Brooklyn is What Dreams are Made Of

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Earlier this year I told myself, that 2017 will be the year where I travel more and step outside my comfort zone with every chance I get to learn something new about myself and the world. Last weekend, I traveled to Brooklyn, NY with a group of friends to attend the Afropunk Festival. More than a music festival, Afropunk is a part of black culture. Where people from all over come to celebrate the magic we hold, our love for music, unique fashion and multi-dimensional culture. It’s a safe place that thrives off inclusivity and the only rules at Afro punk are:

No Sexism

No Racism

No Ableism

No Ageism

No Homophobia

No Fatphobia

No Transphobia

No Hatefulness

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This was my first time attending Afropunk and it was most definitely a memorable experience from all the beautiful brown people glowing, dancing, thriving and vibing. I went on day two and had a chance to witness electrifying performances by NAO, Anderson Paak, and Kaytranada. I love live music and even though I enjoyed myself I did feel extremely anxious due to the huge crowds. I didn’t realize until we got there that it was going to be such a giant festival with 5 stages, where some of your favorite artists are playing at the same time and it’s tough getting to the other stages. Honestly, my highlight of Afropunk was the after party hosted by Soulection featuring Sango. I listen to Soulection religiously and was so excited to finally catch a live event of theirs because they not only create good vibes, but educate you on what you’re listening to especially since most of today’s music is samples it’s good to know where it originated. They kicked if off with Andre Powers, The Whooligan and Sango. Sango is by far one of my favorite artists and producers who loves to incorporate his love for Brazilian afro-beats with trap music.

IMG_9753Top & Skirt: LFstores  photo by @stylefeen

Even though our main reason for visiting Brooklyn was for Afropunk we wanted to be sure to explore the city and utilize every opportunity to experience the New York lifestyle. We stayed at an Airbnb, in the most beautiful, quiet and convenient neighborhood called Prospect Heights. It was only a couple blocks from the Brooklyn Museum, Prospect Park and surrounded by lots of amazingly delicious restaurants and coffee shops. I consider myself to be a certified foodie and love trying out new restaurants. When we arrived our superstar host took us around the neighborhood and gave us a tour of where to eat, hang out and things to do. That was so helpful because whenever we were on our own we had a sense of our surroundings and knew where to go. Just a heads up everyone walks in NY, so bring a pair of comfy shoes.

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While we were in Brooklyn we ate at Sweet Chick, a southern spot that is known for their chicken and waffles and good vibes, Cent’Anni, an Italian spot known for their homemade pasta dishes, Two8Two, a burger joint that oozes goodness, Cheryl’s Global Soul, a cozy cafe that offers the perfect brunch and soul food, and last but certainly not least Van Leeuwen , an ice-cream and coffee shop that makes vegan and classic ice-cream from scratch.

Our second day we took the subway to Manhattan, which is by far the best way to travel if you’re going more than 6 blocks away. It’s cheaper than an Uber and it’s a good way to sight see. Be sure to stay on your toes for the hustlers on the subways who are dancing and singing to get you to cough up some coins. When we arrived we went to Chelsea Market, which is one of the greatest indoor food halls filled with unique shops and vendors. It was extremely busy so we grabbed a drink and quickly headed back out the doors. We perused the streets of Manhattan for hours until we stumbled upon the Flatiron district which had blocks of great shopping from luxury to department stores.

Overall, it was a wonderful time in NY and I’m excited to be going back in a couple weeks for Fashion week!

I encourage you to change the scenery of your life. It’s a chance to refresh, learn, compare, meet new people, make new friends, view things anew and to grow. 

Have you been to Brooklyn? What are some of your favorite places to visit?

Much love

Founder & CEO,

Alexandra

 

 

 

Belize Re-cap + The Importance of Investing in Yourself & Others

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Last week my mother and I traveled to Belize for a much-needed vacation. This was my first international trip and I had no idea it would provide me with such a refreshing perspective.

A few weeks before our departure, my grandmother passed. My family took it pretty tough, especially my mom. It’s one of those things you expect, but can never be fully prepared for. Like most grandmother’s, she was the matriarch of our family. She was known for her nurturing and faithful spirit. She was an artist, author and business woman that served her community. This trip came right on time and gave us an opportunity to heal, reminicse and cherish the present time with each other.

“I am allowed to grieve – and I am allowed to heal. I give myself permission to do both without fear, regret or guilt.” – Alex Elle

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We stayed at a small village right on the beach, called Hopkins. Even though we stayed at a resort we were intentional about visiting the village and talking with the natives. The food at the resort wasn’t that great, so we decided to explore the village for dining. Our second day there, we rented a golf cart and visited a local restaraunt favorite called, “Ellas Cool Spot.” This was probably one of our most memorable days of the trip. My mom ordered the grilled lobster with mashed potatoes and plaintains. I ordered the grilled pineapple pork chop with rice, salad and plantains. They introduced us to their most well-known drink, the panty dropper, (which is pineapple juice and coconut rum). Just know the ride back to the resort was even more entertaining 😉

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My mom is passionate about history and has been teaching for over 30 years and insisted we visit the Mayan ruins. At first I wasn’t looking forward to visiting the Mayan temples, but actually was intrigued by their resilient spirits and ability to create these spectacalur handmade empires to protect their territories. We visited two temples in San Ignacio, Cahal Pech & Xunantunich.

FullSizeRender-78My mother & I at XunantichIMG_8629Me at the top, 130 ft upIMG_8831

This trip gave me an opportunity to step outside my comfort zone and see how others live in a different country.  We immediately noticed they don’t have the same access and resources like gas, cars, education or modern homes. The gas there was $10 BZE ($20 US), so majority of everyone walked or biked, they can’t afford gas yet alone a car. Most would look at it as an obstacle, but they still get where they need to be. Also, the minium wage there is $4 BZE ($8 US), which isn’t very much especially for families. They live in shacks without A/C and kept their windows and doors open to keep cool.

Even though a lot of the people there don’t have fancy homes or cars, they aren’t victims to their situation. This was a very humbling experience to witness and a great reminder to remain grateful for what we have here in the U.S.

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Something else I noticed was a lot of the Americans that were there in Belize were scouting for property. Belize is one of the top tourists destinations spots and a well-known retirement spot. It broadened my perspective and reminded me that once you change your mindset, you’ll change your life. We truly must take advantage of the resources we have and invest in ourselves, family and future. Our legacy is all we have and we must start thinking global and living limitlessly.

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.

Continue to cherish the ones you love. Invest in yourself, so you’re able to invest in them. Provide them with new experiences and remind them that memories are the only things that are timeless, we must cherish them.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Summer, this is definitely an experience I’ll remember for a lifetime ❤

Much love

Founder & CEO,

Alexandra