Barbados Travel Guide

I can’t believe it has already been a month since I first planted my foot on the grounds of Barbados. August was an incredible time in this Caribbean wonderland. I literally whined my waist across this tiny island in celebration of Crop Over. Crop Over is a traditional festival that started years ago when enslaved Africans began celebrating the end of the sugarcane harvest season. Centuries later thousands of the diaspora and persons from all over the world flock to Barbados to attend Crop Over. I consider myself very blessed that I was finally able to make it to the extravaganza. I honestly enjoyed every second I was there and can’t wait to return.

Crop Over season in Barbados consist of at least a month of fêtes (parties) hosted by different bands and organizations. The finale of Crop Over is concluded at the main event, the Grand Kadooment. The Kadooment is the parade that is well known for all the fabulous costumes and non stop dancing. Before the commencement of Crop Over there is a lot to take in and a lot of moving parts, especially for first timers. I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to offer as much information and advice as I can, so hopefully you can enjoy Barbados and Crop Over as much as I did.

Crop Over 2023 schedule

I am thankful I had the opportunity to travel with Black Girls Travel Too (BGTT) Crop Over experience. As you know I usually travel solo, but I thought my Carnival experience should be left to professionals. BGTT did a wonderful job organizing our Crop Over trip as well as introducing the culture that is Barbados. The BGTT Crop Over experience included a 8 day and 7 night itinerary of blended culture and Carnival celebration. I was smart enough to arrive one day early and leave 2 days later for much needed rest and relaxation.

Please see my Barbados Crop Over Travel Guide and recommended Crop Over Itinerary below.

Where I stayed: Barbados is a relatively small island which is 34 kilometers (21 miles) long and up to 23 km (14 mi) wide. Barbados is divided into 11 parishes with the capital Bridgetown located in southern St. Michael parish. Most of the action on the island lies in Bridgetown and the surround parish of St. Michael and Christ Church.

I booked a few days separate from my BGTT accommodations at the all inclusive Sugar Bay Barbados. Sugar Bay Resort is located in Christ Church parish. Christ Church is a very touristy area on the island. Even though all my meals and drinks were included on the resort, I did venture outside of Sugar Bay to eat some local items in the area.

Sugar Bay Resort was a fabulous and conveniently located hotel that is right on the beach. The rooms were clean and luxurious. The resort offers a few different options for food including different restaurants and cuisine. The food was definitely catered for tourists, which is why I explored some other outside food options. The staff was super friendly and resourceful. The front desk staff actually recommended I check out Rise fête the first night I arrived. They also helped me with my transportation there.

How I got around: This would be my only gripe about my visit to Barbados. Tourism is Barbados number one source of income and the locals take advantage of that with transportation. There is some serious price gouging when it comes to tourist and taxis on the island. For an island so small traveling to and for can be one of the biggest expenses if you’re not careful. Taxi drivers have been known to overcharge tourist fares across the island. I myself experienced this my second day in Barbados before my local friends spilled the tea. I was charged $120 (USD) roundtrip from Christ Church to St. James parish, yikes! After speaking to the locals I learned that there are some other options for transport. Barbados has a bus system and ZRs (pronounced Zed-R) that charge $3.50 (BBD) and will take you all over the island. You may also try bartering with some taxi drivers that may be a bit more reasonable in their pricing.

What I saw: EVERYTHING! Like I mentioned above, Barbados is a very small island to explore so you can see it all if you plan accordingly. Beside Crop Over fêtes and parades there is still much to experience in Barbados. I recommend exploring all the 11 parishes of Barbados at your leisure. Check out downtown Bridgetown for some shopping. Oistins on a Friday night is absolutely a must do! The atmosphere is definitely a vibe. I recommend spending a day on the water in a charter boat to get the full luxury Bajan experience. If you’re more of an adventure type you will not want to miss Harrison’s Cave for some outdoor activities and Mount Gay Rum tasting. There is also the option for some ATV adventure time if you like as well.

Where I ate: As mentioned above. Oistins on a Friday night is a must. There are a variety of tiny places to eat, but the wait can be long. After waiting 2 hours in line for my king fish plate I must say it was good, but I’m not sure it was worth it. The reason being, that in Christ Church not too far from Oistins there is Worthing Square Food Garden. Definitely check out Terry’s Food Truck and their fish plates which were even tastier and half the price. Like I also mentioned above Bridgetown and Christ Church offers a lot of touristy food establishments. I don’t like to travel to taste food that I can experience elsewhere. I did find some tasty local spots after getting the scoop from some Bajans. I recommend for an authentic Bajan cuisine you try the King fish, macaroni pie, breadfruit and as much rum as you can handle.

What I spoke: After many years of British rule, English is the first language in Barbados. Bajans also have their own patois and vocabulary that can be hard to understand at times. It’s okay to ask the locals to repeat what was said.

What I bought: The Barbados Dollar (BBD) is the national currency of the Barbados. The exchange rate is rate is $2.00 BBD =$1 USD. The Barbados dollar is fixed to the USD and does not fluctuate in exchange. Many places on the island still only accept cash. Every place I experienced on the island except both BBD and USD for cash, which is convenient. Expect to receive your change in BBD though. I didn’t buy much on the island. I spent the majority of my money on food and transportation.

The only things I purchased on the island was my Bajan Cookbook. I bought a bottle of rum and some hot sauce at the Duty free shop at the airport on my return.

Day 1: Arrive at Grantley Adam International Airport. Check into your hotel. Spend some time settling in and at the beach relax.

For the evening, head out to dinner. Then opt to head out for your first fête.

Day 2: Beach day. You need the time sleep in from the night before.

For the evening, head out to dinner at Champers. (Make sure to make reservations the day before)

Day 3: Time for a date time fête. If you like brunch vibes, I recommend checking out Mimosa fête.

Take a nap, have dinner at any of the recommended spots and then head out for Foreday. Foreday is an all night into the morning dance party. It’s all apart of the Crop Over experience, so make sure you go!

Day 4: After getting some rest from Foreday, head out in the afternoon for more fête fun and FOOD. I highly recommend checking out Bliss fête. This event honestly had some of the best food I ate on the island and plenty of plant based options. Bliss was definitely a vibe.

Cat & the Fiddle Barbados

If you still want to vibe out later that day check out another fête. Vibeland fête is a cute option.


You definitely want to use this day to store your energy as the next day will be…

Day 6: Grand Kadooment! This is the finality of the Crop Over season. You will be literally up and out all day and night partying in the streets. Being surrounded by so many beautiful, colorful people dancing side by side is an unforgetable experience.

See my Crop Over Essentials to make your Grand Kadooment day even better!

Gun Hill

St. Nicholas Abbey

Rihanna Drive and childhood home.

For the evening check out the Krave the Band afterparty for more excitement if you’re not all worn out.

Day 8: Spend some more time relaxing on the beach recovering before heading to the airport.


Essentials for a Great Crop Over/ Carnival

I am still on a high from my incredible and unforgettable experience at Barbados Crop Over 2023. Attending an official Carnival festival has always been on my bucket list. I, of course, being an alumnus of Xavier University of Louisiana and a resident of New Orleans for four years, have had my share of Mardi Gras memories. I’ve been to so many parades and danced in the streets, but I have never had the complete involvement including the costume.

Last year, while I was planning my full year of forty celebration, I thought that this would be the perfect time to attend a carnival. Like Mardi Gras, Carnival season is based around Lent and usually starts typically at the beginning of the year with Trinidad & Tobago. I knew I needed some time to prepare for Carnival this year. I had already planned on my shoulder surgery at the beginning of the year and I wanted more time to snatch this body together. Barbados Crop Over was the best decision to attend, being that it was later in the year around harvest season. I also really wanted to see Barbados, thanks Rihanna.

I did my usual research and found the perfect group to join for my Crop Over extravaganza. Black Girls Travel Too had an all inclusive amazing Crop Over trip on their social media page. I quickly signed up with their payment plan and got to planning my own elevated experience.

Barbados Crop Over 2023 was such a mind blowing, liberating and special trip. My jaunt was filled with so much fun, laughter, dancing and heat! Not just me in my costume, but the weather in Barbados was on another level. After getting through this incredible time, that everyone in my opinion should experience once in their lifetime. I decided to share some insight on what to bring on your trip, so you can easily have an awesome time as well.

I’m no Carnival expert, but this surely won’t be my last Caribbean Carnival season. See my list below of all the essentials you need for you own great Crop Over/ Carnival experience.

  1. Portable fan
    Now I have been to several countries in the Caribbean, but Barbados in the summer is a whole new level of hot. Especially, when you’re surrounded by tons of people dancing nonstop. The humidity and sun had me sweating as soon as I stepped outside. This portable fan was a game changer. It’s super compact and I carried it everywhere with me. It has a long battery life, so I was able to keep the party going.
    (Purchase here)
  2. WATER
    This should be self explanatory. It’s HOT! You’re sweating immensely and dancing hours on end to Soca music. There will also be lots of liquor involved in Carnival. It is absolutely essential you stay hydrate and drink plenty of water. Drink more water than you would on a normal day.
  3. Portable battery charger
    The Carnival season consists of several days of non stop and possibly overnight partying. Don’t forget that you will be trying to capture all the fun you’re having on your phone. Whether you are team iPhone or Android, you will need a back up battery charger to keep your phone alive during those long days and nights.
  4. Comfortable shoes
    As stated above, you will be partying, dancing and standing for hours on hours. For Jouvert/ Foreday and Grand Kadooment (the finale) you will definitely want to invest in some super comfortable shoes to wear. Even better if your shoes match your outfit/ costume.
  5. Fanny pack/ leg bag
    You will want to keep those hands as free as possible as you’re attending fetes and “chipping” (dancing) down the street you’ll want to store your essentials and currency safely. I highly suggest a fanny pack or leg bag especially for Jouvert/ Foreday and Grand Kadooment
  6. Wet wipes
    You will be outside all Carnival, literally. This definitely limits your bathroom options. This means that most likely you will be using a portable toilet to use the restroom. You will feel so much cleaner and better using these wipes to refresh and sanitize.
  7. An amazing crew
    You know how the saying goes, “The more the merrier.” An amazing party is always better with your crew to join and hype you up. Imagine being in the streets with Soca music playing and you bopping with your friends having a great time. Now add beautiful costumes to that experience. You can’t tell me that’s not a fabulous time. I am so very thankful to Black Girls Travel Too for the sisterhood I enraptured during my trip. I am also thankful to Krave the Band for providing the gorgeous costumes and ambiance of Grand Kadooment.

For the complete shopping list for Carnival Essentials click here!

*Doctor’s orders: Notice that I didn’t put sunscreen on the list for essentials. As a physician, I must emphasis the importance of wearing sunscreen DAILY. No matter where you are on this planet you should be putting on sunscreen every day. No matter your shade from peach to plum put on your sunscreen before you walk out the door in the morning. I was double coated in sunscreen and reapplied often during my entire stay in Barbados.


23 hours in Panama

I’ve said it again and again, I love to take advantage of a good stopover flight. It is the absolute easiest way to travel to two countries in one trip. Airlines have finally caught up with this trend and certain ones now provide quick access to their country of origin. When planning my trip to Barbados last year, I had the idea in mind to search for a stopover during my tour.

During my flight research, I quickly discovered Copa Airlines, based in Panama City, had a stopover program. Their flights are designed to have an extended layover in Panama City, so you may enjoy the beautiful Central American city and country. I happily and rapidly booked my flight to Barbados with an extraordinary Panama City excursion in between.

I had exactly 23 hours in the beautiful mecca that is Panama City. I had a chance to learn about and visit the world renowned and highly advanced engineering that is the Panama Canal. I had the opportunity to explore Casco Antiguo (its Old Quarter). While I was there, I enjoyed some authentic freshly shaven ice and a Panamanian meal for dinner. I went bar hoping at night to a few rooftop bars to see the beautiful skyline of the city. Most importantly, I was able to rest and relax before my non stop partying in Barbados.

