A Love Jones Lover Chicago Bucket List

Have you ever watched the movie Love Jones? It’s by far one of my favorite movies. Larenz Tate and Nia Long play Darius Lovehall and Nina Mosely, a couple who live in Chicago and go through the ups and downs of a pre-social media relationship. The two have a love for the arts and poetry and an undying passion for each other. Chicago is the unofficial main character of this movie as the places they frequent include Grant Park and the Wild Hare. I was inspired to go to Chicago because of this movie. I wanted to recreate all the moments Darius and Nina shared together. This has been one of my travel goals for years and it would finally happen. One Saturday when I was sick of dreaming, I booked my ticket for memorial weekend. I would bring my professional camera with me to channel Nina and my mac computer to channel Darius. It would be the perfect infusion of what I love to do write and take pictures for a whole weekend.

A Love Jones Lover Bucket List

The Sanctuary

The Spoken Word Lounge, 1200 W 35th St., Chicago, IL 60609

The Sanctuary is a cool-cat nightclub where the hottest poets in town share their spoken words and deep thoughts. The smoked-filled room makes for the perfect introduction into the poetic mind of Darius Lovehall as he shares with the audience his “Blues for Nina.” Unfortunately, the Sanctuary is just an illusion and doesn’t actually exist. But there’s a huge spoken-word scene in Chicago.

The Wild Hare

2610 N. Halsted St., Chicago, IL 60614

Darius and Nina’s first date went down here. The Wild Hare is a Caribbean-inspired bar lounge located in the Lincoln Park section of Chicago. It’s particularly popular because of the live music that starts every night at 9PM. There’s a diverse crowd, from athletes wanting to enjoy an ice-cold Red Stripe to lovers conversing in the dimly lit corners of the venue. The walls are adorned with bright yellow, green and red hues and flags hanging from the ceiling. You can’t go wrong with the jerk chicken platter and a side of Jamaican beef patties. The Wild Hare’s mouthwatering menu is only enhanced by the sweet sounds of Bob Marley blasting through the speakers.

The Buckingham Fountain

301 S. Columbus Dr., Chicago, IL 60605

The lighting of the Buckingham Fountain is perfect for a romantic smooch. The fountain spouts everyday from 8AM-11PM, but contrary to popular belief, it’s not named after the palace in London.

A Bookstore

Myopic Books 1564 N Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60622

The scene of the crime… Darius is caught with another woman amongst the books here at one of Chicago’s oldest and largest used bookstores in the heart of Wicker Park. Definitely not a high point in the movie, but dramatic!

Museum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP)

600 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60605

While the location isn’t featured in the movie, the essence of photography is peppered throughout, which makes MoCP well worth a visit. Although the museum change exhibits about five times a year, the current exhibition, Dandy Lion: (Re) Articulating Black Masculine Identity, is a must see. The photographs in this exhibit are reminiscent to Nina’s work (if she really existed).

Chicago Stepping Class

Steppersusa.com

Darius and Nina showed off their chemistry while on the dance floor. If you’ve never heard of stepping or you’re just intrigued by the art, consider taking a beginners steppers class while in Chicago. Classes are $10-$15, but you won’t be disappointed.

Black Stone Hotel

636 South Michigan Ave. (lobby entrance on East Balbo Avenue), Chicago, IL 60605

The Black Stone Hotel has definitely been upgraded since the filming of the movie but still has its original charm. Go for a drink at the bar and see if you can snag a peak into the very room where the Annual Steppers Ball took place.

Chill along the shores of Lake Michigan

63rd Street Beach 6300 S. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago, Illinois 60649

“You only get one true love… two tops.” Lake Shore Drive is the perfect spot to take in Chicago. Take a walk, think about the one that got away and how to get them back.

Love Jones

My First Experience as a Solo Traveler

Alone. Not by choice. My boyfriend (at the time) and I got into an argument. We parted ways that weekend. I was on my own in a huge city much like my own, but it was not NYC, it was different and I would be doing a disservice to Chicago if I compared the two.

