#BlackBusiness Spotlight | The Wrap Life

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The Wrap Life is one of my most recent black business find gems. I discovered this great black female-owned business on social media. Created by Nnenna Stella in Brooklyn, New York, The Wrap Life is about "cultivating a life abundant with color, texture, and handmade goods," such as handprinted and African head wraps, jewelry, soaps, and incense.

I was specifically attracted to the company for their beautiful head wraps. Lately, I have been enamored with various black women I have seen on Instagram rocking beautiful head wraps twisted into creative and unique styles. So, after I found out about The Wrap Life, I headed immediately to their 

website

.

What I love about The Wrap Life are their wide variety of head wraps, including brightly colored ones with intricate patterns for the bold head wrapper and darkly colored ones with subtle patterns for the less bold or novice head wrapper, and their short YouTube tutorials providing viewers tips and ideas to help them create your own unique wrap styles. I currently follow the company on Instagram and frequently bookmark their tutorial videos, so that I can try them out.

The Wrap Life's head wraps are 100% cotton, handprinted, and (approximately) 22x72 inches. They are moderately priced, ranging from $25 to $27. I purchased their "Fes" head wrap, which has a Moroccan inspired pattern, and I have already rocked it in three different styles, since I received it in about 2 weeks ago.

I love The Wrap Life's head wraps and I recommend you check them out. I am already eyeing one of their African head wraps for my next purchase.

Website: https://thewrap.life

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/thewraplife

Below, I have posted a picture of a bouffant wrap style I created using one of their YouTube tutorials. Got me feeling confident on those days when my roots are not looking so great.

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#BuyBlack Spotlight: Kashmir.VIII

I love

Kashmir.VIII

(**Oprah voice**). This creative brand is one of the coolest businesses that I have discovered in the last few years.

Created by young, black, and fabulous artist Kashmir Thompson, this brand is the definition of dope. Kashmir.VIII offers one of a kind items, including prints, clothing, calendars, accessories, and home decor, that features two of my favorite things: vibrant colors and 90s hip hop/black pop culture (i.e., tv shows, music, and movies).

From A Different World t-shirts (note: Issa wore one on an episode of hit HBO show Insecure) to painted drawings of the cast of Martin to Lil Kim "Queen Bitch" clutches,

Kashmir.VIII

has unique pieces that exudes creative, fashion, and black cultural pride.

I recently bought a Living Single clutch from the brand. I used as my main purse during a recent trip to the DMV and I received tons of compliments on it.

Highly recommend that you head over to the website of this week's #BuyBlack Spotlight pick

Kashmir.VIII

 (http://www.kashmirviii.com) and check out all of the unique items Kashmir Thompson has to offer. (And if you buy something, let her know I sent you!!) 

**This business is certifiably For Us By Us***

Buy Black On Black Friday: 13 Black-Owned Businesses For Your Holiday Shopping

It is Thanksgiving. Since I got such a great response to my "Buy Black on Black Friday" shopping list last year, I decided to do it again. I have mix of some brands I love and some brands that I just discovered that you can find either online or in your local stores.

With an unpredictable four years ahead of us, it is important that we support the businesses of marginalized peoples--black-owned, women-owned, immigrant-owned, etc.

1. 

Loft324

 - clothing

2. 

Rachel Stewart Jewelry

 - jewelry 

sale: 25% off purchases with code: POWER (11/25-11/28) 

3. 

Ariel Brands

 - clothing, prints, accessories, and games

4. 

shadrieka

 - prints and greeting cards 

5. 

DorcasCreates

 - prints, accessories, and greeting cards 

6.

DEMESTIK

 - African print clothing

sale: up to 40% off; additional $25 off purchases of $200 with code: DRR1124

7. 

Kashmir VIII

 - prints, accessories, and clothing 

sale: $10 or more off all items; additional $5 off all orders $75+ with code: 5off ; additional $10 off all orders $120+ with code: 10off ; $20 off all orders $200+ with code: 20off

8.

Postively Perfect Dolls

 - multicultural dolls (available at local Walmart and Target stores)

9.

Philadelphia Printworks

- clothing 

sale: Sale with Free Shipping with code: BLACKWALLSTREET (until 11/28)

10. 

Nubian Skin

 - lingerie and hosiery for women of color (also available at Nordstrom stores)

sale: 40% off Lace Collection with code: NSBLACKFRIDAY (until midnight 11/25)

11. Ty Lite - LED lighted phone cases (aka selfie phone cases) 

sale: 50% off all cases (until 11/27)

12.

Iman Cosmetics

- beauty products for women of color (also available at Target and Walgreens stores)

13.

Bevel

- grooming products and services for people of color 

Figuring Out Weight Loss: My Review of the Nutrisystem Uniquely Yours 4-Week Meal Plan

It is a kinda funny story how I ended up on a Nutrisystem 4-week meal plan. 

Four weeks ago, during my weekly dinner with my father, he asks me if I have thought about joining Weight Watchers. I was totally taken aback by this question and a bit offended. Why was my father asking me about joining Weight Watchers? At that time, I had already lost 10 lbs on my own. Could he not see my progress? Was he trying to tell me I was fat and needed professional help to slim down? 

So, of course, I got in my feelings and responded with an emphatic "No." I told him that I was not interested in joining a weight loss program because they cost money that I did not have to spare. Despite my response, he kept pressing me and even offered to pay if I wanted to join.  I laughed at his proposal and then later went home and told my mother about the conversation. I thought she would be mad at my father for asking me to join Weight Watchers, but she wasn't. She was actually mad at me for refusing his offer to pay for a weight loss program. She reminded me of how expensive eating healthy is and of how getting my father to pay for a healthy meal program, even if it was only for 4 weeks, could save me hundreds of dollars. 

As much as I hate to admit it, I quickly realized that my mother was right. I was not in a position to turn down an opportunity for free healthy food. 

I headed to the Google to do some research. I looked up Weight Watchers and found out that although they sold frozen foods in the supermarkets, they did not offer what I was looking for, home delivery meal plans. Disappointed  I moved onto the next big name weight loss program, Nutrisystem. 

I was pleasantly surprised to find that Nutrisystem had exactly what I was looking for. Nutrisystem offers three different 4-week meal plans at affordable prices: basic, core, and uniquely yours. I told my dad about it and after some bantering with him (because he insisted that he only offered to pay for Weight Watchers and not another program), I got him to pay around $340 for a 4-week meal plan. 

I picked the uniquely yours meal plan, which included a choice of over 150 meals and snacks and unlimited frozen foods (starting at $11.96 a day). For signing up, I also got a two week supply of their turbo 10 protein shakes. 

My Review

Delivery, Packaging, and Food Selection: 

The food arrived a week later in two separate shipments--one for the non frozen foods and another for the frozen foods (which arrived in a dry ice-filled styrofoam cooler). When I opened the boxes, I was a bit overwhelmed by how much food I received. I had to actually rearrange the pantry and freezer to fit in all of the food I received, which included breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. The great thing about the food was that the boxes are clearly marked with the nutritional content, calories, and designated meal. 

Some of the food items I received were frozen cinnamon rolls, waffles, and turkey sausage egg sandwiches for breakfast, soups, steak and cheese melts, and mini pizzas for lunch, chicken parmesan, ravioli with meat sauce, and spinach-stuffed chicken for dinner, and fudge bars, slices of chocolate cake, and mini apple pies for snack. 

Taste:

Honestly, the food that I received varied in taste level. Most of the food tasted very good, such as the breakfast cinnamon rolls, the turkey sausage and egg sandwich,  the waffles and pancakes, the ravioli in meat sauce, the frozen hamburger and chicken sandwiches, and all of the frozen desserts. But there were a few meals that I felt tasted like bland diet food, such as the protein shakes, pasta, the bean chili, and the soups. 

Also, I must note that the portion sizes of all meals that I received were child size. Imagine a McDonalds happy meal versus a Big Mac combo meal. Get the picture? Tiny!!! I assume that the small portions are to keep the meals under 300 calories. But, it is very jarring when you first replace your regular meals with Nutrisystem meals. 

The first time I opened up one of their frozen personal pizzas I laughed and immediately opened another one to eat for my dinner. It felt unnatural to eat such a pizza for dinner that was the size of my hand. Eventually, I learned to pair the pizza with a small salad and a glass of grapefruit juice or red wine, instead of doubling my Nutrisystem meals to fill my stomach. 

Overall Value and Recommendation: 

I recommend the Nutrisystem Uniquely Yours meal plan with reservations. If you are looking for a home delivery program with a large variety of low calorie meals

and

 you have about $350 to spare to buy 4 weeks of prepackaged meals at one time, I recommend you try out this meal program. It definitely helped with my weight loss goals because I always had low calorie foods that I could quickly and easily heat up for my daily meals. I had no excuse for stopping at Wendy's for fast food because I had large variety of "fast" foods at home that I could eat guilt-free without having to spend time prepping and cooking food. 

BUT, if you do not have $350 to spend at one time on food, I would NOT recommend you pay for a Nutrisystem meal program. You pay the same amount of money or more in total on groceries throughout the course of a month. But, it is not the same as paying over $300 dollars on food at one time for prepackaged/frozen meals. The conveniences is not worth the financial burden. Nutrisystem is a subscription meal program so they are going to automatically charge your credit card every month unless you suspend or cancel your subscription. I canceled my subscription after 4 weeks because I can't afford the fee and my dad only agreed to pay for one month for me. 

4 TV Series Starring People of Color You Should Watch

I love tv. I especially love tv shows that feature people of color in their main casts. Since for some time in the past decade there were so few black, brown, and tan faces on the small screen, I make sure to support the shows that portray people of color well. 

Last fall, I blogged about some of my shows featuring black main characters that I was watching and thought you all should be watching too (check out it

here

). Here is my list of must-watch black shows for this fall: 

1) Insecure (premieres Sunday, October 9th at 10:30pm EST on HBO)

Insecure explores the black female experience in an unclichéd and authentic way. Rae stars as Issa and Yvonne Orji stars as Molly, two modern-day black women and best friends who must deal with their own real-life flaws as they attempt to navigate different worlds and cope with an endless series of uncomfortable everyday experiences.

Good for:

those who are looking for an adult comedy showcasing the lives of young black women trying to figure love, life, and everything in between. Issa Rae is a brilliant and funny writer and actor. 

2. Luke Cage (available now on Netflix) 

Luke Cage was introduced in the Netflilx series Jessica Jones. He has impenetrable skin and super strength, but prefers to keep a low profile running a bar in Hell's Kitchen. However, the increase in metahuman individuals has turned the Kitchen into a battlefield, drawing Luke into the thick of things whether he wants to get involved or not.

Good for:

those who love the current influx of Marvel and DC superhero movies and tv shows but hate the lack of superheroes of color in them. Luke Cage is tall, dark, fine, and bulletproof. 

3. Fresh Off The Boat (airs Tuesdays at 9pm EST on ABC)

It's the '90s and 12 year old, hip-hop loving Eddie (Hudson Yang) just moved to suburban Orlando from DC's Chinatown with his parents (Randall Park and Constance Wu). It's culture shock for his immigrant family in this comedy about pursuing the American Dream. 

Fresh Off the Boat

 is based on Chef Eddie Huang's memoir 

Fresh Off the Boat

.

Good for: 

those who are looking for a family friendly comedy showcasing the hilarious escapades of a Chinese American family navigating a mostly white suburbs in Orlando, set to a 90s hip hop soundtrack. Constance Wu who plays mama Jessica is hilarious. 

