puerto rico

Rhyme with Reason

img_7121Located right in the heart of Old San Juan is The Poet’s Passage: a gift shop, poetry lounge, and café. A “living museum” where poetry, local art, music, and lots of hugs are shared. I was first introduced to this magical place and it’s owner, Lady Lee Andrews during a “Tuesday Open Mic Night.” I could not help but notice the empty cafe. Lady explained it had been closed since Hurricane Maria, which was a year ago. My husband and I were devastated and felt the need to help.

Located only a few blocks away from our new home, we realized the importance of this gem to the local community and the rest of the world. After viewing the damaged roof and a huge amount of debt left behind by previous tenants, we immediately took action.

With a substantial amount of tax debt, over $10,000 needed for the electric bill, $4,000 for the roof, and $2,500 needed for the water bill, we knew it would not be easy…

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Prince Amir helping Mommy

We had a handsome goal of $25,000, so we decided to be extremely resourceful. As a previous owner of my own bakery in Miami, Amir’s Treasures, I prayed that I could make a difference “one cupcake at a time.” I also started a Go Fund Me account to assist with baking supplies.

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Because of my husband’s business relationships, we reached out to the growing  Crypto Community here in Puerto Rico. We were able to start a chapter of Crypto Monday’s here in San Juan through his company Liquex. “Crypto Monday’s is an initiative launched in New York City in January 2018 by Crypto Oracle. It is about building local communities of like-minded people, who are passionate about Crypto, gathering to share their views and network with the goal of strengthening their local Crypto communities.”

By hosting a new weekly event along side the pre-existing “Tuesday Open Mic Night,” we thought we would be able to raise the money in no time through donations, sponsorships, cafe profits, and gift shop sales. We wanted to show the positive power of our Crypto community and do something impactful.

I am extremely grateful for every dollar that was donated to help. I am even more excited to share that both the light bill and water bill have been paid! Plus I can proudly say I learned how to make delicious pastelillos. The journey is not over just yet but we are hopeful that a major blessing is on its way.

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This has been an incredible experience for me personally as this same time last year I was only able to ship clothing and water to those affected by Hurricane Maria. Although it breaks my heart to still see people affected by the aftermath, I am grateful to be given the chance to physically be here to help. “L-O-V-E is the Message” I would start my baking at the café with this song and a smile as I learned the true meaning of “Puerto Rico Se Levanta.”

First I wanna thank my Momma! Lol

No, really… I know it may seem tasteless (and maybe almost impossible) to list everyone that contributed but I want to start with my Mom for encouraging me every single day. Funds collected on Go Fund Me from her and some dope friends from the USA: Adrienne Munroe Kate Harvey Depaola Garvin Gray

Each and every soul that walked through those doors and bought coffee, cookies, pastelillos, cupcakes, mac & cheese, poetry & art.

Our awesome Puerto Rican baristas: Kimi and Yari!!! And newbie to the island, James, our talented American chef.

Our weekly beverage sponsor: Warren Bailey of astral9.io

Our panel participants for Crypto Monday’s: Derek Hansen, Stephen Lupsha, Adam Krim, Angel Bermudez, James Shiller, Allison Kern, Ben Nguyen Tangle, Giovanni Mendez, and Francisco Laboy.

Our phenomenal Crypto telegram group

Everyone that shared, loved, liked my posts about the fundraiser

Brock Pierce for his generous donations and continuous patronage & support via social media

Team Liquex for the Live Stream of all our panels

Those who secretly visited our donations jar & dropped $20’s $50’s $100’s and $1’s (even the jingles…yes they add up!!!!)

Videographer, Fernando Cuervas for capturing and editing footage from our events

Mark, a man who came in EVERY day we were open for a double espresso and oatmeal raisin cookie!

The incredibly loving community of Viejo San Juan

Ben Nguyen Tangle’s gift of a brand new solar panel

Anthony Delgado for including The Poet’s Passage as a destination during Disrupt Week Puerto Rico

Tourists from across the globe that stopped in and encouraged me to keep the faith!

The staff from The Poet’s Passage

Lady Lee Andrews for allowing us to share her story and use her venue

And last but not least… my husband, Pedro Rivera and son Prince Amir as this past month and a half was a rollercoaster!!!!!

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realtors in puerto rico

Reliable Realtors in San Juan, Puerto Rico

for rent

My apartment hunt in San Juan was a memorable journey. Although it was filled with great experiences, it was a bit frustrating at times. With very little luck on clasificados, I met some great professionals along the way through referrals and simply asking around. I created this mini directory in the hopes of helping someone that’s maybe just as eager as I was to find a home here in paradise. Here, my dear friends, is a sacred list of some awesome people that are professional, punctual, knowledgeable and genuine!

