Browsing Tag

travel log

Travel Log: Orlando and Bahamas, 2/17 – 2/20

February 28, 2017

It’s the dead of winter, so a trip to a tropical atmosphere was in order, starting first in Orlando, Florida, then taking us to Nassau and CocoCay, Bahamas. I mean, I can’t really complain living in Southern California, but my good friend Zita is going through it with snowstorms in Boston. So we got out of dodge and spent four glorious days and three lively nights on a boat in the Atlantic Ocean. Yes, we cruised it up! Click the slideshow to see some fun visuals, and read all about it below.

DAY ONE: Friday, Feb. 17
I landed at MCO (Orlando International Airport) bright and early at 6:30 a.m. and waited for my pal, Zita, to arrive. I posted up for a few hours and got caught up on some episodes of “Z” on Amazon Prime. Thank God for WiFi and headphones. When, she touched down, we fueled up on some light snacks then boarded a shuttle for the port at Cape Canaveral. Off in the distance, we could see our ship, Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas, which would be our home for the next four days. We breezed through security at the port and checked in on the gangway, where we were greeted by Jock Jams blaring through the speakers. “Y’all ready for this?!” Why, yes. Yes, we were. Our first stop: the pool bar.

With unlimited drinks available (Hot tip: You’re gonna want to buy the drink package in advance!) at the swipe of our Set Sail card, we ordered our first libation of the trip — an ice cold piña colada. Zita immediately began mapping out the day’s plans as outlined in the Compass. Should we dance under the stars or hit up bingo? The world was our oyster! At about 3 p.m., we were able to go into our stateroom, located on the third deck. We would later find that this was actually one of the better decks on the ship. You felt the swaying most on the upper decks, and Lord knows ain’t no body got time for sea sickness. As our ship departed Orlando, I observed from the room’s porthole a flock of pelicans flying in a perfect V formation. It was truly magical. Something I didn’t catch on camera because I was immersed in the moment.

After a bit of a fiasco with the dining room assignment for our 8:30 p.m. dinner time, we were seated at a table among a crowded sea of people. We were surprised that we were expected to eat dinner with complete strangers, but thankfully, our table mates, Sarah and Lacey, were good company. We kinda felt bad for Kelly, another table mate who was ditched by her 17-year-old daughter, who was busy meeting boys in the teens-only section of the ship. Shame! After dinner, we found our way to the seventh deck, where we were promised free champagne and the possibility of winning raffle prizes (the magic words). We both made off with a free print and were encouraged to return the following afternoon for an art auction with even more raffle prizes. Exhausted, we called it a night early.

Find out how the rest of my cruise went after the jump!

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Travel Log: Munich, Germany, and London, England 9/29 – 10/4

October 20, 2016

We came. We saw. We conquered. Me and my pals Yvette, Sierra and Tyler traveled to Munich for Oktoberfest, which was something I always wanted to experience but wasn’t certain if I’d ever find the time to visit. We also had a quick jaunt in Londontown. These were two destinations that I can now cross off my bucket list. Read the nitty gritty of my adventure in my latest travel log.

DAY ONE: Thursday, Sept. 29
After a more than 11-hour flight that began the night before, I was eager to get off the plane and see what Munich was all about. I exited the airport determined not to freak out, as I had to buy a train ticket and get on the correct train, then take a bus, to our Airbnb located about an hour away. Of course, everything was in German but a kind gentleman helped me pay for my ticket and pointed me in the direction of the correct train. More confusion ensued as I exited the train looking for the bus that would take me within a block of the Airbnb. After asking a few people, I finally found the bus stop and made me way on board a short while later. I arrived safely at the one-bedroom apartment about 15 minutes later, and seized the moment to catch my breath and relax while I waited for my bestie, Yvette, to arrive. Local TV was broadcasting live from Oktoberfest, which got me juiced for the festivities that would take place the next day. I also caught an episode of “The Simpsons,” in German, of course. A few hours later, Yvette made it to the Airbnb. We ventured out to find a walkable biergarten and came up short, so we took the bus back near the train station to grab some grub. We settled on an Italian restaurant called Da Peppo. I know, I know. We didn’t come all that way to just eat Italian food, but it was all that we could find open that late in the evening. I will say that I was surprised at how tasty the pizza was. We washed it down with ice cold German beers, which made up for the lack of authentic local fare. Next door was a divey bar, so we stopped there for a couple of drinks. Our friends Toccara and Tyler joined us there. We were tired from travel and needed to prepare for Oktoberfest the next morning, so we headed home to the Airbnb.

Read more about my exciting European vacation after the jump!

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Travel Log: Vancouver, Washington, and Portland, Oregon 8/12 – 8/15

August 22, 2016

I’ve long wanted to visit Portland, Oregon (“Portlandia” is my jam and I’ve heard such great things about the city), so when my friends Sierra and Jesse moved to neighboring Vancouver, Washington, I really had an excuse to visit. Read all that went down during this jam-packed weekender in my most recent Travel Log.

DAY ONE: Friday, Aug. 12
When I touched down late that night, I couldn’t wait to plant my feet on that deliciously retro PDX carpet. I immediately caught the gaze of one woman who was staring intently at me like I was a unicorn, so that was real fun. By the way, Portland has all of five Black people total, and I’ll just leave this clip about its unsavory past here. But I digress. My pals Sierra, Yvette and Khalid were waiting for me when I exited the airport. We took a short drive to Sierra’s house in Vancouver, Washington, to drop off our luggage, and then headed to a divey bar that had karaoke. I tried a tasty Ace Pineapple Cider, knowing that I had to take it easy to prepare for the Vancouver Brewfest the following day (more on that later…). A kindly redheaded man asked me to sing “Summer Nights” from “Grease” with him, and I obliged. And Yvette shut the whole place down with a soulful rendition of Journey’s “Separate Ways.” All in all, a nice introduction to Vancouver, which is all about “big trucks, bebes and big attitudes,” according to Jesse.

Read more about my amazing Pacific Northwest weekender after the jump!
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Travel Log: Oahu, Hawaii 4/21 – 4/25

May 3, 2016

I recently crossed one more destination off my travel wish list: Hawaii. Yes, I had never been to that magical island state until about a week and a half ago. Read all that went down on this delightful girls trip to Oahu in my most recent Travel Log.

DAY ONE: Thursday, April 21

We landed safely. After a plane full of what seemed to be 20 screaming babies, I needed to get off of the aircraft. Stat! I got a text from Sierra telling me to meet her and the rest of the gals at Baggage Claim B. A short walk later, I saw them standing there delighted with their leis on. Wait! Where’s my lei greeting? I paid $16 and somebody was gonna greet me with some flowers on a string come hell or high water. I tracked the lei guy down, and after scanning his list found me. “Oh, there you are. Sorry, I didn’t make it to the gate. Welcome to Hawaii.” Not exactly the aloha spirit-filled greeting I envisioned in my head. But, hey, we’re in Hawaii by golly and we’re gonna have the best time ever. Onward to the Budget rental car. We opted for the Ford Escape, by the way. Lots of legroom for all five of us.

We had to kill time since check-in at the Airbnb wasn’t until 4 p.m. We were staying in Hauula, which was about 45 minutes to and hour away from Honolulu and 30 minutes on the other side from the famous North Shore of Oahu. So we ventured to Mike’s Huli Chicken, which Yvette had seen on “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.” The food truck was busy that afternoon with the locals getting their lunches. I ordered the Huli Stir Fry and it was sa-mackin! Oh, and the peas in the macaroni salad was a pleasant surprise. A curious egret danced around our table, meanwhile some wild cocks squawked in the distance. It was wild. Literally and figuratively. After lunch, we kept driving up toward Hauula and stopped at a liquor store to stock up for the weekend. And then a shopping center for groceries and miscellaneous sundries.

When we arrived at the Airbnb, we were relieved that it was just like the pictures online. It’s a quaint, cozy three-bedroom, one-bathroom cottage with a small yard and nice front deck. We rested a bit and got settled in. A couple hours later, we took a short walk down to the beach and saw the ocean in all its majestic beauty. The beach was secluded and was only tainted by our footprints. The locals whose homes met the sand just enjoyed the view and went on with their lives. I was in awe. And the water was warm. We toasted to our first day in paradise and went back to our home for the next five days to chill. It was great. Later, we took a short drive to Papa Ole’s for dinner. The Teri Chicken was delicious and the girls’ shrimp and Loco Moko plates were also enjoyable, by their accounts. The rest of the evening we spent mourning the loss of Prince and had a nice nightcap on the cozy sectional.

Read more about my amazing Hawaii vacay after the jump!

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Travel Log: Spain, Portugal and Gibraltar, 12/15/13 – 12/23/13

February 11, 2014

This post is super late, but the memories I have from Spain, Portugal and Gibraltar are clear as day, as if they happened yesterday. In mid-December, I traveled abroad with the boo-ski and his mom. His family spent Christmas there, but I flew back to the States in time to spend the holiday with my family and friends. Long story short, my European vacation was ridiculously fun. Here are some of the highlights of my weeklong stay abroad.

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After enduring what felt like THE longest layover known to mankind in Amsterdam, I arrived in Málaga, Spain, on Monday night. It’s located near the south of the country, near the Mediterranean Sea.

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Travel Log: LACMA Lampposts, 10/4

October 9, 2013

File this one under “hometown tourist,” as this is one of the things I’ve been wanting to see but have never gotten around to. This past Friday night I met up with my pal, Zita, in the Miracle Mile for a night of dive bars and exploration. Little did I know, we would pass the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and one of the most enviable photo-opp venues in the city: the lampposts, also known as the “Urban Light” installation from Chris Burden.

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Just gorgeous. The photo, of course, pales in comparison to the spot’s true beauty.

Interestingly enough, this large-scale assemblage sculpture consists of 202 restored street lamps from the 1920s and 1930s — the majority of which once lit Southern California streets.

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Seeing the sparkle of the lights across the clear night sky just does something for my peace of mind.

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And then there was a whole lot of this.

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Can’t forget about this either.

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Travel Log: Aruba (and Four Hours in Panama City), 8/10 – 8/13

August 19, 2013

I’m still elated by the memories made on my very first international trip. Aruba was amazing: the beautiful beaches, the toasty weather, the friendly faces, the abundance of adventure. I wish it didn’t go by so quickly. Here are a few highlights from my vacation with a few close friends.

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I flew out of LAX at 11 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 9 and could hardly contain myself knowing that soon enough I would be running wild in the Caribbean! The songs “Kokomo” by the Beach Boys and “Caribbean Queen” by Billy Ocean were on a constant loop inside my head. By the time I caught my connecting flight in Washington, D.C. — where I met up with my pals Yvette, Sierra, Corneka and James — it was beginning to feel like Christmas.

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DAY ONE:

We were greeted at the airport by Yvette’s brother, who was kind enough to let us use his timeshare at Marriott’s Aruba Surf Club, and on the short car ride there, my eyes were wide, drinking in the sights.

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After we got situated in the room (which, by the way, was a lovely two-bedroom, two-bathroom suite with a kitchen, living room and balconies facing the resort’s pools), the first order of business was to feed our growling bellies. Thankfully, we found Hadicurari, just steps away from the resort.

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Here’s a glimpse at some of the things within our view while dining.

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Travel Log: Griffith Observatory, 7/6

July 10, 2013

I’ve come to realize that there are tons of cool things to do in the greater Los Angeles region that I haven’t gotten around to doing. The concept of being a tourist in one’s own town is appealing, and this past weekend I got a head start by visiting the Griffith Observatory.

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The iconic Hollywood sign, which reminds me, I’ve been wanting to do that hike.

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That’s the bestie boo, Vettie, and I.

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As soon as we entered the Observatory, we were greeted by this elaborately painted ceiling, reminiscent of the Sistine Chapel.

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The Foucalt pendulum, which shows the Earth’s rotation.

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Drinking in the view.

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I look tiny in comparison to the building. It’s pretty huge.

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The Observatory telescope could be viewed from a small room off the roof.

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It was a glorious day!

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I love L.A.

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Bless Khalid’s heart for taking several pictures of us attempting the obligatory tourist “jump” shot. As you can see, I needed a little work in this department. “Wait! Do I jump on one and you take the picture on three?” Haha. I’m sure I looked crazy in the process, but by golly we got a good one!

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It was a great day, indeed. I was a little crowded, as should be expected on a Saturday afternoon, but it was well worth it. Until we meet again, Griffith Observatory.

Travel Log: The Bay Area, 3/15 – 3/17

March 18, 2013

A piece of my heart resides in the Bay Area. Her name is Yvette, and she’s the best friend a girl could ever ask for.

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I really don’t need an excuse to visit the Bay (I love it that much), but this past weekend we celebrated Yvette’s birthday, and it was nonstop fun from the moment I got off the airplane. Here are a few snapshots from the journey.

DAY ONE:

“Off the Grid” at the Oakland Museum of California. Run, don’t walk. It’s a one-stop wonderland where hipsters, well-dressed toddlers and food truck connoisseurs convene to mingle, converse, eat, dance to live music and explore the exhibits. I couldn’t have asked for better company than Sierra and Yvette (SAY Love Crew).

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Once inside the museum, we ran wild trying all the many interactive features the venue had to offer — my favorite being the “Foley” sound studio, where we provided the sound effects to black-and-white features from the 1940s using various props.

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“Fun” doesn’t even begin to convey how much we enjoyed the museum.

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