Alone. I never anticipated Chicago being a trip for one but God always has other plans for us, doesn’t he? After settling in my new hotel, I decided to wear my hair in its natural state to represent the sudden burst of freedom I now felt. It was liberating to say the least. The first thing I did was explore Magnificent Mile. I walked outside of my hotel, conveniently placed on the corner of Ohio and Mag Mile and proceeded down the strip admiring the tall buildings and the shopping. I was in Chicago for sure. There were stores for days—Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Guess, Ralph Lauren, Under Armour, Neiman Marcus, H&M and the list goes on. I decided to take a boat tour of Chicago along Lake Michigan followed by a trip to “The bean.” I looked around at all the people swarming towards the bean with their families and friends and at that moment I wished I could share this time with someone—but I couldn’t so I did what anyone else in my situation would do…I found someone who had a nice and friendly demeanor and asked if they could take a picture of me—I was alone in Chicago, but that didn’t take away from the fact that I was still a tourist. I met two middle-aged women who were more than happy to take my picture. They complimented me on my natural hair, in awe of what I did to make it look the way it did and went on about their day. I felt exhilarated. My fear of being alone in Chicago wasn’t completely gone, but I loosened up. I would make the best of this trip and enjoy the wonders of solo travel.

The next morning, I woke up and had time to reflect. I sat in silence. I prayed. I talked to God. I was able to write. I planned out my itinerary. I talked on the phone. I did everything I wanted to do in MY time. I planned to do a museum day. I would visit all the museums in Chicago that were on my itinerary. Three museums in one day. As a matter of fact, 3-museums in 5-hours, since I didn’t get to my first museum (The Art Institute of Chicago) until noon and everything closed at 5PM. I say this all to say, I was on my own time. I didn’t have to answer to anyone else but me. I was accountable for how my trip would go. This was the day that my fear of being solo in Chicago completely left me. I no longer feared someone would notice I was alone, or that I would be kidnapped. I let go of everything and lived life. I enjoyed my time walking through the exhibits of the Art Institute, interpreting art from my perspective and not the perspectives of others. I enjoyed taking pictures of pictures at the Museum of Contemporary Photography and watching the Dandy Lion video over and over again without being rushed by someone else. I loved learning about the history of African Americans at the DuSable Museum and getting caught in the rain, looking for the bus on the way back to the hotel. It was beautiful. It was liberating. It was such a necessary experience to push me out of my element. That night, I decided to take myself to a nice dinner. I wanted to visit the Wild Hare with my boyfriend and dance the night away to reggae music, but things did not turn out as such—so guess what, I visited without him. I arrived to the dinner around 7:30PM and I was surrounded by other couples on date night but that didn’t faze me. I asked the hostess for a table for one and ordered my jerk chicken plate filled with cabbage and rice and peas. I had an ice cold drink to go with my dinner and danced for a few hours to old school reggae music. When it was getting late, I took a cab home and got back to my hotel around 11PM. The next morning I took the CTA Blue Line train and found my way back to the airport. Overall, it was such a beautiful trip.

My first time as a solo traveler was an experience. I am not going to act like it wasn’t scary because it was. I don’t like being alone, especially in a hotel room by myself but now, I understand that this time alone was exactly what I needed. I had time just to spend with myself. I had time to think and evaluate my life decisions. I was surprised by my own strength because I could’ve just remained in the room, stagnant since I was alone, but instead I was empowered. I got up and did everything that was on my itinerary. I am now more open to an experience like this.

