Philly: Roots Picnic

I’m typing this sad and exhausted, but I wanted you guys to hear about my wonderful weekend before the details got blurry on me. At this point, many things are blurry…lol. So, this review is part Philly and part Roots Picnic. Both deserve a deeper dive, but I don’t have it in me. And, be sure to follow me on TikTok.

When I initially told friends that I was going to Philly for the Roots Picnic, I was met with much criticism. Many were concerned about my safety. Which is valid. And, yes, there was a massive shooting while I was there. I was not in the area, and I’m so glad I wasn’t. Based on our talks with the Uber drivers, many are emotionally damaged from the increase in violence. One even compared it to Chicago. And, FYI, if you use an Uber or Lyft while you’re traveling, please be nice to your drivers. Our first driver, Maria, was literally shaken by the time she picked us up due to her previous ride. She thanked us for listening to her vent, and said that our presence helped her make it through the night. We got you boo!

The one thing I always wanted to see in Philly was the guys who ride ATVs down the street like in the DMX video. Guess what! I saw them, but couldn’t get my phone out fast enough to record it.

Now, we stayed at Club Quarters hotel on Chestnut street. It’s the perfect location. Also, from the airport, you can catch a train that goes straight to the hotel. You’ll get off at the Suburban station. Make sure to keep your ticket, so you can get out of the train station. From the airport, the ticket was only like six bucks, versus the Uber is around $30. The only complaint I had about the hotel was the thin walls. You can hear everything someone says and do.

The Roots Picnic was created a few years about by the Roots crew and has crowds that range up to 60,000 people. The festival used to be a one day event, now it’s two days. I’m glad I was one in the number. The acts included Rick Ross, Keshia Cole, Jazmine Sullivan, Mary J. Blige, and Summer Walker. The second day’s lineup wasn’t as good as the first day. There was also a DJ stage and a Podcast stage. The DJ was lit. It literally felt like a club. The podcast Whoreable Decisions were there and they did not disappoint. Overall, they did a great job with organization. However, they needed to try harder with sound production. If you were at the back, you could barely hear the backup singers. Many of the performers were not on time, but we sang and danced all night anyway. I only saw like two guys in hoochie daddy shorts, so that was disappointing.

If you’ve seen the movie, “Urban Cowboys,” you’ll know how excited I was to see them waiting outside of the festival. It’s real, and I’m so proud of them. Most of the riders were between 12 and 15 years old. Even though we didn’t ride, we donated. They deserve it!

If you trust it, there were some guys grilling and selling plates outside of festival. It smelled really good, but I gotta be careful with what I eat.

If you decide to attend a music festival, there are a few things you should know:

  1. Wear comfortable shoes
  2. Sunscreen
  3. Wipes (bc sometimes they run out of tissue in the port o potties)
  4. Bug spray
  5. Umbrella (or the fake one for alcohol)
  6. Blanket (it’s a legit picnic)
  7. Ibuprofen/ stomach meds
  8. Hand sanitizer
  9. Lip gloss/ Chapstick
  10. Clear Bag
  11. Fanny pack
  12. Portable charger/chord

There are tons of things to do in Philly. I didn’t get to do them all, but I made you a list! You’re welcome.

  1. Cafe La Maude
  2. El Vez
  3. Harper’s Garden
  4. Green Egg
  5. Random Tea Room
  6. Harriet’s Bookstore (black owned)
  7. City Planter (plant store)
  8. Farmer’s Market at Rittenhouse Square

For more things to do, visit here.

Pardon me as I cry looking through these pics…

Like, comment, share….

South Beach

Itinerary

I’ve been to Miami several times, but this is my first time taking the kids. Therefore, I had to do a ton of research for kid friendly things to do. We went down for spring break. Many of my options were inspired by Mom Trotter. We didn’t get to do everything we wanted, so we’ll definitely have to come back. I hope you enjoy.

Day 1:

Flight: Spirit $200 roundtrip for all three of us 🥰

Rental Car: Thrifty at the airport

Hotel: Claremont (in the heart of Collins Ave. Walkable to everything)

Lunch- Le Chick

Wynwood Walls art tour

Dessert- Italian Trattoria

Day 2 :

Wilde on the Porch-breakfast

beach

pool

South Beach Botanical Garden (free)

Catalina- lunch

Day 3:

Duck tour: explore the city and the water. It drives on both!

Lobster Shack- lunch

Seaquarium

pool

Taco Taco- dinner

Other Ideas:

Museum of Illusions

Versace Mansion

World Famous House of Mac n Cheese

Gator Tour/ Everglades

The Children’s Museum

Fun Dimension

Aqueous Zoo

Miami Farmhouse

Where should we go next??

