República Dominicana

This year I turned 25 and decided to go all out for this milestone birthday. I, along with my cousins, celebrated for three long, luxurious days in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and it was truly the best birthday experience I’ve ever had. If you’re a first timer, planning a trip to the Dominican Republic or any island, keep reading to gather some helpful tips!

THE RESORT

Where you stay while on vacation is one of the most important aspects of the trip, especially if you’re staying at a resort. It’s where you will be sleeping and spending a bulk of your time. After switching between a few places, we settled on Breathless Resort and Spa; an adult-only all-inclusive beach side resort. 

When we arrived, we were greeted at the door with drinks, which was only a foreshadowing as to what the next few days would look like. They asked what the reason for our visit was and we mentioned that we were celebrating my birthday. When we got up to the room, there was a little birthday cake waiting for me on the table! I thought that was a very personable touch.

I applaud Breathless for all of the entertainment events they had going on too. I feel like they really catered to a young and vibrant crowd. Between the foam parties, the late night beach parties, lobster dinner on the beach, and day time activities by the pool, there was always something going on. Not to say this place is party central because there are definitely areas of peace and solace if that’s what you’re looking for. 

I will say that we did experience a few minor problems with our room that had to be taken care of, but nothing major that would ruin our trip. 

The ability of being able to walk up to any bar and order a drink or going into any restaurant without having to pay for it is everyone’s favorite part of staying at an all-inclusive. Breathless had a good mix of restaurants to choose from that served different styles of food. My favorite was the hibachi grill because hibachi is always entertaining.

THE PEOPLE

The resort was also conveniently located near some shops in town run by the locals. So, yes we did indeed leave the resort, however, it was completely safe. We spoke to some people from the town and it’s amazing how different their lifestyle is compared to ours. The pace is a lot slower and very laid back. They’re a friendly group of people (especially if you’re black) who also have their own little side hustles trying to make a few dollars from the tourists. 

They like when you can speak a little bit of Spanish even if it’s just a few words. Knowing Spanish fluently would help, obviously, but it isn’t a major issue in the Dominican Republic. Truthfully, I found that the language barrier helped me refresh some of my Spanish. 

THE EXCURSIONS

For our excursion, I wanted to do something adventurous and so we went dune buggy riding through the island, which was an awesome experience. They lead us to a different beach that was more secluded and then to a dirt race track where we did a few laps full speed. Warning: Don’t wear anything you don’t want to get dirty. Also, if you have a bandana at home, bring it with you because you’ll need that and sunglasses to keep the dust out of your face.

We had lunch with traditional Dominican food (the chicken was bomb) and then got a chance to swim in a natural pool by a waterfall. Check out some of the candids below!

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Based on this photo, can you guess which one of us is a former cheerleader?

OVERALL

The Dominican Republic is truly a cool place and I would definitely go back. We spent a lot of time at the resort,  so next time, I plan to go and see more of the island. 

I thought traveling to an island in November would be significantly cheap since it was the off-season but prices were about the same. Nothing outrageous, but nothing crazily discounted either. The weather was pretty good. It rained everyday we were there but it only lasted five minutes and then the sun came out. 

Some people claim that after you’ve seen one island, you’ve seen them all. I beg to differ. I’ve been to two other islands (Bermuda & Ibiza) and experienced them in completely different ways. While there are similarities, each place has it’s own uniqueness, which separates it from the rest.

10/10 would recommend.

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Concert SZN: Aubrey and The Three Migos are On The Run II look for 24K Magic

The title of this article though???

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Hi Everyone !

In the past three months, I’ve attended three concerts and I’m here to give you tips when attending each venue as well as some low quality iPhone pics. Enjoy!

On The Run II | August 3rd | Metlife Stadium

The theme of this experience is called last minute because that’s when I bought these tickets. The doors opened at 7 and I bought the tickets at 6:20. Don’t let this be an example of the type of person I am because while I do procrastinate sometimes, it’s never to this extent. I had been looking for someone to go to the concert with for months but it turns out I don’t know that many people that are Beyonce fans *eye roll* Luckily, a friend came through before all hope was lost and I bought the tickets as I was leaving work.

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I got home and threw on a yellow tank top (a nod to being a member of the beehive) and some high-waisted jeans I had been working on cutting up. I threw on my sandals and within 20 minutes (new personal record) I was out of the house and on my way.

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You better believe I hit every beat of choreography that I knew. Yoncè wasn’t the only one performing that night.

If there is a concert that you’re dying to go to, BUY TICKETS! Don’t hesitate because I cannot imagine if I had missed this show! Purchasing a ticket will at least secure your spot and finding a friend to take the second ticket and accompany you will be so much easier. You could also buy one ticket and go to the concert solo dolo. There are lots of concerts you can get away with going to alone and Beyonce is one of them. We actually sat next to a girl who was there alone and I commend her.

Metlife Stadium Tip: Be ready to attend whatever event you’re going to rain or shine. I’ve been to a few concerts here and unless it’s lightning, the show will go on even if they have to delay it. The show that happened the first night got rained on. The stadium hasn’t invested in an automatic roof or dome for bad weather yet but I’ll make sure to put that in the suggestion box.

Aubrey and The Migos |August 25th \ Madison Square Garden

This was such a fun concert to be at with my friends and I had a great time. We grabbed dinner beforehand at good ole Dallas BBQ in Time Square. The chicken tenders were so delicious and the drinks were even better. That caused for a fun walk over to MSG.

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Luckily, we were there the night Cardi B came out on stage! Since our seats were in the barstool section we had a lot of space to move around (the only benefit) and so when Drake moved to the other side of the stage we couldn’t see, we took advantage of the space and made it a dance floor.

Madison Square Garden Tip : Don’t do barstool seating at Madison Square Garden. It was, by far, the worst seating I’d ever had at a concert. This was my first time at MSG for a concert and now I truly know what “nosebleed” seating is. If you’re ever in the situation where your fave is doing a show and all you can afford is the tippy top, I would suggest either paying for better seats or buying their concert merch instead. Take a look at our view…

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These pics are slightly zoomed in.
The partial view of the stage + the uncomfortable barstools = $150
The fun time my friends and I had together = Priceless

24K Magic | October 2nd | Prudential Center

LET’S SET THIS PARTY ON FIIIIIIIIIIIIIRE!!!!

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I adore Bruno Mars and am so glad I finally got to one of his shows. I did so much jumping and dancing that I probably lost about 2 pounds. It confirmed for me that the next time he goes on tour, I will pay to have floor seating.

This guy is so talented, fun, soulful, and multi-generational. I saw so many moms there having the time of their lives. His band and back-up dancers mesh so perfectly with him and are just as suave. Bruno has a type of swag that not many younger artists have and I truly dig his old school vibe. In lieu, I decided to dress with a 90’s theme in mind.

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Prudential Center Tip: If you do it the right way, parking at Prudential doesn’t have to be expensive. Little did I know that there are some parking lots that offer parking for as cheap as $20. The most expensive lot I saw was $50! Yes, you’ll be a few blocks away but nothing out of hand where it feels like a hike. We only had to walk two blocks. Way less than 0.25 miles. It was definitely worth it.

Do Not Touch

I knew it was bound to happen, I just didn’t know when. If you’re a black girl, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Yup, someone touched my hair.

Let me set the scene. I decided to finally check out a new library to unwind and get some work done after school. The outside of the building didn’t look like a library… at all. The building was old and beige and the library sat on top of a convenience store and a nail salon, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I walked it. Inside, was a beautiful, modern space with everything I needed to zone out on my computer for a few hours and enjoy a new space that wasn’t my apartment or school.

When I decided to leave and pack up my stuff, I heard two little voices behind me speaking in Czech. The only word I could understand was “Prosím!” which means “please”. I thought they wanted the desk I was at because they could tell I was getting ready to leave and the library was packed, so in response, I said “Ano” which means “yes” and before I knew it, I felt HANDS. IN. MY. HAIR.

I felt my shoulders automatically raise in response and slowly turned around. I saw two very excited girls that were about 7 and 10 years old smiling at me. They continued to chatter in Czech while I packed up my stuff and left as quickly as possible. All I could think about was how much I loved this library and how I couldn’t go back there. It’s hard being in another country where the culture is different, you aren’t fluent in the language and you don’t look like the majority of people you’re surrounded by.

Having my hair touched by random people isn’t something I like, especially with freshly washed hair. I hated feeling like I didn’t have control over what was happening to me and was angry with myself for accidentally giving them permission to do that. Something I had to remember was that everything can be a learning experience if you look at it through the right lens.