10 Tips to Conquer Solo Travel as a Woman

  1. Be Bold. Do not be afraid of conquering the city you are visiting. Make sure you know everything you want to get done and go for it.
  2. Prepare. Before I started each day, I had an idea of the things I wanted to do and how I would do it. I also googled what time everything opened and closed, and planned my daily itinerary based on my research.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, directions or for someone to take a picture of you. Just make sure who you ask makes you feel comfortable.
  4. Try to get home at a decent time.I wouldn’t advise staying out until the wee hours of the night especially as a woman traveler. Safety First!
  5. Treat this new city like it’s your own and you deserve to be there. My friend gave me advice to act like I was out and about in NYC and once she said that, my whole mindset about the trip changed. I wouldn’t be so cautious in NYC so why should I be afraid here?
  6. Enjoy time with you. Take time to breathe, read or even sit in silence when you’re on your solo trip.
  7. Don’t be embarrassed to have breakfast, lunch, or dinner by yourself. Again be confident. You may get stares, which is expected, but people will ultimately respect your independence. However, it’s okay if you just want to take your food back to the hotel. #NoPressure.
  8. Meet Up. If you’re going to a new city solo, see if your friends or family know of anyone you can connect with or if there’s any events or meet up groups happening.
  9. Treat Yourself. Maybe it’s a cupcake or a new outfit but make yourself feel special…you deserve it.
  10. Little White Lie. Never tell someone you are alone. Safety First!

Chicago Travelbyky

Are you ready for a Baecation?

You think you know, but you have no idea.

That tagline will forever be in my head. As a kid, I spent hours upon hours watching the Real World on MTV. There was something so genius about putting a group of young, eccentric people in a house together and discovering who they really were at their core. Spend enough time with someone and their inner selves will begin to show. Whether it’s their passions, vulnerabilities or insecurities, it all begins to spill out. I can now say the same thing about going on vacation with a mate. If you really want to know your boyfriend/girlfriend go on a vacation with them. What makes a baecation different from just hanging out at the house or in your neighborhood together is that both of you guys are completely out of your element. You will begin to notice things about how the person you’re with takes charge (or not). You’re more inclined to notice things like if your boyfriend will instinctually help you with your bags or if your girlfriend will make you breakfast in bed. Things that you didn’t know you were seeking might be revealed. Which can be a good thing or a bad thing.

I say this from experience. I took my first baecation recently and what was supposed to be an amazing opportunity to explore a new city that we both have never visited ended with the demise of our relationship.

Discretion: I am not writing this piece from a place of bitterness, more of a cautionary tale.

My relationship was not ready for this next step of traveling together. There were a lot of loose ends that needed to be tied and a lot of things that we both didn’t know or like about each other when we went away. When I am on vacation, I hate taking naps as soon as I get into the room. However he wanted a nap, which turned into 6-wasted hours of a day. It gave me anxiety watching him sleep, when I wanted to discover this new city; we had a whole itinerary planned and each hour that passed made me feel like we would get nothing done. Yet what he didn’t know is that I go to sleep really early so by 10PM I was turned down and this was prime time for him to turn up. He wanted to hit up a blues club around 11pm but by that time you could hear my snoring miles away. Our personality disparities were shown in many other ways and we ultimately realized this relationship wouldn’t work.

Before you decide to take a baecation with your mate you must have a discussion, and in this discussion be totally honest about your expectations for the trip:

  • How will we pay for the trip? Do you have a partner that will take care of all the costs? Sometimes as women we would love this, but it’s not always realistic for us working class people. So to be fair you both will most likely be splitting the cost. Who will pay for flights? Who will pay for hotels? Or will you just go 50/50 on everything?
  • How will we pay for things while on the trip? I harbored a little resentment when we were on the trip and my boyfriend didn’t pay for certain things. It bothered me when we went to dinner and I had to pay half or when we went to an attraction and I had to pay for my ticket in front of the lady at the stand (who I secretly thought was judging me). Yes I am petty (maybe a bit unrealistic) but these were my concerns.
  • Manage Expectations. What do you both want to do during the course of the trip and how can you compromise and get everything done so everyone is happy? Brain storm all the things you would like to do and draft an itinerary.
  • How will we get to the airport? Together? Apart? When I went away with my boyfriend I was a little annoyed that he didn’t come pick me up and we just go to the airport together. Granted he lives in Harlem and I live in Brooklyn (two different worlds) but it was 3 AM and I was a female in a taxi cab by myself. I’ll admit it was scary but I got to the airport safely. What I would’ve preferred was for us to go together. Again, maybe you guys are not as particular.
  • Are you a stay on the resort person or do you like to vacation like a local This is important. You both have to make sure you’re on the same page. If one person wants to explore and the other wants to hang out by the pool all day you won’t be spending much time with each other.

