Gone for a minute, now Im back with the jump off…

Anyone catch that Lil Kim Lyric? No? Ok…moving right along…

I took some time away. Some time to think, re-group, and pray. So I owe you an explanation, and by you I mean ME. I rarely feel the need to explain myself to anyone, but in my time away I realized I do owe myself an explanation. Holding yourself accountable is the responsible thing to do right? Right!

 

YOU! You should always check yourself.

Dress: Eloquii

In the hustle hard age we live in, we are constantly encouraged to never take a break. #TeamNoSleep & #NoDaysOff are just a couple of the trendy phrases heavily used amongst millennials. But unplugging is important to your mental health. I try to keep busy doing the things that make my soul glow, but I must admit its so hard not to get caught up in the “9-5 sunken place!” Because I am not pursuing my personal passions full time, (YET) I sometimes fall victim to comparing myself to others who are, and measuring my success based on theirs. One of my favorite quotes reads “Comparison is the thief of all joy.” So of course I know better, but hey…it happens to the best of us. Im just being honest.

During my time away, I stayed away from the “Search” or as some call it the “Popular” page on Instagram, I even unfollowed a few people. I cleared my mental space and focused on a few tasks that I had been waiting too long to tackle. And most importantly I had long conversations with ME. I owed myself an explanation.

In the lane of dream chasing there will be traffic, road blocks, and your GPS will re-route. But you keep driving!

In other news, spring has finally sprung here in New York City so check out some of my must have spring dresses!

Follow:

There is this indescribable feeling I can’t explain about seeing the world, but I know for sure that traveling is when I feel the most alive! Over 5 Days and 4 Nights I emerged myself in the culture of Cuba! Along with 5 Fabulous Friends we embarked on a journey that would create memories to last a lifetime. Be prepared to disconnect from the life you know as routine, and “just be.”

Traveling to Cuba soon? Check out 5 Things To Know Before You Go

The Site Seeing:

Cuba is rich in culture and we were exposed to it first hand while visiting, Callejon de Hamel. The Afro Cuban street is filled with art created using old domestic objects. The 15 minute self guided walking tour also includes a museum. The colorful and lively alley is the perfect destination if you are interested in learning more about Cuban art and history. On Sundays there is music and dancing! 

Top: Eloquii 

Skirt: Eloquii 

We also visited Casa De Africa which is Cuba’s African History Museum. Here you will learn about African influence in Cuba while viewing a few historic artifacts.

When in Cuba, you must take a tour through Old Havana, Central Havana, and New Havana via a vintage taxi. The tours range from 1-3hrs and cost about $30-$40 per hour. (They will try to charge $60+, make sure negotiate!)  Along the way you will make stops at some of the city’s most historic monuments. Your tour guide will also tell you abut the city’s history during the ride. If you do not speak Spanish I suggest requesting a driver that speaks English.

My favorite #FunFact I learned along the tour is that the vintage cars that are such a rich part of Cuba’s culture were left by the Americans during the revolution. All of the cars still have their original motors like the 1952 Chevy that served as our taxi. Because these are American made cars, the parts needed to maintain them must be imported from the United States. Of course importing anything from the U.S. is illegal, so as a result there is an underground trade system in place that supplies the parts needed to keep the cars up to speed. Also, the cars were later customized with vibrant paint and matching interior to compliment the lively colors of the city of Havana.

I stopped to indulge in a cup of cuban coffee…sooo delicious!

The Beaches:

We lodged in Santa Maria, which is a five minute walk to Santa Maria Del Mar Beach. The beaches are absolutely beautiful and fully equipped with beach chair and umbrella rentals, a DJ and restaurants serving pina coladas around the clock. You can also participate in water sports such as jet skiing and boat riding.

  

Swim Suit: Ashley Graham Swimsuits for All

Night Life:

Everyone will recommend you go to La Frabrica which is the city’s most popular night life destination. The warehouse features 3 floors with multiple rooms playing music ranging from old school jams, to salsa dancing, and live music. However, frankly we weren’t that impressed.

