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

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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! Haha

“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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First Flight of 2018

Shalom Everyone,

In regards to my first post of the year, “Stepping Into 2018 like…”, I’ve begun to conquer one of the goals I’ve had on my list, which is to travel. Recently, I returned from my first trip of the year and wanted to share some tips and helpful hints that may be useful if you’re traveling anytime soon. Hope you like!

Disclaimer: This is exclusively from my point of view. You may find that that my “myths” are actually your truths. Let me know your opinions in the comments or email me!

 

So I started my trip by trying to book a flight to Atlanta. We initially planned on flying straight into Orlando, however, ticket prices were not cheap. You know how they say flights are cheapest on Tuesdays 6 weeks before the date of your departure? Well, that was a myth.

Tip 1: If a flight is expensive, it’s just going to be expensive. You might find something that varies by a few dollars, but nothing that is going to be tremendously different if you buy it on a Tuesday six weeks before, a Friday two days before, or Monday the day of. 

The flight going to ATL was pretty smooth and that’s coming from someone who hates flying.

It was my first time in ATL and I got to see the town for a couple days before the 5 hour road trip to Orlando. I loved it. The vibe was amazing and it was just cool to see people that looked like me everywhere I went. I could see why it’s a popular destination to move to. As soon as I stepped off the plane, I felt comfort. The only thing that draws me away from making a permanent move is that TRAFFIC. Ugh! The traffic in Atlanta is a problem. If you’re driving somewhere, you have to add on at least 30-40 minutes just for traffic.

After two days, my cousins and I started on our road trip to Orlando, FL. It was about 5 to 6 hours and that leads me into my second tip.

Tip 2: Always have some form of entertainment when on a road trip. Whether it be a full playlist, a good book, or some car games, you will need something to keep you entertained or a 5 hour ride could feel like 8 hours. 

Orlando was amazing! And by amazing, I mean hot! We stayed at a resort right outside of Sea World with an amazing discount.

Tip 3: Utilize your family, friends, and networks. We were able to stay at such a beautiful resort in an amazing location because my cousin works for the hotel chain and was able to get the family a substantial discount. If someone has a connection somewhere or to something, it doesn’t hurt to ask. 

We gathered down in FL to have a surprise party for our grandmother turning 80 years old. She was definitely surprised to see everyone and had no clue about anything. I hadn’t seen my nana in about 5 years so I was just happy to be there. The rest of the time we spent there was about laying out by the pool,  having fun, and celebrating my cousin’s birthday too! We went out to experience the nightlife on the Universal promenade.

Tip 4: If you’re in Orlando and looking for something to do at night with “grown folks”, the Universal Studios walk is awesome. It’s filled with restaurants, bars, and clubs that cater to every type of music genre. You don’t have to pay to get onto the promenade, however, there might be a small cover to get into some of the places depending on the day and time (we didn’t have to pay and it was a Sunday).

After three days in Orlando, we traveled back to ATL and ended our mini vacation with a night at Top Golf. If you haven’t been to Top Golf, I highly recommend trying it out. It’s a great time.

I tried something different this time and put my photos in a video collage. It was my first time putting one together, but I think I did okay.

 

 

Hair Today … Gone Tomorrow

Hey Hey !

I wanted to give you all an update on my hair journey since the big chop!

So, my hair was growing very nicely, however it was uneven because I don’t do well cutting my OWN hair and couldn’t really see the back. I did my best and it wasn’t too noticeable. I continued to wash and deep condition my hair regularly, braid it up, and wear my wigs, which helped it grow as well.

I knew by December that I needed a trim to get rid of my dead ends and I decided to go all out and get it blown out with a silk press. I took about a month to find a stylist I felt comfortable with and with great recommendations from friends and family, I finally found one and she wasn’t too far from home. Major plus!

It sucked to see how much hair she had to cut after a year of growing it, but I had to remind myself that most of it was dead hair anyway. She also had to even it out on both sides.

Below are some pictures of what my natural hair looked like the last time I washed it before I went to the salon. Then, there are some pics of what it looked like about a week after I got the silk press. It took a week because I couldn’t keep my fingers out of my hair. It was so soft and I could feel my scalp so easily. I honestly didn’t know how soft and silky my hair could feel with a silk press!

It was a great change up and I have decided that I’ll get one once a year. Can’t get it done too often or my hair could break off. Trust me, I asked.

Going forward, the plan is to try some natural styles this summer with my healthier hair while also giving it a break and tucking it under a wig.

 

Before:

Wash day (Excuse my not so fleeky brows and no makeup)

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After:

(Honestly, my relaxed hair was only about an inch or so longer than this )

 

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Healthy Hair is so fun !

Tia

I’m hungry

Hi Everyone

I’m the type that loves to eat out at restaurants and diners. I know my favorite places and my favorite things to get on the menu. For my birthday, a friend of mine took me out to eat at a place called Veggie Heaven. I was weary because I didn’t know if that meant there were very few meat options or none at all, so I ate before I went just in case because I’m no vegetarian. Hahahaha.

Needless to say, I was very hesitant to try it but I’m glad I did because it turned out to be really good! I had some general tso chicken, which was actually tofu. This experience got me thinking that I should try to step out of the box when it comes to trying new foods.

Thus, I came up with the idea of trying more local restaurants around my small town. It also helps in supporting small businesses so it’s a win-win situation. Obviously, I’m going to document the journey via my blog and Insta story so stay tuned and check out my first restaurant stop below!

And no, I’m not turning into a food blogger. LOL This is an experience.

 

The Quiet Man | Rt. 46 Dover, NJ | Irish Pub

When pulling up to this restaurant, I noticed they had a menu placed on the outside so you could see what they had before going in. That’s something you see in a more metropolitan city so I was pleasantly surprised because I really appreciate when places do this.

After walking into The Quiet Man, I felt like I was no longer in Dover. Let’s just say the demographics changed completely. This Irish pub was occupied 90% by those who probably had an Irish or European background and I guess it isn’t normal for a black girl and her hispanic friend to walk in for dinner. We did get a few head turns and short stares. But I took my seat with the upmost poise and remained unbothered.

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We had potato pancakes as an appetizer. I’m not going to lie to you and I’m not throwing shade but they were not seasoned and that’s all I’m going to say.

For the main course, I chose the special they had going on which was the crab cake, vegetables, scalloped potatoes, and corn on the cob. Everything was very, very good. Nothing was over cooked or under done so that’s a huge plus. The crab cake and the veggies were my fave.

My special also cake with dessert so we shared crème brûleé that had Bailey’s in it. I’d never had crème brûleé before but I don’t think I should’ve started with this one. I had a scoop and wasn’t sold on it, however, I think it’s because the Bailey’s liquor over powered it. So maybe I’ll have to try it again at some point and put the Bailey’s on the side.

The Quiet Man is a little expensive (in my humbly broke opinion) but worth the experience if you’ve never been or if you like Irish food. Our two meals came to $70 and that’s including a tip. I would definitely go back to try a couple other things I saw on the menu.

Here are some pics:

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My friend ordered the chicken pot pie

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