Seeking justice in an unjust world

Initially, I was conflicted with which injustice to write about: a very personal injustice that solely affected me, or an injustice that affected me, but also represents a global issue. After recent events in Baltimore, Maryland, following the death of Freddy Gray and the ensuing riots, the decision was clear.

Attending the University of Baltimore, which is a midtown campus, can be complicated. Students aren’t sheltered with definitive campus boundaries as some traditional universities are. The University Police must be vigilant to protect the students, but when they stop protecting us and start policing us as if we are suspects, it’s time to stop, reflect, and address the issue. While the University proudly states that the safety of its students is paramount, I sometimes wonder if respect, dignity, and our rights as citizens are often disregarded under the guise of safety.

I’m Editor-in-Chief Emeritus for the school’s newspaper The UB Post. In my official capacity, I’ve had two negative experiences with the fully-sworn campus police officers. However, I am aware of several other negative student and faculty experiences as well.

For the purpose of this essay, I’m going to discuss my second incident only. In February of this year, having recently sprained my ankle and wearing a walking boot, I required handicapped accommodations. Unable to find parking in the handicapped area of campus that day, I parked in a garage and took the school’s shuttle several blocks to campus. The shuttle service ends at 11 p.m., the same time when the building that houses our UB Post office closes.

At that time, our Business Manager and I were working on Post business and decided to finish over pizza at a restaurant within the radius of campus. After eating, we walked across the street to a campus police officer sitting in his squad car, smoking a cigarette, and asked him for a courtesy ride. He asked where we were going. I responded that we were at separate garages, but he could just drive us to mine and I would drive my coworker to her’s. He said we needed to call for a ride; I told him our phones were dead. He asked where we were coming from and we pointed to the restaurant across the street. He told us we needed to call from a building on campus and we replied the buildings were closed. He gestured to the law school; I told him we were not law students and explained why we were at the restau- rant. He restated we needed to call from a house phone for a courtesy ride.

At that point, I decided to inform him that I was disabled and lifted my pant leg to show him my walking boot. He looked down at it and said that because we were leaving a bar, he had no way of telling whether we had been drinking. I offered to take a breathalyzer test. He started to explain the liability he would face if he drove us to our cars and we were to get into an accident while driving home “drunk.” I reiterated we hadn’t been drinking and offered to submit to a field sobriety test.

He continued to make excuses and interrogate us, and I asked if he was really not going to take us to our cars . After defending myself and all but screaming discrimination, I felt that I had stood up to the injustice as much as I had energy for at that late hour (I needed to drive an hour home and wake up at 5 a.m. for work the next day and it was now after midnight). I said, “Thanks anyway, we’ll just walk,” and began walking to the garage, which was four city blocks away, certainly further than my doctor’s orders would allow at that time.

We walked about a half block and incurred a female campus security guard. I briefly explained our encounter with the police officer and asked if there was a supervisor on duty. She informed me that the officer we just encountered was the supervisor.

I asked for his name and she pointed to him and said, “He’s right there, you can go ask him.”

I reiterated that I was handicapped and couldn’t do the extra walking and again asked his name.

She said, “Well, he’s the only supervisor, so you can call tomorrow and get it.”

I responded, “You’re not going to give me his name? He’s your supervisor; you have to know his name!”

She again replied, “He’s right there.” I facetiously thanked her and we continued to walk to the garage.

We considered running a story about the incident, especially since this was not the first negative interaction a member of the Post had with campus police, but we were too close to the deadline to research what the policies were or to identity the unnamed officer. I later inquired with a source that has intimate knowledge of the campus police policies and was told no such policy existed and that the officer’s refusal to give us a ride was completely unacceptable. He advised that I bring it to the Chief of Police’s attention. Having had a negative experience with the handling of my first negative encounter with campus police, I was hesitant.