On night two after bar hopping in Old Havana we stumbled across a gem. As we approached the venue laughing and chatting amongst ourselves, the doorman interrupted with a loud “SHHHHHHHHHH!” At first glance you wouldn’t guess you were about to enter a club. The speak easy disguise lead to an open space with a staircase. It was too quiet and not convincing that a nightlife attraction existed there. Hesitantly, we climbed one flight of stairs and walked through a door and whoa, it was litt! THERE was the party.  We discovered the cutest lounge ever named Casa de la Musica. It was the perfect nightlife vibe with a mix of cuban music and American top 40. We enjoyed the combination of learning to salsa dance one minute and singing along to to Drake the next.

All photos were taken by Melody Araujo. 

The Squad:

I believe that when you travel it is not only important to learn something about the culture, but it is equally as important to connect and learn something new about the people who traveled with you. I laughed, I cried, and I cried laughing!  Experiencing Cuba along side 5 beautiful, educated, and talented women made my trip most memorable.

(From Left to Right) Ashle, Kristin, Ife, Shayna, & Melody 

Ladies, thank you for not only embracing me but for sharing with me a piece of YOU!

Until Next time! #GirlsGoneHavana

Follow:

Traveling more often is at the top of my 2017 list of Goals. In my latest quest to see the world, I’ve been anxiously scratching destinations off the list. The beautiful country of Cuba was the highlight of my most recent travel adventure. Like many other countries I’ve visited, Cuba has a very distinct culture and there are a few things you should

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: 

THE CURRENCY

Be sure to have enough money to last the duration of your trip. There isn’t a single place in the entire county that will accept a U.S. debit or credit card. (Trust me I tried, multiple times!) You can however exchange your U.S. dollars for the Cuban Convertible Peso which is a Cook. (CUC) Cooks are only used in Havana. Tip: Convert your U.S. Dollars to Euros before leaving the states. Once you arrive in Havana, covert your Euros to Cooks. (CUC) The exchange rate is cheaper if you do it this way and you will have more money to spend.

LODGING: 

It is recommend that you opt for an Air BnB instead of a hotel in the interest of saving money. However, do your research! Make sure your will be in a tourist friendly area, and that you will have access to necessities.  Because we were a party of 6 we settled on a 4 bedroom house in Santa Maria which is about 30-40 mins outside of Havana. This is considered the country/outskirts of the city. We chose to lodge in  Santa Maria because it was a 5 minute walk to the beach. Our Air BnB host were super nice and very helpful. When I visit again I will definitely lodge in the city of Havana to experience “living” in the city life.

TRANSPORATION: 

Getting around the city is fairly easy. There is little to no traffic, and lots of beautiful scenery to keep you engaged. Because we lodged outside of the city, we hired a Driver to take us to and from “home” every day for about $60. Spilt between 6 people, this averaged out to about $10 a day for transportation. Cruising in a vintage taxi for only $10 a day, that beats Uber anytime! We also took an hour long tour of Old Havana, Central Havana, and New Havana via a drop top Vintage Taxi. I will share more deets in the next Cuba Recap post.

 

THE CULTURE: 

The country is difficult to navigate if you do not speak the language. There are a few people who speak English in the areas that are heavily populated with tourist, but naturally most natives only speak Spanish. I must admit, the natives are not the most hospitable people. Additionally, some people in Cuba unfortunately are very poor and they will try to hustle you. Make sure you negotiate! You will however, encounter a few sweet souls along the way and you won’t be able to help but take a piece of them with you.

Tip: Don’t be in a hurry to do anything!  The culture of Cuba is very slow and easy going. It will take at least 30-40 minutes when ordering at a restaurant and a sense of urgency does not exist. Its actually kind of refreshing to “just be.”  Also, many businesses close early. Clubs and bars are open until 3 AM, but you will need to get an early start on your day to experience everything. Most attractions, such as touring the Cigar Factory and visiting museums close a 4PM. On Sunday, these places close at noon.

 

THE FOOD: 

In doing a bit of research before heading to Cuba, the most common reviews I read revealed that the food was not good. Well, I was pleasantly surprised and I am pleased to report that statement is false. The cuisine was for sure of quality. Fresh Lobster and Shrimp on the beach, accompanied with authentic plantains and a refreshing pina colada became my daily breakfast. Yes, I said breakfast. Can you guess the best part? You get all of that for only12 bucks! There wasn’t one place we dined where I found the food to be subpar and the food is also very cheap. There are places that have higher price points in the areas that are heavily populated with tourist, but most menus are more than reasonable. If you are a person who likes to snack, I suggest you bring them with you. Cuba isn’t a place where you will find chips and cookies in a local convenient store.

