Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sprinkle in a Whole Lot of Love

There are times when I wish I could fix everything with hugs. But I have learned that everything cannot be "fixed." Some situations, like the loss of a loved one, come with pain that we have to deal with.

Because I'm one that focuses on solutions rather than problems, I get beyond frustrated with things I cannot fix. I've recently come to the realization that these things are like cooking. If you add too much salt, you cannot take it out, but adding a little bit of sugar can sometimes balance it out a bit. In these situations where pain is, you cannot take the pain away but you can certainly sprinkle in a whole lot of love.

One of those "adult" moments of clarity that I thought I'd share.

Photo credit

I Don't Wanna Grow Up

Especially if that means that life has to get boring. It seems that that most perceptions of adulthood associate it with being hard and not fun. However, I beg to differ.

I'll admit that I've been resistant to becoming "an adult," and I've fought to hold on to my youth. Even though I'm technically considered an adult by age, I couldn't accept the idea of a life is supposed to be not fun, simply full of responsibilities and things you don't want to do.

I was comforted by this month's theme at She Creates Change: Play. Life doesn't have to be hard and not fun as an adult. It should actually be about enjoying life and living it with passion and love. Our homework this month was to think about ways to incorporate more play (things that excite us) into our lives.

If that wasn't enough, I found a similar theme happening in Erin Stutland's class. This month her theme is Pleasure. She also gave us the assignment of allowing ourselves to experience as much pleasure as we could.

I've taken my assignments seriously. This month, I've signed up for an S Factor membership (which I am SO excited about!) and joined Erin Stutland's Shrink Session class (which has been amazing!). I'm also excited about my new do (a new hair color AND highlights), which is how I know I've accepted fall. I also got myself a pay day treat: Forbidden Fudge nail polish, which tickles my fancy every time I look at it. (Note: Buying the polish is more financially friendly than getting a mani/pedi.)

I'm loving November!

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Grass is Actually Greener on My Side

I've had an issue with the saying "the grass is always greener on the other side" for a while now. What I've learned is that the grass may seem greener, but oftentimes it's not as it seems. Other people's lives and situations may look better from the outside but it is not always as visible how much hard work is put into it; Or, on the other side, how far the reality could be from the superficial appearance: i.e. the "glamorous" high paying job that requires 80+ hours a week, stifles one's freedom, or compromises one's integrity and/or purpose; or the "perfect" marriage that is hiding a dysfunctional or even abusive relationship.

I've decided that the grass is actually greener on my side. Or at least that's how I see it. I choose to accept what I have is just what I need and appreciate it. Yes I may be inspired by the example of others and can work towards other things, but I'm happy with what I have right now.

Some People Just Don't Get It

When I do things like buy a one-way ticket to Seattle or tell my job that I need a month off, I get lots of questions. I get tired of explaining myself and end up giving vague answers like "Why not?" or "That's just how I am" that don't necessarily satisfy the question-asker but get them to at least cease the interrogation.

When I read The Lost Girls' book, I felt better in knowing that I am not the only one who thinks the way I do. I honestly believe that most (if not all) people would love the opportunity to escape their day job and travel the world. However, many do not believe that it is a possibility and leave it in the category of things that other people do.

As one of those other people, I sometimes feel "weird" for thinking the way I do and doing the things I do. It's always comforting to meet and discover others who think like I do and who get it without me having to explain "it". I stumbled upon these article: "How a Career Break Changed My Life" and "7 Things You Learn about Yourself (and the World) While Traveling Solo" I was so excited to see someone else articulate thoughts I've had but have been hesitant to share with any and everyone, the fear of having to explain why it's a good idea.

Do you get "it"?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fun Friday: Getting to Know Miss Journey

10 more things you may not know about me:
  1. The word tilapia tickles my fancy
  2. I want to be the voice of a cartoon
  3. I've always wished for telepathy and the ability to fly
  4. I have statue phobia and mythical creatures freak me out
  5. I have an indescribable attachment to and longing to go New Orleans
  6. I have a fascination with butterflies and hummingbirds
  7. I spent only 3 weeks in kindergarten, which resulted in my graduating from high school at 16 and college at 20. (Sounds cool now, but I did not always enjoy being the youngest among my friends)
  8. I can write with both hands. I'm not ambidextrous because I'm not equally strong in both, but I do pretty well. Also, even though I'm a lefty I do most things with my right. I'm stronger on my right side but have more refined dexterity on my left.
  9. I can write backwards in print and script.
  10. I always wish I had a twin.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fun Friday: Getting to Know Miss Journey

10 things you may not know about me:
  1. I'm an only child
  2. I'm a lefty
  3. I'm a Leo
  4. I love chocolate (okay you probably knew that)
  5. I love to drive, and take pride in my Fast and the Furious style.
  6. My fave color is purple
  7. I looove word games
  8. I used to play volleyball and softball in high school
  9. I love cartoons
  10. My middle name is Lavern

Monday, September 12, 2011

Charity is Sexy with Lifestyle and Charity

I absolutely love the work that the ladies of Lifestyle and Charity are doing. They are making charity sexy, combining the worlds of social life and social good. Every month they gather some of NYC's stylish people altogether for a common cause. In May, it was such an honor to have Her Journey be a part of the event.

LC MAG Party Featuring Mediterra Collection from Lifestyle + Charity TV on Vimeo.

