Update: I’m Running The Nike LA 13.1 Half Marathon! (Cancelled)

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When you are a runner, life can throw you so many obstacles throughout its course, but you are still a runner at the end of the day. I must admit that I have known that I am a runner since I joined my high school track team in my sophomore year, but over the past eighteen years, I have had a love-hate relationship with the sport. Starting is always the hard part, right? I often say when I go on longer runs that the ‘first two miles are the hardest’, and rightfully so. It generally takes me about two miles to get out of my own head and focus on my run and the miles ahead. The weather can be a drag, my gear can be in less than spectacular condition, my mind can be all over the place, etc, but one thing that remains constant? I always feel better after a run.

Since last year’s Brooklyn Half, my running and training have been on somewhat of a downward spiral. Less training and more working and focusing on building my businesses. Sure, with less fitness in my schedule I have been allowed more time for production and events, but there is this underlying feeling of unease. You see, when I don’t move my body in the sense of fitness or dance, anxiety can take over when I least expect it. It is not something that I enjoy, but recognize as I grow more self-aware.

For some time now, I have wanted to run a race in Los Angeles, but haven’t registered for any or not made time to just run the streets while I am there on my frequent trips. I have run with Nike run club over the years and noticed a few weeks back that they were planning a Nike LA 13.1 and I was stoked! I was interested in registering, but as business has been a bit slow for me as the new year began, I decided to wait it out a bit. My patience was deemed successful on the day my good friend Ashley called me up to invite me to be on her team for the race. She, along with a small list of female entrepreneurs in the LA area were chosen as team captains for the race, and allowed a few complimentary registration codes for those that they wanted to have on their team. I was in!

Over the past few weeks, I have started to run again, pacing and reminding myself that I am in competition with no one but myself. As a naturally competitive person, I have definitely been that person who would run past folks in the park just to pass them, but now I realize how important it is to be present and run at my own pace. I am excited as the race course has finally gone live, which you may see below.

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The race is Sunday, April 5, 2020 and spots are are still spots available. You may register here. Looking forward to running the LA streets with friends old and new from both coasts! Look out for me.

*Photos courtesy of Nike

Event: Who Made The Potato Salad? 2 Year Anniversary, November 16th Feat. Cas Rum Beverages

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Those that have known me for some time know that I love a fun gathering that brings together my favorite things: good company, food/drinks, and music. I have been on the move focusing on Cas Rum Beverages, specifically providing/catering my drinks for different events, and I am so happy to announce that Cas Rum Beverages will be catering the 2 Year Anniversary Party of Who Made The Potato Salad?

You may ask, “What is ‘Who Made The Potato Salad?”, and I would answer as follows. Who Made The Potato Salad? is a comedy collective that amplifies the voices of comedians of color, founded by actor, writer, producer, and comedian, X Mayo. For their two-year anniversary show, they will have a hilarious performance with cookout bites, #casrumpunch and #casrumsorrel by yours truly, and sounds by Astro Raw and DJ Rubie Lee. Here are all the details:

 

Who Made The Potato Salad? 2nd Year Anniversary Party

Saturday, November 16, 2019 |  8 PM – Midnight

Contra Studios

122 West 26th Street, #5th fl

New York, NY 10001

 

Tickets are $25 and may be purchased here. Since they are also a non-profit organization, all purchases are tax-deductible.

The Girl Mob x Twitter Present: “They Mean Business”, October 1st, Feat. Cas Rum Beverages!

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Since 1988, Hispanic Heritage Month has been held every year in the United States from September 15 – October 15, as this time period encapsulates the independence of several Latin American nations. To celebrate here in NYC, The Girl Mob has teamed up with Twitter to present They Mean Business: A Celebration of Latinx Businesses & Entrepreneurial Spirit.

On the evening of October 1st, the doors of Twitter HQ will be open to guests who want to meet with likeminded folks in a format that is part speed-networking and part community building. I am so happy to announce that Cas Rum Beverages will be on site as one of the event’s brand partners. In addition to being one of the official beverage partners of the evening (get ready for glasses of #casrumpunch ya’ll!), I will also get to speak on my business, and be a part of the speed-networking round.

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Cas Rum Beverages lineup. Photo by Victoria Morris.

I am so thankful for Yari & Britt from The Girl Mob bringing me on to what is likely to be a very engaging and successful event! Here are all of the details:

They Mean Business

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

5:30 – 8:30 PM

Twitter HQ

249 West 17 Street

New York, NY

LNO Studio Campaign Shoot + Brand Launch

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LNO Studio campaign video still.

Shopping for clothing to wear to work can generally be a drag. In my personal experience, shopping for pants is most difficult as I am pear-shaped, having a 15 inch difference between my waist and hips. I generally encounter pants that are too big at the waist and too narrow at the hip, inseams that are always too long, rises that are too short that make it very uncomfortable to sit down for long periods of time, and basically every gripe that one can encounter when it comes to slacks or trousers.

While perusing my Facebook groups for women in business, I came across a post from Kristin Ulmer, founder of LNO Studio. She was seeking a fit model for her new custom pants line. I quickly responded to the gig, met Kristin, learned more about the line, and was off to posing.

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My look. Madewell oversized blouse styled with LNO Studio slim-fit ankle trousers + Opening Ceremony x Vans sneakers.

The line gives users a detailed questionnaire regarding body type and favorite pant fits, along with a visual of how to measure all parts of your body from the waist down to ensure a perfect fit for pants. I was hired for the tutorial photos of how to take your own measurements at home, something that was a breeze for me growing up in a household where my mother and I would collaborate on different sewing projects.

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Campaign still of pant styles

A few weeks after my gig, I received my custom pants from Kristin, which I am wearing in these photos. I chose a high rise, slim fit, ankle length style made of a tropical weight wool (perfect for warmer weather), with side slit pockets and two back pockets.

As the pants are custom fit, they are size inclusive, offering an array of options for all bodies.

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Shake it like a Polaroid picture!

The brand officially launches later this fall, tentatively in October and has received much traffic, resulting in a wait list. Watch the campaign video below to get a feel for the different styles offered. Head over the LNO Studio website to join the waitlist so you too can experience the joy that is custom-fit pants!

Video by Remy Fink

EVENT: Intro To Boxing W/ Overthrow x Recess, Tues. 7/30 @ Recess IRL!

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So, you say you want to take a boxing class, but you haven’t made the first step? Perhaps the imagery, marketing, or overall grit of the sport is overwhelming, and you just need a cool intro class? Well look no further, Overthrow New York x Recess have the PERFECT one-two punch for you.

Join me on Tuesday, July 30th for an intro to boxing class led by one of our world class trainers at Overthrow. The class will be held at Recess IRL, the super-fun pop-up space for the Insta-worthy hemp extract-infused beverage brand.

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The session will begin promptly at 6:30 PM to ensure that folks can make it after class or work. All attendees will be guided through a dynamic class, including warm-up, learning the five punches that are the foundation of boxing, gloving up for partner drills, and ending with ab work.

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Want in? Tickets are $20, including wraps. Here are all the details and purchase info:

Intro to Boxing with Overthrow x Recess
Tuesday, July 30th @ 6:30 PM
Recess IRL
680 Broadway
New York, NY 10012

*Purchase tickets here*

Looking forward to getting active with you during LEO SEASON!

Eating Good In My ‘Hood: Thai Farm Kitchen

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Menu

In this life I live, I am always in search of great experiences in the realms of food & drink, music, and fitness. When I am not in a bind for time, I thoroughly enjoy walking through different neighborhoods to see the offerings of local small businesses. As a lifelong resident of Kensington, Brooklyn, we have many mainstays on the business-front, but as of the past few years, I have noticed a few new spots popping up on the larger strips of Church Avenue, Coney Island Avenue, and Cortelyou Road.

Late last year, I noticed the opening of Thai Farm Kitchen on Church Ave between East 4th and East 5th Streets. I believed it was incredibly convenient, as I live just two blocks away, but as the NYC dining market is inundated with Thai restaurants, I quickly thought that perhaps, they were just like the others.

I continued passing the restaurant on my way to the subway as I was constantly in a rush, and one day, seemingly out of nowhere, I saw that I had been followed on Instagram by the @thaifarmkitchen account. I decided to stop in one sunny Saturday afternoon post-nail appointment next door, and I am so glad that I did.

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Thai Iced Tea

Upon entering, I immediately noticed that nearly all seats at tables were full, a feat in itself for a new restaurant in the hours between lunch and dinner service. I was greeted by co-owner Jess Calvo, and informed him that I noticed the restaurant had followed me on Instagram, so I wanted to pop in, say hello, and try out some dishes. He quickly brought over his wife and chef, Elizabeth Kanyawee Calvo,  and sat us all at the single unoccupied table to chat about their business, culture, and journey to the States.

I told them a little bit more about myself, the fact that I have lived in the neighborhood all of my life, and that on my blog, I enjoy reviewing local restaurants in my neighborhood, and beyond. I ordered a Thai iced tea, and we began our conversation.

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Interior view from the entrance

As written on the cover of the menu, Thai Farm Kitchen offers farm to table Thai cuisine. The Calvos opened the restaurant in October 2018, and quickly gained recognition from The New York Times. But this isn’t their first rodeo. The couple and their family owned three farm to table restaurants, along with a farm in their native Thailand. They decided to sell it all in search of their American dream, which conveniently set up shop right in my stomping grounds.

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Chicken Satay

I started my food tasting with the Chicken Satay, seen in the photo above. Made with “free range chicken, marinated with lemongrass, turmeric, spices, served with peanut sauce”, it was a perfect beginning as all flavors were well-balanced and not overpowering. I really enjoyed the sauces on the side as they added another layer to an already delicious appetizer.

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Decor

The interior of the restaurant is very thoughtful, featuring decor from Thailand and various plates, flatware, and dishes from the collection of Chef Kanyawee Calvo’s grandmother’s kitchen. Many of the dishes on the menu are also her grandmother’s recipes, which give the dining experience a very homey vibe. Although it was my first visit, all of these factors made me feel very welcome, and at home.

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Tom Yum Noodle Soup

Mr. & Mrs. Calvo presented me with my main dish, the Tom Yum Noodle Soup, which they insisted to me was incredibly delicious, and could not be found at any other Thai restaurant in NYC. The soup consists of rice noodles, fish meat balls, lemongrass, galangal, ground meat, and a spicy sauce. I must say, the spice level of this dish made me shed a few tears, but it is by far one of the most unique and delicious soups I have ever had. The flavors were so complex, which kept me guessing what the next bite would be like. I enjoy the adventure of trying new foods, and with this meal, I unlocked a new level.

If you find yourself in Kensington during the afternoon or evening, be sure to stop into Thai Farm Kitchen. In addition to their dinner offerings, they have a lunch special which is a bang for your buck. Tell them Andrea sent you. You won’t be disappointed!

 

Menu & food photos by Andrea K. Castillo

Interior/decor photos courtesy of Thai Farm Kitchen

I received a complimentary meal from the restaurant

So, Refinery29 Shared One Of My Tweets On Their Platform, But I’m Not Here For It

It’s a Monday afternoon in NYC on a warm June day. I am feeling the lull of the post-2PM blues, and I see a notification on my Instagram account. I see one of my girls commented on a post with my handle, @andreakcastillo, and a bunch of exclamation points. I see that the post is on the Refinery29 Instagram account; they had screenshot one of my tweets and used it for a #mondaymotivation post. At first, I am flattered they chose me, given their reach, but as a blogger/freelance writer/content creator in the social media space, I immediately comment on my friend’s comment “woooooow! Can ya girl get credited tho @refinery29?” And so it began.

Minutes after the comment, I see multiple friends IRL and on social media adding my post to their stories, commenting, and pushing the fact that Refinery29 should tag me as it is the ethical thing to do. 24 hours go by, and at this point all the top comments on the post are my friends telling them to properly credit me. During this time, I personally DMed the post to Refinery saying this was my tweet, and how I would like to be credited. No response.

I then go on a bit of a search, scrolling their IG page to see similar “inspirational tweets” and check to see if the authors were credited. Indeed, a few of the authors were credited; one that had over 20K followers, and another that had over 1 million. I scrolled further down the page to find posts similar to mine that were not credited. The linking factor? We all had less than 5K followers.

Riddle me this. As a publication focused on women and their overall empowerment within career, sexuality, self-esteem, beauty & style, just to name a few, why WOULDN’T you tag those with a smaller following? That would be a pretty diplomatic decision, no? But instead, you shine more light on those already in the light. How is this helpful, and how does this contribute to your ideals as a media enterprise?

I am not just upset for the basic fact that my words were stolen and not properly credited, but for the story behind those words in the first place. Here is an image of my tweet that Refinery29 posted:

The date and time of the tweet was April 2nd at 8:50 PM (oddly enough, the time I was born). I wrote this tweet because I was at an extremely low point emotionally and spiritually. Rapper & entrepreneur Nipsey Hussle had been murdered in cold blood 48 hours prior in Los Angeles, and I, like many of my peers across the world were having a very difficult time grasping our new reality. I find myself lucky at this point to have crossed paths with him in 2013 when I worked at an entertainment website, but so much was unnerving to me. How can an individual in the spotlight with such deep ties to his community and the betterment of the advancement of his people be taken from us in such a heartless way? I was particular shaken, as through watching his many interviews, I connected deeply to his ideology, that of speaking the truth. It made me think to myself, “If I continue to speak the truth on social media, and in public spaces, will that be the cause of my own demise?”

Here is the rest of the thread I wrote that evening:

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I was overwhelmed by the response, quickly receiving likes and retweets at such a rapid rate that I could hardly keep up. So many personal stories were shared with me, specifically the fact of how timely my posts were in a time when we were hurting en masse. It brought me back to this idea of that I create some of my best works at my lowest points, so for my tweet to be stolen by Refinery29 feels like exploitation. I understand that as a freelance writer, I should be political and not make efforts to burn bridges, but in the words of Erykah Badu, “I’m an artist, and I’m sensitive about my shit.” I have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

SEE Eyewear Lands in Williamsburg for Their Newest Retail Location

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SEE Eyewear in Williamsburg. 156 Bedford Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11249

Being a wearer of spectacles since 1989, I like to call myself an eyewear aficionado at this point in life. I have been very intentional in choosing my glasses since I was a little girl, so having the opportunity to discover different brands through my blog over the years has always been a treat. For the past few years, I have been purchasing a new set of prescription glasses with a visually interesting frame. I love a style that is made of sturdy materials and unique; not seeing others in my frames actually makes me feel REALLY good.

When SEE Eyewear invited me to come into their latest Brooklyn location in Williamsburg (now open just a few weeks) for a custom fitting of eyeglasses or sunglasses, I was super excited as I had been hip to the brand for a few years, but never saw their product up close and personal. I came in for my appointment on a gorgeous Wednesday afternoon, with a rather simple commute as the shop is only one block away from the Bedford Ave L-train.

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Interior layout of SEE Eyewear in Williamsburg.

Upon entering the facade, I was warmly greeted by the store’s staff and PR team, given the rundown on the location, eyewear styles, materials, and where product is sourced from. My eyes gleamed when I was told all product is made in limited quantities, so the odds of someone else having my exact frames was quite low. I am like a kid in a candy store when it comes to eyewear, so I meticulously looked through all the styles that piqued my fancy, tried a few on, and made an informed decision to not get a pair that looks like any of my older frames.

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SEE 1549 in Gold/Tokyo

I decided on the pair above, SEE 1549 in Gold/Tokyo. I’ve wanted a pair of aviators for some time, but wasn’t ready to commit to the style as my sole pair of frames, so now was the right time as I have some variety in the spectacles. As soon as I tried them on, I knew they were the ONE! I got the pair fitted with my current prescription and anti-reflective lenses. I picked them up a few days ago and am really digging them!

19 Williamsburg Influencer 20 Off

You know I wouldn’t share this story if there wasn’t something in it for you, my readers, so here goes! Now until the end of May, SEE Eyewear is running a promotion at their Williamsburg location. Say the code word “BEDFORD” in-store to receive 20% off your prescription eyewear purchase. Happy shopping!

*Photos courtesy of SEE Eyewear

Lead An Active Lifestyle? CBD Living Has The Goods You Need To Relax & Relieve Your Muscle Aches

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Up Close & Personal

So you’ve committed to your fitness goal. You are staying active as much as possible, trying new activities along the way to keep your mind and body moving. But with all that movement, we encounter a few hiccups along the way in the form of soreness, tightness, and even minor injuries. Since fully committing to my own active lifestyle which consists of running, boxing, Samba dance, and yoga, I have had more than a few hiccups, which have usually led to breaks in my training schedule. I fully believe in and practice holistic remedies, so when I was contacted by CBD Living to review some of their products, I was all in.

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Drip Drop

If you haven’t been hiding under a rock, you may have noticed that CBD (cannabidiol) is all the rage now. Derived from the cannabis plant, CBD has a relaxing effect and contains no THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) the chemical which causes a psychoactive effect on your body (AKA what makes you high). I personally wanted to try products to help with my muscle aches as well as to help me sleep because I tend to be restless at night.

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Full line-up: Sleep Aid, Freeze, and Tincture

I requested the CBD Living Sleep Aid Grape Flavour, CBD Living Freeze, and CBD Living Tincture 500mg. Here is my experience with each product:

  • CBD Living Sleep Aid Grape Flavour: Very cool packaging. Flavor of the syrup is almost identical to any grape cough syrup you may have had in your life, so a very familiar taste. The sleep aid contains 120mg of CBD and 16mg of melatonin to prepare for a restful sleep. My first few nights in a row did prove to be a bit more restful, but I believe my body got used to it quickly, so nights after, I still had some issues with sleep. Perhaps a higher dosage of CBD & melatonin in the formula would be helpful for people like me? MSRP $26.
  • CBD Living Freeze:  A roll-on pain reliever with cooling properties containing 120mg full-spectrum Nano-CBD, along with menthol, aloe vera, arnica montana, and tea tree oil, among other ingredients. Reminiscent of other roll ons I have used whilst in physical therapy, I find that the relief does not last as long as I would like. So far I have used it for menstrual cramps directly on my lower abdomen, lower back, knee, and hip. MSRP $30.
  • CBD Living Tincture 500mg: A 500mg full-spectrum Nano-CBD tincture to be taken orally, formulated with organic MCT oil. The oil formulation of the tincture can be taken on its own via the 1ml dropper, or added to food or beverages. I have used it a few times in its own, and a handful of times in a beverage. The relaxing effect has been very slight on me, so I will consider upping my dosage. MSRP $60

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Casually Chilling On The Roof

My conclusion is that CBD on its own is not a cure-all. As I am incredibly active with a now increased appetite, I believe the oral products may not have been as effective on me because of my high metabolism. For the topical products, I believe using them alongside extensive stretching, foam rolling, and massage would be the method to fully reap the benefits of the products.

In addition to the products I tried, CBD Living’s range includes water, teas, lotions, bath bombs, and more. All in all, I definitely believe CBD is a natural alternative worth trying.

 

Photos by Victoria Morris

I received complimentary product from CBD Living for my review.