Love, Food, Travel

Tag: love

Too Much Ketchup, Little to No Pepper

Too Much Ketchup, Little to No Pepper

That title is pretty much how I feel....

If I could describe my past/current situations, blessings, and self-reflection of 2018.......it would be similar to some of my food experiences. *Yes, I relate life lessons with food ok! lol*

Some of the time, it would be exactly what I want. Then, there are other times when it's ruined by one or multiple factors. Overcooked chicken meat, flimsy fries, cold vegetables, no special sauce.....too much ketchup, little to no pepper.

It's funny how we always remember more of the bad than the good. KNOWING this, what can we learn in this space?? Perception of ourselves? True motives of others?

It is said, How we handle situations/issues shows the true state of our character and strength of our spirit. Well....I need help.

Maybe, that's why God wants the glory in our weakness KNOWING that's where triumph comes from, success, growth...I've experienced too much to give up now. With the necessary tests and countless foolery, it pushed me to really dig deep within myself. I've only dealt with the smooth surface...not the ugly, junk about Shellsy that I keep pushing under the rug and avoid!

I had to reverse my thoughts and renew my mind towards myself.                                       
Old Thoughts:

  1. 'My dreams are too far-fetched.'
  2. 'When I talk, no one cares to listen and I fall silent *rooted from childhood*.'
  3. 'People want to include me in the group when they want something from me.'

New Thoughts:

  1. God gave me one of His greatest gifts, CREATIVITY! He gave me the ideas to give Him the glory in this world.
  2. The enemy is trying to keep me quiet because MY VOICE MATTERS, MY DREAMS/THOUGHTS MATTER...SHELLSY MATTERS! *Thanks to my sis, Teressa, for the reminder!*
  3. I can't bring my past to my present. I will no longer be haunted by my past and negative people. I'm blessed with great friends and strong sisterhoods!

Last Saturday, I went to my best friend's beautiful, empowering women's event called Message from My Wounds. I knew by the title that it was going to be amazing and I HAD to be in the place for whatever she needed! I was just helping, being friendly (very Shellsy-ish) and I can recall great testimonies, deliverance messages, and beauty unveiling.

I was just happy to be a witness to this experience......to feel included.       I love to bring joy and friendliness to others because I know how it feels when people overlook/forget and doubt others. Nearly everyone addressing their wounds......except for me. And, there was plenty of open wounds that needed to be mended.

I brought this up because I KNOW I'm not the only one going through this. Every now and then, we can be so hard on ourselves as we move through life.

Contrary to most people's thoughts towards me, I don't always have it together and I can be a mess! That burger with too much ketchup and no seasoning can be ME......only if I let it!

Ladies and gents, there are ways to overcome this! *Heads up for some mental notes!*

  1. There is POWER in YOUR WORDS. I have been reading Acts 16:25 about the imprisonment of Paul and Silas. Around midnight, they prayed and singed hymns. Then, there was an earthquake and the prison doors opened, along with their chains breaking off! WE can't make things happen with our mouths shut! Say it with your words and CONSISTENTLY repeat it!! Write it out, set an alarm to remind you if you have to! Make your words KNOWN in the atmosphere!! Get your words of affirmation together, along with prayer and verses to stick with it!
  2. There is POWER in NUMBERS. You can't do life alone....I tried. I found myself pushing towards a dark place where the enemy had plenty of free range. Pushing everybody away doesn't solve any problem, buuuut pushing away the negative influences matter in your purpose. Get your sisterhood together, find someone you know that can keep you accountable of your spirit and your goals (Tips to Grow an AWESOME sisterhood!! Click Here!), and push for self-reflection checkup sessions every 3-4 months of the year with your sisters!

To conclude this long journey post (sometimes, I can type all day...sorry lol). When life gives you that messed up burger, add some salt/pepper and scrape the extra ketchup to the side....for your french fries, of course......or just go to Chick-fil-a, that's a God-ordained establishment! When it comes to Him, He NEVER messes up!

Also!!!!!

I have a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!!!I'm going after my long....long dream!!! Due to come out Late FALL 2018!

Too Much Ketchup is a branch for The Unconventional Shell's video/audio podcast content. Too Much Ketchup will discuss topics that are deemed to being "too much" towards society's standards and personal issues that is "too much" to deal with, along with a panel of everyday women from different backgrounds.

LET'S GO!!!

 

 

The Melanin Reign is Here!: Curly Girl Picnic SXSW 2018

The Melanin Reign is Here!: Curly Girl Picnic SXSW 2018

2018 is THE YEAR OF WOMAN! Recently, I told you ladies in my last post (Click HERE!) that women are CRUSHING IT RIGHT NOW!! I’M SOOOOO GRATEFUL TO BE IN THE ATMOSPHERE OF WOMEN EMPOWERMENT (MORE THAN I HAVE EVER SEEN IN RECENT YEARS!) From support/interest groups, workshops, and special events, ‘women supporting women’ is becoming the norm in our society (Thank GOD!!)!

Coco!!

With this movement, I’m trying to catch as many opportunities to take part of in 2018. So far, one of my favorite events this year for female-driven empowered events is the first annual Curly Girl Picnic that was held on the beautiful campus of Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas during SXSW* (*South by Southwest is a week-long festival/conference for creatives.*) I bumped into this event in one of my blogger groups on Instagram (yes, there is AWESOME-NESS IN SOCIAL MEDIA!) and I NEEDED TO HOP ON THIS!!

