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Last feed update: Monday October 14th, 2019 02:09:46 AM
Last feed update: Monday October 14th, 2019 02:09:47 AM
Sure, travelling with family and your significant other can be fun, but let’s be honest– sometimes you need some quality time with your closest girlfriends. That’s why I highly recommend going on a girls’ getaway– it’s not only a great opportunity to reconnect with your best friends, but also to fulfill your sense of wanderlust. But where to go for such a trip? If you’re a fan of great music, excellent food and interesting attractions, the city of Nashville can’t be beat. Check out my latest post on Alamo’s Scenic Route, where I give my reasons for why Tennessee’s capital is the perfect destination for your next girlfriend getaway! Ladies, have you ever gone on a girls’ trip? Where to?
The post Nashville: The Perfect Destination For Girls’ Getaways! appeared first on Oneika the Traveller.
Fortresses. Monasteries. Steep mountains. Vast valleys. While it may sound like a backdrop from a Game of Thrones episode, what I’m really describing is the scenery from my recent trip to the Kingdom of Bhutan (my 114th country visited)! Last April I spent 10 days exploring Bhutan on G Adventures’ aptly named Bhutan Adventure group tour— and what a journey it was! It was a joy to discover this enchantingly beautiful country for myself. Just take a look at these views: Looks and sounds cool. But just where IS the Kingdom of Bhutan (and how do I get there)? If you just scratched your head while muttering “Bhu-where?” you’re not alone, as Bhutan isn’t on most tourists’ radar (yet). This tiny, landlocked Asian nation is found in the Himalayas Mountain Range and is bordered by India and Tibet. With only 700,000 inhabitants, Bhutan, which is geo-politically located in South Asia, is the region’s second least populous country after the Maldives. While the capital of the Bhutan is Thimphu, you’ll likely touch down in the city of Paro, the site of Bhutan’s only international airport. Paro is an easy 90-minute drive from Thimphu. Flights to Bhutan/ Getting to Bhutan by air […]
So, you’ve travelled with your friends, your significant other and even strangers on a group trip! But what about going on vacation with your grandparents, parents, kids and cousins AT THE SAME TIME? Multi-generational travel is a hot trend right now because we can spend some much-needed quality time with the fam while ticking the most prominent items off our bucket list. But planning and executing these trips isn’t as easy as it seems, which is why I’m sharing my tips for multi-gen family travel in my latest article on Alamo’s Scenic Route! Check it out here! Have you ever planned a trip that included family at different ages and stages of life? Where did you go? What were some of the challenges?
The post How to Plan Your Next Multi-Generational Family Vacation appeared first on Oneika the Traveller.
Kids from the Global South aren’t photo props- Why Responsible Tourism also means protecting childrenTuesday June 25th, 2019 07:35:28 PM Oneika
We’ve seen it over and over: people (typically “Westerners”) posting pictures of themselves surrounded by black Africans (usually black African children). It’s basically a rite of passage for the dauntless traveller who makes it to Africa. However, this is a misguided practice that needs to die. Among other things, it reinforces colonialist mentalities, white saviourism, and the idea that Africans are exotic. It objectifies and fetishizes black and brown people, turning them into props with the sole purpose of centering our wayfaring “hero”. Furthermore, posting these pictures doesn’t make offenders look altruistic, edgy, or “woke”. Instead, they look self-serving, patronizing, and woefully out of touch with current discussions about optics and privilege in travel media. People from the Global South are not Photo Props – Why Optics in Travel Media Matter I think a lot about the optics of travel media, particularly as it pertains to photographing “local people”. I’m very sensitive to using people from the Global South as props in my photos, especially as a privileged person from the Global North. As a result, fewer and fewer of my travel stories include images of the people I meet. If they haven’t expressed interest or consent it feels […]
This post has been sponsored by The J.M. Smucker Company. I received product and compensation, but all opinions are my own. As a frequent traveller with a passion for discovering new countries, cultures, and creeds, I’m a fierce proponent of hitting the road whenever possible. After all, I cross continents with aplomb, my bags stay packed, and my passport is always at the ready. But despite my penchant for globetrotting, there’s nothing I love more than a good staycation in the place I call home. New York City is a world class metropolis with loads of things to do, see, and experience–I’m so lucky to live here! But even if you don’t live in a major city like I do, there’s still value in planning a vacation closer to home. Staycations provide an excellent opportunity to both catch your breath and explore your own backyard. You can also get the same exhilarating feeling of discovery on a staycation without the stress of planning a potentially expensive and time-consuming journey! So have I convinced you to skip the vacation and instead plan a staycation yet? Here are my tips so you can have the best staycation ever! Explore part of your […]
The post How to enjoy a vacation at home: 5 tips for the best staycation appeared first on Oneika the Traveller.
Starting my blog was the best thing that ever happened to me. Here’s some insight into setting up my WordPress blog on Bluehost. Whenever people ask me about my path to travel blogging, I tell them that it first started with three things: a passion for travel, a desire to tell stories, and a deep need to connect with others online. I started my first blog in 2005. It was unimaginatively named Oneika does France”, and was a rather simple site that I had set up with the sole intention of keeping friends and family updated about my year of living and working in France. But then, after a while, I realized that I actually really enjoyed the craft of storytelling. I loved recounting my experiences and adding pictures to illustrate my adventures. Words and photos kept my memories fresh and alive. And keeping an online diary of sorts kept me accountable to the writing process. So as I continued to travel over the years, through Europe and Asia, Africa, South America, and even Australia, I continued to write, to produce. The entries became longer and better structured, with deeper, more resonant content. And you know what? As my […]
The post How it all began: Starting my WordPress Blog with Bluehost appeared first on Oneika the Traveller.
I travel every week. This means two things: a) I’m always either suffering from jet lag or recovering from it, and b) I need to keep things simple when I’m on the road. While I haven’t mastered how to combat jet lag just yet, I’ve gotten pretty good at streamlining my life and being as efficient as possible. For example: I answer emails from the plane or from the back of the taxi on my way to the airport, I have packing and travelling with only one bag to a science, and I’m becoming increasingly skilled at figuring out just how much foreign currency I’ll need so I don’t have any “funny money” left over at the end of my trips. But travelling isn’t the only thing I can do efficiently and effectively. I’m pretty proud of how well I’ve managed to streamline my beauty routine both at home and abroad. Case in point: my increasingly frequent national TV appearances means that I’ve learned to do a full face of makeup in five minutes…and look at least halfway decent (my mom thinks I look cute and that’s all that matters). I can wash and style my hair in a […]
The post How joy razors make my get ready routine simple and easy appeared first on Oneika the Traveller.
Did you know that I’m a runner? I’ve run a number of 10k races, four half marathons and even sputtered through one full marathon (spoiler alert: it was HARD)! While I always joke that I run so I can eat (#greed), the truth is that I value my physical health and find running an excellent way to keep fit. But that’s not the extent of my interest in athletics and physical well-being. Despite my hectic travel schedule, I run wherever and whenever possible. I’ve hoofed it in places as disparate as Bahrain, Bali and Brooklyn, and have loved every minute of it. But what happens when running doesn’t fit into my travel plans? Well, I try to stay as active as possible on vacation anyway, incorporating activities like hikes into my itinerary… and dragging my friends and family into the mix! After all, the family that plays together, stays together, am I right? In my latest post on Alamo’s Scenic Route, I’m sharing my active and adventurous family vacation ideas so you can do the same. Read my article here!
Most of us travel to discover new places, learn about a destination’s culture, and cloak ourselves in a sense of wonder, excitement, and adventure we may not have otherwise experienced back home. But what about travelling to slow down, to find balance, and to reconnect with the world (and ourselves)? Wellness Travel and Tours presented by G Adventures Enter G Adventures, which just launched their newest collection of tours dedicated to Wellness and Self-Care. Not familiar with G? It’s a small group adventure tour company that helps travellers explore the world responsibly and sustainably, and I have the pleasure of being one of their resident ambassadors and storytellers (otherwise known as Wanderers). As part of the ambassador gig, I participate in and share information about their wildly diverse tour offerings (they have over 700 tours spanning the globe) and initiatives. If you’ve been following me for a while, you may recall that last year I had the time of my life exploring the culture and wildlife of Uganda and Rwanda on their 8-day itinerary. The fact I enjoyed myself so immensely comes as no surprise: visiting the African continent and learning more about the people and history is one of my […]
The post Wellness Travel and Tours by G Adventures: Everything you need to know appeared first on Oneika the Traveller.
Travel is a big part of my relationship with my husband Liebling: Not only have we journeyed to more than 70 countries together, but so many sentimental moments of our relationship together have happened while traveling! We met in Hong Kong, first said “I love you” in Vietnam, got married in Berlin, and moved to London together. Exploring New Orleans with the hubs Now that we live in New York City, we continue to make memories on our travels throughout our newly adopted country of the United States. With the country being so large and diverse, there’s no shortage of destinations for us to explore: In the three years we’ve lived here, we’ve explored the Southwest, have taken weekend getaways to the Deep South, gallivanted all up and down the eastern seaboard, and even lived our best lives in Hawaii! Getting ready to zipline over Hawaii’s Umauma Falls Given that I know a thing or two about having epic travel experiences with a significant other, in my latest post for Alamo’s Scenic Route blog I share my tips for how to make your vacation memorable the next time you travel with bae! I also share a number […]
The post 4 Ways to Make Vacations with Your Significant Other Memorable appeared first on Oneika the Traveller.
Wondering how to spend two days in Charlotte? Never fear, here are my suggestions for things to do in the Queen City. Charlotte, North Carolina is one of those places I’ve technically been to many times, but haven’t really visited. I’ll explain what I mean. As a frequent traveller based in the U.S., I’m intimately acquainted with the city’s international airport, flying in and out of it at least a dozen times in 2018 alone. But, do you think I could even list TWO things to do in Charlotte? Not a chance! Because, despite laying over in Charlotte on a monthly basis, I’d never actually left the airport– except for that one time I spent a sleepless night in a nearby hotel because I missed my connecting flight home through no fault of my own *shakes fist in dismay*. Of course, that all changed last month when I spent the weekend in Charlotte– I discovered that it’s way more than a transit hub. Why you should go to Charlotte, North Carolina One thing I’ve vowed to do in recent years is visit more of the USA. As a full-time travel content creator, the pressure is often on to journey […]
The post 48 hours in Charlotte, North Carolina: How to spend two days in the Queen City appeared first on Oneika the Traveller.
Savannah, Georgia is rich in African-American history and is SO worth exploring. Visit the following spots to learn more about black history in Savannah! Do a quick Google search of the term “Things to do in Savannah, Georgia” and you’ll be bombarded with a cornucopia of articles that might leave you a little overwhelmed. Pages upon pages of blog posts, websites, and ad copy describe Savannah’s offerings in meticulous detail (I should know– I wrote an article with a 48-hour Savannah itinerary myself *grins sheepishly*). Amongst other things, they’ll tell you that MUST do a river cruise along the Savannah River in a paddleboat, that you ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO take a stroll through the historic district so you can marvel at the city’s abundant ornate architecture , and that you CAN’T MISS digging into its world renowned food scene (real talk, I don’t even have a sweet tooth but Leopold’s Ice Cream parlour can get ALL my coins). But while you totally should do those quintessential Savannah things, one aspect of the city that doesn’t get nearly as much mainstream coverage is its African-American history. Black history in Savannah can be found everywhere! And with over 250 years of African-American heritage, […]
The post For the culture: Exploring African-American history in Savannah, Georgia | Traveling While Black appeared first on Oneika the Traveller.
Last feed update: Monday October 14th, 2019 02:09:47 AM
Courtesy of The Moxy
Nestled in the heart of downtown Washington, D.C. is the Moxy Hotel, with its hot pink neon sign front and center. Upon entering you’re met with fun and modern décor, like amazing art murals dedicated to our nation’s capital, games galore, novelty signs, Monopoly money on the wall and Trigger, the white carousel horse. The check-in desk is attached to the bar where you’ll receive a welcome cocktail, which is perfect for us here at WDFT.
My stay at the Moxy included some fun activities that will most likely be available at different points in the year. A cocktail class with local woman-owned distillery, Republic Restoratives, set our evening off with Civic vodka and Rodham rye as our bases. I felt like a real bartender, ready to serve the masses the ‘Diamondback’ and the ‘Layover’ that I learned to make like the pros. I appreciated that the Moxy is collaborating with local businesses. Not only does it introduce newcomers to their goods, but it also reminds residents to visit and enjoy what’s nearby.
Later in the night, we were given the chance to get read. You read that right. The Moxy invited a lipstick reader, who appeared on Dr. Oz, and a tarot card reader to give guests a rundown on who they are and what’s going on in their lives. It’s one of the more unique offerings I’ve ever seen in a hotel lobby, and left a guest or two shaken, but it was super fun and insightful. In true Moxy fashion, we played games the rest of the night, and I took my turn on Trigger the Horse, who I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of on social media, as more folks become hip to the hotel’s location. Apparently, a certain reality show celeb (*cough* HazelE *cough*) took advantage of the horse in more ways than one.
The next morning, I woke up to a mimosa at my door...at 8 a.m. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a drink that early in the morning, but it’s apparent that the folks at the Moxy want you to live your best life. The rooms also inspire you to never want to leave, with a modern vintage vibe and expansive view of downtown D.C. My favorite part was the bathroom mirror that reminded me ‘I woke up like this,’ which was fabulous of course.
After our morning cocktail, we were also treated to a yoga class on the rooftop, overlooking D.C., the sun shining on our hungover faces. The retractable rooftop is going to make an amazing space for happy hours, work events, weddings, bar mitzvahs, you name it. There are only a handful of rooftops like this in D.C. so this summer at the Moxy is sure to be a busy one.
Breakfast at the Moxy is also an event. The menu features an assortment of bagels, a yummy breakfast naan, artisan coffees, and breakfast cocktails like the ‘Cold Brew Old Fashioned.’ You’re also welcome to enjoy the “Grab & Go” food center 24/7 whenever you get peckish, which can eliminate being forced to order room service. The staff will also suggest eateries nearby, if you’re looking for a heartier meal. Our group dined at Sfoglina, a Fabio Trabocchi restaurant, specializing in pasta and Italian cuisine.
All in all, if you’re looking for a comfortable, unique, and fun-filled stay, the Moxy is the place for you. The staff do a great job of making sure you’re enjoying every moment of your stay, even though the décor, games, and Trigger will be sure to remind you in case you forget. Even if you’re not looking to sleepover, you can still enjoy the games, and the bar, which features a daily happy hour from 4-7 pm and includes snacks like truffle fries, a 12” hot dog, and naan flatbreads. My favorite cocktail is the ‘Shiso Pretty,’ made up of Bulleit rye and yuzu syrup. So good!
Moxy hotel is located at 1011 K St, NW, DC 20001. For more information on the hotel, click here! Check out more pics from my stay below.
Photo Courtesy of Samara Rivers
Samara Rivers is the Chief Bourbon Enthusiast and Founder of the Black Bourbon Society (BBS). Her love for bourbon began on a family trip to New Orleans after taking the suggestion of a salesman who introduced her to his favorite spirit. She became an instant fan and spent every Friday for an entire year creating and mixing new cocktails with bourbon.
Samara created BBS after realizing that there was a lack of direct consumer marketing geared towards people of color in the spirits industry and that most bourbon brands had no idea how much their popularity has grown among African Americans.
Black Bourbon Society brings together African American Bourbon Enthusiasts from across the country. With over 4,500 members, we’ve partnered with and featured several brands including Wild Turkey, Maker’s Mark and Four Roses. Through exclusive events, curated dinner pairings and private whiskey tastings in markets such as ATL, LA, and Chicago, BBS encourages its members to enjoy good bourbon, network with like-minded bourbon lovers and gain a deeper appreciation for America’s Native Spirit.
I love Samara’s passion for all things bourbon! Check out more of what she has to say about America’s spirit below:
What is Black Bourbon Society?
Black Bourbon Society is a tiered membership organization open to everyone who enjoys premium spirits and is interested in gaining a deeper appreciation for America’s Native Spirit. Black Bourbon Society is crafting a movement that showcases the value of the niche lifestyle and sophisticated palates within the African American Community and beyond.
Why did you create BBS?
After realizing that there was very little direct consumer marketing geared towards people of color in the spirits industry, I began to brainstorm how to raise awareness of an emerging trend and demographic of upscale African American professionals who have high disposable incomes, enjoy luxury products and premium spirits. And thus, Black Bourbon Society was created.
Why did you choose to focus on bourbon?
I chose to focus on bourbon because it was the only spirit I was truly passionate about. It's such a complex spirit, America's Native Spirit, and each barrel, bottle, brand is different. The science and strict production rules also intrigued me. Bourbon must be at least 51% corn grain, aged in a newly charred American oak container. There are a long list of other rules that also go into making bourbon yet despite all of that, there is so much creativity and innovation happening in bourbon production right now. It's fascinating!
Do you feel like there is a gap in the spirits industry and black Americans?
Totally! There is a lack of inclusion from within the brands and also in how the brands market to their black American consumers. I created this company because I saw a huge disconnect between the two. And it wasn't that the brands were specifically excluding the demographic; it's because they were not aware of us and didn't know how to approach us. I believe it boiled down to a lack of awareness and not having a diverse staff to bring it to their attention.
BBS fills this gap by being the bridge. We work directly with the brands to create direct consumer marketing events and experiences specifically for our niche demographic of upscale African Americans who are conscious consumers, collectors, and eager to learn more about the spirit. We also advocate for the brands to diversify their internal staffing. There is a small handful of African Americans that work with these brands but none at the leadership level. There is much work to be done. Not only in the bourbon business, but in the spirits industry as a whole.
What are your favorite bourbons?
My everyday sipper: Old Bardstown Bottled in Bond
My cocktail bourbon: Makers Mark
My unicorn bourbon: George T. Stagg
What are your favorite pairings with bourbon?
Bourbon can be paired with just about anything! From a juicy steak to savory desserts. Some of my favorite pairings are with churros and creme brûlée.
If you're not ordering bourbon, what do you order?
A good full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon. If it's a hot day, I'm probably ordering gin in a cocktail or keeping it simple with a glass of Rosé!
What's next for BBS?