Definitely consider Copa Airlines and a stopover in Panama City during your next travel destination.

See more information on my 23 hour Stopover in Panama below.

Panama City Stopover

Where I stayed: JW Marriott Panama City

How I got around: Uber works very well in Panama City. I spent about $15 USD to get to my hotel from the airport. Uber to other parts of the city varied from $4-10 USD per ride.

What I saw: After I checked into my hotel I refreshed and went straight to the Panama Canal. To visit the Canal, the Miraflores Visitor Center is just a 15-minute drive from downtown Panama City. I highly recommend you check out the Imax movie narrated by Morgan Freeman, of course, about the Panama Canal. The movie is included in your ticket price to view the canal. I then took an Uber to Casco Antiguo (its Old Quarter). This area of town is full of culture, cute shops and restaurants. After dinner I went to a few rooftop bars to view the skyline. I started at Tantalo Roofbar in Casco Antiguo. I ended my evening back at the JW Marriot’s rooftop bar, which has a spectacular night skyline view and a affordable drink menu.

Panama City

Where I ate: I stayed in the Old Quarter for dinner. I asked my Uber driver who picked me up from the airport for dinner recommendations and he recommended, Diablicos, for delicious authentic Panamanian cuisine. Prior to dinner I also stumbled upon this man making freshly shaven ice. He recommended and made it the authentic Panamanian way with fruit flavors of passion fruit and sweetened condensed milk. That shaven ice was so good especially in the humid air that is Panama City. My hotel stay included breakfast, so I was able to fill my belly before my flight to Bridgetown, Barbados the next morning.

Fresh shaven ice

What I spoke: Spanish is the spoken language in Panama. You may find some locals that speak English in the touristy areas like hotels, shops etc., but most people only speak Spanish. My Spanish level is intermediate, but I definitely felt comfortable enough communicating decently in the country.

What I bought: The Panamanian balboa (PAB) is the national currency of the Republic of Panama. Since I was staying less than I day, I opted to just use my credit card for my purchases instead to getting cash. Exchange rate is $1 USD = $1 PAB


Belizean Nice Cream

Original Blog post from: Confections, Crafts and Couture.

Happy National Ice Cream Day! Here we are in the middle of July and Los Angeles is finally starting to feel like summertime. This week has been extra warm and I have been throughly enjoying basking in the sun. Ice cream is a great way to cool down during this time of the year, when the hot days are consecutive and a break is needed. I honestly though eat as much ice cream as you would think.

Let me be clear, I enjoy that creamy confection that is gobbled up by the gallons by millions of fans. My favorite flavor of ice cream is actually cookies n cream to be clear, it’s just not featured much on my palate . This may come off as bougie, but I try not to eat ice cream here in the US because is just not that good. US ice cream, if not premium quality, is usually filled with chemicals and unknown substances that I dare not know. When it comes to food we all know fresh is best, so I try and save my ice cream experiences for overseas.

Last month while I was in Belize enjoying my birthday vacation, I decided not only to enjoy some ice cream but to make some as well. I actually made ice cream out of bananas, also known as ‘nice cream.’ This idea came to me while in Belize after receiving too many ripe bananas from our lodging accommodations to eat for breakfast. The kitchen where I stayed was equipped with a blender, so I tossed the bananas in with some previously purchased coffee creamer. After letting the nice cream freeze for a few hours, dessert was done. The nice cream came out delicious and tasted just like frozen banana pudding. The only thing missing were some Kaleidoscope Sprinkles to make it pop.

This was my first time making nice cream, but I definitely will be enjoying this recipe again this summer. If you’re looking for another cool treat to enjoy this summer I suggest giving this simple enjoyable recipe a try. It’s super light, refreshing and so easy to make.

See recipe and ice cream from all over the world below.

Banana Pudding Nice Cream


5-6 medium ripe bananas

¼ cup of Vanilla Cannoli flavor or your favorite coffee creamer

Cookies for decoration, optional

Kaleidoscope Sprinkles for decoration, optional


Peel bananas then transfer to a blender or food processor. Add coffee creamer. Blend until smooth, scraping down sides.

Transfer nice cream to a medium sized freezer safe bowl. Place nice cream in the freeze for at least 2 hours or overnight (for a firmer texture).

Serve nice cream with your favorite cookies and/or sprinkles.

Devour and enjoy!!

Ice cream around the world


BELIZE Travel Guide

A few years ago, a decision was made to start a new decade of life in another country. My best friend and I new that with time we would quickly be turning forty and needed to be ready with a plan of action. I thankfully had several countries of travel under my belt and new exactly the vibe I wanted for the celebration. Last year, we were able to narrow down our travel options and finally decided on the perfect location for both relaxation and adventure, Belize.

Belize, is a Central American cornucopia of cultures. It is the less populated of Central American countries, but provides an even more unique experience with its character and history. Belize has a rich Mayan heritage, but also has a past of British colonization. Queen Elizabeth is still on the currency of Belize currently. I was looking forward to visiting Belize to soak up as much sun and culture as possible. I knew that Belize was known for its large barrier reef and a great destination for snorkeling along with other outdoor activities. I wanted to not only enjoy being outside in the sun exploring the country, but also relaxing and basking on the beach.

After completing my research on the Caribbean gem that is Belize, I decided that staying on the island of San Pedro would be the best option for peace and exploration. The island of San Pedro is a known laid back town where the beaches outnumber the cars. I loved all the colorful older buildings of downtown and the overall feel of the city.

My visit to Belize for my fortieth birthday was everything I expected and more. I was able to start a new decade not only in a new country, but a newer and better mindset. Belize allowed me an opportunity to relax, reset and revive my spirit for my present and my future. Belize is a must visit destination if you want to really disconnect and delve into your soul.

I highly recommend Belize to you, so I tried to provide as much information for you.

Helpful hints for Belize 

  1. Most places take belizean (BZD) and American money (USD). 
  2. English is the official language, but most locals speak Spanish as well from surrounding countries. 
  3. Sunscreen is a must! 
  4. Belizeans eat a lot of seafood so best time to visit is during lobster and conch season (Oct.- Dec.) 
  5. Belize is on CST but doesn’t recognize daylight savings time (shorter days). 
  6. Drones are NOT allowed.

Please see my Belize Travel Guide and Travel Itinerary below.

Transportation: Belize is made of many islands. The only international airport located in the country is in Belize City. Once you arrive to the most populated city of Belize you’ll most likely need to take an additional flight to your final destination. There are two main airlines of Belize, Tropic Air and Maya Air. Our accommodations were able to reserve roundtrip flights to / from San Pedro to Belize City. My roundtrip flight from Belize City to San Pedro cost around $120 USD. If you’re not able to catch a flight to the island, there is a water taxi available as well. The San Pedro Belize Express Water Taxi offers many arrival and departure times to the island of Caye Caulker and San Pedro. A roundtrip taxi from Belize City to/ from San Pedro cost $57 USD. You can purchase tickets online ahead of time or once you arrive to the taxi port in either city. Once on the island of San Pedro/ Ambergris Caye our main mode of transportation was a golf cart. San Pedro only allows very limited use of cars on the island. I thoroughly enjoyed whipping the golf cart across the island. San Pedro is also a very walkable island as well, despite limited sidewalks and some narrow dirt roads.

Belize Transportation

Money: Belize uses Belizean dollars as its currency. $1 USD = $2.0118 BZDs. Most places on the island take both Belizean dollars and US dollars. We stayed in San Pedro, which honestly is the most touristy and expensive location in Belize. I noticed that the prices for food and other items were comparably higher than when we were in Belize City and other places in the country. Dinner in San Pedro averaged close to $40-50 a night with the high prices and %12.5 sales tax. Alcoholic drinks cost $12-15 USD a beverage. I highly suggest buying liquor at the duty-free shops located in the Belize City airport by baggage claim before leaving to San Pedro to save some coins. Our gold cart rental cost $350 USD for the week. We had to put some gas in it from all our adventuring and it was about $30 USD to fill it up. Cash was only accepted at the gas station and other places on the island, so I kept cash on hand at all times. All in all Belize is not the most money saving holiday, but is still worth every penny.

Language: Belize is the only country in Central America where English is the official language. Belize is surrounded by Spanish speaking countries Mexico and Guatemala, so many locals are fluent in Spanish as well. Other languages spoken in Belize include creole patois, and many Belizeans are multilingual. Yucatec, Mopán, and Kekchí are spoken by the Maya in Belize.

Food: Belize is made of many islands and is located directly on the Caribbean Sea, so seafood is king. Belize has a well known lobster festival and conch season. The best time to visit for lobster is from July 1st- February 15th. Conch season typical runs from October – June. October- January may be the best time to visit Belize since both seafood seasons overlap. Belize also has plenty of fresh produce. Belize grows 28 varieties of mangoes. There are also plenty of plantains, bananas, papaya, watermelon, pineapple and cashews that grow on the land to enjoy. I really enjoyed all the food in Belize. Everything was super fresh and well seasoned.

𝗙𝗼𝗼𝗱𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗕𝗲𝗹𝗶𝘇𝗲

ᴍᴀʀɢᴀʀɪᴛᴀ ᴀɴᴅ ɢʀɪʟʟᴇᴅ ғɪsʜ sᴀɴᴅᴡɪᴄʜ @303belize ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3.5/5)

ᴡᴀᴛᴇʀᴍᴇʟᴏɴ ᴍᴀʀɢᴀʀɪᴛᴀ ᴀɴᴅ ғɪsʜ ᴛᴀᴄᴏs 🍉🌮@maxies_restaurant_belize ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4.5/5)

sᴇᴀғᴏᴏᴅ ᴘᴀᴇʟʟᴀ 🥘🐠Aji Tapa Bar & Restaurant ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4.5/5)

ʙᴇʟɪᴢᴇᴀɴ ᴄᴏsᴍᴏ 🍸The Last Drop Cafe & Bar (Caye Caulker)⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3/5)

ғɪsʜ ʙᴀʟʟs, ғɪsʜ ᴄᴜʀʀʏ & ғʀᴇsʜ ᴡᴀᴛᴇʀᴍᴇʟᴏɴ ᴊᴜɪᴄᴇ @elfogonbelize ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4/5)

ɢʀɪʟʟᴇᴅ ғɪsʜ ᴅɪɴɴᴇʀ 🐟🎣 El Patio Grill ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3/5)

ɪᴄᴇ ᴄʀᴇᴀᴍ ᴄᴏɴᴇ🍦 Sarita Ice Cream ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4/5) 

ʙᴇʟɪᴢᴇᴀɴ sᴀʟʙᴜᴛᴇs & ᴘɪɴᴀ ᴄᴏʟᴀᴅᴀ🍍From cooking class in Belize City ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4/5)

ᴍᴇʀɪɴɢᴜᴇs & ʙʀᴇᴀᴅ ᴘᴜᴅᴅɪɴɢ 🥖🍞Casa Pan Dulce Bakery ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5) 

ʙᴇʟɪᴢᴇᴀɴ ᴅʀᴇᴀᴍ ᴄᴏᴄᴋᴛᴀɪʟ & ᴡᴀᴛᴇʀᴍᴇʟᴏɴ sᴀʟᴀᴅ 🍹🥗 Aji Tapa Bar & Restaurant ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4.5/5)

ᴄᴀʀɪʙʙᴇᴀɴ ᴄᴜʀʀʏ 🍛 Hidden Treasure Restaurant ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4.5/5)

ᴘɪɴᴀ ᴄᴏʟᴀᴅᴀ 🥥🍹@trescocosresortbelize ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4/5) 

7 Day Belize Travel Itinerary

Day 1: Flight from Belize City to San Pedro, Belize. Approximately 1 hour

Belize City to San Pedro: 1 hour via Tropic Air.

Check in to hotel.

