Posts in April 2018
Travel Guide: Las Vegas, NV

IT TAKES VIRTUALLY NO EFFORT TO BURN OUT AFTER A SINGLE DAY IN LAS VEGAS, WHERE EXTRAVAGANCE ISN’T AN EXTRA—IT’S EXPECTED! PACE YOUR PERFECT THREE-DAY TRIP WITH A BALANCE OF INDULGENCE AND EXPLORATION, AND YOU WON’T FEEL LIKE YOU MISSED ANYTHING ON YOUR PLANE RIDE HOME TO REALITY. THE PERFECT VACATION IN VEGAS COMBINES INCREDIBLE ATTRACTIONS LIKE FINE DINING, SOME SOFT ADVENTURE, AND A FEW WAYS TO TAKE IN THOSE INCREDIBLE DESERT VIEWS.

DAY 1

    DAY CLUB @ MARQUEE (COSMOPOLITAN HOTEL)
    LUNCH @ VERNADA
    WALK DOWN THE STRIP
    VISIT NEON MUSEUM
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    DINNER @ HAKKASAN
    NIGHT CLUB @ THE PALM

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Vegas has its reputation and for the longest time I really thought I'd hate it. I had studied Robert Venturi's architectural analysis of Las Vegas, but never visited, and I didn't plan to. But that's no way to think, so I gave Vegas a shot and I actually ended up enjoying my time. 

Travel Guide: Devil's Den, FL

DRIVE ABOUT 100 MILES NORTHWEST OF ORLANDO ON I-75 TO THE MIDDLE OF NO WHERE AND YOU'LL FIND DEVIL'S DEN SPRING, ONE OF THE MOST PREHISTORIC PLACES IN THE US. WHILE FLORIDA IS FAMOUS FOR IT'S BEACHY COASTS, IT ALSO BOASTS OVER 900 FRESHWATER SPRINGS. DEVIL'S DEN SPRING IS A COOL LITTLE DESTINATION PERFECT FOR A SPONTANEOUS ROAD TRIP TO VISIT.

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Unlike most itineraries on my site, this post is a one-day activity. If you happen to be near Orlando or you live in Miami, Gainesville, etc. and need a spontaneous day trip with friends — Devil's Den is a must-see hidden treasure. It's right smack in the middle of nowhere (no offense to Williston, FL)— you really need to go there on purpose, you're not likely to pass it on the way going somewhere. 

Devil’s Den is also called a karst window, a phenomenon that happens naturally when a roof covering an underground river collapses, exposing the waters underneath to the open. A strange name honestly, but Devil's Den gets its name from the steam that would rise from the den on cool winter mornings. The temperature of the water remains around 72 degrees all year round, making for great steamy displays in the cooler months. Oddly enough I was still cold when I jumped in, but you get used to it and the views from the water are well worth it! The sunnier the better, you'll understand what I mean because photos don't do this place justice. The way the water glistens as its hit by sunlight through the top of the cave is phenomenal. 

Utility Skirt
Simply Gharib
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Fangirl Yourself

...like you would Queen Bey.

I have been rattling my brain with writer's block all week. Writing is still very new, but it's been 3 months so there's an accomplishment. I may not have a Bey-army, but I have the most amazing group of people in my life who share comments, repost, and show support. But my biggest all-time fan was always my mom. And I think the reason I haven't been able to write is because, I haven't been able to tell her anything. My mom was THE person I called for my (sometimes silly) accomplishments. Like when I got my curtains on sale or finished reading my latest book; she cheered for me no matter what. It wasn't about validation or approval, it was simply telling my mom made it feel real. No matter how strange or small it was, it was an accomplishment, but only she could make it feel important and real. Knowing my mom she'd say "if you don’t believe in yourself, how can you expect anyone else to believe in you?" That is something I need to learn, and I don't think I'll ever stop learning from her. I am my mother's daughter, when I celebrate myself, she celebrates with me.

We all need to learn to take the time to reflect and give ourselves credit where it is due. Even if it is for something small. Whether it is going to the gym for a week straight. Something random like starting a YouTube channel (I see you Youssef Twins), or finding curtains at an amazing price, you are accomplishing something! Not everyone may see it, but as long as you’re giving yourself credit, it won't matter. It is always important to celebrate your accomplishments aka: fangirl yourself.

I am an impatient perfectionist, God bless my family for putting up with it, but I know I'm not the only one. Truth is, if success could be achieved overnight, we would all be rich and famous (or in my case at least employed at my dream job). You may not like where you are right now in life, but you need to trust the process and know that your time is coming. In the meantime, enjoy the journey and feel proud of everything you have accomplished so far.

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Wearing: Top Shop Skirt | AFRM Sweater 

I've never really been into skirts, but I've found a way to tap into my feminine side in an edgier way with the utility skirt. I would suggest pairing them with t-shirts and oversized sweaters if you’re like me and love to be comfortable. Shop below:

Fringe Cape
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  Wearing : T by Alexander Wang  s weater   | A.L.C.   pants
  Wearing : Guess   cape   | All Saints   pants   | Pierre Hardy   shoes

Wearing: Guess cape | All Saints pants | Pierre Hardy shoes

UNique For Yourself

I first fell in love with winter capes in 2013, but ponchos I started wearing when I was in 8th grade. Wasn't a big hit at the time, my friend's older sister told me I looked like a grannie (lol). That wasn't the only time my fashion taste was critiqued. But here I am, years later and still not giving a damn. I wear what I want. We have the choice to pick and change our style as we want. It's breaking the rules rather than following them that's arguably been the more propelling force in finding personal style. Which brings me to my next post - being unique for yourself. 

My whole life I've been told what I can and can't wear. I've been told my outfit is too tight, not modest enough, too dressy, not dressy enough. I grew up blocking people on social media after being told "Your dress is too short, change your profile photo". News flash - people are tired of being critiqued or even worse being told they can’t wear something. Style criticisms seriously need to go — because no one is ever too old, too young or too fat for fashion. It took daring pants-wearing women risking arrest in the pursuit of freedom to overturn a trouser ban, and this was in 2013. Seriously, the French government just overturned a 200-year-old ban in 2013 on women wearing trousers in Paris. Especially when you’re a woman, everyone has an opinion about how you look. It’s something we learn to endure. There are stories every week about young men and women standing up to arbitrary, sexist dress codes. Women being harassed for their empowering choice to cover their hair in a hijab. There’s an 87-year-old Instagram sensation Baddie Winkle, who chooses to outfit herself in a marijuana-emblazoned, rainbow-colored, midriff-exposing wardrobes. It may not be my style, but she is famous because it's her style and she doesn’t care. Winkle says [to her haters] "You dress the way you want to. I’ll dress the way I want to. We have different opinions, and isn't that nice?" 

If clothes are what you wear, style is how you put it together, and fashion gives people a language to express themselves. In reality, I think we should feel empowered when we see others brave enough to express themselves through their appearance. But more than that, I think it's none of our business. Be unique, be yourself, and don’t let anyone define you.