Photo Courtesy of Samara Rivers
There's so much coming down the pipeline for BBS. We're getting ready to launch our spring events calendar which will have events taking place in L.A., Louisville, New Orleans, Atlanta and possibly Florida. We also have our sold-out Spring Exclusive Excursion to Louisville coming up. For this excursion, we have some amazing behind the scenes tours lined up with Jim Beam, Woodford Reserve and Buffalo Trace. We will also attend Opening Night at Churchill Downs and conclude the weekend with a brunch-gala honoring the Black Jockeys.
Later in the year, we will produce our annual event, Bourbon Boule, another Fall Exclusive Excursion, and other events across the country. BBS will also continue to advocate for diversity and inclusion through speaking engagements at New Orleans Bourbon Festival, Whiskey Obsession, and Tales of the Cocktail. We are constantly growing, adding new events to the calendar, and continuing to create amazing content for our members on a daily basis. Black Bourbon Society is just getting started!
For more information, check out the Black Bourbon Society at blackbourbonsociety.com.
As an adult, my mom and I have traveled together before, taking to the Bahamas and Las Vegas. We’ve sort of made it a tradition over the last couple of years. However, our trip of a lifetime to Paris and Nice, France (for free, by the way. Read more about that here) would be the first time we traveled for so long and far together. It turned out to be nothing short of amazing. It was her first time traveling to Europe, so I wanted her to enjoy the trip and see and do as much as possible. Who knows if she’d ever return!
I planned this trip for MONTHS, taking into consideration where we’d stay, eat, what we’d do and how to fit it all in. I was a little nervous about things going as planned but when the trip was over, she told me I did an excellent job planning (I happen to agree with her) which made all the time and effort I spent planning worth it.
But no one talks about how traveling with parents can be daunting and sometimes overwhelming. They are in a different generation, do things differently and most times have a different idea of fun. But that doesn’t mean that traveling with them can’t be managed. Here are some tips I’ve learned from traveling with my mom over the years:
Book transportation ahead of time.
When I travel alone or with friends, I usually just wing it. Uber, train, cab, whatever. We have a vague idea about how we’re getting from the airport, but nothing really concrete. With my mom, I knew better. I didn’t want to worry about being overcharged, getting lost or wasting precious time. I booked transportation to and from each airport and she actually thanked me for us not having to figure that part out. It made traveling easy and one less thing for us to worry about.
Don’t skimp on accommodations.
While I’m usually particular about where I stay, I wanted to ensure my mother had no bad things to say about the hotel. I wanted every part of her travel experience to be epic, and that included our accommodations. Everything worked out for the best and she loved our hotels.
Plan your itinerary but be flexible.
On our way to Paris, my mother had an aisle seat and did not get much sleep. She was so tired once we arrived at our hotel, but we had a Blacks in Paris tour a few hours after landing. She asked if we could reschedule the tour and while we couldn’t due to the tour guide’s schedule, I didn’t mind cancelling it because I knew that her getting sleep and feeling semi-rested at the start of our trip could set us up for success for the remainder. Turns out, I was right and my mother was a champ for the rest of the day and the trip.
Give them photography lessons before you leave.
If you care in the least about photos of yourself memorializing your epic trip, you will give your give your parent(s) phone photography lessons before you leave. Otherwise, you’ll spend precious moments having meltdowns in the middle of Parisian streets because your mother doesn’t get your angles properly. Trust me.
Let them win sometimes.
I ate at Hard Rock Café two nights in a row. Yes, you read that correctly. We had an awful time trying to find good food in Paris, so once we got to Nice and ate a decent meal at Hard Rock, there was no turning back for her. I couldn’t believe she wanted to eat there again, but I had to give her something to make her feel like she had some kind of input during the trip. So I sucked it up and ate at Hard Rock again. And I didn’t die. Win/win!
Take some alone time.
Seriously. Similar to traveling with friends, traveling with your parents can be difficult and very taxing. Take a moment for yourself and save your sanity.
Cut them some slack.
They may not move as fast as you, or have the same taste in activities as you, but they gave birth to and raised you. Cut them some slack!
While it’s a different experience than traveling with friends or significant others, these are moments to cherish and remember. I hope that these tips help with traveling with your parents and take some of the edge off!
Picture this. It’s the start of a new year and you’ve made travel goals for yourself but have no idea where to start. Have no fear! We’re here to help. Follow these tips to help you plan your travel for 2019:
Start planning early.
This goes without saying but it needs to be said! It never hurts to start thinking of the places you want to visit this year. I always start my year thinking about where I’d like to go because I think it’ll keep my travel wheels turning. Even if I don’t make it there, it’s still on my list of future vacation destinations.
Look at your calendar and plan your paid-time-off.
I’m a big believer in maximizing long weekends and holidays in order to make the most of your vacation. You can still work full-time and find the time to travel the world. There are 10 holidays recognized by the Federal Government (sometimes 11 if it’s an inauguration year) between January 1st and December 31st. That means there are 10 (sometimes 11) days that you potentially have off and can use to go on vacation. Use them wisely!
Identify festivals and events you want to go.
Have you always wanted to go to Essence Festival but it always seems to sneak up on you? Not this year! Pull out your calendar and google each event or festival you’re interested in attending. Keep them on your radar by setting up travel alerts on helpful travel sites like Kayak or Skyscanner. The alerts will not only remind you of places you want to go and when, but they’ll help you keep an eye on the price changes.
Open a travel savings account.
This was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I opened a checking and savings account with Charles Schwab because they don’t charge any withdrawal fees abroad. I’ve allotted money to automatically be withdrawn from my paycheck to go into this savings account. When the time comes for me to travel, not only have I already saved for my trip’s expenses, but I’m also able to access this money abroad without paying a fee. Genius!
Get a travel rewards credit card.
If you’re not using a travel credit card (and paying it off monthly), you’re not living right. My mother and I traveled to Paris completely free (in Economy Comfort, by the way) because of my American Express points. If you’re wondering how I did it, become a believer and read more about that here.
Follow travel hacking sites on social media.
You must, must, must do this and have your friends do it too! This is the best way to find places to travel cheaply and will allow you to see more of the world.
Stop making excuses.
There’s no time like the present. Travel is a privilege but it’s one you can take advantage of with proper research and planning. Use these tips and get to it!
In 2018, I went to Miami, Tanzania, Seychelles, Charleston, Hilton Head, Savannah, Memphis, Paris, Nice, Nigeria and Amsterdam. Absolutely none of these places were on my 2018 wish list, but it’s fun looking back to see where my mind was around this time last year. I still believe in manifesting my dreams so cheers to putting them out there and praying they come true! And that absolutely includes dream travel destinations, so here’s what I’m thinking for 2019:
I’m heading to Tanzania for the third time and I still think it’s such a travel-worthy destination. I hope to learn more Swahili and delve deeper into Tanzanian culture.
(in no particular order)
I’ve been thinking about heading to Portugal for my birthday but I still haven’t decided. In any case, Lisbon, Porto and the Azores are on my radar!
I’ve always longed to go to Greece but always put it on the back burner. I love that it’s a country full of culture, history, good food, beautiful scenery, and romance.
Would you believe I’ve never been to Mexico? Shocking, I know. But I think it’s time! I think I’ll start with Cancun, but only time will tell.
I’ve been to Martha’s Vineyard before but I’ve always wanted to go back again. It has such a chill, quaint townsy vibe that visiting will be a nice change of pace in late summer (and perhaps I’ll even run into the Obamas!).
I put L.A. on my wish list last year and wasn’t able to make it, but the City of Angels is still calling my name!
Write down your wish list too! And even if you don’t make it to those destinations, your travel thinking wheels will start turning and I promise, you’ll still end up somewhere. So, tell me where you want to go in 2019!
When it comes to live music, food, and drinks, Marvin (2007 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009) in D.C. never disappoints. A U street staple for the past 11 years, the restaurant recently highlighted some brand-new cocktails and a return of their scrumptious chicken and waffles. The eclectic establishment, named for soul star Marvin Gaye, will now feature a weekly open mic on Wednesday nights. While you enjoy the sounds of some amazing artists, you can also partake in cocktails like the Naughty Native (Crown Apple, cinnamon, clove, star anise, lemon) and the New Year, Who Dis? (Cucumber-infused Tanqueray, St. Germain, jalapeno syrup, lemon juice, dill tonic)
Marvin’s chicken and waffles are not your average chicken tenders and instant waffles. The restaurant provides you with an expertly fried chicken thigh, Belgian waffle, and collard greens that are surely made by a Southern chef. The seared scallops and creamed spinach are a great choice for seafood lovers, and the mac & cheese croquettes with pepper jam will satisfy all of your comfort food cravings.
You can cap the evening off with the “VSOPECAN,” a strong cocktail made with Hennesy VSOP, candied pecan syrup, mole bitters and Angostura, it’ll warm you up during the Winter nights, . For more information on menu offerings and their live music schedule, please visit Marvindc.com and tell them we sent you!
- Nyasha Chikowore
Have you ever drank too much and woke up the next day thinking, “God please, if you make this hangover go away, I promise I’ll never drink again!” We’ve all been there. Trust me. Well now you never have to be there again thanks to the folks over at DrinkAde!
What is it?
DrinkAde is a sugar and gluten free hangover prevention drink with a natural formula that helps to neutralize toxins, restore vital nutrients, and re-hydrate the body. Its natural ingredients include aloe vera, green teen extract, B vitamins, potassium, milk thistle and gotu kola, all of which are great for processing toxins and increasing energy levels. Many other similar products on the market that contain 40 calories per serving (yikes), while DrinkAde only contains 5 calories per serving (about 3.4 fluid ounces). Is it too good to be true?