4. Superstore (airs on Thursdays at 8pm EST on NBC)

This hilarious workplace comedy "Superstore" is about a unique family of employees at a supersized megastore. "Superstore" centers around Amy (Ferrera), the store's most stalwart employee as well as the glue holding the place together, and newly hired Jonah (Feldman), a dreamer determined to prove work doesn't have to be boring. Their fellow associates include the sardonic Garrett (Colton Dunn, "Key & Peele"), the ambitious Mateo (Nico Santos, "Mulaney") and the sweet teenager, Cheyenne (Nichole Bloom, "Shameless"). Overseeing the store is Glenn (Mark McKinney, "The Kids in the Hall"), the store's affable, clueless store manager, and Dina (Lauren Ash, "Super Fun Night"), the aggressive assistant manager who enforces Cloud 9 policy with an iron fist.

From the bright-eyed newbies and the seen-it-all veterans to the clueless seasonal hires and the in-it-for-life managers, together they hilariously tackle the day-to-day grind of rabid bargain hunters, riot-causing sales and nap-worthy training sessions. 

Good for:

those who are looking for a good workplace comedy with a funny (and culturally diverse) ensemble cast.

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Figuring Out Weight Loss: Surviving Vacations, Weekends Away, and Dining Out

I am happy to announce that your girl Toya T is still losing weight. I lost 1.6 lbs this week. This is really a huge feat because of the fact that I took off three days from my diet this past Labor Day weekend. 

Week 6:

From Saturday to Monday, I was in Philadelphia with two of my friends at the Made in America Festival, which is a 2-day music festival sponsored by Budweiser. At first, I thought that I might be able to follow my diet with a few tweaks while I was at the festival: eat my regular healthy breakfast and lunch, drink a minimum of one beer per day, and eat the least fatty meals for dinner while I was at the festival.  I really thought that this was going to work. Or, at least I wanted this plan to work because I did not want to lose my weight-loss momentum from the past 6 weeks. I packed as many healthy snacks as I could carry and brought along a homemade protein shake, since our hotel had a mini fridges in the rooms. 

By noon on Saturday, I realized that it was unrealistic for me to follow my diet during my weekend away. This was my last hoorah before heading back into the classroom and plus I was with my friends. Sticking to my diet felt more like work than a normal healthy life choice.  So, I decided to allow myself three cheat days, not to overindulge on fatty goodness, but to eat and drink when I felt hungry without counting calories (and feeling guilty). To not fall back into bad eating habits or throw away my weight-loss successes, I also decided to jump back into my Super Shred diet at the point that I stopped on the program's weekly meal plan--in this case, it was Days 5, 6, and 7 of Week 2.

During my three cheat days, I made sure to stay active. Luckily, the festival made this very easy because it involved a lot of walking around and standing. I made over 24,000 steps on Saturday alone and burned over 3000 calories (note: this is more than I burn on a regular day eating healthy and working out). 

When I weighed myself on Tuesday, I was surprised to see that I didn't gain any weight. I lost .2 lbs and by Thursday I had lost an additional 1.4 lbs. 

This past weekend was very important moment in my 50 lb weight-loss journey. I learned that I can still eat, drink, and be merry without losing control. Cheat days or cheat meals are good in moderation as long as you stay active and focused on your goals. I am now 12.2 lbs down and determined to lose another 8 lbs by the end of the month. 

Smiles and Lime-a-ritas at Made in America 

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How To Stay Focused During a Long Weight-Loss Journey

First things first, I am proud to announce that I lost .9 lbs this past week. Although it is not a big number, it is still a victory because it is a weight loss and not a weight gain.

Week 4 Progress:

In 4 weeks, I have lost 8 lbs with the Super Shred diet and Nike Training Club Lean Fit workout challenge.  **pelvic thrusts** Now I have 42 lbs to go...42 LBS TO GO!!!! Ugh.