I let the situation stay dormant, until now. After witnessing the climate in Baltimore surrounding the homicide of Freddie Gray, and the riots that ensued after his death, the city being set on fire in protest of the rampant racism and brutality perpetuated against African Americans, I decided that I cannot stand dormant as this “guilty before proven innocent” treatment continues, even in the confines of a campus police department. It is no longer acceptable, nor should it ever have been, to treat our students as criminals, deny them their rights, and excuse the behavior as “officers that were once on the beat in the worst part of town struggling with the difficult transition to a campus environment.”

To take the first step in the right direction, I’ve decided to publish this editorial in the first issue of the fall semester’s Post as Editor-in-Chief Emeritus to educate the student body, administration, staff, and faculty about one of the major issues that needs attention on campus. Hopefully, this will serve a three-fold purpose: to educate, to start or continue a very necessary conversation, and to reassure those who have had similar experiences whose complaints have either gone ignored or assuaged that they are not alone in their struggle.

While I feel lucky to have these experienced and qualified officers protecting our campus, they too need to respect the policies and laws that govern our campus, our state, and our country.

Editor’s Note: This event referred to in this article occurred shortly after midnight on February 4, 2015. The officer and the security guard mentioned are still unknown to the Post staff. The previous incident mentioned occurred roughly a year earlier in the Spring 2014 semester and were fully reported to campus police and the administration. It is my opinion and the opinion of the others involved in the first incident that the University of Baltimore Police did not address our concerns appropriately, rather excusing the behavior as I reference in this article.

Battle of the Boxes

Challenge accepted!

I recently heard from some students that they find box subscriptions too expensive, so this month—my last month writing this column—I’ve decided to bring you one of the most affordable subscriptions available. The second box, while not one of the most expensive subscriptions, is not cheap by any means, but it is my most favorite subscription, so I saved the best for last. This month the two boxes are the Walmart Beauty Sample Box and the PopSugar Must Have Box.

Walmart Beauty Sample

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Walmart Beauty Sample Box is a quarterly box of health and beauty products that are either new or otherwise being featured for sale at Walmart. The products included are usually deluxe and sample sizes with coupons to buy the full-sized product versions at Walmart. The coupons usually don’t expire for a good amount of time, which gives you plenty of time to try the sample and then redeem the coupon. The best part about this subscription is the price: it’s FREE—all you pay is $5.00 for shipping & handling! Because this subscription comes out seasonally, it often caters to what’s needed during that season: deep moisturizers in the winter, sunscreen products in the summer, etc.

Once you sign up for the box, no need to monitor your subscription; they’ll send you an email notifying you they’re charging your card for the next box when that season rolls around. Everyone gets the same items although color and scent variations may exist depending on what they’ve curated for that season’s boxes. An information card isn’t included, so the values are calculated using Walmart’s website.

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Inside my box:

• Rimmel London Lash Accelerator Endless Mascara (Full

size $7.97)
• Dove Body Wash Mandarin &

• Tiare Flower Scent (Sample; Full size $5.47)

• Neutrogena Healthy Skin Boosters Facial Cleanser (Sample; Full size $7.47)

• Lady Gaga Fame (Sample; Full size $30.88)

• Schwarzkopf Essence Ultime Omega Repair and Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner (Samples; Full size $13.94)

• Maybelline FITme Matte + Poweless Foundation (Sample pack; Full size $5.94)

• Nivea In-Shower Body Lotion (Sample pack; Full size $5.92)

• Garnier Ultra-Lift Miracle Sleeping Cream (Sample pack; Full size $11.50)

Coupons:
• $2.00 off Schwarzkopf Essence

• Ultime Hair Care Product or Styling Product (exp. 12/31/15)

• $3.00 off Schwarzkopf Color Ultime or Keratin Color Hair Coloring Product (exp. 12/31/15)

• $2.00 off Fit Me or any Maybelline New York face product (exp. 12/31/15)

• $1.00 off Nivea In-Shower Body Lotion (exp. 8/1/2015)

• $2.00 off any Garnier Moisturizer (10/15/15)

• $2.00 off any L’Oreal Paris Cosmetic Product (exp. 4/30/15)

• $2.00 off one CoverGirl + Olay Simply Ageless Foundation Product (exp. 6/30/15)

I love that this box has so much variety. While the samples are usually smaller, there’s always plenty to choose from. I’m excited to try the shampoo and conditioner and you can never have too much body wash andfacecleanser!Ialsolovethatthey sent a newly release full-size mascara!

