Dhevatara Beach Hotel Seychelles

I’ve been on a hiatus. Not on purpose. It’s the usual excuses. Catching up with life, getting used to work, coming back from honeymoon and the like. Perhaps the latter isn’t a usual excuse but it’s a real one for me.

It’s now been a month since my husband and I returned from our honeymoon to the Seychelles. A two week luxury extravaganza staying at a boutique hotel located on Praslin, one of the unique islands home to a UNESCO site and a variety of rare species (coco de mer and the black parrot). These stories are for another post however. What I want to chronicle is our luxury hotel, Dhevatara Beach Hotel.

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This boutique hotel is perfect for the couple who doesn’t want to bask in the joy of children as it doesn’t allow kids under 12 on site. They can stop into the restaurant upon the discretion of the management but this is really an adults only spot. It is pricey but if you’re heading to the Seychelles, it’s likely not going to be a cheap vacation.

It also is small so privacy is practically guaranteed. There are roughly eight or 10 other rooms on the property that overlook a tranquil swimming pool. There’s also private beach access and every room has a balcony for guests to lounge the day away from the comfort of their own space. All in all, magic. Especially for a honeymooning couple looking to escape to a romantic location for fun chill vibes.

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Breakfast is also included in your stay. Head out into the dining room between 7 – 11am to find a menu of food that is ready made for you after you order. The menu never changes but the options are HUGE. Eggs any style, bacon, sausage, hash browns, fruit platter, meat platters, cheese platters, cereal, pancakes, crepes, yogurt, muesli, bread baskets with local jams. Everything is there. There’s also bottomless drinks including Nespresso coffee, THE teas, juices, champagne and other treats. This should make your mouth water, I know I’m flashing back to the scrambled eggs.

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I’m sure that prior paragraph makes me sound like a foodie, and maybe I am, but the breakfast needed a paragraph.

They also did lunch and dinner at the restaurant (which is one of the highest rated restaurants on the island) but we never ate lunch there (we ate ALL the breakfast). We did have dinner there and that too was A1. Yummy octopus curries, creole cuisines and tasty fish dishes. If you’re in Praslin, go to this restaurant for a calm yet romantic date night.

The room. We stayed in the sea view suite (and paid the sea view bucks). In the room was a giant and comfy King sized bed. A giant soaking tub with L’Occitaine products (lotion, shampoo, bath bomb, soaps, etc) was in the bathroom alongside a rainfall shower and his and hers sinks. We had turndown (and turn up) service daily. Room service was available at no extra cost (aside from the cost of the meal). A balcony that overlooked the pool and the beach.

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The last bit to talk about is the service. The hotel has an on-site spa as well as a number of helpful staff that give you advice about where to go for the best snorkeling, how to get around the island, things to do and help you book exclusive excursions. We had an amazing spa day and a trip to some smaller islands with the help of Francis. Oh Francis (inside husband joke). They also offered airport drop-off and pick up which was super helpful for us (we travelled for 12 hours so having a car really helped in the last stretch).

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That’s my review for now but if you have any questions about the hotel or what to expect there, let me know. Happy to answer. Last photos are for fun!

5 Ways To Kickstart Your Move Abroad

Have you been bitten by the wanderlust bug? Are you daydreaming about what it would be like if you could move abroad? Or to London? Well, you aren’t the only one dreaming. In fact, in a mean way, you’re not special. There are others wishing that exact thing right now. I was one of those others. And trust me, making your moving dream a reality takes effort.

To make the process a little less daunting, I’m sharing my top 5 tips to help you kickstart your move abroad. If you’re an undergrad student or someone looking to move your career to a new city, this is for you.

The road is long and tough but there is always hope. With my tips, it’s my aim that you get an additional leg up in making your dreams come true.

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Inside of Worcester College at Oxford University.

1. Try Getting Your Masters

One of the easiest ways to live abroad (especially the U.K) is getting your masters. When your accepted into a masters program, you can then apply for a student visa which grants you entry to study for a little over a year. You’re also granted working rights so you can take a job legally and make some extra cash.

I seriously thought about this route when I first tried to move to the UK but wanted to try another way (see next tip) as I had finished my undergrad four years prior and wanted to continue earning money.

You can check out the list of universities and various masters programs on this site for starters. It’s a nice way of understanding how the masters programs work and even offers a little guidance around funding your next level studies.

