Your Next Vacation Will Probably Suck

You should probably expect for your vacation to be at least a little trash and here’s why…

I recently traveled to the Dominican Republic and, while it was a great time, I ran into some bumps.

Most were minor, of course: a smeared black stain on a skirt that I wanted to wear to dinner, my hair not drying in a decent amount of time, leaving me with frizzy, dandelion hair, and the like. Nothing too major.

And then I got on a boat.

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I haven’t been on a boat since high school. As a person that has an irrational fear (and vivid nightmares) of open water, I usually steer clear of going out into the middle of the ocean. But there were promises of a secluded island and endless food; all I had to do was take a short boat ride to get to the destination. It’s going to be nothing. Right?

You Already Know It Wasn’t “Nothing”

OK, so the boat ride to the island was pleasant. The steady rhythm of the waves actually seemed peaceful as our boat bobbed against the open water. I rather enjoyed it. And then, a few yards away from the shore, we stopped. Unsure of the situation, I looked around to see what everyone else was doing. Nobody else seemed confused so, you know, it probably was just me. It’s always just me.

I knew there were plans of snorkeling, however, I assumed that the snorkeling would take place closer to the shore; where my feet could touch the ground. I’ve been snorkeling before in Hawaii and my feet were so close to the ocean floor that my knees were scratched up by the end of it. However, our tour guides began to frantically hand out flippers. It became apparent what was happening; I was about to die.

Without letting my traveling partner know of my fear, I threw on my oversized flippers and goggles. My breathing passage immediately became obstructed. I sucked in the little air that I could. “This’ll be easy,” I calmed down my friend while my heart pounded unpleasantly, “Just relax.” Meanwhile, my legs were about to buckle as I glanced out at the open water. A small girl no older than seven and with no sense of fear jumped out into the water in front of me. I followed behind her, silently cussing a small child out for making it look so easy.

One of the guides held out his arm, “Grab it.” He instructed. I knew his scrawny arm would not hold this body but I grabbed it anyways and plunged into the water. Instantly, I was engulfed by nothing but water. My life vest shot up over my head. The goggles filled up to the point where I could see nothing. NOPE! I had NOT planned on dying that afternoon!

I grabbed the boat and, in my panic, forced myself to swing underneath it and push my head underwater a second time. My once panicked friend effortlessly splashed into the water after me as I frantically pulled myself back onto the boat. Mmm.

Long story short, after pulling my flippers off, I stood on the boat and silently watched as everybody else splashed around in the water. I knew I was going back in. I had never done this before and who knew if I would ever do it again? Except, this time I made sure to get back in on my terms. I kept the dumb flippers off and, instead of diving into the water face-first like I did last time, I used to stairs to slowly walk myself into the water.

Once in, I still panicked at the fact that I couldn’t feel anything underneath my feet but took deep breaths and splashed around a little, attempting to get used to the unfamiliarity of being in the open ocean. One of the guides swam over to me and pointed to my goggles. “5 seconds, ok?” he said. I got it. I put the goggles on and then waited for him to count to five. I then submurged my head into the water and felt immediate satisfaction as the fluorescent colored fish swam in between our bodies.

Despite my fear, going back in was so worth it.

Soon after, we all filed onto the boat and completed the journey to the island. We relaxed in the warm water, ate fried fish, and baked in the Caribbean sun. At 2:00PM, it was time to depart. Our group once again boarded the boat to return to the van that would take us back to our resort. Ominous clouds formed in the sky just behind us, and then, it began to rain. And the boat began to rock.

And I got sea sick.

So yeah, a few aspects of my trip were sucky. However, that daywas probably my favorite of the entire trip.

Let’s face it…

Expecting the perfect vacation is completely unrealistic.

Things are going to happen. If you’ve had a perfect vacation where literally everything went right, please let me know in the comments below. Because I definitely have not. But instead of letting these little mishapsdefine my vacation, I put them in the “Learning Experiences” category and let them go; only recreating the scene to laugh about it later.IMG_2553 2

Expecting a perfect vacation will ruin your entire trip. Just because you’re out of town doesn’t mean life stops happening around you. Something – even if it’s just minor – is going to go wrong. Life is never a linear experience; it’s eitheron an upward or downward slope and constantly shifting. And that is just fine. If you learn from the mishap, and learn to let it go, it’ll make the rest of the vacation that much better.