This month they are combining forces with NYC designer Lauren Gabrielson to support City Harvest. For details click here.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11: 10 Years Later

From September 1st, I was already reminded of what was coming. With this year being the 10th Anniversary of September 11th, the media overload only made me more anxious and uneasy. It wasn't until someone else commented on my demeanor not being like my usual self did I realize how much the upcoming day was actually affecting me. During the week leading up to the anniversary, I relived the weeks after September 11, 2001 over and over and over again. It is not something that I share with most people, but this year I am ready to open up and share that I lost my grandfather on September 11th.

Because my grandfather's influence is a part of who I am today, I now feel it is time to share a bit of the story. My grandfather was a man who stood for quality. From the way he carried himself to the way he treated others, it was evident that he was genuinely a class act.

Although I was not thrilled at the time, I remember the day he gave the assignment of ironing (by his standards) my school shirts for the entire week on Sunday evening.

I vividly remember how hard he laughed as I unwrapped my gag Christmas gift (two empty toilet paper rolls) and how excited I was to discover my real gift of a CD player that I wanted more than anything and not-so-subtly hinted at weeks before.

I remember discovering just how hard it was to clean a fish tank, trim trees, clean a pool and learning to tie a solid knot (all on one Saturday) with him.

Because he was so much fun to me, I now wonder how he managed that on top of everything else he did. I now have an even greater appreciation for the quality of man he was, and it makes him that much more special.

The saddest part for me is the moments I wish I could have experienced with him: my high school graduation, college graduation, getting my driver's license and first car, and eventually getting married. There is something so special about when a grandparent is proud of you, and I so miss that. But that is my motivation to continue to create moments that would make him and my grandmother proud. (My grandmother passed away two days before the 5th anniversary of 9/11.) I continue to remember the moments we had together. He was more than a grandfather. He was like a father and a friend to me. I am so grateful for the moments we shared. Though it has never been the same.

It seems fitting that my mother and I went to the 56th Fighter Group for brunch today. In a World War II setting that has been preserved, it felt as if we were among American history. Seeing the American flag that was adorned with all of the names of those lost on 9/11 reminded us that we are in fact a part of American history.

Photo credit:

Friday, August 26, 2011

Fun Friday: Getting to Know Miss Journey

Guess who has a YouTube channel...Yup. ME!

Now I'll be able to share my adventures in a whole new way.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Seattle: Other Fun Stuff

I am so happy I stumbled upon Wax On Spa, not only because my eyebrows were in need of some serious attention but also because I finally got myself a copy of CRAVE seattle (which Wax On Spa is in).

It's obvious that they taking waxing seriously. I was surprised to see an array of different wax options in a number of fragrances. I also thought it was a cute touch that they offered lingerie options that are a nice little bonus to accentuate some of their wax services.

Fly Fitness, which is also included in the CRAVE guide, won me over with their FUNky style. I'm such a sucker for clever marketing, and everything about Fly Fitness' identity is (for lack of a better word) fly. From the breathtaking views that serve as a backdrop for runners to the exquisite studio, the details create nothing but an enjoyable experience for guests. I would love to go back for one of their Sporty Soirees.

Even though I was not involved in the Rain City Rock Camp, I was inspired by their "Girls Rock!" message. As I shared in my first Seattle post, my main reason for the trip was to escort my friend's niece (who we'll call Patty Schwab) on the cross-country flight. After two weeks of camp, where she enjoyed a variety of different sports, she went to Rain City Rock Camp for a week. I could not believe the transformation we saw after just the first day. When we picked her up that evening, she was so excited to share her stories that she didn't even get all the way into the car before rattling off all her favorite parts of the day. As the week progressed, we witnessed her style evolve, her confidence blossom, not to mention the singing in the bathroom. From song writing activities and band practice to lunch time performances and the big concert at the end, it seemed like an amazing experience that the girls not only enjoyed but really benefited from. I even wished I could share in the experience. You don't have to take my word for it, local publications like the Stranger and Seattle Weekly are singing their praises. I'm so proud of our little rock-stars!

Even though Sky High Sports is included in Memorable Firsts post, seemed appropriate for this one too:
Believe it or not, I had my first experience on a trampoline at Sky High Sports. (It's possible that I've been on a trampoline at some during my childhood, but I honestly don't remember. It's been on my to do list in my adult life for quite some time now.) I have to admit that I felt a bit ridiculous as one of the few adults (maybe the only adult with no children) there as groups of children ran by me. I was even a little bit intimidated at first when I saw what looked like a field of trampolines.

Watching the children, some who looked like they'd barely mastered walking, bound across the field of trampolines and bounce off the walls, it was only a matter of time before I was infected by their contagious energy. I was also inspired by the freedom I saw in a few women who were doing bouncing exercise. With all of that combined with the intensity I witnessed in the dodge-ball game in an enclosed pit, I was ready to go. I immediately realized that it was not as easy as the others made it look. Although I eventually got the hang of it, I was surprised by how much physical effort it took. I enjoyed the release and the freedom that came with each bounce. I enjoyed t so much that I'd love to develop my trampoline skills.

Not only does Sky High Sports offer a fun atmosphere, but with their dodge-ball pit and AIRobics classes, they also create a unique trampoline experience. It became clear within minutes of my experience that this is fun for all ages. I'd highly recommend it to anyone.

I found a YouTube video that shows just how cool this place is:

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Seattle: Nightlife

Beyond the reggae nights (Sundays at WAIDS, Mondays at Baltic Room, Thursdays at War Room, Fridays at Afriq), we ventured out to explore more of what Seattle nightlife had to offer.