Walmart Beauty Sample

Cost: FREE/per quarter. Just pay $5.00 shipping and handling! Renews automatically
Website: www.walmart.com

Search: Sample Boxes (they have baby boxes too)

Introductory Offer: None

 

PopSugar Must Have

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PopSugar Must Have is a monthly lifestyle subscription box for women and usually includes home, beauty, health, fashion, and food items. This month’s theme was Renewal, Citrus, Fresh, and Traveling. The cost is $39.95/month with free shipping and they promise various full-sized products hand selected by the editors of PopSugar.com. The values of the boxes seem to be high and their website promises that it will be at least $100. Boxes are always themed and well curated around said theme. Subscriptions are available on a month to month basis or in three or six month increments and the prices go down the longer the subscription you select. Each box comes with an info card explaining why the items were selected and their values.

PopSugar also does limited- edition boxes. They usually release quarterly and sometimes they have gender specific specialty boxes. The Resort box was released recently and sold out quickly, so if you’re interested in them, grab them while you can!

Inside my box:

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• Bliss Micromagic Microdermabrasion Treatment (Full size $48.00)

• Greenmarket Purveying Co. The Archivist Lemon + Cucumber Reed Diffuser Kit (Full size $20.00)

• Samudra Pink Piñk Zip Pouch (Full size $40.00)

• Knock Knock What to Pack Pad (Full size $7.00)

• Wet Brush The Squirt (Full size $4.99)

• Halfpops Halfpopped Popcord (Snack size $1.69)

• Benef it Cosmetics Roller Last Mascara (sample; Full size $24.00) • Benefit Porefessional (sample; Full size $31.00)

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I am most excited about the Benefit Roller Lash Mascara. I received this in another box this month, but haven’t had a chance to use it, but my favorite mascara of all times is by Benefit, so I’m definitely looking forward to this one. I also loved the reed diffuser; the scent was absolutely incredible and I couldn’t wait to unpack it and use it; it smells AHMAAAAZING. Other favorites are the Bliss Micromagic Microdermabrasion Treatment and Wet brush. The absolute best part about this box was the value, by my estimates because of the two samples, it’s about $140 worth of awesomeness.

PopSugar Must Have

Cost: $39.95/every month, less with 3 or 6 month subscription. FREE SHIPPING!
Website: www.musthave.popsugar.com

Introductory Offer: MUSTHAVE5 saves your 5.00 off your first box; occasionally they have better deals

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All photos courtesy of Jessica Greenstein.

The laws of cooking

Peruvian Lomo Saltado Stir-fry with Potatoes and Mexican Hot Chocolate Pudding

Editorial Note

As sung in my favorite movie “The Sound of Music,” I leave and heave a sigh and say goodbye, the time has come for me to say goodbye. I’ve been writing this column now for two years and I love it and hate it at the same time. I love expressing myself through the written word and sharing my love of cooking with all of you, but at the same time I feel so much pressure to outdo the column before and to write or make the perfect recipes that will be loved by all of our readers. I know this is an impossible feat, and yet, every single month, I do the same thing. It is literally insanity. Well, I’m getting off the crazy train, graduating with my B.A. in Jurisprudence, and if all goes as planned, heading to law school in the fall—destination unknown. But, that means that if someone out there has a flair for writing and loves to cook, and is a student at UB, of course, I will gladly bequeath my column in your capable hands.

Okay, let’s get into the reason that you’re actually reading my column in the first place—the food! This month, as promised last month, I am reviewing Plated. Plated is a meal box subscription that sends weekly meals, you can skip whatever weeks you want for any reason in your personal dashboard. Ordering is easy—simply review the menu for the upcoming weeks (usually they have four weeks available) and make your selections. Once added to your cart, you check out and pay, and just wait for your box to arrive. Two of the best things about Plated is their fantastic customer service and the fact that they offer desserts.