When in Cuba you must indulge in a Classic Mojito at Cafe Al Cappuccino Havana! It’s the BEST you’ll ever have in your life! 🍹 El mejor Mojito en Cuba! 🇨🇺

Dining at La Famila is a must. It is more on the fine dining side in terms of price, but the restaurant features rooftop seating and live entertainment. And the food…5 STARS!

 

Check out a full recap on tomorrow’s post!

Follow:

True Life: I am a Blogger & 9-5er 

Its Monday Morning, the time is 8:49 am and the train you just missed by a mere 30 seconds will now be the reason you arrive to your office at 9:07! #Late  Sound familiar?  So many of us dreadfully clock into a routine desk job week after week while hoping and praying that our “side hustles” soon become profitable careers.

Life is about balance and If you are like me then you too sometimes struggle to balance between your Personal Passion & Full Time job, or as I like to say your 9-5. While my blog is a source of income, it is not enough to sustain my lifestyle….YET!  So, like many millennial Americans, I hustle! My professional background is in Digital Media & Television Production. I received my Bachelors in Broadcast Television from Clark Atlanta University, so naturally my days are spent creating content as a Digital Producer.

Although my job isn’t dreadful, it simply isn’t fulfilling. It is my work as an influencer and content creator that makes my soul glow!

But, we are all just working that 9-5 trying to stay alive, and I figured out am figuring out how to balance them both. Let me be the first to confess… This ish ain’t easy! Lunch breaks become photo shoots, 5 am editing sessions become routine, and company conference rooms become you personal office.

Along the way I’ve learned a few tips and tricks to help me navigate the road to entrepreneurship.

Plan Accordingly: My days, weeks, months, and years are much more productive when I plan ahead. As a content creator, its imperative that I do not rush through the creative process. Creating a weekly calendar provides an overview of the goals that need to be accomplished. Ultimately, this allows for time to be allocated properly. Which brings me to my next point.

Use Your Time Wisely:  Learning how to Multi-Task will be your saving grace. I will not lie…THIS is my biggest struggle, but I’ve learned that using those small pockets of time can alleviate so much stress.  Drafting emails, writing blog posts, and making your to-do list on the train for example saves you time. Completing small task that don’t require your undivided attention will save you time later in the day to focus on bigger “to-dos.”

Sacrifice:  You will miss major events, you will lose sleep, and you will sometimes question if you are doing the right thing. But it will be worth it. Investing time, money, and energy into your personal passion will be the biggest yet most rewarding sacrifice you will make.

Hustle Hard. 


 

 

 

 

Follow:

It is the official first day of Spring & it is time to update our wardrobes accordingly. I am looking forward to, knee length dresses,  vibrant colors and fun prints! Admittedly, transitioning your wardrobe isn’t an easy task, but I’ve got you covered!

5 Ways to Transition Your Wardrobe From Winter to Spring

 

1.PULL OUT YOUR TRANSITION PIECES:

We all have those cardigans, long-line tees and denim jackets that help take us from summer to fall. Well it’s time to bring those back to the front of the closet. These are key transitional pieces for those warm days yet breezy nights.

 2.CHANGE YOUR HUES:

It’s time to take it up a notch. Instead of the dark deep winter tones reach for bright colors, playful patterns and pastels. Spring is the perfect season to play around with those bold prints and abstract patterns we’ve been saving for a sunny day.

 
3. “SHOES” WISELY 

It’s time to unbox those fashionable flats and strappy heels. Still a bit too cool? Try pairing them with fashion forward socks that are so on trend.

 
4. ACCESORIZE

You may not be able to wear that sleeves floral dress just yet, but a bold statement necklace, or printed neck scarf can add the pop of color needed to give spring vibes.

 
Check out me Unboxing Gwynnie Bee Spring Arrivals & Talking Spring Make up trends.
Follow: