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 ūüôā

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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 Рlong 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:

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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 clich√© and in a corny sort of way-

Will: Yes, stereotypical.

Devin:¬†¬†…We touch on current topics, but it’s not just the clich√© 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:

Catch BronxMama and Me on Bronx Buzz

Last month, I had the pleasure of being on Bronxnet’s Bronx Buzz¬†alongside Nicole from BronxMama to discuss our blogs and how they help bring the community together. The episode is now online for your viewing pleasure (particularly if you’re a cord cutter like me!) A former Bronxnet intern, it was pretty cool to be on the other side of the camera. With Gary Axelbank as our host, we talked about how while our blogs are geared towards different demographics, they both share in the common goal of highlighting all the awesome things that the Bronx has to offer. But, enough of that, you can just watch the episode for yourself below:

Date Night: Bar Car Night at the New York Botanical Garden

Having been married now for all of two months and change, I’ve found that I’d much rather sit inside and binge watch a show on Netflix than make a bunch of plans with my husband where we end up spending money and trying to figure out how we’re going to get home at the end of the night. However,¬†as noted in wedding websites and blogs across the inter web, it’s important to actually go out and do something you’ll both enjoy.

We’ve spent the past few weeks embroiled in a web of property buying responsibilities, and it ended up not working out, so we’ve been drained. So, when I saw a Groupon for NYBG’s¬†Bar Car Nights at the Holiday Train Show, I knew we had to go.

Aside from being ridiculously close to our place, the Husband used to collect trains when he was a kid and I’m pretty certain they’re still at his parents’ house. One of the highlights for me was that it would be adults only and I didn’t have to worry about tripping over someone’s kid and obviously the bar. ūüôā

Confession: This was my first time ever going to the Holiday Train Show.

I know, it’s an institution, but somehow I was always busy with holiday preparations and parties and by the time I knew it, it was over. Now I can say I’ve been and it was absolutely amazing. The snow definitely added a romantic setting while we waited our turn to enter the conservatory.

It’s amazing how intricate all of the models are and how the designers use plants in so many innovative¬†ways. One of the coolest features for me was seeing how transformed the conservatory was ¬†– trains whizzed around large leaves and hovered right above small ponds, it was beautiful.

Move quickly though, the Holiday Train Show runs until January 16 and the last Bar Car Night is January 14.

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New Year’s Eve Brunch at Acri Cafe

New Year’s Eve has always been a very important day for me. For longer than I’d like to admit, I thought that New Year’s Eve was an indication of how your year would go, so, if you had really crappy or blah NYE your upcoming year would follow suit. Thankfully, I’ve grown out of that for the most part (that’s a lot of pressure to put on one day!) but it’s still one of my favorite holidays to celebrate (maybe it’s all that food and drink I love so much…)

Because I knew I’d be spending the night with my friends, I made sure to schedule time to hang out with my mother and sister for brunch. I’ve been dying to try out the brunch at Acri Cafe for the longest, so we drove over and were so pleasantly surprised.

Acri Cafe is THE definition of a hidden gem. Located on Commerce Ave. in an unassuming building by the UFT and DMV, inside lies a vast, welcoming space to gather with friends and family. As soon as you enter, you can’t miss the large wood fire oven, which adds a cozy vibe to the restaurant.

The staff was friendly and attentive. Though our food came out quickly, we got to munch on some delicious fresh bread with olive oil while we waited, to hold us over while waiting for our orders.

The brunch menu featured items including eggs benedict, the Acri burger (topped with goat cheese and mushrooms), and churrasco steak and eggs. One of the best features of Acri Cafe’s brunch is the $10 ¬†2 hour unlimited drinks, which include brunch staples such as mimosas. I, unfortunately, could not partake because I was nursing a mild hangover and of course had to prepare for NYE festivities. This just means I’ll have to return soon…for research purposes, of course.

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