Carlos Miró Old San Juan & Metro Area

  • Company Real Estate Professional Consultants
  • Phone 787-962-7353
  • Email carlosmiro@mac.com
  • Speaks English & Spanish
  • Prefers Call/Text

Kaliannee Charles Old San Juan & Metro Area

  • Company The Morgan Reed Group
  • Phone 787-428-5013
  • Speaks English & Spanish
  • Prefers Call/Text

Joc Yee (Angie) Mok Condado, Isla Verde, Hato Rey, San Juan

  • Company Mok Poperties
  • Phone 787-518-8363
  • Email mokproperties88@gmail.com
  • Speaks English Spanish & Cantonese
  • Prefers Call/WhatsApp/Text

Diego Pedraza Old San Juan

  • Company Clima Corp
  • Phone 305-484-1666
  • Email diegoped@gmail.com
  • Speaks English & Spanish
  • Prefers WhatsApp/Text/Call

Maritza Nieves Puerta De Tierra 

  • Independent
  • Phone 787-314-8899
  • Speaks English & Spanish
  • Prefers Text

Marta De Jesús All Metro Area

  • Company Área Realty
  • Phone 787-209-5623
  • Email marta@arearealtypr.com
  • Speaks Spanish & English
  • Prefers Call/text/email

Magda Mercado All of Puerto Rico

  • Company KW Grand Homes (Keller Williams Puerto Rico)
  • Phone 787-628-3930
  • Email mmercado@kellerwilliamspr.com
  • Speaks English & Spanish
  • Prefers Call/text/email

Cirus John Old San Juan & Hato Rey

  • Independent
  • Phone 787-405-7941
  • Email oldsanjuanapartments@gmail.com
  • Speaks Spanish
  • Prefers text/email

Vilma Cruz Condado, IslaVerde, Ponce, Caguas, Humacao-Palmas del Mar, and more

  • Company Kon Propiedad
  • Phone 787-640-6060
  • Speaks English, Spanish, & some Italian.
  • Prefers WhatsApp

Betzayda Condado

  • Independent
  • Phone +34 629 37 44 86
  • Speaks Spanish
  • Prefers WhatsApp

Natalia Sofía Cacho All of Puerto Rico

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puerto rico

Go With the (Island) Flow

Let’s see where did we leave off? Oh I was a bit frustrated that after a full week of apartment hunting I had to return home withOUT a new lease. Although I loved the apartments I saw right before racing to the airport to catch my flight, none would be available for our move-in date. Our one-way flights to Puerto-Rico were already booked so my family proceeded to pack and prepare for the big move. Aside from clothes and a few small personal keep-sakes, my hubby and I decided we would give all of our furniture away. It was quite the liberating experience… No shipping or huge packing hassles, we zipped up our 2 bedroom apartment into SIX suitcases and boarded our flight to our new home.img_6339-1

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I have my Own IG @therealPrinceAmir

With hopeful hearts we searched for last minute deals on Hotel Tonight and booked a 2 night stay at the Acacia Hotel. Don’t ask why but we were confident we would find a place within those few days… Crazy Kids!img_6486-1

Acacia Boutique Hotel, Condado P.R.

We started our journey the same way I ended my last hunt… on foot roaming around the streets of Viejo San Juan. We were confident this was the best way, calling “for rent” signs from building to building; Asking our Uber drivers, waiters and even passerby’s if they knew of anyone with rentals. Yes people in Puerto-Rico are just that friendly! We had our super energetic toddler with us so we turned it into an adventure and made the best of it. The more we walked around the more certain I was that I wanted to live in charming Viejo San Juan.

Plaza de Armas

Ironically our last call of the day was to Carlos Miró who answered his phone while on vacation. He just happened to work with The Morgan Reed Group, which has over 70 listings… jackpot! It was Kaliannee Charles that helped us find a hidden gem. A beautifully restored apartment with 18 foot ceilings and a patio that would take your breath away. It could really be something out of Game of Thrones… Gorgeous windows, spacious, uniquely & wonderfully designed, fully furnished with all new appliances. (Don’t worry I’ll share pics when we get settled) It needed some paint work and a few repairs so with the company’s permission, Charles offered us a place to stay until the apartment would be complete. We conveniently slept at a Morgan Reed owned Airbnb located right across the street from our soon to be new home.

They got to work right away and we moved in a week and a half later. As promised I made a list of realtors that helped me during my apartment hunt in San Juan, Puerto-Rico. I appreciate their patience, guidance and professionalism.