Where we stayed? We stayed at Tres Coco Resort. We decided on this location because it’s directly on the beach. The resort is located on the north side of San Pedro island. Our room had a wonderful view with a large patio facing the Caribbean Sea. The spacious accommodations also had a full kitchen, a large bedroom and bathroom. What was also nice about Tres Coco was that the resort was able to arrange and assist us ahead of time with our flight to the island from Belize City and our weekly gold cart rental. We were also able to purchase some items ahead of time for our large kitchen, which were waiting for us upon arrival such as fresh coffee, breakfast items and snacks.

Day 2: San Pedro beach and city day.

This was our first day in the city. We had a chance to get acquainted with our golf cart and the city. The downtown area of San Pedro was a quick 10 minute drive via gold cart. You can also walk to downtown (which I did one day) from most of the island, it takes about 30 minutes and is safe without a sidewalk. Downtown San Pedro is where you’ll find most our your shops and restaurants on the island. If you’re looking to purchase souvenirs or more gas for your gold cart, you’ll also find it downtown. Downtown San Pedro also has the water taxi ferry port and an ATMs if you need cash.

San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize

Day 3: Hol Chan Reef/ Snorkeling Tour

Our Hol Chan tour departed from Caye Caulker in the morning. We were able to take the 7AM water taxi from San Pedro to Caye Caulker, which took approximately 30 minutes. We had enough time before our tour to stop by Ice n Beans Cafe (see below) to have breakfast. From there it was a 2 minutes walk to our destination point.

The Hol Chan full day tour was amazing! Our guides were very knowledgeable and made sure everyone was safe during the entire voyage. During our tour I was able to see lots of coral, plenty of colorful fish, tortoises, stingrays, a manatee and sharks. The tour also included lunch. I ended up getting motion sick, so I passed on lunch, but my friend said that it was tasty.

See my review for the tour here!

Snorkel tour

Day 4: Belize City Altun Ha Mayan, Kayaking Tour

This tour departed from Belize City at 9AM. The ferry ride from San Pedro to Belize City took approximately an hour and a half. Our guide was able to pick us up from the water ferry port in the city. Our drive to the Nohoch Che’en Nature Reserve was over an hour so our guide was thoughtful enough to stop for the bathroom and snacks prior to the drive. Once we arrived to the nature reserve our guide made sure everyone safely made their journey through the jungle to get to our kayaks. He really took his time with my friend, who needed some additional attention, which I truly appreciated. The scenery on the reserve made the entire trek worth it. The land of Belize is so lush and you truly get to experience it on this tour. This tour also included a drive to Altun Ha Mayan ruins. We got to the site in the afternoon and we were the only group there. It felt like a true VIP experience. I really enjoyed this tour and would highly recommend it to any adventurous person.

See my review for the tour here!

Day 5: San Pedro Secret Beach Day

Please see my entire detailed review of Secret Beach on my blog post.

Secret Beach, San Pedro

Day 6: Belize City Cooking Class  

This tour was located on the outskirts of Belize City. We took a taxi from the water ferry port which cost us $40 BZDs. The host of the tour offered to arrange transportation prior to our arrival, but it was a bit more costly. During this class we learned to make Belizean salbutes, which is like an open face taco snack (see video). The class had less cooking than I expected, but there was the bonus of access to the pool and the drinks being served at the end.

Day 7: Breakfast in San Pedro

Head back to Belize City for departure home via Tropic Air

* If you have additional time in Belize you recommend you check out other areas of the country:

wonderful morning
Photo by Chechil Orifa on Pexels.com

Secret’s out about Secret Beach

I’m back! I have returned from my birthday trip to Belize browner, happier, older and wiser. I have entered a whole new decade and returned from visiting a whole new country. Belize is a beautiful Caribbean nation that is filled with kind and lovely souls. It has a very laid back and calming spirit, so it was definitely the perfect locale for the 40th birthday trip.

While I was doing my usual research prior to my trip, I came across on social media this happening spot called in Belize called Secret Beach. What truly caught my eye about this place was the beautiful beach and the comforting restaurant chairs placed in the clear sea waters. I knew going to Belize and visiting Secret Beach was a must and the best way to spend a day on my vacation.

After getting the chance to do exactly what I planned and spend the day at Secret Beach, Belize, I will say it is worth a visit! Secret Beach was probably the best beach experience I had on San Pedro island. I was actually able to enjoy my surroundings and place my feet in the sand and the cool waters of the Caribbean Sea. (There is a huge problem with Sargassum (Seaweed Algae) on the Caribbean coast right now, so many beaches are not accessible for swimming.) Secret Beach not only offers pretty beaches and crystal blue waters, but also several establishments for eating and drinking. I honestly did notice that the prices were higher in the area for tourists, but the drinks and food were worth it. (I paid $45 USD or 90 BZD for two drinks from the bar). There are other activities to enjoy while you’re visiting as well.

I decided to share my secrets for Secret Beach Belize with you, so you hopefully get a chance to visit and enjoy your experience as much as I did.

Secrets to Secret Beach

Secret Beach Helpful Hints:

1. Secret Beach is located on the northwest side of San Pedro (Ambergris Caye) island in Belize. It’s located approximately at 45 mins. away from downtown San Pedro/ San Pedro ferry via golf cart/ taxi.

2. Secret beach is open from 10 AM -6 PM Sunday- Saturday.

3. Secret beach has a full bar and restaurants on-site for a variety of food and drinks. (I did notice the prices to be higher on the beach than other places on the island). Cash/ Cards accepted. I recommend Aurora’s Bar & Grill, Pirate Bar & Grill or the Blue Bayou Restaurant & Bar.

4. Besides lounging on the beach there are other activities to choose. There is a masseuse available for hire for a lovely massage session, there are water swings, there’s snorkeling and there’s an inflatable water park for the kiddies.

5. For more information CLICK HERE!

palm trees near the sea
Photo by Rob Rector on Pexels.com

Colombia Travel Guide

As I have mentioned in my previous posts, the travel madness all started when I turned 30. Thirty was the first year I planned a solo international trip to Paris. My 30th birthday trip was definitely one to remember. I fell in love with Paris for the first time. I got a once in a lifetime chance to see Serena Williams play at the French Open (which she won that year) and also attend my first French cooking class. Since this special birthday and extravagant trip, I have been contaminated by the travel bug. Every year, I am now known to be planning an international excursion to celebrate my special day. I, of course, have made sure to visit Paris every year sans COVID. I also like to try and explore at least three new countries every year.

I don’t really have a numerical travel goal. My true goal in life is to try and visit every country on this earth before my time has run out. I, at this time, have traveled to six out of the seven continents on this earth. It wasn’t until last year though for my 39th birthday that I finally reached South America for the first time. I made up my mind that I wanted to bring in the last year of my 30s in Colombia. Over the years I had heard many positive experiences about Colombia and I set out to the explore the country finally for myself.

The week that I spent in Colombia was nothing short of incredible. I, like always, thoroughly did my research to maximize my experience during my travel. I was able to visit five different cities each with their own unique vibe. I started my trip south in Medellín and worked my way north to finish my trip in Bogota. I honestly enjoyed my time in Medellín more than my time in the better known and capital city of Bogota.

Since it has been almost exactly a year since my visit to Colombia, I thought it was definitely time to share my experiences and my travel guide with you. May is a great time of the year to visit Colombia. The weather is mild enough to explore different cities without being too hot or cold. Medellín, Colombia is known as the land of eternal spring thanks to its optimal atmosphere, making any time of year the best time to visit.

My 39th birthday and first trip to South America was absolutely amazing. I wanted to share as much information and my itinerary below, so hopefully you’ll consider Colombia a destination for your birthday vacation or solo trip.

Please see my Colombia Travel Guide below.

First arriving to Medellín

Transportation: For my trip I originally flew into Bogota from LAX and took a smaller flight to Medellín once I arrived to Colombia. The flights are very affordable to travel throughout the country. My flights were on average approximately $20 (USD) one way. I used Avianca Airlines as my main flight carrier. Once you have reached your destination in Colombia the most affordable and reasonable way to travel is via local buses. If you’re going to be going longer distances or need a more direct way to travel, taxis and Uber is the best option. Always be sure to have cash on hand just in case.

Flying to Cartagena

Money: Colombia is a very affordable country to visit. I definitely appreciated how far my US dollars stretched in this country. I did notice during my journey that my money definitely stretched further in the less populated cities. Colombians use the Colombian Peso as their cash. $1 USD = $4556 COP (Colombian Pesos). As I mentioned above, be sure to have some COPs on hand for the taxi and street food, but debit/ cards are pretty much excepted everywhere else.

Language: Spanish is the official language of Colombia. I would say my Spanish is intermediate. I most certainly understand more than I can say correctly. I was able to do well enough with my Spanish to get a cab, order food at restaurants, go shopping and have basic conversation. I tried to speak as much Spanish as I could to hopefully feel more comfortable with the language by the end of my trip. If you don’t know Spanish very well, I would say use your translator on your phone/ smart device. Bogota also provided more English speaking citizens I noticed during my trip.

Food in Colombia

Food: All the food I ate during my trip was absolutely amazing. Everything tasted super fresh. The first thing I had during my trip were these vegan tacos in El Pablado with a freshly made strawberry margarita. I recommend trying the street foods, especially the Buñuelos. They’re fried cheese dough balls that come is different varieties and you can put sauce on top! The food prices are very reasonable too. I ate like a queen my entire trip and didn’t break the bank.

7 Day Colombia Itinerary

Day 1: Flight from Bogota to Medellín Colombia. Approximately 1 hour.

Check into hotel.

Where I stayed? 23 hotel in the El Poblado district in Medellín. This hotel was wonderful. The location was the best. It’s located in a very safe area. I felt comfortable walking alone at night. It is also located in walking distance to some of the best restaurants and shops Medellín has to offer. Breakfast was included in my stay and the food was amazing!

Hotel 23

The entire experience was ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

See restaurant menu and prices here!

Day 2: Comuna 13 tour of Medellín.

This tour is an absolute must! This tour allows you to see and visit all that accompanies the great city of Medellín. From the street art, to the different neighborhoods, the cable cars, the food, etc. The tour starts downtown and then takes you all over the city. There is a lot of walking uphill and downhill involved so dress accordingly. The tour is well worth the cost and then some.

Comuna 13 tour

Dinner at Rocoto. See complete menu here!

Other places to check out in Medellín

  • Llera Park
  • Spanish Park Library
  • León de Greiff Library Park
  • La Candelaria
  • The metro cable

Day 3: Day tour of Guatapé


This is another must see spot in Colombia. This tour starts in Medellín. You travel by bus a few hours away to the first stop of Piedra del Peñol. Piedra del Peñol is a gigantic rock featuring over 700 stairs you climb to the top. Once you reach the top you overlook this incredible view of Guatapé. The city of Guatapé itself is absolutely breathtaking. This city looks as if it were built out of a child’s storybook. This city is filled with so much color and coordination.

Day 4: Flight from Medellín to Cartagena

Where I stayed: I stayed at the Radisson Hotel which was directly on the beach. The hotel was not located close to where the action (el Centro) and sites were in the city and I do not recommend.


Must see in Cartagena: Visit the Getsemaní neighborhood. This well known portion of Cartagena is filled with colorful street art of beautiful Black and brown people.

Day 5: Day trip to Palenque, Colombia


Palenque is a city in Colombia that was the first founded by freed enslaved Africans. Palenque is considered the first free town of slavery in America. This tour was full of history and immersive experiences of African roots. I really enjoyed being able to visit this city and participant in the full experience.

Must do in Cartagena: After my tour from Palenque I was dropped back off in the city centre of Cartagena. I had enough time to walk around, explore and take some pictures before my amazing cooking class. My class was a one on one lesson where I learned how to make a popular and authentic delicious Colombian dish of fish, coconut rice and plantains. I recommend taking a Colombian cooking class if not in Cartagena, somewhere else during your South American journey.

Check out Colombian cooking class here!

Day 6: Flight from Cartagena to Bogota.

Where I stayed on Bogota- Hotel Bioxury. I really enjoyed staying at this establishment. The hotel was located in the best location. It was within walking distance to all the best shops for shopping and restaurants for eating. The living wall in the lobby was gorgeous as well.

Lobby of Bioxury Hotel

Day 7: Breakfast/ Lunch in Bogota and head to the airport.

Breakfast was included during my hotel stay at Hotel Bioxury and was absolutely fresh and delicious. I did check out a French bistro located within walking distance from the hotel that had something pretty decent food as well.


Weekend in Colorado

Last month in April I had the pleasure of visiting not only Denver, but Colorado for the first time. One of my good friends, Lynette, invited me to join her in celebrating her 40th birthday in the Mile High City. I knew automatically it was going to be a good time because Lynette and I always have a great time together. Lynette also joined me last year for one my best Coachella experiences as well. I was extremely excited to RSVP to this April extravaganza.

Denver is incredibly close and a quick plane ride from California and yet I never took it upon myself to plan a trip there. This capital of Colorado is known for its high altitude and more recently for getting people even higher with THC. Denver also has more to offer with their sports teams, outdoor activities, arts, food, culture and more. I knew my first visit to Colorado was going to be a quick weekend rendezvous, so I tried to encompass as much as I could.

My weekend excursion to Denver to celebrate my friend’s 40th was an absolute wonderful time. I really felt the love and appreciation of my fabulous friend, Lynette. My three day trip also showed me why Denver is loved and appreciated by so many as well. This western wonderland is expansive in its mountainous beauty, parks, art exhibits, rich culinary scene and much more. Although the weather may be indecisive my mind is completely made up that I will be returning to Denver again.

Please see my Denver tips and weekend Itinerary below.

City of Denver Tips

  • Bring layers! Denver weather can be ever changing and indecisive so dress accordingly.
  • Denver is VERY spread out with different areas/ neighborhoods. Save money by renting a car or using friends/ family with vehicles.
  • Altitude Sickness is felt more when dehydrated or intoxicated. Stay thirsty (for water) my friends.
  • Being a mile high in the air dries out your skin. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!

Weekend Denver Itinerary

red and white concrete building during night time
Photo by Colin Lloyd on Pexels.com

Where I stayed: Kimpton Hotel Monaco, Downtown Denver.


Land at Denver International Airport. Take light rail or drive into downtown Denver, check-in and check out happy hour at your hotel.

Head to Appaloosa Grill for Friday night dinner and live music.

Head back to the hotel for a great night’s rest.


Walk over to Syrup for brunch with flavored mimosas and full servings of delicious food.

Walk off at that full brunch by wandering and exploring downtown for art murals and architecture.

Head to Lookout Mountain Park trail for a more aerobic activity and great views of the city.

Have a snack, including homemade fudge, at Buffalo Bill’s Cafe and Gift shop.

Head to Red Rocks Amphitheatre for an evening concert or

Head back downtown for dinner at the Denver Milk Market and evening show at the Denver Improv Comedy Club.


Head to the Denver Biscuit Company or Toro restaurant for homemade biscuits and southern cuisine or an all you eat exquisite Latin fine dining brunch experience.

Head to the airport to your destination full of great food and experiences.

people walking on park near high rise buildings
Photo by Arpan Parikh on Pexels.com

Other activities recommended for Denver:


A Day in Bordeaux

Paris is the most visited city in the world. Although, my favorite city in the world encompasses so much culture and is a world in its own, I must tell you that there is so much more to France than Paris. Besides the French capital city, there is of course the South of France. I had the chance to visit this gorgeous traveler’s wonderland some years ago outside of my yearly Parisian trip. There are also many inland areas of France that are just as beautiful and worth exploring.

A few years ago, during my annual trip to Paris I decided that I would visit the well known Champagne region. I have been a big fan of champagne and popping bottles as a part of bougie weekend brunch lifestyle. Also since one of my favorite mottos is “Rosé all day”, I was interested to see how this effervescent libation was made. During my tour we visited several champagne houses, had plenty of tasting opportunities, free time to explore the City of Champagne and even visit the gravesite of Dom Perignon. My very memorable and slightly inebriated day trip to Champagne, France was amazing. I enjoyed the experience so much that I decided I wanted tour another region outside of Paris the following year. I used my love for another French drink to inspire my next area of exploration.

Bordeaux is well known in its robust and full body wines, but there is more to it than beverages. The city of Bordeaux has a famous museum, a bustling transit system, France’s largest public square, picturesque cathedrals, delicious restaurants, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and so much more. Bordeaux is easily accessible with a quick train ride from Paris. I started my day in the morning and spent a full day in the city. If you have more time available I recommend staying a few more days as there are areas outside of the city worth visiting as well.

Overall I am so glad I had the opportunity and foresight to venture outside of Paris and visit Bordeaux. I definitely plan to come back to visit some wineries and book a spa day at Caudalie during my next visitation.

Check out my Bordeaux day trip information below and plan a day of exploration for yourself.

Transportation: Bordeaux is a quick 2-3 hour train ride from Paris. There are several trains that travel to/ from the city so you have plenty of options of when to leave and return to manage your itinerary. The tickets are also very affordable if you book your tickets in advance. The earlier you book your tickets the lower the price for the most part. The more popular train times, cost more so plan accordingly. I booked my roundtrip ticket online. You also have several options for departure points from Paris.

(Book train tickets here)

Things to do in Bordeaux:

  1. Marche de Capucins- Great for buying fresh foods and flowers. While I was there I happened to stumble upon an open flea market as well.
  2. La Cite du Vin
  3. Musee du Vin et du Negoce
  4. Les Bassin de Lumieres
  5. Promenade Sainte-Catherine
  6. A spa day at Caudalie Spa
  7. There are several wineries outside of the city to visit for day tours

Want further ideas for things to do in Bordeaux? Click here

Places to see in Bordeaux:

  1. Place de la Borse (The Water Mirror)
  2. St. Andre Cathedral
  3. Grosse Cloche de Bordeaux
  4. Pont de Pierre
  5. La Cite du Vin
  6. Grand Theatre
  7. Monument aux Girodins
  8. Jardin Public

Food and Drink (Places to eat and drink well while you’re there):

  1. BLISSS (Fancy French)
  2. La Fine Bouche (Fancy French)
  3. Chai Maestro (Spanish/ European)
  4. Arcada (French)
  5. Restaurant Epicentre (French)
  6. Loco by Jem’s (French/ Gastropub)
  7. Suzzi (Swedish/ Healthy)
  8. Lume (Italian/ Mediterranean)
  9. Tupaq (Peruvian/ Latin)
  10. Pizzas- Les Cancres (Italian)
  11. O p’tit bahut Bordeaux (French wine bar)
  12. e Metropolitain (French wine bar)
Promenade Sainte-Catherine

Best Open Markets in Paris

The French are known for their impeccable food standards. Besides French culinary schools and world renown chefs and restaurants there are other rules and regulations that make French food so superb. Did you know that bakeries must bake their bread on-premises to hold the title of ‘boulangerie‘ in France? Also in France a bakery cannot use the term ‘pâtisserie’ by law unless there is a maître pâtissier (master pastry chef) on site. With all these exceptional food standards for French restaurants and food shops it makes you wonder where Parisians buy the freshest vittles.

Here in the US, farmers markets have recently become a popular place for fresh and sustainable food outside of the local grocery store. In France, open markets are a normal and traditional part of life. The French typically head to an open market versus going to a marché (grocery store) for buying their daily food. The open market is known as a source for the freshest fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, prepared foods and flowers and is an integral part of France’s famed tradition of good eating.

In Paris, there is at least one open market available in every district or arrondissements. I have had the opportunity to visit a few different markets in Paris and have decided to compile a list of the best open markets in Paris.

See below for the Best Open Markets in Paris.

For more information on French markets click here.

𝓑𝓮𝓼𝓽 𝓞𝓹𝓮𝓷 𝓕𝓻𝓮𝓷𝓬𝓱 𝓜𝓪𝓻𝓴𝓮𝓽𝓼 𝓲𝓷 𝓟𝓪𝓻𝓲𝓼

𝟏. 𝐌𝐚𝐫𝐜𝐡é 𝐁𝐚𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐞 -📍𝟏𝟑𝐭𝐡 𝐀𝐫𝐫. 

𝟐. 𝐑𝐮𝐞 𝐂𝐥𝐞𝐫 𝐌𝐚𝐫𝐤𝐞𝐭 𝐒𝐭.- 📍𝟏𝟑𝐭𝐡 𝐀𝐫𝐫.

𝟑. 𝐌𝐚𝐫𝐜𝐡é 𝐏𝐫é𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐖𝐢𝐥𝐬𝐨𝐧- 📍𝟏𝟑𝐭𝐡 𝐀𝐫𝐫. 

𝟒. 𝐌𝐚𝐫𝐜𝐡é 𝐌𝐨𝐮𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐝- 📍 𝟏𝟑𝐭𝐡 𝐀𝐫𝐫. 

𝟓. 𝐑𝐮𝐞 𝐌𝐨𝐮𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐝 𝐌𝐚𝐫𝐤𝐞𝐭-📍 𝟏𝟑𝐭𝐡 𝐀𝐫𝐫.

𝟔. 𝐌𝐚𝐫𝐜𝐡é 𝐌𝐨𝐧𝐠𝐞-📍𝟏𝟑𝐭𝐡 𝐀𝐫𝐫. 

𝟕. 𝐌𝐚𝐫𝐜𝐡é 𝐃𝐞𝐣𝐞𝐚𝐧-📍 𝟏𝟖𝐭𝐡 𝐀𝐫𝐫. 

𝟖. 𝐌𝐚𝐫𝐜𝐡é 𝐌𝐚𝐲𝐛𝐚𝐮𝐫𝐲-📍𝟏𝟑𝐭𝐡 𝐀𝐫𝐫.

𝟗. 𝐌𝐚𝐫𝐜𝐡é 𝐀𝐮𝐠𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐞- 𝐁𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐪𝐮𝐢- 📍𝟏𝟑𝐭𝐡 𝐀𝐫𝐫. 

𝟏𝟎. 𝐁𝐚𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐞 𝐌𝐚𝐫𝐤𝐞𝐭 -📍𝟏𝟑𝐭𝐡 𝐀𝐫𝐫. 

𝟏𝟏. 𝐎𝐥𝐝 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐔𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐁𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐌𝐚𝐫𝐤𝐞𝐭-📍𝟏𝟑𝐭𝐡 𝐀𝐫𝐫. 

𝟏𝟐. 𝐃’ 𝐀𝐥𝐢𝐠𝐫𝐞 𝐌𝐚𝐫𝐤𝐞𝐭-📍𝟏𝟑𝐭𝐡 𝐀𝐫𝐫. 

𝟏𝟑. 𝐏𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐬 𝐅𝐥𝐞𝐚 𝐌𝐚𝐫𝐤𝐞𝐭- 📍𝟏𝟑𝐭𝐡 𝐀𝐫𝐫. 

𝟏𝟒. 𝐑𝐮𝐞 𝐌𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐠𝐮𝐞𝐢𝐥- 📍𝟐𝐧𝐝 𝐀𝐫𝐫.


Pineapple Pie

Original Blog post from: Confections, Crafts and Couture

While I was visiting Singapore during the New Year I had to opportunity to experience some incredible foods. After reading Crazy Rich Asians before my trip, my expectations for Southeast Asian food was very high. After I ate my way through both Thailand and Singapore I was not disappointed one bit or bite. From the fresh produce, the Singapore Slings, tons of noodles, all the hawker stall restaurants and delish sweet treats, it was hard to pick my favorite food. One thing that definitely stood out to me on my palate and during my reading of Crazy Rich Asians were the pineapple tarts. These simple and yet sweetly satisfying treats were so memorable to my trip that I ate several during my stay and even brought some home with me. 