Dreamville Festival

Raleigh, NC

Synopsis: The second annual Dreamville Festival will once again provide a thoughtfully-curated, multi-stage music event from J. Cole, who himself was raised in nearby Fayetteville, North Carolina. The festival offers an opportunity for J. Cole to give back to his home state that has helped shape the artist he has become with a one-of-a-kind celebration of local culture, food and art that also features a curated selection of music performers blending together some of today’s biggest national acts with exciting up-and-comers. Check the festival out here.

The festival, takes place in Raleigh, NC, and was super organized. All of the acts actually showed up. Although, Moneybagg Yo only performed for about 7 minutes He was the biggest disappointed of the weekend. But, T-Pain, Ari Lennox, and J. Cole definitely made up for the lack. I found a new love for Bas and the Dreamville crew.

We bought the shuttle pass to avoid nightmare parking or walking. The shuttle picks you up at Moore Square and drops you off right at the entrance. The shuttles we’re school buses..lol. It felt like we were going on a field trip. Although the shuttle line initially looked crazy long, it isn’t. He had so many buses that we were out of there as soon as we walked up. Uber/Lyft isn’t super reliable after the festival, fyi.

Being that it is April, I was concerned about the weather. Surprisingly, it was nice. The day was warm, but it got very chilly at night. Thankfully, I brought a blanket. At the festival, there are a plethora of bars, food stands, and restrooms. They even have lockers, so you can lock your stuff up. Portable chargers are also available for a fee. So, you don’t worry about anything.

If you decide to come to the festival, make sure to check out the J. Cole murals in the area!

University Hills, Durham

Near Pit BBQ Raleigh

Raleigh- Durham Area

Which music festival should I check out next?

Afro Nation Puerto Rico

Afro Nation is a traveling Afro beats music festival that takes place annually. The festivals stops in Las Vegas, Portugal, and Puerto Rico. I obviously chose Puerto Rico because it’s so close and I liked the line up better. Perhaps one day, I’ll venture to Portugal. I just hate flights over 4 hours. Any tips for that??

Any who, the festival took place March 24- 26 and was supposed to include artists like Burna Boy, Shenseea, Wizkid, and Tems. Disappointed! The festival team does a great job of being organized on the front end, but dropped the ball the day of. We bought our tickets in the Fall and had been getting weekly emails about things we should do or bring. But, by the time we got there, 7 artists had already dropped out. Burna Boy was replaced with Rick Ross. I love him, but this was not the appropriate show. The festival was definitely giving Fyre Festival vibes. Now, I know the weather was not their fault, but it didn’t help. Because of the rain, we left early the first two nights.

Our saving grace in the rain

Once you get closer to the festival, you should download the Festicket app. The app will allow you to add money to your wristband and serves as your ticket into the festival. Everything at the festival is cashless. So, you can either load your money for drinks, food, and merchandise onto your wristband online, through the app, or at one of the loading stations in the park.

The last night of the festival was the best. The artists actually showed up and the performances were lit. And, the weather was perfect. Meg was my favorite!

I stayed at Nest Hotel. If you’re on a budget, have at it. As for me and my bougie taste, it’s a no. The location is kinda hood, and is way too far from the festival. The cleanliness was not there and the rooms are tiny. You can tell they tried with the main area decor, but it’s a no for me dawg. But this was my fault. I booked my hotel at the last minute, so the good places were sold out.

As you know, I love attending music festivals. This one definitely ranks lower than Essence, Soul Beach, and Memphis in May. I hope they learn from their mistakes and improve. In the future, I may try their Vegas one. Hopefully, Dreamville doesn’t disappointed next week.

Enjoy the gallery below 🙂

Carolina, PR

March 2022

Nest Hotel

Fitness for Life

My name is Shana and I have a problem.

Yes, it’s another fitness post…lol. I am totally into fitness, so I constantly find new programs and classes to keep me on my toes. I’ve written about a few programs in the past, but by far, this is the best one!

Now, I won’t tell all the details because I don’t want any legal issues. But, what I will say is, this program incorporates nutrition, exercise, and inspiration. I say nutrition instead of diet because there’s so much thought that goes into their meal plans. 

The program is $40 a week, for 8 weeks (as of March 2022). You have to wait for the new round to open before joining. I joined during the round that started January 3rd. After the 8 weeks are up, you can stay in the program for FREE for LIFE! That’s an amazing deal!

Once you join on the website, you’ll be directed to join their Facebook group. When I tell you this is the most positive, inspirational group I’ve ever been in. I’m not kidding. The founder, Jeff, and his team does lives on FB and spills the tea on how to live your best life. He also only encourages positive behavior in the group, which is why it’s so awesome.

If you’re vegan or vegetarian, or if you have health issues like diabetes, he also has micro groups where you can do the plan with assistance. He and the coaches are always on standby to help you with any questions you have. 