I really encourage anyone planning to move to Puerto-Rico to unplug their headsets, turn off the Bluetooth and go with the natural flow of things here. Island life has its pros and cons. Maybe you can’t fully rely on google maps but the locals love giving directions. I urge you to get your head out of your phone and into the clouds. Learning a little español wouldn’t hurt either! The Island vibe is REAL, you just have to be in the present to fully enjoy all it has to offer. Here’s a little video of our first week here in Puerto-Rico🇵🇷

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A Beautiful Nightmare

Whether it’s down the street or across the ocean, I absolutely hate moving. Apartment hunting is a huge part of it all and it’s my worst nightmare. Finding a place that not only I love but that’s suitable for my family is a tough job! My hubby and I decided that since I’m the pickiest one I should take a solo trip to Puerto-Rico to find us a new abode. A week of going from apartment to apartment in a foreign place alone… just great!

Prior to my trip I used Clasificados which is sort of like Craigslist here in Puerto-Rico. Unfortunately, no one responded to any of my voicemails or emails so I already knew this was going to be a mission. The people I did talk to were super flaky and insisted I just call when I arrived. With not even one set appointment, I had to find us a place in five days… Yikes!

I booked an Airbnb with an awesome location in Condado so it would be easy to walk or Uber from place to place. My host was amazing and the room was perfect for my stay. Very simple but nice, clean, no bugs, there was hot water, ocean view and the beach was just steps away! Upon my arrival I told my host that I was planning to move and needed an apartment. He insisted not to worry and promised he would ask around.

Condado Beach near My Airbnb

I freshened up and headed to the beach to start my search! After an hour of calls someone finally answered and offered to pick me up to go see an apartment. “Ok, this is progress” I thought… until 6pm hit and I realized I had only seen one apartment (that I didn’t like) and no future appointments. My hubby tried his best to keep me calm with a positive attitude. Fortunately during my last visit to P.R., I made a friend at a Crypto meet up and she invited me to dinner with her family. She and her fiancé had just moved from Detroit.

Mofongo de Pollo at Orozco’s in Condado, Puerto-Rico

I must admit that I felt like was cheating on my mission. After all, I got nothing accomplished all day and only four days left. My hubby advised me to enjoy my mojito and start fresh the next day. I took his advice and that’s exactly what I did!

The next morning I wore my Wonder Woman hat and promised myself I would stay positive. I envisioned myself truly enjoying this entire experience. I started my day with my sons favorite… French Toast!

French Toast at Pannes in Condado, Puerto-Rico

I immediately started making more calls during my amazing breakfast and got an answer from heaven! I got a realtor on the line that not only had places to show me but she filled in me in on why i wasn’t having much luck. Realtors in P.R. prefer texts plus this was a vacation week and it was the end of the month so most listings were already taken. I wasn’t disappointed by her news at all. I started getting responses from my new method of communication…text! Four appointments on some great listings and I owe it all to the French toast! Shortly after i even got a few calls from realtors my Airbnb host knew. I went from zero appointments to six in one morning! If I visited a listing I liked I would walk around that neighborhood for about 20 minutes. I looked for parks, hospitals and asked a few people passing by how they felt about the area. I was starting to get a good feel of each barrio. After a long day of running around I decided to join a rooftop yoga class during sunset. It was a phenomenal experience followed by some poetry and empanadas!

I turned my worst nightmare into the most amazing experience. I’ve never had this much fun apartment hunting. By the end of the week I had a ton of options, a new found love for Puerto-Rico and some new friends that can’t wait to show me around. I’m really glad I stopped relying solely on the internet. I invited everyone that God had put in my path with a smile, an open mind and tons of questions.

“A small smile makes a BIG difference!”

I woke up early Friday morning to enjoy the sunrise on the beach and make a decision with my hubby. The truth of the matter is that I found a number of great apartments, the question was what neighborhood did we want to live in? Considering that we are both New Yorkers we really love Viejo San Juan. It has a cultured SoHo vibe. It’s what I like to call “Caribbean chic” with gorgeous views of the island. Family friendly during the day, with lots of options for hanging out at night. There’s always something fun to do in Viejo San Juan.

We picked an apartment that we both loved. Huge 2 bedroom with a large patio and private rooftop to entertain. The plan was to drop off my luggage, sign the lease and head to the airport. Unfortunately the owner decided at the last minute to continue to use the property as an Airbnb. The truth is he wasn’t too excited about renting to anyone affiliated with Crypto (I’ll definitely address this topic in a future blog post). I was truly devastated that this happened on my last day! Our flights were already booked, where would we live? Where would I leave my things? There I was, back to square one but this time I had no time. I needed to head to the airport.

After taking a few minutes to pout (ok I cried 3x) I noticed a guy working on an apartment down the street. I ran to ask him if he could introduce me to the owner and he did. I managed to quickly view 5 more gorgeous apartments that were newly renovated… much more updated than the one I thought I wanted. I didn’t have time to make a decision so we just exchanged numbers. He was nice enough to shed some light on what had occurred…

Although it sucked that I was stood up by what was supposed to be my new landlord, I now knew exactly what I wanted…a newly renovated apartment in Viejo San Jan! At the beginning of my journey I had no clue. Although my family will not be returning to immediately move into a new home, my new contact seemed very promising. As for my things, my homie from Detroit was nice enough to crowd her guest room with my luggage until my return.

What is meant to be will be and what’s for you… is for you!

Instead of using this space to complain about the unprofessionalism of the company I was to rent from. I’ve decided to put together a list of all the realtors I encountered that were professional and went out of their way to accommodate me during my journey.

To be continued…

Delavida in San Juan, Puerto-Rico
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puerto rico

Why Puerto Rico?

As I start a new chapter in my life, I thought it would be fun to start a blog about my journey. Now that my husband and I have fully committed to the move I am beyond excited. We have been playing with the idea for months now. I will admit, when he initially approached me with the idea after a business trip there,  I KNEW he went nuts. I mean aren’t Puerto Ricans still recovering from the infamous Hurricane Maria from last year? Why would we want to uproot our family all of a sudden? After saying “heck NO” I remembered marriage is about compromise and every once in a while it is my turn! With the potential to gain some wifey points, I wanted to at least consider it with an open mind.

I would be lying if I said that picking up and moving to an exotic place is the craziest thing I’ve ever done. After all, I am a New Yorker that picked up & moved to Miami as a single girl almost 5 years ago. Oh and that’s not the crazy part! Shortly after… I met and married my “New Yorican” husband after only 8 days. Those were my 20s, filled with risks, travel, adventure, and lots of black girl magic. But now at age 33, married with the most adorable 3 year old and a super spoiled Shih Ztu… isn’t it time to “grow up” and stop taking risks?

“Live Your Best Life” is the theme for 2018 not “Live your best life until your 29.” I began to really consider my husband’s new plan, especially after he booked us both flights to visit.

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Ok so it was nice, I wasn’t overly impressed because I’ve traveled a lot. I know the difference between liking to visit a place and loving a place so much that I can see myself living there. So what did my husband see that I didn’t? Well after a few days I realized it wasn’t about seeing, it was about feeling. And I felt super welcomed there. The people were so warm and inviting. Mind you my Spanish is quite rusty lol but no one seemed to mind at all. They were actually impressed, which is a normal experience for me. Latinos have always appreciated a chocolate American girl that can get her point across in Español!

Alright: gorgeous island, great vibes, beautiful people AND great tax breaks! I can dig it, especially because my husband generates his income online through Crypto Currency. We would not be looking for employment as his new project Liquex is going very well. So what would I do? For the most part I am a housewife and stay at home mom. I usually have a major modeling or acting job every week or two. I made the conscious decision to focus on my family and raising our son not too long ago.  Although I am blessed and grateful that my husband has made that possible, I also know myself and I LOVE to keep busy!

Fortunately this trip wasn’t all pleasure. My hubby is actually very active in the Crypto Community so we attended a few meetups while we were in town. This gave me the opportunity to meet other people that had already done what we were planning to do. It also gave me a better idea of what my hubby is involved in. I am guilty of attending meetups back home in Miami with a nice glass of wine and focused on my phone the entire time. I must say that the conversations in PR were so different, they were heaven sent. It was so refreshing to meet people that were really living their lives… married with kids and all! I met one gentleman in particular that had a huge part in changing my mind. He was an older gentleman that made it very clear that “adulting” does not have to be boring and trite. That way of thinking is prehistoric. Its a new age where making a living through Crypto, or online for that matter, allows you to not only live anywhere but be a world citizen. “Were these people living in a bubble?” …not at all, it was me that had been close-minded.

I wasn’t always this way but being somebody’s momma makes you overthink everything. What more was there to think about? I’ve lived in foreign places before so let’s try it! I mean after all “home” is where my family is. Leaving NYC was one of the bravest, most liberating decisions I’ve ever made and boy was that a blessed journey! My life changed and fast. Sometimes a little discomfort brings out qualities you didn’t know you had.

Be willing to step outside your comfort zone once in a while; take the risks in life that seem worth taking. The ride might not be as predictable if you’d just planted your feet and stayed put, but it will be a heck of a lot more interesting.

Edward Whitacre, Jr.

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