What did I think?
Let me preface the rest of this post and say that while yes, this post was sponsored by DrinkAde, I wanted to try the product myself before recommending it. I tested out DrinkAde on two different occasions with varying levels of alcohol intake.
I only drank a few glasses of sangria (let’s say three) socially the first time I tried it at Baltimore’s Diner en Blanc. I had DrinkAde about an hour before I sat down to eat and drink. I woke up the next morning with no hangover at all which is sort of unusual for me since I tend to have a slight hangover after a night of drinking wine. I credit that completely to DrinkAde.
The second time I tried DrinkAde was during a night out with friends when I threw caution to the wind. We had A LOT to drink and when I say a lot, I mean about five shots and five cocktails each. (Yep, I’m still blackmailing a friend with video from this night!) They each tried a DrinkAde too so I could see how it affected people differently. I drank it literally five seconds before I had my first cocktail.
I woke up the next day with a Grade A headache, but I still believe my hangover would have been worse had I not had DrinkAde. I was still able to move about my day and my headache eventually subsided. My friends were not hungover much at all which I was glad to hear.
There are so many variables that go into how a body processes alcohol (size of the person, what they’re drinking, how quickly they’re consuming, etc.). I had not really eaten or drank my normal amount of water when I tried DrinkAde for the second time, so I believe that could have impacted my results too.
The lesson for me here is to drink two or three bottles if I plan to have a wild night, perhaps one before I start drinking and then another a few hours later. And also drink water. Because duh.
DrinkAde doesn’t taste the best, but it’s not terrible and completely drinkable. Your best bet would be to just chug it all in one sip!
Should you buy it?
YES! It’s a great natural and low-calorie way to have fun and still be able to function at a high level the next day. And I think it’s a better, more natural alternative than taking ibuprofen or drinking PediaLyte the next day. (Come on, you know you’ve done this too.)
Where do I buy it?
You can get it on their website or in certain retailers like GNC and The Vitamin Shoppe. It’ll be on Amazon soon too! Use code WILLDRINKFORTRAVEL for 25% off on www.drinkade.com (valid until December 31, 2018)!
If you decide to give it a try, be sure to let me know if it worked for you too!
My mom and I are headed to France! She has a milestone birthday this year so I thought it’d be amazing to take her somewhere she’s never been. We are spending a few days in Paris and then heading to the French Riviera. Sounds amazing, right? We can’t wait.
When I first started researching for our trip, I planned to just buy our tickets outright. But then I thought why not use my hard-earned American Express credit card points? I became a card-carrying member of the American Express Platinum club almost a year ago, which by the way, I should have totally gotten sooner! I love it and all of its benefits but that’s a post for a different day.
After spending a minimum of $5,000 within three months, I received 60,000 points, which is equivalent to about $500 for future flights or hotel stays. I didn’t spend my initial 60,000 points right away because I wanted to use them for something special. I continued to accumulate points by using it as my every day card instead of my debit card. By the time I cashed out, I had over 120,000 points. And I couldn’t think of anything more special than treating my mom to a free trip to France! So how did I do it?
Find a flight. I look for flights on several websites (Google Flights, Expedia, Skyscanner and others) before deciding to purchase a ticket. I saw on Google Flights that Delta had flights to Paris and from Nice during my desired travel dates. And Delta happens to be my preferred airline because I fly it most often (hello, status!).
Always go to the airline’s website to book directly. I went to Delta’s website to see how much the flights were, both in points and dollars. I always go to directly to the airline’s website just to make sure I’m getting the best rate.
Transfer Points. I saw that one round-trip economy class ticket to Paris was 66,000 points on Delta from BWI. I had about 75,000 points on Delta so it was only enough points for one ticket. But then I remembered that Delta and American Express are partners! I called AMEX and they were able to instantly transfer the remaining points I needed over to my Delta account. Since I was using points from both my Delta and AMEX accounts, I splurged for two Economy Comfort seats which were only about 20,000 more points. Score!
*Note: You could receive more points if you booked your trip through American Express Travel, but I didn’t have enough AMEX points alone to book the flights I wanted directly through their site.
Book the flights! It took about 3 minutes for my AMEX points to show up in my Delta account. Once they were there, I booked our tickets directly on Delta’s website and voila! We’re headed to Paris!
Delta still charges taxes and fees per ticket, so I paid about $120 for both tickets. But guess what? Those were paid too! One of the benefits of the AMEX Platinum is that you receive $200 per year to use for incidental fees on any airline of your choice. Because my AMEX is linked to my Delta account, I was immediately refunded the $120, making the tickets FREE.99!
I was on Cloud 9 that day not just because they were free, but because I was able to do something for my mother that I knew she would love and appreciate. I called her at work and she couldn’t believe it. This frees up more of our cash to dine at amazing restaurants, take great tours and stay at better hotels! It’s my mother’s first time to Europe so I want it to be amazing for her. Our trip is already off to an amazing start!
*This post is not sponsored by Delta or American Express, but it should be! Call me!
**Since they aren’t paying me, I didn’t include links throughout this post. But check out more benefits of the Platinum card here.
***The fee for the AMEX Platinum is $550 per year. Please only apply for this card if it’s in your budget.
Can I be honest? I've never thought about visiting Memphis. Not that I had anything against the city, but it just never crossed my mind as a place to put on my domestic wish list. Well after my whirlwind weekend in the "Home of Blues, Soul & Rock 'n' Roll," it's easy to say I've been missing out on one of America's greatest cities.
It's full of so much history, delicious food and good fun that it's hard to believe it's never been on my radar. After my recent visit, Memphis has found a new fan in me. I tried to see as much as possible and visit the city's most famous attractions during my initial visit. Here's an itinerary if you plan to visit for the first time too.
Where I Stayed
My home base for the weekend was Hotel Napolean. A boutique hotel, it was downtown within walking distance of Beale Street and other places in downtown Memphis. The staff was super friendly and gave suggestions about what to do from locals' perspectives which I found to be very helpful. The location makes it an ideal place to stay during your visit.
Let's assume you get there on a Thursday afternoon for a long weekend visit. Take a minute to freshen up at Hotel Napoleon. You don't have much time though so you have to hit the ground running!
Tasting at Old Dominick Distillery
Old Dominick is the oldest distillery in Memphis, having just opened in 2017. They produce six spirits including whiskeys, vodkas and their signature Memphis Toddy (my favorite). For $12, you're able to tour their entire facility and see what goes into making their spirits followed by a tasting of all six. It's a great way to kick off the start to your weekend! If you need to eat dinner next, there's a restaurant directly next door called The Gray Canary, or you can have...
Dinner at Rendezvous
The front door to this basement restaurant is located in a back alley across from the Peabody Hotel, but don't be scared! Rendezvous has been around since 1948 and is known for their signature dry ribs. Their platters are huge so I definitely couldn't eat it all in one sitting. And while Rendezvous is known for its ribs, I'd also like to give an honorable mention to its brisket. Try both if you can!
Dry ribs, brisket, cole slaw and beans
*Note: Rendezvous only serves beer and wine and no dessert. If you're in the mood for dessert after dinner or a cocktail, walk to Kooky Canuck's about a block away. I'm still dreaming of their Deep Dish Brownie a la mode.
Dance on Beale Street
After dinner, burn off some calories and walk on over to the world famous Beale Street! There are a ton of bars to into up and down the street. Just pick one that suits your fancy!
There was so much history and culture to absorb in Memphis that I feel like I need to come back for a second visit. Civil Rights, Beale Street, Barbecue, Music...Memphis was just everything I didn't expect which makes me actually love it even more. Don't you love when that happens?! #willdrinkfortravel #MustbeMemphis @memphistravel
Breakfast at Sunrise Memphis
Located on the outskirts of downtown near University of Memphis, Sunrise Memphis is a sit-in or carry-out restaurant offering everything from typical options like pancakes, bacon, and mimosas to more nontraditional items like Korean bi bim bowls and tacos for breakfast. I highly recommend their chocolate chip pancakes and a mimosa if you're on a vacation diet.
Photo Credit: Sunrise Memphis
Go Back in Time at the Slave Haven Museum
The Slave Haven Museum was once the home of Jacob Burkle, a German immigrant and stockyard owner, and served as a stop on the Underground Railroad. The tour begins with a discussion about the start of the transatlantic slave trade and ends with a visit to the home's basement, where it is believed Jacob Burkle would harbor slaves until it was clear for them to continue their journey to freedom. The museum was one of my favorite stops so I definitely think you should make time for a visit.
Eat Lunch at Carolina Watershed
You'd never guess by the exterior, but the Carolina Watershed is an urban oasis right in downtown Memphis. Picnic tables and waterfalls help create a playground escape for adults. Their menu consists of down-home classics with a twist and creative cocktails. Word to the wise, order the bucket of sangria. Thank me later.
Pay Tribute at the National Civil Rights Museum
The National Civil Rights Museum is an absolute must when visiting Memphis. It's located at the very place where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968, the Lorraine Motel. While it may look small on the outside, the museum is huge and very well-done, offering a glimpse into the Civil Rights Movement in Memphis and around the country. You're also able to go back in time and view Martin Luther King Jr.'s room as he left it. Be sure to walk across the street to the other side, where you can visit the place where it is believed that James Earl Ray took the fatal shot.