I loved the vibe of Lucid Jazz Lounge. It was my first time trying Boulettes (Haitian meatballs), which were really tasty. As I shared in my Yelp review,"It's obvious that they were well seasoned and made with authentic passion." I also tried a Manhattan, which was actually called a Brooklyn: A rye Manhattan made without bitters, instead we use maraschino liqueur and Dolin Rouge vermouth. The live band set a nice and relaxing mood for the intimate setting.

We also had a really good time at Babalu. The DJ kept the songs coming, and a local group kept the crowd on the dance floor with their version of some of the hottest party songs out right now along with some of their originals.

Republiq was the place that reminded the most of NY clubs. Maybe it was the size and the layout of the club; maybe it was the lights that filled the room; maybe it was the crowd or the music. Whatever it was, I felt right at home and had a good time there.

Seattle: Caribbean

Having grown up in a Trinidadian household, it is only natural that I'm a somewhat harsh critic about others' Trinidadian cuisine. However, when I first saw Pam's Kitchen on Diners, Drive-in and Dives, my interest was piqued. Not only was I surprised because Seattle is a place where I don't imagine many West Indians, but I was also excited about the fact that I actually knew someone in Seattle and had a reason to visit. We never made it during my last two visits because we had too much packed into the trip but this time we made it, and I have to say it was well worth the wait.

I have to give Pam's two thumbs up for reminding me of meals I remember from home. It was evident that care was taken in the presentation: it wasn't over the top; it was just right. The food was well seasoned, and you could tell from the tenderness of the chicken that it was cooked with love and affection. We tried a chicken roti, jerk chicken with fried rice and aloo pies. I thoroughly enjoyed it all. I especially appreciated how warm and soft the buss up shot was. I also can't resist the urge to rave about the seasoned salad that I could not get enough. When something as simple as a salad is seasoned well it is such a pleasant surprise. I can't say I was wowed by the sorrel rum punch, but it was a nice touch to rekindle the memories.

The place overall was very comfortable with island tunes playing and island reminders hung throughout. The staff was pleasant. All the details created a relaxed island vibe that made me feel at home. I would definitely love to go back and would certainly highly recommend it to anyone visiting Seattle.

Being of Caribbean descent in New York, I'm used to being surrounded by the Caribbean culture. Having been to other cities, I've also gotten used to not seeing that in other places. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Caribbean culture is alive and well in Seattle. Not only did I get a little taste of Trinidad at Pam's, but I also went from feeling like I was at one of my family's backyard barbeques to Carnival when I went to a boat ride hosted by SOCA (Seattle's Official Caribbean Carnival Association).

Although I found comfort in the familiar reggae tunes, I found an interesting twist in Seattle. In New York, a reggae set will often include a mix from the different islands and may flow into Reggaeton. In Seattle, the Caribbean audience includes people from Africa, and the Caribbean sets segued into African music, which I really enjoyed.

After almost a month of what I like to call "nightlife research" I grew familiar with the line-up: Sundays at Waid's; Mondays at Baltic Room; Thursdays at War Room; Fridays at Afriq. I'd also recommend checking out to stay up on what's going on.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Seattle: Reasons to Return (To Do List)

It seemed that every time I accomplished one thing on my to do list, I'd discover a few more things that I really wanted to try. The list grew to the point that I realized that another trip to Seattle will be in order.
  • Agua Verde is on the top of my list. This is right up my alley
  • A Segway Tour is something that I once thought was silly, but now I'm curious.
  • Sky City Restaurant in the Space Needle. We already know how I feel about rotating restaurants. It's not at the top of my list, but I'd like to try it for the experience.
  • Savor Seattle Tour and a whole list of things in the CRAVE Seattle guide.
  • Reminiscent of Coyote Ugly, I'm curious to see what Cowgirls is like.
  • more seafood!
I'm sure this list will continue to grow. By the time I return, I'll have a full agenda. I'm open to all suggestions!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Seattle: Dessert

I am happy that Cupcake Royale is now in my life. What started off as a brief stop became a very exciting experience for me. Although I'll admit that I'd usually choose a slice of cake over a cupcake, the display at Cupcake Royale was irresistible. With so many to choose from, it was a difficult decision, but I was more than happy with my pick: the strawberry velvet. I need to go back to try as many more as I can.

The friendly man outside of Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory did his job well. With a few nibbles of fudge he lured us into a place that I would have never wanted to leave. There were some of my favorites, like jumbo chocolate covered strawberries; a few things I was curious about, like chocolate covered orange peels and jalapenos; things I thought sounded like a good idea, like the chocolate covered bacon, which I wish I never tried. They didn't just have peanut buttercups, they have peanut butter buckets. I don't ever want a peanut buttercup again if there are peanut butter buckets in the world.

They also had display of chocolate covered wedding items that we so cute. Many details of my future wedding may be blurry, like the husband, the date, location and all that good stuff, but this is a detail that I'm certain I want to have.

Although Molly Moons seemed to be a popular treat, I have to admit that I didn't love it. I'm willing to go back and give it another try.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Seattle: Happy Hour

I've been intrigued by Pnk Ultra Lounge since my visit in May, and seeing it in the CRAVE Seattle guide was confirmation that I needed to check it out. Because I was so determined to accomplish this one thing on my Seattle to do list, I decided to treat myself to happy hour. After much anticipation, I am happy that it lived up to my expectations.

I was immediately impressed by the oh so chic decor of white seating and pink lighting. The ceiling of the main bar area looks as if dressed with a rain-shower of crystals, which was very Vegas-esque. Because it is on the top floor of the mall, the outdoor seating overlooks downtown Seattle. With two bars and a third bar seating area, the layout is very spacious. The detail that topped it all off was the bathroom that is really more like a ladies lounge. Not only is there cute and comfy seating, but this is the first bathroom in which I have ever seen a bar.

I appreciated that the bartender used his experience from working on the Virgin Islands to make me a rum punch with Bacardi Dragonberry, which was tasty and potent. I really enjoyed the baked mac and cheese, which was super duper cheesy, and the big noodles made it pretty satisfying. I loved the sliders less than I wanted to, but I think it was the caramelized onions that were throwing it off for me.

Even if I did not consume anything during my time at Bin on the Lake, the experience would have been unforgettable. Upon walking up to it, my breath was taken away by the view surrounding the entire area. This was when I had a "I think I love Seattle" moment. Although this is a bit outside of the main Seattle area, this is the type of atmosphere that I crave and can imagine myself surrounded by on a regular basis.

Because it was a quick stop before the main CRAVE event, I just had a glass of Prosecco and a few bites of calamari, which came with a sauce that I couldn't get enough of. I've already decided that this is on my list of reasons to return. My imagination and my taste buds are tickled by the opportunity to indulge in a full dining experience.

I've found that the happy hour options seem to never end and can be a bit overwhelming. However, GoTime is a handy resource that sorts happy hours by specific criteria and keeps it as fun as it should be.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Seattle: Memorable Firsts

Although this is not my first time trying sushi, I can now say that I love it. This time took my sushi experience to a whole nother level.

Blue C Sushi is a conveyor belt sushi restaurant. Because I'm so easily amused, I was overjoyed by this entire experience. Sitting in a booth alongside the conveyor belt flaunting the seemingly endless variety of options in front of our face, we grabbed a few including: a Spicy Tuna roll (tuna, spicy sauce, cucumber), a California (crab salad, cucumber, avocado, masago), a Spider (fried soft shell crab, cucumber, avocado, mayo, masago), a Spinach roll (which was a ball of spinach that I was not a fan of), and cupcakes from Cupcake Royale to top it all off.

I love that each plate only comes with a few sushi pieces. I get a bit overwhelmed by entire sushi rolls, but this way it's easy to try a wider variety of rolls. I also loved that they incorporated some of Seattle's favorite desserts from Cupcake Royale and Mighty O Donuts, bringing an unexpected bonus to an already great experience.

I can't say that bubble tea is my new favorite thing, but I'm happy that I tried it. The flavor of the actual drink was tasty, and the tapioca balls were interesting for the first few sips, but it wasn't too long before I had enough of them. I hear that Ambrosia Cafe is among when it comes to best bubble tea, so I'm glad that I experienced it there.

I'm happy to have finally tried dim sum at Jade Garden. Similarly to Blue C, the serving style of lots of little dishes makes for a more fun and varied experience. We tried a number of things including pork buns, sticky rice and even tripe (which I have to admit wasn't as awful as I would've thought).

I'm making it a habit to try a local beer whenever I visit a new place. In Seattle, it was Ridgetop Silverycity Red Ale. Being the non beer drinker that I am, I think it tasted like most other beer that I've tried. I neither loved nor hated it.

It may be surprising that I did something other than eating during my trip. Believe it or not, I had my first experience on a trampoline at Sky High Sports. (It's possible that I've been on a trampoline at some during my childhood, but I honestly don't remember. It's been on my to do list in my adult life for quite some time now.) I have to admit that I felt a bit ridiculous as one of the few adults (maybe the only adult with no children) there as groups of children ran by me. I was even a little bit intimidated at first when I saw what looked like a field of trampolines.

Watching the children, some who looked like they'd barely mastered walking, bound across the field of trampolines and bounce off the walls, it was only a matter of time before I was infected by their contagious energy. I was also inspired by the freedom I saw in a few women who were doing bouncing exercise. With all of that combined with the intensity I witnessed in the dodge-ball game in an enclosed pit, I was ready to go. I immediately realized that it was not as easy as the others made it look. Although I eventually got the hang of it, I was surprised by how much physical effort it took. I enjoyed the release and the freedom that came with each bounce. I enjoyed t so much that I'd love to develop my trampoline skills.

Not only does Sky High Sports offer a fun atmosphere, but with their dodge-ball pit and AIRobics classes, they also create a unique trampoline experience. It became clear within minutes of my experience that this is fun for all ages. I'd highly recommend it to anyone.

I found a YouTube video that shows just how cool this place is:

Monday, August 1, 2011

Seattle: Brunch

Coastal Kitchen
I'm so happy that I listened to my friend about going to this place. I'm also happy that I was able to go on a weekday to avoid the infamous lines that happen at this popular spot.

My choice of the Dungeness Crab Cake breakfast was the best decision I made that day. I can't remember if I've ever had poached eggs before, but no previous experience even matters before this one. These were good enough to make me obsessed. The contrast of the texture over the crispy crab cake topped with the mornay sauce created a happy sensation in my mouth. I liked the idea of the spicy hash browns more than I actually enjoyed them, but with some black pepper, hot sauce and ketchup they were good too. The fruit topped the meal off nicely. I was seriously sad and genuinely disappointed when it was over. I also enjoyed the orange/pineapple mate (a tea-like drink) that I tried.

I went a second time for Hazelnut Cinnamon pancakes, which were a dream come true. In my dream, it was actually waffles but they definitely did the trick.

The staff was very friendly, and I enjoyed the Argentina inspired theme that created a cozy ambiance. The funny, witty menu was a nice touch.