As for me and my fitness, I’ll be sticking to this program. I’m down 15 pounds this round and I plan to do future rounds. Any who, here are my results:

Dominican Republic: Welcome Family

Cartagena, Colombia
Miami, Florida
Charlotte, NC

Come with me, and you’ll see a beautiful world of imagination…on a budget! (In my Willy Wonka voice)

As most of you know, I travel every year for my birthday. I’ve been to ATL, Colombia, Miami, etc. This year, I chose Dominican Republic. We stayed in Punta Cana. 

My best friend that I use to book my trips is Expedia. I understand some ppl don’t love them as much as I do, but we’ve been partners a long time. Booking with them, my flight and hotel fell under $1200 for this trip!

I booked this trip probably 3 months in advanced. My cuzzo joined me on the trip. I found my airport transfer on FB, of all places. Great company, great price. If you come here, go with Punta Cana Transportation. Please book your transportation before coming. The taxi drivers at the airport are aggy AF. Plus, you’ll get a better deal.

Spending my days..

We stayed at Ocean Sand and Beach Resort, an all inclusive. A gem! Somehow, I managed to book the ‘Privilege’ suite, by accident. By booking this package, you’ll get a two story suite. There were two fluffy robes waiting as I entered the room. It has a large king bed with a beautiful walk-in shower. The room overlooks the ocean and the pool. You have an upstairs that has a lounge area, jacuzzi, large balcony and outdoor shower. Next door, you have access to a specific restaurant that only privileged members can eat at. You also have access to a personal butler, full snack bar with alcohol(free), and free cabana on the beach. You’ll get 10% off at the spa too. Don’t bother booking excursions early. Your butler will help you book on site. Different options include horseback riding, ATV tours, a party on the catamaran, and a diving package. We chose the party catamaran!

My first day, I decided to do a flying dress photoshoot. OMG! That’s harder than it looks. The wind down here is insane and that dress almost flew me like a kite. The photographer had a partner to help me stay situated on the beach with this humongous, red, gorgeous dress.You know red is my favorite color. The shoot took nearly 2 hours; home girl was very professional and I highly recommend them. Visit them here. I’ll post the pics on my IG when they are back from editing. Make sure to follow me below.

The next day, we took an excursion on a catamaran to La Isla Saona through IRB Turismo. The island is gorgeous. However, it’s not as nice as the private island in Belize (Mahogany Bay Resort). The transitions to get there wore me out, but it was worth it. So, the bus picks you up at your hotel and then picks up others at their hotels too. Then, they go to another meeting point to pick up more guests, plus your photographer and tour guide. From there, you take a 30 to 45 minute drive to the boat docks. There are millions of buses and tours going on, so please pay attention to who your tour guide is. Ours was Papa Jose’ and he was dope! 

We got on our party boat (catamaran) and cruised to the island. The ride took an hour or so. On the boat, you can sit or lounge anywhere. It’s early enough where the sun won’t burn your skin if you lay out. They have drinks and dancing the entire time. Surprisingly, the captains of all the boats were very young, like early 20s. The photographer randomly captures photos on the ride, on the beach, and on the way back. You get all of your pics for a very reasonable price. And the pictures are absolutely beautiful. On the island, they have a lunch buffet and unlimited rum and coke. They also have soda and water if you’d like. At the moment, I didn’t want water…lol. In my usual life, I drink a gallon of water per day. Honestly, I’d pack snacks too if you’re as greedy as me. The food wasn’t enough for me. You can lounge on the beach or play in the water. There’s nothing else to do. In Belize, they had paddle boards and over-water cabanas you could rent. Lastly, the bathrooms are glorified port-o-johns. So, don’t set the expectations too high.

On my last day, I had just enough time to get my massage in. Check-out is at noon, so I took advantage of it. Make sure you book early enough because they operate on island time. My appointment was for 9, and I wasn’t seen until 9:30. Then, I had to get my vid test. Results come back in an hour to your email address. You’ll need it to get back to the US.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my quick getaway. One thing about me, I hate long vacations. I try to take a small vacation every month. I can’t stay away from my house for more than 4 to 5 days. I’m weird, I know. Maybe one day I can work my way up to a week or so. One thing that shocked me was the number of European guests that were there. There were so many languages being spoken all around me. I’d definitely rate DR a 4 out of 5. Of all the Caribbean places I’ve visited, Aruba, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico are my favorite. DR and Belize would be second in rank. This summer, I plan to put together a trip to El Salvador and Costa Rica. Let me know if you want to go!

What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas

Las Vegas

When I was young, I assumed Vegas was only for old men who liked to gamble. Boy, was I wrong. So far, I’ve been twice and both times I had a blast. And I still haven’t done everything that I want to do yet. Flights aren’t crazy expensive, so I’ll be back.

