My Travel Personality

Something I touched on briefly in my Shediac post is my travel personality. Let’s first start off with what exactly that means. Your travel personality dictates where you stay and what you do while on vacation. Some people like to just chill on vacation; you’re not going to see them hiking, zip lining, or anything like that. They just want an escape from their ordinary lives. Others are thrill seekers, they’re going to be zip lining, bungee jumping, scuba diving, all of that.

For me, I’m somewhere in between. I love cities, so when I travel, I’m not too interested in lounging on a beach the whole time or hiking up some mountain. That’s not to say I don’t do these things while on vacation, but I like to see other urban areas and how other countries have defined what it is to live in “the city.”

What does this look like in action?

Location, Location, Location

I usually end up going to the capital city, think: Buenos Aires, Cape Town (did you know South Africa has three capital cities?!), and London. I like cities because you’ll find ordinary citizens living their daily lives, not just tourists taking selfies everywhere. Even though I’m technically a tourist when I go abroad, I don’t act like one. I figure the same way we hate the disrespectful way many tourists behave when they come to New York, other people in other cities must hate it too. I also am annoying and talk about how similar or different everything is to New York. I’m working on it.

Getting Around

I also hate driving. I’m a stereotypical New Yorker and got my license as an adult. So when I travel I like to be centrally located near public transit or at least in a place where I can catch a cab pretty easily. I love walking so once I’ve got some comfortable shoes, I have no problem going for a long walk to check out a new and fascinating place.

Activities

I like a good mix of active, physical activities and time to relax, go shopping, etc. I like to be amongst the locals when I travel, so of course I’ll check out tourist attractions, but I also like to check out hidden gem cafe or local boutiques. I also am not opposed to curling up and watching a movie or taking a nap. Actually, naps are a must.

Packing

I’ll do a full packing post in the future, but because it is a part of my travel personality, I’ll touch on it briefly. I try to be a minimalist when packing because I like to avoid checking my bag. I don’t like to wait when I get off of the plane. I just want to take my stuff and start my adventure (or head home!). So I try to have a carry on for the overhead and a book bag with my essentials and entertainment.

Once you’ve figured out your travel personality, you’ll have a much easier time planning your trip, especially when traveling with others.

What’s your travel personality? Feel free to share in the comments!

 

 

Brunch at Salsa con Fuego or, That Time I Ate So Much I Thought I was Going to Die

Ten years ago my husband and I decided to see where our new relationship would lead. Our actual anniversary was on Friday, but we were both so tired from work and life in general, we ended up knocking out. (#lifeafter25?) To make up for such misbehavior, we decided to celebrate on Sunday by going to Salsa con Fuego, whose brunch my sister recommended months ago.

To preface this, I had made my return to the gym after missing my Sunday class three weeks in a row (two of which were due to my trip to Shediac, the third was due to a mild hangover :/) so when I came back home I was not only drained, but starving.

Salsa con Fuego’s brunch is served buffet style with a free drink included (mimosas, bellinis, soda, or juice). We opted for bellinis, which were waiting for us on our table after we served ourselves.

I’m usually not a fan of all you can eat buffets because all I can eat in one sitting is really not a lot. But, like I said, I was famished. I piled my plate up with almost everything I saw – shrimp, pernil, rice, pasta – you name it.

After stuffing my face, I went up to partake in the fresh fruit and flan.   I had two servings of fruit and flan. “Why not?!” I said. “I’ll be fine!” I said.  I was not fine. I had definitely eaten away too much and moved at the pace of a sloth trying to make the under 30 min trip back home. Smh.

Besides an admission of my boundless gluttony, this is also a testament to how good the food was. Because it’s a buffet, you don’t have a lot of interaction with the staff, but our waitress made sure our water glasses were full and was generally very polite and friendly.

Salsa con Fuego itself is an expansive venue with lively portraits of Tito Puente and Celia Cruz adorning the walls. There were people of all ages there and several people celebrating birthdays and other special occasions. I didn’t take enough pictures, I was too busy stuffing my face.

Admittedly, I was a little nervous because of the mixed reviews on Yelp, but I am so happy we decided to go here for brunch. So worth it!

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Experience The Beauty of Thailand in the Bronx at NYBG’s Orchid Show

This week I got the opportunity to check out the New York Botanical Garden‘s latest exhibit, The Orchid Show:Thailand. It’s amazing how the Conservatory can be totally  transformed – from the Frida exhibit to the Holiday Train Show, and now to a beautifully tranquil imagining of Thailand. I’ve not yet been to Thailand (a future travel post!) but it was exactly what I imagine it’d be like to have teleported to a beautiful temple garden across the world.

The event, hosted in collaboration with Edible Bronx, was an Instameet Afterhours, giving us a chance to roam through the exhibit and post photos to our hearts’ content. Though the show is in its fifteenth year, this was my first time at the orchid show and I never thought I’d get so excited to see flowers. Really! As a person who has always suffered from allergies, I’ve always been one to admire from afar. Maybe it’s been the allergy shots I’ve been taking for the past year, but I was like a kid “Ooh, what’s this? Hey, look at this flower over here!” bouncing around from one section to another.  It was also really cool to see the array of different colors the orchids came in  – from white, to bright purple, to deep red.

I was most excited to see pineapples growing from the ground. Like, I was really excited (maybe it was the wine…?)

Unfortunately, many wild orchids are at risk for extinction because of over collection and the destruction of their habitats. In fact, many orchids are imported illegally! The NYBG is a designated rescue center via the Convention on International Trade in Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.  They have worked to rejuvenate many of these species.

So, if you want to support the NYBG in this mission or just spend an evening with beautiful flowers (and pineapples!) stop by soon. The Orchid Show: Thailand runs until April 9.

Travel: Shediac, New Brunswick, Canada

Traveling has become such an integral part of my life that I thought it might be a cool idea to start sharing some of my experiences abroad on the blog, so every week I’ll be sharing some of my stories and maybe even some tips or recommendations.

First up, I’m going to share my most recent trip, which was to Shediac, New Brunswick, Canada. It’s all the way up near Nova Scotia.

Disclaimer: I have been fangirling over Canada since I was a preteen (because that’s totally normal, right?). In fact, my first foray out of the country was to Toronto and my trip to Shediac marks my third time visiting our neighbors up north.

Transportation

My husband was taking a class and basically I decided to tag along since I was on vacation anyway. We decided to drive and by we, I mean he, drove. It’s about 11 hours, which is a long time to be in a car. However, we did make some discoveries along the way. We decided to stop in Portland, ME both going and returning. We stopped at Salvage BBQ , a spacious barbecue spot with a smoker out back. I loved the casual vibe (especially after having been in a car for hours) and how tender the meat was (yum!). On the way back, we stopped at Isa, which I think it the kind of restaurant I’d have if I ever went into the food industry. Minimalist and with a focus on local/seasonal ingredients, Isa is a perfectly cozy spot for date night or, like us, just stopping in for lunch.

Oh, we also discovered Hot 96.9 which provided a flawless soundtrack to our drive.

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Salvage BBQ – Portland, ME

Where We Stayed

We stayed at Hotel Shedicac, a modern and fairly new hotel in the area. It houses a bistro (aptly named Le Bistro) and a restaurant called St. James Gate. Order the lobster mac and cheese, you won’t regret it.

It also has a pool, hot tub, exercise room, and game room. Because it’s off season, we pretty had these spaces to ourselves 🙂

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Hotel Shediac Room

What To Do

Shediac reminds me so much of City Island. In speaking with one of the shopkeepers on Main Street, he informed me that in the summer, Shediac is teeming with tourists checking out the restaurants and visiting the beach. In the winter, it’s a bit more calm, but  there’s still some sights to behold.

I spent a day checking out the stores on Main Street. One of my favorites was  Ancient Roots, a tea and holistic living shop. I picked up some chai and lime chiffon tea from the friendly owner who was so helpful. Another store I enjoyed was A Touch of Class, where I picked up the perfect travel sweater – long and warm like a robe with pockets to hold my miscellaneous crap. The shopkeeper was really friendly and is a fan of NYC, who gave me some tips on places to check out.

Though we didn’t make it to Magnetic Hill, it’s a very popular attraction and has a theme park in the summer.

One of Shediac’s most notable features is the Giant Lobster, which as the name implies, is a legit giant lobster statue.  It’s what welcomes you to this quaint seaside town.

We did drive around a bit and went to see a movie (ticket prices in Canada are so cheap omg!!!!!!!!) in Dieppe and went to lunch at a place called Tide and Boar in Moncton, which kind of reminded me a little of New Rochelle.

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Overall, it was a nice getaway, even though temperatures were spring-like in NYC and I was still packed away in my bubble coat and Heat Tech layers up north.

 

 

 

 

Join the Cast of Tough Love on Valentine’s Day for the Season 2 Finale!

Hopefully after reading my interview with Tough Love cast members Devin Coleman and Will Strong, you’re all caught up with the show. This Valentine’s Day, you have the chance to attend the red carpet premiere with the cast members downtown for the premiere of the season 2 finale! Check out the info below:

tl-finale-party-2017

Make sure you RSVP and if you’re not caught up, do it now!

Let’s Show the World that #theBronxReads by Supporting the Lit Bar

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past few months, you’ve heard about Noelle Santos and her mission to bring a  bookstore/ wine bar to the Bronx. With the closure of the Bay Plaza Barnes and Noble, the Bronx’s 1 million+ residents are left without a bookstore, independent or otherwise, which is an egregious sin. Show the world that the Bronx reads by supporting this important cause and if that’s not enough to convince you, check out Noelle’s video below in which she outlines (with an amazing flow) why the Bronx needs the Lit Bar. Donate to the Indiegogo campaign here.

The Spotlight: Binge-Worthy Series “Tough Love” Returns for Season 2

I’ve been a fan of Black & Sexy TV for a while now, from “The Number” to “RoomieLoverFriends” I’ve always appreciated the opportunity to see people of color represented in the media without being the token “best friend” or “thug.” Enter one of their most recent hits, “Tough Love”  which was a 2016 NYC Web Fest Official Selection. The series follows a group of friends trying to navigate the New York City dating scene and it is absolutely addictive. I found myself yelling at my screen, I was so involved. (My husband might say a little too involved…)

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Photo Courtesy of Frank Publicity

I had the opportunity to speak with Devin Coleman who plays Darius and Will Strong who plays Lance and is a South Bronx native, to converse about the show and its characters.

What separates “Tough Love” from other shows about dating in NYC? 

Devin:  When I run into someone who watches the show, they can identify with someone [from the show]. A lot of times, the shows I come across about New York City, it’s very one-dimensional, single focus storyline. In “Tough Love” they’ve highlighted six individuals and their problems with relationships and going into the first season, you have why people are together and now you get the background as to why they’re like this. …They’re more relatable, they’re more understandable.

Could you discuss the importance of seeing professional people of color represented in the media?  I think that’s one of my favorite things about the show is that these are all working professionals, so while they may be going through their own personal issues,  they’re on their game, professionally. 

Will: Well, nowadays, everything is whitewashed. There are very few black shows on television and the ones we have are again, watered down. Things that are going out now, like “Tough Love”, it’s a positive show, it just brings light as to ‘we can do this as well.’

Devin: As far as my experiences with the industry and how this came a part is that as socially specific as it is at times, it is relatable across all races…The great thing that “Tough Love” does is that it’s a show that you don’t have to paint people in this idealistic way. [Looking back at other shows] parts that minorities play are cliché and in a corny sort of way-

Will: Yes, stereotypical.

Devin:  …We touch on current topics, but it’s not just the cliché stereotypical way that a person is going to played on the show.

Will: When I first saw season one…I fell in love with the show. I was like, wow this show is really dope, so when I had the opportunity to audition for it, I jumped on it. It’s an amazing cast and Roni and Caleb. The show is just amazing and I think it’s going to grow and do amazing things.

How much is Darius’ personality influenced by being from the Bronx? 

Devin: When Darius was originally given to me, it was just written as he had a gangster persona and find out that the writers were from L.A. and their gangster wasn’t “New York gangster” and I thought the term gangster was kind of … it wasn’t outdated, but it wasn’t something just looking at the character description, it was something I could see in New York. When I started to think about how Darius was in relation to the  many different places I’ve lived inside New York City, there’s something about how quietly flashy, but cocky the guys in the Bronx were and that is what it became…There was so much that went into it that I saw in the streets so it was kind of bringing everything that I saw together and creating Darius and…adapting that over and over.

Any upcoming projects? 

Devin: Outside of Tough Love, I’m in another project called Timeless Guilt, the movie that’s out, it’s actually a spinoff with a new production, new cast. It’s a web series that will starting filming next month. Outside of acting, I founded a nonprofit called Balanced Hope and I work with the mental healthy community, adults and children with chemical imbalances…We’re actually branching out into the Bronx spring time this year. We’re going to be doing something with ACS in regards to them doing something to bring awareness to the mental health community. A lot of the information can be found at www.balancedhope.org.

Will: I’m working on a play called Thoughts of a Colored Man. Taye Diggs is producing it. I’m also working on another web series called Mistakes. I have a feature film coming out in May.

Tough Love season 2 is currently underway. Check out the trailer below: