A recap from my trip to Mexico

Scheduling a trip to Mexico on the only free weekend I had in months was a crazy idea. Because I was only going to be there for a few days I tried to do all the things, while not really being tied to a specific schedule. Yeah…it made sense in my head…but as I write it out, it sounds a little silly.

I had the pleasure of going with my father this time. We both had never been to Puebla Mexico, and it had been such a long time since he’d been to Mexico City, so it was going to be an adventure for both of us. I was so excited because it had been a decade since we’ve traveled together. We used to go to Mexico every year when I was in college, but since graduating it had been a while since we went on a trip together. This was the highlight of my trip. We really are good friends, and share the same sarcasm that makes us laugh.

I did learn a few things from this trip that in the long run will be valuable for planning in the future especially if my purpose is to take pictures. I’ll share them with you.

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  1. If it’s a short trip, focus on one place at a time.

Since we only had 4 days, I had decided to do 2 days in Puebla, and 2 days in Mexico City. Well I realized, this is not enough time to really get to know a city. The first day I was just taking it all in. The second day, I planned a food tour with Rocio (if you don’t follow her, you’re missing out). She is a very knowledgeable food guide that also shares the rich history of Puebla. I was hanging on her every word all day, and was pretty stuffed by the end of the tour. I learned so much on this tour, but it also didn’t give me enough extra time to take pictures and spend time in each area.

The same happened in Mexico City. The first day we explored around our hotel and walked for miles and miles around the center. The second day we made a trip to the pyramids and some parks. We hoped to end at this beautiful lake during sunset. The only thing I didn’t factor in was travel time and traffic. We spend most of the time in the car and didn’t get to do everything we wanted.

So next time I’ll definitely spend more than 2 days in a city.

2. Stay in or near the center.

In Puebla, we stayed about 20 minutes outside of the main town at Fiesta Americana Grand, a really great hotel. One of my favorites. However, the extra time it took to travel in and out was too much. I felt like I was missing time shooting due to travel.

When I take pictures I like to be up and ready to shoot around sunrise. I take pictures for about an hour, and can go back to the hotel to shower and get ready for the day. This morning shoot time wasn’t easy with a hotel that was a drive out.

While I LOOOOVED this hotel, staying close to the main center is something I’ll make sure happens next time.

3. Research before we go, but plan for a free day.

I definitely did some planning for our time in Puebla. Like I mentioned above, the food tour we did was a great investment and will do it again when I go back. However, I should’ve planned for more time to explore and just wander around the city.

Likewise, I had planned for too much free time to wander in Mexico City. I didn’t prepare enough ahead of time to know what I wanted to do. It wasn’t until I was there that I planned things to do on our second day. But by that time I felt like I was trying to plan too much, and ended up not being where I wanted to be when the sun set.

At the end it’s a fine like between preparing and having time to just enjoy the city.

These 3 things are great things for me to have learned. It will make the next trips even better. The time with my father was priceless. We really did have a lot of fun, and we learned a lot about Puebla, Mexico City, and the surrounding areas. We also learned a lot about our history and culture. I’m overflowing with information and can’t wait to share with you in the coming blogs! And if you’re not following me on insta…I share a lot more info, and a lot more frequently on there.


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Design Inspiration | Las Dos Macetas

I'm doing a series on my San Miguel Collection prints and am collaborating with interior stylist Mylene Raspado

This week I'm featuring: Las Dos Macetas

Pottery is a popular art practiced in Mexico. I love seeing different designs in form and in the glazing. These two pots in the photos really caught my attention because are so huge. I also love the natural color of the clay against the teal blue doors.

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This whole color palette is my happy place. I tend to lean toward blues and browns in my home decor. This might be my favorite mood board yet! I’m definitely going to use this as inspiration as I look to update our living room and our bedroom next year.

I think an 11x14 print of this photo is great for an entryway, or an accent wall in your living room. What do you think? Where would you hang it? And what about this boho mood board? Tell me in the comments!


This week only (until next Wednesday), I'm offering free framing on all orders of the "Las Dos Macetas" print. Let me know if you have any questions about this design mood board, or this specific print. Just send me an e-mail, or leave a comment below. 


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Karina Metts
Recipe | Fideo
 
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Fideo was a staple in my home. A comfort food. When my aunt visits from Pennsylvania she really only requests one thing from my mom; fideo with beans and tortillas.

Lately, we’ve been trying to be super tight with our weekly food budget and having a meal like this on the menu is great since it only costs about $5 to feed the family. Not only is it an inexpensive meal, but it’s super easy, and super fast to make.

GATHER YOUR INGREDIENTS:

4 cups of hot water

1 bag of fideo I use La Moderna

1 small tomato

1 small onion

2 TBSP oil

1 TBSP of Knorr Chicken flavor Bouillon

2 leaves of garlic

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NOW WHAT?

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1. You're going to need hot water, so you'll want to make sure you put your 4 cups of water on the stove to boil. 

2. Put oil in the pan, and add your noodles and coat in oil.

3. Let noodles brown. This will happen really fast. (Less than 5 minutes) You want it to look toasty, not burned. 

4. When the noodles are tan, add the water in.

5. Add tomato & onion. Mix.

6. Add in the bullion, mixing throughly so that it all gets dissolved.

7. Bring to a boil, cover and let simmer for about 10-15 minutes. 

8. When the noodles and onion are soft, it’s done! Enjoy!

This is a quick meal to make on the fly. It only takes about 20 minutes total, and can serve a lot. Add beans, avocado, and tortillas on the side, and you’ve got a whole meal for the family for about $5!