The few times I have had to contact customer service, they have been expeditious, helpful, and have more than made up for any issue that I might have had. I walked away with the unfortunately rare nowadays positive customer service experience feeling like, “yeah, I am the customer and I’m always right,” but without the arrogance and entitlement that often goes along with it.

When checking out, you must spend $50.00 in order to get free shipping (shipping is $6.00 otherwise). That’s not a hard task. They have fantastic menu items and lots of choices. Each menu item has to be ordered for a minimum of two plates and cost $12.00 per plate (yeah, they’re a little pricier than some of the others). They also offer two specialty meals that are usually between $18.00 and $30.00 per plate and include items like scallops or lamb chops. So, if you order two regular menu items ($12.00 each) x two people, you end up at $48.00, press checkout and BAM, you’re taken to the checkout screen which offers…desserts! Desserts run $4.00 per plate with a minimum of two plates per item. There’s your free shipping.

This month, I figured since UB Denit Honors students went to Nicaragua, we would have a Latin American flair in our menu. We are making Lomo Saltado, a Peruvian steak stir-fry dish and Mexican Hot Chocolate Pudding.

*Note: It’s important to mention that Plated reached out to its customers this week to notify us that the soy sauce which was included in our box was intended to be gluten free, but in fact, the wrong soy sauce was included and it is not gluten free. For those of you like me who do not have Celiac’s Disease, or not gluten intolerant, or simply not “off” gluten, this is not an issue.

Bon Appétit!

Peruvian Lomo Saltado Stir-fry with Potatoes

Makes 2 servings
Roughly 530 calories per serving

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Ingredients

8 ounces Yukon Gold potatoes

10 ounces inside round steak

1 packet spice mix

11⁄2 teaspoons ground cumin

1⁄2 teaspoon ground coriander

11⁄2 teaspoons ají amarillo

1 red onion

1 green bell pepper

2 plum tomatoes

1/6 bunch cilantro

2 cloves garlic

1⁄4 cup red wine
1 packet soy sauce (gluten-free)

*See note above
3 tablespoons canola oil Kosher salt
Black pepper

Method

Boil Potatoes:

Cut potatoes into 1⁄2-inch pieces. Place in a medium pot and cover with cold water. Add a generous pinch salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until mostly tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Marinate Steak:

While potatoes boil, rinse steak and pat dry with paper towel. Cut against the grain into 1⁄4-inch slices. Season with spice mix and ají amarillo and set aside to marinate at room temperature for at least 10 minutes or up to 1 hour.

Prepare Ingredients:

While steak marinates, peel onion, halve, and thinly slice. Rinse bell pepper, halve lengthwise, and discard seeds. Cut into 1⁄4-inch slices. Rinse tomatoes and cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces. Pick cilantro leaves, discarding stems. Smash garlic using the flat side of a knife.

Cook steak:

Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large pan over medium-heat. Season steak on both sides with salt and pepper. When oil is shimmering, add steak in a single layer and cook until browned, about 1 minute per side. Remove from pan and set aside.

Sauté Vegetables:

Add 2 tablespoons canola oil to pan from steak over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add potato, onion, bell pepper, and garlic.

Sauté until bell pepper and onion are softening and potato is beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add tomato and cook until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes more. Return steak to pan and stir to combine.

Plate Stir-Fry:

Add red wine and soy sauce to pan with steak, scraping up any browned bits from bottom. Simmer until reduced by half, about 1 minute. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Divide stir-fry evenly between 2 plates, garnish with cilantro, and serve.

Lomo saltado, ready to eat.
Lomo saltado, ready to eat.

 Mexican Hot Chocolate Pudding

Makes 2 Servings (actually made a lot more for me)
About 240 calories per serving

Ingredients

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1 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract ( I used my own that I picked up in Mexico in January of this year)

2 tablespoons flour
1 packet spice mix
1⁄2 teaspoon chili powder
1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons semisweet chocolate

chips
1 egg yolk

Method

Make Pudding Base:

Add milk and 1 egg yolk to a small pot over medium heat. Whisk continuously until milk begins to thicken, 2-3 minutes.

