Travel | Paris


I recently went on a trip to Paris, France and brought my mom and grandmother along for the ride. This was my first European trip and their first trip outside of the United States at all so the three us had great expectations and high hopes for this vacation!

Despite our enthusiasm, we ran into a lot of difficulties. I left my boots in The States, the weather was cold, wet and rainy for the duration of the trip. The long flight and a case of dehydration gave my Nana severe muscle cramps in her legs, which limited her mobility and slowed us down quite a bit. The 6-hour time change proved to be harder for our bodies to fight through than we imagined so we weren’t able to start our days bright and early to beat the lines. Our travels coincided with Armistice Day so working hours were limited for several attractions and public transportation. I could go on an on, but I won’t.

On our first full day of Parisian life, I was feeling very deflated. It did not seem like my dream trip was going to turn out as I’d planned. I was tired, frustrated, and disappointed. After only being able to see one exhibit in the Lourve before closing I was near tears. As we were walking out of the museum, downtrodden, my Nana turned to my mom and I and said, “As long as I get to see the Eiffel Tower I’ll be happy!”

She always has a way of putting things into perspective. Up until that point I was so focused on what the trip should have been instead of what I could make it. I wanted the movie plot, the perfect photos, and the fresh baguettes and perfectly bloomed peonies. Nana just wanted to see a beautiful building in the company of people she loved. We made sure she saw the Eiffel Tower that night and the next day. We followed up the Tower with dinner and a newfound determination to make the best of this trip. When we returned to our AirBnB that night my mom and I got to work researching ways to make Paris more accessible to us given my Nana’s injury. Voilà, we found it! Private driving tour from Cedric’s Paris! The next afternoon, our guide, Romain, picked us up in his 80s 2CV and drove us around the city detailing the rich history behind every narrow street, building, and monument. This was our movie moment, the perfect experience. It was still cold and rainy and roads were still closed due to the holiday but we made the best of it and enjoyed every second. We got creative and shifted our mindset. We set an expectation to stay positive and have a grand time; that we did.

At the end of the trip, I was so proud of Nana and so glad she came. If it weren’t for her we wouldn’t have ridden in this old black and yellow convertible. Understand this: my Nana hates flying, doesn’t like sitting still for very long, and is not very tolerant of the cold. But she pushed past fear, pushed through her pain, and packed a big coat and a warm heart.

We should all be a little bit more like Nana.

Mexican Misadventures


I’ve always loved traveling. The idea of going somewhere new, or just fondly remembered, excites me. Finding friends in strangers, learning about different cultures, and eating new foods. In my mind, I’ve always pictured travel as this beautiful, flawless thing. Let me tell you, friends, travel is not always perfect and beautiful. This, I have learned.

Recently, I traveled to Cancun, Mexico for a dear friend’s bachelorette party and it was…hot mess. Not the 5 shots of tequila, dancing on a bar, and funny pictures kind of hot mess. The Joanne the Scammer, “IT’S CANCELLED” kind of hot mess. The We’re the Millers, “NO RAGRATS” tattoo kind of hot mess. I’ll spare you the gory details and leave you with this incomplete list of our Mexican misfortunes:

  • Missed flights (4 out of the 5 bridesmaids missed their flight, which meant I was flying to Mexico solo-dolo)
  • Cheez-it’s for dinner (I love you SouthWest Airlines but would it kill ya to provide better in-flight food?)
  • Tropical Storm (24/7 rain the whole weekend = no beach time)
  • Ripped off
  • Ripped off
  • Ripped off (3 times y’all, THREE TIMES. Even as a Spanish speaker I apparently have tourist written across my forehead)
  • Kitchen explosion (have you ever had to pick glass shards out of your afro?)
  • Canceled zip lining reservations (ok, is this a joke? Where’s Ashton?)
  • Police Detention (At this point we’re living in a bad remake of The Hangover)
  • Food poisoning (it wasn’t me but the world is cruel, man)

As you can see, this wasn’t the picture perfect vacay I was envisioning,

BUT! There were some bright spots during the trip. For one, we mastered the art of laughing to keep from crying. In some situations you just don’t have any option but to laugh at yourself and keep it pushin’. This was definitely one of those times. Each time my friends and I were faced with another mishap we collected our composure and decided on an alternate route/activity/plan. I’ve never been more determined or worked harder to have a good time.

We shut a tequila tasting restaurant DOWN laughing and having a good time. We skipped arm and arm signing songs from The Cheetah Girls. We danced our booties off. We took silly photos. We encouraged each other. We reveled in our Magical Black Girl-ness.

Keep Pushing. Don’t let circumstances stop you. Keep Pushing.


cavities | a lesson in gratitude

what you look for

Today I went to the dentist to get my teeth cleaned and found out I have a few cavities. After my hygienist cleaned my teeth and my dentist examined my x-rays they walked me up to the front desk to schedule my next cleaning and make an appointment to get fillings. I was bummed. I drove home in the pouring rain (thank Florida weather for the dramatic effect) feeling deflated and annoyed with myself for not flossing and cursing all those late night Oreo binges. I felt a defeatist attitude creep over me.

When I got home I stood in front of my sliding glass doors and watched the rain fall for a bit. After a couple of minutes of moping, I thought to myself, “How can I make this a moment of gratitude?” I wanted to find the silver lining in this rain cloud. So I ran through a mental list of things I could be grateful for in this situation

  1. I still have all of my teeth (save my wisdom teeth, hallelujah) and they are otherwise healthy and generally straight and white.
  2. I am not experiencing any pain or discomfort
  3. I have access a great dentist with a warm bedside manner
  4. I have dental insurance provided and paid for by my employer
  5. Financially, I am in a good place. When the office staff went over my expected co-pay for the fillings I was not worried about the out-of-pocket costs, I knew I could easily cover them.

After taking a moment to show thanks I was able to put my situation into perspective. I was able to get out of my head and lead a conversation with myself from a space of gratitude rather than from a space of worry or angst. After this little mental meeting, I walked away feeling lighter and less irritated. (And with a new blog post to boot)

I think about all the times I let even the smallest of inconveniences, like getting cut off in traffic or a long line at the grocery store, derail the rest of my day and how I can easily prevent that negative tailspin by taking the opportunity to thank my lucky stars that I have good brakes and build a little more patience.

I encourage you to try this little trick when you’re faced with life’s trials, big and small. When you lose a loved one, or your coworker pisses you off, or your partner eats your leftovers. Pause, take a breath, and take note of all the things you have to be grateful for, not in life but in this particular situation. Find the good in the bad.

“You will find what you’re looking for, so look for something wonderful.” – Bryant McGill

An Open Letter to Mom | Happy Mother’s Day

All that I am,or hope to be,I owe to my angel mother.

In my life I’ve been blessed and fortunate enough to be surrounded by women that have been exemplary mother figures to me. Of course, my own mother is my numero uno in pretty much all things but I’ve got a sprawling network of mothers I like to call “mom away from home.” I’m sure many of you do too, at least I sure hope that you do. These women have taken me under their care and loved and nurtured me as if I were their own natural child. They’ve instilled in me a strong value system, coached me, cheered for me, cried with me, prayed with me, and have always given me the best of themselves. On this Mother’s Day, I’d like to recognize these powerful women I look up to. These women have shaped me into the person I am today and I am so full of gratitude for it. I hope you’ll join me in thanking the important women in your own life. To all the moms, nanas, mentors, grannies, auntie-moms, and in between: I yell a resounding “THANK YOU!”

Thank you for guiding me through life and sharing yours with me. The good times, the rough times, the triumphant times, and the times you felt defeated.

Thank you for encouraging me when I felt like giving up and standing with me when I refused to quit.

Thank you for praying for me and advocating for my health, education, and wellbeing.

Thank you for sacrificing for me. For the sleepless nights, long shifts, taxi cabbing, and the last bites of your favorite food.

Thank you for showing up and showing out. For being the loudest in the audience, the most enthusiastic chaperone, and most committed bedtime story reader.

Thank you for telling me and showing me that hard work pays off. That you can come back from a setback and you can turn a trial into a triumph.

Thank you for being an honest woman of her word.

Thank you for being my biggest supporter and my fiercest protector.

Thank you for raising me.

I love you.

start now. done is better than perfect.

done is better than perfect

I’ve had this blog set up for over 3 years. That’s 3 rounds of New Year’s resolutions, 3 years of wasted potential, and 3+ automatic renewal payments of the hosting and domain name for this site without a single post! I’ve been toiling over and financing my little slice of the internet without posting a single thing out of fear.

I’ve told myself I’m not a good writer, I don’t know how to code, I should do more planning, I don’t have a personal brand, and I’m not creative enough for years! I’ve been so afraid of not being my idea of perfection that it’s kept me from even trying. I’ve written countless blog posts in my head during my morning commute that have never seen the light of day. I’ll get fired up and motivated by an idea and eventually talk myself down from that ledge because I’m afraid. I’m afraid it won’t work out. I’m afraid I’ll look stupid. I’m afraid I’m not good enough. I’m afraid that no one will ever read this while simultaneously being afraid that everyone will read this.

Fear is death to creativity and perfectionism is death to productivity. But today I say, “No More!” I’m taking a leap of faith and I’m no longer allowing fear to prevent me from pursuing the things I want in life, namely finally getting the blog up and running. I’m no longer allowing being a perfectionist turn me into a do-nothing-ist. I challenge you to do the same. What dreams, goals, aspirations, or endeavors have you put on the back burner because “the timing wasn’t right” code for, “I’m not ready to face this fear?” What’s one thing you can do today to get you one step closer to goal?

It’s ok to be afraid but it’s not ok to hold in your greatness because your work isn’t perfect. As the old sayings go, “done is better than perfect” and “freedom is on the other side of your fear.”