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FoodKarina Metts
History | Dia de los Muertos

El Dia de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday that’s celebrated Oct 31st- Nov 2nd. I’ve been seeing the popularization of this holiday among main stream culture. With that, I’ve been feeling a little annoyed (for lack of a better word) because I feel that there’s really no understanding behind it, it just looks pretty, and if it looks pretty, it will sell. And what I don’t want to see happen, is that we lose the roots and culture of this special holiday.

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It’s great to have interest in Mexican culture, I love talking about this stuff with other people, so I’d like to help you understand a little more about how this holiday is routed in honor and culture — holding a deep meaning to those who celebrate it.

Origins

The Day of the Dead dates back to pre-Columbian cultures. That’s a LONG time ago; like before the Europeans came to Mesoamerica to colonize it. It’s always been a time to celebrate the death of ancestors and has evolved over time.

The celebrations evolved into the modern day festivities but were originally the entire 9th month of the Aztec calendar (August), and were dedicated to La Calavera Catrina or “Lady of the Dead”.

While it used to be celebrated in the summer it’s become associated with “All Saints Day, or All Souls Day”. It has evolved into a day to honor infants and children who have passed on Nov 1st, and a day to honor adults who have passed on Nov 2nd.

I’ve learned that it wasn’t until the 20th century that it was even celebrated in the northern parts of Mexico. Mexico is a predominantly Catholic country, so they celebrated “All Saints Day” like other Christians around the world. In the 1960s Mexico made Day of the Dead a national holiday, inviting the northern part of Mexico to also celebrate this tradition.

La Calavera

La Calavara Catrina is a lady depicted as a skeleton wearing only a large European style hat. It’s thought to have depicted the upper class, but it was said that "Death brings this neutralizing force; everyone is equal in the end. Sometimes people have to be reminded of that." (David de la Torre)

Mexican interpretation of death is unique from other cultures in that it uses offerings, songs, respect and humor. While other cultures interpret La Catrina differently, in Mexico, it’s thought that she represents the European culture being pressed upon Mesoamerica, but remind us that the bones within are still native.

tradition

The sugar skull is an image associated with day of the dead. People even get their face painted with intricate and beautiful designs. The calavera, is an artistic representation of a skull of a person who is deceased, and can often be made to depict certain characteristics of that person making them recognizable in skeleton form.

This is a beautiful tradition, but doing this as a Halloween costume or out of context can be seen as cultural appropriation.

Often the calaveras are placed on an alter reserved for family who has died. An alter or ofrenda is made in the home or on a grave site as a remembrance and an honor to the loved ones. They can include the person’s favorite foods, music, trinkets, along with candles, calaveras, marigold flowers, colorful decorations, and photos.

Marigolds—often used as decoration—are said to represent the fragility of life. They also serve as a guidance to the spirits as they come back to this world to feel the love of their family, and take that love back with them.

During this time, family time is very important. Stories are shared, and food is passed as everyone remembers those who are gone. It’s a celebration of life; of life passed, and of the lives that are still living. Death is nothing we should be afraid of, but rather as a reminder of the importance of our life now.

I understand wanting to be a part of a celebration like this, especially one that is full of joy, food and drinks. In other cultures, death is typically associated with sadness and grief. While there is definitely sadness to the death of loved ones, (I can’t even think about losing someone close to me without having anxiety) the Mexican culture has found a way to continue honoring that person’s life beyond the grave. Their memory stays alive. There’s joy, happiness, bright colors, and celebration. Rather than simply putting some sugar skulls on socks or t-shirts to wear them on the day, think about how it can affect your own life. Think about how you can truly understand someone else’s traditions, see the good in them, and respect them without trying to gain anything for yourself.

This is a nice video about Dia de los Muertos if you want to hear more.


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History | Hispanic Heritage Month
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We are at the end of Hispanic Heritage month. It started on Sept 15th and ended yesterday, October 15th. This observation started as just a week of acknowledgement in 1968 by Lyndon Johnson. In 1988 it was expanded to 30 days by Ronald Reagan. During this month we’re paying tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have influenced and enriched our nation and society.

How awesome is that!?

And to think, still at 30 years later, we’ve experienced such a setback from feeling accepted in this country, even if we are citizens. The celebration or acknowledgement of Hispanic/Latino history is huge, because it’s a way for people who aren’t Hispanic to get a glimpse of the historical impact that Latin American countries have had on the US. It’s so easy to stay comfortably in your own little towns hanging out with the same groups of people that are similar to you, while being ignorant of the beauty of other countries and cultures, especially the ones that border your own and have made a direct impact on your own personal freedoms.

Often I see people who might enjoy the culture and foods of different countries turn around and spew hatred toward the same culture that brought the foods they love to this country.

While having specific months to honor different groups of people, (Hispanic Heritage month in Sept/Oct, Black History month in February, Asian History month in May, and American Indian month in November) is a great thing where we can learn about different histories and cultures, I think of when Americans as a whole will show more appreciation, compassion and understanding for each other.

It starts somewhere. It starts with you, and me; teaching our kids how to love differences, and to celebrate different cultures.