Let’s be honest, it’ll probably happen again. Next time it does, I’ll be a little more prepared. I taught myself a new Czech phrase that I can say with confidence, “nedotýkejte” or do not touch.

 

-Jelani

Travel Writer and Contributor

Top Five Reasons You Should Move Abroad

   “You’re doing what? You’re moving where?”

 

Every time I told someone I was moving to Prague for a year, those were the first two statements out of their mouth. Nobody could understand why I decided to move to another country for a year and sometimes, I don’t know why I did either. When I graduated from college, I made two spreadsheets. One had everything on it from internships to grad school to jobs and the other one was about teaching abroad opportunities. It took me a while to settle on a teach abroad program and once I did, I applied, was accepted, and deferred my acceptance for a year because I still couldn’t decide if this was the first, big thing I wanted to do after graduation. I was comfortable in New York, I had a decent job and I was surrounded by people that I loved, but deep down I knew it was something I had to do.

 

You might be reading this and thinking that moving abroad is not for you. You may be in a season of life where you don’t know where you’re going. You have a lot of options, you’ve applied and been rejected for plenty of opportunities, but you know that you don’t want to move to another country. It’s “too much” of everything- too much risk, it’s too expensive, there are too many unknowns and it’s just not for you.

 

Let’s see if I can get you to rethink that. Here’s some reasons why you should consider moving abroad.

 

  1. Change is inevitable: Nothing is going to stay the same forever. Things are constantly changing wherever you are, in big and small ways, why not experience that change in a new place? You’ll learn two of the best life skills- flexibility and adaptability.

 

  1. You’ll grow as a person: It’s time to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. I’m not even gonna lie, living abroad is scary. You leave everything you know and have to relearn everything you thought you knew. It’s hard, but is it worth it? Absolutely.

 

  1. You can learn a new language: By reading street signs and constantly hearing the chatter of another language, you’ll begin to immerse yourself. You may not be fluent by the time you leave, but you’ll have a good chance at being conversational.

 

  1. You can make new connections: You’ll create genuine relationships and learn what life is like for people around the world. It’ll give you a lease on life that you didn’t know you needed.

 

  1. Being able to say you did it: It’s not an opportunity that everyone is given and it isn’t taken lightly. Plus, when life gets hard you can remind yourself about what you went through and how that shaped you.

 

Jelani, Travel Writer and Contributor

U.S. Open 2018

What’s up!

 

My latest adventure involved me being invited to the U.S Open in Queens, NY. Being as unknowledgeable about tennis as I was, I’ve gained a whole new prospective and respect for the game. I could post everything I learned about tennis, but this could turn into a short novel. Instead, I’ll give you some tips, for when you attend the match next year!

 

  1. Grab a Power Pack

When you enter the gates and make your way inside, you’re going to come across a station, sponsored by Chase, that will give you a power pack for $1 per person (which they refund to you) . It’s basically a portable charger that clips around your phone so you don’t misplace it. If the battery on it runs low, they have more stations located in different areas within the grounds where you can grab a new one. It really comes in handy, especially because you’ll be trying to snap pictures and using the U.S. Open app all day.

2. Download the app

There is so much to do at the open besides watch tennis. There are so many spots to eat at and a lot of interactive gaming and broadcast stations. The app is necessary in order to participate in some of the activities, gives you a map of the grounds, and holds your tickets. But that’s not all! The app has all of the game times and practice schedule for the day so you can plan accordingly.

2. Try the signature drink

The U.S Open crafted a signature cocktail for all of those (21 years and older) to enjoy. You must try it! T’was called the Grey Goose Honey Deuce and it was garnished with honey dew melon balls. They serve it in a special signature cup that you can keep as a souvenir.

3. Go to the practice matches

This is something I HIGHLY recommend doing ESPECIALLY if you have nosebleed seats in the stadium or you don’t have tickets at all. The practice courts have a smaller seating area, but don’t require a special ticket. They are strictly on a first come, first serve seating basis. This is where I saw Serena Williams and Sloane Stephens practice with their coaches and play a little bit. This is also a great time to get your pictures because it’s the closest you’re going to get.

4. Take public transportation

The subway is honestly the best way to travel to this event. From Penn Station, it is two stops on the LIRR and the stadium is spitting distance from Citi Field. The time and money you would spend finding a parking spot or getting a UBER, isn’t worth it. Just take the train!

Here are some pics from the day!

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Grey Goose Honey Deuce…yum!

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Lobster Quesadilla 

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One of the many picture taking stations!

 

2018 Summer Trends: Fashion Edition

Hey Errrybody!

Since summer is unfortunately winding down, I’m here to reminisce on all of your favorite summer 2018 trends. With the help of some friends and fashion enthusiasts, I’ve compiled a short list of fashion moments that were a highlight this summer. READY? GO!

  1. The Fanny Pack

Raise your hand if you knew this would be on the list! The fanny pack is back. Our parents rocked them and now we’re bringing it back to life!

“Old school trends are coming back and fanny packs are a big one. Plus, they’re functional so it’s a win-win. No matter what your favorite clothing brand is, they probably sold their take on the fanny pack this summer. I’ll probably rock mine in the fall too if we’re being honest.” – Megan, 24, NJ

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2. The Chunky/Dad Sneaker

It started with those bulky balenciaga sneakers that all the celebs and influencers were rocking on Instagram. Then the style started to expand and now dads across America are more on trend than ever!

“It’s anti-fashion. The vintage look has been super over sold in the last 10 years to the point where it’s annoying. The chunky look refreshed the idea, blending high end with low end. It’s a look that says ‘This shit looks good on me because I’m me. Fuck you.'”           -Miles, 23,Bronx

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3. Distressed Denim

This look is fun and can be bought or turned into a Saturday afternoon DIY project! Denim is look you can count on for almost any occasion.

“Distressed Denim was a hit for me! From the shorts, to the jackets, skirts, and everything in between, it’s really my go to! I usually match it with a cute pair of heels if I’m going out or a pair of chucks for a casual look.” -Jaime, 30, Atlanta

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4. Pop Of Color

Color made a statement this season whether it was a bright colored shirt or a pop of color for a neutral outfit. Brown and darker skin tones specifically look amazing in bright colors so shout out to all the melanin!

“Adding color to my outfit was a big thing for me this summer. Typically, I’m drawn to neutrals, however I accessorized with a colorful clutch or pair of heels.”                                -Courtney, 23, NJ

“I played with a lot of color this summer. The mustard tones look good on my skin.” -Victor, 25, Chicago

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Avocado Toast

Hello friends!

I’m coming to you today with something a little bit different than my usual fashion slayage. Recently, I was invited to Urban Table in Morristown, New Jersey for a unique dining experience and enjoyed a three course meal including avocado toast, arugula salad topped with salmon and house dressing, as well as a french onion dip sandwich with prime rib.

My first dish was the ever so popular avocado toast and it blew my mind! This combo has had quite the buzz lately and based on the sound of it, I wasn’t sold. Avocado + Toast = BORING. But boy was I was wrong!

It’s so much more than just avocado on bread. It was layered with cheese, seasoning, corn, etc. I loved it so much I decided to re-create it in my kitchen.

Aaaaaand voila…..

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It tasted so good!

When I did this re-creation I eye balled everything. No measurements were used at all.

First, I had to make the Mexican Street Style Corn.

In a medium bowl, I combined:

  1. 2 generous spoons of mayo
  2. A hand full of feta cheese
  3. Some diced red onions
  4. Some minced garlic
  5. Fresh lime juice (a little less than half a lime)
  6. A little chili powder
  7. Salt and Pepper ( I used more pepper than salt)
  8. **You can add in some jalapeño peppers if you want it a little spicy**

Then I poured two cans of corn in a skillet coated with olive oil and let it char some. Once the corn was done charring, I combined the corn with the mix in the bowl.

 

After making the street style corn, I put everything together in this order:

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A thick slice of oven toasted bread from a baguette.

 

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Sliced Avocado.

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Mexican Street Style corn.

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Diced Tomatoes.

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More Feta Cheese.

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Paprika.

So it was fun making this and as a side note, I recommend making the Mexican Street Style corn as a side for other dishes too. It’s something a little different and goes well with other dishes.

As for Urban Table, I’ll be back soon to taste some other foods on the menu! Thanks again!

 

P.S. They also had the best Frozè I’ve ever had! You’re welcome.

 

Easy, Breezy, Beautiful

Wah gwan my yute!

I’m feeling a little Caribbean this time around. I guess that’s the theme for my latest fashion post.

The dress I’m wearing was a gift from one of my cool cousins and gave me summertime island vacation vibes. Since a trip like that wasn’t happening this year, I settled for a more local location.

I love the flow of the dress and how freely I can move in it. Dresses like this are fun and great for the warm weather. The sleeves are loose with buttoned cuffs and the dress itself is made of chiffon material.

The next thing is the print. It definitely isn’t subtle and it screams summer! The bright pattern gives off the feeling of being on an island. Then add in some of my imagination and boom, we’re in Jamaica!

Now, since this dress was a gift, I’ll put some links below to where you can find dress that have similar bright and bold prints, are flowing, and are perfect for vacation.

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ASOS

 

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H&M

 

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Fashion Nova

 

Here are some of my pics:

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New Look. Who Dis?

Hello hello,

 

Early last week I posted a couple of photos from my first photo shoot of the season and received such a positive response! Now that the weather is getting warmer, It’ll be so much easier to do more shoots

The big question I’ve been getting a lot of is where I got this outfit from. So to answer the question, I bought this outfit from Against All Odds. If you read my first post of the year regarding my goals for the new year, I talked about how I intend to change up my style a little bit and take more risks. This matching windbreaker set is a total switch up for me and more edgy than what I usually wear, BUT IT’S SO DOPE!

The colors are perfect and the fit is comfy. It’s something that I can wear when I’m just out and about but still want to look cute. I wore black boots with the outfit because it works for now. I’m in need of a nice pair of sneakers and I don’t know what to get! Suggestions?

Against All Odds is a great store if you’re on a budget and want clothing that has an urban vibe to it. I’ve always been a fan. One thing I will say is that you may need to go up in size. Their clothing runs small.

Other than that, check out my photos below and tell me what kind of sneakers I should invest in!

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Bye!

 

 

 

 

Delta’s Restaurant

Hey Hey!

I am doing another review on a fabulous restaurant I visited recently:

Delta’s Restaurant | New Brunswick, NJ | American/Soul food 

 

I was accompanied to Delta’s Restaurant with my step mom and father to celebrate his birthday. I’d heard about Delta’s before and when the opportunity to eat there came about, I hopped on it.

We had reservations for a Sunday afternoon and it was a busy. Unknowingly, we made a reservation on the same Sunday they were having a Spring Social, which is one of their more popular events where they have a DJ that plays hip hop, R&B, and Top 40 music. So basically, the vibe was perfect!

We sat upstairs and I started with some kind of flaming mango martini, which means they lit it on fire. Fancy. For an appetizer, I ordered catfish fingers. They were pieces of cat fish cut up like chicken fingers and fried. T’was my first time having catfish and I truly enjoyed.

My experience was about trying something new and so for my entrée, I had chicken and waffles. The combination always confused me. Am I having breakfast or am I having dinner? However, since the dish is so popular, I tried it. To be honest, it wasn’t my taste. The chicken was fried nice and evenly while the waffles were fluffy and golden. The combination of both foods together really threw me off. So I ate the chicken and took home the waffles to eat for breakfast the next morning. On the other hand, those side dishes though!!!!! You have a choice of two sides. I had the string beans (to be healthy) and the yams (for the culture). So so so good! And the portion sizes were pretty sizable too. Ugh, yum!!

Dessert consisted of warm peach cobbler topped with ice cream, which was pretty good too. I was full by this time so this was one part of the meal that I shared.

Overall, I loved the atmosphere of this place and the fact that there were so many young people there. Delta’s is right next to the Rutgers campus so it probably attracts a lot of the undergrad and graduate students. The DJ was great and played a little Cardi B, which is always appreciated.  Here are three heads up tips before you go:

  1. Valet parking is not your only option for parking. However, it is the easiest. There is a parking garage that is a little cheaper or you could park a couple of blocks over and walk.
  2. Check out the website before you go. See if there is an event going on. If there is, it would behoove you to make a reservation so you don’t have to walk into a 45min + wait.
  3. For a casual dinner, going with your family is perfect. For events or brunch, go with your friends. 

 

Here are some foodie pics:

 

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