Tuesday, February 24, 2015

26 things I’m looking forward to for my 26th year


I seriously can’t believe that I turn 26 on Wednesday! (Time is seriously flying.) One of the reasons I enjoy birthdays so much is because they are a great time for self reflection. It's the perfect time to set new goals and figure out what you want to accomplish in the upcoming year. God has been amazing to me and has continued to blow my mind in so many different ways every single day. My 25th year, I accomplished things I set out to do and even things I had no idea were coming my way. Since there's no time better than the present, I would like to take the time to publish some things I'm looking forward to accomplishing in my 26th year! I love these lists because a year from now, I can always look back and see what I can cross off and what I need to continue to work on. So here goes! Check out the list below.

  1. Launching & hosting my wine events
  2. Taking multiple wine classes
  3. Traveling to Italy
  4. Hosting dinner parties
  5. Saving $10,000
  6. Making & selling soy wax candles
  7. Getting my next promotion at work
  8. Investing in an iMac
  9. Complete decorating my bedroom 
  10. Complete my gallery wall
  11. Printing more pictures and making photo books
  12. Reading more books
  13. Studying the Bible
  14. Visiting Napa Valley
  15. Practicing my photography more 
  16. Taking cooking classes
  17. Practicing French
  18. Exploring new parts of NYC
  19. Planning my mom’s 50th birthday party 
  20. Going home to Jamaica
  21. Going to my first wedding as an adult
  22. Practicing gratitude 
  23. Practicing patience
  24. Growing my blog
  25. Nurturing personal and professional relationships
  26. Investing in my future


Looking forward to another amazing year!


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

How To Plan A Cabin Getaway

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I’ve had this idea for some time now—whisking my friends away for a quiet birthday celebration somewhere up in the mountains or out in the suburbs of upstate New York. With my birthday being one week away, I had no idea how I was going to pull this planning off so quickly.

Luckily, a friend came to the rescue and had already planned a ski trip to upstate New York, Hunter Mountain. How lucky was I that this was the exact location I wanted to visit as well? Everything happens for a reason!

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably thinking you don’t have enough time to plan a weekend cabin getaway for yourself. Think again, even though my friend (shout out to Natalie!) was the lead on the planning, I definitely got some tips on how to plan the best cabin getaway ever!

First thing on the list is to pick a location:

If you’re in NYC like me then this is a no brainer, go upstate! Sure you can go out of town to Colorado or Vermont, but why go so far (and spend more coins) when you have beautiful slopes right in your background? New York is home to some of the best skiing in the East with 50+ ski resorts throughout the state!

We chose Hunter Mountain because it’s about an easy 2 hour drive from the city and the mountain is guaranteed to be blanketed in snow! The cabins are also super cute in the surrounding Catskill area. Cabins are affordable and easy to find.

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Next item on the list is to secure lodging:

Like previously mentioned this part is actually really easy! Figure out how many confirmed guests are attending the trip and go to airbnb.com or vacationrental.com and search for homes in the region you’re visiting. This search will give you plenty of options to choose from in your price range.


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Last thing on your list is to come up with a loose itinerary:

Sometimes, when traveling with a lot of people it’s hard to keep everyone on track. Make it known ahead of time that activities on the mountain will take place at a pre-determined time/ day and ensure everyone is one the same page. Try to also get tickets for the ski lifts ahead of time as there are usually discounts associated with pre paying.

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That’s it guys--Pack plenty of warm clothes, games, food and drinks and get ready for an amazing getaway in the mountains! We leave for Hunter Mountain on Friday and I cannot wait! Pictures from our trip coming soon!






Friday, February 13, 2015

8 things I can’t wait to do in Jamaica











So, 2015 is off to an amazing start! I’m already scratching destination #1 off of my travel wish list for this year! First up—the beautiful, easy going island of Jamaica. I go to Jamaica on March 14th & I absolutely cannot wait! I was born in Jamaica and migrated to the US when I was about 6 years old. I went back from time to time but my last visit was over 5 years ago (a visit is overdue).

In planning the itinerary for my upcoming trip, I’ve found some awesome pictures and instagram accounts that have inspired me along the way. BTW a little tip is to type in hashtags of your destination on instagram (#Jamaica) and be blown away by the amount of cool destinations you can find all in one place. I came across some of these destinations by following some pretty cool accounts such as @viewjamaica and also just clicking around on different hashtags. It’s the new way of itinerary making! But really though, another great site I came across was afar.com, a resource for all things travel! It had an in depth guide of everything you need to know about Jamaica! Check it out.
 
