anuel were 2018's hottest couple in Latin music 

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  • Karol G is a Colombian reggaeton/pop star (think Shakira with a pinch of Rihanna). Last month at the Latin Grammy's, she won the Best New Artist and her song "Mi Cama" was nominated for Best Urban Song.

  • Anuel AA is a bad boy Puerto Rican Latin-trapper known for collabs with Tekashi 6ix9ine and Bad Bunny. 

  • Rumors of their relationship started with their steamy duet, "Culpables", set ablaze by an on-stage makeout sesh, but became official official a few weeks ago with this gushy birthday Instagram post.

  • Takeaway: There's Bella & The Weeknd, Kylie & Travis, Hailey & Bieber...you can now add Karol G & Anuel to your rolodex of millennial power couples...that will probably get prematurely engaged but then spiral into a salacious public breakup caused by a cheating scandal surfaced by Twitter. 


New Spiderman movie

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  • While some of us are still grappling with the fact that yes, they remade Spiderman again, it's worth noting Marvel's commitment to diverse representation in this movie. 

  • Out with Peter Parker and in with Miles Morales, an Afro-Latino teen from the Bronx. His mom is Puerto Rican and speaks to him in Spanish throughout the movie (check a clip here). The lead villain is also played by a Mexican actor who was specifically casted because the director wanted to multiple Hispanic dialects (okurrrr!).

  • What's even cooler is that the director chose not to use subtitles for all of the Spanish dialogue: "It was important for us to hear Spanish and not necessarily have it subtitled. It’s just part of the fabric of Miles’ community and family life. If you use subtitles, all of a sudden we are outside, and we are not part of this world anymore.” 

  • Takeaway: While we're happy to be recognized for our unique culture, Latinos also crave to be represented equally and seamlessly with the rest of society. We don't always require subtitles or special Hispanic versions of things. We want to feel less foreign and more integrated. Because the millennial and Gen-Z generation is melting pot that is redefining the influences that mold mainstream culture; we're no longer the minority. 

12 grapes on NYE

  • Add some global pizazz to your NYE celebration this year with old "12 grapes at midnight" Spanish tradition.

  • If you're at a NYE party with Latinos, more important than the champagne toast is the cup of 12 green grapes. When the clock strikes, you're supposed to eat all 12 grapes in the first 12 seconds to earn 12 months of good fortune in the new year.

  • Takeaway: TRY IT! Just please don't choke. 


Special thanks for participating in my ¡DALE! email series this year. Your enthusiasm for learning even the most random bits of our culture has meant a lot to me. ¡FELIZ NAVIDAD! ¡FELIZ AÑO NUEVO! ALL THE FELIZ's. 

¡DALE!: Cholo Thanos and the Infinity Chancla

[This post originates from !DALE!, an email series that I’ve created to share relevant stories from Hispanic pop culture to my peers at Wieden+Kennedy.]


Dragging culo on this gloomy Thursday afternoon? Procrastinate a little longer with some headlines my side of pop culture.

Cholo Thanos and the Infinity Chancla

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  • This incredible spin on the Avengers character appeared at San Diego Comic-Con a few months ago (sorry, I'm behind on my cosplay news) to show out for ~the culture~ 

  • La chancla (or chancleta) means "slipper" or "flip-flop", but also known as your Latina mother/girlfriend's most powerful weapon. She will use said slipper to beat the shit out of you for whatever reason. As soon as your mom bends over to take off her shoe, it's going down. And you should run. 

  • Takeaway: It's *really* funny how this person used la chancla as a superhero weapon. Maybe for general market, it'd be "the belt"? With the medieval world as our playground, how can Bud Light build characters based on relatable struggles/insights?  


First* Latinos on the cover of Complex!!!!!!!

  • J Balvin and Bad Bunny are two huge names right now; they're pioneering a new subgenre of reggaeton called "Urbano Latino", "Latin Trap" or "Trapeton". Similar to how Yachty and Uzi are evolving rap (don't @ me), these guys are doing to reggaeton.

  • What's even cooler about them is how they're unapologetically Latino, even in the mainstream U.S. They both speak/perform only in Spanish, yet have a massive American fan base. 

  • Watch this episode of Sneaker Shopping, or this interview on Complex (sponsored by Buchanan's...Bud Light's next!!). 

  • Takeaway: Very cool how Complex celebrates Spanish-language content/artists without American-izing them. Complex is adapting their platform to our diverse millennial/GenZ generation. They're not afraid to push boundaries with their general market audience for the sake of winning with Hispanic viewers. 

* JLo was on the cover, but she's LatinA...ok!?


K-Pop band just released a song...in Spanish?

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  • Oddly enough, U.S. Latinos are K-Pop's second biggest fanbase in the U.S. (behind Asian-Americans). AND Latinos also make up 35% of Korea's version of Netflix's audience. ¿¿Qué??

  • The hypothesis is that K-Pop has more to offer. "It's more than music; it's a lifestyle", they say. The lyrics are more meaningful, the performances are larger than life, the music/artists are prolific, and there's a TON of content for fans (threads, forums, Facebook groups, etc). Fans are never bored.

  • Takeaway: Interesting. Very interesting. Gen Z is far more accepting and curious about different cultures than generations before. And they are clearly stimulated by plentiful Internet content, which Bud Light can take into account when developing Hispanic social content. 


A few memes for your day:


Until next time,

 






SPEAKING AT GOOGLE

I had the honor of speaking on a panel at Google for the Digital Futuro conference during HBO Latino’s New York Latino Film Festival. Latinos are the #1 consumers of digital content, but we only show up on screen 5% of the time (!?!) I spoke alongside other Latinx creators about how we can use social media to influence culture and elevate our representation in the industry. 

Interviewing with HBO Latino / NY Latino Film Festival

"Activate Your Social and Be an Influencer" panel at the Google Digital Futuro Conference. 

Miguel on "exploring the totality of yourself"

I watched this Breakfast Club interview and felt so energized by how much his story resonates with mine. The story of a mixed Latino kid falling deeper in love with his heritage. 

Latin culture is a unicorn. It's full of love, passion, family unity, community, flavor...it's every positive virtue of mankind manifested in one culture (.....alright, maybe I'm biased). Miguel spoke about how other cultures are now learning from us. "Other cultures look at how people of [Hispanic culture] were raised with family as the unity...let's mimic that."

If you were raised in a Hispanic household, sometimes it takes time to recognize that your upbringing was more special than you realized. In my adulthood, and with the help of social media, I've put together pieces and memories of my life thus far and realized how I share a common thread with so many others. What a gift to be a part of this culture. 

PARTY PATCH

I LOVED this project!! A client reached out with the idea to design a patch to sew onto matching jackets for her bridal party. The bachelorette party would be in New Orleans and she wanted the design to reflect the city's vibrancy.

In the details: Mardi Gras mask, wedding date in roman numerals, the letter "K" for Katie, and her engagement ring.

In the details: Mardi Gras mask, wedding date in roman numerals, the letter "K" for Katie, and her engagement ring.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH @ GENERAL MILLS

This is my third year designing General Mills' Black History Month branding and signage. General Mills hosts a series of events throughout the month to celebrate black history and give back to the Minneapolis community.  The theme of the programming this year is "Freedom Lies in Being Bold". Keeping this in mind, the logo I designed was very raw and bold; the black handwriting stands out in a simple and confident way. 

Final logo

Runner-up logo options

Runner-up logo options

Logo printed on banner at General Mills HQ

Logo printed on banner at General Mills HQ

THROWBACK: CHICKS CONFERENCE 2015

During our senior year of college, my friends and I recognized a need for more career development resources before we took off into the real world.

We co-founded the CHICKS Conference to provide young women with the tactical knowledge they need to succeed. This one-day conference incubates personal and professional development to bridge the gap between classroom and career. 

In 67 days, we secured a $9K university sponsorship, procured 21 speakers (including the Mayor of Columbia), advertised and ultimately registered 250 young women for CHICKS2015 on April 25, 2015. 

My deliverables: CHICKS brand identity, website (design and build), social media assets and 10-page print conference manual. I also led one of the conference sessions about personal branding.

Read more here.