Have you ever had any hilarious vacation mishaps? Let me know…

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6 Non-Christmas Films That Gas Me Up For the Holidays

Christmas movies are ass so here are 6 non- traditional movies (and 1 that is technically a Christmas film) that get me ready for Christmas.

I love the holidays, but I’m not a huge fan of Christmas movies…

I once stanned for The Santa Clause but ex-coke dealer actor Tim Allen’s willfully ignorant, conservative views has left a sour taste in my mouth in my old age. I’ve also never liked A Christmas Story and you can fight me right now if you feel it in your spirit.

These movies are not necessarily marketed as Christmas movies but give me the Holiday feels (mostly for no reason at all):

1. Moana (2016)

Three words: The F***in Music

Moana some of the best music that Disney has ever given us. Thank you, Lin-Manuel! I never saw Hamilton but I know it was a treat.

Although this is a new one on my roster, it’s one that gets me ready for the holiday season. The message, which deals with the struggle of staying loyal to your home life and being content with “Where You Are” in the present while also developing your dreams and going against everything you’ve ever known, speaks to me in a way a child’s movie has never done.

Moana’s self discovery throughout the film is so real, and it inspires me to steer off my linear path to dive into a career and a life that fulfills me. It’s a perfect feel-gooder for the holidays.

2. The Dark Knight (2008)

The Joker’s scarred smile reminds me of holiday cheer.

No, I seriously have no idea why I love watching this movie around the holidays. I love really big, over the top superhero movies (with the exception of the scalding hot garbage that was Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice), so when The Dark Knight came out, I was first in line. I mean, I was literally first in line; I worked at the movies.

The excitement I felt for the release of this movie recreates itself every time the Joker pops up on screen and I’m taken back to high school; a pimply face black girl in an AMC Theater polo surrounded by various white dudes covered in sweat and wearing Batman costumes.

… They wore costumes. That’s probably what gives me the Christmas jitters.

3. Mean Girls (2004)

If there was ever a movie that described my late middle school, early high school career, it was this one. This and Boyz N The Hood.

I remember the day my mom scored a free screening for this movie and I could not mask how unimpressed I was. The poster and commercials did not do this movie justice; I just knew it was a generic teen dream film. But we saw the film and even my mother laughed; that’s usually how I know something is funny.

I was a woman possessed. I spent about 80% of my time talking about Mean Girls, and the other 20% of the time, I was praying for someone else to bring it up so I could talk about it more. I LOVED it and, to this day, watching it warms my cold, chilled heart.

That memorable open legged knee slap that The Plastics do while performing “Jingle Bell Rock” is a reason to watch this movie during the holidays on it’s own.

4. Toy Story (1995)

Although Buzz Lightyear is voiced by an ex-con, Woody just happens to be voiced by Tom Hanks, number two on my list of Older White Dudes That I Enjoy (with John Goodman being number one). The movie begins and ends on Christmas and, while I wasn’t one of those sociopathic kids that thought my dolls were talking to me after seeing this movie, I’ve always appreciated the fantastical premise.

Watching it now brings me back to being a kid and being engrossed in the film that questions: “What adventures are your inanimate toys embarking on when you’re not looking?”

Buzz Lightyear sucks, btw.

5. Just Friends (2005)

This is a serious hot take. I can probably count on one hand how many people I know that have seen this movie and they’re probably all of the people I went to see it with in eighth grade.

It details the main character – who was a fatty in high school – inadvertently returning to his hometown years after moving away to the big city and leaving his fat baggage behind. It’s more of a silly movie than a knee slapper; with goofy elements such as Ryan Reynolds with six turkey necks and a mother with a weirdly high pitched voice. But I watch this every year; mostly for that sense of nostalgia. It also takes place during Christmas.

