What it’s like to be lactose intolerant in Europe 

So, I have a mild intolerance to lactose (or I like to ignore the effects). As a child I suffered but now I’m living the dream with almond milk and soy products. God bless NAFTA. Lactose is not my friend, so I avoid it, but I tolerate small amounts of yogurt and cheese (an impasse). 

However, across the Atlantic, our sophisticated friends think we are nuts. They enjoy bread, whole milk (from cow!), butter, cream, and the rest of the food we saw in “The Little House of the Prairie.” While little sips won’t kill me, my skin breaks and my digestive system starts talking in a different language. 

My allergy to cats sends me to ER but my coffee-less morning mood might send someone else to the ER. My beloved tall-decaf-coffee-of-the-day-with-hot-soy-milk was not a possibility I did what any sensitive Mexican lady would do: blend in.

Et voilà! I was eating like the locals, learning words, and loving my sweet life. These were the outcomes of my marvelous plan:

  1. Complete experience– I tried all the foods (except pork), drink what they did, walk and spent time like they would.
  2. European figure– I did not gain weight from all the carbs I ate; I assimilate their eating habits (quite different).
  3. Acne comeback– yes, my skin breaks. The lactose-fat-carbs diet helped my teenage acne make an appearance.
  4. Digestive fun– my stomach was confused by my change of meals and did rebel. Nothing a sweet espresso couldn’t cure.
  5. Happy days– I was happy from the beginning to the end. 

Be adventurous and try not to die!

My Annual Social Media Detox (part 2)

After an amazing 9 day detox, I’m officially back on the net. Today I turned my smartphone on and after buzzing for half an hour from notifications, texts, and the rest I realized that…. (drum roll) I don’t miss social networks. Honestly, I have zero desire for opening Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and WhatsApp (especially WhatsApp #SorryNotSorry). I feel present, happy, and curious. Folks, tell me, this is what 1989 felt like?

From my second detox I learned new things. Let me share my Millennial widsom with you:

  1. If you want to do it right- leave the social media you are most addicted to. In my case is Instagram (#uglycry)
  2. Tell your loved ones about your detox- its duration, your whereabouts, and how YOU will contact them in case of an emergency 
  3. Bring activities with you- reading (I’m in the middle of The Name of the Rose and Aromatherapy), writing (ideas, poems, dreams, phrases, columns, and comics!), Sudoku, photography, printed magazines (I’m trying to read all those that finish with Mexico- Vogue Mexico, Nylon Mexico), you name it.
  4. Plan activities- I’m boring so I went to museums, libraries, and historical buildings. But you can do a restaurant tour, climbing, exploring, clubbing, you got the idea.
  5. I’m less self conscious about my looks- I didn’t took my mirror out, reapply my makeup or made second thoughts about my outfit #BodyPositivity y’all
  6. My neck and shoulders feel amazing – #OhYes

But oh boy, everything has a begging and an end and I HAD to turn my phone on. However, Smartypants had a plan. 

  1. Select two goals for work and two for you personal errands. Focus on them. Period. Your energy is finite, for me mornings are my go-go time.
  2. Connect after you finished your second task/goal. For me it was to write four versions of the same column I’ll published (I’m #OCD and my coworkers are probably #OCD too). After I finished them all I checked my texts, WhatsApp, and e-mails.
  3. Give yourself small rewards: getting a cup of coffee after replying THAT e-mail, putting some music, arranging your folders (yes, it’s a prize for me).
  4. Set interaction rules, for me it is Facebook/Instagram/Pinterest once a week (let’s see if I can keep it up), no replying during lunch and workouts, deleting apps I no longer use and stop with all the crazy notifications!!

Day 1 of #PretendIs1995 was a success. I’m aiming for at least a month. Dear readers, please be happy, both offline and online.

Margarita como la flor

“Yo soy Margarita, igual que la flor. Tengo 73 años y vine sola, mi Enrique no quiso venir. Él me dice que si lo saco, que sea a la playa. ¿Me sacás una foto? Es para mi nieta la mayor. Intenté platicar con ellos pero tienen cero onda, se cree la reina” – Sra. Margarita, Tres Ríos, Argentina.
Espero todos lleguemos a tener la vitalidad y alegría de ella.

