When visiting the Dominican Republic, it is likely you will encounter someone trying to sell you this product. With a name similar to an illegal drug, this might catch the unsuspecting tourists off guard. But have no fear, what you heard was really Mama – Juana. This is a special drink in the Dominican Culture. Most people swear by its medicinal and mood properties and others just for its taste, but none the less people love it. This was thought to have been created by Jesus Rodriguez in the 1950s but has been debated by many actually predating this time. 

     Well enough about the facts, I bet you want to know what is in it and why should you consume it? Well, let’s start with what is in it. Although some slight variations, for the most part, it should consist of a unique blend of bark and herbs, red wine, rum, and honey, soaked for at least 5 days. After that, it is ready to be consumed for whatever reason you see fit. Most people consume it as an aphrodisiac, cold remedy, general wellness drink or just to sip on, it does deliver in its taste. The best part is that once you drink it all, well then you just make it again. It is said that you can repeat the process for many years before needing to purchase new ingredients again. 

     Luckily if you are not able to travel there, with the power of the internet, you are able to find online retailers who will ship it right to your door. So if you’re looking to try something new I would suggest giving this Dominican Republic preparation a try. Who knows, your health or spouse may thank you.

Andrew Bragoli 


Shutterstock Photo

When it comes time to disconnect while on vacation, can you? On recent travels to the Dominican Republic my family opted to leave the kids’ iPads behind. We decided to take just a single phone for the “necessities”. Well, it turns out it was a lot harder than I thought to completely disconnect. Having this picture in my head of family fun without electronics quickly faded. As the heat and sun beat down on the kids, they ran for cover into the shade. However,  that’s when they started to go through withdrawals from the favorite Netflix shows. So, to enjoy time with my wife, I chose to cave in and give them the phone to make it easier, or so I thought. What was laughter, smiles, and innocent fun before, quickly turned to fights and whining over who’s not getting their way. 

Was I the only person or parent not able to get away from the phone, I asked myself ? Well, I quickly had my answer with just a quick glance around the pool. No, I certainly was not the only family having a hard time disconnecting. About 80 percent of the people sitting around us were so engrossed in social media, FaceTime, or worse, poolside SELFIES. At sometimes so oblivious to their surroundings, that their children could be kidnapped or drowned and it would take 10-15 minutes for them to realize it. One couple had the most romantic setting for dinner, poolside, complete with rose pedals and lanterns. However, 5 minutes into dinner the conversation died down and phones where picked up. Why is it we fly halfway around the world to go on vacation, but we never leave everything completely behind ? We are so concerned with what is happening back home or living our deceptive life on social media,that we have such a hard time being in the moment and embracing the culture around us. Instead, embrace the language, customs, and even pick up on interesting things happening all around you. Isn’t after all why you went on vacation to the certain place after all! 

Days 2 and 3 came to a lot easier when we chose to ditch the electronics and truly enjoy ourselves. Spending time with the family was much more rewarding than any likes on a social media account or phone conversation with someone you will see when you get home. I challenge you to put your phones downs and do what you intended to do when you booked your vacation.  So, what are your thoughts on this? Is it ok that we need to always be so connected to some type of electronics? What is the worst thing you have seen with a person or family unable to disconnect while on vacation? Be sure to check out my other easy reads.

Andrew Bragoli 4/4/2019