Cook Pudding:

Add granulated sugar, vanilla extract, flour, spice mix, and a pinch of salt to pot with milk and whisk to combine. Continue whisking until pudding is bubbling, about 5 minutes more.

Melt Chocolate:

Remove pot from heat and add chocolate chips. Stir until melted.

Plate Pudding:

Divide pudding evenly between 2 bowls or glasses and serve warm.

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All photos courtesy of Jessica Greenstein.

Letter From the Editor

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today- Malcolm X

I always love bringing the UB student body issue after issue of the The UB Post and writing my Letter From the Editor is part of the joy of producing each issue. It is with bittersweet feelings that I write this one. While I wanted our staff to have one last issue of the year, our budget doesn’t allow for us to do so, making our April issue the final one until September 2015. That is unfortunately not the only reason that this letter is so difficult to write. After two years of being with The Post, first as Public Relations Manager and Staff Writer and Photographer, and for the last year and a half as Editor-in-Chief, it is time for me to say goodbye to this institution that I love so much and to The Post, which I adore and fear has given me more than I’ve given to it—I’m graduating.

While I’m excited for the road which lays ahead (likely law school), I am also saddened by the one that I leave behind. For me, The Post has been my creative outlet, my excuse for not being able to attend weekend functions I really didn’t want to attend in the first place, and a sense of family. The students that make up the talented staff of The Post are one in a million and without their tireless efforts month after month, the student newspaper at UB would cease to exist.

Robert Summerville, our Production Manager, is also graduating. I can’t say enough about Rob; he keeps me grounded and sane and he’s always there to offer support when I feel like we’re about to drive off a cliff as we near production weekend. He is an incredible artist, designer, and all out creator, and I will miss our monthly collaboration sessions.

Keiya West, our Business Manager, and newest member to our staff, is also graduating and will be pursing law school in the fall. Keiya is an amazing friend and co-worker; she is the friend that you can call at 3am with no questions asked and she’s there. She is intelligent and passionate about making the world a better place and she loves her family, which is what drives her every day to be the person that she is. Her joining The Post is one of the best decisions I ever made as Editor-in-Chief. She has gotten the business department organized and caught up on things that were idle due to the vacancy in the position before her arrival.

Lawanda Johnson, our ever reliable Online Editor, will be the only member of the Editorial Board to remain after the end of the semester. She is an amazing editor, incredibly creative, and a workhorse if I’ve ever seen one. Any task that I’ve ever asked of her, she does it, whether her job or not, with a smile, expediency, and efficiency. She is any publication’s dream employee and I will miss her dearly. I know that this kind of transition can often be difficult, but if anyone can handle it, I have no doubt, that person is Lawanda.

With the departure of some many key members in our foundational structure, it leaves many holes that need to be filled in order to sustain ourselves and thrive. We are currently hiring for our next Editor-in-Chief, Managing Editor, and Business Manager positions. You must be organized, great with time management in order to meet constant deadlines, and possess strong leadership skills. Details about each position can be found on our website. Interested applicants should send resumes and writing samples (for those applying for editor positions) to jobs@ubpost.org.

I’d like to wish all students good look on their finals in a little over a month and to all those graduating, best of luck in your future endeavors, whether they include continuing your education or starting or continuing in the workforce. Graduating with any kind of degree is a huge accomplishment, a testament to your perseverance, dedication, and faith in yourself, and deserves to be celebrated. Congratulations Class of 2015!

We’d love to hear from you! What are we missing? What do you want to see more or less of? Let us know! Please email me at Editor@UBPost.org. Also, don’t forget to Like Us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter (@theUBPost), and subscribe to our newsletter (www.ubpost.org).

