Travel







It’s official..SUMMER is here! I never really appreciated this season while living in Texas (triple digits anyone?) until I moved to Chicago. When you are buried under snow with a polar vortex hovering over you for 6 months of the year, you savor every day of those three short but sweet summer months. So as you prepare for vacation, warmer weather and longer days check out what I’m loving this summer plus some great travel, style and entertainment tips.





Travel Issues


The June issue of some of your favorite magazines are PACKED with great travel deals, tips and features to get your geared up for summer getaways. Conde Nast Traveler “The Hot List”, Unite4Good “Travel4Good” and Essence “Vacation Issue” with the Lyon Brothers (#Empire) shining on the front cover are a few of my favorites.


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My favorite summer travel issues


Considering I started my own blog to encourage women (particularly black women) to travel more and embrace new experiences, I loved that Essence chose to focus June on highlighting “black girls who travel” and encouraging everyone to #seesomeworld.
Highlights from the issue include these awesome tips:


  • Always bring single dollar bills when traveling abroad since most countries wont have change in U.S. Dollars
  • Best days to book travel are Tuesday, Wednesday and the weekends
  • For the best deals travel before or after a major holiday


I’m particularly favoring Unite4Good’s June issue because my recent travel blog post, "10 Must Have Travel Apps for Women"  was featured! Woo Hoo!

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Super excited about my feature in Unite4:Good


I'm grateful to have been featured and this is particularly rewarding for me because it's the first time my work has been included in a print publication. Beyond my feature, this month's issue is full of other valuable travel tips to help you with summer business and/or leisure travel, like this feature on Eco Friendly Hotels at Every Destination.


A New Look


Last summer I wrote about my summer travel chic essentials and joining Firmoo’s blogger program. This summer I rocking another pair of new frames from Firmoo,  one of the world's most popular online eyeglass store with frames for women, men and a great portfolio of sunglasses!
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Ordering on their site is a breeze and as usual the only hard part was deciding which frames to choose from:) With competitive pricing, versatile styles, great user reviews and photos plus a "virtual try on view" Firmoo is a great site to update your frames and grab some new sunglasses before summer ends!

Loving my new Firmoo glasses!



Ready for your new look this summer?  Click link to get 15% off your first pair of glasses

Summer Festivals


Attending festivals is officially one of my favorite hobbies! With Chicago being famous for hosting more summer festivals than any other city in the world, it’s hard not to get addicted to them. For every type of food, culture, belief, music or sports there is out there, Chicago has a festival for it!  


I celebrated the first day of summer yesterday at the Taste of Randolph in the Chicago neighborhood I once called home, the West Loop. I enjoyed Sauvignon Seafood Tacos from City Winery, Cheeseburgers from Grange Burger Hall, Guacamole from DeCero and some amazing Cookie Monster Ice Cream from Cone Gourmet Ice Cream while listening to some great bands and shopping the vendors.


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Street Art. God LOVES us all

Planning to visit Chicago? Check out Thrillist feature on “Every Single Chicago Festival”


Share with me your summer travel plans in the comments below!
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What I’m Loving This Summer




Everyday I get a chance to work and interact with clients who tell me that social media is overwhelming and they are coming to me looking for some relief. Everyday there is a new social media network added to the marketplace and many already can't find the time to upload an Instagram image on a regular basis or consistently share their latest blog post on Facebook. With YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat and many new other platforms giving us the ability to engage with our community [...]

Which social media platform should you choose?






Travel is ingrained in my DNA. My mother was a woman who traveled across the world with ease. Whether she was exploring France on a European vacation, hanging with the locals in Guadalajara, Mexico, cruising through the Caribbean or sneaking off to Vegas. I still have the postcard she sent me from her Hawaiian vacation when I was a kid. Even as a divorced, single mother she still set aside time and money to prioritize travel.  Sometimes she had kids in tow or her girlfriends, but she was also not afraid to travel alone. My mothers ability to globetrott with confidence is one of the many reasons she was and will always be my shero.
Me and Mom - San Antonio, TX in the early 1980's



I believe every woman should experience taking a solo trip. You don’t necessarily need to embark upon an “Eat, Pray, Love” adventure or go “Wild” like Cheryl Strayed but taking the opportunity to explore and discover on your own is a brave and bold move that could lead to an empowering experience of a lifetime.
Traveling alone can be a scary thought for many, here are four travel tips that will ease any fears and help make your solo travel experience safe, enjoyable and fulfilling.
1.   Identify Your Ideal Destination
Decide if you want to lay around a beach, relax at a spa, shop all day, or tap into some history and culture.  If you’ve been stressed lately a relaxing beach vacation may be what you need to unwind.  Foreign destinations are always ideal if you are looking to explore history and discover a new culture. Don’t mull over the destination too long, just choose!



2.   Do Your Research
Pre plan an itinerary. There are plenty of online resources available to help you figure out where to dine, shop, entertain and sight-see. You can even walk into a nearby travel agency to chat with the experts about your upcoming plans. Professional travel agents will not make you feel obligated to book your trip with them but if you do decide to book with them they can help to customize a trip specific to your travel goals.

2006 - My first solo trip to San Francisco, California



3.   Be Friendly
Even though you are on the trip to enjoy being with yourself, making connections while there can make the trip more interesting.  Don’t be afraid to casually chat with the hotel bartender or smile at other tourists you see while out and about. Maybe you can link up with another group of people to go to dinner or a local tour so you don’t feel so alone, if that is an issue for you. I find that when people are on vacation they are much more open to meeting new people and making fast friends.


4.   Be Safe
Always be aware of your surroundings.  Make sure you pick a travel destination that is known to be safe and recommended for tourist travel. Even when you are at a safe resort, precautions should still be taken:
  • When you check in at the hotel, ask for two  keys and let them know someone else will be joining you later.
  • Avoid venturing  outside of your hotel late at night, if you do, have a cab called ahead of time so you aren’t spotted walking down the streets alone.
  • Don’t leave the hotel with your passport, keep it locked in the hotel room safe.





Travel Smart: Solo Travel Tips for Women


When it comes to establishing your social media profiles the first item of business should be making sure that your online branding is consistent. Are your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter usernames the same? Is your bio consistent on all platforms? Do you use different profile pictures on all your platforms? Check out this video as I discuss the importance of brand consistency and share tips to get you on the right track. [...]

Dear Entrepreneur: Is Your Online Branding Consistent?


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No More Selfies: Social Media Etiquette for Entrepreneurs



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Thinking of Quitting Social Media? (Video)



Happy March!


We are having a tough winter here in Chicago with blizzards and sub zero temps just about every week so I am officially on a countdown to Spring (17 days!). Even though I’m not hopeful we will see warm temps and sunshine here in Chicago by next month, I have made sure that I will be having a few days in the sun elsewhere. I’m headed back to my favorite vacation spot, Cabo San Lucas in April for a well deserved vacation and getaway with a few of my girlfriends from Texas. I’ve blogged about Cabo here before and my decision to purchase a timeshare, so I’m excited to go back “home” for a few days.


If you are planning to head to the beach this year, here are some #travelsmart tips to make sure it’s your next beach trip is the best ever:




Beachside Chilling


Relaxing on the beach should be your #1 priority. Many people spend time poolside and maybe get near the beach but fail to actually spend time on the sand. Rent a chair (or even better a cabana) and plan to spend at least a few solid hours along the shore.  There is something about the sound of waves crashing, sun beaming down and feet in the sand that can instantly lift your mood. If your resort has spa services on site, carve out time in your trip for a beachside spa day. It’s always good to get in some “me time” in the midst of all the fun and adventure of your vacation.


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Unplug and Catch Up


Technology can have a way of taking over your life. Some of us can get so caught up in the “online” world that we aren’t present and fully enjoying the REAL life we are in. Beach trips are the perfect opportunity to catch up some reading NOT check email and social media the whole time. Bring along your favorite magazines and newest book to make the best use of your free time. Try to step away from social media and be present in the moment. Snap a few photos and share updates with friends and family on social media at the end of the day.It’s actually nice to spend some time away from the constant barrage of email, notifications and text messages that can generally be a distraction.


Nightlife


Vacationing at a destination with a hip and urban nightlife is a bonus! It’s always good to step away from the resort and hang with the local scene and culture. Before heading to your destination check out Groupon for discounted deals on local events and restaurants. Dine at a nice restaurant, dance like nobody is watching when the DJ plays your song or gather the girls for an “I’m Every Woman” karaoke sing along.  Conversation and laughs over a great meal and a bumping bassline beat always makes for a good time.



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Go on an excursion
There are so many wonderful water sport activities to take advantage of when you are located at a beach resort. From parasailing to snorkeling to sunset cruises, making sure to have some fun and adventure in the midst of relaxing makes for priceless memories. When I vacationed with girlfriends in the Bahamas we went horseback riding along the beach and watched as one of the girls went parasailing. In Jamaica I climbed the Dunn Rivers Falls and hiked the El Yuenque rainforest in Puerto Rico. Whatever you do make it fun and adventurous.



Do you have any upcoming beach vacation plans? Share in the comments!

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4 Tips for a Better Beach Vacation




Happy February! It's Black History Month and the month of LOVE! 

With Valentine’s Day coming up and love in the air, getting away with your partner for the weekend just may be the sweet retreat that you need!

Traveling together is a great way to relax and re-connect with your partner. Leaving the comforts of your home and the grind of your daily routine for just a few days can be a gamechanger in your relationship. Most couples would unanimously agree they are just too busy to make vacation a reality. However it doesn't have to be as complicated as you think!

Running short on ideas to celebrate Valentine's Day with your sweetie? 

Here are three easy to plan couple vacation ideas:


         Staycation


     Be a tourist in your own city. Book a weekend stay at the best hotel in town, order room service, book a spa appointment and dine at a new restaurant. You can even check out a local attraction or special event and no need for a plane ticket or gas money!






           Road Trip
     
     Head down the highway to a nearby bed & breakfast, neighboring major city or vacation resort. Spending 3-5 hours in the car with your partner allows time for you to talk and catch up. Even if it’s just an overnight trip it will be worth it! Remember communication is key, so be sure to turn the phones and radio off and enjoy each other’s company.


          Escorted Tours

     
     Ready to finally take that romantic trip to Italy but no time to plan? Going with a customized travel tour company leaves you more time to enjoy your vacation and eliminates the added stress of planning. It’s as simple as logging on, picking your itinerary and booking it! Hotel, transportation, excursions and meals are covered! All you need to do is just show up and follow your tour guides instructions.




So this Valentine’s Weekend leave the excuses behind and go ahead and make it happen. The kids can be left with a babysitter and that all-consuming job will still be there when you return. Take “Date Night” to the next level and hit the road this year! 

Happy Travels!

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Take Date Night to the Next Level: Valentines Day Couple ...