What’s important to remember for this step?

  • Look into the costs of attending a program. Scholarships, loans, savings and more are vital when it comes to assessing how you’ll fund your degree.
  • Pay attention to dates. Deadlines for applying to school. Deadlines for student visas. All the deadlines. Set little alerts using Google Cal to say ahead of everything.
  • Essays and documents. Make sure you write your personal statement, get recommendations and have your passport prepped for any next steps.

 

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Job Interviews in London

2. Apply For Jobs on the Approved Sponsor List

This is what I tried first as I had about five years of working experience. I figured I could qualify for a Tier 2 skilled worker visa and using my comms skills to sell myself into a role. But this was hard. I applied anywhere and everywhere but I should have been more focused.

I’ve mentioned this in previous posts but one way you can sort of shortcut your search is to look for positions within companies that have already been approved as a sponsor. Why? To get a working sponsor in the UK is much harder than you think.

As a hopeful applicant, you need to prove how worthy you are over any other applicant in all of the UK (and Europe as of this post). The job poster all needs to prove they’ve advertised this role for a certain length of time, showcase to government why you’re worthy of the role and must hold a license to sponsor foreign workers.

The license bit can cost a business a lot of hassle with all of the paperwork and money involved, so starting your job search with companies on the list I mentioned will make it less stressful. Beginning there means you don’t have to worry about a company ultimately denying you an offer because they can’t actually finance a sponsorship. If you secure the job and sponsorship, you can live in London with no issues.

What’s important to remember for this step?

  • Draft loads of emails to inquire about job opportunities. Not every company will have open jobs so sending a note to their HR or info email will help you start a conversation.
  • Make your resume sparkle. Take time to edit your resume and make yourself sound  like the bees knees. You need to standout!
  • Make sure you tell employers upfront about your right to work status. Hiding it during interview stages does no one any good as you’re wasting your own time in the end.

3. Talk To Recruiters Abroad

The first two options fall apart? Seek the help of a professional. Research recruitment firms abroad and draft notes with your sparkling/cleaned up resume. They know the rules of recruitment in the UK (and elsewhere) and can tell you what you need to do to make yourself look better. They also know who’s hiring and what companies may be seriously interested in sponsoring you.

It’s always in a recruiters best interest to find job placements for anyone they take on so there is hope with this step. Will all recruiters take you on? No. But certainly try it because it can help your dream come true.

What’s important to remember for this step?

  • Follow up with recruiters. One email is not enough to make them take notice.
  • Look for a recruiter that specializes in the industry you’re looking for work in. This is a list that give you a good start, sharing agencies from a few different sectors.

4. Specialist Visas

Have a talent? Are you a budding entrepreneur? Do you have experience in technology? There are a few visas you can apply for like a talent visa (model, actor, sports player), tech talent visa (skills in the tech industry that can vary from comms to finance to engineering) and many more. Some visas are even available to people who work in a profession that the country has a shortage of labor.

Caveat, some of these are short term working visas and even qualifying for them are an uphill battle but if you fit the bill, go for it. You can take a look at the specialists working visas here.

What’s important to remember for this step?

  • You mainly need to make sure you fit the criteria for whatever specialist visa you’re after. That’s it.

5. Seek A Job Transfer

If you’ve had the forethought to plan for your London move years in advance by working at a global company, kudos to you. HOWEVER, this is not guaranteed but it’s worth a try. Check out your company to see if they have any openings in foreign locations or tell your manager that you’re interested in any new positions abroad. This case usually works if you’ve been at a company for five years or more so this isn’t a quick fix. But in some cases, it really can work for you.

What’s important to remember for this step?

  • Make your want to work abroad known early. The sooner you do this, the sooner you’ll know the exact steps you need to take to fast track a possible transfer.

Any questions? I’m sure you must, so let me know in the comments or feel free to send me a note. Hopefully you can get a leg up on the competition with these tips.

3 Smart Ways To Find Work Abroad

You’ve moved abroad to the country you’ve been dying to live in for weeks, months, years! Not on a work visa but somehow you’ve made your way to XX country of your dreams with a legal right to work and start living your life. But where do you turn to find work abroad? What can you do to ensure that you give yourself as much of a head start as possible to line up interviews and secure the job (and the bag) that will help inspire and financially support your move?

Working abroad can be easy but finding the right place can be hard.

As an American who has moved to London on the spouse visa, I’m sharing three smart ways I’ve used to line up interviews and secure a job within a short period of time. They may seem obvious but it’s always worth remembering. Keep reading if you want to know how you can make finding work a bit less stressful!

1. Say It Loud

Think James Brown.

Have you heard the saying closed mouths never get fed? This applies when looking for work. Whatever your industry or skill set, make it known on your social networks that you’re moving, looking for work and up for any recommendations. That means sharing this news on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Instagram. You may even want to throw in one or two relevant hashtags that as that might help your post get spotted by someone who is looking to hire.

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It may seem like a shot in the dark but so is sending your resume to some random hiring manager or creating a profile on a work portal. You’ll be surprised who your friends or acquaintances may know and how generous they might feel in regards to helping you out.

It can never hurt to ask or just put a general ask out into the air. Why? Because the worst response you can get is no.

2. Scan Linkedin

Everyone scans Linkedin so you might think that this is so obvious. But the way you can really use Linkedin for the better when looking for work abraod is by using keywords. They are key!

So what I mean is if you’re a creative director or designer looking for work in the UK, don’t just type in creative director to find job opportunities. Search for other keywords or responsibilities that you want to find in your new role. Try design or creative to see what may pop up. When you’re in a new country and don’t know the lay of the land or all the companies that exist, Linkedin is truly a gem.

And make sure you use the parameters such as location, experience level, etc. Just with online dating, you want to be specific but you don’t want to be so specific that you don’t have any options.

In general, Linkedin is a great resource these days for real job leads across industries. If you’re not on it, maybe rethink that. Also make sure your profile is updated and you’ve added a photo, work experience, skills and if you can, get some recommendations from past employers and employees!

3. Join Groups on Facebook

Some of the best places to find a job abroad is Facebook. Specifically, Facebook Groups. I’ve joined plenty of Groups in the past to make friends but I’ve also joined groups that are specific to my industry but also specific to my location. I can’t tell you how many job postings I’ve seen in an industry specific group I’m in from individuals looking to build out their teams.

I’ve seen jobs posted to work at Google, Etsy, Pinterest, Uber and more. And not just job listings, people who asked for candidate recommendations and would be happy to refer those individuals to the hiring team.

I think that those Groups are very valuable so it’s important to join a few. But first, make sure that the Groups are legitimate. There are some on Facebook that are really just forums for people to advertise their business or sell you something so just vet them and if you think they aren’t for you, leave!

 

Those are my three ideas to get you started on your job hunt abroad. They are simple but you’ll be surprised about the kinds of offers and opportunities you’ll come across.

 

Turning 29 In Canterbury

A few days ago, I turned 29. I entered my 30th year as some like to tease and with that, I decided to spend the day chilling out by exploring a postcard village in the United Kingdom. Which village? Canterbury. Located in Kent, Canterbury only came on my radar because I had heard of the book the Canterbury Tales. I think I heard about it in college but funnily enough, I’ve never read it. I’ve actually never read any work of Geoffrey Chaucer so the fact that I spent part of my birthday in this town is actually quite bizarre. But any way, I decided to go and so my hubby took me.

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Dressed in my near birthday gear (cute bracelet, Levi’s denim jacket and black Nikes), we hopped in the car and drove an hour to the town. I am a Capricorn so when we arrived, we were greeted by chilly air – a common birthday theme since I was born in the winter months. We entered the town and looked for a place to park and if you’re driving, you’ll be pleased to know that there are quite a few car parks. They aren’t free but you can park within walking distance of the town center.

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As soon as we entered Canterbury, you could tell you were no longer in central London. The pace of life there was slower and the homes had a few more added quirks. For one thing, you could stop in the middle of the road for a picture without fear of being mowed down by a furious driver. There were also pastel homes with matching pastel colored doors. Talk about an Instagrammers delight! If it were a warm, sunny day, you could really do it up.

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A little further on into town, you’ll find more places to perch for a photo like along a babbling brook, in front of a pub or some more colorful doors. You’ll also start to hear a lot of accents as Canterbury is quite close to France and is sort of a touristy/college/university town. While I was there, I heard French accents, Americans, German and more! A linguistic delicacy in such a small village.

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Once I had my fill of “impromptu” posing, we headed toward the famous Canterbury Cathedral.