Yours Truly,

Jessica Greenstein
Editor-in-Chief
Follow me on Twitter @lawofcooking

Cruisin’ the Seven Seas

This winter break, I departed on trip that is all too familiar, but nonetheless a favorite of mine—a Caribbean cruise. We booked a cruise aboard the Carnival Pride to the Western Caribbean debarking from Tampa, Florida, for seven nights. One of the biggest attractions to cruising is the all-inclusive food factor. With the exception of soft drinks and alcohol, everything is included in your cruising experience. Of course, you have to pay for extras like excursions and trips to the spa as well, but cruising is still a great value for your dollar. We visited Costa Maya, Mexico; Belize; Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatan, Honduras; and Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.

The Carnival Experience 

The food selections on cruises are endless and I’ve never had an item off their menu that I didn’t like. Really like lobster? Feel free to order two of them on surf and turf night. It’s all included.

The menu changes daily in the main dining room so if there are two or three appetizers that look good, order them all because they won’t be there tomorrow. Menu choices include a variety of hot and cold soups (Spiced Pumpkin (pictured), Bing Cherry (pictured), Cucumber (pictured), and Mango are just a few varieties), sushi, prosciutto and melon (pictured), escargot (pictured), shrimp and grits, bacon macaroni and cheese (pictured), salads, prime rib, steak, lobster, and a myriad of desserts, including crème brûlée, cheesecake, chocolate lava cake, tiramisu, and orange cake (pictured), and so much more.

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands 

From the ship, the island is five miles away by tender and takes roughly 10 minutes to get there. Known for its crystal clear waters, this year-round paradise is home away from home for many of the world’s one percenters.
From the ship, the island is five miles away by tender and takes roughly 10 minutes to get there. Known for its crystal clear waters, this year-round paradise is home away from home for many of the world’s one percenters.

Local Caymanians are some of the most wonderful and genuine people I’ve ever met; however, they are few and far between. In a coun- try that’s famous for its lax banking regulations and privacy, expats flock to this island in droves. Its beautiful crystal blue waters and white sand beaches are some of the reasons that tourists visit. While the conversion rate is only $0.80 on the $1.00 US, most tourists that escape to the Caymans are looking for fun in the sun, fresh local seafood, snorkeling along the Barrier Reef, or playing with sea turtles and stingrays. Cay- manite, a neutral-colored stone found only in the Caymans, is made into jewelry, making jewelry shopping a favored pastime as well. Because of the Barrier Reef and shallow water surrounding the island, cruise ships must drop anchor approximately five miles off shore and passengers must use tenders (smaller transport boats that hold between 150-300 people) to get ashore.

Coming back to your stateroom to a folded towel critter (pictured) is a highlight of cruising with Carnival. Carnival even sells a book so that you can fold towels on your own at home.

Along with the towel animals, you’ll find mints on your pillows and Fun Times, Carnival’s daily newsletter complete with calendar of events and sales for the day in their duty free shopping area.

Costa Maya, Mexico 

Taking in the view from one of the island’s many waterfront seafood restaurants while indulging in fresh conch fritters on Grand Cayman.

Costa Maya, Mexico is a port that is strictly for cruise ships. There is plenty of local shopping, a few restaurants with authentic Mexican cuisine, a lazy river area, and a small beach area. For those looking for adventure, a short drive with a Carnival sponsored excursion can offer dune buggy adventures, scuba diving, or a tour in glass bottom boat, just to name a few. For those who are willing to travel a little further, an hour and a half will allow you to tour some of the Mayan Ruins.

Lover’s Wall is a rock wall along- side Heritage Beach. Photo courtesy of Cayman Tourism
Lover’s Wall is a rock wall along- side Heritage Beach.
Photo courtesy of Cayman Tourism

Belize 

Lush local plants grow throughout the country. Like everything at the Belize Zoo, these two varieties were found growing in their natural environment.
Lush local plants grow throughout the country. Like everything at the Belize Zoo, these two varieties were found growing in their natural environment.

09-024

In Belize, the shopping potential is endless. Whether you are looking for duty-free liquor, handmade jewelry made of wood or bone, or knockoff designer handbags and Beats headphones, this is the spot for you. Just to start, Belize offers horseback riding safaris, cave tubing, snorkeling, and tours of the city or zoo.

The zoo is found in a remote area of the Belize. Completely natural, visitors can get up close and personal with local wildlife. Unlike the zoos in the United States, only basic cages separate you and the animals, allowing for better photo opportunities as well as a chance to take your life in your hands when it comes to the big cats. Over 320 varieties of birds are found in Belize. Popular birds include the Keel Billed Toucan, Brown Pelican, and a variety of parrots and parakeets. Five native big cats call Belize home.

They include the Jaguar, Jaguarundi, Margay, Mountain Lion (pictured), and Ocelot (pictured). Other native wildlife includes Collared Peccary, Crocodile (pictured), Coyote, Gray Fox, Spotted Skunk, Spider Monkey, and White-tailed Deer, just like the ones found in Maryland.

Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatan, Honduras 

Lush landscape of Roatan.
Lush landscape of Roatan.

Roatan is one of the outlying islands of Honduras. Its beautiful and lush landscape includes rainforests, the beach, and winding mountains. Perfect for ziplining, Catamaran sailing, swimming with dolphins, touring the countryside this country is a photographer’s dream. Rich in culture, the Best of Roatan tour offered a perspective of the island that most tourists don’t have an opportunity to see. Traveling away from the beach, participants visit Rusty Fish, where they repurpose local metal scrap into inspirational artwork, followed by Roatan Chocolate Factory where the island makes chocolate without any dairy.

At the Rusty Fish, artists recycle and repurpose scrap metal into unique artwork.
At the Rusty Fish, artists recycle and repurpose scrap metal into unique artwork.
embers of the Garifuna, a local tribe, sing and dance to one of their tribe’s songs Song of the Sun. 
embers of the Garifuna, a local tribe, sing and dance to one of their tribe’s songs Song of the Sun.

Forget your chocolate bar in the hot Honduran sun? No worries, it doesn’t melt! Next on the tour is the Roatan Rum Company where you can buy rum cake in five different flavors (coconut, banana, 151 proof, tropical spice, and original) and Rum in four varieties (coconut, mango, 151 proof, and original). The last stop is to visit the secretive Garifuna tribe where spectators take in a native song and dance and try Cassava bread, a traditional dish of the tribe. Other local delicacies include iguana and blue crabs. Unlike Maryland Blue crabs, these land crabs are actually brown and burrow in the ground.

Clay oven used to cook Cassava bread
Clay oven used to cook Cassava bread

 

All photos courtesy of Jessica Greenstein unless otherwise credited 

Battle of the Boxes

The two boxes I’ve chosen for you this month are two of my favorites: Birchbox and Try the World. I chose Birchbox because as one of my first subscription boxes, it really instigated my addiction so to me it scream classic. As for Try the World, we focused a lot on travel this month and since that is one of my favorite hobbies, I decided to share this experience with you.

Birchbox 

Birchbox is always delivered in the coolest boxes. This neon pink and orange conversation bubble box is no different.
Birchbox is always delivered in the coolest boxes. This neon pink and orange conversation bubble box is no different.

Birchbox is a health and beauty subscription that sends on average give deluxe and sample sized products every month. Along with their fantastic curating, subscribers get to choose one of their featured samples from a pre-selected list every month. Additional bonuses include guest curated boxes, early sample choice for referring a friend or being a Birchbox Ace, monthly upgrades, and reward points for product reviews. This is a regular subscription of mine and I pay $110.00/year, although monthly subscriptions of $10.00/month are available. Usually, they also have deals going on to get discounts on subscriptions or free gifts with purchase; shipping is always free.

amika Nourishing Mask and Marcelle Gentle Eye Make-Up Remover for Sensitive Eyes
amika Nourishing Mask and Marcelle Gentle Eye Make-Up Remover for Sensitive Eyes

When you first subscribe to Birchbox, you’ll take a survey about your health and beauty preferences. These aren’t necessarily used in personalizing your box, but it does help them with market research so that they know what their subscribers prefer. This box was a big hit for me this month. It’s always a great value and I love that they are constantly introducing me to new brands that I fall in love with each month.