Losing that much weight is not going to be easy or quick (unless I max out my credit cards and get liposuction). It is going to take months upon months of working out, dieting, and focus.

To help me keep focused during my weight-loss journey, I am doing the following 3 things:

1. Join Fitness Challenges 

This is very simple. Find a fitness challenge and do it.

  • It helps you develop a regular fitness schedule that is easy to follow and increases with intensity as it progresses.

  • It prevents you from feeling overwhelmed by making you focus on a short-term, achievable fitness goal.

  • If you get your friends or family to join the challenge, it helps you create a fitness support system to keep you motivated to finish.

  • Plus, when you finish, you are fitter and have the sweet satisfaction of completing a fitness goal.

Here's a challenge for you: 

2. Try New Healthy Recipes 

The internet is wonderful place to find tons and tons of healthy recipes (note: Pinterest is the best site ever to find yummy, healthy recipes).

  • It helps you transition from bad eating habits to good eating habits, by allowing you to eat less calories without feeling deprived.

  • It helps you discover new foods and dishes that you can share with your family and friends and impress them with your culinary skills.

  • If you cook your meals ahead of time, preferably at the beginning of the week, it will help you stay on your diet and give you less excuses for grabbing for "fast fatty foods" (the dreaded 3 F's).

Here's a healthy recipe for you: 

3. Buy Cute Workout Clothes

Just because you are working out and sweating doesn't mean you can't look good while doing it.

  • Having cute workout clothes takes the UGH out of working out by giving you the same feeling as getting dressed up for a night out.

  • They tend to be form-fitting, which is a GOOD thing. Wearing oversized and baggy workout clothes make you look frumpy and larger than you really are, skewing your body image. Wearing cute, form-fitting workout clothes provides much-needed support for your jiggly parts and allows you to check your form and make sure you are correctly performing exercises, decreasing injuries and maximizing workout benefits.

  • Plus, it helps show off your new developing fit body.

Here's some cute workout clothes options for you: 

Low-end Activewear Brand: Everlast (sold at

Sears

)

High-end Activewear: Ivy Park (sold at

Nordstrom

)

Figuring Out Healthy Eating: My 3 Favorite Healthy Recipes

(Bad) eating got me into this mess and (good) eating is going to get me out...

The thing that I find the hardest about losing weight is the food, or specifically the type of food, you have to eat to lose the pounds. Am I the only that imagines eating bowls of leaves and twigs when you hear the word "diet"?  ***Shudders***

My first week on the Super Shred diet I was craving burgers and fries, which sadly I was eating every week. Driving by my favorite burger spot made me angry, hungry, and sad. Fortunately, the Super Shred diet allows me to eat a bunch of my favorite foods, either in smaller quantities or in lower calorie versions.

Here are three of my favorite healthy recipes (that have kept me from running to Shake Shack):

The Chocolate Razzy Smoothie

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

  • 4 tablespoons fat-free vanilla yogurt

  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

  • 1/3 cup fat-free or low-fat milk (highly suggest: light almond milk)

  • 3 ice cubes

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. 

Total Time: 5 minutes 

Servings: 1

Under 200 Calories 

Applesauce Muffins

  • 2 cups Cheerios cereal

  • 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 cup applesauce

  • 1/3 cup fat-free milk (or light almond milk)

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 egg or 1/4 cup fat-free egg product

  • 1/2 cup raisins, if desired

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray bottoms only of 12 regular-size muffin cups with cooking spray.

  2. Crush cereal. In large bowl, stir together cereal, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda. Stir in remaining ingredients just until moistened. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.

  3. Bake 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown.

Total Time: 35 minutes 

Servings: 12

150 Calories 

Salmon Baked in Foil

  • 3 tablespoons honey or agave nectar

  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

  • 1/2 salmon (about 1-1/2 pounds), with or without skin (remove before eating)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, white wine vinegar, olive oil, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper.

