Love, Food, Travel

Tag: women of color

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!!

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