My best advice is to keep the peace, ignore little idiosyncrasies and live in the moment, at least until the vacation is over.

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Restaurant Review: Elberta Restaurant and Bar

Elberta Restaurant and Bar 335 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11217

So far, I’ve had dinner and brunch at Elberta. Elberta is a relatively new restaurant on Flatbush, in Park Slope that serves comfort food. The first time I came here was for my birthday. I had a series of their sides which included Mac and Cheese, Sautéed Spinach, Truffle Fries, and Deviled Eggs. I loved everything except for the Mac and Cheese, which needed a bit more seasoning and cheese. The rum punch in a mason jar was really cute and tasty as well.

For brunch this week, I had deviled eggs again, which wasn’t as tasty as it was before. It had a fridge taste but I still ate them. The brunch menu was filled with dishes I loved. I am on a healthy kick but I had a craving for steak and eggs. I went with my instinct and ordered it. The presentation was amazing. The dish comes in a skillet and in addition to the steak and eggs there is a side of potato’s mixed with tomato’s and spinach. I didn’t like how big the chunks of steak were, but it was so good! Well seasoned, juicy and just an all around good choice.

The décor of this place has exposed brick, great music and an intimate vibe. I will definitely come back here and I suggest you give it a chance as well.

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HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TRAVEL BY KY

It’s been a beautiful year since I posted my first blog entry on this website. All I can do is thank God for giving me a vision for what I wanted to do with this blog and watching it flourish. Since my first trip abroad to Europe last year, travel has become my addiction. I am at my happiest when I travel. I feel so blessed and I thank God for revealing to me the vision he has for my life through these adventures. Traveling makes me bold, fearless, adventurous and curious. It’s allowed me to grow in so many ways in the last year and I am so thankful for every opportunity that may come my way. Thank You for the support.

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Travel Conference Style

So I was playing around with the website Polyvore. I wanted to create cool outfit inspirations for a conference, having just returned from Women In Travel Summit 2015. I struggled with what to wear. I decided on a dress and some leather boots the first day and jeans with a shirt that made a reference to Paris on the second day; which I thought was pretty standard. What I soon learned, when networking and meeting new people, standard is not good enough. At a conference, particularly a casual one, it’s essential to stand out!
Standing out could mean cool hair, a statement necklace, or wearing bright colors. If you are shy, your outfit can do all the talking. People will want to know who you are and where’d you get that from?
One of the first styles I chose below is very comfortable and consists of a graphic tee, some boyfriend jeans, comfy converses and a bag, big enough to hold all of the conference material you will collect throughout the day. I also added a bright yellow cardigan that you can wear if it gets too cold or throw around your waist for fashion sake.
What to wear to a conference
I thought it would make a lot of sense if I included some dress options as well. Dresses are easy to throw on, hassle free and can also be a standout piece. I picked some of the dresses below because they were bright and funky. They also seem casual enough for a travel conference and can be paired with a blazer or a cardigan. Ditch the heels and wear some cute flats for the occasion. These style tips will be a guaranteed head turner.
What to Wear to a Conference

Women In Travel Summit 2015 Part III

Day Two of The Women in Travel Summit started with breakfast. I had the pleasure of meeting some amazing ladies, including one who traveled throughout the United States, by visiting 50 States in 50 Weeks. Here’s the kicker, she’s from Australia. One of the profound things she said is that we are so lucky to be in the United States, because if we want to be in the desert we can go to Arizona, if we want to be on a beach, visit Florida, Need culture? go to New Orleans and there’s history in every state in America. Her stories resonated with me, as she found splendor in driving through New Jersey and Nevada. Why does it take someone from a completely different continent to visit our country and find such magnificence in it? Too often as Americans we overlook the grander of our country. It made me want to discover all that she found to be enticing. There’s such value in living in a vast country filled with natural resources, nature, and incredible wonders.