The Crumpet Shop
This cheap treat definitely delivered a bang for my buck. It was so cute to see the operation happening right behind the counter. I was impressed by how the order taker memorized the list of orders and switched into crumpet making mode. Even though I was a bit overwhelmed by the options, torn between the different combinations of meats, cheeses and jams, I am so happy with my choice of green eggs (eggs with pesto) and ham. My crumpet was warm and fresh and buttered, and I savored every bite of my yummy little treat.

CJ's Eatery
The Country Fried Steak was just what the doctor ordered after a night out. The breading was well seasoned, which left a nice after taste. I can't say that I loved the entire meal or the entire experience, but it certainly did the trick for the moment.

I didn't love Julia's but I enjoyed it. Check out my Yelp review to see what I thought.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Next stop: Seattle (again)

Guess who's on the road again. Yup it's me Miss Journey, of course. This time I'm headed back to Seattle, and I've got a one-way ticket. A lot of people have asked why I would return to Seattle after just visiting about a month ago. My answer is "why not?" Honestly, I like Seattle. I've enjoyed myself on my last few visits, and I'm so curious about what else it has to offer. It didn't take much convincing when my friend proposed the idea of me accompanying her 8-year-old niece on the flight for her annual summer visit.

I swear that my friend secretly gets commission checks from Seattle's Tourism Development board because she is so determined to bring everyone to Seattle (and make them stay). I do have to admit that she does show me so much of what Seattle has to offer (probably all part of her tourism training lol) Now that she has convinced me to return with no return date for home, it's only true Miss Journey style to turn this into an adventure. Stay tuned!

Photo: I've always loved those HSBC ads that show the same picture with (as they call it) "Different Points of Value. "As we boarded the plane I saw the one seen here and said yup that's me.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Hour for Happy Homes

I knew I liked Katwalk Lounge before, after hosting a Her Journey event there last summer and a girls night there before that. I've always been drawn to their cute and sexy theme, reminiscent of Sex and the City, which they used to play episodes of on Ladies' Nights.

I recently discovered that they have a guest bartending program, where you can guest bartend to raise money for a charity. Not only is it a fun way to fundraise, but Katwalk will donate a portion of your sales to your charity of choice.

To support my friend's mission trip to Nicaragua, I jumped on the opportunity to guest bartend. I'll admit that I was a bit nervous to have my first experience at a lounge in the city, but it was so much fun. The staff was so nice and helpful, and the owner was the coolest I've ever met, especially in the city. After guest bartending there, I love it there even more.

I often complain about how establishments in New York City give off the impression that they do not need your business, and are usually not very nice. But this is not true at Katwalk. From the bouncer at the door all the way up to the owner, I felt welcomed by everyone who I encountered. I will certainly be back, and will host more events there.

I'm so excited that the event went well. We had a good turnout, and it was so much fun. I cannot wait to hear updates from the ladies going on the trip. If you want to see what they're doing, follow their blog.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

YOU Run the World

Today I'm reminded of my favorite Marianne Williamson quote, specifically the line: "Your playing small does not serve the world." (It was referenced in 86400: Manage Your Purpose to Make Every Second of Each Day Count in the faithfulness chapter, which talked about having faith in one's self.)

I have big dreams of what I want to do in my lifetime because I wholeheartedly believe that that is my purpose. In sharing those big dreams with one of my closest friends one day, she said "Dani, I appreciate the big dreams you have, but I want to be a regular person." Even though I completely understood that she meant that she doesn't envy the limelight that some people live in, I think that others say similar statements and feel as if a person who is not an entrepreneur or not famous is less than someone who chooses either of those lifestyle. And I believe quite the contrary.

The Big Leap
talks about one's Zone of Genius, the zone of being in which you are doing exactly what it is you are meant to do. My friend is in one of the country's top graduate school programs in her field and is a student athlete tutor. From her stories I've gathered that she has the ability to have 200 pound athletes open up and candidly share their life's stories in ways that they don't with other people. She has gotten feedback that she has what one might call it "teacher's talent."

I often joke with her and compare her to characters from movies like Lean On Me and The Blind Side. Those are examples of "regular" people living in their zone of genius and doing powerful things. And I truly believe that she is on that list.

We can all think of examples of that teacher or coach that changed our lives, or that bus driver that made our commute special, or that flight attendant that inspired our love for travel. These are regular people loving what they do and leaving extraordinary marks on our lives. They are no less significant than someone who chooses to start a business or live a life in front of the world's eyes.

The Marianne Williamson quote continues "As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same." I know I am inspired by people loving what they do, and it is my hope that I inspire others by doing what I love as well. I encourage and challenge you to do whatever it is you love to do with all your heart. And: Dream bigger!

This is just too appropriate to not include:

Photo credit:,1185307586,1/stock-vector-man-holding-a-globe-overhead-4092034.jpg

Friday, June 10, 2011

Foto Friday: I Love My Life

Is it crazy to say that have an "I love my life" moment almost every time I eat? Don't judge me. I enjoy eating, and I love sweets. During my 2009 trip to Minneapolis, I slipped momentarily into heaven with my first taste of Sebastian Joe's ice cream. A-MA-ZING!

P.S. Please believe I LOVED my life when my friend surprised me with two pints of Sebastian Joe's when she came to NY later that year. OMG!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

June events!

Summer is here! There are so many events to keep summer exciting!

