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FLORIDA ADVENTURES - Hilton Bahia Mar Fort Lauderdale Beach

6/29/2019

We took a lovely trip to Fort Lauderdale with the Meadows family (my brother’s girlfriend’s family). It was wonderful. I have been to Florida quite a few times but I have never been to Fort Lauderdale. Personally, I think Fort Lauderdale is like Miami without the craziness and glam. The beaches are just as nice but the vibe is a lot more relaxed and it is a very family friendly environment. It is about a 30 minutes - 1 hour drive to Miami, so you can still get a balance of both locations, which is what we did.  

For the first 3 days, my brother and I stayed at the Bahia Mar Fort Lauderdale Beach, which is under the Hilton family. Overall, our stay was wonderful. They renovated the hotel about a year ago and some parts are still under construction. Two things to keep in mind is their cafe/store called ‘The Market’ is ridiculously overpriced and the water pressure of the bathroom shower was not the best. Besides that everything was great and the hotel is only a 5 minute walk to the beach. 

Price: $150 - 250 a night *varies based on the season and we also used Hilton Honors points 

Check out my vlog to see what we got up to:

PARIS TRAVEL DIARY | prices, photo location maps, things to do in Paris

4/17/2019

Our time in Paris was everything I hoped it would be and more. Paris had been on my bucket list ever since I watched Anastasia has a little girl. I definitely plan to go back and stay longer. My friend, Michelle and I booked a $360 Norwegian airlines flight (which we booked through kiwi.com) from Chicago to London. We left for Paris after spending some time in the UK (check out my other vlogs about our trip), we flew from Manchester to Paris with EasyJet for about $84 then a EuroStar train back to London for about $83. Flying for six hours on Norwegian airlines was okay but our biggest problem was before we got on the plane. We were not told that they weight carry on bags and it was $100 for an oversized bag. Which is ridiculous because it cost $70 to check-in a big size bag. So, Michelle and I spent a long time moving our stuff around and ending up carrying some of our clothes in our hands in order to check-in. But the moment, we got our carry-ons back we put all our clothes back into our carry-ons. A-ha! We finessed the system. Also, since the flight was very cheap things like food and headphones were sold during the flight. We were good because we ate before boarding and we brought our own headphones. What can I say? Finessing is my favorite hobby. 


Where We Stayed?

Finding a place to stay was the most difficult part of our trip. Michelle and I spent several days looking at hotels and airbnbs. We finalized our list to three airbnbs because booking directly from a hotel’s website seemed to be more expensive. Bob Hotel was about $117.50 for a night. Luckily, Michelle had a $40 airbnb coupon, which made our one night pay cheaper. Paris is an expensive city and that applies to accommodation. Since, we visited during a low-tourism season (February-March), most things were cheaper compared to if we visited during summer. 

Bob Hotel was everything we needed and more. We wanted to stay somewhere that gave a luxury vibe without the luxury price. The staff was amazing and spoke both French and English. They helped us with all our questions and at one point I needed an umbrella and the receptionist went out of her way to find one. Before arriving, Michelle and I where excited for the decor and it looked just as stunning as in the pictures. The only downside was everything was a lot smaller compared to America and this applies to most spaces in Paris. Everything was still gorgeous but I had to remove my American way to seeing space and size. Another thing to consider when staying at Bob Hotel is that the location is not extremely close to the popular tourist attractions. We were able to get around thanks to the amazing train system, which you can pay for with visa and mastercard. I honestly preferred staying further away because we felt more in tune with the locals and it was nice getting to practice my French. In the touristy areas, almost everyone can speak English although the further out you go the less English is spoken. 

Bob Hotel Information:
Price: $117.50 - varies based on season


photos from bobhotelparis.com

What We Did?

We spent most of our time walking around and taking in the city. Paris is a city that you do not need to spend money to be entertained. Of course, there are certain places that require money but we spent most of our trip walking around and looking. Our first stop was the most iconic Tour L’Eiffel a.k.a Eiffel Tower. You are crazy if you visit Paris and choose not to go see the Eiffel Tower. Even if you have already seen it. Personally, it was one of my highlights and the best time is to see it at night when it sparkles at the start of every hour. I thought it would be overrated and a letdown but I was wrong. Check out my vlog for more detail! Next, we saw the L'Arc de Triomphe de l'Etoile followed by The Lourve. We missed out on seeing the Notre Dame because we did not have enough time and in most recent news I heard it burned down. That was very sad to hear. There are many more places we wanted to see but due to time we could not go and when we did go to places like the Modern Art Museum is was closed due to Paris Fashion week. 






Where We Ate?

Food and drinks, that is how most of our money was spent. Below, I list out three of our favorite spots during the trip. Cafe du Trocadero was the most pricey place we went and we got hot chocolate for $9. The hot coco was out of this world. The best hot chocolate I have ever had. It was a great spot to really feel Parisian and it had a great view of the Eiffel Tower. Our next spot was Le Losserand Cafe, which is the embodiment of a true French cafe. It was like something out of the movies. From looking around and picking up some conversations in French, I guessed it is owned and run by a family. The food was delicious. My meal cost around $15 - $20 for orange juice, hot chocolate, croissant, omelette and a small salad. The final spot is Lokita, a Senegalese restaurant. The owner was so kind and it was wonderful to see another African in France. Paris is an extremely diverse city with people from all over the world and native French speakers with different backgrounds. The food and drink also cost around $15 - 20 at Lokita. 

Cafe du Trocadero:


Le Losserand Cafe:


Lokita: 





3 THINGS TO DO FOR A RELAXED WEEKEND IN ATLANTA

2/23/2019

For my ideal weekend I need three things. A comfy bed, my laptop and food. Once in while, I prefer to get out and relax in a place that does not involve pillows. Below are three places you can find me if I am not lazying away watching hours of Netflix. I am a big advocate for planning a day to do nothing. That statement is a bit contradicting but let me explain. I find myself making a lot of high energy plans that overtime, I have no time for lazy or relaxed days. Therefore, when I want to have a low-key weekend in the city I gravitate towards these three spots:


Atlanta Beltline:

Grab a bike or scooter and explore the beltline. Atlanta Beltline is a former railway corridor that connects various areas of the city. It is a long trail that is used for jogging, walks, biking and more. I mainly get a bird scooter and explore the beltline. Through out the beltline there are art installations as well as little coffee shops and restaurants. 

Info: beltline.org | @atlantabeltline


High Museum of Art:

I love art and even art I do not understand. I find myself looking at art and thinking two things, “this is cool but it looks like a 3-year-old did that” or “this can not be real… how did they do that?”. Atlanta’s High Museum of Art is one of my favorite places in the city and every couple of months there is a new exhibition. They also host various events such as a jazz nights or poetry jams.

Info: high.org | @highmuseumofart


Ponce City Market: 

If you are looking for a location that has it all and more, Ponce City Market is for you. Ponce City Market is home to one of my newest favorite donut shops, Five Daughters. There is so much to do here from food, shopping, rooftop mini golfing or a candle making workshop. Ponce City Market is a location with a collection of random shops that oddly seem to coexist well together. I also love how the building has a mixture of old and new in it’s architecture. It is a great place to access the beltline and take really cool photos. 



NASHVILLE TRAVEL DAIRY

2/04/2019

I spent a weekend in Nashville and came back amazed. I made a promise to myself to explore and travel a lot more this year. We have been conditioned to think we need a ton of money or a plane ticket to travel in order to take in new sights and sounds. That is completely false! My brother, Auzoyah and his girlfriend, Ashely took turns driving while I took a wonderful nap in the back seat. Three and half hours later, we arrived in Nashville, Tennessee. Besides exploring a new city, the main reason to went Nashville was to visit Ashely’s younger sister, Aliya who attends Vanderbilt University. Before, I go anywhere I always do a quick google search and for this trip it was “Things to do in Nashville”. It took a while but I found a couple cool spots to check out and this is where we went:

Things To Do In Nashville, Tennessee:

The Parthenon: This was one of the most random things in Nashville and I did not believed it existed. It looked like something teleported from Rome or Athens. Nashville’s Parthenon is a replica of the original Parthenon in Athens. Which, I think is brilliant because I did not need to book an expensive flight to get a taste of Greece!
Price: Free & open to the public 
Address: 2500 West End Ave, Nashville, TN 37203

John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge: This was my highlight of the trip. Besides this spot being free it also had the perfect view of the city. We spend so much time taking pictures and admiring the view. If you get the chance you have to go. Even though accessing the bridge is free, you still have to think about parking. We found a parking area that was $10 an hour then $15 for two hours. 
Price: Free & open to the public 
Adress: Nashville, TN 37213

Five Daughters: This is one of Nashville’s most iconic spots specially went it comes to desserts. Five Daughters is like a donut and a croissant had a baby. When we first got there it was around 5pm on a Saturday and they sold out of almost everything. We had to try again the next day in the morning. I recommend getting there before 1pm before all the deliciousness is gone.
Prices: $2 - $25
Address: 1110 Caruthers Ave, Nashville, TN 37204

Milk & Honey: If you are looking for a modern and picture perfect brunch spot, Milk and Honey is your spot. I got the avocado toast, which was delightful. It came with potatoes and eggs, which I had to ask to be firmly fried. I am not a fan of runny eggs. The food was great and their interior design is even better. 
Prices: $4 - $25
Address: 214 11th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203

Edley’s Bar-B-Que: One of the best BBQs I have ever had in my life and that’s a bold statement. I think what makes their food mouthwatering is their BBQ sauce. Which they sell separately and I told Aliya to bring me a bottle next time she is heading to Georgia. I also like the “old school All-American” atmosphere Edley’s BBQ gives. The wooden furniture and vintage posters of Jazz and Country musicians really sets the vibe.
Prices: $4 - $25
Address: 2706 12th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37204