My basics

After reading a couple of blogs, I realized that I have never thought about my trademark. I know what makes me unique: my bubbly personality and two eager big eyes. However, talking about a personal brand I hadn’t paid much attention. So, here it goes, a list of the Moni Basics:

1. Moleskine

When I went to Italy my dad gave me my very first Moleskine notebook. Little, red, pretty, and perfect. From time to time I may switch to hand-made notebooks but sooner than later I miss the back pocket and elastic band.

2. Shoes

My krioptonite and main trademark.

3. Crazy pens

I have a llama pen (courtesy of Caty from Peru), Stilo pens, blue diamond pens and my colorful style.

4. Book

My first hobbie and everlasting love.

5. Lipsticks

A couple just in case I change my mind during the day.

And coffee, always coffee.

My Annual Social Media Detox (part 1)

Pretending it’s 1989 is harder than I thought. To start with, I didn’t lived, so I can only pretend. My reference is Taylor Swift’s album and my parents memories. How did they lived without electronics?! Turning off my phone was the easy part, to have lots of available time was hard. No social media, no texting, no fidgeting with my Motorola.

I took out my book, “Il Nome della Rosa” by Umberto Ecco and read for a while. I realized that I haven’t put on Instagram my new book or my cute sneakers. The light was perfect, I also had a funny caption and a couple of hashtags written on my head.

Why did I promised my hippie self that I would do this half digital detox? I am using an iPad and only five applications, WordPress being one of them (obviously). I’m trying to unhook to my other devices, but it hasn’t proved easy. I am a digital native after all.

“Social media have not only shaped our face-to-face interactions but also our thinking process.”

I am sad of how much I crave getting digital attention instead of enjoying some quality time with my folks. These past six hours made me realize (again) how addictive our smartphones are. As a millennial I love technology and social media, but as a yogui/reader/nerd I KNOW is not healthy to be glued to them.

This is the second year I’ve done it. The first time I picked Uber, Instagram, Gmail, TripCase and Facebook as my apps. This year is Uber, Google Maps, Prisma, WordPress, and TripCase. I’ll keep you posted on my sui generis detox.

The ABC of Scientific Publications

Do you know your ABC for  your research area? These three elements can propel your acceptance rate as easy as 123.

A – Journal

Pick the journal or journals you want to send your manuscript to before you start to write. Become an expert on the vocabulary, figures, and topics that journal publishes. This way you won’t have to work double (or to the nth degree).

B – Coauthors

Like in Game of Thrones, pick your coauthors wisely. Each researcher has its own working style, preferred hours, and abilities. Pick those who want to reach the same objective as you do.

For example, if you are an amazing writing but a not-so-happy lab goer, look for those people who complements your strong points.

C – Time Frame

Establish a time frame from day zero. This step is crucial for: multitaskers, procrastinators, and graduate students Set dates for each manuscript delivery, schedule appointments with your advisor or team ahead of time (i.e. every other Tuesday), and assign tasks.

Building a schedule can increase your possibilities of having a publication by the date you want to. Remember, journal editors take their time reviewing, correcting, and publishing.


Finally, enjoy your work. Pick a topic you love, work with people you admire, and send manuscripts to the journals you read.

Disclaimer – I am not a scientist (yet). I’m a content creator and science passionate.

Suma de sangres

Yo soy la suma de mis antepasados

su sangre se fortaleció y mi mestizaje es resultado del amor.

Gracias a mis antepasados milenarios,

cada vez que caigo, me levanto con más fuerza e integridad.


Soy invencible, tenaz y valiente

gracias a la sangre indígena que corre por mis venas.


Soy fuerte, intrépida y conquistadora

por mi sangre española.


Soy elegante, misteriosa y curiosa,

gracias a la herencia francesa,

que a pesar de ser europea no deja

ni por un segundo de ser mediterránea.


Mi cabello lustroso, negro como la noche,

embriagantemente bello


Mis ojos grandes, mi sonrisa picarona y

mi empuje a la supervivencia

sin duda vienen de aquel pasado árabe.


Y toda mi belleza y dulzura son producto de mi felicidad,

herencia de mujeres fuertes y hombre sabios.


Mi trabajo árduo, mi completa dedicación a mi familia,

son valores que reconozco de mi familia fronteriza.


Hoy les agradezco a todos mis antepasados

por haber aportado tan valiosa genética.


Y a las mujeres creadoras, por cuya entrega, hoy estoy aquí.


Welcome to my blog! I'm a Mexican PR specialist, I have a BA in International Relations and I'm an alumna from Tec, UCSC & Yale. I love to travel and write that's why this blog is trilingual. Twitter @MonArreola