YOU'RE INVITED to the Her Journey event:

June 30
Happy Hour at Katwalk = Happy Homes in Nicaragua


Other events you will love:

June 10

Girls Who Rock Concert to benefit She's the First featuring Jojo, Nina Sky and more

June 15

Leah Smith at 14th St Apple Store

June 21

Lifestyle and Charity's Mag Summer Kick-Off Party

June 28

Mother's Against Human Trafficking Benefit (produced by Mahogany Communications)

What other events should be on the social calendar?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Travel Tuesday: Go Solo

How many times have you wanted to do something but couldn't find anyone to do it with you? I have been there so many times that it has been my inspiration for creating the Her Journey Girls meetup. Although it can be frustrating at times, I have grown to appreciate how doing things alone has pushed me outside of my comfort zone of a number of occasions. I now have no problem doing things alone. I actually prefer it that way sometimes. Doing things alone can certainly open you up to a completely different experience.

In a recent article The Lost Girls address the topic of traveling alone as a woman. Although there are safety precautions that should be taken, solo travel can certainly be ultimately rewarding. The article shares some safety tips and tricks as well as resources for solo travelers. I enjoyed it so much that I thought I'd share. Click here to read the article.

Photo credit:

Monday, June 6, 2011

Monday Motivation

Who wouldn't want to quit their job, move to paradise and get paid to change the world? I know that is my dream. I was inspired by reading about someone who actually did it, and wanted to share the inspiration:
"How to Quit Your Job, Move to Paradise, and Get Paid to Change the World"

Friday, June 3, 2011

Friday, May 27, 2011

Fight Poverty

It always makes me happy to see people doing good in the world (as cliche as it sounds). This article about fighting poverty was no different. It was a gentle reminder that no matter how bad things feel at times, it is still important to be thankful because someone else is in a worse situation. Also, that no matter what your present situation, you can still help someone else.

Duly noted.

In the spirit of fighting poverty, the Black Eyed Peas is uniting forces Robin Hood (the largest poverty fighting organization in NYC). On June 9, they will be holding a concert in Central Park. Having a good time while supporting a great cause. I LOVE stuff like this! Click here for more info.

Foto Friday: I Love My Life

Thanks to Guts.Glam.Grace. Magazine, I had the opportunity to be a part of a press junket for Just Wright. I was in the same room with Queen Latifah and Common (*faints*). I saturated in this "I love my life" moment for a looong time. I remember sitting in Columbus Circle for hours after to soak it all in. It was such an inspiration to hear them speak candidly. I would also dub this a "I've made it" moment. That is how I felt. As I said before, it felt Just Wright.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Get Cute Quick: Vegas

I've jumped on the bandwagon for Sally Hansen's Salon Effects.

For my trip to Las Vegas trip, I tried the Wild Child nails. These easy-to-apply stickers that I got at CVS for under $10 were the perfect funky finish for my Vegas look.

They come in a variety of fun patterns, like lace, glitter, denim, and other bold colors.

This is something I would definitely recommend for the summertime.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Vegas Baby!

There is so much to do in Las Vegas that it could take multiple visits to get a full experience. Contrary to popular belief, Las Vegas offers so much more than casinos: food, shows, nightlife, outdoor activities, spas, and shopping. It even offers family-friendly fun (even though I personally don't know if I would take my children there).

This time around we stayed at Excalibur. It is certainly appropriate for families and can accommodate budget friendly vacations. However, I personally wouldn't do it again. Lesson learned. At Excalibur, guests can find Dick's Last Resort (which seemed to be popular), the infamous Thunder from Down Under, and beer pong.

We had a chance to explore the newest hotels on the strip: Cosmopolitan, which seemed to bring Miami and all its bling to Vegas, and Aria, which still had the sexy new car smell. Who knows where we'll end up next time.

Hash House A Go Go (in Imperial Palace) was one of our first stops because of all the raves we heard about it. From our experience, it seems that once the excitement of the obnoxious portions diminished, the meals left much flavor to be desired. I'd be willing to give it another chance, but I can't say I was blown away the first time around. Fatburger and my two bacon egg cheeseburgers made me so happy. Open 24 hours, it is definitely a great after party spot. I also enjoyed one of Pink's hot dogs, had my first experience at Denny's, and tried a burger with guacamole and pico de gallo at Cabo Wabo.

I was so excited to see a few of my New York favorites, like Max Brenner and Serendipity 3 (both at Caesar's) in a place that does everything a little bigger and bolder than the rest. Happy hour at the Chocolate Lounge at the Sugar Factory also tickled my fancy as something I'd like to try next time. My to do list also includes Aureole Wine Lounge, where they have Cirque du Soleil-esque wine angels who float through their four-story wine tower.

The acrobats also flew through TAO to deliver bottle service in an extravagant way that only Las Vegas can. I can certainly say that TAO orchestrated a production and delivered a unique club experience. I was also pleasantly surprised by the genuine hospitality by most of the club staff, from bouncers to cocktail staff (something I am not used to in New York). It was an added bonus to enjoy the Vegas nightlife with partygoers who were generous enough to share the VIP experience with us. Foundation Room: check. Pure: check. LAX: Check. I feel accomplished that I finally got to redeem myself and go to Coyote Ugly, which I've been wanting to do since my pre-21 trip to Vegas.

Because I'm always up for some adventure, some of my favorite Vegas activities include the rides at the I dare any visitors to brave the rides atop the Stratosphere Hotel for a major rush. The New York New York rollercoaster is also a fun little adventure right on the strip. I would certainly love to venture out and do zip lining, sky diving or a helicopter tour.

Although we didn't do any shows this time around, Zumanity (which we saw last time) left quite an impression on me.

For your listening pleasure, I'd like to share the soundtrack of our Vegas adventure:

I already look forward to going back! I'm building my to do list.

What are your favorite Vegas activities?

Monday, May 23, 2011


Last time I went to Seattle (in 2008), I did the touristy stuff: The Space Needle, Pike Place Market, the Ride the Duck tour, and it was a good time.

