You guys already know KING is one of my favorite vocal groups. Ever. They are so gifted with such a creative approach to not only their music but the visuals they pair with it. I think the imagery in this video depicts Prince’s untimely death; I see a bit of symbolism that brought me to that conclusion. Someone I know thinks that’s a reach, but it’s a beautiful video, nonetheless. Let me know what you think.

Can you believe it’s been a year already. RIP Prince

Innclusive: an Alternative to Airbnb

blackpack

If you’re Black and love to travel, peep this interview with one of the founders of Innclusive, a brand new b+b booking site created with Black travelers and travelers of color in mind.

[photo found on the internet]

Top Five: Puerto Rico

So I think I’m gonna start this new thing because you know once you get away, you kinda get an itch to plan another trip or at least try more new things in this one short life. So it’ll be my top five reasons to go wherever. Short and sweet so I don’t ramble.

For my first Top Five installment, Puerto Rico gets the spotlight:

  1. The Beach Being from southern California and frequenting its local beaches, it is refreshing to see clearer water and much less garbage on the beach. Plus you can stay there all night without beach patrol regulating on you.
  2. El Yunque My crew and I lucked up on a sweet deal to not only get an educational tour of PR’s sacred rain forest, but the company had a shuttle to pick us up and drop us off at our b+b in San Juan. [Ask for Alex; he’s very knowledgable, took us off the beaten path and is just the best!] If you plan to visit and enjoy the beautiful outdoors, I encourage you to venture out and see El Yunque. The experience was priceless.
  3. The Fooood! I am a foodie and being on an island, of course seafood-mainly grouper-was their specialty. Waffle-era, Bagua and Kamoli were my favorite spots. I also enjoyed some of the best mojitos of my life.
  4. The Aesthetics The area we stayed in was very pedestrian-friendly, so we walked and took the bus most of the time, only taking a taxi to and from the airport. I found myself stopping several times during our treks to photograph the interesting plant life, street art, gates and edifices.
  5. The Weather/Island Vibe As I mentioned, we walked most of time. It does rain a lot [hence the rainforest on the island], but we lucked up and missed any storms. There really are no seasons in Puerto Rico, so any time of year is a good time to go.

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And it seems as though everyone is kind of on island time. Even the cops seemed kind of lax. There was no such thing as hustle and bustle. On some of our crowded city bus excursions, people appeared worry-free. It might have something to do with the amazing weather, all the good eats and beautiful views.

 

like it’s golden

I visited Stone Mountain Park for the first time last week. If you’re passing thru Atlanta or its many suburbs and you enjoy nature beyond The Discovery Channel, hiking/walking and beautiful views, I’d say give it a gander.

Thanks to Josie over at Mind Jo Business for re-sparking my interest in taking this trip! I will be going back since it took less than an hour to get there. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and seeing the sunset from such heights made it extra special. The mile-long hike made me feel like beast! Aaaannd the sore legs the morning after were so worth it.

 Trips don’t always include passports,  pricey hotels or touchy airport TSA; sometimes all you need is a Google search, maybe $20, a snack bag and some free time. Hope you all are exploring and getting outdoors as much as possible.

[P.S. This park is also famous for some nonsense as it still has confederate soldiers carved into the mountain and a confederate flag flying high near the start of the walk-up hike. But we can remove symbols all day, right? That won’t change the hate this nation was built on and perpetuates. That won’t change the hate in people’s hearts [or area where their hearts used to/should be]. But besides those two things, it’s a beautiful park. End rant.]

2000 Watts

Hey hey hey! Happy New Year! I hope your holiday season has been amazing and memorable. I know mine was!! I had a big birthday [nerdy 30] and was blessed enough to get away and enjoy it with some real ones in my home city of Los Angeles.

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Instead of revisiting my favorite go-to eateries this trip, I ventured out to explore some new places [because L.A. has a LOT to choose from]. And I’m really glad I did.

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My cousin who grew up and still resides in southern California suggested her friend’s coffee shop in Watts, aptly named Watts Coffee House. This cozy spot is dope! Right up my alley with eclectic decor, Black posters and artwork, good music, great energy, on the ball service and, of course, super delicious cuisine.

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Watts Coffee House specializes in southern food [I had cheese eggs, grits and some bombass fried catfish]. All of it was perfectly cooked and tasty. A freshly baked brownie with homemade whipped cream topped of the experience.

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Please stop by this gem if you live in or are visiting the L.A. area. It’s super close to Watts Towers if you’re looking for something else tourist-y to do. I suggest you walk the couple of blocks to it after your meal cuz trust, you will be stuffed and satisfied!20141230_143407

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To learn more about WCH’s history and outlook, take a read and Google it!!