Ty!!

Distance is NOTHING to me, period. I didn’t think twice to contact the event organizers, Tybreun Moore and Coco Bates (sweet girls, by the way) from The Co Report (LINK HERE!), for more information to get in and ‘BAM’! The Unconventional Shell is in the gate!!

The Curly Girl Picnic is dedicated to connect and empower women of color to love our natural being, despite the negative worldly perspective of ‘what beauty is‘. There was a majority of Black-owned brands in cosmetics, accessories, natural hair care, skin care, food, and a variety of other goods and services.

Shop TailorMarie!!

There was no other day that was more perfect than that Saturday to host the event. The weather was cool, not chilly. The sky was cloudy, but just enough shine to not burn the skin. It’s like the world knew what was bound to happen……Greatness. Positivity and love was in the atmosphere. As I made my way throughout all of the vendor booths, I’ve met some great women that are doing great things in their respected lanes. A young, beautiful nineteen year old girl (Yes! 19 years old!) caught my attention because I admired her hustle to get that sale, hun! She sells artisan-based soaps and body creams made with natural oils and butters. The Instagram name is: @luvsonatural to get more information on her products and shipment! Art work, T-shirt customization, wigs, African face painting/garments, hair care tutorials…..you name it, it was there! Along with the great vending, I saw one of my college friends doing her thang with her accessories!!! Go Natalie!! Shop HERE!

Since I’m such a friendly person lol.

Ms. Suraiye!
Chioma!

It was a MUST to connect with other creatives that I was just drawn to and creatives that I follow on Instagram (I’m an Instagram addict! Can you tell??) I’ve had the pleasure to meet the beautiful, lovely Suraiye (@suraiye_the411)!!! She is highly-spirited (like I expected) and I was her first interview for the event!! Yay!! Also, I was drawn to the ultra-cool Chioma (@chiomasvisuals), a dope Austin photographer with a great eye! She WILL be doing my next big photoshoot!

 

TO CONCLUDE….you know I have to give some ‘tid bits’ for my fellow ladies that WILL BE coming out next year!

  1. GET THE ‘FULL EXPERIENCE’ OF THE CURLY GIRL PICNIC. If you are not an ‘early-bird’, you should actually want to get up for the
    Credit:@suraiye_the411

    yoga/flow meditation session at 8 a.m. It’s worth it!! We are supposed to start our day with positivity in mind and relaxation. I promise that I will take part of the experience than take pictures of it lol! Ms. India, the instructor, did call me out on that! Then, enjoy the rest of the activities during the event!

  2. Take in the scenery and support local businesses! Huston-Tillotson University is a historical black college/university! Take a quick look around to take in the culture! I can not stress this enough. Support local businesses! We have dreams and goals to achieve, but these businesses take in account of our culture and our needs that big franchises doesn’t supply! Come in ready to spend!
  3. TO MY CREATIVES: NETWORK….NETWORK….NETWORK! One of my favorites quotes is, “We are stronger in NUMBERS.” We have built our brand (some, of us) by ourselves. In order to elevate ourselves and expand our brand, we have to connect and build bridges with other creative minds! I’ve spent time and money on my brand, I’m grateful for where I’m at. Also, I know that it is hard doing everything on my own. Build your TEAM and why not start at an event like this!

You do not have to be in the creative field to network…ALL OF YOU CAN! This is the place to be comfortable with other like-minded women of color and build long-lasting relationships.

Take the time out of your schedule to be at the next Curly Girl Picnic 2019, I will see you there.

 

Special shoutout to my best friend, Neka!! She was my manager, tech support, photographer/videographer, etc. You just DON’T KNOW how important you are to me! That day was not POSSIBLE without you!

 

Much love and Blessings to My Loves!

Shellsy aka The Unconventional Shell

 

#WomenCrushEveryday

#WomenCrushEveryday

The power of women gathering is immeasurable.

Hey, hey!!!! It’s February loves!!! *no pun intended lol* 2018 for me…my God, if I could put it
in words…mind-blowing and spiritually stressed, along with heightened joy and peace. Yes, plenty
of words but it’s so TRUE! This year is already crazy, but there will be tons of success for me…and you, too!!! I have realized that we are in the “Season of the Woman.” After centuries of mistreatment and
‘intentional’ invisibility from the others, we are finally coming out LOUD into the open!! Hear us ROAR!! *making weak imitations of a lion, but more like a low-key injured blue whale* Lately, I’ve been coming across PLENTY of women-empowered events that I’ve had the pleasure to be a part of. We are just in February and I feel this movement will require us to be purpose-driven. A movement where we don’t look towards man or society for approval. A movement where we look at other women with love and support, instead of pride and envy. A movement where we are comfortable and embrace ourselves for who we are! Not only do I feel this, my inner circle of sisters are going through similar life situations as me. I have this beautiful comfort that relieves me saying, “You are not alone.” Through my book club, brunches, meet-ups, bible studies, and etc., we go through our share of struggles. Whether if it’s depression, body image, rejection, or fear, we are here for one another.

Since we can’t do life alone and I’m a strong advocate of empowering women: we need to ‘step out our box’ and handle the situation! HERE are some creative ways to bring about ‘women empowering women’:

Start a common interest group. 

