Love, Food, Travel

Tag: woman

A Special Affair: NY to Chi-Town

A Special Affair: NY to Chi-Town

Hello everyone!!! I missed you all!!! I swear I don't take a long hiatus like this on purpose. I've said it before and I will say it again....2018 was #$*%!!! Like forreal, complete &#%*$.....you fill in that however you want lol. Also, when I look all around me....everyone else went through a messed up year too.


Sidenote: I PROCLAIM that the year 2018 was a precursor for the GREAT THINGS that will come to you in 2019! Everything that you prayed for, hoped for, and/or affirmations will come to pass and be more abundant than what you asked for.


Now, I took this great trip to New York and Chicago in mid-October (Oct. 16th-Oct. 21st) this year, reason was to celebrate my bestie's 30th birthday and go to a Christian conference in Chicago. We spent 2 days/1 night in New York (just for the heck of it) and 3 days/3 nights in Chicago. Throughout this trip, I had goals to accomplish:

New York Goals

  • Eat a classic New York Pizza and get a hot dog from a street stand
  • Go to Times Square and do a cart wheel...disaster.
  • Go to the MET (Metropolitan Museum of Art) ....*details on confusion later*.....I'm a museum freak!
  • Ride on a subway
  • Walk through some of Central Park (that thing is huge)
  • Tour through Brooklyn and Harlem (historical purposes)

I've actually accomplished most of these in the small amount of time we had!!

Accommodations!!! As you all know, I'm the type of traveler that spends more on the moments/experiences in a city than where I stay. Don't get me wrong, it will be 3 stars and up but more cost efficient lol. I'm the Airbnb type of girl, living amongst the locals......but I tried something different and stayed at *cue music* "duh..duh...duh!!"..... a hostel.

Hostel - a lower priced, social accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge and sometimes a kitchen. Room can be a mixed or single-sex, and private rooms may also be available.

Wikipedia

Queens, New York, Hostel #1 : Q4 Hotel ($$) My Overall Rating - 3.8/5 www.q4hotel.com

Pros:

  • Location! Location!   Blocks away from several subways, restaurants, museums, etc. Took us 15 minutes to get to Manhattan from the subway!
  • WiFi, computer-access work lab *very happy!* Oh yea! I lost my phone in New Jersey!!  Went old school and emailed my mom, majority of the time. Along with borrowing phones.
  • Each bunk had a small light and a USB/plug outlet *BIG PLUS when you want personal light and have your phone nearby without disturbing anyone.**

Cons:

  • No windows....very strange to me. The windows are blocked out with some sort of opaque screen, maybe a safety hazard??? I really wanted to see the locals and the NYC scenery, but it felt like a prison cell.

Overall with the NY hotel, it was a decent stay! No elevators, so I didn't mind the walk. Staff was extremely helpful with directions. The hotel's appearance has a nice charm with the chandeliers and modern touches. Plus, some really good small cafes and eateries around the area! I will be back to finish my list and more!!


GREYHOUND TO CHI-TOWN!

Chicago Goals

  • Get Chicago Deep Dish Pizza!
  • See the 'Bean' in Millennium Park
  • Go to a museum (always a MUST anywhere I go)
  • Walk around the Wicker Park area and take in the scenery

Wicker Park, Chicago, Illinois Hostel #2 : Holiday Jones ($$-$$$) My Overall Rating: 5/5 http://www.holidayjones.com

Pros:

  • Location! Location! LOCATION!! This location is sooo prime to EVERYTHING! Across the street from Target, steps away from a pizzeria and a Starbucks. If you walk along the street, you WILL bump into anything!
  • FREE empanada/coffee in the morning! A coffee shop is attached to the front part of the hostel. Each guest is given this special offer. It was great for us when we had to rush for the morning portions of the conference!

Cons..... can't think of any! In fact, I don't mind staying again!