This time around I felt more at home, and I had an even better time. It was probably because of all the food involved:

It all started with sushi, which I can now say I enjoy. At Tuna House, we started with a roll that was really good, even though I don't remember what was on it. We also had a caterpillar roll, which was so cute I didn't want to eat him. It was in the shape of a caterpillar with eyes made out of octopus and green pepper antenna. (He was a cuter version of this guy.)

Later at 22, I sipped a Pontiac, which was a cocktail of Metaxa brandy and pomegranate liquor with muddled orange and lemon and garnished with a sugared rim, which was my favorite part because it gave the drink a sweet finish. I tried the red beet and squash soup, which was tasty and interesting, and the tortilla in a skillet: potatoes, tomato pesto and mozzerella cheese, was full of flavor. I enjoyed the taste of the grueyere mac and cheese that my friend ordered too.

Some solo exploration led me to Ezell's, which I hear is an Oprah favorite. After tasting the chicken with crispy skin and juicy meat with spicy flavor and the little buttered cloud of heaven of a roll, I know why.

Another jaunt led me to Catfish Corner, who boasts their farm raised catfish. The experience started with the most pleasant cashier. While waiting, I was so amused by a woman (whose expression probably matched my own) smiling in anticipation. Then came my plate piled with catfish, with beans and rice, potato salad and cornbread. You know a meal is good when the side items are just as memorable as the main event. I have to admit that I didn't love the cornbread, but the other two sides were so full of flavor that I was conflicted about which to taste next with each bite. I had the dilemma of wanting to save some to enjoy the experience again later but I did not want to stop eating.

Captain Blacks piqued my interest simply because I saw fried mac and cheese on their menu. It was interesting. It came with a tasty sauce, but I'm not sure if I loved it. I think if it had sausage or bacon and jalapenos that would have made my taste buds happy. The chicken and waffles that my friend ordered looked tasty too.

Not only did I get to do Chocolopolis happy hour, but my chocolate lover's dreams came true at the Luxury Chocolate Salon. There were so many delicious delectables, from chocolate wine and healthy chocolate to goat cheese chocolate. Chef Michael Poole's white chocolate lemon meringue truffle was definitely among my favorite.

I can't forget to mention my tasty chorizo, potato and manchego omelet at Table 219's brunch.

Even though we didn't eat there, Dick's Drive-In left an impression on me. Maybe next time.

Fun Finds (a few things that helped me navigate through Seattle)
  • My lovely host provided me with my own guest key from Wackeys, which was really cute.
  • an online food delivery service that's also available in other cities.
  • a happy hour resource that is also available in various cities throughout the country.

Don't be THAT person

One of my least favorite parts of flying is watching people board the plane. WHY is it so difficult? It really doesn't have to be.

On my last flight to Seattle, I witnessed a woman trip over a bag left in the aisle. WHY would you leave your bag in the aisle and walk away from it? Leaving a bag in the aisle is a definite no-no, which seems like common sense, but clearly...

I thought I'd share a few more tips that could help you avoid mean mugs from fellow flyers and flight attendants:

I believe there is some method to the madness of the system of seat numbers. I don't understand why there is at least one person in the wrong seat on every flight. Upon entering the aircraft, how about checking out which side your letter is on, and then when you get to that magical number sit right under it. (It also helps to know seat number prior to boarding.) This will decrease the chances of anyone sitting in your lap or trying to fight you for sitting in their seat, and ultimately minimizes delays in the boarding process.

Attention: Bag lady! Okay, yes you're allowed to have a carry-on and a personal item. If you must travel with two large items, please do not try to squeeze down the aisle with your bags at your sides. You will hit people, and they will hate you (and may hit you back). How about holding your bags in front of or behind you? It is a good idea to assume this position upon entering the aircraft. If you wait until row 7 to change your strategy, you would have already pissed off six rows of people, and now you're delaying the boarding process for everyone behind you.

Loading bags is where it gets tricky. Here are a few tricks:
  • if the plane has two seats on one side and three on the other, guess which overhead compartment is bigger.
  • put bag in wheels first, which maximizes the amount of bags that can fit and makes it convenient to grab for deplaning.
  • it's unnecessary and inconsiderate to put items like coats and small backpacks in the overhead when it can fit under the seat.
Do not be that person walking against the traffic. How about holding bathroom breaks until later. Or going before boarding?

Please refrain from conversations, laughing, sneezing, or unnecessary breathing if it will in any way delay the boarding process. Please focus on your seat destination and execute quickly to keep it moving.

Fighting to board first gets silly because everyone ends up waiting, and the plane will not take off until everyone is boarded and seated.

I think it is important for everyone to remember that it is not only about you. Your bag is not more important than hers. We all have to board and no one is going anywhere until we all cooperate. It is already not an ideal situation, filing into a tight space like cattle, but it can work well if done efficiently.

Happy flying!

What tips can you offer for a more pleasant boarding experience?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Foto Friday: I Love My Life

Not only was this an amazing moment because it was the 2nd anniversary of Her Journey, but it was just a perfect day all around. The day was filled with all the love and support of the people around me and set against the breathtaking backdrop of my beloved NYC on the rooftop of Ravel Hotel. I couldn't ask for anything more.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Foto Friday: I Love My Life

I get a high every time I see the NYC skyline. I got a whole new high when I witnessed it from a helicopter. I have always wanted to do a helicopter tour of NYC. The experience certainly made me love my life and my city!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

24 hour flight: NY to TN to GA to WA

Now that I've made it to Seattle without a glitch, I feel comfortable enough to share the fiasco of my last flight to Seattle (in '08) without the fear of jinxing myself.

