Eat at fantastic restaurants (Cande, La Cevicheria, La Vitrola)
Stay at a boutique hotel (Casa del Coliseo)
After hiking in Peru for 4 days last June 2018 (I’m late I know), Nelli and I knew we wanted to have a completely different experience (read: lazy beach bums). I’ve always wanted to visit Cartagena after seeing pictures on travel blogs and I had/have a growing fascination of Black people’s experience outside of the USA. I’m embarrassed to say that some of my introduction to AfroLatino culture came from Spanish soap operas like la Esclava blanca and Celia (Cuba post coming soon!).
Cartagena was considered in 2018 the next hot place to visit by Conde de Nast and the beautiful Instagram influencer pictures in front of the picturesque doors certainly don’t hurt it’s tourist industry either. Boco Raton used to be the hot spot for rich people and tourists in Colombia – Cartagena was actually where the outcasts lived, it was literally a ghetto until gentrification (surprise!).Read More »
I wrote this post in Cuba, what a great place to get inspired to pursue your creative outlets. I pushed myself to spend my time reading, writing, doing yoga, and abstaining from all social media. My mind became so clear regarding my goals for this year and I was able to reflect on 2018.
2018 was a busy year…Nelli and I celebrated our first year of marriage and we were fortunate enough to start new positions at our company. We also found the time to spend time with each other, our friends and family by exploring the world! Here are our top 10 experiences (in no particular order).
1.Going to Peru – It has always been a dream of mine to visit South America. This year, me and Nelli prioritized a continent we had never visited before. In Peru, we wanted to hike Machu Picchu which is one of the new world wonders. We had an amazing time learning about the ancient Mayans and visiting their sites, I hope to learn more and acknowledge indigenous cultures when we travel to new places – You can read more about our trip here.
2. Going to Columbia – One of my favorite trips I’ve EVER taken! A must do if you ever find yourself in South America. You can read more about my trip here.
3. Camping in Grand Canyon – This trip was a first for me and Nelli even though we have already been to the Grand Canyon. We were lucky enough to score a permit to camp in Havasu falls. Nelli and I had never camped together before or hiked carrying all our gear. Although backpacking over 30 miles in 3 days was challenging, the chance to see the crystal teal waterfalls was breathtaking and an experience I’ll never forget. You can read more about our trip here.
4. Going to Banff – dedicated blog post coming soon!
5. Spending bday in Seattle – Ever since my birthday in Vegas, my close friends look forward (I think) to hanging out all together for one weekend outside of California. This time I chose Seattle which was loads of fun – we were able to check out tons of new restaurants and bars including Junebaby, Biscuit bitch and Zig zag cafe which I all highly recommend. We also went to the Starbucks reserve shop and had delicious coffee martinis and the museum of pop culture where we saw marvel comics, Jimi Hendrix, and fantasy book exhibits. My friends are even taking the initiative to plan my 32nd birthday trip this year which they have collectively decided will be in New York.
6. Going to Hawaii. A dedicated blog post is coming soon!
7. Exploring California – With all our world travels, we still made time to visit places in the beautiful state we live in. We spent a lovely weekend in Mendocino for Nelli’s birthday and knocked off most of the state’s national parks! Over 2018, we visited Sequoia, kings canyon and redwood! My favorite was Sequoia, the huge trees were unreal and the foggy, cool weather only added to the mysticism of the park. Our last National Park in California is Death Valley which we can hopefully swing by if we’re in the LA area this year or next.
8. Going to Cuba. A dedicated blog post is coming soon!
9. Going to Chicago – This year, I switched things up and convinced my siblings to join me in Chicago for Christmas so we could celebrate with my aunt. This trip was so memorable because it had been 6 years since I visited Chicago and I got to spend time with family including Nelli who surprised me by showing up! I got to see Chicago in a totally different light and explored new places and restaurants like the Art institute and Cultural center. I’m hoping to not only spend more time with my family but also including them in my travels to celebrate milestones and so that they get new experiences too. This year, my sister is turning 21 and I’m hoping to take my aunt to New Orleans.
10. Growing our blog and meeting new people – 2018 was definitely a year where I started to invest more time into my creative projects – which definitely included growing my blog and Instagram. I’m so happy that this year, I quadrupled the amount of blog views from 2017! I also had the honor of collaborating with three of my favorite bloggers (here, here, and here). The most important, fulfilling experience, however, was meeting people through my creative channels, people that I have been talking to over the internet for multiple years. The bonds that I’ve made over similar interests and experiences have made it so worthwhile – Can’t wait to see what 2019 brings!
Fran:“I’m Black.”“Really? Are you mixed with something?”I get this response a lot when people ask me what I am and I’m prepared for this follow-up question. It’s kind of crazy that people you don’t even know can challenge you on your identity. Sometimes if I don’t feel mentally prepared…
I could not be more excited to share Francesca and Nelli’s Catholic and Hindu fusion wedding experience. I actually found Francesca on Instagram and admittedly slid into her DMs as soon as I saw pictures of her gorgeous fusion wedding.
Hi everyone! This is a long time coming but I really wanted to share our experiences traveling to Cusco Peru for our honeymoon in July.
Top 5 experiences in Peru:
Hiking Machu Picchu
Cusco Culture Day tour – Shops and Restaurants
Staying at Esplendor Cusco
Booking our expedition with Alpaca Expeditions
It has always been a top priority to explore South America for 2018 since I had never stepped foot on the continent. Over the past years, I’ve grown fond of hiking and the outdoors so I really wanted to add Machu Picchu to our accomplishments. Since our visit to Peru would be mostly centered around visiting this world wonder, I prioritized finding the best tour company. My main concerns were cost, ratings, and vegetarian options – Nelli has always wanted to go to South America but was nervous about their meat-centered cuisines. I researched many tour companies online through trip advisor and blogs (thank you Snazzy Mom!) and I ultimately settled on Alpaca Expeditions. I’m very happy with my choice – our hiking group was small (5 people), affordable ($550pp), great ratings, extremely knowledgeable/fun tour guide, and had veg options. There was one lunch rice item that had hot dog slices in it which frustrated Nelli but he said overall he would recommend them.
Hi everyone!! I can’t believe it’s already May…it’s going to be our 1 year wedding anniversary next month! Where did the time go?
We have since continued our national park tradition and actually headed back to Grand Canyon around April 14th. We booked the tickets on February 2nd and were planning for the May timeframe but April 14th was all that was available. It ended up being a nice coincidence because that was our 2 year engagement anniversary. I think I set up a nice tradition to go somewhere for that date too!
Even though we had already been to the Grand Canyon, I’ve read blogs and pictures about the famous Havasu waterfalls. These waterfalls are so popular that you are required to have a permit and they get sold out for the year in 30 minutes! If you want to stay in the lodge instead of camping you have to reserve rooms the year before you want to go…yikes!
It was me and Nelli’s first backpacking/camping experience together and we were so nervous! For it being our first time, I think we did extremely well but there are a few things we’ll do differently next time…