  3. Lay the salmon on a double sheet of foil on top of a baking sheet.

  4. Fold all 4 sides of the foil up and pour the honey mixture evenly over the salmon.

  5. Seal the foil by folding it as though you are wrapping a present. Place the salmon in the oven.

  6. Cook until the salmon is just cooked through, about 15 minutes. Take care not to overcook the salmon.

  7. Unwrap the salmon from the foil, cut into pieces and serve hot or at room temperature.

Total Time: 20 minutes

Servings: 4 

154 Calories 

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Martinique: My First Solo International Trip

martinique

If there is one thing that you need to know about me, it is that I love to travel. I like discovering new places and experiencing new cultures, especially the food. My top bucket list item is to travel to 6 out of the 7 continents before age 50---thus far I have traveled to North America, Asia, and Africa (note: Antartica is not on my list because I do not like the cold). 

Out of all the places I have been, the Caribbean has been alway, and will always be, my favorite. I am a Caribbean girl. My parents immigrated to the US from the small island of Dominica. I spent the first five years of my life traveling between my mother's home in Boston and my grandparents' home in Dominica. The Caribbean is home. 

So, when I saw this super sale from Boston to Martinique from Norwegian Airlines, with prices as low as $49 one way for direct flights, I could not pass it up. Plus, I had never been to Martinique. I was not able to take advantage of the unbelievably low (low low low) $49 flight because of my class schedule, but I was still able to get a great price--$188 for roundtrip ticket for Sunday, March 13 to Wednesday, March 16. 

If you have never heard of Martinique, it is a French island located in the Caribbean Sea, south of Dominica and north of St. Lucia. The capital is Fort-de-France. The island features black and white sand beaches, rainforests, and a volcano, Mt. Pelee. Once a longtime colony of France, the national language is French, and the culture, food, and architecture are mix of French and West Indian. 

Highlights from My Trip: 

The Hotel

I was lucky to find a reasonably priced 4-star hotel in the capital Fort-de-France on Booking.com. Simon Hotel is a brand new contemporary hotel, featuring modern furnishings, free wifi, a bar/restaurant, clean, spacious rooms, English-speaking staff, and views of the city and the sea. It is also within walking distance of restaurants, air conditioning, shops, local attractions (e.g., the public garden La Savane and Fort St. Louis), the cruise ship terminal, and the ferry (which provides easy access to the southern beach town of Les Trois-Ilets). 

hotel entrance 

hallway of rooms

view of the hotel from the ferry

The Food & Drinks

I am a foodie and I love to drink. My favorite thing to do when I travel is to try the local food. Here are some of my favorites from my trip. 

First night, I tried a local ti punch, which is a rum based mixed drink, popular in the French-speaking Caribbean islands of Martinique, Guadeloupe, Haiti, and French Guiana. Funny thing is when I saw it on the menu, I thought it was rum punch, a staple of the English-speaking Caribbean islands.  To my surprise, the waitress brought out a glass of rum, a bowl of brown sugar, and a lime wedge. As you can expect, this drink is STRONG. If you are not a drinker, skip it. But if you are a drinker, start your stay in Martinique with this local drink.

My first full day in Martinique I took the ferry over to Pointe du Bout in Les Trois-Ilets. I spent some time on the beach and then walked over to Havana Cafe in Creole Village. Food looked good on the menu. Unfortunately (for me), the staff did not speak English and I do not read or speak French; and so, I ended up picking my food based on the pictures on the menu and my rudimentary translation of the menu (thanks to 6 years of latin classes at my high school alma mater). With all of that said, I ordered th 1/4lb rotisserie chicken and french fries and Copa Cabana Sun cocktail and they were delicious. Note: if I could read the menu, I would have ordered my favorite, codfish fritter, which I learned too late is "les accras de morue" in French.