After being back in the States, I tried to savor every pineapple tart I had and make them last as long as I could. My pineapple tart souvenirs lasted probably a good month before my supply ran empty. Thankfully my tastebuds remembered every bite, so I could recreate this delicious dish for myself and share with you. Instead of making tarts I decided to create a pie form. This pineapple pie was easier to make than tarts, but still had all the flavors I remembered in Singapore. I also thought that a pineapple pie would add a little western flare to the southeast Asian treat. 

You can find the complete recipe and video below. Give this scrumptious and original tropical treat a try and let me know what what you think. I promise you won’t be disappointed. 

Pineapple Pie


2 cups All- purpose flour

2 tbsp. granulated sugar 

1 tsp of salt

¼ cup of melted coconut oil, cooled to room temp.

¼ cup of cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes *

2 tbsp. of vodka

2-4 tbsp. of ice cold water 

* (for vegan crust, use ¼ cup of vegetable shortening or vegan butter instead of regular butter 

Pineapple filling:

1 large fresh pineapple (approx. 2.5lbs), peeled, cored and cut into small cubes 

1 cup of dried pineapple (approx 2.5 oz.)

1 cup of light brown sugar

1 cup of water

¼ cup of pineapple rum (optional) 

1 tsp. of vanilla extract

½ tsp of salt 

2 tbsp. of unsalted butter *for vegan pie, use vegan butter


For the crust: 

In a food processor, mix together flour, sugar and salt. Add in coconut oil and butter to the flour and pulse the processor until mixture is texture of course wet sand. Next slowly add vodka and water until the dough comes together in a ball and peels off the side of the bowl. Take the dough out of the bowl and lightly knead dough into a smooth disc. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. 

While the dough is chilling, make the pineapple filling. In a large saucepan, stir together fresh and dried pineapple, brown sugar and water on low heat. Slowly cook down pineapple filling for about one hour until liquid is reduced by half and sticks to the back of the spoon. Once pineapple filling is thickened, add rum (optional), vanilla, salt and melted butter. Cook for an additional five minutes until sauce re-thickens and sticks to back of the spoon. Use an immersion blender and coarsely chop mixture. Take the filling off the heat and allow it cool completely to room temperature. 

Preheat oven to 375F. Take dough out of the refrigerator. Let the dough rest for at least 20 minutes. Divide dough in half. Roll first half of dough out into a 10″ diameter circle about 1/8″ thick. Place the dough in a 9″ pie pan. Spread pineapple filing evenly into the pie dish. Roll out the second half of dough and gently place it on top of the pineapple filling. Seal up edges of pie dough. Cut slits into middle of pie to allow steam to escape. Brush with egg wash (or vegan milk) and sprinkle with turbinado sugar, optional. Bake pie for 25-30 minutes until crust is golden brown. Allow pie to cool to room temperature. Cut into pie and top with ice cream or whipped cream. Devour and enjoy!! 


Bali Travel Guide

There is something about Southeast Asia. The last time I explored this region of the world, I had the mindset for change and enlightenment after a very stressful season in my life. I took some time exploring the city of Hong Kong, basking on the beaches of Thailand and embracing all the botanics of Singapore. Not only did I feel super revived getting lost in this part of the world, but I felt a new sense of peace upon my return to the States.

Last year when I decided on my annual year-end trip, I had Bali on my mind for the same reason. This yearly end trip I was planning was going to be the last one of my thirties. I knew I wanted this trip to be the catalyst of stepping into a higher level of life and new decade.

I did my research and arranged an incredible, peaceful and bountiful Bali trip. My Bali trip was an incredible and much needed retreat tailored to my liking. I was able to accomplish everything I wanted and needed for this trip. I relaxed, retreated, treated, adventured and ate my way through this amazing island paradise. See all the information I collected from my trip as well as a fabulous Bali travel itinerary below.

I hope you have Bali on your travel to-do list because it’s definitely a must see location!

Bali travel

Transportation: Scooters are the number one and best way to get around Bali. You can definitely travel by car, but it may take longer due to traffic, especially in the more populated cities. If you’re going to be staying in a particular part of Bali for a few days rent a scooter for the best deal and fastest way to travel. If you’re not going to rent a scooter. I recommend downloading the Grab app., which is like Uber/ Lyft for Southeast Asia. I used the Grab app. when I was in Thailand as well. The app. is pretty reliable and the most economical way to get around Bali. If you want an even more reliable mode transportation I suggest booking a driver for the duration of your trip. Almost everyone in Bali drives or knows someone who drivers for a fee. I used a few drivers to get me to the less popular points in my travel, when I didn’t want to depend on an app. (See photos for driver information.) Make sure you have cash on hand for your driver.

Money: Bali is definitely a very affordable travel destination and your money stretches pretty far. The currency exchange rate is $1 = 15,132 IDP . I highly suggest cash on hand in the smaller cities and less traveled areas within Bali. Some drivers and food spots still only accept cash. In the larger cities debit/ credit cards are pretty much accepted everywhere.

Language: The official language of Indonesia is Indonesian, which has several dialects. In Bali because of its popularity with tourists, the majority of Bali people working in the travel industry speak English. You should have no problem getting around and being able to speak with the local community.

7 day Bali Itinerary

Day 1: Uluwatu

Uluwatu, Bali

Bali Airport is located in Densapar, Bali which is located on the south side of the island. From there I used the Grab app. and headed further south to Uluwatu. The ride from the airport to my destination at Nyang Nyang Beach took about an hour via. car and cost approximately 120, 000 IDP. Uluwatu is known for some of the best beaches in Bali. As compared to other beaches in Bali, beaches in Uluwatu are less populated and perfect for surfing.

Lodging: I stayed right on Nyang Nyang Beach at Bubble Bali. See more information on my Best Places to Stay in Bali post.

Things to do in Uluwatu:

  • Nyang Nyang Beach
  • Take surfing lessons
  • Visit Uluwatu Temple. Entry cost 50,000 (IDR)
  • See a traditional Balinese dance at sunset.
Nyang Nyang Beach, Uluwatu

Day 2-3: Seminyak

Seminyak, Bali

Seminyak is a more populated city with cute shops, boutiques and restaurants. There are also some great day spas and beach clubs to check out if that suites your interest.

Lodging: I stayed in the Blue Karma Dijwa Hotel. See more information on my Best Places to Stay in Bali post.

Things to do in Seminyak:

  • Seminyak Beach
  • Double Six Beach
  • Nyaman Art Gallery
  • Visit Beach Club
  • Spend a day at the spa.

Day 4: Day tour to Nusa Penida

A day at Nusa Penida

Nusa Penida is a must do on your trip in Bali. Nusa Penida is very picturesque. It has some of best beaches in Bali. There are also tons of water activities to do while you’re there. If you have more time on your trip. spend an extra day here just to relax on the beach and soak up some sun.

Things to do in Nusa Penida:

  • Snorkeling
  • Relax on the beach

(Check out my booked Nusa Penida tour and tour review here)

Day 5: Kecamatan Sidemen

Kecamatan Sideman, “Bamboo in the Sky”

I had the opportunity to travel to the jungle of Bali after spending a day at the beach. I loved the contrast of the Bali terrain. I really enjoyed staying in a traditional and exceptional bamboo tree house. The jungle is surrounded by lush rice terraces and plenty of trees. My bamboo house in the sky allowed me to spend time in peace and quiet. I loved being able to view the mountains and the shores of Bali from the windows of my bamboo house. I can’t wait to return to this area of Bali for more serenity and connecting with nature.

Lodging: I stayed in the middle of the jungle in “The Bamboo Castle in the Sky.” The accommodations were very comforting and exceptional including the food. Check out more information on my Best Places to Stay in Bali post.

Things to do Kecamatan Sidemen:

  • Walk through rice terraces
  • Hiking
  • White water rafting
  • ATV rides through the jungle

Day 6-7: Ubud

Ubud, Bali

Ubud is pretty well known in regards to Bali Travel. Ubud is known its rice terraces, Bali Swing and Sacred Monkey Forrest. Ubud also has a lot of other activities to offer. There are tons of restaurants and shops to check out that appeal to a variety of tastes. Ubud also has museums, art galleries and of course day spas. When I return to Bali I plan on spending more time is Ubud. It’s a pretty walkable city and a great place to people watch as well.

Lodging: This was the last part of my Bali trek and I wanted comfort and elegance for the end of my journey. I decided to stay at Viceroy Bali, which was excellent! See more information on my stay on my Best Places to Stay in Bali post.

Puri Lukisan Museum, Ubud

Things to do in Ubud:

  • Ubud rice terraces
  • Sacred Monkey Forest*
  • Bali Swing
  • Tegenungan Waterfall
  • Temple of Lempuyang Luhur
  • Take a yoga class
  • Try a Balinese cooking class
  • Beach day clubs
  • Puri Lukisan Museum
  • Bukit Campuhan River Walk.
  • Karsa Day Spa (highly recommended). FYI You can take the Bukit Campuhan River Walk to the end and it leads you right to the spa.
Karsa Day Spa, Ubud

*If you don’t have time or want to save time and money on your trip, skip the Sacred Monkey Forest. I had plenty of close encounters with monkeys at the Uluwatu Temple and in Nusa Penida.

For Day 8 in Bali:

“Gates of Heaven”

If you have additional time to spend in Bali I would recommend a day tour to Lempuyang Temple “Gates of Heaven.” This temple is located approximately 2 hours east of Ubud. It is very highly recommended that you get to the temple as early as possible otherwise you will spend hours in line. My tour guide picked me up from my Ubud hotel at exactly 4AM for my tour. We arrived to the temple a few minutes after 6AM, which is when the temple opens. I was number 10 line to take pictures and had to only wait a few minutes to take pictures as compared to hours.

I booked a tour for the Lempuyang Temple via TripAdvisor. This tour also included a stop at Tirta Gangga Water Palace, a coffee farm tour, lunch at a resort with access to the pool and plenty of photos. My guide was amazing. I highly recommend this tour if you have time. It was worth every dollar. (See my TripAdvisor review here).

For Days 9 and more;

Check out the cities of Canguu and Kuta.

Canguu and Kuta are a bit popular and touristy so if you want to avoid crowds and traffic avoid these cities. Canguu is also known for its beach clubs and night life. Kuta has a water park and shopping centers if you want a little variety to your Bali trip.

Places to check out in Canguu and Kuta:

  • Canggu Beach, Canguu
  • Nelayan Beach, Canguu
  • Alternative Beach Club, Canguu
  • Canguu Avenue, Canguu
  • Waterbom Bali waterpark, Kuta
  • Ground Zero Monument, Kuta
  • Beachwalk Shopping Center, Kuta
  • Bali Sea Turtle Society, Kuta
  • Balangan Beach, Kuta

Photo by alleksana on Pexels.com

Best Places to Stay in Bali

Happy New Year! Your girl is back in Los Angeles after spending the end of the 2022 season in paradise. Bali is worth all the hype and influence you see on social media. Throughout my many years of solo travel, I have seen some incredible places. This year alone put Colombia on my radar as one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Bali definitely deserves a spot on the list as well. Not only is Bali aesthetically pleasing, but it offers such an array of wonderland to explore.

During my fete last month in Bali I was able to tour most of the different environments that make up the island. Besides the cities of Bali there are beautiful coasts, beaches, jungles, rice terraces and rivers which make Bali so lush. I tried to spend as much time as I could in the different areas I delved into, but my time was also limited. Towards the end of my trip I felt more at ease. I promised myself to return to Bali to get an opportunity to explore more and continue the amazement that Bali is.

Although my planning for and trip to Bali was shorter than I would have liked, I must say I really surprised myself at how well I was able to execute my itinerary. Bali was able to provide more than I could have hoped for in their lodging varieties. I literally started my trip on the beach falling asleep to the ocean and ended my trip in a posh hotel with a helipad. I soaked up and cherished every amenity of my trip and decided to pass on the joy!

Here are the best places to stay in Bali to have an unforgettable experience! Discover more information about my trip on Bali Travel Guide.

Where to stay for the best trip in Bali

Where to stay for the best beach views:

Bubble Hotel Nyang Nyang Beach

Uluwatu, Bali

IG @bubblehotelbali

Nyang Nyang Beach is a famous beach located in south Bali. This beach is known for its beauty. It’s also known to surfers for it’s waves. This serene and exclusive location is located close to Uluwatu temple. I loved staying here laying in my hammock or basking in my personal pool and watching the ocean for hours. One of the most soothing experiences of my life.

Enjoy my time at the Bubble

Where to stay for the best hotel perks:

Blue Karma Hotel

Seminyak, Bali

Blue Karma Hotel

IG @bluekarmasecrets

The Blue Karma Hotel definitely offered me more than I was expecting when I opened the doors to my room. The pool inside my villa was mind-blowing. What I really wasn’t expecting, but truly appreciated was the 30 minute complimentary massage at the spa that was included with booking my room. After my trek from Nyang Nyang beach I upgraded that 30 minute massage to a full hour for a few more US dollars. The upgrade was totally worth it, as was my entire stay at Blue Karma Hotel.

Where to stay for the best views of the jungle:

Laputa Villa # 2 “The Bamboo Castle in the Sky”

Kecamatan Sidemen, Bali

The Bamboo Castle in the Castle in the Sky

IG @laputa_villa_bali

I found this gem on happenstance scrolling through AirBnB. I knew before planning my trip that I surely wanted to stay somewhere in the Balinese jungle. After finding this place online I was even more excited for my trip. This “treehouse” was an amazing experience. I had a chance to watch the sun set and rise over the jungle and mountains of Bali. The indoor/ outdoor experience was even better during the rain, so incredible. When I return to Bali I plan to spend a few more nights in the seclusion of the bamboo castle.

Where to stay for most luxurious experience:

Viceroy Hotel

Ubud, Bali

Viceroy Hotel Bali

IG @viceroybali

I booked my Ubud stay at this Bali hotel after doing my Bali research on social media. Once I saw a picture of the private infinity pools overlooking the lush jungle of Bali, I was sold. This hotel was a top notch experience for sure; from the room, to the food, the staff and everything in between. I definitely took advantage of not only the infinity pool, but the complimentary shuttle to/ from Ubud city center. It was a very convenient perk that I enjoyed during my entire stay. I will definitely be returning to The Viceroy during my return Bali visit.


Extended Layover in Istanbul

If you’ve read some of my previous travel posts, you know that I love to take advantage of a stopover or extended layover. For the the past few years during my annual excursion to Paris, I have been planning short stops in other countries in route. Not only is it a great way to break up all that travel time, but it also provides the advantage of two countries in one trip.

Last year on my return flight from Paris I was able to visit Copenhagen with an extended layover on SAS airlines. This year I decided that I wanted again to try and visit another uncharted country during my travels. Early on in the year I decided that I would take advantage of Turkish Airlines and visit the beautiful city of Istanbul. I had heard that the airline had a special tourism deal for those traveling with them, so I quickly booked my flight.

After booking my flight ticket, I spent more time researching Turkey and the city of Istanbul specifically. I wanted to try and see as much as possible during my 20 hour layover before visiting Paris. I learned from visiting the Turkish Airlines website that the airline had their own tourism company, Touristanbul.

Touristanbul, is a FREE all encompassing tour specifically destined for travelers with a few hours to spend in Istanbul. This tour picks you up/ drops you off from the airport. This FREE tour also includes an English speaking guide, a bus or walking tour through the best sites in Istanbul and a traditional Turkish meal!

I must say that I was quite impressed with my tour and short stay in Istanbul. I definitely made the right decision in my extended layover planning for this trip. Although I was able to see a great deal of Istanbul, I would love to return to spend more time truly getting to know that city (and all the cats). I also would like to see other cities in Turkey as well and eat more Turkish delights.

See the details from my Istanbul visit below.

Istanbul Stopover Recap

Places I visited on my tour:

  • Aqueduct of Valens
  • Aga Mosque
  • Beyazit Square
  • Blue Mosque
  • Grand Bazaar
  • Hagia Sophia
  • Old Book Market

Other places to see in Istanbul.

Istanbul at sunrise

Foods to try in Istanbul:

  • Turkish coffee, of course!
  • Turkish bagels with chocolate hazelnut spread
  • Goat milk ice cream
  • Kebabs
  • Turkish pizza
  • Turkish delights
  • Turkish tea
Enjoying the view before breakfast

More information on Touristanbul.


Carry-on Fashionable Packing Tips

As someone who loves to travel and take advantage of multiple countries in one trip I try to pack as light as possible. That means NO CHECKED LUGGAGE!

Yes you can still be fashionable and pack everything in your carry-on. It’s all about strategy and packing the right way. 

After all the international trips I have embarked on, I am very proud of my learned and perfected packing skills. The lighter the load the better, especially when you’re maneuvering in old cities with cobblestone and inconvenient underground public transportation. Yes, I still over pack at times, but everything needed or not, fits in my carry-on suitcase.

I have provided below some essential packing tips to help you stay fashionable and compact for your next trip.

𝓜𝔂 𝓮𝓼𝓼𝓮𝓷𝓽𝓲𝓪𝓵𝓼 𝓯𝓸𝓻 𝓹𝓪𝓬𝓴𝓲𝓷𝓰 𝔀𝓱𝓲𝓵𝓮 𝓯𝓪𝓼𝓱𝓲𝓸𝓷𝓪𝓫𝓵𝓮 𝓲𝓷𝓬𝓵𝓾𝓭𝓮: 

1️⃣  𝐏𝐚𝐜𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐜𝐮𝐛𝐞𝐬 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐚 𝐦𝐮𝐬𝐭! 

2️⃣  𝐑𝐨𝐥𝐥 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐜𝐥𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐬 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐬𝐩𝐚𝐜𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐥𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐰𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐤𝐥𝐞𝐬.

3️⃣ 𝐁𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐜𝐥𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐦𝐮𝐥𝐭𝐢𝐩𝐮𝐫𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐲 𝐭𝐨 𝐥𝐚𝐲𝐞𝐫. 

4️⃣ 𝐖𝐞𝐚𝐫/ 𝐁𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐜𝐥𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐚𝐦𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐥𝐨𝐫 𝐠𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐩 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐲 𝐲𝐞𝐭 𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐜 𝐨𝐮𝐭𝐟𝐢𝐭𝐬.

5️⃣  𝐌𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐚 𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐳𝐞𝐝 𝐩𝐚𝐜𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐭 𝐬𝐨 𝐧𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐢𝐬 𝐥𝐞𝐟𝐭 𝐛𝐞𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐝.

6️⃣ 𝐀𝐥𝐰𝐚𝐲𝐬 𝐩𝐚𝐜𝐤 𝐰𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐤𝐥𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐞 𝐬𝐩𝐫𝐚𝐲 𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐡𝐨𝐭𝐞𝐥𝐬 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐠𝐮𝐚𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐚𝐧 𝐢𝐫𝐨𝐧 𝐢𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮r 𝐫𝐨𝐨𝐦.

7️⃣ 𝐈 𝐚𝐥𝐰𝐚𝐲𝐬 𝐩𝐚𝐜𝐤 𝐚 𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐯𝐞𝐥 𝐜𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐥𝐞 𝐬𝐨 𝐦𝐲 𝐚𝐜𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐨𝐝𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐜𝐥𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐬 𝐬𝐦𝐞𝐥𝐥 𝐟𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐡.

My suitcase and packing cubes are from Calpak.

Hope this helps, now go out and see the world! 🌎


A Day at Dior

Last year when I was on my annual trip to Paris, the House of Dior was in the midst of a huge renovation. The original Dior location in Paris, also known as 30 Avenue Montaigne, was closed and under construction. This location was founded as the House of Dior starting in 1946. Behind its doors, served the origination of modern fashion and elegance as it’s known today. Christian Dior decided on this particular location over 5 decades ago and it was time for a serious upgrade.

Me standing on Champ- Elysees in front of the Dior renovation sign. 2021.

“It had to be 30 Avenue Montaigne. I will settle here and nowhere else!”

– Christian Dior

As many times as I’ve been to Paris and shopped numerous stores, I had never been to this particular and special Dior store. As an educated and historical fan of fashion, I always knew this exclusive location was exceptional. Not only did this location serve as the birthplace of Dior, but it also birthed other keen names in couture such as Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) and John Galliano. YSL being one of my favorite designers, had motivated me enough to visit both museums in Paris and Marrakech. In the back of my mind I knew I was saving this location and the best for last.

This year I made a point to spend some time at 30 Avenue Montaigne. I knew that not only did this location house a new one-of-a-kind Dior boutique but also a new dedicated musée, La Galerie Dior. I decided to break up my shopping experience and the visit to the Dior museum in two trips. I didn’t want to feel too overwhelmed in one visit, so I gave myself plenty of time to enjoy both experiences. I went to the Dior boutique first thing in the morning when they opened at 10AM. The store was less crowded and I was able to shop and enjoy the overall atmosphere. As for the musée, La Galerie Dior, it sells out daily so make sure to book your tickets in advance! (Book tickets here).

A day at the Dior boutique.

I will honestly say that the House of Dior on 30 Avenue Montaigne did not disappoint me one ounce. The delay and anticipation in the renovation was well worth the wait. I thoroughly enjoyed the details in the design of the store and La Galerie Dior. I especially enjoyed being able to walk through the Christian Dior couture fashion timeline. Seeing 70 years of haute couture fashion kept my mouth agape the entire time. I can’t wait to return to Paris and experience 30 Avenue Montaigne all over again.

A day at La Galerie Dior

More Dior Boutique information here.


Egypt Travel Guide

We all know what a bucket list is right? This figurative or possibly literal list is filled with items that are intended to complete by the end of a certain time period or lifetime. This list can include ideas that inspire learning a new task, daring to complete an adventurous assignment or traveling to new places. I, myself, don’t necessarily have a bucket list, but I do mentally keep a travel checklist.

I honestly want to travel the entire world like Jessica Nabongo, the first Black woman to travel to every country. Currently, my time and resources are limited, being a full time physician, so I prioritize which places I would like to visit sooner rather than later. Egypt has been at the top of my travel checklist for some time, so I was very excited at the opportunity to finally visit this ancient land. Once I was able to get the much needed time off for my African adventure, I booked my flight and got to planning.

Egypt encompasses so much rich history and culture, and I was determined to see as much as I could in the time allotted. I spent a little over a month researching where and what to see. My trip to Egypt was seven days full of adventure and ancient history. I was able to fly and travel by bus and train to 4 different cities in Egypt to see the most notable and distinguished sights in the world. I decided that for my trip I wanted to follow the flow of the Nile river since it served as the root of civilization and resources for Egypt. As I continued with my research I also learned that the further south one traveled down the Nile river the more Nubian the surrounding people.

I visited Egypt this past February and it was the perfect time to go. The heat was bearable and the tourist attractions where less crowded for the most part. I spent 2 days in Aswan, did a 1 day tour to Abu Simbel, spent 2 days in Luxor and ended my trip in Cairo. I had an amazing time being able to see so much on my solo trip. I thoroughly enjoyed my jammed packed Egyptian adventure, so I thought I would pass on my Egyptian information. Hopefully it will encourage you to visit Egypt as soon as you can and also not be afraid to see the world by yourself.

Check that off your bucket list. See my Egypt Travel Guide and itinerary below.

Day 1 Flight from Cairo to Aswan. 1.5 hour travel time. Flight cost was approximately $35/ one way.

Fun Facts

Egypt Air and Nile Air are main airlines of Egypt.

Arabic is the official Language in Egypt.

Tea is the official drink of Egypt. I recommend drinking as much hibiscus tea as you can.

Drones are STRICTLY prohibited in Egypt so don’t even consider bringing it.

Your money goes a long way in Egypt, 1 Egyptian Pound, EGP= $0.0521

You do need a visa to visit Egypt. I recommend applying online before you visit. (CLICK HERE)

Aswan (Day 1 and 2)

I loved Aswan because it was less touristy than Luxor and Cairo. It is also more affordable than the bigger cities. The city is filled with Nubians as this is the area where ancient Egyptians still reside.

Where I stayed: Mango Tree House; This fabulous guest house is located on Elephantine Island. I actually had to take a ferry across the Nile river to get to the guest house, which was thrilling. The cost for the ferry was 5 Egyptian Pounds round trip. The guest house offers a wonderful breakfast in the morning. I highly recommend earplugs as sounds from the train station continue around the clock.

Things to do in Aswan:

  1. Nubian Museum
  2. Nubian Village
  3. Elephantine Island
  4. Tourist Marketplace
  5. Aswan Dam
  6. Philae Temple
  7. Aswan Botanical Garden

Places to eat: Bob Marley Restaurant- This place is literally overlooking the Nile River so the view alone is worth it. The food is also tasty and VERY reasonably priced. I ordered the fish tagine, which came with fresh bread, salad, vegetable tagine, potatoes and rice for 15 Egyptian Pounds EGP. (See food video below). The staff are super friendly as well. I stayed here almost all day eating and reading a book on the Nile and I was greeted with a smile all day long.

Hanging out at the Bob Marley restaurant

Naser Cafe- Located close to the train station. This place is great for people watching. I recommend ordering the falafel sandwich and hibiscus drink (20 EGP). Sit outside and snack on these delish vittles while watching Egyptians pass by.

Day 3, Day Trip to Abu Simbel

I booked my day trip to Abu Simbel through Trip Advisor. There are several operating tours to take you to the site. It takes about 3 hours (one way) to get to Abu Simbel from Aswan but it is definitely worth the trip. I would surely devote some time out on your trip to visit. (Book your tour here).

Abu Simbel

There are not many transportation options to get from Aswan to Luxor. After doing a bit of research I decided on taking the train. I would suggest the same if you are crunched for time and want to see more of Egypt.

Helpful information about Egypt train system. 1. If you don’t speak Arabic I recommend purchasing your tickets online. There is not much assistance once you arrive to the train station.

2. You may only purchase your Egypt train ticket up to 10 days in advance online. (Make sure you print out your proof of purchase as this will be needed and checked to get on the trains and at different train stops. (PURCHASE Train tickets here)

Day 3/4 Train from Aswan to Luxor. 3.5 hour travel time. Train cost was approximately $20/ one way for first class.

On the train to Luxor

Luxor (Day 4 and 5)

Luxor, although small in area has thee most ancient Egyptian artifacts and temples than the other major cities in Egyptian. You can technically see everything worth seeing in one full day with the right tour guide. Make sure your guide is credentialed in Egyptology to assure you get as much information and history as you can during your tour. I booked my guide through Trip Advisor. My tour and my guide were amazing. I had a personal driver and guide escort me around Luxor. My guide, Mohammed was the absolute best. Not only was he super knowledgeable and shared so much history, he also was a great photographer as well. Mohammed bought me tons of Egyptian snacks and water throughout the day. He also made a special stop to make sure I had the opportunity to taste some Egyptian cakes and sweets once he found out I was a baker. The only downside to the tour is that is did not include ticket prices to all the cultural stops. In total I spent around 1000 EGP (cash only) to see all the tombs, temples and etc. (Book your tour here).

See my TripAdvisor tour review here.

Where I stayed: I used my airline miles and stayed at the Hilton Luxor right on the Nile River. My taxi ride from the airport to the hotel cost me around 100 EGP and took about 25 minutes. I loved this location because my room balcony, although tiny, was overlooking the Nile River. I was able to see the West Bank of Luxor from my room and watch the hot air balloons take off in the morning. You could also see the tombs lit up overnight, which was beautiful. Breakfast was included as well.

Luxor Hilton Hotel

Things to see in Luxor:

  1. Temple of Hatshepsut
  2. Valley of the Kings
  3. Karnak Temple
  4. Luxor Temple
  5. Tomb of King Tutankhamun
  6. Temple of Medinat Habu
  7. Tomb of Queen Nefertari
  8. Colossi Memnon
  9. Avenue of Sphinxes

Cairo/ Giza (Day 6 and 7)

Day 6 Flight from Luxor to Cairo. 45 minute travel time. Flight cost was approximately $30/ one way.

Cairo/ Giza was the last leg of my Egyptian journey and I must say I’m glad I planned it this way. The saying goes “save the best for last” and it some ways it definitely applies and in others it does not. Cairo/ Giza is of course the land of the pyramids, but it was also my least favorite city in Egypt. Cairo itself is over populated, dirty and overpriced in my opinion. It took about an hour to get from the airport to my hotel in Giza and cost me 600 EGP after some bargaining. The taxi ride from the airport and the traffic was a terrifying escapade. That says a lot for someone who currently lives in LA. What I did enjoy about this city the most was arriving at my sanctuary hotel and being able to view the Pyramids of Giza from my balcony. That experience was incredible in itself. Also there is so much history to see and soak up in between these two cities. If you get the right personal tour guide you can see everything in one full day. I booked my personalized tour through TripAdvisor or AirBnB as I usually do, and I highly recommend the same. (Book your tour here).

See my TripAdvisor tour review here.

Where I stayed: I stayed at the incredible Marriott Mena House. This fabulous world renowned hotel is located literally across the street from the Pyramids of Giza. I stayed in room 226 I think, which had a fantastic view of the pyramids from my balcony. This resort also has other great amenities such as multiple pools, a spa and the fitness center was pretty decent as well with up to date and modern equipment. This resort also has multiple restaurants on site. I ended up eating at the Indian restaurant two nights in a row because the food was really that good! If you’re going to come to Cairo I don’t suggest you stay anywhere else. This place is the ONLY option!

Marriott Mena House

Things to see in Cairo/ Giza:

  1. Pyramids of Giza
  2. Sphinx
  3. Muhammed Ali Mosque
  4. Khan el-Khalili Bazaar
  5. National Museum of Egyptian Civilization
  6. Pyramid of Djoser/ Saqqara
  7. Memphis

Other places to visit in Egypt if you have more time to spend: Sharm el-Sheik, Siwa salt lakes.

Egyptian Food: Ancient Egypt was located on the original spice route, so there is a great deal of influence from surrounding nations. Egyptian cuisine relies heavy on the rich soil surrounding the Nile as well, so there is a heavy portion of vegetables and grains. If you enjoy Mediterranean cuisine with a mixture of African, Indian, French and Chinese then you’ll definitely find Egyptian cuisine quite enjoyable. Everything that I tried in Egypt honestly taste superb because everything is so fresh. Make sure to try all the Egyptian sweets too. The cakes and pastries were amazing!

Egyptian foods to try

What other information would like to know about my trip to Egypt? Let me know in the comments below.


Layover in Copenhagen

I used to dread layovers. In my early travel years I used to think of layovers as a waste of time to my destination. Disembarking the plane just to wander around the airport aimlessly awaiting my next flight. After a few years and more travel knowledge, I have found a new appreciation for layovers. If I have a few hours in between flights I usually head to a lounge to eat, refresh and literally recharge my batteries. For an extended layover, I make my way outside of the airport to enjoy the fruits of the city.

I have learned over time to definitely take advantage of extended layovers. During some previous extended excursions I have been blessed to see Madrid, travel to Munich during Oktoberfest, visit Hong Kong and most recently, Copenhagen. During this past trip to Paris I actually booked my flight purposely to spend a night in Denmark. My overnight layover in Copenhagen was such a fabulous time. In the 14 hours allotted, I was able to get a good night rest, tour the city, swim and enjoy a wonderful traditional breakfast. I arrived back to the airport refreshed, well-fed and with plenty of time to catch my flight.

I encourage you during your next international trip to take advantage of that extended layover and explore a new city!

Please see some of my Copenhagen highlights below

Copenhagen highlights

I arrived at Denmark’s Kastrup Airport, which is located outside of Copenhagen. The good thing is public transportation is easily accessible at the airport. I took the Metro airport station for about 20 minutes to my stop to my hotel. The metro line was about a 5 minute walk from my hotel as well. For more information on Copenhagen’s public transportation click here.

Indoor pool at Manon Les Suites

I discovered this hotel after seeing the gorgeous pictures of the indoor pool on social media. After I discovered that Manon Les Suites Hotel was sustainable/ eco-conscious, I was hooked and my stay was booked. I am an advocate for Mother Nature and being as eco-friendly as possible. I try my best to consider and continue to reduce my carbon footprint even through my travels. This five start hotels has all the amenities needed to enjoy the ultimate experience:

  1. Rooftop restaurant with breakfast buffet including unlimited mimosas.
  2. Indoor pool and jungle
  3. 100% cotton robe and slippers in room
  4. Spa/ lounge
  5. Full gym/ fitness center
  6. Bike Rental
Manon Les Suites Hotel highlights

This hotel, as I mentioned above, is walking distance from the Metro station. It’s also located a few minutes walk from the iconic Copenhagen lakes, Tivoli gardens and city center, Torvehallernes gourmet-food market, the lovely green inner-city parks, design shops, and restaurants. I highly recommend staying at Manon Les Suites during your stay in Copenhagen. I know I will be returning to spend more time in the luxurious indoor pool and enjoying the city.

Nyhavn, Copenhagen

Although I didn’t have much time to explore some the wonderful well known tourist spots above. I did enjoy waking up well rested and walking around the quiet peaceful city. As most of the city slept, I wandered around and made my way over to Nyhavn, Copenhagen. This waterfront district is known for its cobblestone streets lined by brightly coloured 17th and early 18th century townhouses and bars, cafes and restaurants. I recommend going in the AM if you want to get those perfect Instagram photos before it gets too crowded.


Updated Paris Travel Guide

Paris in September has become my new favorite! Who am I kidding? After a two year hiatus from my absolute favorite city in the world, almost everything about Paris is my new favorite. The City of Love is now forever ingrained as my city to love. One day while I was casually strolling amongst all the Parisians and monuments I asked myself, “Why do you love this city so much?” There are so many answers that bubbled to the top of my head like a fresh bottle of champagne. Paris is all about people, culture, food and love! There are of course all the fabulous, fashionable locals, but the city is also one of most visited in the world. It provides a cornucopia of languages to listen to and immerse in. It also provides the perfect backdrop for my favorite activity, people-watching. Parisians seem to effortlessly incorporate people-watching into their daily routine and I live! Whether it be meeting up with friends, going out to eat or just being. Before I get ahead of myself and continue to obsess about Paris, I thought I would share the highlights of my latest trip so hopefully you can experience the Parisian magic for yourself!

Where I stayed: When I visit Paris I always stay at a hotel. Why? I just adore local, cute and quaint boutique hotels and admiring all the interior designs. I feel that is a part of the Parisian tourist experience. This time I decided to stay at La Maison Favart Hotel. The hospitality was wonderful! My stay also came with a complimentary continental breakfast including fresh pastries and coffee, all I need to start my day. The location was absolutely perfect! I mean my room was literally adjacent to the Opera Comique.

I had the opportunity to hear live opera from my room. The location is also amazing because it’s in the middle in the Opera district, which is known for its fabulous shopping. The biggest and baddest shopping store in Paris, Galeries Lafayette , is a short walking distance away. It made me regret not bringing an extra suitcase, but I will definitely be returning to stay at this magnificent hotel gem. The hotel also has spa, indoor pool and sauna which I thoroughly enjoyed one afternoon.

Sounds and views from my hotel room

Covid Rules/ Regulations: As a physician let me go ahead and put my disclaimer in. This travel information is only for those who are vaccinated from COVID-19. I am all for making choices for your own body, but that also means being responsible and staying home as well. France is only allowing vaccinated travelers into the country unless there are emergent means for travel. You must show proof of a negative COVID test within 72 hours of arrival if you are NOT vaccinated. France has also implemented a health pass. This pass is required to enter all public places with the capacity over 50 persons, including museums, restaurants, pretty much everywhere except for shopping malls. There is an application online to receive your pass but it’s not guaranteed you will receive your pass prior to your arrival. I personally filled out the application one month before my arrival to Paris and received an email that my pass would not be available. There is an easier way to receive your health pass once you arrive. All you need to do is take your COVID vaccination card to the nearest pharmacie and for about 10 euros you can get your health pass certificate. The process took me all of 10 minutes, including walking to the pharmacy from my hotel.

Food– When it comes to Parisian food simplicity always works best for me. Pretty much everything you eat in France is going to taste good because of the freshness, less preservatives and European butter. I’m not one to make reservations for Michelin star restaraunts unless for a very special occasion. I have a tradition on my Parisian tours, where my first stop once I get settled in, is to the grocery store (see video).

I always take my travel shopping tote with me to the local Franprix or Monoprix and stock up on water, cheese, wine, chips, produce and sweets to stash in my hotel room for a quick snack. As the locals do, in the mornings I usually stop by a local boulangerie/ patisserie (bakery/ pastry store) for a fresh baguette for the day. In the afternoon if I’m not looking to eat at a local bistro or sit down restaurant I either go back to a boulangerie or grocery store for a quick sandwich or salad. See below for other food recommendations:

Hank Burger (vegan)
  1. PAUL– chain boulangerie that has good salads and pastries
  2. Hank Burger (see video)- vegan burger joint that is bomb
  3. L’as du Fallafel– best falafel place in the city
  4. Magnum ice cream– Le Marais- custom ice cream bars
  5. Ladurée– macarons of course!
  6. Cafe Du Centre (see video) – Great Nicoise salad and good spot for people watching.
Lunch at George V restaurant

Culture: Honestly every time I visit Paris I have absolutely no itinerary in mind. There may be a few places I want to check out, but I usually go where the spirit leads me. During this last visit the only places I knew that were a must see were the Arc de Triomphe and a day visit to Bordeaux.

I originally bought my tickets to Paris months earlier in the year. It truly was destiny for me to be there at the same time of the wrapped art exhibit of the Arc de Triomphe. I usually do see the Arc every time I visit just because of its location on the Champs- Elysees, but this was a once an a lifetime experience indeed. This visit I decided I wanted to visit the city of Bordeaux because the last time I visited Paris I did a tour to Champagne and had an amazing time. I love wine so why not visit the original locale and learn a little more. (I’ll be dropping my Bordeaux Travel Guide soon I promise!) Here are some things that I did during my last few trips that I recommend:

My last night in Paris
  1. Opera Comique (2nd arr.)- see video
  2. Centre Pompidou (3rd arr.)- for the new Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit. There is also a contemporary art and modern art floor full of exhibits.
  3. Luxemborg Gardens (6th arr.)- Just a gorgeous garden where you can literally sit and people watch all day.
  4. Monmartre (see video)- Best views of the city. There’s also a huge cathedral, great places for photos and art.
  5. Shakespeare & Co. (5th arr.)- bookstore and cafe. Quaint place to relax and read.
  6. Musée Yves Saint Laurent (8th arr.) – one my absolute favorite museums in Paris. Fashion, Fashion Fashion! You actually get to see the inside of YSL’s office and studio.
  7. Pretty much any museum in Paris.- (I’ll be dropping my favorite Paris museums guide in the near future.)

Transportation: Paris is a very walkable city, especially if you’re centrally located somewhere like the Opera district. I always bring very comfortable shoes and get my miles in. Walking is the absolute best way to view all the monuments and people watch in my opinion. It also helps me feel less guilty and burn off all those calories from the pastries, sweets and wine I usually consume. If you’re not into trekking the entire city like myself, Paris also has a great public transportation system. The Metro offers bus and train stops everywhere within the city and beyond. You can easily buy a day/ week pass and go everywhere you need to for 2 euros each way or more. There are also other options like a river cruise down the Seine river, Uber car/ scooters and there are also city bikes dispersed throughout the city.

*Bonus– For those of you wondering how I take such amazing photos on my solo adventures it’s all down to using my phone and this amazing selfie stick/tripod. This device is the absolute best since its compact (it fit in my Dior bag in my videos), it has a built in bluetooth camera shutter and phone holder. (Click here to purchase)


Antiguan Coconut Rum Cake

Summer, summer, summertime! It’s that wonderful time of the year where the beach and a tropical drink are calling my name. I’m not going to lie, living in L.A. leaves me with this feeling the majority time of the year. The land of eternal sunshine is more synonymous with smoothies now but summertime is different. People want to be outside and enjoying the best parts of life even more, including me.

Last month before it was officially summer I was able to enjoy an incredible vacation in the Caribbean. I had the opportunity to delve into Antigua, land of 365 beaches. This beautiful country is not only known for its array of beaches, it’s also known for its rum. (See my Antiguan Travel Guide.) Rum, of course derived from all the cropped sugarcane, is a staple in Antiguan cuisine. I was able to sample some great rum while I was there and of course bring some home.

I actually created this tropical cake recipe 10 years ago after visiting another Caribbean paradise. I decided to slightly remix my original recipe to make it even more flavorful and satisfactory for summer. Check out my upgraded recipe for coconut rum cake below. It’s the perfect cake to bake ahead of time and take to the beach.

Coconut Rum Cake

Antiguan Coconut Rum Cake.



½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature

½ cup vegetable oil

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

4 large eggs, room temperature

1 tsp. vanilla extract

½ tsp. rum extract (optional)

2 ¾ cup AP flour

1 ¼ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

¼ cup of rum ( I used my Antiguan rum of course)

1 cup coconut milk

¾ cup shredded coconut


4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

½ cup coconut milk

¼ cup rum


½ cup light brown sugar, packed

¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter

¼ cup half and half

½ tsp. vanilla extract

¼ tsp. salt

2 cups confectioners sugar

Shredded coconut for topping


Butter and flour bundt pan.

In a large sized bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer with paddle attachment cream together butter, oil, sugars until light, fluffy and double in size (approximately 10 minutes. ) Add eggs one at a time to the creamed mixture. Add vanilla and rum extract. Add half of the flour mixture to the creamed mixture. Add rum. Combine last of the flour mixture. Add coconut milk. Mix well until all ingredients are incorporated. Fold in shredded coconut.

Pour batter into prepared bundt pan. Transfer to unheated oven. Bake at 325F for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. (Bake until tester comes out clean). Let cake cool on wire rack until slightly above room temperature.

While cake is baking make the filling. In a small saucepan melt 4 tbsp. of butter and coconut milk. Remove from heat and stir in rum. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature.

Poke cooled cake with fork or skewer, pour butter/ coconut milk mixture over cake. Allow mixture to soak into the cake at least one hour (overnight preferably). Invert cake onto wired rack.

For Glaze: Stir all ingredients together, except confectioners sugar, in a small saucepan over medium-heat heat until brown sugar dissolves and mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add confectioners sugar. Whisk until glaze is smooth, about one minute. Remove from heat. Allow glaze to cool to room temperature. Pour glaze onto cooled cake. Top with shredded coconut.

Devour and enjoy!!


Antigua Travel Guide

It’s Gemini season! This not only means that summer is vastly approaching, but it also means it’s time for my birthday celebration. I am an early Gemini. Last month I had the fabulous opportunity to finally escape the US and travel internationally for my 38th birthday. After doing some research and planning I decided to celebrate my Mamba year in the amazing Caribbean island of Antigua. I have gotten several questions from different people on where and why I chose Antigua as my first destination out of the country since COVID. I thought I would provide more information in my travel guide to clear up any questions that may still be floating around. Keep reading for all the details on Antigua.

Hammock Cove Bay

COVID requirements: Antigua only requires a negative CPR COVID test within 7 days of arrival to the country. Antigua does NOT require any self-isolation or quarantine upon arrival. As far as COVID within Antigua, they take it very seriously as far as precautions. You MUST wear a mask at all times in public places. While visiting the town all stores required proper hand sanitization before entering their facilities. The main grocery store in St. John has a hand washing station outside the store. There is also still a curfew in place of 11pm in Antigua.   

Antigua does not play about COVID

At the resort where I stayed required wearing masks at all times unless eating or relaxing on the beach.  My resort was fortunate enough as well to provide a departure COVID test for entering back into the US. The rapid test was performed at the cost of $69 and was completed within 72 hours of my departure. 

Where: I stayed at the unforgettable Hammock Cove Resort located in St. John’s area of Antigua. To get to the resort from the airport took a $48 taxi drive (one way) which lasted about 40 minutes.  The resort is conveniently located directly across from Devil’s Bridge National Park.  This amazing resort is one of the most recent constructed resorts on the island and completed construction in 2019. 

What I love most about the resort is the amazing staff! Everyone was absolutely so kind and personable. Upon arrival at the resort, after checking in, you are assigned a personal concierge team. You are also given a personal phone for direct contact to your concierge team 24/7. I had the pleasure of having Sheldon and Mark as my concierges. They were super generous and amazing at providing anything needed within minutes.  

The resort is set up with approximately 40 private individual villas. The resort is adults only which I thoroughly enjoyed. . Each villa comes with privacy, an infinity pool, and patio with a mini bar. The resort also has its own beach, a huge community infinity pool, gym and very nice spa. I definitely took advantage of the full gym with a wide array of weights, exercise and cardio equipment. The resort has two main restaurants but no nightly entertainment.  I would say that this resort is definitely catered more for couples, but I enjoyed my solo vacation to the fullest! I will most hopefully be returning to Hammock Cove soon for a baecation. 

My Villa at Hammock Cove Antigua
Gym time

Food: Hammock Cove Resort is an all inclusive resort. I loved the cuisine that was served from the main restaurants. I can honestly say that I was served a different type of fish every night I was there and they were all delicious. 

Antigua is known for its local rum so I would recommend you sample as much as you can. Hammock Cove actually has a rum bar for said occasion. 

There are some local restaurants that were recommended to me during my stay as well;

  1. Roti King (Roti/ Caribbean fast food) 
  2. Fred’s Belgian Waffles and Ice Cream (Belgian waffles/ dessert) 
  3. Sandra Beach Shop Bar and Grill (Seafood) 
  4. Cutie’s Bar & Restaurant (Carribean food) 
  5. The Larder (International) 
What to do in Antigua


I highly recommend doing a boat tour and a separate land tour to enjoy all the great spots on the island. Below I listed some places I highly recommend visiting during your visit to Antigua. 

Standing in front of Hell’s Gate
  1. Devil’s Bridge National Park- This place is located in the Willikies area of Antigua. This limestone arch is a gorgeous overlook of the Atlantic Ocean. It has the unfortunate history of being the place where enslaved Africans would commit suicide to prevent continuing life in the sugarcane fields. 
  2. Great Bird Island- This spot is a great place to snorkel, take photos and swim but there is not much else around. Make sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen. This island is only reachable via boat tour. Hammock Cove had its own boat tour I was able to purchase. (You can purchase other recommended boat tour here.)
  3. Fort James- British fort built in the 17th century to protect the entrance of St. John’s harbor. This is a must see historical site. There are also some nice beaches and places to picnic nearby. I’m blessed to actually have friends on the island of Antigua who served as my personal tour guide. (Here is a recommended tour guide you can purchase here.) 

Please see my video for other activities available on the island of Antigua. 

To summarize my week in Antigua, I had an absolutely amazing time relaxing, reflecting and living my best life! I am very glad that I did my research before deciding on this West Indian paradise. This place was everything I needed: colors, calmness and culture. I was able to recharge my batteries to the fullest and simultaneously live my life to the fullest. I can’t wait to return to Antigua because I definitely will be coming back.

Cheesing on Great Bird Island
Just casually enjoying my drink on the beach