I loved the atmosphere of Chicago! It's a beautiful city with BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE....not that I was looking hard *wink, wink*. I will be coming back to get the FULL experience since I was mostly here on a business perspective. I highly suggest that everyone try out Holiday Jones for their next stay, especially if you're going with a group. The place is clean, I actually did share the bathroom with the rest of the rooms on our floor *which was not as bad as I thought*. The empanadas and coffee is good at the front portion of the hostel, really flavorful (sweet cream corn and the blue cheese was my fav!). If you're going during the winter time, BE READY TO BUNDLE ALL YO BODY UP!! THAT cold weather and wind...Jesus. That's the windy city for a reason.

To conclude, 2 beautiful cities and 2 different perspectives on both. Let me answer some questions that you might want to know.

~ Which of the two cities did you like better? OK, this is really tough. New York for the people and the culture. Chicago for the looks of the city atmosphere.   ~New York Pizza or Chicago Pizza? NEW YORRRRK! I'm a thin crust kind-of girl anyway, so that's a given lol. Besides, I didn't enjoy my deep dish pizza...sadly. ~ Hot dog?? Again...New York. Their hot dog consists of mustard, ketchup, and sauerkraut (not bad!). Chicago is poppy seed bun, mustard, relish, onions, tomato wedges, pickle spear, sport peppers, and celery salt. It's just a no for me. ~ Transportation? For now, New York. I used Uber in Chicago.

If you have any questions and/or comments about this trip or any travel advice questions, let me know through the comments section! I greatly appreciate you all sticking with me on this journey!

Love always and travel well, Shellsy

Until next time!!

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!!!

 

 

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.

 

 

Women’s Travel Conference 2017!

Women’s Travel Conference 2017!

Some of you already know that I've started my traveling journey on November 4, 2016 with my first official solo trip to New Orleans (check out my first blog on that *wink*). On the brink of a total burnout of everything in my life (your girl was going through!), I was in dire need for some sort of outlet. I said to myself, "I need a vacation, I need a vacation...then, I will be refreshed and alright." Well...during my away time, I felt like I was in my element...an indescribable amount of peace and assurance filled my spirit like never before. Afterwards, I thought the feelings would shake off and I go back to my normal, but......I couldn't faze it out. I've become entranced by traveling.....the mere word gives me shivers. Yes, ice cold lol. This fascination turned from a quick trip into a possible career. Yes, A CAREER!

Now, how did I come across this conference? Well, let me tell you how 'cookies' work in technology. In my term, cookies are little trails that keep accounts of everything little thing you do online, especially what you search. Since I look up things related to travel, I will have ads on the side of the window that tells me about Expedia flight deals, Hilton Honors Rewards perks, etc. On Facebook, an ad popped up on my newsfeed for the Annual Women's Travel Fest hosted by Go! Girl Guides. Of course, I clicked it....duh lol! The fest is a travel event just for women that consists of travel tips and support from well-cultured travel vets! Not only is it a place where I would meet like-minded women (cuckoo crazy about travel!) but it was held in one of my favorite cities, NEW ORLEANS!!! Ahhh!!! Yes, I'm screaming!

I'm not going to lie...I was not sure about going there. Knowing me, I made a very, very last minute decision at 10:00 at night to leave around 3:30 A.M. to be there on time for registration at 10......I know, I'm crazy and I'm proud.

I was so inspired by all of the speakers, vendors, and my new travel sister community. There was great tips on traveling solo as a woman, building a business in travel, getting the editor's attention in travel writing, how to make money from Instagram, and so..much..more. I was like a kid in a candy store, cliche but true. I've met great speakers like Deidre Mathis (the first African American to have a hostel in the U.S. and it will be in HOUSTON!), Kelly Lewis (founder of the fest), Shannon Kaiser (international motivational coach and bestselling author), and many more. I've even connected with other travelers from all over the world....London, New York, you name it. They were there representing!

Yes....I took freebies *cheesing* and bought a book from Ms. Deidre (make sure you check out her hostel, Wanderlust, if you are in the Houston area. It should be open around summer time!).

I felt the need to share this because this is starting to become more than just a blog to share my experiences and my emotions. This is the beginning of something great and powerful in my life to fulfill my purpose in this world.

Enlightening women and men that you can achieve your dreams, only if you apply yourself and help others along the way. You can do this!

Thanks for reading, loves 🙂                                                                                          Spread love and travel well.