My last full day in Martinique I took the ferry to Anse Mitan in Les Trois-Ilets. I hit the beach for an hour and then walked over to the beachside restaurant Le Barracuda for lunch. Luckily, the restaurant had staff that spoke English and a bilingual French/English menu (thank goodness!!!). Without hesitation, I ordered the codfish fritters, stuffed crab, french fries, and a rum punch. Honestly, I was not a fan of their codfish fritters. It tasted more like oil and batter than codfish. But, the stuffed crab, french fries, and rum punch were so delicious. Highly recommend those three items if you find yourself at Le Barracuda.

The Beaches

The main reason I love the Caribbean is because I love the beach.  I am beach baby. A water sign. A summer baby. I was meant to be near water.

Day one, I headed across the waterway on the ferry to Pointe du Bout beach. I really like this beach. It is located a short walk from the ferry dock. Pointe du Bout beach is a large beach separated into three distinct areas, one part is next to a hotel resort, a middle part that has a small pool feeling, and a third part that faces toward Fort-de-France. I spent the majority of my time lounging in the middle part. The water is very calm and a nice cool temperature that warms up quickly. This beach is not ideal for sun-worshipers/bathers because the sand is a hard and rough and the area is small. But for someone like me who just wants to relax in calm, shallow water, this beach is a great place to spend a day.

Day two, I took the ferry from Fort-de-France to Anse Mitan. The ferry to this beach is bit longer than the one to Pointe du Bout because it stops at Anse a L 'Ane before it reaches Anse Mitan. This beach is significantly different than Pointe du Bointe. The ferry drops you off right at the beach, which is covered in soft sand. The beach is long and features different water activities, including jet skis, water trampolines, and dolphin watch tours. The water is clear and perfectly cool. I stayed in the water for a complete hour, relaxing and observing the scene. I highly recommend this beach. Wish I could have stayed longer. 

Overall, I had a great mini-vacation in Martinique. If you want to know more about this French island or travel experience, comment below. 

Spring (Break) Time is the Right Time to Travel to Somewhere New

It is officially spring break time. As a college professor, I look forward to this break because it not only gives me the opportunity to re-energize for the rest of the semester, but also gives me the chance to travel.

Last spring break, I traveled to Japan for the first time and fell in love with Japanese culture and food. This year I am taking a shorter (but much needed) trip to the French Caribbean island of Martinique. It is my first time visiting the country and I can't wait to explore. I got a round trip ticket for $188 (total!!!!!) from Norwegian Airlines.

The airline has been having a sale from a few major US cities to the French Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe. One-way tickets are as low as $49. Yes, I said $49 for a direct flight from Boston/New York/Baltimore to the Caribbean. Generally, a roundtrip ticket to this part of Caribbean is between $600-$800. The price was way too attractive to ignore.

I will post more information about my trip once I touch down on the beautiful island. In the meantime, check out my video on why everyone needs to travel.

Kicking Off #29DaysOfBlackness

Today is February 1st. And, I am so excited!!!  In the midst of all the craziness happening in this country to black people in America, I have decided to take the time this year to truly celebrate and honor Black History Month by loudly and proudly sharing my love for black people, business, culture, and history here on this blog and out in the real world.

I plan to be #veryblack. Unapologetically black. Happily black. Twirling in the magic of my blackness. For the entire month of February, I will be wearing clothing and accessories that are either created by black business owners or featuring black culture and/or people. I will also be featuring some of my favorite black authors, entertainers, poets, and creatives. And, to top things off, every week I will be spotlighting black folks doing and achieving amazing things in a "Black Excellence" post.

I think this is a great way to open up dialogue about the richness of black American culture and history, and to also educate the uneducated about the many contributions that black folks have made to help build this country.

Despite what some crazy confused fools have been saying in the media, Black History Month is very much needed---maybe more now than ever. I love my blackness (and yours too).

So, I invite all of you--and I mean all of you, regardless of race or ethnicity--- to join me in celebrating #29DaysofBlackness.

#29DaysOfBlackness Outfit of the Day: