February 28, 2017

When Work Is Travel- New Orleans

First off, Happy Fat Tuesday. Yes I held this post back just to commemorate this day as well as my time in New Orleans. A month ago my job sent me to New Orleans for a Tap Root Analysis Training. Now I've really been dying to get to the West Coast for the free-free and I've been suggesting that non-stop to my boss; but he settled on New Orleans and I was fine with that. The kicker was… I’d get to be there for an entire week. Which meant, free food, free hotel, and free rental car, all checks in my book. Aside from the training this would be a mini vacay for me, especially since I don’t actually earn vacation time until my 1 year Anniversary but that’s another story.
Louisiana has a really special place in my heart. I remember spending Summers with my Aunt and thinking that I’d ONLY attend Southern University in Baton, Rouge but my momma cut that short and made me apply to other colleges. But New Orleans, is such a unique vibe in and of itself. Nawlins how I love thee… let me count the ways.

1. Music
During my visit I was able to venture out and visit places that were away from the usual tourist trap such as the Maple Leaf Bar. I am a huge fan of live music and it really doesn't matter the genre. This nice gentleman sitting next to me at happy hour recommended I go and see one of the best bands in the city, Rebirth Band. I am sooo glad that he put me on. As I was getting out of my car I noticed a guy heading in the same direction who happened to be a member of the band and he took me in family for the free-free. Rebirth Band is a brass band that combines traditional New Orleans second line, with funk, jazz, soul and hip hop. If you are ever in the area definitely look them up to experience what the locals love. This had to be my lucky week because while I was visiting it was also the birthday of Big Freedia. Like I literally got a chance to attend Big Freedia's birthday concert and it was beyond lit. Honestly, if you don't know Big Freedia, we probably can't be friends. Now is the time to pause and go to Google, Apple Music, or Fuse type in the name and get you whole entire life while twerking in front of a mirror. Yes she's kinda a big deal especially in  those Nawlins streets.  For the party to be sooo live, there was n fighting or any type of commotion; it was all love. And to top that off, they were also doing filming for the show. I was front and center so if you see ya girl, know that its me lol. This party sooo much fun that it actually made it to my memory jar. If I'm having a bad day I just re-play one of the clips that I filmed from that night to instantly perk me up and put me in a good mood.

2. Food
Being the foodie that I am, I probably should have started here first. I actually worked out pretty hard before going to New Orleans because I knew that it'd be a serious matter in regard to food. Talk about spicey, creamy, fried, grilled, sweet... you name it. Whatever  flavor you crave just know that its there and it is prepared to the highest level of excellence. I. Did. Not. Have. One Bad. Meal. At. All. Those are facts. I started my food journey with the most succulent oysters from Drago's Seafood Restaurant. I honestly think of them weekly, they were char broiled to perfection and the bread that they served besides it was light yet crispy outside and soft inside. The bread was perfect for sopping up the leftover butter. This wasn't last time having oysters while I was there, but this was by far the best oysters I've ever had in my life. Because I LOVE coffee and prefer local coffee shops to large chains, I was able to visit two. Out of the two one was clearly my fav, so much so that I went back the next day and the owner recognized me. Since carnival season was right around the corner they had their King Cake Latte available. And just typing this is making me think of all the flavors that was in that cup of joe. New Orleans is King Cake Country, I've never seen sooo many King Cake flavored items ever. Even at the Walmart, they were selling King Cake flavored vodka. During my stay, I was also introduced to a new type of cake: Doberge. I saw this business on trusty Yelp and new I had to visit because I thought it was genius to combine a bar and a bakery so to speak. This cake literally melted in your mouth. This is how you know its good... you can only order two slices maximum. I mean it ain't no fun if the homies can't have none!!! I had the strawberry and savored every single moment of it. I will seriously be considering a Doberge cake whenever someone asks for this hand in marriage. I am saving the best meal for last, that honorable mention goes to the shrimp and collard green po-boy. If you are like me, you're thinking, who decided to put shrimp and collards on a po boy. I don't know who made the decision but it was the best thing that I decided on the day that I ordered it. Again, the bread was sooo light yet crispy outside and soft inside (my manager said that it has something to do with the water in that area) I'm not sure if there was a sauce added or if the actual flavor of the shrimp and collard greens produced its own unique hybrid flavor but it was a culinary marriage of the two. If I had to choose one thing to get in New Orleans don't make me choose Lawd I would certainly choose this... over and over and over again.

3. Culture

I'm from the South and the South has a way of welcoming you and making you feel at home. This is exactly the vibe that you get from New Orleans. I remember moving to VA and thinking it was weird that folks never spoke to one another in passing, just a simple hello. Everyone in New Orleans I encountered seem warm and welcoming. Even, the Uber drivers talked to me as if I'd known them forever. I mean everyone was happy, and getting along... as people. Not people of this ethnicity/race or religion. It was like everyone was there to soak up the goodness of New Orleans. Even the guy who owns the mansion that American Horror Story was filmed in was nice and allowed us to go up and take a few pictures. That feeling is the reason why I wanted to attend college in Louisiana as a teenager and its the feeling that I wish I could have bottled up to bring back here. Did I mention that I saw Solanges' husband and son in H&M near Bourbon St. I did not want to fan girl over someone's child and hubby that have actually been in the presence of the Queen but I almost did!!!

If you ever get the chance to go to New Orleans, go. It's not Miami, nor is it Vegas , but it is definitely worth multiple visits.

February 21, 2017

E is for Elite...

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you already know (in my Big Freedia voice) how I feel about Yelp. For that reason, I am happy to announce, yes announce, that I am an Elite member of Yelp for the 2017 calendar year. We are almost 50 days into the year and guess how many Elite events I’ve attended to date... 4 events. And to be honest they’ve had quite more than that, but I wasn't able to get in to them. Just know, our Community Manager is putting in that work.

The first event I attended this year was held at Kung Ku Tea and we were given half off our drinks and a chance to update our picture to reflect Elite 2017. This was a pretty chill event and it was good to see familiar faces and meet new members of the Elite community. I ended up getting my all-time favorite Korean drink, the Taro Slush.

The next event I attended was hosted by Vita at Tyson’s Corner. Vita is a new upscale apartment building right in the heart of Tyson’s Corner and semi connected to Tyson’s Corner Mall. The apartment that I viewed was laid out and if I could actually afford to live in such a tiny space, I would probably go for it. Of course we were spoiled with eats and good treats by a few of the local restaurants. We were also given a selfie stick, you know bloggers love pics and free stuff.


For the love of Red Velvet


The third event I attended was hosted by Sweet Green. I am not sure why I didn’t come up with the concept of a salad bar but I wish I would have. I really like Sweet Green because they work with local farmers to get the freshest ingredients out to their customers. This is also a company that’s super trendy in regards to marketing and they offer good vibes. I’ve been carrying a bag that I received from them years ago which says “Beets Don’t Kale My Vibe”. Someone’s a fan of Kendrick Lamar, ya think? This particular event was focused on Sweet Green’s new winter menu which focuses on warm salads. I chose the salad that had sweet potatoes included. Now I’ve never thought about adding sweet potatoes to a salad but it’s definitely something that I may re-create.

SweetLife Festivals are BOMB

Ode to Yonce

Portobello Taco Bowl

Lastly, I was able to attend a dance workout class and invite two of the homies actually one was my cousin. Little known fact, I used to be certified to teach Zumba, so this was extremely fun to do. Let me tell you, if you are a twerker, want to be a twerker, this is the class for you; did I mention you get a good workout as well? We had sooo much fun attending and I can’t wait to go back.

As you see, being a part of Yelp, and especially Yelp Elite has tons of benefits. Go ahead and check the site or the app out and add me as a friend.

The Black Love Experience...

I must admit, Black History Month isn't as nationally lit as it was last year when we had President Obama. However, there are sooo many local events that are happening and have already happened that has showcased previous and present culture and excellence within our community. I remember hearing of The Black Love Experience last year and totally missed it. When I got the 2017 dates I knew I had to attend as well as share it with you guys so that we can make the event bigger and better years to come.

The event was held at the Anacostia Arts Center which is definitely becoming one of my favorite intimate venues. When I arrived everyone was dressed immaculately. Head wraps and t-shirts donning every black pride/slogan imaginable. Trust me it was definitely a good look and you could actually feel the black pride and love throughout the event. There were vendors and artist on each and every end of the center. I like the fact that they served small bites of food, alcohol, and marijuana infused juices. There were also several local artist either performing music/poetry or creating paintings on site. In the basement there was an area where you could make vision boards. Although this The Black Love Experience,  no true love connection was made at the event, but there was eye candy everywhere!!!

I actually love events like this which marry culture, style, and experience. There was an area for massages as well as a "Taste The Love" area where you were fed fruit by melaninated men. Yes you read that right!!! Take a look below to experience the event.

My girl Steph looking cute

One time for the Kente cloth fanny pack

Feminism at its best!!!

Gotta have this shirt!!!

Anyone else addicted to enamel pins like me?


February 6, 2017

Winter Cocoa Tour... with Yolanda Renee

You know how you make something in the knick of time, we that's exactly how I was when it came to this tour as well as meeting Yolanda Renee. I knew that Yolanda was touring with Palmers, because I'd watched footage of her in Atlanta as well the footage when she was in Charlotte. All that Time I never stopped to see where the actual tour was stopping. However, thanks to good ole YouTube, I was able to hear her mention that she'd be in DC. I knew right then that I'd have to be there. This. Is. Like.A.Friend.In.My.Head. I mean I literally watch all of her and her families' videos. Add that to the fact that I grew up with Palmers. I remember using the cocoa butter stick as my facial moisturizer for years.

I really planned on getting to the event as soon as it started but someone was late with breakfast, and I couldn't figure out what I wanted to wear. You know when you're a blogger meeting one of your favorite vloggers and family you have to come correct. The biggest holdup was me wanting to wear this African print headband and a super cute lippie. Well the headband totally didn't workout. And the Milani lippie that I was looking for could not be found so I had to combine two beauty supply lippies to give me that pop. Alas, my outfit ended up being ripped boyfriend jeans and a bird I actually HATE birds in real life sweatshirt from H&M with a button down wrapped around my waist. Super simple outfit yet cute.

Photo courtesy of Yolanda Renees' snap

We took this selfie with a DSLR and Devins' assistance

By the time I arrived to the event I was pretty much one of the last people there to actually see/meet Yolanda Renee. The product area was set up really nice but the coveted gift bags and coupons were all gone. I.Was.Late. But all wasn't lost I was able to meet Yolanda Renee, Taylor, Sky and Devin for the win. And I even got compliments on my outfit, now you that's big if your a blogger/vlogger (thanks for that head boost girl). Nonetheless, I took pic, chatted it up a bit and even purchased a new Palmer's body wash without a coupon.

I believe the tour has ended for the East Coast but will be picking up soon on the West Coast. Although I only purchased one product from Palmer's, I am very interested in trying their Skin Therapy Oil along with some other products from their skincare line. Although I missed out on my coupon, I see that I can still receive a 20 percent off discount by signing up for their e-mail list. While you're signing up be sure to drop a comment and let me know your favorite Palmer's product.