To save a few dollars and for added convenience, I chose to fly out of McArthur airport, which is actually closer to my house. Because it is a smaller airport, it was such a breeze to get to the gate. Also, because it is a smaller airport, only small planes can fly to and from.

No big deal.

I don't love small planes, but I deal with them. Flight to Seattle with a brief layover in Atlanta.

Cool. More like cold. How about blizzard?

It's funny that I left decent weather in NY to fly into a blizzard in Atlanta. Go figure. While in the air, the pilot announced that we were being held in a holding pattern (pretty much flying in circles) because there was some back up because of the weather.

Still not worried because I had a good window of time between my two flights. Until...

The pilot announced that because of the size of the plane we were running out of gas and had to stop in Tennessee to refuel.

Really? Not ideal, but at least we're making some kind of progress.

Once we landed, they announced that because of the weather in Atlanta and Tennessee, we would not be able to fly out. Also, that there were no bus companies that would drive in that weather. And that pretty much everything was closed for the night.

Long story short, I was put in a cab from Tennessee to Atlanta and spent the night in Atlanta's airport (not the first time I spent such a long period of time there. We have a love/hate relationship).

All I can say is that it was a very interesting experience. The two best parts: I was upgraded to first class on my flight from ATL to SEA, and I got to satisfy my serious craving for a Chik-Fil A Chicken Biscuit in the Atlanta airport that morning before my flight.

By the time, I got to Seattle, it was exactly 24 hours after I took off from New York.

Do you have any fun travel stories to share?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Big Kid in a Candy Store

An impromptu trip to DUMBO allowed me to stumble upon Dewey's Candy, and it was a magical experience. I feel like the expression "kid in a candy store" is discrimination because adults like candy too. (They are actually those same kids who are just all grown up.) But being in that store did take me on a trip down memory lane through my childhood.

Did anybody else used to pretend that Smarties were "adult pills"? I thought that taking pills (because I had witnessed my grandparents taking medication on a daily basis) was a part of being an adult. So to savor my Smarties (instead of devouring the whole pack in seconds like I usually did) I would pretend they were my pills and would pop one in my mouth every few minutes (probably seconds). The Atomic Fireballs reminded me of the first time I tried one. When I was in either first or second grade, I tried to sneak and eat it during class. The heat was such a shock to my system that I spit it right out onto my notebook. When I tried to wipe it off, I just smeared it into a big red and sticky splotch. (I don't remember if I ended up handing in the assignment like that or if I had to do it over.)

I was honestly overwhelmed (in the best possible way of course) by how many different kinds of candy were in one place. On one wall, there were the old school treats like Push Pops and Pez. Then there was a wall with stuff like gummy bears and sour rings. Of course my favorite wall had chocolate covered everything from pretzels and graham crackers to cookie dough and oreos. There was even a section of specialty colored M & Ms, which had more colors than a rainbow, like teal, maroon, gold, and black. I was so mesmerized as I jumped from one treat to the next that I know I missed half of the goodies there, which means another trip is a must.

It was such a bonus treat to meet Dewey herself, who was such a sweetie pie. I also love that Dewey's supports The Trevor Project, which is raising awareness about and taking a stand against bullying, which is unfortunately also a childhood memory that many have. If being bullied is part of your childhood memory that you'd like to fight back against, you an easily do so by buying a Dewey's t-shirt.

It's funny how all of this happened to happen on the way to reBar, where I had a pretty amazing burger and oh-so-cheesy gouda mac and cheese.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Foto Friday: I Love My Life

This moment brought together some of my greatest loves: New York. Alicia Keys. Jay Z. all into one!

When Alicia Keys brought Jay Z out as a surprise guest do Empire State of Mind, I was probably on one of the highest highs of my life. As I said in my post about the concert: "I’m not one to scream like a crazed fan, but a scream somehow escaped my body, and I immediately broke out in a sweat. The energy was crazy as we all sang the ode to our city." Even though I kind of suspected it, the element of surprise magnified a great moment into an unforgettable one.

Monday, May 2, 2011

My Mani and Me

Although manicures are not something I do often because they are not high on my priority list, I can always appreciate some good me time. I enjoy the experience even more when it offers something unique. I thought I'd share my favorite manicure experiences, each with its own unique twist:

Mani and Martini
Whether you prefer a bar that does manis like the Beauty Bar (which offers the combo for $10) or a salon that serves martinis like Dashing Diva (which offers other spa services), this is a certainly a combo that will tickle a woman's fancy. Both have locations throughout the country.

Mani Anytime
In the city that never sleeps, it makes so much sense to have a salon that can meet your beauty needs at any time of the day or night. Hair Party 24HR offers manicures (and other spa and hair services) 24 hours a day. This sounds like the perfect solution after a late night at work or before a flight or night out on the town.

Mani Comes to You

SPArties Mobile Spa was already known for bringing you the luxury of a massage in the comfort of your own home. They have recently added SPArties Shots: mini services like aromatherapy hand massages, the perfect bonus to any gathering of your girls, no matter where you are.

W!NK Eco Beauty Bar offers eco friendly manicures (and other spa and beauty services) with completely organic products for a pure experience. They even offer MINX nails.

Do-It-Yourself Mani
The budget friendly option can be just as appealing with products like Mary Kay's Satin Hands, which delivers baby booty soft hands (and feet if desired). Fun designs are no longer exclusive to salons with fun finds like Sally Hansen's Salon Effects nail strips.

Image was found here.