IMG_1604After taking our quintessential group picture (all 300 of us), we listened to the amazing stories of people who partake in volunteer travel. This conference opened my eyes to traveling with a purpose. I eventually would love to use my travels to help others; maybe building a school in Thailand for girls who just escaped sex trafficking or making pillows and beautiful patterns with the women of Kenya; Teaching the children of Dubai English or handing out sanitary napkins to young girls in need in India. I had a lot to think about when it came to travel, I was excited about the prospects.

IMG_1601 IMG_1608Our first breakout session was WordPress for Travel Bloggers, it basically went through all the ways you can self-host on a WordPress platform. This was valuable information, but right now I am ok with hosting via wordpress and not self-hosting. However, three things I learned that could be valuable to you is:

  1. Always compress images before uploading to a blog.
  2. Always do regularly scheduled backups of your database and your entire site.
  3. Protect yourself by any means from hackers, because they want to send out spam emails using your credentials. If WordPress prompts you to pay extra for hacker protection go for it.

Street Harassment while traveling with Delia Harrington, was one of the sessions I looked forward to the most. While I was producing my show Reserved, this was one of the issues I was very passionate about bringing to the forefront. Growing up I had no idea how to navigate this unwarranted attention I was getting all of a sudden. To avoid the hissing, cat calling and being stalked to my building, I would just take a longer way home, getting off the train one stop before I should’ve and just walk the 5 extra minutes. This was my means for coping with an issue, that everyone else ignored.

IMG_1660When I arrived to the forum, it felt like I was not alone. I watched around me when women of all shades raised their hands when asked if they have ever been victims of street harassment. I shared my story of my first time being cat called at age 13, or even cursed out when I didn’t respond. It was comforting to know that other women were able to relate, some women recounted being as young as 11 when they were first approached by men on the street. It’s disheartening to know that an issue such as street harassment, which can make girls and women feel unsafe in their own neighborhood, is taken so lightly. I remembered trying to tell the women in my family about my experiences and feeling like I was talking to a brick wall. Just ignore it, they would say. I believed I had to accept this fate of being harassed as just the norm, although at the time I didn’t know it was harassment. I had my aha moment in college; I was in a women studies class listening to group final projects, when a team based theirs on Street Harassment. It was the first time I was able to define what was happening to me; finally I didn’t feel ignored because other people experienced it too. Although street harassment is a global issue, there are great strides being taken against it. Here are some ways we can respond to street harassment:

  • Direct confrontations with street harassers may prove extremely dangerous, particularly if you are alone in an unpopulated space.
  • It’s each individual’s right to decide when, how, and if to respond but keep your safety in mind
  • If you’re safe to do so confront your harasser with strong body language
  • Use statements not questions leave me alone vs. will you leave me alone?
  • Identify the perpetrator “Man in the yellow shirt stop touching me”
  • Educate others, especially men
  • Tell your story
  • Get active

Finally, after sneaking out of the hotel to do some sightseeing with my mom and grandma, during our 2-hour lunch break, I attended the last break out session for the conference. This session was all about maintaining a travel blog when you are not travelling. I found some amazing tips on using your neighborhood as a source of inspiration or reliving your times in the countries you previously traveled to, by writing about topics you did not already address( maybe restaurants, museums, to dos or what not to do). I found this session to be great because it inspired me to keep on writing even during the down times when I may not have a trip on the horizon. Just open your eyes to see that there’s culture all around.

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When we all convened, back in the main hall, I was under the impression that the conference was over, but there was so much more to come. Adventurous Kate was the final speaker of the conference. She spoke strongly and passionately about Gender Inequality in the blogging world. She rose awareness about men getting all the praise for blogging and photography but are they really dominating the field or just getting credit for it? She encouraged us to support one another.