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The cathedral is one of the oldest and most famous Christian structures in England. Founded in 597, the cathedral was completely rebuilt between 1070 and 1077 has a very Gothic style.  The outside of the cathedral was pretty impressive. Ornate windows, beautiful archways and more! The church was undergoing a bit of restoration while I was there but it didn’t detract from it’s grandeur. In fact, I suspect a building as old as this is always undergoing some sort of architectural changes or updates.

Eventually, we got a bit hungry so stopped into Creams for a birthday dessert. We had sweet crepes and a hot drink to warm up from our outside wanderings. I’d recommend Creams but I will say that you should tell them to take it easy on the sauce they drizzle on the crepes. It’s less of a drizzle and more of a glug. I think less is more in this case as the sauce can saturate and make it too sweet.

After that, we decided to head home as we wanted to make it back for our dinner reservation (Thai food!). It was a nice day in Canterbury even with it being cold. I highly recommend you check it out and see the medieval history!

Autumn in Covent Garden

I’m still living the expat life and have a lot to fill you in on but I figured I’d take a detour with something light. Why? Well I want to tell you more about the process but I get a bit nervous about revealing these things ahead of it actually happening. So for now, let’s take a look at Covent Garden in London in Autumn!

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On a slightly rainy day, I ventured off into the city to stop by the Google office and to wander around Covent Garden.

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I found myself at Neal’s Yard where I saw a blogger or influencer in the making taking photos and running back to her suitcase to adjust her outfit or change into a “new look.” That effort! I don’t think that could ever be me, lol. Any way, I ducked into Neal’s Yard to explore the windy corner and came upon a cool looking mural of Mary Poppins.

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Beyond old Mary, I found a tiny courtyard that had little restaurants and colorful buildings that looked perfect for grabbing a little lunch or warm drink.

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To me this is a cute, quiet little cranny in the seven dials. The main street is always crawling with tourists, especially on a nice day, so it’s good to get a bit of space and to be struck by beautiful colors.

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Out on the main cobble stoned street, you’ll find shops like Diesel, Urban Outfitters, Noble Collection (Harry Potter memorabilia), and this cute blue storefront, Creoate. It can be exhausting work, shopping and minding all the people but I recommend popping into Pret or Itsu for a cheaper, healthy lunch option. I also recommend Lola’s Cupcakes as a indulgent snack. All of these restaurants are on this street!

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And go further into the seven dials, you’ll find musicals, cute shops, unique restaurants and more! Now enjoy Covent Garden yourself – so much there! I only tapped the surface of one street in the area.

Have you ever been to the seven dials?

Why You Should Relocate Abroad

Recently, I wrote a guest travel post for the ever fun and fabulous Shut Up and Go travel duo of Damon and Jo. I explained why I had to leave NYC in search of culture and a feeling of newness abroad in London. It was more than I dreamed of but also, not what I dreamed at all. Things happened and things didn’t happen; as is life no matter where you travel. But I feel it’s my duty to shed some light on people who love to travel this new idea – have you ever thought about relocating abroad?

If no, ask yourself why you’d pass on relocating or refuse to consider this option. To me, being an expat, even temporarily, is one of the best things you can do. It opens so many doors for you and gives you an experience like no other. To coax a few of you on the fence when it comes to expat life, I’ve identified four reasons why you should seriously adjust your life and relocate!

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Restart Button

No one gets a truly blank slate in life (unless you have amnesia) but moving abroad to a new country can get you close enough. When you move to a new country, literally no one knows who you are or your story. To them, you’re a funky foreigner that could live up to the hype of your homeland’s stereotype or show them a brand new perspective. Also, everything is foreign to you as well. You can figure out where you want to live, what you want to do to earn money and who you want to hang out with. It can be like it’s the first time you’ve ever had to make this decision. I know new beginnings can be scary for most but I say lean in to the restart and see what cool person emerges (or how you might reaffirm who you are).

New Cultures

When you are in a new city as an expat, you’ll run into people from all over the world. But instead of hearing a foreign language on a tour or while eating dinner out at a banging restaurant, you’ll actually have time to interact with and get to know other cultures. As a girl who spent most of her life in the bubble that is NYC (it too is it’s own kind of bubble), nothing made my eyes truly open until I studied abroad in Paris for a semester. Learning a new language, figuring out how people lived day to day, trying to understand the layout of the city – these were all challenges but I can say with certainty that it changed me for the better.

More Exploration

The downside of travel in the form of vacation or holiday is that you may not have enough time to truly get to know a location. As an expat, you can take your time learning the intricacies of various neighborhoods; discovering which places are your go-to for excellent dining, what spots are great for coffee or finding a wine bar that is pocket friendly! Just imagine how many more Instagramable locations, museums you can visit and cool hangouts you can find when you don’t have to be in a rush. Slow travel can be just as exhilarating as a quick holiday.

Private Time

Being alone in a new city can be frightening but nothing allows you to know yourself better. This sense that you are own your own and you have to work to make friends, setup your place and create a life gives you a new type of power. I’m not gonna lie though, some people don’t thrive on this. Some people panic and sink or shrink into a person they don’t know but if you keep your heart positive and believe that everything will turn out for the better, the things you find about yourself are invaluable. For instance, while abroad in Paris, I learned that I enjoy walking cities by myself. At first, I was doing it because I didn’t know what else to do but then, I started to enjoy my walks around the arrondissements.  I could navigate myself anywhere I wished to go and could speak to people in decent French to get what I wanted. Who know when I would have learned I had the power to do that had I not become a temporary expat in Paris!

It’s true that solo expat life isn’t for everyone but I think it can be! And if not, bring a partner, sibling, friend with you! Doing it as a duo can be just as eye opening and life affirming. Remember, you don’t have to be an expat forever – you can always go back home. But take the chance, get out there and learn a new way to live, you’ll be better than you are right now.

Let me know if you’ve ever been an expat or have considered it. Why or why not?

5 Long Distance Relationships Tips

How many times have you heard a story about a solo female traveler who either took the leap to explore the world or went on their first vacation and fell in love? The whirlwind romantic relationship; getting swept up in the city, accents and new experiences. A year or less later, the girl is home or nowhere near the new boo and the relationship has ended with a loud thud. I feel like that’s the tale that gets pushed around. But I’m here to tell you my experiences with travel and long distance relationships. Not all are so cookie cutter.

Most people in mainstream media advise against long distance relationships. Heck, people on Youtube or just on social media typically yell a loud “NO” if any woman is thinking about entertaining the idea. For me, I didn’t really care about what other people said because at the end of the day, they are not me. It’s a real mantra that everyone should try to remember. One person’s experiences aren’t yours. You can learn from them but that doesn’t mean you will get the same outcome. Don’t be no fool but know that every path is different. So that was mindset when I fell in “like” with a guy while traveling in London.

My story: I was tired of NYC. Extremely over it! Dating scene was poop. My career was pretty good but I was feeling burnt out. Life seemed meh and I just wanted to change it up a bit. So I went on leave (luckily this was granted) and decided to do a short course in London and use it as a base to explore a few other cities in Europe. This all meant dating would be part of it but I wanted to take a risk. Doing something a bit out of the norm and live a life more fulfilled. Along the way, I went out with a few dopes in London (from varying backgrounds) before I ran into what would become my husband.

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I’m a looker, lol

When I met my husband, I thought he was a nice guy and really liked the flow of our conversation. I didn’t put too much energy toward it though because I had been “tricked” by a few guys and I was tired of getting excited. So I maintained an even flow of “excitement” and kept an openminded without being overly exposed. I would just have fun. The fun was too much end when I reached month 5 of being in the UK on a tourist visa which meant I had to go soon. We decided that we liked each other enough to do long distance and booked a trip before I left so we knew when we’d next see each other. I became that long distance girl but I wasn’t. I was my own person and here’s what I found to be the 5 keys in keeping the relationship healthy.

Define The Relationship

Before I left to NYC, we sat down and discussed what we wanted to do. We both agreed that we were in an exclusive boyfriend and girlfriend relationship. There was no talking around what we wanted or thought it might be, it was said in plain english “this is what we are.” You need to do this to make sure you start it off right.

Be Clear On Communication

We made plans to Google Hangout at least two to three times a week and messaged each other daily. We had clear intervals for when our chats would occur and made sure to keep each other up to date on our days or whatever we wanted to share. We kept our conversation going and treated it as if we lived in the same city.

Be Honest

You need to be honest while doing this long distance thang. If you were missing each other, say it. If you were feeling that the long distance was particularly tough that week, say it! It was super important to us to keep each other in the know on our feelings and to stay honest about where we felt things were going.

Make A Date

One must is to make sure you plan a date to meet up next whenever you are together. As I said, before I went to NYC, we made a plan and booked tickets to Tenerife in two months. This way, we knew when we would see each other next and have a date to look forward to. We did this every time we meet up, picking a new location and booking our flights to where we would meet IRL.

Talk About The Future

A great killer of the long distance relationship is not being on the same page about the future. If one of you is thinking I want to be married in 3 years where the other is thinking I want to be married in 10 years, maybe you should talk. Or if one wants kids but the other is fine with riding solo, these are things to be addressed. You need to be on the same page about your future if you want your relationship to work out!

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So in the end, we got married and are still temporarily long distance but it isn’t for too much longer. I know a  lot of people talk about how it ends up failing in the end but that is not the case for everyone. It just takes a bit of planning, heart, faith and communication.

Are you guys into long distance relationships? Do you have a mantra about this? Have you seen success?

Good Eats: Cuba NYC Lunch Review

Summer is on the way out and Fall is in. This means big tops and jackets to conceal food babies that are destined to grow this season! One way I recommend feeding your food baby while in NYC is heading to this amazing Cuban spot in the west village called Cuba NYC. I recently had a wedding lunch at the location and went back there with my hubby for a second helping because it was freaking delicious!

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On our second trip to Cuba NYC, it just so happened to be brunch and we discovered that they served bottomless drinks. We thought about indulging but my hubby had a flight to catch and we were really only there for the food and perhaps one drink. With that in mind, we ordered a drink each (a mojito and a white sangria) and moved onto the starter.

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A seafood ceviche was calling us. When it arrived, it came in what appeared to be a bottomless goblet and was filled with shrimp, calamari and scallops in a tasty tangy sauce. It also had fresh plain plantain chips on the side for dipping! To tell you that this would turn any anti-ceviche person into a lover would be an understatement. The sauce had a tang to it but it was overpowering. The seafood was crisp and cool. Every bit of this dish tasted so fresh. I could barely stop myself from going ham after all, this was only our starter. The main dish would soon be on the way and from our prior experience, the plate is hefty!

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Next came the main dish. We both opted for pork but it was prepared in two different ways. I had the shredded pork (pictured in the front) with yuca and black rice. Everything was succulent, hot and just bursting with spices (especially garlic). The yuca was lovely and complimented the pork so well. I definitely need to learn how to make this myself but I’m telling you, it was the absolute best!

My husband ordered pork cubes with roasted potatoes and black rice. He gave me a bite of his and I also think it was pretty fantastic. It was a different taste to the shredded pork as I believe my dish was more fatty. His was a bit leaner and had a sweeter sauce drizzled on the meat. It was a delicious taste and pretty hearty. I honestly don’t think you could have gone wrong with either dish but my shredded pork was the bomb!

As for ambiance, the place looks very unassuming from the outside but it’s worth popping in. It’s small but well kept and the servers are pretty nice and attentive. It also has some fun Cuban decor in the space and plays Spanish music in the background. It’s not too loud but you can definitely groove while eating. The price? It isn’t too bad considering west village eateries. I think we paid around $80 with tax and tip (two drinks, a starter, two entrees and a coffee). Considering the portions and the overall flavors, it’s definitely a nice little mini splurge.

Would you pay that much for it? Have you ever been? Let me know! I’m sure I’ll head back there for a third time. 🙂

“Lemme Show You My D*ck!” – Racism In NYC

If you’ve seen my last post, you know that I was recently married. If you look closer, you can also tell that I’m in an interracial relationship. Shocker! haha

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Any ways, my now hubby and I have been on a few trips now – to France, Southern UK, Sicily, Spain, and Morocco just to name a few. We have fun, memorable experiences from each location as well as some unsavory ones. In Morocco, a man swindled us by walking us to our Airbnb (although I protested to my hubby about it but he was too naive), and in France, I almost had a meltdown climbing a mountain that I swore was going to throw me to my death. One negative experience I didn’t expect however was in NYC, my hometown of sorts.

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Speed walking along the east side of midtown Manhattan, my hubby and I were on our way to grand central station to catch a train (as the MTA has no care about smooth service). We decided to walk rather than ride a train downtown to come back up and switch over to another roundabout way of getting home.