6. The Lion King (1994)

My all-time favorite movie of ALL TIME *Dave Chappelle voice*

We used to consider this a black movie – mostly because of James Earl Jones and the fact that it was set in Africa – so I’ve always identified with the film. Which is a damn shame because why in the world do we STILL not have a Disney movie that feature black and/or African culture that don’t have the main characters as animals? They made a movie where the black girl was a FROG for 80% of the damn movie!!!

Ok. Let me dial it back. We’re not talking about that movie.

However, I just love this movie. It’s not even about nostalgia, it’s just really well done and the music is perfect. R.I.P. Mufasa. They didn’t have to do you like that.

7. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Consider this one a bonus.

My affinity for the macabre is probably the only reason why I like this movie. Because it’s weird af. When I hear the first few chords of the opening song, I get so geeked. It also is literally about Christmas, but also about Halloween, so I watch it in between seasons to give each one a fair chance.

I’m sure I have more favorites but those were what I could think of.

What are your fave holiday films? Let me know in the comments.

BBC #4 (Week Three)

No loss or gain this week. Still a disappointment.

Week Three Wrap-Up:

I didn’t really make any changes, which is detrimental to my success.

I continue to eat too much and exercise at a limit that’s well under my full potential.

An episode of My 600lb Life that I watched made me tear up from empathy. The subject of that episode discussed how his addiction with food proved to be harder to break than his addiction to hard drugs. I half-agree – given that I’ve never done hard drugs – but I’ve always had an emotional connection with sweets. Sweets have always been my downfall because I associate sweets with self-care.

I’ll mosey into the bakery section at a grocery store and gaze at the assortment of multi-colored, sugary death traps and tell myself, “I deserve to have a treat”. And then I’ll do that every day, masking my true emotional issues with the false sensation of “self-care”. And then I gain 25 pounds.

What I Did Right

It’s really important to focus on the good things we do, no matter how small. Positivity attracts more positivity. I did force myself to workout three times last week and I made myself cook dinner twice.

What I Did Wrong

Indulged on all the sugar and bread my little heart desired. I ate mindlessly and I created excuses on why I didn’t have to go to the gym between Thursday-Sunday. I exceeded my calorie goals on most days.

Goals:

1. Follow the meal plan that my nutritionist gave me:

2. Allow myself ONE (1) sweet treat

3. Workout five (5) times this week. No excuses.

4. Practice mindful eating and self confidence. I’m going to achieve my goals by any means.

Current weight: 237 (no loss or gain)

My ultimate goal is to be at 227 by Christmas. It’s a stretch but I know I can do it.

A Random Girl’s Trip to: Amsterdam, Netherlands

I traveled to Amsterdam in March of 2017 and here’s how it went.

This past March, I traveled to Amsterdam, Netherlands solely because I’m a mess of a person


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Someone in Amsterdam was offering free live sex shows. We didn’t partake.

Why We Chose Amsterdam

Like I said, my friend and I are currently ridiculous people. You hear stories about Amsterdam in the states; of how everything is legal and people are letting it all hang loose and having sex in the streets. I had to see it!

Ok, maybe not the actual sex in the streets. That actually sounds deeply unsettling.

My friend and I were already planning to go to South Africa in March and we weren’t due in Cape Town until a Wednesday. This trip would be both of our first ventures into international territory, so instead of waiting until Tuesday to fly into Cape Town, we decided to take a weekend trip to somewhere in Europe. We figured it would break up our flying time so that we wouldn’t completely lose our minds and would also allow us to see some more shxt we’d never seen. Me, being a heathen, suggested Amsterdam because of the potential debauchery we could get ourselves into. She agreed; Amsterdam it was.

We booked our flights through Kayak (at a very reasonable rate) and used the Multi-City option. We flew with Turkish Airlines (which wasn’t great for first time international travelers that had no idea what we were doing) and flew to a total of four cities and three different countries in a week’s span.

Turkish Airlines was a decent option, don’t get me wrong. We even ventured away from the airport in Istanbul after receiving a free hotel stay from the airlines. Our layover was over I believe eight or nine hours long and we made sure to take advantage of the airline’s hospitality. However, I just never felt comfortable in the city. It could’ve been my travel anxiety creating uneasiness that wasn’t warranted or it could’ve been more. It also could’ve been the fact that I was irritated with connecting in Istanbul every single time. Even now I’m not entirely sure.

The travel agency we used for the South Africa portion of the trip booked our hotel for us, but for Amsterdam we searched Google and ended up staying at the Holiday Inn Express Amsterdam – Sloterdijk Station. The hotel offered free continental breakfast and the staff were always attentive to our questions. The rooms were perfect. The local transit system had a stop right next door to our hotel so we used that to get to most things but if a location was too far (or we were in a hurry), we used Uber.

What I Loved About Amsterdam

The free spirit atmosphere of Amsterdam blew my mind.

Although I got verbally attacked by two of the weirdest shop owners I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting (I’ll detail those events in a later post), I loved the openness that Amsterdam presented.

I loved the idea that certain vices (prostitution, weed, etc.) that are illegal in my home country were for regulated but unlocked public consumption in Amsterdam. We chose not to have a plan each day (with the exception of my friend almost beating me up if we didn’t stand in line for the Anne Frank Museum) and wandered the chilly streets of Amsterdam. IMG_1108

We visited the plethora of miniature museums that lined the rustic sidewalks: such as the Museum of Prostitution, the Museum of Sex, the aforementioned Anne Frank museum (get there EARLY) and, randomly, the Van Gogh Museum.

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There were penises everywhere. I can’t even share most of my photos from Amsterdam because there’s probably a penis lurking somewhere in the background that I didn’t notice. You visit a toilet in a restaurant (that you paid one pound for). You take in your surroundings then sit down to handle your business. As things are happening, you happen to glance up and gasp in shock at the highly stylized photograph of a giant penis staring right back at you. Mocking you. You’re in the women’s bathroom. This is what Amsterdam is like.

Coffee shops also pretty much rule the area. Coffee shops=Marijuana. You can buy marijuana in a shop and indulge it inside that very shop. There’s a long story short for you.

To Wrap This Up…

Amsterdam was my kind of city. I felt comfortable strolling through the streets as a woman with my equally woman sorority sister/friend, darting in and out of stores at random. I experienced my first Primark, which was a highlight of it’s own. I ate as many chocolate covered waffles as physically possible and didn’t bloat. All in all, the city treated us very well and I plan on going back if the Universe allows me to.

It Ain’t Easy Being Me

I know what you’re thinking: who the hell are you? Don’t worry, it’s not what you think.

I’m a YouTube tutorial junkie.

I literally have to force myself to stop watching YouTube tutorials after work so I can shower. As soon as I finish agonizing through the disrespectfully thick traffic home, I immediately huff upstairs to my room, throw my backpack on the floor, flop down, and pull up a tutorial of some sort. Be it travel tips, natural hair care, cute styles, fashion, and the like: I’m always looking for someone to tell me how to function through life.

I’m not here to bash anyone who does tutorials. They’re usually meant to be helpful; not the end all and be all. Plus, I offer my own suggestions on this very blog. But I can say that over the last six years, I’ve implemented about 700,000 hair regimens, suffered through vegetarianism (no shade), starved myself with intermittent fasting, packed every travel bag military style, and embarked on a minimalism lifestyle because YouTube “told me to”. At this point, I am EXHAUSTED. My frayed, frizzy ends are proof! When does it become OK to stop following tutorials and start figuring out what works for me? I’ve spent so much time copying these regimens to achieve the results of others, that I’ve completely failed myself.

This journey, these results, are mine and mine only. The natural hair gurus and weight loss experts can provide suggestions (some really awesome) but figuring out what best works for your own body and spirit is of most importance to your overall success.

You know that girl with the bomb ass twist out who only used water and oxygen to get that voluminous style that frames her head like a glowing, luminescent halo? That water and oxygen miracle may not be in your forecast and there’s nothing wrong with that. Spend some time silencing the experts and listening to you.