My favorite products this month was the COOLA face tint (I’m a huge fan of BB creams and the like) and the Marcelle Eye Make-Up Remover because you can never have too much of that on hand!

COOLA Face SPF 30 Unscented Matte Tint and Harvey Prince Sincerely perfume sample
COOLA Face SPF 30 Unscented Matte Tint and Harvey Prince Sincerely perfume sample

Inside my box 

amika Nourishing Mask (Sample; Full size $28)

COOLA Face SPF 30 Unscented Matte Tint (Sample; Full size $36)

Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner (Full size $16)

Harvey Prince Sincerely (Sample; Full size $55)

Marcelle Gentle Eye Make-Up

Remover for Sensitive Eyes (Deluxe sample; Full size $15.00)

Birchbox
Cost: $10/month or $110 with annual subscription. FREE SHIPPING!
Website: www.Birchbox.com Introductory Offer: JILLIAN will get you 100 Birchbox points ($10.00)

Try the World 

Try the World is a gourmet food subscription that sends you a box from a different country every other month. This subscription is relatively new to me and to the world, but so far, I’m in love. They’ve taken me to France, around the world during the holidays, and now to Italy. The cost is $39.00/every two months and they promise 7-10 items from each month from the selected country. They publish the country in advance so that if you aren’t interested in the selection, you can send them an email and skip that month.

Don Peppino Crackers and Domori Cherry Chocolate Treats
Don Peppino Crackers and Domori Cherry Chocolate Treats

First, let me start by saying they have some of the best packaging. It’s more of an unboxing than anything because a lot of attention goes into every aspect from presentation to curation. Second, it’s jam-packed (pun intended) with amazing goodies, most of which I’ve never tried before and some brands which aren’t readily available locally. I have greatly enjoyed my trip, and destination, every single time so far, and this month was no different.

Each box comes with a box describing what the items are and a little bit about how to use them or what is significant about them. Each box also comes with a culture guide which includes a letter from the curators explaining the box, recipes, a playlist (available online), and popular movies featuring Venice.

The one downfall to food subscriptions is they often don’t match the value spent on the box, but are rather more about the curation of the boxes themselves and the exposure to new goodies. I love my food subscription boxes because they give me lots of little snack goodies to take with me to work.

I haven’t tried everything in the box yet, but I did try the jam, cherry chocolate treats and crackers and loved them all. I think this is a great representation of Italy, but I think there were a couple things they could have included as well. I would have liked to see some Amaretti cookies. To me, these scream Italy and Tiramisu. Also, maybe an Italian espresso sample as Italy is famous for their coffee, although I understand this may have been difficult from a large scale perspective as not everyone has espresso makers, so maybe some espresso powder or instant espresso or at least something with espresso in it. Overall,I’m very happy with the box and look forward to trying the rest of the items.

Monte Pollino Red Pepper Tapenade and La Bandita Di Daniela Mariotti Pear and Grappa Jam
Monte Pollino Red Pepper Tapenade and La Bandita Di Daniela Mariotti Pear and Grappa Jam
Pastificio dei Campi Rigatoni de Gragnano, Perugina Chocolate Tab in Lemon, and Apicoltura Luca Finocchio Thousand Flowers Honey
Pastificio dei Campi Rigatoni de Gragnano, Perugina Chocolate Tab in Lemon, and Apicoltura Luca Finocchio Thousand Flowers Honey

Inside my box:
Monte Pollino Red Pepper Tapenade

Don Peppino Crackers

La Bandita Di Daniela Mariotti Pear and Grappa Jam

Domori Cherry Chocolate Treats

Perugina Chocolate Tab in Lemon

Apicoltura Luca Finocchio Thousand Flowers Honey

Pastificio dei Campi Rigatoni de Gragnano

Try the World

Cost: $39/every two months. FREE SHIPPING
Website: www.trytheworld.com Introductory offer: GOURMETBOX50 saves you 50% off your first box.