Address: 1827 East 103rd Street [at Wilmington], Los Angeles, CA 90002

Phone:(323) 249-4343

 

 

 

Summer Getaway 2014

 

shadowsss

It’s crazy to hear people say “fall is coming! I can feel it” as I look at my city’s 5-day forecast and there isn’t a day under 95. And with all the bs going on in Africa, the Middle East and right here at home in Missouri, I was beyond ready to get out of my apartment in the desert and onto a California beach. It’s a proven restorative for me. The waves, the hues, the reflections, the breeze, the smell- it all feels especially amazing when your heart is heavy.

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dockweiler

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Dockweiler {above} is perfect for families and parties with plenty of space for tents and blankets and bonfires. Venice {below} is awesome for people-watching and dining and catching the sunset between the palms.

venice2

venice3

>>EATS<<

My diet pretty much goes out the window on vacation. I wanna munch on my must-haves and taste new stuff, and I don’t like restrictions! It’s called holiday for these reasons, I assume.

Roscoe’s is like tradition now. I will be honest and say it’s not about the chicken or the waffles, but the combination of the two, along with their syrup, which is habit-forming.

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dotted-lineA new addition to my L.A. must-eat list is coolhaus. I really really really enjoyed this tiny, cool ice cream sandwich parlor. You can customize with unique ice creams and tasty cookie flavors, like almond coconut or snickerdoodles and blueberry with sweet corn ommmg!!

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We kinda ordered the same thing for dessert at Gaby’s [aka Med Cafe]..

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dotted-line[Du-par’s {traditional family dining}, Coffee Co {a cute cafe with tons of yummy items}, and Bloom {where healthy meets delicious} are all great choices for breakfast and lunch too! I swear all we did was eat.

dock

Not only is the ocean a natural healer, but breaking the monotony that life can sometimes become is essential . I thoroughly enjoyed it. The vacation served its purpose and then some. I was also advised that I need to hurry up and get back to consistently doing what excites and fulfills me. Even when having an awesome time, I’m often reminded that I have one life.

No dress rehearsals.

No do-overs.

This is it!

The same goes for you! So, if you haven’t lately, step out of the cubicle and go somewhere! Anywhere! Traveling heals the soul! And there are millions of beautiful, inspiring places to see. Even if it’s to a place you’re super familiar with, a little time away from the usual will refresh the life you have, or -even better- make you realize your life ain’t all that and push you to take those necessary steps to get closer to the life you desire.

lovelovelovelovelove

Until next time..

Spring Getaway ’14: Part Dos

Atlanta, my third home, is well known for its historic plentitude, delicious food and the greatest rap duo ever in the history of rap [Outkast-duh!], so it’s easy to find [or rediscover] all the cool things this southern gem has to offer.

On my recent visit, I had the pleasure of being a guest of a guest staying at Le Méridien, a very modern, luxe-y hotel. I love love love contemporary and modern architecture and decor, so I was delighted to behold such charm within such a simple, unassuming exterior.

I took a bunch of photos with my phone. Take a look:

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first impression..

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a chatting nook in the lobby

This particular location is perfectly situated near the highway and Permieter Mall aaand is smoke-free!

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the library..

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with REAL books!

lobby lounge

lobby lounge

Some hotel lobbies are super stuffy, boring and lifeless, making you feel like it’s solely a transitional space you must go through to get to and from your room. But Le Méridien’s has so much character and really feels like a lounge or cafe for the cool kids. Not your standard chairs, plastic plants and check-in counter, but a few vignettes to choose from to wait for your taxi, enjoy a bite to eat, watch the game, or just appreciate the artwork and atmosphere.

the carpet [yea I took a picture of the carpet!]

the carpet [yea I took a picture of the carpet!]

book display

book display

For me, it is all about the details. Modern spaces can sometimes feel barren and cold. But with layers of textures and a bold color palette, it’s obvious the designers and decorators went in to make sure such a modern space feels warm and bright and inviting. It’s like you’re going to stay with your incredibly rich relative who has stupendous taste instead of a hotel.

some hot guy at the bar

some lame guy at the lobby bar

chat/dine/conference

chat/dine/conference

Starwood Hotels are known for their more popular branches- like Four Points, Sheraton, W and Westin- but their fly little cousin Le Méridien [which was acquired, not created by Starwood] definitely gave me that cool, young, boutique-y feel I like to get when I’m away from home.

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they have quotes in the mirrors, y’all!

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I’m a sucker for white bed linens.

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[almost] all gray everything

There just may be a Le Méridien in your city [which would make the perfect staycation], or in the town you’re planning to visit.  I’m so glad I was able to take a peek inside and share with you, and I’ll definitely be looking [and hopefully booking] it up when I make my next getaway.

the room key

[your room key]