How To Eat Well While Traveling 

Who’s says you have to eat junk when taking road trips or quick getaways?  Seriously if you have time-  wait. My bad.  I mean, if you make time to prep before traveling, you won’t get stuck eating sh** then feeling like sh**.  


Instead of relying on horrible and packaged rest stop or airport food that ultimately leave you feeling sluggish, lethargic, and Sleepy, take control with a trip to the market before leaving. 


Slice your food if necessary, then wash and dry them. 


Yeah, you’ll need to invest a little time, but I promise, you’ll be glad that you did. ūüôā


Pick your favorite fruits and veggies and have fun with packing. I forgot the carrots and celery but I have plenty of natural sugar and vitamins.  Slice and peel the oranges so there’s no mess in the car, train, bus, airplane, or even the beach. 


A great way to monitor your portions is to pick up a box of portion pack snack bags from Walmart.  Mmm- blueberries! 

Don’t forget to wash the appples too. Put them in sandwich bags or gallon size freezer bags. Again, all the hard work is done in advance. 

For a refreshing treat, mix the blueberries or strawberries with some granola. Yummy! 

 

Then enjoy your trip! ūüôā

Enjoy your holiday weekend. 

The Joy Of Vacationing With Kids

On a recent family vacation to the beautiful island Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, I observed something, and it’s not the first time. ¬†I see families from many cultures and from all over the world traveling on vacation with their children, including infants, but not as many black families traveling with their children. ¬† Don’t get me wrong; I see them, but not as often.

Nope, I’m not judging anyone, I am only commenting on my observations, wondering why we don’t travel more with our children and am writing to encourage more to do so.

As a child, I was not privileged to family vacations. ¬†My parents and other relatives went, but the kids stayed home. ¬†For my parents, I believe the choice was mostly economic but also cultural in that kids don’t belong in grown folk affairs and vacations were considered grown folk affairs. They worked hard and earned the right to getaway to chill.

Remembering the longing to board an airplane and fly away with my parents greatly influenced my decision to travel with my children.

At age three, our 27-year-old daughter’s first flight was to San Diego, California. ¬†Our 13-year-old has been flying since the age of five.

Traveling with children is a wonderful experience.  Watching their curious eyes light up in amazement and disbelief when they see an aged and dilapidated building that is a school in another country or the joy of meeting and playing with other children who do not speak the same language, but understands volleyball or a game of catch in the pool.

Taking them to different cities, states, and countries open their eyes to the world outside of their own.  We want our children to grow up and become adults who are open-minded and learn to appreciate and to respect what is different from their experience.

So much of the hatred in this world stems from ignorance, a lack of tolerance and understanding for others who look and sound different.

Over the past week, I watched my son go from clinging comfortably to my husband and me to shooting hoops, playing volleyball with kids from other countries and hanging out in the teen arcade. I love it!!
Playing catch with a kid from California.

Below he is enjoying a moon rocker ride with his dad. ¬†Later he gets to drive it. ¬†ūüôā


Quick family pic before heading to the pool.

Earlier in the week, we drank fresh coconut water directly from a coconut.  S0 after a morning horseback ride, my son decided to pluck his coconut from a tree.  My friend and I watched him diligently work at getting the coconut; refusing to ask for help, he was determined to get one.   He has always been independent and always wants to do things himself, so I knew he was not going to ask the guides for help.


Well…. It took him about 15 minutes to get his coconut! ¬†Failure was not an option. The theme of all things is possible continues. ¬†ūüôā

Our son has wanted to go horseback riding for awhile.  What better place to try it than on a beach in Punta Cana!

In the picture below, he is getting instructions on how to direct the horse.


A rare occasion where hubby is 100% relaxed… All it took was a trip to Punta Cana and a horseback ride on the beach!

Posing with a fellow loc wearing resort employee


Here he confidently serves the ball in a game of volleyball with fellow vacationers; most speak very little English, but they all are having fun and are enjoying the game.

Other fun activities that Tailor enjoyed including taking photos with exotic pets. I love these pictures!

tailor holding snakeTailor holding monkey2

Monkey on tailor headIguana on Tailor forearm


Posing for the camera at the end of ride… ¬†ūüôā


After the ride, my son was ecstatic!


Driving the moon rocker (dune buggy) with his dad was one of the highlights of his trip.  I drove too, but in a separate vehicle.


After spending the day at the pool, we headed out for dinner.

Check him out below. Action shot jumping to catch a football.


Deep in thought. Love his locs!

Throughout the year, we are busy as heck. ¬†School, football, basketball, track, tutoring, and more. ¬†Like any family, we experience stress and work each other’s nerves. ¬†Rushing from one activity to another, squeezing in doctor’s appointments, parent-teacher conferences, school projects, working overtime, birthdays, holidays, graduations and then some are enough to wear down the most upbeat and energized family.

Decompressing as a family is a perfect remedy. ¬†Everyone can relax. Our vacations involve very little “scheduled” time. ¬†We pretty much wing it and take it one day at a time. ¬†We all needed this trip. ¬†While taking a break from the moon rocker excursion, we rested at the shore of an empty beach.

beach

I took my son by the hand, walked him to the edge of the water where warm turquoise colored water splashed our bare feet.  I instructed him to clear his head, listen to the ocean, and to look out as far as he could see.

I explained that we are a blessed family and should give thanks for all that we have and for our amazing experiences.  I went on to tell him that some children and adults will never see the natural beauty we were witnessing, and he should savor the moment.  I also told him to use the vacation as motivation to continue to do his best in school and in all that he does.

“When you get tired and and feel like you can’t go on, think about our wonderful vacation and work harder so that you can continue to reap the benefits of hard work.”

I explained how the process works for me, and it is just another way to stay motivated.  I asked him if he understood what I was saying and he did.

We’re back home and feeling very relaxed. ¬†In two weeks, I will be back to work, and he starts 8th grade. ¬†Our entire family is already talking about next year’s trip. ¬†We’ll print his favorite pictures from the trip in poster size and hang on his wall; they will serve as great reminders for all of us to continue to work hard throughout the year. ¬†ūüôā

ūüôā

On The Road

Hello Sunshine!  Yes, that’s you!  ūüôā 

I am full of joy, gratitude and feel so blessed. 

I give props to the chef at the Marriott Courtyard in Tennessee.  I ordered a basic omelet, three egg whites and one yolk and instructed the chef to add whatever vegetables were on hand, but the chef suprised me with this beautiful and delightful presentation!  So pretty!  ūüôā  Of course, I have to mention the omelette is healthy too! Lol!

Obviously this Chef loves his job!  When you LOVE what you do and do what you LOVE, you shine!  This is another  reminder to stay on your grind to FIND YOUR PURPOSE and don’t stop until you get there.  Once you find your purpose, shift gears and get busy with it.. all day long!  

  

Yesterday after a long a** 15 hour road trip, I attended my cousin’s high school graduation from Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Congratulations CJ!!   On to Murray State University!  Whoo hoo!!!

  
That’s CJ and my aunt Annie in the pic!  Love!

We could have flown; however, the long drive gave us the opportunity to talk without the distractions and to allow the conversations to flow and flow they did! ūüôā 

I am writing this from the back seat of a big behind Expedition. I love to drive but it’s cool to be occasionally chauffeured. Lol! As a passenger, I have time to write and to enjoy the view.  You don’t get to enjoy this view from an airplane.

  
This morning we are on the road again but to visit a different cousin in Georgia. 

Before leaving Tennessee, we stopped to buy more lotto tickets. On our way too Tennesee, we won $15 in a scratchoff!  Maybe we’ll get even luckier with the powerball and the megamillio jackpots.

  

I stayed in the car to write but could not resist feeling the heat on my bare skin and to appreciate the bright morning sun, so I got out to stretch. I hear a shout…

                                                          “I like your outfit!      

I look up to see a beautiful and natural diva walking away from an 18 wheeler big rig.  Nice!!

  
She’s sportin a short and fierce fro.   I see she’s also wearing a headset and ask,

                                                         Me:   “Are you driving that?”

                                                         Her:  “Yup!” 
                                                         Me:  “That’s what’s up!!  You go girl! ”  High Five!!

Damnit!  Already I forgot her name!!!  I was so excited to see girl power in full effect!!   

She’s from Iowa, is in her mid 40’s and has wanted to drive a tractor trailer since she was 24 years old.  She allowed others to talk her out of driving but finally about a year ago decided to get her license. Hello!!!!  This is exactly what I’m talking about.  

                               Follow YOUR heart, follow YOUR dreams, and follow YOUR  passion(s) to the end!

   
 

Whatever your plans are for this holiday weekend, I hope you get to take the time to enjoy the beauty of the day. 

Have a fabulous day and enjoy the weeeknd.  ūüôā 

Blessed And Refreshed

Happy Independence Day! I know, today is Monday. During the post, an error occurred and this post didn’t publish correctly. Hubby and I decided to escape for the holiday weekend.

The hotel’s gym¬†has real equipment. Most hotel’s idea of a gym is one treadmill and a few other pieces of equipment, but not this one; it’s the real deal. Yay!!!

I hit some weights this morning and now I am enjoying a delicious quinoa salad on the beach.

For the natural chica’s, to protect my hair from the salt water, I saturated it with my favorite conditioner, VO5 Herbal Escapes.

As I write this post on the beach, I am feeling blessed and refreshed!

Have a fabulous Day!!

ūüôā

 

20140704-112111-40871036.jpg

 Above the clouds is so magical.

20140704-112110-40870104.jpg

 Sitting on the plane before take off in Atlantic City.

 

20140704-112111-40871901.jpg

Free weights at a hotel gym! ¬†Now that I know it’s possible, I’ll have to add this to my list of necessary hotel amenities.

20140704-112112-40872808.jpg

20140704-112117-40877571.jpg

I brought this tasty quinoa salad at Starbucks. ¬†This salad was the bomb! ¬†Fresh lettuce,cherry tomatoes, and chicken! ¬†It’s nice to eat healthy on the beach.

 

20140704-112115-40875839.jpg

What’s better than an ocean front view? ¬†An ocean front view that can be enjoyed from the shower! ¬†Awesome!

 

20140704-112113-40873943.jpg

20140704-112114-40874893.jpg

I had fun trying to figure out how many different exercises I could do on this baby! Cool!

20140704-112116-40876734.jpg

After a brief rain, this lovely rainbow brightened the sky. ¬†So pretty. ūüôā

 

This little monkey was one of nearly a dozen strolling around the rental agency's parking lot.

This little monkey was one of nearly a dozen strolling around the rental agency’s parking lot. ¬†I’d expect to see monkeys strolling around in another country, but not in Florida.

July 4, 2014 - Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Having a blast on the beach.

 

IMG_6832I love palm trees. I want one in our backyard. ¬†Umm… not in Jersey though. ¬†:0(

 

IMG_0356Selfies¬†on the beach. ¬†For once, we’re both relaxing.

 

Celebrating Vegas Style

A few days have passed since I returned from Las Vegas, Nevada. I still catch myself laughing ridiculously aloud in public places (work, supermarket, gas station, etc…). Hilarious images and comments keep popping in my head. Could it possibly be a crime to have so much fun? If so, convict me. Lol!!

Fourteen of us boarded a plane to celebrate hubby’s 50th birthday, Vegas style. “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!” Yup, I remember the credo, but I have to say that all work and no play makes for a dull life.

Rather than the typical surprise birthday bash at home, I spiced up his birthday with a few close friends. An outrageous and funky limo ride with 14 friends to dinner and a “surprise” birthday dinner in a private room at the Stratosphere did the trick. Great food, drinks, and laughter was in order. Hubby said, “Momma treated me like a king!” I love it! Lol!

Anyway, no matter how busy you are, you have to make time to unwind. The daily grind of work, cooking, laundry, cleaning, and taking care of the family can take its toll on the most positive soul, so short getaways can rejuvenate the spirit.

Child care for this trip was tricky. Our son stayed in three different homes, including ours, but he was safe and he had fun. Knowing that he was okay, relaxed our minds so that we could thoroughly enjoy ourself. We left him guilt free; in June we traveled with him to Cancun, Mexico and in August we took a family Disney Cruise vacation. He’s done more traveling in ten years than I did when I twice his age.

He asked why he wasn’t joining us on the trip. I explained the trip was for adults with no activities for kids. On the real, if you’ve been to Vegas, you know that the activities are for adults who are kids at heart.

I wanted to share a few of my favorite pictures.  Enjoy!

20130214-221502.jpg

New York, New York Casino

20130214-221638.jpg

Brooklyn Bridge

20130214-221716.jpg

Bellagio Casino – Made with beautiful flowers

20130214-221741.jpg

20130214-221805.jpg

20130214-221829.jpg

I love the Eiffel Tower!

20130214-221857.jpg

Clowning around on the strip…

20130214-221921.jpg

Bumble-Bee is my son’s favorite character in the movie Transformer, so I had to take a picture with the big guy.

20130214-222330.jpg

I am in love with palm trees. I want one in my back yard.

20130214-222228.jpg

Luxor Casino… incredible structure

20130214-222201.jpg

A very fine wine tower at THEHotel at Mandalay Bay. Just lock me in there.. pretty please!

20130214-222137.jpg

Hubby’s dinner party. I tried so hard to eat this slowly…. Ha! Ha! It was a challenge!

20130214-222116.jpg

Wipe the drool from your mouth! Lol! Unbelievable! Bacon wrapped shrimp and jalapeno peppers.

20130214-222027.jpg

Hubby and I waiting for friends.

20130214-221954.jpg

Beautiful indoor water fall at the Bellagio Casino

 

Chance meeting or not?

I love traveling.  Meeting new folks, acquiring different perspectives about people, places, cultures, and simply learning about the unknowns. The opportunities feed my wish to learn.  The same manner that people share with me, I like to do the same.

I am convinced and believe in destiny. The older I become, the more I understand that there is no such idea of chance.

When I experience a calm mental state of being, my sense of awareness increases. I tend to hear and listen to my instinct and inner voice and avoid external distractions.  The state of being grants me the opportunity to interact with people and to encounter what is meant for me to experience.

As I compose this on my iPoodle¬†(Acer tablet), I am sitting in Orlando, Florida’s¬†airport at Gate 31 waiting to board my plane back to New Jersey.

I strike up a conversation with Laura, who looks to be around my age, sitting next to me.   One pleasantry after another we chat and before I knew it, my son, Tailor chimed in on our conversation. He told her about our puppy Alex.  Pulling out his DS, he showed Laura pictures of Alex.  His animated chatter raised her brow and put a huge warm smile on Laura’s face.

“Your hair is beautiful!” Laura commented.¬†¬† I smiled and thanked her.¬†¬† She shared a picture of her new puppy, which was being held¬†by a¬†curly-haired, adorable little¬†brown-skinned girl. ¬†The adorable five-year old is her daughter, of whom she adopted.

In less than 10 minutes¬†into our¬†conversation, Laura and I discovered that while we looked very different and live poles apart, we share a few commonalities. ¬†Laura Caucasian with pretty blue eyes on her way to Cleveland… me… well you know… brown-skinned, brown-eyed, curly girl from New Jersey…¬† had several qualities in common.

So what was the purpose of us sitting next to one another?   Laura has no experience in working with curly locks like her daughters.  She wanted to know how I style my hair and the type of products that I use.    I respect her so much for asking.

To be frank with you, I am often disturbed when I see a child of color, whose parents are walking around with untamed locks.¬† I try not to judge but wonder in frustration why the adult is not maintaining the child’s¬†hair.¬† Sometimes I assume that they haven‚Äôt taken the opportunity to seek out the answers.¬†Assuming is wrong; I know.

I am so impressed by Laura’s wish to seek out the best and healthiest solutions for her adorable bi-racial curly girl’s hair.¬† I graciously applaud her.

So many woman of color seek out quick solutions and erroneously and prematurely slap the crack (chemical) on what they perceive to be¬†unmanageable hair of very young girls. ¬†Why?¬† Because it‚Äôs easier than the daily battle of pulling through course, tight, and resistant hair. Because they lack the knowledge of the proper hair care curly locks.¬† ¬†Because our daughters see ‚Äústraight hair‚ÄĚ on television, in magazines, and on cereal boxes and want to look like what they are misled¬†to believe¬†is ‚Äúnormal.‚ÄĚ Others want their little girl to have the long braided pigtails with¬†a dozen or so¬†colorful dangling bows.

Still Laura has chosen to find better and healthier solutions for her daughter.  I began to share my natural hair care knowledge with Laura.  We lost track of time and before we knew it, her flight was boarding so our chat was abruptly interrupted.  Time did not permit for me to give her the name of the products I use or the websites, etc…  So I gave her my email address and invited her to contact me to get the rest of the information.  I hope to hear from Laura; there is much for us to talk about.

She was happy to connect with someone who may be able to help and I was equally pleased that along my travels that I could help someone.

There is something innate within me that is greatly placated when I help others.¬†¬† I don’t know what or why, it just does and it feels really good.

I believe that divinity placed Laura and I in the airport together and our meeting was meant to be. Laura’s desire to seek specific knowledge has put her in a place to receive it. She will continue to gain the wisdom simply by way of quest. My life experiences have taught me this; I know.

When we seek answers and knowledge, the process of ‚Äúseeking‚ÄĚ will draw the wisdom that we desire.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† “Use your life as a class.”
-Oprah Winfrey