As we’re walking, talking about random things and laughing at stupid jokes, my eyes fall upon what looks like a homeless older man standing under some scaffolding in front of us. He’s an older black man wearing a gray tee and some jeans that look a bit dirty and he’s fidgeting. Why did he catch my eye? Not because of his fidgeting but because he’s sticking his middle finger up. In my head I can’t help but think that he’s flipping me off but I think perhaps I’m mistaken and he’s silently attacking the woman walking ahead of us.

We get closer and it soon becomes apparent he’s flipping me off. And as we get in closer range, he starts yelling at me “lemme show you my d*ck. I bet my black d*ck is bigger than his. It’s two times the size of two white men.” I quote this but know it’s not verbatim, it’s just how I remember it. He then starts to shout something else about our kids (of which I have none but I guess it’s something he’s predicting) and follows it off by calling me a b*tch.

It’s at this moment that my hubby loses his cool and wants to confront this man to which I say no, he’s crazy and it really isn’t worth it. Growing up in the Bronx (and NYC), you know that the homeless are likely mentally unstable (a sad generalization but I feel it to be true). There’s absolutely no point in engaging with people like that because you have no idea what they might do next. If they are willing to verbally attack you from a block away, you shouldn’t get in a yelling match with them IMO.

We keep walking and we eventually get to the train but I was shocked. I was shocked that I was being targeted for being with my husband and that a man was so bothered by it that he harassed me. Granted, he was a mentally unstable homeless man (my diagnosis) but I couldn’t believe that was something I would encounter minding my own business on the streets of NYC.

I began to think that maybe I was being PDA-y (but I’m pretty anti PDA), analyzing what I was doing before that moment the man called me a b*tch but then I stopped. I was doing anything wrong and this man was a complete nut. We were just caught off guard, not thinking someone would bother us because of our differing appearance in a city as diverse and “liberal” as New York. But what truly surprised me was that this wasn’t the first instance of being called out because of my relationship in NYC.

The first time it happened, it was a few days before my wedding. My husband (fiance at the time) and I were in Union Square walking around the city and enjoying New York. If you haven’t been here from time to time, in high traffic areas, you’ll find weird religious groups preaching with microphones in their hands about what god likes and dislikes or some radical idea (this is my opinion). We came across a group just like this who were shouting about how god didn’t like gays and as we walked by, they didn’t targeted how god didn’t like interracial relationships. Say what!

That time we didn’t really let it phase us since he wasn’t going bananas like the homeless man but again, this man saying this because he saw us was an older black male. It was bizarre to say the least. Of all my trips and all our travels, I haven’t noticed or felt super targeted until this most recent trip to NYC. We’ve been in NYC before and have gone “under the radar” but this trip, we seemed to catch attention. Perhaps it was because of our wedding and the good vibes were bringing in some negative, dusty ones. It’s hard to say.

These NYC experiences won’t ruin NY for me (NY was already ruined, jk) or traveling as a whole. Part of traveling is to learn new things, meet new people and get new experiences that shape you. I don’t feel our relationship is a sin or wrong so we are all good there, but it is good to have these crazy things happen to make me a better person. I didn’t teach anyone tolerance in those situations (is that my job?) but I did figure out a way to handle myself and handle any possible next situation with a better head.

I Got Married In Central Park!

This year has been A LOT. From spending the New Year in Morocco to trips to Andalusia and London, I feel like my life has been a whirlwind adventure. Full of good times and trying times (more on those in the future), one of the biggest things to happen to me this year was my engagement and marriage in Wagner Cove, Central Park.

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We planned an intimate ceremony after deciding that we couldn’t get away with eloping (too many immediate family members wanted in even with our limited numbers). We secured a permit for Wagner Cove in Central Park and then planned a family lunch at a Cuban restaurant further downtown.

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To say it was nice was an understatement. It wasn’t one of those cheesy blown out things but I admit that I’m one who doesn’t like to be the center of attention. To me, it was the perfect amount of attention that lasted for a brief period of time. Our ceremony was only about 15 minutes tops so no one could feel as if we were dragging things out. I also found my wedding dress online for a reasonable price as I wasn’t trying to spend megabucks on a dress.

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There’s more to tell on my wedding story but for now, I just wanted to share a reason why I’ve been distracted. I have tips I want to share as well as a bit more info on what went into deciding the budget and how I figured out the best way to marry a UK citizen, haha. Stay tuned for more!

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