With that being said, I had to leave the conference earlier than anticipated. I thought the conference would end on time but it went over and I felt like I was leaving an amazing party early. Well, there’s always next year and its happening in sunny California!

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Travel Bucket List

I’ve been thinking about my travel bucket list this week. Where do I want to go? How can I check off these places within the next couple of years? Travel has become extremely important to me. I always wanted to see the world but now that i’ve seen a part of it I want more, almost like an addiction. See below my travel bucket list:

Goree Island-Senegal,Africa

Istanbul

Berlin, Germany

Greece

Israel

South Africa

Kenya

Hawaii

Cuba

St. Thomas

Morocco

Costa Rica

Chicago

Atlanta

Texas

Dubai

New Orleans

Japan

Hong Kong

Haiti

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Ready…Getting your ticket

Come fly with me lets, fly lets fly away- Frank Sinatra

Being that this was my first extensive trip, I missed out on the travel points and mileage gains that I would have gotten had I used a travel credit card. These travel cards would have given me credits usually via a point system for the number of miles I traveled. The beauty of these cards is that for frequent fliers it really gets your trips to work for you and your future travel adventures. But you live and you learn.

Falling credit cardsDeals: I found sites like Skyscanner.com to be a great resource for searching for tickets. It gave an overall view of what the average ticket prices were to travel from NYC to Singapore which helped with my decision making . Essentially Skyscanner.com scans for the lowest price amongst airlines that flies into your area of interest and lets you know about the possible connection options on non-stop flights (I sought a connection in Japan). Overall, it gave perspective on what price range I would fall into when booking my ticket. SkyscannerPricing: When booking my flight for travel in May the price range to fly to Singapore was between $1200-$1600 on a mainstream commercial airline. There were less mainstream airlines that fly to Asia for reduced prices, however I would advise researching their track record if this is an option you would be interested in. While Skyscanner was my tool for keeping in mind the expected price range, I eventually used the actual airline’s website to buy the ticket. I found a ticket on Delta Airlines for around $1400, and spent $1700 in total for the flight. Leg room, was where the extra $300 came in, and this turned out to be a very good investment. Spending 32 hours in total on the plane, including a 20 hour flight from California to Japan and a 7 hour flight from Japan to Singapore, meant that at a mere $85 a flight, the cost for leg room was well worth it. This plus some of the other things mentioned in my next post may help you make your next long distance flight pretty pleasant.

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Guest Blogger Alert: Asia by Tash

Guest-Blogger
So I have Awesome News! As you guys may know, i’ve been super busy working for a travel platform, called Travelnoire which has shown me so much about the inner workings of travel, it truly amazes me (but more on that in future blogs).

Yet, this new responsibility takes a lot of time and I can’t quite blog as much as I would like. To my surprise, a few weeks ago I received one of the best emails ever. One of my fellow travel expats and friend Natasha recently returned from an awesome, life changing trip to Asia. She expressed that she would want nothing more than to guest blog about her experiences on TravelByKy which of course I screamed yes! I am so excited to introduce her to you guys. Her trip was amazing and after reading her blog I have extreme wanderlust for Asia.

So join me by welcoming Natasha and lets live vicariously through her travels in Asia. My biggest wish is that you will see how attainable travel across the world can actually be and go for it.

Cheers,

Ky!

The Wedding Day

The day of the wedding was so relaxing. Danielle, Kirsha and I decided to go to the beach across from the hotel which was absolutely breath taking. The water was clear and the beach was alive and filled with cool vibes and fun tourist. I wanted to stay in the water forever, but the yacht to the private island where the wedding would take place was set to depart at 6PM and with 3-girls in one room, we needed more than enough time to get pretty.

IMG_6773 IMG_6642 IMG_6648The wedding was beautiful. I cried only 2-times (when the bride came down the aisle with her father and grandmother and when the groom said his vows). When the guest first arrived each of us said kind words in a video that they would watch later. I quoted Boyz II Men “You gotta believe in the spirit of love” One of my favorite quotes ever. After the wedding, all the guests took one huge picture before heading back to the reception. Cocktail hour was by the pool and the reception followed shortly after. Akilah and Rion’s union made me come to a lot of realizations in my life. For one, I was twenty-five and was literally messing with the wrong men and getting into the wrong type of relationships. My friends were getting married! Furthermore, I was ready for growth in my overall life. Snapping myself out of my thoughts, allowed me to enjoy why I was at the wedding in the first place, to celebrate my friend’s union, which we did all night. The reception was fun! We danced the night away to the latest songs and jumped into the pool with our wedding clothes on for the hell of it. Bahamas was awesome!!!!!

IMG_6658 IMG_6663 IMG_6680 IMG_6684 IMG_6688 IMG_6734 Luckily, traveling back to NYC was a breeze. The only thing I needed to focus on was catching up on sleep. It took about a week for me to get into the groove of things, which also meant I was late to work just about every day when I got back. I didn’t realize how little we slept until I returned…geesh. Overall it was an amazing vacation and I am so blessed that I was able to share this memory with my closest friends. Cheers to #DOUBLEADAY

The Day Before the Big Day

Saturday was supposed to be a relaxing day, as it was the day before the wedding. It was also the day that my friend Danielle arrived. I was so excited when she came. We got dressed and headed into town with the other bridesmaids.

After heading back to the hotel, we decided to meet up with the other wedding guests to visit the private beach and pool at Taino for a huge day-before-the-wedding-pow-wow. We stayed in the pool until the last water taxi was set to leave and played Man Hunt, Hide-and-Seek and a whole bunch of other pool games. We also had girl talk in the hot tub where we addressed, relationships, friendships and everything in between.

IMG_6505 IMG_6506IMG_6513When we got on our ”yacht” back to the hotel, the captain took us on a tour of the island where we danced to 90s classics, 112 “Only You” and TLC “Baby-Baby-Baby.” It was so much fun to be surrounded by great people. We got ready for dinner shortly after, in which I fell asleep at the table. I was so deprived of sleep. We then went to the bars and got back to the hotel around 3am. I was finally able to catch what was left of my beauty rest.

Bahama Mama’s

The next day, we had a full-blown buffet breakfast which was delicious and then decided to head into town to hang out with the locals. We soon discovered there was not much to town, but found comfort in a local boutique where the sales associate was so freaken cool. We talked to her for an hour about everything ranging from Drake to Love & Hip Hop to relationships before we exchanged Instagram’s and said our good byes.

IMG_6337bahamas kydee williams kydee bahamas IMG_6343After shopping around and meeting other amicable Bahamian’s including Mama G who invited us to the strip club that night, we headed back to our hotel, where we met up with the rest of the wedding guests for an afternoon on the private beach of Taino resort.

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We Made It-Bahamas

I stayed up for about 23-hours without going to sleep the day of departure. I had to go to work, then braid my hair, then pack and leave for the airport at 3am. My flight departed at 6:30am which meant I literally had no time to even nap.

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Absolutely Delirious-NO SLEEP

The flight attendant put me in a window seat with no windows. I was pissed, but luckily slept the whole way to Atlanta; it didn’t bother me as much as I thought. I met up with my friend Kirsha who would be staying in the room with me. She’s an airline employee so she was first classing it honey. I sat in the emergency row during the flight to the Bahamas which was super annoying but spacious. Honestly, I was so drunk with sleep, I could care less. When we finally arrived to Freeport we headed straight to the Pelican Bay Hotel to unwind and explore.

Kydee WilliamsPort Lucaya was next door to the hotel so we explored the marketplace a little before taking a nap. Kirsha went straight to bed, but I decided to lay out by the pool and take in little sun before the beach party.

Kydee Williams BahamasThe Welcome Beach Party was the first event for wedding guests. Great music, great people and the food, oh my, I can’t emphasize the food enough, it was delicious. After crash dieting for a week, this was the first time I had actual food and I was just in heaven.

IMG_6254 IMG_6295 IMG_6288The beach party was eventually shut down by cops, so we made our way to the bars at Port Lucaya which comes alive at night time. As the night progressed we jumped into our hotel’s Jacuzzi and talked until the sun came out. The things that happened while in the hot tub were insane. Just when we started to talk about scary movies like “I Know What You Did Last Summer” a weird Eastern European man that we nicknamed, Ivan, appeared in the midst of the night and sat in front of the hot tub. He decided to smoke a cigarette as we watched him silently and he watched us silently. It was one of the most bizarre occurrences of my whole existence. Day one in the Bahamas was definitely for the books.

Before Take Off-The Bahamas

August 11th 2013, Akilah and Arion invited their closest friends to a BBQ to announce their engagement and wedding date which would be in exactly one year. My friends and I were so excited. Finally, not only were our friends getting married but they were having an amazing destination wedding…AHHH we were adults.

Summer 2014, vastly approached and before I knew it the wedding was drawing near. 4-weeks before the wedding, my ticket was not booked. Life happens; I decided to take a 2-week vacation to Europe for my 25th birthday which set a sistah back. 3-weeks before the wedding my ticket was still not booked. I somehow hoped that the ticket to the Bahamas which was now a whopping $540 would decrease to $500 possibly? I don’t know; wishful thinking. 2-weeks before the wedding, I had no choice but to book with Delta Airlines, which at that point in time I had over 15k frequent flyer miles and ended up spending about $600 for my ticket. I made a mistake, waiting for the last minute but it’s a mistake that I take full ownership of.

Freeport Bahamas

The Blueprint-Planning Europe

Traveling to Europe was a figment of my imagination until January 2014. I had a blue print of how my trip would go, but flights and hotels were not booked, so essentially it was just a dream. Finally, during the last week of January, I decided to purchase my $827 multi-city ticket that took me from JFK to London Heathrow and from Barcelona El Prat to JFK 11-days later. However I still wasn’t completely satisfied with this trip. I wanted to go to Amsterdam! After much thought and careful consideration, I managed to find a 21-hour layover there for the same price of my original ticket. Thus, I changed my flights and booked the layover. In hindsight, it was the best decision I made.

Below is the first ever outline or blueprint of how the trip played out. We originally had plans to travel to Morocco once we landed in Spain but we realized it would be quite over ambitious of us, since we were already planning to tackle 7-c0untries.

Blue Print for Europe Draft Jan 2014

I planned Europe with 2 of my friends from Penn State. I later asked one of my friends from High School if she was interested in going in which she obliged. Now it was four of us going to Europe which initially sounded like a terrible idea because of  our princess personalities but it ended up being another amazing decision (more on that later as well).

We were visiting the following cities in less than 2-weeks:

  1. London
  2. Paris
  3. Venice
  4. Rome
  5. Vatican City
  6. Barcelona
  7. Amsterdam

I soon became the point person of travel. Researching for Europe became my life. I couldn’t sleep knowing that I would be in Europe in 2-months. I sat in Barnes and Nobles for hours every weekend, surrounded by travel books. I wanted to know everything possible about each of the countries I was going to. I also wanted to make sure we could have a fabulous trip on a budget.

Ky Facts

  • We booked 2 months before departure, which was great because I really didn’t have the patience to wait any longer…Europe was calling my name!
  • Perfect Timing: We went to Europe during off-season, just missing the price hikes during the European Fashion Weeks.
  • Four’s A Charm: Going to Europe with 3 other people was a great decision. We split everything four ways including: hotels, cab rides, and food which cut the actual costs of our trip immensely.

See below my final Europe 2014 itinerary for your reading and planning pleasure:

Europe Itinerary 2014 Kydee (click the link)

The World