Dine at Central BBQ
By this time, you'll need to take a moment to digest what you've seen, so walk across the street from the National Civil Rights Museum and you'll find Central BBQ. It's a bit different from Rendezvous because they use sauce on their ribs, which is all the more reason to visit and taste the difference! I didn't get a chance to visit, but as soon as I hop off the plane in Memphis next time, it'll be my first stop. I've only heard great things about it!
Breakfast at The Arcade
Memphis' oldest cafe, The Arcade is known for its delicious breakfast. I ordered and loved their sweet potato pancakes, savory bacon, eggs, and cheese grits. I left no stone un-turned (hey, I do the hard work so you don't have to!).
Whether you're an Elvis fan or not, I believe Graceland is worth at least a short visit while you're in Memphis. It's easy to spend six or more hours there, but I spent about two and felt like it was enough time for me to understand Elvis' life and impact on music. You're able to tour his large estate including his home and burial site and for a little extra, take a tour of his private plane and jet. The estate tour is really comprehensive and gives many details about his personal family life.
Once you're finished, you can either uber to/from Graceland or take the shuttle to/from Sun Studio since it's about 20 minutes outside downtown Memphis. If you have time, take the Sun Studio tour and learn more about Elvis and other recording artists like B.B. King, Ike Turner and Johnny Cash.
Lunch at The Four Way Restaurant
About 15 minutes from Graceland is the Four Way Restaurant, a soul food restaurant where many Civil Rights Leaders would often eat in the 1960's. I was a little skeptical about how good the food would be since my family can pretty much cook everything, so I'm a tough critic. The Four Way did not disappoint! Their fish, macaroni and cheese, yams, fried chicken, and cabbage were delicious. Try not to visit on Sunday because it's a popular place to eat once church is over!
Learn About Memphis Soul at Stax Museum of American Soul Music
Walk 15 minutes from The Four Way Restaurant to Stax Museum of American Soul Music and you're in for a treat. I had never heard of Stax Records but the museum is a crash course in Memphis soul music. It was home to legends like Otis Redding, The Staples Singers, Isaac Hayes and many more. After my self-guided tour, I can now hear the difference in sound between Stax recording artists and other popular musicians at the time. A visit to the Stax Museum is great for understanding the history of soul music in Memphis.
Go to Arkansas at Big River Crossing
Close to the riverfront, there's a one-mile pedestrian bridge between Tennessee and Arkansas called Big River Crossing. Your uber will drop you off in a seemingly weird location across from a television station but don't fret! Walk about three minutes and you'll see the sign below signaling the divide between the two states. You'll find people walking, biking and using their scooters along the bridge. And you'll see great views of Memphis!
This day was a full one but if you have time, take a Riverboat Cruise down the Mississippi River at Beale Street Landing. You'll learn more about Memphis' history and see more views of the city. Have dinner at Loflin Yard, another natural retreat in downtown Memphis. Stay and enjoy music or head back to Beale Street or Midtown.
Go to the Observation Deck at Bass Pro Shops
Did you know Memphis is named after Memphis, Egypt? Naturally, Memphis, Tennessee needed a pyramid too. You can't leave Memphis without visiting the massive Bass Pro Shops that I'm sure you will see at some point while riding around the city. The building was originally used as an arena for the University of Memphis and Memphis Grizzlies basketball teams. However, both teams left the arena in 2004 and Bass Pro Shops moved into the building in 2015. It houses a retail store, bowling alley, swamp, restaurants and observation deck at the very top. You can see all of Memphis and even the shores of Arkansas from up there.
I am a Man Exhibit
Before heading to the airport, stop by the "I Am a Man" exhibit. Located next to Clayborn Temple, it was a key rallying point for the historic 1968 Memphis sanitation strike (the reason Martin Luther King Jr. was in Memphis when he was assassinated.). There's also a wall containing the names of 1,300 mostly black Memphis sanitation workers.
Other things to note:
Renting a bike or scooter is a great way to get around the city!
The Memphis Grizzlies' basketball arena and the Memphis Redbirds (minor league baseball) stadium are the heart of downtown, so check out a game while you're there.
Aretha Franklin was born in South Memphis. Her house (406 Lucy Avenue) is boarded up but there is a memorial plaque dedicated to her in front.
Whew! As you can see, there's a lot to see, do, eat, and drink in Memphis! It's hard to get it all in one visit, but you'll have a running head start with this itinerary. I hope you enjoy Memphis as much as I did!
*While this post was produced in conjunction with Memphis Travel, all opinions are absolutely my own.
It’s well known that there are only a handful of restaurants in the District that make authentic Cuban fare such as ropa vieja and vaca frita. Little Havana (3704 14th St. NW 20010), which just opened its doors in Columbia Heights, is the latest addition to that select number. The restaurant boasts tropical neon murals, some including notable Cuban icons like Celia Cruz, Che Guevara, and Washington Nationals player Gio Gonzalez, and can seat up to 60 people comfortably. The artwork was completed by Erenesto Zelaya whose murals can be found on buildings around the city.
Staying true to traditional Cuban fare, you can expect appetizers like yucca fries, empanadas, and chicharron de pollo. Main dishes will include pollo a la plancha, vaca frita, pargo frito, and of course the cubano sandwich. Desserts will also be available for those with a sweet tooth, such as flan and arroz con leche, just to name a few.
The restaurant, which is headed by chef Joseph Osorio and chef/restaurateur Alfredo Solis, is a cozy nod to the Caribbean island. The cocktails, curated by Heriberto Casasanero, also make sure to transport you to Cuba, with an emphasis on fruit-based cocktails laced with rum. If you’re lucky you’ll be able to sip your piña colada out of a hollowed pineapple and forget city life altogether during your stay. Little Havana is a great add-on to the district, offering a taste of authentic dishes paired with a fresh and festive ambience.
If you're into truly Cuban food, stop by Little Havana and be sure to tell them we sent you!
- Nyasha Chikowore
Photo Credit: Little Havana
If you're a longtime reader, you'll know that my visit to Tanzania in 2014 is the whole reason I started this blog! I spent two months there, exploring any and every thing I had time to. But with my most recent visit this year, I wanted to travel a little slower during my three month stint in-country. When most people think of Tanzania, they automatically head to Zanzibar or Mt. Kilimanjaro. But Dar es Salaam shouldn't be slept on. I was based in Dar es Salaam, which is where I spent the majority of my time exploring. Here are 12 things you can do during your visit:
1. Spend time at the beach on Mbudya or Bongoyo Islands.
One of the reasons I love Dar is because the beaches are so close to the city. Take the 30 minute ferry from White Sands Hotel to Mbudya or the ferry from Slipway to Bongoyo. Either island is fun but I prefer Mbudya because it's a little less busy. You could stay at White Sands Hotel if you're not up for getting on a boat and heading to an island. It's about 30 minutes from city center but it's a great option for food and fun in the sun.
2. Visit the museums.
A visit to The National Museum or the Village Museum will give you a better idea about Tanzanian history and culture. My favorite is the Village Museum, which is open-air and features a collection of 19 authentically reconstructed dwellings that show traditional ways of living for different ethnic groups throughout Tanzania. On display are also traditional crafts that showcase Tanzanian culture. You may also be able to catch a performance of traditional dance while you're there too.
3. Go on a safari.
While the Arusha area is most well-known for its safaris with Ngorogoro Crater, Serengeti, Tarangire and other parks nearby, there are safaris available close to Dar es Salaam. About an hour and a half away is Mikumi National Park, Tanzania's fourth-largest national park. If you're lucky, you're may be able to spot the 'Big Five' while you're there.
If you feel like traveling a bit further, head to Saadani for a unique safari/beach experience. You most likely won't see the Big Five here but you'll see a good mixture of wildlife, on and off the land. I haven't been here but it's on my list for my next visit to Dar.
4. Take a tour.
One of the most eye-opening experiences I had in Dar es Salaam was the Real Dar es Salaam Tour with Afri Roots. I learned so much about Tanzanians daily lives in Dar es Salaam. It's easy to head to the peninsula area where most expats live, but it's a much different story on the other side of town. You can read more about my experience here.
5. Buy art at the Tinga Tinga Cooperative Arts Center.
Tanzania is well-known for its "Tinga Tinga" style. It was developed by Edward Said Tingatinga, and is characterized by using several layers of bicycle paint and cartoon imaginative figures. the center is on the peninsula and easy to find. Be sure to negotiate for the best prices.
6. Visit the Fish Market.
The Kivukoni Fish Market is famous for offering various kinds of seafood at very low prices. Everything from fish to octopus and shark are available. But word to the wise, don't wear shoes or clothes you care about. I'm not sure the smell will come out in the wash!
7. Go visit the Kaole Ruins at Bagamoyo.
This is a great option for a day trip from Dar. About an hour and a half away are the ruins at Bagamoyo. Dating back to a period between the 13th century and the 16th century, the Kaole Ruins are what remains of a Muslim Shirazi (small East African tribe) settlement. You can read all about my visit here.
8. Eat Good Food.
There are so many great restaurants in Dar! Here's a quick rundown:
Seafood: Cape Town Fish Market
Local Food: 305 Karafuu
Thai: Thai Kani
All kinds of food: Rhapsody
9. Wander around Kariakoo Market.
Kariakoo Market is Dar's busiest market. Located in the city center, Tanzanians head to Kariakoo to buy anything they could possibly need. From produce and vegetables, to fabric for clothes, electronics for their homes and tires for their cars...it has everything! Uhuru Street is nearby and is the best place to buy fabric in case you decide to have clothes made while you're there. Be sure to keep your phone out of sight and your money hidden as it's notorious for pick-pocketing.
I spent most of my afternoon at Kariakoo Market in Dar es Salaam, and it was absolutely insane! This picture doesn't even convey the number of people at the market today. People share tiny streets with vendors, trucks, cars, other shoppers & people selling random items up and down the market (bruh, a frying pan though?). A few tips if you're going: * 1. Wear comfortable shoes and no sandals. It's super crowded, people will step on your toes and the ground is full of mud and puddles (hello, rainy season). * 2) Most people will tell you not to wear any valuables and don't bring expensive cameras or phones at the risk of being pickpocketed, and that is true. But I didn't feel like I was targeted or in any real danger of losing my money or belongings. I'm from Baltimore though so I'm always on guard. 🤷🏽♀️🙅🏽♀️ * 3) Negotiate! However I found the most vendors were reasonably priced and not as high as other markets I've seen. Nevertheless, negotiate and don't be a sucker. * 4) The market has anything you could ever need: fruits, veggies, spices, clothes, shoes, electronics, tires...literally everything. Be prepared to wander for hours if you don't have anything specific in mind. * 5) Come with patience. I'm not gonna lie. Someone almost caught these hands today. But he's lucky that I remembered I'm a child of God.🙌🏽 * I highly suggest visiting markets in places you're visiting. It definitely gives you a crash course in local culture! Have you been to an insane market in your travels? #willdrinkfortravel #DaresSalaam #Tanzania #Africa #EastAfrica #travelAfrica #Africatravel #cocktails #travelblogger #traveldeeper
10. Shop for souvenirs.
You can buy souvenirs at Kariakoo but you can also head to Slipway on the peninsula. It's an open-air market where you can find gifts for family and friends. You can't go home empty-handed!
As you can see, Dar es Salaam is worth considering when you visit Tanzania. Before heading to Zanzibar or Arusha, carve out some time in your schedule to explore one of Tanzania's biggest and most populated cities.
National Tequila Day is July 24th and there's no better way to celebrate than by drinking tequila-based cocktails. Give one of these cocktails a try at home or out a bar to celebrate National Tequila Day!
The Paloma, not the Margarita, is Mexico's most beloved cocktail. It's most commonly prepared by mixing tequila with a grapefruit-flavored soda and served on the rocks with a lime wedge.
- Kosher salt
- 1 grapefruit wedge
- ¼ cup fresh grapefruit juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¼ cup tequila
- ¼ cup club soda
- Pour some kosher salt on a plate. Rub half of rim of a highball glass with grapefruit wedge; dip rim of glass in salt.
- Combine grapefruit juice, lime juice, and sugar in glass; stir until sugar is dissolved.
- Stir in tequila, add ice, and top off with club soda.
- Garnish with grapefruit wedge.
2. Bloody Maria
Move over vodka. This is tequila-based version of the beloved Bloody Mary.
- 1 Lemon wedge
- Ground black pepper
- 1 1⁄2 oz Don Julio Reposado Tequila
- 6 drops of Tabasco Hot Pepper Sauce
- 8 drops Worcestershire sauce
- 1 pinch Celery salt
- 1 tsp Ground horseradish
- 2 tsp Lime juice
- 8 oz Tomato juice
- Rub the lemon wedge along the rim of a highball glass and discard. Coat the rim with black pepper.
- Add the remaining ingredients and fill with ice.
- Stir, and garnish with another lemon wedge and skewered cherry tomatoes.
3. Tequila Old Fashioned
Instead of bourbon or whiskey, substitute tequila and enjoy!
- 1 tsp. agave nectar
- 2 slices blood orange, plus peel for garnish
- 3 oz. reposado tequila, such as Milagro
- 1-2 dashes bitters
- Muddle agave and orange slices in a cocktail shaker; add tequila and ice.
- Stir until well-chilled and strain into an old fashioned glass filled with ice.
- Add bitters and garnish with orange peel.
Switch out the traditional gin for a spin on a tequila martini.
- 1½ Parts Tequila
- 1 Dash Dry Vermouth
- 1 Dash Orange Bitters
- 1 Whole Green Olive
- Fill a mixing glass with ice cubes. Add all ingredients.
- Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
- Garnish with a green olive.
The Sangrita is the classic accompaniment to a shot of good tequila.
- 2 oz Lime juice
- 6 oz Orange juice
- 6 oz Grapefruit juice
- 1 tsp Salt
- 2 tsp Freshly ground black pepper
- 15 oz Tomato juice
- 2 oz Tabasco sauce
- 1 Jalapeño pepper, halved (with seeds)
- Add all the ingredients to a pitcher and stir until the salt dissolves.
- Let stand for 15 to 30 minutes and then remove and discard the jalapeño. (The longer the jalapeño infuses, the spicier the Sangrita will be.)
- Store in the refrigerator. Serve as an accompaniment to shots of tequila.
6. Juan Collins
The Juan Collins is a twist on the Classic Tom Collins cocktail. Instead of gin, use tequila and you're good to go.
- 1 1/2 oz. (45ml) Tequila
- 1 oz. (30ml) Freshly Lemon Juice
- 1/2 oz. (15ml) Agave Syrup
- Top with Soda Water
- Garnish: Lemon Slice
- Build in collins glass filled with ice.
- Garnish with a lemon slice and enjoy!
Curious about how tequila's made? Learn all about it here.
New Zealand is famous for its wide variety of adrenaline-pumping activities, and Queenstown has earned the title of “Adventure Capital of the World”. However, there are also many options for those seeking a less thrilling sensation. Here are our top eight New Zealand activities for non-thrill seekers:
1. Rent a car
Although there are excellent public transport and plenty of tour options in Queenstown, there is no better way to explore the area than by renting a car. Having your own rental car gives you the freedom to get anywhere you want and to stop and enjoy the place for as long as you desire.
No visit to Queenstown would be complete without enjoying a cruise on the exquisite Lake Wakatipu. There are many different cruise options available which could include a visit to a high-country farm, a delicious lunch out in the fresh air or just some relaxing, quiet cruising. The spectacular scenery of the Fiordland National Park makes a cruise on the Milford Sound an unforgettable experience and a highly-recommended Queenstown non-thrill seeker activity.
3. Skyline Gondola
While this option does have a touch of adrenalin, the spectacular views of the city and the lake are definitely not to be missed as you enjoy a peaceful ride on the Skyline Gondola. At the top, enjoy a bite to eat in the Stratosfare Restaurant or stay for what has been described as the “best buffet dinner ever” and enjoy the spectacular sunset.
4. Walking Tours
Queenstown has some great walking tours. From guided alleyways tours to wilderness walks, Queenstown offers walking options for people of all conditions, capacities and interests.
5. Glow Worm Caves
A tour through the Te Anau Glowworm caves is a unique Queenstown spectacle not to be missed. The caves are illuminated by thousands of glowworms which create a magical spectacle to delight both young and old.
6. Hobbiton Movie Set Tours
Take a journey down to “Middle Earth” and find out more about the making of the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogies. This fascinating tour will transport you to another world. There are daily Hobbiton tours, evening banquet tours, and even private tours to enjoy.
If you have built up a bit of an appetite with all those tours, Queenstown has a fantastic selection of eating options, from fine dining to ethnic specialties. Enjoy a delicious breakfast with spectacular lake views at the Elements Restaurant situated in the Novotel. Their all-you-can-eat breakfasts will set you up for the day. For lunch, the famous Fergburger is a must. Located on Shotover Street, this restaurant has become an urban legend for their serious burgers at great prices. The elegant Grille Queenstown is a great dinner option, or for something more exotic, check out Rambla in Arrowtown for excellent Spanish food or Madame Woo for delicious Malaysian fare.
The nightlife in Queenstown is fantastic - with many bars having live music and large dance floors. The very popular Cowboys, on Searle Lane, is an American-style themed bar complete with a bucking bronco and saddle bar stools. The Minus 5-degrees Ice Bar on Beach Street features bar fixtures that are carved out of ice - plus, all drinkers at the Bar are provided with parkas. On Beach Street, you can also find a pint of real Guinness and a unique atmosphere at Morrison’s Irish Pub or visit the Little Blackwood to enjoy some spectacular views while sipping a cocktail right on the edge of Lake Wakatipu.
Harper Reid is a freelance writer from Auckland, New Zealand who is passionate about travel and adventure. When not writing, she spends her weekends hiking with friends or going on impromptu road trips. Find more of her work here.
It's taken me a long time to write this post, partly because I was trying to find the words to adequately put my thoughts and feelings into words.
I've visited and lived in countries in Southern and Eastern Africa (Zambia, Tanzania, South Africa and others), where I've immediately felt a connection to their cultures. Black people are super dope all over the world (#WakandaForever!). However, I also knew there was minimal chance my ancestors were from there and thus I knew their cultures weren't mine. But then I went to Ghana.
I spent a full week in Ghana, visiting places around Accra and touring Cape Coast Castle, where many Africans were enslaved and shipped to South America, the Caribbean and United States through the transatlantic slave trade. Let's be clear about one thing. Slavery existed in Africa prior to the transatlantic trade. Ghana was the trading capital for Portuguese and other Europeans for hundreds of years before the British arrived. According to the Tracing Center, "the trans-Saharan slave trade sent more enslaved Africans east to the Muslim world, over many centuries, than would be transported west to the Americas."
Ghana served as the center of the British slave trade for 150 more years, sending Africans who were kidnapped and enslaved during tribal warfare to the West. Western traders bartered with Ghanaians, trading manufactured goods for enslaved Africans. I could literally feel our ancestors' spirits as I walked the grounds. (I want to make a note to say I have stopped using the term "slave." Our guide at Cape Coast Castle said to us that those 'slaves' were people with families, jobs, and lives before they were captured and sold into slavery; therefore, I now refer to them as "enslaved Africans.") Ghana made me feel so...full. It was everything I didn't know I want it to be and more.
The whole reason I started my travel blog was to share my experiences and show people the world from my point of view, the view of a black American woman. I couldn't help but to feel a deeper connection to Ghana and I imagine that if I felt that way, other black Americans would feel the same. So if you're a black American, here's why you need to visit:
- Slave Castles. I've been to other sites that memorialize the slave trade, but none hit me quite like my visit to Cape Coast Castle. We learned that enslaved Africans would sometimes be forced to walk from Nigeria, Benin and other West African countries to Ghana in order to be sold into slavery. Our guide showed us where the enslaved Africans were housed, the most shocking place of which was under a church. Yup, a church. Enslavers created vents on the floor of the church so that the enslaved Africans housed underneath could be indoctrinated with Christianity while imprisoned. Without water or sanitation, the floor of the dungeon was covered with human waste, causing many people to fall ill or die.
I also walked through the 'Door of No Return', a door our ancestors walked through as they were forced to board ships that would later take them around the world. It was a powerful moment for me. While I always knew what our ancestors endured, it felt different actually being there and feeling their energy.
There are other slave castles like St. George's Castle and Elmina Castle, but I chose to visit Cape Coast Castle since it's the most well-known.
- We're related. Okay, not really but probably! Ghana the only country (so far) where I feel like the people legitimately resembled black Americans. As I was out to dinner one night and the restaurant was full of people, I took a moment to look around and savor the moment. What I noticed was that everyone looked like my friends and family. Had I not remembered that I was in Ghana, you couldn't tell me that I wasn't in Baltimore or D.C.
- It's lit. People in Accra are social every day of the week. I went to karaoke, dinner and a few clubs, all of which would rival their counterparts at home. People just love having a good time there and being social is a big part of their culture. (Side note: I love finding out about and adding new African artists to my playlists. Sarkodie, anyone?)
- Shopping. Ghana is my 9th African country and I swear, it had some of the best shopping I've seen on the Continent. After a while, many of the items start to look the same everywhere you go, but I found unique pieces of art, clothing and household wares that I've never seen anywhere else. If you're visiting the Kumasi area, visit the Centre For National Culture where you participate in workshops for kente-cloth weaving, batik cloth dyeing and more. There's also a Centre for National Culture in Accra where I found most of my favorite pieces.
- Africa is dope. I know Africa is a continent, but there's nothing like being surrounded by and engaging with other brothers and sisters. The feeling is euphoric and both easy and hard to explain. This is why I'm hooked on traveling throughout Africa. It has its challenges, yes, but it is oh so rewarding.
I didn't have a chance to visit Kumasi, Kakum National Park or other famous places in Ghana, but that's just all the more reason for me to return. I look forward to visiting other West African countries too. I have my eyes on Senegal, Cote d'Ivoire and Sierra Lione. I encourage you to put an African country, especially a West African country, high on your travel list. We owe it to our ancestors.
Our guide taking us to the dungeons.
Outside the Door of No Return, where Ghanaians are living and working.
The Door of No Return
In the dungeons, 1,300 concrete heads are on display that depict some of the lives that were transplanted. Each is different and show the possible faces of Africans slaved at Cape Coast Castle.
If you're in Accra, go to Chez Clarisse! The food is soooo good.
From mixologist Aaron Joseph of Baltimore, MD, this margarita incorporates a spiced passion fruit syrup with classic margarita ingredients and a little bit of heat. It's a twist on a classic recipe and perfect for sipping, especially if you enjoy fruity margaritas.
Aaron's Passion Fruit Margarita is in the running for Patron's Margarita of the Year competition! You can vote once every day until April 16th! Click here and vote for his Passion Fruit Margarita today!
- 1.5 oz Patrón Silver
- .5 oz Patrón Citrónge Orange
- .75 oz Spiced passion fruit syrup*
- .5 oz Lime juice
- Add Orange wedge, jalapeño coin & mint sprig for garnish
*Spiced passion fruit syrup ingredients:
- 1000 g Turbinado sugar
- 500 g Water
- 200 g Sliced jalapeño
- 750 g Passion fruit puree (such as Boiron)
- Boil water and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Add jalapeño, turn on low heat and allow syrup to reduce for 15 minutes. Take off heat and allow to cool, with jalapeño. Once cool, strain and add passion fruit puree, stirring to combine. Store refrigerated one week.
- Combine liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake with ice to chill.
- Strain onto fresh ice in a double old fashioned glass.
- Garnish with mint sprig, jalapeño slice, and orange half-moon while reading The (Baltimore) Sun.
If you follow me on social media (hint, hint), you know I'm Global Entry's biggest fan. It's the fastest way to re-enter the country and breeze your way through customs. It's seriously one of the best ideas Homeland Security's ever had. But what about saving time on the front end of your trip?
TSA Pre-check was all the rage some years ago. But since everyone has gotten it through their credit cards and Global Entry, lines for PreCheck can be as long as they are for regular security. That's where CLEAR comes in.
I first signed up for CLEAR when I was flying to Atlanta last year and saw that the PreCheck line was around the corner. Patience has never been a virtue of mine and the rep for CLEAR just so happened to be standing there. She asked if I'd like to give it a try and I thought why the hell not. Sign up was simple and right there on the spot.
The rep told me that the cost was $179 for the year but I had two months to cancel. $179 sounded really steep to me in the moment but I made a mental note to cancel before the 30 day trial period was over. After the quick finger print scan and sign up with my information, the rep escorted me to the front of the TSA PreCheck line and BAM! I went through security quicker than ever before. With CLEAR, you're able to essentially bypass the entire security line, whether you have PreCheck or not. You don't even need ID! The kiosk uses your fingerprints or eye scan to determine your identity. It's awesome.
I've used CLEAR every time I've gone to the airport since then and each time, it's truly refreshing to skip the line and silently one-up everyone still standing in line. The downside? It's $179 per year. I'm not gonna lie. My feelings were hurt when I saw my account debited for what seemed like an unnecessary purchase at the time. I wondered to myself if I'd really use it. I've used it every time I've gone to the airport since enrolling so it's a small price to pay for someone who travels often. I love skipping lines wherever possible and this just made boarding my flight that much easier. Since the price is a little high, I highly recommend CLEAR for frequent travelers. If you don't travel often, PreCheck may still be an okay, less costly option for you.
You can also use CLEAR at stadiums and arenas. I've never seen it at a stadium but hey, they say it's there. So what do you think? Would you give CLEAR a try?
Note: This post contains spoilers, so if you haven't seen 'Black Panther', what are you waiting for? Go see it and come back!
The highly anticipated Marvel movie 'Black Panther' made its debut over the weekend and it did not disappoint. Its depiction of Afrofuturism, advanced technology mixed with cultural tradition and unapologetic blackness was everything we wanted it to be and more. I could discuss reoccuring themes in the movie like relations between Africans and African Americans or the roles of women in a modern society, but that's not my lane. I found a few travel themes that you should keep in mind for your next trip.
1. Always show up to someone's house with a gift.
After years of preparing (by preparing, I mean lying, cheating and killing), Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) finally landed in Wakanda, where he showed up with the body of Ulysses Klaue. For 30 years, Klaue was a thorn in the side of T'Chaka and now crowned king T'Challa - Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman). We learn in the movie that with the help of King T'Chaka's brother, N'Jobu (Sterling K. Brown), Klaue had information necessary to enter Wakanda and steal vibranium from the nation. Klaue is, at some point, captured and branded as a thief, but eventually escaped -- killing W'Kabi's (Daniel Kaluuya) parents in the process. Needless to say, Klaue was at the top of Wakanda's Most Wanted List. So when Erik Killmonger shows up with his body at W'Kabi's doorstep, it gains him a 'welcomed' entry into Wakanda.
Although I don't recommend showing up with a dead body, when visiting someone's home at home or abroad, something more appropriate like flowers or a bottle of wine will always go a long way. Be polite and show that you were raised to have manners.
2. Get in where you fit in.
After capturing Klaue, Black Panther and CIA Agent Everett Moss end up working together briefly to question him. But in the midst of Klaue escaping their grasp, Everett takes a bullet for Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o), Black Panther's ex-girlfriend and trusted member of his personal guard. T'Challa feels indebted to Everett and decides to bring him back to Wakanda in order to save his life.
The long and short of it all is that Everett becomes a member of "Team Black Panther". As Queen Mother (Angela Bassett), Nakia, and Black Panther's sister, Shuri (Letitia Wright), escape after Killmonger becomes king, they seek refuge with M'Baku (Winston Duke), head of the Jabari tribe. Everett, a white outsider, decides he has something to say about the way forward and M'Baku and the Jabari shoot him down by engaging in their signature barking, which I found to be quite hilarious.
To me, this was a reminder that when someone invites you into their home and culture, you need to get in where you fit in. Do not insert your outsider opinions when they aren't asked for. Find yourself some business to mind unless otherwise asked.
3. Don't destroy natural resources.
When Erik becomes king, one of his first acts is to light fire to the heart-shaped herbs, the source of Black Panther's powers. While Erik had his reasons, I found it wildly appalling he would order the gardeners to destroy such a beautiful part of their culture.
As we travel, it's important to be mindful of the destination's natural resources. That includes the typical tourist exhibits, water (see Cape Town), flowers and everything else that is native to the destination. Travel mindfully.
4. Respect the old and admire the new.
Shuri was the genius behind Wakanda's technological advancements. Quite frankly, I'm not sure Black Panther would be as effective as he was without her. (But hey, I guess that's why it pays to have a great team behind you.) At T'Challa's crowning ceremony Shuri is seen scoffing at the traditional ceremony citing the tightness of her corset. And I completely get it. Corsets are not fun. It's the reason I refuse to wear Spanx. But as the movie continues and T'Challa's situation becomes dire, a heart-shaped herb and ritual calling upon the ancestors saves his life. I'm not sure if anyone else noticed, but Queen Mother and Nakia immediately started chanting to the ancestors while Shuri hesitated at first and then later joined in.
This was a reminder to me that there is room for both tradition and technology. While we may not always have time to learn about cultural traditions while traveling, I think it's an important component if you really desire to learn about a destination.
5. Trust black women.
This isn't travel related but it's always relevant. The women surrounding T'Challa always had his best interest in mind and essentially gave him the strength he needed to be the best version of himself.
We, and by we I mean the 93% of black women who voted for Hillary Clinton, tried to save y'all. If you had listened to us, the U.S. wouldn't currently be in the situation we're in. But I digress.
While not the goal of the movie, travel lessons can be learned from 'Black Panther'. Can you think of any others? Sound off below!
At Oceanaire Seafood Room (1201 F Street NW, 20004), winter whites are not only encouraged, they are a staple. Now through March 9th, guests can create their own white wine flight of four vintage tastes from 15 sommelier-selected vintages from around the world. Even though it's cold outside, Oceanaire's goal is to remind guests that white wines are as extraordinary as reds in winter months.
The restaurant team has chosen some safe (wine) bets, but also new wines that patrons may not be as familiar with. Wines on the menu are typical in flavor profiles in the regions they're from. If you're looking for a classic wine pairing, order oysters with Château de la Ragotière, Muscadet Sèvre et Maine from Loire, France. It enhances the flavor of the food and creates a balance on your palate.
Other choices include Trimbach, Pinot Blanc, Alsace, France; Château Beaulieu, Rosé, Coteaux d’Aix en Provence, France; La Caña, Albariño, Rías Baixas, Spain; J Vineyards, Pinot Gris, California, USA; Chehalem, "Ridgecrest Vineyards," Grüner Veltliner, Ribbon Ridge, Oregon, USA; Robert Weil, “Tradition,” Riesling, Rheingau, Germany; Tozai, “Snow Maiden,” Junmai Nigori, Sake, Kyoto, Japan; Gabbiano, “Promessa,” Pinot Grigio, delle Venezie IGT, Italy; Domaine de la Perrière, Sancerre, (Sauvignon Blanc), Loire, France; Giesen, Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand; Butter Block, Chardonnay, Santa Maria Valley, USA; Castello della Sala, "Bramito del Cervo," Chardonnay, Umbria IGT, Italy; Vietti, Moscato d’Asti DOCG, Italy and St. Supéry, Moscato, Napa Valley, USA.
The flights are priced at $19. Additional flight tastes above the four can be added at $5 each. Give winter whites a chance during happy hour or dinner at Oceanaire and tell them we sent you! Visit www.theoceanaire.com for more information.
Conveniently located in Dupont Circle, Kimpton Hotel Palomar Washington D.C. (2121 P St NW, 20037) is a gem in the heart of Washington, D.C. I stayed at Hotel Palomar for 'Galentine's Day' weekend festivities with my friend Sydnee, and we loved every moment of our visit. Of course there are pros and cons to everything (mostly pros in this case), so let me break it down for you.
Dupont Circle is one of D.C.'s liveliest neighborhoods. Not only is it where Embassy Row is located, but if you're a history buff you can tour former president Woodrow Wilson's home, or people watch at the Dupont Circle fountain, shop along Connecticut Avenue or enjoy one of the many trendy restaurants in the area. It's the perfect home base to enjoy much of what D.C. has to offer.
Room Design and Size
I fell in love as soon as we walked in. Our room was huge! It was also bright, airy and stylishly decorated with a preppy yet modern feel. And because we were coming for 'Galentine's Day' weekend, Hotel Palomar made it special and laid out a few welcome gifts for us. (This is what I love about Kimpton properties but more on that later.)
Adjacent to the lobby, Urbana is a chic Italian restaurant located directly in the hotel. I ate there for dinner and brunch the next day and neither meal disappointed. We tried two kinds of pizza for dinner as well as the agnolotti pasta, flatbreads, and salmon salad for brunch. Everything was delicious and perfectly prepared.
But the real star of the show? Urbana's bottomless Bellini and Bloody Mary Bar. Unlimited champagne with your choice of peach, grapefruit, orange or blood orange juices. Does brunch get any better than that?! Urbana also hosts a daily happy hour where they serve $1 oysters. Needless to say, Urbana is one of my new favorite Dupont Circle gems.
Pro-Tip: Order the agnolotti or carbonara bucatini if you want to taste heaven in your mouth. They make their pasta in-house. Ah! Also try the bellini with peach juice. Trust me.
Not many hotels in D.C. have pools so when one does, it truly feels like an oasis in the city.
All the Little Extras
I love Kimpton properties because it feels like they've thought of everything. At Hotel Palomar, there is tea and coffee in the lobby for breakfast, hot chocolate and apple cider in the afternoon and wine hour from 5 - 6 pm. They also have bicycles available for free rental so guests can explore the city.
But the icing on the Kimpton cake is 24-hour room service! Nothing says love like coming in from a late night of partying and having food available at your disposal. I truly feel like Kimpton does their best to make guests feel at home as much as possible.
I hate to have a con on this otherwise glowing review. But my only qualm with the hotel is that parking is $49 for an overnight stay. This is around the average rate for all hotels in downtown D.C. so unfortunately, it's a necessary evil. But the valet was super accommodating and carried all of our bags without hesitation. Top notch service indeed.
Overall Rating: 5.5 out of 5 Cocktails
I'm giving Kimpton Hotel Palomar Washington D.C. an extra .5 because I just love Kimpton properties and Hotel Palomar is no different. I always feel at home, the customer service is always on point and I always know what I'm going to get...comfortable luxury. See more pictures from my awesome stay below!
You know we keep it real. While this post was sponsored by the Kimpton Hotel Palomar Washington D.C, all opinions are absolutely my own.
Let me start by saying I love getting my hair and makeup done. I get my hair done often because I find it difficult to do it on my own (I know, first world problems). But makeup? I will jump at the chance whenever an opportunity presents itself because I suck at doing it. Really, I do. It's just never the same as when a professional does it. But more than simply getting my hair and makeup done, I love when I don't have to leave the comfort of my own home (or hotel) to be pampered. Enter Glamsquad.
My friend, Sydnee, and I were staying at the Kimpton Hotel Palomar Washington DC for a fun 'Galentine's Day' weekend. We scheduled appointments with Glamsquad through their app because we wanted to feel and look like our best selves for our girls' day. And boy did we ever! Our makeup artist, Esquire, and hairdresser, Ebony, brought alllll the fun, energy, and professionalism with them!
Honestly, I was a bit nervous at first. I already have people I work with for hair and makeup services, so to trust people yet to be vetted (by me!) was a bit unnerving. However, my fears were completely unfounded. Both Esquire and Ebony have YEARS of experience and told us that Glamsquad only hires the best of the best. Each artist is actually required to audition with several looks and hair types before they're hired with Glamsquad.
Esquire and Ebony were on time, professional and really cared about the looks we were going for. I love when my face is BEAT to the high heavens. Sydnee, however, prefers a more subtle, natural look. Esquire delivered on both. Unfortunately, my hair was already braided up so I didn't get a chance to try their hair services, but Sydnee loved her blowout.
What I also love about Glamsquad is not only will they come to wherever you are, but if you fall in love with your makeup artist or hairdresser, you can request them again and again. And Glamsquad's prices are super reasonable. A blowout for $50 and full face of makeup for $75?! You won't find lower prices for full glam services at your finger tips.
If you live in or are visiting New York, South Florida, D.C. or Southern California, this is the perfect service for a night out on the town, a scheduled photo shoot, or even if you're over going to the salon. I can't wait to use Glamsquad again, perhaps during my trip to L.A. this year or even when I'm home in D.C. They've definitely found a new fan in me. Download their app or visit www.glamsquad.com to schedule your hair, makeup or nail services soon!
*We keep it real here at Will Drink For Travel. While services by Glamsquad were provided in-kind, all opinions are absolutely my own.
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