 
 
 
 

(Created in 2015)

I led one of the conference sessions, “Building Your Brand: Everyone Needs One”, to talk about the importance of personal branding in your career.

2017 RECAP

How easy is it to focus on everything you're NOT doing and forget about everything you ARE doing? We are our toughest critics.

2017 was a big year for my personal life-- I left Minneapolis, moved to NYC with my boyfriend, adventured to Vietnam, traveled to 5 weddings...even designed my own first tattoo. It was all a blast. But as a result, I had a lot more down time from my business than I did the year before. Or at least that's how I felt. I found myself with reverse FOMO-- having too much fun in real life, but fearing that I wasn't working hard enough at my business. 

But in reality, 2017 was still a really incredible year for my business. This morning, I started listing out all of my highlights from the year and surprised myself! I worked with over 75 clients to produce logos, Snapchat filters and websites. My designs were published in TWO magazines! At General Mills, I had one campaign and two viral tweets earn national media coverage. WHAT! 

When we write our 2018 resolutions, it's usually a process of "What did I slack on in 2017 that I can improve on in 2018?" We point out all of the things we hate about ourselves or our actions, then hope to fix them in the new year. Go to the gym more (because I was a fatass this year). Finally start my own side hustle (because I was lazy again this year). 

But I challenge you to change the way you reflect on 2017. Start with a positive mindset by focusing on the GREAT things you did this year. Write them all down, from January to December. You'll be surprised by how much you accomplished. Then think about how you can build on it next year. Go to the gym more (because I already lost 10 lbs this year). Finally start my own side hustle (because I came up with an amazing concept this year). Secure 100 clients (because I locked in 75 this year). 

Be proud of yourself, and let it motivate you to be better in 2018. Here are some of the moments I'm most proud of in 2017. Happy New Year! 


SNAPCHAT FILTERS: I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to draw caricature versions of my clients for Snapchat filters. As filters became more common, clients were looking for highly customized designs. I produced 34 filters this year, which earned over 14 MILLION views. 

LOGOS: I developed brand identities for 20 small businesses this year, and in doing so, I found my own design identity. I leaned into using my own drawings and handwriting in designs. I'm proud that all of my designs now have my own signature touch to them.

40oz BOUNCE x HELPERI developed the concept for an experiential event to reach Hamburger Helper's millennial target audience. Partnering with one of the hottest influencers in New York, we turned a branded marketing event into a sold-out party with 600+ attendees, millions of social media impressions and national media recognition. 'Twas very lit. 

Me Oh My Milkshakes

There comes a time in every creator's time where you just fall in love with a project. It's probably a redemptive moment to make up for all the times you beat yourself up over other projects. Regardless, designing for Me Oh My Milkshakes gave me a breath of fresh air and much needed inspiration. 

Building a brand identity goes deeper than a cool logo. It makes you reach into the heart of what makes your product or service unique, and bring it to life in a visual way. I teamed up with my incredibly talented photographer friend Kelley Mann to direct a photoshoot that embodied the personalities of each logo concept. 

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And don't let What the Health tell you otherwise...dairy is delicious.

Snapchat Filter Round Up

While I spend most of my design time on logos and brand identity work, Snapchat filters are some of the most fun projects I get to work on! Recently, a lot of clients have been asking for cartoon/"bitmoji" versions of themselves. It takes a good bit of Facebook photo stalking and time, but the final product is always hilariously accurate! 

Interested in a custom Snapchat filter? Fill out my order form here

#VSYACHT 2017

Life update: I moved to New York City. I was going stir-crazy in Minneapolis, anxious to live on the same coast as my family and friends. So here I am, same job, different city.

Now that I'm a New Yorker and all, I landed a project designing the flier and visual assets for THE party of the summer: The VS Yacht Party: NYC vs Everybody. This was their 4th annual event, hosted by New York's top social influencers and DJs. 

NYCvsEverybody Flier_LianaTeresa

The yacht party is broken out by different themes on each level. The client wanted to highlight each level of the yacht, while also listing all 38 host names, 18 sponsors and party information... *sweats*. 

Every piece of the flier is custom-- I hand lettered and "doodled" all names and imagery. In addition to the flier, I also designed the cocktail menu and event signage which were displayed throughout the yacht party.

40oz BOUNCE x HELPER

It was 12:45 a.m. and I was in the venue's back office trying to wrestle my mildly claustrophobic boyfriend into a mascot costume. 

I had spent almost a year pitching this idea: our surprisingly relevant Helper brand could represent the #theculture by throwing a bonafide party. No covert marketing agenda. Just good music. Dancing. And warm cheeseburger macaroni (because bias aside, I believe in my heart of hearts that Helper is the dankest late night food). 

So when the only thing standing between me and the Helper glove swag surfing with 300 millennials was a lil' oxygen, I had to make power moves.

Sorry, Zae. But you killed it!

Over 3,000 people RSVP'd to a birthday party hosted by Hamburger Helper on a Wednesday night. It was unexpected and people loved it. I wrote a whole case study about it here, but the results didn't matter to me as much as the relationships I made along the way.

The day before the party, I was elbow-to-elbow in the backseat of an Uber with four teammates I had just met. They were going back and forth about their plans for the weekend, and what gigs they had to work. Me being me, I stopped to ask what felt like a fundamental question: "Ok so...is this your main job? Like what do you do?"

Their responses had my mind racing like Bradley Cooper on that limitless pill. They produced massive events, networked with brand sponsors, and even worked a night shift to keep the bills paid. Passionate. Driven. Plotting for the future. A group of 20-somethings, on their way to execute a six-figure corporate marketing initiative. 

The tide is turning. Millennials are the nation's largest living generation and 80% of them express a desire for brands to entertain. We're in an era where a 12-year-old YouTuber has more marketing influence than a conference room of MBA's. There's a lot of power in the creative intuition of our generation. 

"Listen to the kids, bro!" Kanye West said.

There will always be "adults" to answer to and results to prove. But if you're passionate about what you do, then you're unstoppable. If you have a vision, chase after it. Pick up a night shift. Volunteer your significant other to dress up in a mascot costume. Re-write your pitch deck 14 times just to sell your big idea. 

Do whatever it takes. You are the limitless pill. And you don't need to wait on a traditional career path to take you where you want to be.

My biggest role models are my entrepreneurial peers. Niles Stewart, a 19-year-old YouTuber I met through the Helper mixtape who now writes for the award-winning FX show Atlanta. Dev Cobbs, who conceived the idea of the 40oz Bounce tour when he was just 22. Brynn Casey, who harnesses the power of Instagram to very successfully sell her ocean paintings. 

Never stop grinding. Get home from your 9-5 and clock in to your side hustle from 5-9. Push your boundaries and act boldly. Our generation is out here setting trends, making chasing dreams a lifestyle. So go for it. 

BRAND IDENTITY: TATI CHIN

My blog is no stranger to the works of Tatiana Sheree Chin. She's my best friend, podcast co-host (Dos Cocos reboot coming soon), and entrepreneurial soul sister. So when sis needs a logo for her thriving food blog, you know I'm delivering in a big way. 

FUNCTIONALITY: Bold, clear, adaptable for different platforms. It's important to have a logo that can be translated across social media graphics, business cards, websites and still look like a cohesive brand.

MEANING: I drew over 30 unique icons to represent the ingredients that characterize her recipes. She's a mixed chick influenced by her Southern and Chinese-Jamaican roots (peep the Jamaican flag in the bottom right!). I wanted this core aspect of her personal brand to shine through the logo.

Follow Tati on Instagram, or snag a recipe from her website tatichin.com

BRAND IDENTITY: BE POSITIVE

From client:

#InTheMeantime: B+ (Be Positive) will be an open discussion to share my story of overcoming the first year after being diagnosed with HIV. I would like to also encourage others who may have recently contracted the virus to stay positive about their new lives. Additionally, I want to spread awareness to our community about getting tested and reducing the spread of HIV/STI.

WIP: ILLUSTRATION AND TYPE

Illustration and typography concepts for an upcoming brand identity project. I always start my designs in black and white to stay unbiased to pretty color palettes (and stand the test of single-color print scenarios). However, I'm excited to wrap up phase one, and begin splashing these designs with a soft pastels and summer hues.