*Sorry for the “I” issue. Apple done effed up…

The Joys of Travel Anxiety

Spoiler alert: there are none…

When the thought crossed my mind that I could possibly become possessed while on vacation, I knew my anxiety had reached a ridiculous level.

I love to travel. In March of this year, I embarked on my first international trip and completed an almost two week vacay to Amsterdam, Cape Town, and Johannesburg/Limpopo Province.

And, while the trip was magnificent, the weeks leading up to it were the most stressful of my life.

The fear of what could possibly happen engulfed my entire being. I sat upright in my bed most nights and drafted near impossible disaster scenarios of what was to come:

  • Our plane would be shot down. We were traveling to Turkey to get on our connecting flights. The political climate is tricky; anything could happen.
  • Our plane would literally explode in the air.
  • We would get kidnapped on our way there. There are only two of us. Someone could definitely take us down and steal our organs.
  • As mentioned earlier, I could get possessed by a spirit in our Holiday Inn hotel.

Honestly, how many times do you hear about planes actually exploding in the air? It’s not that common and flying is apparently super safe. However, I realize that the anxiety will never go away.

It’ll always be there.

So, instead of trying to make myself get rid of it, I manage it.

I think of all the beauty I’m about to experience. Whether I’ve been there or not, I know I’m going to enjoy myself

I meditate. I journal. I write out all of my fears in regards to traveling and counter those fears with something positive.

I’m an organization freak so I make lists and check, check, double check them for accuracy.

I’m just a naturally anxious person. That’s who I am. I’m going to always have this anxiety but I won’t let it keep me from traveling. The spirit of traveling, the freedom I feel while in another location, is more important than my consistent worry. I’m happy to have all of this opportunity so why not take advantage?

Why not take advantage of the opportunities you do have?

And, if I do come back possessed by a spirit, I’ll probably be able to do some cool magic shit. That’s something, right?

BBC #2 (Week One)

So…. Yeah.

This week started out strongly but eventually morphed into a wastebasket filled to the brim with failure.

I started out the week eating healthily. Meal prepping on Mondays saves me a lot of time, money, and energy. I exercised Monday and Wednesday and used Tuesday as a day to catch up on much needed sleep.

Then it happened…

On Thursday, I ventured down to the little convenience store in my office building. No bigger than a walk-in closet, the store provides plenty of items like bottled water, pop (not soda), popcorn, sugary sweets, chips, deli sandwiches, hummus, and the like. I averted my eyes from temptation; pivoting to stare toward the healthy snacks nearest the entryway. But the small wooden rack packed with plastic covered, machine manufactured food items in the back of the store called out to me. I struggled, lifted up one leg to pull myself toward the items I needed to fulfill my body. But I gave in. The culprit:

A “Greek Yogurt”Double Chocolate Chip Muffin

I put the Greek Yogurt in quotes because that’s typically only added to make the item seem healthier. It isn’t. Don’t fall for it. It’s still a packaged muffin pumped with preservatives, sugars, simple carbs, and 580 calories. There’s nothing nutritious about a packaged muffin. Nothing, I tell you.

So, yeah. I gave that muffin what it was asking for and felt like shit immediately after eating it. I tried to make myself feel better about it by convincing myself that I was taking my sweet time with it instead of shoving it into my mouth like I always do. I didn’t feel better, though…

After that moment, I had officially barrel-rolled off the wagon.

By Friday, I had already quit my workouts, ate a piece of cake that some a*clown brought in, and began overeating every meal. On Saturday night, I inhaled a batch of mozzarella sticks and a whole small pizza in one sitting before going out to a Halloween party (where, in fact, I saw my ex).

But with that being said, I know I can do this. I’ve lost the weight before; I can do it again.

Consistency is so important at this point of my journey.

Measurable goals could be what I need to implement to get me going.

I need to:

  1. Be consistent. No overeating. Eat slowly.
  2. Workout at least four times/week (even on vacation)
  3. Don’t allow this week’s vacation to throw you off balance. You’re stronger than temptation no matter the setting.
  4. Lose 1.5 pounds this week

End of Week One Weight: 239 lbs (3 pound gain)

Week Two Goal: 237.5 lbs