If you are a people-loving person (like myself lol), you can start a group with something most women will have in common and enjoy. It could be cooking, creating a book club, movies, whatever you want!! We should have strong bonds and ties with other women, this is where sisterhood comes in. With me, this is why I started the Feminine Vigor Book Club. I love to read and I want to bond and build with other women who took a strong interest with reading. I had no idea that many women loved to read like me! I believe that it is successful because the connection that all the women are building with each other and it is BEAUTIFUL TO  SEE!

 

 


ARRANGE A “COFFEE DATE”.

This is my favorite tactic (oh yes, I said tactic) to get close/bond with people and get down to deep rooted issues. Set a calm  atmosphere (coffee spots are MY THING), order yummy treats, and open the floor for great conversations!! Sometimes, small groups are nice for this type of setting, but one-on-ones are PROSPEROUS! You can laugh, rant, or cry….this is the opportunity to let go and be free to be yourself! With my own set-ups, I do attend women-empowered gatherings.  On Tuesday nights, I dedicate my time with my dear friend’s non-profit organization’s Diva Sessions Diva Demeanor where we release our frustrations, restore with support, and set out goals to conquer. Go Jasmine (I roll with cool chicks)! Make sure to check out the link to get in and I will see you there or you can create some “coffee date” time. By the way, if you are in Houston, my favorite coffee spots are in the Houston Heights area (pretty much all of their coffee is BAE!)

HAVE A RETREAT DAY.

Along with empowerment, self-care is IMPORTANT to our physical, mental, and spiritual being. I had the greatest time at a local retreat day held by a beautiful blogger with a big heart for uplifting women. Valaencia is a Houston lifestyle blogger who throws one of the best events that I’ve ever been to in the city. Valaencia’s Website! With her latest event, I won tickets to her Glittered in Goals’ Let’s Heal event!!! This is my season of winning tickets to events, in the name of Jesus! It was the bomb.com!! There was motivational speakers, a professional masseuse team (my first one!), and yoga…..plus, I met my other blogger sisters that I follow from social media!  That is a beautiful recipe of RELAXATION! As women, we need to unravel our minds and tend to our bodies….don’t neglect them! You can do it BIG like Valaencia or go on a walk with friends and attend a yoga class together. Wake yourselves. Here is some candids of the event:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




GIVE A SHOUTOUT!

There is nothing like showing love by spreading our love for others!! A compliment really goes a loooong way! I find it more genuine when a woman compliments me more than a guy. We rarely question the motives behind the compliment. In this world, it is rarely done and it is an awe-inspiring moment. With the popular hashtag, #WCW, woman crush Wednesday is known to show and celebrate the “Instagram-model” type chicks. Beauty is beauty, but what about the beauty in loving others and the beauty in loving our community?? Let’s showcase those women, the ones that are making the change!! Whether if it’s a social media post of them, sending a text/email, a handwritten card….those things might seem little to us, but will make an impact to those we show love to. My girl, Videllia, hailing from the ‘Triple D” Dallas, has a segment on her social media accounts and website called #WCW Spotlight.  She gives every lady an opportunity to shine, which is simply amazing to me!! Worry less about competing and more about achieving!!! You can sign yourself or another Queen on her website, just click on the pic for the link!! Her Instagram is only1lady_V, just to let you know!


HAVE A PHOTO SHOOT!

Photo shoots is a CARE-FREE ZONE! This is where the fun comes in: creativity, courage, bonding, and encouragement. My friends did a photoshoot a few weeks back and it was STUNNING! Then, my new blogger group gave an invite to take some pictures (mostly, for our blogs lol). Taking pictures and being a model takes things to a new perspective. Warning: It is a ‘confidence-high’! No one is at the low end on the bar. The photographer and the model brings the product to LIFE! You have to motivate each other to bring something raw, beautiful, and edgy to the picture. You don’t have to be America’s Top Model to achieve this. Get some friends, pick a location with good lighting, and have some fun!!


I hope that this can encourage you to put yourself out there to motivate others! Tell that woman that she looks great today as you’re walking down the street, invite the lady over to your lunch table if she is eating alone. You have sooo much power in your frame that needs to be unleashed into this world! Don’t waste your life! Take that #WCW meaning and intensify it to something more powerful.

Think of ‘woman crush Wednesday’ to ‘women CRUSHING IT EVERYDAY’! That’s what we do, we kill it!

I love you ladies soooo much and this post is dedicated to the women out there crushing it EVERYDAY! If you have the opportunity to, please share this post on your social media handles! We need to spread the message of POWER!

Empowered women, empower women.

Love and Blessings.

Shellsy

 

 

 

 

 

Old Ties, New Year: An Ode to Self and 2017

Old Ties, New Year: An Ode to Self and 2017

Hi Everyone!!!

Long time no see, I know.

Life happens, which is pretty much all of our story. Yes, it happens but you’re NOT supposed to let it consume you.

I did.

I love my website. Looking over my recent posts and all of the pictures that I rendered, it brought back beautiful sparks of the things I love. Things that I longed for is displayed throughout this website and there are more great things in store for 2018.

During my 4-month hiatus (no post since summer), I have and (still) going through emotional and spiritual battles.

Barton Creek, Austin

Just to name a few, I have gone through my shares of depression, insecurities with my career and finances, past distractions, being far away from my support/bestfriend/sister (the #1 person in my life, besides God), family secrets/burdens….shucks, I disappoint myself constantly because I KNOW what I possess and where I’m destined to go. Yet, I have failed.

I don’t live for myself, I live for something bigger. If I rely only myself and my own strength, I will not make it in this life.

As of now, I’m really getting a glimpse of life and taking advantage of my opportunities (plus MAKING MY OWN OPPORTUNITIES) because of my grandmother withering away from breast cancer. Pastor John Gray, a minister in Houston, said something profound that still sticks to me, “I reach Heaven, yet the Father shakes His head because He said that I had great things planned for you, but you didn’t complete them.

How would you feel if you missed out on the biggest moment in your life because you didn’t say yes? …that’s my biggest fear.

Most people do not say yes because there are things that we don’t want to experience in the process.

Let’s be honest, who wants to go through pain, failure, rejection, abandonment, loneliness, and sadness? Nobody.

But…..if it wasn’t for opposition in our lives we wouldn’t be where we are today. Opposition pushes us to our position.

Yes, I have opposition but I will use that to propel me higher to where I need to be.

Not only will I have to say yes, I have to take action with what I say.

My mom gave me a fortune cookie yesterday, I was a bit excited for my fortune inside (like who eats the cookie?? lol) Just like astrology, I don’t give it much attention, but it’s funny how these fortunes tend to be right on time with things.

It said, Focus on your long-term goal. Don’t hesitate to act now.”

The new year will start in a few hours. I know there will be tons of vision board parties, prayer and fastings, goal listings, etc.

Just keep in mind to ACT NOW on what you said and ACT NOW on the process.

I’m right there with you.

Be on the look out on the many things I have set for 2018…there will be travel, food, books…..

(did I mention, that I have a book club here in Houston?? Thanks, opposition lol) and MORE.

……it’s going to be BIG!

 

Happy New Year Everyone!!!!

Joy and Blessings to you,

Shellsy M.

 

 

The Beasts of Travel

The Beasts of Travel

 

Even in my greatest pains and failures, I still have joy.

Travel has brought a new meaning to my life: friendships from around the world, new cuisines (the South STILL remains the best ‘tho), and landscapes that can be on a cover of a magazine. I’m blessed and forever grateful with this bold decision that I’ve made for my life! My fellow travel wanderlusts will understand these questions: How do you make time in your work schedule to travel? How do you get the money to go on your adventures? << My Fav! Why do you go by yourself? What about your safety, especially as a woman?

I love the curiosity drawn to me from others, my lifestyle (and me *waving*) is not normal. It’s always this twisted fantasy, an immaculate perception on how travel should be. Now, don’t get me wrong! Yes, all of my travels are the most amazing things in my life, with God being by my side. I do live in a fantasy world sometimes, but reality can hit me DEAD IN MY FACE when I least expect it! There is plenty of  beauty and plenty of beasts in the world of travel.

Getting lost in a city at night with a dead phone. Running after a bus that I missed at a stop. Food poisoning in one of the most beautiful cities of the world, PARIS (I will RE-DO that trip!). Trashy travel/room accommodations. Believe me…there’s more, but that was just my highlights.
…….Then, here comes another highlight to my chapter, what do I do when I have to say “NO” to a HIGHLY ANTICIPATED TRIP because of a stupid budget mistake?! I had the opportunity to go to the Essence Festival this past July 4th weekend. I had the perfect 2 day plan for it: live interviews, meeting other creatives, the Essence Bookstore, free workshops, the food (it’s in New Orleans, you already know). Out of all of the crazy things that I’ve been through on my trips, this is the only one that really got me upset. My…heart…was…broken, but it hurts even more when you are the cause of your pain. On July 1st, 2017, I declared a pity party for 9 HOURS when I decided not to jump in my car and go to the Essence Festival. Ugh, that was one of the SADDEST parties that I’ve ever attended! My pity parties don’t have balloons, streamers, good music, or people. Phones are silenced. Chips, croutons, and melted ice cream is on the menu. Hopelessness is all in the air. For 9 hours, I was going through this IN MY HEAD! Around 11:00 that night, I had a conversation with myself (OUT LOUD) in my car: “Shellsy, you f’ed up. Yes, you messed up! I apologize to you for that mistake, I know stuff happens a.k.a. Auto Pay from Checking Account amnesia *sighs*. Own your part in it, be more watchful, and keep it moving!!!” BAM!!! One important advice that I strongly abide in is, don’t go to bed angry. Sort your stuff before you go to sleep. Negative energy has NO BOUNDARIES, it is similar to any cancer/disease, it can spread to any area that it wants to control and multiply cells. Letting your mind be plagued by depression, sadness, anger, or any negative thought can linger into your well-being, relationships, friendships, and  your careers. Don’t let it!!! Check this! We are humans, we are emotional creatures. Therefore, keep your emotions in check, love.
So, what did I do after my party ended? I made a list. It’s compiled with affirmations over my life and a to-do list to ‘keep myself in check’. A close friend of mine told  me, “Shellsy, you are living your dream and your purpose in life.”
Here is just a couple of things to keep in mind for anyone living out their purpose:

  • Self-discipline is key. Get close friends or someone you trust to help you be accountable with your decisions. Whether if it’s with your budgeting skills, relationships, getting tasks done, or any issue you need help with to conquer.
  • Know and ACCEPT that mistakes will happen. Perfectionists, beware! This will happen to you too. In Alcohol Anonymous meetings, the first thing you do to get on track to success over the addiction is acknowledging that you have an addiction issue. Now, that you know and you accept it, you…..
  • Move forward! This is where a lot of people get stuck because you don’t know where to go or how to get there. Think about your goals and passions. Make a list (step-by-step) on what you should do to complete that goal. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, make sure you stay consistent on getting it done!!!
  • CONSISTENCY! I say it all the time and stress over it! *Like this website!* You have to stay consistent to get results! It will get hard, but there is no ugly feeling like giving up on your passions! Meditate day and night, exercise, BE AROUND PEOPLE THAT YOU ASPIRE TO BE OR ADMIRE, podcasts, or whatever inspires/pushes you to be BETTER!!

Now, say a declaration aloud to yourself. This is the first step to your purpose in life! Much love and blessings to you guys!!!

Thank you for sticking with me on my rocky journey, but this is sooooo worth it!

‘Hi, my name is Shellsy. I make mistakes. I am still powerful and wise. I will move forward, CONTINUE TO STRIVE towards my goals and passions. I will not STRESS over what I did, I will use it to propel and drive me to make sure that I will NOT make the same mistakes. I am a fighter and a conqueror over all things that will try to deter me! I love myself and I will take care of myself: mentally, physically, and spiritually.’

Spread love and travel well,

Shell

 

This is for The “Homies”

This is for The “Homies”

#ShellSLAYSVancouver..watch for those hashtags.

I’ve experienced world travel and I’m looking forward to more as I grow comfortable to my new lifestyle. Canada…I’m coming for you next….#ShellSLAYSVancouverAlong the way, I’ve encountered different types of travelers (no, we are NOT all alike lol). Some will not settle for less than 3-stars and up hotels (Hey, Hilton!), while others prefer bed and breakfast accommodations (the Airbnbs’ and the HomeAways’) and hostels a.k.a. The DL (Dorm Life). Once you break those categories down, travelers’ have destination preferences. You have your Caribbean shakers, European lovers, African enthusiasts, Asian fiends, and so on and so forth. Then, there are the ones that are explorers of their own backyard. I call them The Domestics (it’s not that original but work with me lol). They are crowned the adventure seekers, looking for budget-friendly thrills, but still close to home. Lately, for those following my journey (sidenote: if you are new to my little rocky journey, check out my previous blog entries, thank you! ♥), I’ve been traveling around the U.S. because of some career/family adjustments and prior engagements in Houston. I will be back overseas by the end of 2017! Ok..ok….ok….so, what if you want to be around home for a bit?? WHERE do you go??? HOW do you get there????? Well, don’t worry, I’m going to tell you…of course!

DRIVING, RIDING, OR FLYING??

Beignets!! Essence Festival 2017, who’s coming??

If you are like me, I ask myself 2 questions, 1.What’s really going to stretch my dollar? $$$$$$$$$ 2.What means more to me, time or convenience? Budgeting is important for ANY traveler! For example: In less than a year, I went to New Orleans twice, by bus and driving my SUV (Beep, Beep, who got the keys to the Jeep?! Meeeeeeee!).

Driving: $35 gas, 5 1/2 hours dest. time, more time to experience the city, forcing myself to stay awakeNO WIFI, limited free parking, which meant streetcar (local) transportation which I LOVED!                                                                                     Bus (Shoutout to Megabus!): $25 upper deck front window ticket, 8 hours dest. time, less time to experience the city, taking PLENTY of naps, FREE WIFI, and UBER UBER…everywhere (I will never forget about that $85 dollars!) That will be in my heart for-EVAAAAA (Cardi B voice)!

As for flying, even with my tricks, STILL $60 dollars one way for 1 1/2 hours dest. time…….nah. For that trip, I had a goal (still surprised by that sneak attack by Uber, $85 smh) of keeping my transportation costs lower than my experience costs (you need a budget for New Orleans food!).

BUUUUT, everyone is different, what is valued to you???

Now the GOLDEN QUESTION, WHERE DO I GO AROUND THE UNITED STATES?!?!!

Yep, there is New York, L.A., and Miami, nice places but what about the hidden gems?

MY TOP 8 FAV places to Visit in the United States (**)-places I really want to go to

  • Austin, TexasFood, Live Music, Food, Cool Vibes, Nice People, Hiking,…..did I say food?? If you want to stay away from the very ‘lit‘ 6th Street, there is the Alamo Drafthouse (to experience some ‘abnormal sing-a-longs’ during the movie) or go to South Congress Ave. (SoCo) on a Thursday where you can shop, eat, or just hang out late.
  • Denver, Colorado – Beautiful mountain tops and hills, Lower Downtown nightlife, and THE BRONCOS! By far, one of the most beautiful places that I’ve been to. I suggest to go during the winter time to REALLY experience the scenery and the ski resorts!
  • Nashville, Tennessee – Good..Classic..BBQ, Nashville Hot Chicken from Hattie B’s!, Sunday Brunches (which is taken SERIOUSLY), Live Country Music….I’m a Southern girl, ‘nough said.
  • New Orleans, Louisiana – You guys should ALREADY KNOW how I feel about this city! Great cajun/creole food, great history (music, architecture, festivals), I can go on and on about this
    New Orleans Jazz Scene

    place. Just know you will NEVER meet people like New Orleans people, you swear that you’ve been friends since forever ago when you meet. This city shows its rich, joyous soul….only when you look for it. Hint: It’s NOT on Bourbon Street.

  • Seattle, Washington ** Kerry Park (the BEST view of the city, you can do that needle if you have the money to spare!), Seattle Art Museum, Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream, Paseo (cool Jamaican place featured on Travel Channel!)…just a few things that I will be doing there ♥
  • Washington D.C ** – The Land of Museums…free museums! (and the African American Museum!) I’m a nerd at heart and I work in a museum..so, it’s evident what I will be doing for majority of my time *shrugs*.
  • Arizona ** – The Grand Canyon, Chapel of the Holy Cross, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, just pure God’s creation in my face
  • Maine ** – Not only is it the northeasternmost U.S. state, it has the
    Maine Lighthouses!

    most beautiful shores full of lighthouses, beaches, and lobsters!

 

To be honest, I believe this is just for anyone, domestics and international lovers…shucks, from all walks of life! This is just a small taste of a testament that I am setting out for myself, another stamp to my self-discovery, if I can put it in words lol. If you are a traveler like me, a teacher, lawyer, or a barista….you have dreams and goals too! We have different paths, but we all strive for the same purpose: to better ourselves. Stick to your dreams (no matter how crazy they are!), anything is POSSIBLE!

This post is dedicated to my friends, my loves, my sisters, my brothers, my dreamers, my ‘doers’, my homies.

 

 

Me/Myself: The Struggle of My Life & My Passion

Me/Myself: The Struggle of My Life & My Passion

What happens when your world is in CONSTANT conflict with your purpose in life? Do you back down, do you take the hits, or DO YOU FIGHT BACK?!?? Lord knows that I love hard….but I fight just as hard. So, the obvious answer is YES, I Do Fight! Not physical (of course), but I fight for my beliefs, my character, and my passions.

For those new to my journey, I made a career change that lead to a new lifestyle. Quick Review! I did my first solo trip in Nov. 2016 (whoa, epiphany moment!), new eyes towards my purpose in traveling, quit my main income job to put more time towards my website and traveling. A lifestyle that almost everyone in my life didn’t like at all…..some of them don’t know what I do now. They know my passion for travel, buuuuut the solo part is always missing from my conversations. When they think traveling the world, it’s always in reverence of bad stereotypical movies, Taken and Hostel. (I can just hear some of my family members right now, ‘Don’t get taken!’ *giving serious side eye*) 

First OFF! (THIS SEGMENT HAS MOVIE SPOILERS AND A RANT, YOU ARE MORE THAN WELCOME TO SKIP THIS PART)

For that Taken movie, that whole situation could have been easily AVOIDED, if that promiscuous girl didn’t tell ALL of their business on where they stayed AND that they were alone ALL WEEK to that creepy guy. Why not have a banner for all to see?? Dodson_sings <<<< My Reaction to Stupidity

As for Hostel, AGAIN AVOIDABLE, it was unprofessional and just plain creepy from the get go. If I see a couple in one room, then the next night see a group of masculine guys in black throw all of their stuff in a trash bag??!?!?? I’m jetting that night! Fooooorgeeeeeet that!! I’m not saying that things such as trafficking and weird secret elite cults don’t happen in the world, but one thing you should possess as a traveler is wisdom. It can’t get you out of all situations, but it can take you out of most of them.

*OK!! BACK TO MY LIFE OF SOLO TRAVEL WOES!*

I come from a family that is comfortable with the ‘norm’. Normal job, normal interests, normal life. Pretty much like this >>>>>>>>>>>>>5450039845_5022b1a0c2

And, I’m this girl pretty much >>>>>916272pleasantville_1998_hdclub_mkv_11_24_331_000032Now that we have a visual, do you see where the struggle is? Recognizing and accepting what’s different.

How do you deal with it?….What do you do? Consistent questions in my life. I keep in mind that everyone is here for different things. We possess a set of skills and talents for something bigger than ourselves.

If you are going through a similar situation, here is a couple of things that I would advise:                                                                                             1. Know who you are and don’t let ANYONE take that away from you! People will come in to change you and/or distract (even family), but stay focused and keep your eyes on the prize.                                            2. Take heed, but don’t always take in! This is where wisdom comes in. Your blessings and affirmations can come in from familiar and unfamiliar places. You have free will, you can sow it into your life or leave it be. Make sure that it’s for you, for that time!                                    3. In spite of, ALWAYS have love. Sometimes, this can be tough for me and my current situation with my family. Blood is thicker than water, which can be really good and really bad, be ready for both sides. Words from your family can affect your life, knowingly and unknowingly. It’s up to you to take it or leave it be. Spiritually, our hearts possess our emotions and desires. If you taint it with hate, it will affect your innermost self! Your passion, your purpose, your life is plagued!

From experience, I strongly encourage love AT ALL TIMES.

I know it’s tough for those out there going through the same thing, but WE CAN DO THIS TOGETHER!  

You can’t change people or their attitudes, but you CAN control your actions towards it.

Please share with others, this post holds near and dear to my heart, since I’m sharing a piece of my life with all of you. This just might help someone going through with their loved ones. If you have any questions or comments, you can leave it in the comment section or shoot me an email: mshellsy@yahoo.com.

As always,                                                                                                                 Spread love and travel well.

 

 

 

 

Oh, Austin…..

Oh, Austin…..

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist….that is all.

Oscar Wilde

Experiencing where you are can bring a new perspective to your world. Usually, when you decide to travel the world, you want to go far away from your surroundings. In my case, Western Europe (France, UK, Spain, etc.), China, Indonesia, Japan, and Africa. I want to create great experiences in my world travels like my 2-hour hammock resting and yoga in Bali, life as a monk in a monastery and sushi making in Japan, and so much more!

I get so caught up in all the hype, that I forget about my own backyard. Shucks, I’m ashamed of myself, the U.S. is truly beautiful and each state possess their own unique qualities.

For instance, the great Lone Star State…..my state….TEXAS! In my 27 years of life, I’ve only been to Austin ONE TIME previous to this trip. It’s only 2 hours away from Houston, buuuut I didn’t go alone. I went with my awesome coworkers from my job, which made it twice as fun! My short-term narrrow mind didn’t know that I could take such a beautiful picture of a flower tree (flower unknown to this day) on a hiking trail in central Austin………Ta-da! >>>

Eclectic Food…Live Music…Hiking…SXSW…Chill People…Cool Vibes…      Austin is the total opposite of the stereotypical Texas (cowboys, horses, etc.), which is why we ‘Keep Austin Weird’.

 

Day 1

More like half a day….didn’t get there until around 8:30 and I didn’t eat ALL DAY! First things first…BBQ. We go to the U.S. famed, award-winning The Salt Lick Barbeque, known for the All You Can Eat Ribs, Brisket and Sausage and the not-so-ordinary BBQ Sauce. It was really good, not great. Meat is one thing for me, but sides are my favorite! Unfortunately, they only have 3 sides (beans, coleslaw, and potato salad). I had the brisket and sausage plate with double potato salad and beans, I haaaaaaaate coleslaw. The sausage and the potato salad was the best thing on my plate. I prefer my meat to be a bit more cooked and smoky from the pit. The beans was the worst ever…..it was just beans on a plate. I’m telling you…onions, bell peppers….shucks, even salt and pepper can go a loooong way with those beans. Yes, I’m a palm tree, I’m shading. Besides my disappointment with the beans, the golden yellow barbeque sauce was amazing to me, the original and spicy recipe, was A1! ……No wonder why they sell it worldwide.

What made the night go even more lovely was our beloved, cozy accommodation (sarcasm included).  The property is cute, quaint, and very “homey’. Now, the inside is a whole different story. (Brace yourselves, graphic descriptions. Well, for me, I remember VISUALS.) The door…..the door is rachet as heck broke. Our AirBnB host left notes and texts about the door with ways on how to open the door and lock it. Ugh. The studio can only fit 3 people in my opinion, not 5 as listed. It had a kitchenette, bathroom (open razor and soap in shower, dirty!), and a queen size bed (that broke down 3 times, which states I’m fat lol plus stains on the sheets, DIRTY!). I rate the place 2 out of 5, the 2 stars is for the property being 5 minutes from Downtown, besides that ZERO. You get my point. Notes on picking the right AirBnB: LOOK AT REVIEWS, location of the property, don’t depend heavy on pictures (pictures can be manipulated, not people), and money does weigh in with quality. If you want a 5 star, penthouse in a downtown area, be ready to spend a little more. 

One thing that I fell in love with was the old school gas heater (I’m a fan of nostalgic things).     

Now, since Day 2 consists plenty of info (a full day!)…..I will make a PART 2 of my time in Austin. So, stay tuned with that!!

To end this post, I leave you with a beautiful video of me ATTEMPTING to properly light a gas heater. Enjoy! …..and no one was harmed during the taping of this video.

https://www.facebook.com/rawr.its.danie/videos/vb.659378413/10154181988423414/?type=2&theater

 

Joie de Vivre: My Short Journey into the N.O.

Joie de Vivre: My Short Journey into the N.O.

Joie de Vivre

French: ..... Joy of Living

This is the perfect visual description of my alluring time in New Orleans (or as the locals say, 'N'Awlins baby'!) I have topped this city as one of my FAVORITE places to go because of the beautiful, soulful people treating you like a long lost friend. Not an awestruck traveler looking for Bourbon Street to get blazed or drunk, which only leads to wild nights and hangover mornings.

In all my journeys in this God-created beautiful world, I seek EXPERIENCE with the living. Clearly speaking, I want to live like the locals in all of my destinations from food, music, transportation, and more!

sooo..........New Orleans and why? ESPERANZA SPALDING *Hands Up* .........yes, a concert. Check her out HERE. She is AMAZING...

This is my FIRST TIME traveling alone and why not try something different with an ease of comfort. I'm a Texas girl! 🙂

My mom always say that I'm a girl with "delusions of grandeur", always wanting the finer things of life. Now, don't get me wrong, I appreciate nice things but I don't need it and I'm always looking for the quality and the experience. I took the Megabus from Houston to New Orleans for only $25 ($15 added $9 fee for upper deck window).

   Day 1

We only had 1 stop and it took us 8 hrs. to get to the bus station. For a first time experience using a bus service, it was inexpensive and professional. I loved every minute of the ride: the rich scenery of this great land, several PEACEFUL naps, reading, and my journal! Truly a zen-like, meditation moment.

 

I arrived to my Airbnb host's house around 4 p.m. in a quiet neighborhood by City Park, just in time to get ready for the concert for 7!!!! The concert was held at the historic, newly renovated Orpheum Theatre in the Business District. The concert was beyond extraordinary, unique, aggressive, and colorful (like, it was that dang good!). Overall, a beautiful, chaotic love-binding musical structure! Bam!

Afterwards, the girl was HANGRY....not hungry. I had to get some local cuisine. My food list for the N.O. was simple: Crawfish Etouffee, GUMBO, AND BEIGNETS......Simple. Now, I had no idea I was 4 minutes away from the French Quarter! I walked over to see what I could get from the my infamous list and came across the Olde N'awlins Cookery, right off Bourbon Street lol. And yes, it was LIVE on a Thursday night. The Crawfish Etouffee was pretty good. The rice was not undercooked, the crawfish was decent and lightly seasoned, and the stew was a good, rich brown (I'm used to the Creole way (red stew). My overall deal breaker is customer service, which was great and very attentive to my needs.

Day 2

I make it my goal to serve the community, no matter where I go. I had the honor and pleasure to work with Next Gen and NOLA Serve reaching out to the teenagers at Riverdale High School in Metairie (15 minutes from New Orleans). I have a strong passion for the youth and their development in this society. It is crucial to be involved with youth because the influences that affects them now, will affect them later.  Every week, the Next Gen organization goes to local schools throughout New Orleans and surrounding areas to bring the Message of Jesus to the students during their free periods. 10 minutes of the message and free pizza! I really wish we had this back during my school years *sighs*.

3:00 p.m.----What can I do for my last day? Explore the city as much as I could!

First stop, the New Orleans Museum of Art in City Park (7 minutes from my Airbnb). I am an Art/Museum FREAK.........                        Passionately, I fall numb at the sight of Monet, Degas, Picasso, Dali, Warhol, Magritte...Pre Renaissance to Modern...                                                                 I love them ALL.                                I touched every inch of this building, trying to grasp every piece that I see. 3 stories of artwork from different continents, eras, and local pieces. Mind blowing. Every Friday, they have free arts/crafts for the kids (adults can play, too), live music with light treats.

$12 Admission = Winning

 

 

Again, the GIRL IS HANGRY!! I was so attracted to this place that I spent almost 2 HOURS IN IT! That is just the average time to spend in there. I asked the lady in the gift shop where the nearest street car was because Shellsy just spent nearly $80 DOLLARS WITH UBER IN 2 DAYS!.......umm no thanks! Public transportation will do for the rest of my time here!!!!! Thank God it was walking distance to the streetcar stop and it takes me straight to the French Quarter.

<<< Me thinking: Why did I spend so much on Uber when I could have mostly been on here or the bus??

$1.25 One Way, $3.00 All Day Pass........you're welcome.

Back to my Food mission: GUMBO AND BEIGNETS

I stopped at St. Peters Street because that is where the infamous Cafe Du Monde is located, but I need dinner first. I thought about the last time I was here with my sister, who constantly RAVES about the Gumbo Shop, which is conveniently two blocks away from Cafe Du Monde (Look at God!) *praise break*. I forgot how popular this place was because the line was out the door, but I didn't mind the wait. In the line, I noticed a woman walking up by herself and getting behind me. The friendly person that I am *smiling* had to spark a conversation with her. She was also traveling by herself from CANADA for a nutrition convention; the conversation was going so well that it was our turn to be seated at the restaurant. Out of the moment, I asked if she would like to have dinner with me. She replied yes and she said she was going to ask the same question as well. We DIVED into our Chicken and Sausage gumbo with bliss! (Sidenote: I do not recommend the seafood gumbo! It's not the same satisfaction!) Next, we walked together to Cafe Du Monde, just to dive deep into our beignets FULL OF POWDERED SUGAR! Then, we spent our time eating our delightful bag of treats sitting by the docks, overlooking the great Mississippi River. It was a fun-filled night that neither one of us wanted to forget!

I can say that God took care of me and wanted me to enjoy my visit in New Orleans with a handful of great people that I built lasting memories with, even though it was only for a short period of time. I'm grateful.

 

Day 3

Let's not go much into detail about that: going back to Houston (my reality) and the Greyhound. Ugh.

 

Quick Tips and Highlights of New Orleans
  1. Pack LIGHT! It will be easy on your back. One carry on, One duffel bag. Done.
  2. Show up early, not on time. Again.....Greyhound.
  3. ALWAYS have a portable charger! I got stuck TWICE in the French Quarter when my phone went dead before I had to reach an Uber. Thank you N.O. locals for lending me a phone and charger 🙂
  4. DISCONNECT YOURSELF. DISCONNECT YOURSELF.                                        Lose yourself in your surroundings, cut off your phone, embrace the culture.

For more pictures, it will be in the Gallery tab.                                                                If you want more info for places to eat, stay, or just have a good time in the scene OR if you want to share any great places with me on my next visit (most likely, Essence), feel free to hit the comment section or my email: mshellsy@yahoo.com.

'Til my next trip.....spread love and travel well.