Traveling to Spain has been on my radar since The Cheetah Girls 2.
As years passed, I found myself always waiting for the right time. Then, one morning I got a screenshot from my dad showing a Hopper notification for a Barcelona flight deal followed by a flight itinerary. I quickly purchased round trip tickets. I later found out those screenshots were more so FYIs than invitations. As a result, I cancelled my flight. My dad, whose original plan was to fly into Barcelona for a cruise, changed his mind and decided he wanted to explore the city with me instead. So, in under 24 hours, I booked, cancelled, and rebooked my flight to Spain. A few months later, we arrived in Barcelona!
Everyone's travel taste is different and sometimes having less of a plan leads you to where you need to be. In my 3 nights in Barcelona, I explored new neighborhoods, ate amazing food, and took advantage of the city's photo opps. Hopefully my experience helps you plan your time in this amazing city.
The Eixample neighborhood is the perfect place to be if it's your first time in Spain. We chose the Royal Hotel as our base and loved having transportation and things to do close by. Passeig de Gracia is a busy street filled with stores from Spanish chains like Zara and my new fave, Stradivarius. Shopping on an empty stomach got rough so we switched gears and went for tapas at Cerveceria Catalana, a recommendation from our hotel's front desk.
After tapas, we made a few stops to see the work of Antoni Gaudi, the genius architect known for giving Barcelona its colorful mosaic aesthetic. You can't miss Casa Batllo and Casa Mila. Casa Atelier is another great stop, next door to Casa Batllo; this one isn't Gaudi's work but we appreciated it just as much.
Our jet lag started to set in, so we tuned into the culture and paused for siesta. We ended the day with dinner at La Cava and roaming the Eixample neighborhood, finding wine bars and street art along the way.
Photo: Casa Batllo from @casabatllo
We started day two at La boqueria, the colorful food emporium recognized as a Barcelona staple. You walk into a rainbow of smoothies and fruit juices, fun shaped candies, and of course tapas. We ate and then roamed around the Gothic Quarter, making stops into a few souvenir shops and pausing to take pictures of the beautiful buildings lining the street.
From there, we checked out the Barcelona Cathedral and Arc de Triomf. We popped in to Tapeo for lunch—my favorite tapas spot of the entire trip. In the same area is a little bakery called Bubo. I had the best chocolate and macadamia treats here and have been plotting ways to get my hands on them again. Day two also included seeing La Sagrada Familia, eating Thai at Royal Thai, and enjoying the rooftop bar inside our hotel.
Photo: Writer Jovania in the Gothic Quarter
On our last full day in Barcelona, we spent a couple hours wandering Park Guell, a public space filled with gardens and breathtaking architecture. It feels like wonderland. Afterwards, I discovered a less touristy area called Sant Antoni, specifically Carrer de Parliament. The street is made up of cozy coffee shops, juice houses, and couples walking their dogs. We didn't expect to need a break from tapas but we did. We stopped at The Juice House, thinking a little turmeric would offset all the wine and Iberico ham we'd been eating. We followed that up with a delicious grilled chicken and grilled halloumi sandwich from Federal Cafe. I could have easily spent an entire day in the area just eating and drinking.
Barcelona is an ideal destination for anyone who loves sightseeing, shopping, and culinary adventures. Some other good eats we stopped at along the way include Ciudad Condal in Eixample and Bar Lobo in El Raval. In just a few days, I saw so much of the culture here and can't wait to go back.
Photo: Park Guell
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Featured image by Getty Images
- Barcelona City Guide – Design*Sponge ›
- Barcelona city guide | Travel | The Guardian ›
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- Barcelona travel - Lonely Planet ›
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- Barcelona Guide | Insider City Guides ›
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- City guide of Barcelona Spain - Tourism, attractions and information ... ›
- Barcelona Spain Travel Guide | Travel + Leisure ›
- The Barcelona City Guide | goop ›
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
The first big leap was moving to a new city and getting settled into my new home. The next big leap? Was finding community and belonging. Moving to a new city excited me! I looked forward to having my own apartment, decorating it, and exploring what the city had to offer. I also found excitement in the thought of meeting new people and expanding my connections. When it actually came down to it, I felt nervous. I heard that making new friends as an adult can be hard because we all have different responsibilities and schedules that may not align. I knew in order for me to really feel at home in my new city, I had to create community.
Having a community of people who I can share memories with, lean on in times of need, and inspire each other is something I always valued. I took a moment to truly center in on what I desired from the new friends I would make. Then I realized it all would have to start with me. I had to be centered and confident in who I was to attract who I desired to be aligned with. As someone who moved to a new city and established quality friendships, I gathered these six tips that helped me feel grounded and create community in hopes that it will help you, too.
6 tips to start building community and making new friends in a new city:
Sean Anthony Eddy/ Getty Images
Be true to yourself
Do you know who you are? If someone asked you to describe yourself in three words, what words would you use? In order to develop deep friendships, you must be a friend to yourself first. Know what refuels you and what zaps your energy. Self-study your habits and why you do the things you do. All this will be important to keep in mind when looking to create bonds with others. Every day there’s all kinds of people telling you who you should be, how you should act, or what you should wear. At the end of the day, the only opinion about yourself that truly matters is your own. Spend some alone time with yourself indoors or out at an event you like to truly discover who you are in this season of your life.
Pray about it
Before you step out into the world and cross paths with all kinds of people, it’s important to pray about building your community. God outlines what true friendship looks like in numerous Bible verses such as "Iron sharpens iron." - Proverbs 27:17 and “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.” - Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. If you desire friendships that last, pray about what you seek in friendship. I remember praying for mentally stable, happy, and whole women who moved through life with abundance mindsets. Take a moment to journal about the community you want to build and then pray on it.
Go to fun events to meet people who share your interests
Most metropolitan cities like Washington, D.C., New York City, and Atlanta are known to have strong young professional communities and events where you can connect with others. I highly encourage you to attend events in or near your community to see what the city is like and meet people. It’s likely that the people at the event have the same interests as you, which is a great way to start a conversation. You can start by searching for events on Eventbrite or following Instagram pages that highlight events happening in your city.
Carlos Barquero/ Getty Images
Accept that you won’t be compatible with everyone you meet
While living in your new city, it’s likely you’ll meet a variety of people. Please know that everyone you meet will not bud into lasting friendships, and that’s okay! You are uniquely created and not made for everyone. Then you’ll meet people who are good for only surface-level connections, and then you’ll have your girls who you can get deep with. I think sometimes people can look down on surface-level friendships, but not everyone needs to fully know you. That’s a privilege to have and to accept within yourself. Continue to check in with yourself and be real about who you crave to spend more time with and who is nice to see for a monthly or quarterly catch-up.
Join Facebook groups & GroupMe chats
If you haven’t used Facebook in a couple of years, it’s time to dust your profile off. Facebook Groups is a great place to join online communities for people who just moved to a new city like you. Typically, you have to agree to the group’s guidelines, and then you can join. For example, you can search for groups in the Facebook app by using keywords like women, Black girl, or [the name of your city] foodies. With the GroupMe app, you’ll have to be invited to join an already existing group. While you’re out and about networking, don’t hesitate to ask if they’re in any online groups/communities they recommend you join too.
Be friendly to folks in your neighborhood
When I first moved to my new apartment, I spent the first week walking around the complex and working in the community spaces to get a better feel of it. I was able to meet people in my neighborhood, enjoy small talk, and learn more about what the community has to offer. Step outside of your comfort zone and work in your apartment’s community space or a local coffee shop to connect with others.
Overall, you may feel alone in your new city, but I guarantee you’re not. There are other people experiencing living in a new city too, and all you need to do is find each other. I hope these tips help ease the nervous feelings you have about building a new community and inspire you to make a new friend today!
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