1. Cornwall Beach, Montego Bay
Apparently Cornwall Beach is the best place to go in Montego Bay outside of the super touristy Doctor's Cave Beach. I'm excited to check it out and enjoy time with local visitors and partake in the super fun sunset parties with bottomless Appleton drinks! Can't wait!
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2. Appleton Estate, Kingston
Appleton Estate is a legendary distillery in Jamaica’s Southcoast. I'm interested in going on the journey through time to learn about the history of rum! The tour gives an inside look at how the finest rum in the world is made.
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3. Winnifred Beach, Portland
This gorgeous golden sand beach has some of the prettiest turquoise waters I've ever seen in pictures (I mean, just look at it). I've read that the beach is a nice mix of locals and visitors (which is the vibe I love). The beach also boasts some jerk stands on site, serving fresh seafood & festival plus ice cold red stripes! My type of place.
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4. Boston Bay, Portland
Boston Bay is said to be the birthplace of jerk chicken..that's enough to get me either immediately upon arrival.
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5. Rockhouse, Negril
I've heard that experiencing the Rockhouse Restaurant is a must on any Negril visitor’s list. I'm thinking of checking it out both during the day to take a dip in the crystal clear water and at night when the outdoor deck is lit with tiki torches and the Caribbean Sea shimmers below.
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6. Blue Lagoon, Portland
This lagoon is 180-foot-deep jade and sapphire colored body of fresh and salt water in Port Antonio's east coast. The water looks so serene and inviting! Can't wait to take a dip.
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7. Rafting on the Rio Grande, Portland
This will probably be the most adventurous thing I do while in Jamaica; even though all I'll be doing is relaxing on a bamboo raft for about 2 hours. Oh the life!
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8.  Frenchman's Cove, Portland
If I could, I would stay in Portland for my entire trip just to explore every inch of the parish. Frenchman's Cove is more than just a beach, it's the ideal day getaway! The beach is breathtaking and the river right next to it looks unbelievable, plus the swings and vines make it even more exotic looking! Love it.
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Anything I missed? Let me know below in the comments section!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

5 Sweet Ways To Say Happy V-Day



Valentine's Day might not be the most celebrated holiday but it's an awesome time to remind friends, loved ones and significant others just how much they mean to you. Everyday should be filled be with love and appreciation but of course the stresses of every day life often get in the way of that. Use Valentine's Day as a way to not only be materialist but also sentimental. Here at 5 sweet ways to say Happy V-day to the ones you love the most.

1. Hand Written Cards

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Even though you might see someone every single day, there are tons of words that go unspoken. A hand written card is the perfect way to show that special someone just how much they mean to you. Use the card as an opportunity to really express yourself and not just write a one-liner. Express your thoughts fully and dig deep. I love putting the date I write the card in the top right hand corner as that allows for a nice reference years later when you revisit the cards together. 

2. Printed Picture Books

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This has been my thing as of late! I love a good framed picture, but picture books are amazing! They are so simple to make and are really fun to do. For your special loved one you can use the picture book as way to archive specific events of the year. For example, you can make a bundle of three books, each outlining a milestone in your relationship. If this is for your boyfriend, one book can speak to year of the relationship, book two can speak to special travel moments you've had together and book three and can be all the fun times you spent having in your hometown together! The ideas are endless here and it's such a sweet touch to have all those memories on paper!

3. Random Love Notes


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This idea is again super easy to do. Leaving random notes secretly hidden in your significant others room is an incredibly thoughtful way to remind them just how special they are. The notes can mention sweet nothings or be silly or even inside jokes between you two so when the note is retrieved it immediately evokes a smile or a serious laugh out loud! 

4. Surprise Home Cooked Dinner 
 
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I love a good surprise on V-day. There's something about a home cooked meal that really gets me! I think cooking from the heart and showing your significant other that extra effort is a great way to show appreciation. Go the extra mile with dinner by making a nice table setting with matching plates, glasses and fancy flatware. Even splurge for some fresh cut flowers! These small touches will make for an amazing dinner at home.

5. Unconventional Night In


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Living here in NYC, the one place you want to be on V-day is inside your apartment! It's impossible to get reservations and really it's not worth the headache. If  you live in a place similar or prefer to not go out, plan a fun night in for you and your significant other! Just because your inside your home for the night doesn't mean you have to do traditional things. Go for a themed evening such as "A night in Italy" -- splurge on good wine, play amazing music in the background and transform your space into a romantic Italian getaway. Use pillows, throws, color and whatever else you can think of to make your dream destination all come to life in the comfort of your own home! It's possible, it only takes a little imagination.

And that's it, friends! 5 easy sweet ways to say happy Valentine's Day to that special someone in your life! What do you plan to do on the big day? Let me know below!

xo

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Low & Slow Rosemary Shrimp Scrambled Eggs


There are few things I love more than eggs & shrimp! When you combine the two it makes for a decadent breakfast that is sure to impress anyone you're cooking it for. The eggs are to die for--they are soft, fluffy and literally melt in your mouth. The rosemary brings out the awesome flavor of the shrimp and gives it that extra kick!  Ok, enough talking. Let's get to it.

Here's what you'll need for eggs:
  • 5 jumbo eggs
  • 1/4 cup of heavy cream or half and half
  • generous amount of salt and fresh black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
Directions: 
Wisk eggs in bowl (or use a magic bullet like I did because it's easier) and add cream, salt and pepper. Add butter to non stick skillet and let butter begin to foam, once melted, add egg mixture to pan and ensure heat is on low. Continuously stir eggs for about 20 minutes until formed. 


Here's what you'll need for shrimp:
  •  10 medium sized to jumbo shrimp - uncooked
  • 1/4 of a small onion finely diced
  • 1/4 of a small shallot finely diced
  • 1/2 of a small tomato finely diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of fresh or dry rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 clove of garlic finely diced
  •  salt
  • pepper
  • paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
Directions:
In a small bowl wash and divine shrimp. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry with paper towel. Then add salt, pepper and paprika to taste (I use about 1/2 a teaspoon each).  Let shrimp sit while you heat olive oil in small skillet. Add onion and shallots to pan and cook untl translucent. Add shrimp and cook about 2 mintutes per side. Top with garlic, tomatoes, rosemary and butter. Turn heat to low and let simmer for an additional 2 minutes.




Once shrimp is complete add to formed eggs and incorporate. Spoon the butter mixture from the skillet with the shrimp over the eggs.


Garnish with dry parsley and serve!



Enjoy!



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