My first trip to Vegas was in the Fall of 2020. Things were still a bit weird because of the pandemic. I went with my cousin and a friend. One thing I learned on that trip was, you will definitely need a rental car while you’re there.

We visited the Grand Canyon! Depending on which side you visit, it takes between 2 to 4 hours to get to. The time zones will mess you up because Arizona does not participate in daylight savings time. While at the Grand Canyon, we took a helicopter tour. Seeing the Grand Canyon from the top was simply amazing!

Make sure to check out Old Vegas. In this area, there are mostly older hotels and casinos. There’s this overhead screen that covers the street, nearly the length of a football field. It shows videos and ads. There’s also a zipline that runs the stretch of the street. For a small fee, you can see everyone from above. I refused to get up there, obviously. On the ground, there are black circles. People can rent a circle to perform or vend. Most times, I see people either singing or dancing. Make sure to tip them.

As far as restaurants, you can’t go wrong. There are several restaurants at each hotel. You have Hell’s Kitchen, Tao, Nobu, or if you want something a little more chill you can go to the Grand Lux Cafe’. Most hotels also have spas and pools. There are bars with all sorts of unique drinks. And, finally, most hotels have a casino at the bottom. I did not have good luck at the casino. I only lost $40, but still. If you want, you don’t really even have to leave your hotel. Unless you want to experience other things.

On my second visit, it was more of a romantic trip. My homegirl got married. Yay!!! So, of course I brought bae. My version of romance may be a bit different than others. We are an outdoors family. So, we decided to go ATV riding. OMG!! We had a blast! If you go, I highly recommend Sun Buggy. It’s a little pricey, but you ride for an hour. It’s worth it. We drove to the location, but if you do not have a car, a shuttle will pick you up from your hotel. They also have dune buggies, if you’re into that. 

After our ride, we drove nearly 30 minutes outside of the city to visit Seven Magic Mountains. It’s the arrangement of colorful rocks in the middle of nowhere. It was absolutely beautiful. The sun was sitting high in the sky and the warmth was just right. It was a perfect 73 degrees in the middle of February. 

There are a ton of other things I still want to do in the future. Hopefully, I’ll come back in a few months to knock a few more things off of my list:

Hoover Dam

Neon Museum

Bellagio Fountains

Mob Museum

Hoover Dam

Red Rock Canyon

Cirque Du Soleil

Venetian Canals

Eiffel Tower Experience

What’s your favorite thing to do in Vegas?

Money Moves

Charlotte Divas Meetup

I don’t claim to be a fitness guru, by any means. However, I love sampling different fitness programs in Charlotte. I’m not sure if you’re aware, but I’ve named myself the ‘Queen of Charlotte’. And, with great titles come great responsibilities. My biggest responsibility in my blog life is to show you all the happenings in Charlotte. Because, once again, I absolutely love my city.

“I don’t dance now, I make money moves.”

Cardi B

A few years ago, I heard of a class called pole fitness. I looked at all the pictures and the pricing. I really wanted to go, but I didn’t want to go by myself. My friends were kind of sheepish. So, fast forward to a few weeks ago. I posted in one of my meetup groups that I wanted to try out the pole fitness class. Many of the ladies wanted to go also. Our group leader organized the session. I’m so glad she did because I’m pretty terrible at logistics outside of school (I’m an education professional- great at lessons, terrible in real life planning). So, we went!

Check out my Instagram

We booked our session with Pole Fit Carolinas off of Gilead in Huntersville. Pole Fit Carolinas has been in business for over 10 years. Most of the teachers are regular folks, like you and me. It was amazing. Our instructor is an actual professional, not a stripper. And, she competes in pole competitions. Yes, that’s a thing. I didn’t realize that was a thing. There were three parts to this 2 hour session: pole, chair, and floor exercises. The floor was the easiest.

We learned how to walk sexily around the pole. How to spin…whew chile. One spin was called the ‘Fireman’ and the other, ‘Mermaid’. You must use your arms to hold you up. And, we learned how to pirouette on the pole. On the floor, the funniest move was the dirty snowman. As hard as I try, I cannot be sexy, y’all. I’m like a 12 year old boy in a weird movie. 

At the end, she performed one of her competition dances for us. We all sat in amazement. She did such a great job spinning and climbing. In order to do what she did, you have to have crazy upper body strength. 

The next morning, I felt sore. My back and arms were so tight. Ankles hurting. I said all this to say, this is a great workout program. You should definitely check it out. Drop in classes or memberships are available. For more details, check out their site!

BLOCKED

As an administrator, I often tell the kids to block whomever is bothering them on social media or on their cell phone. The funny thing is, in real life, I have a hard time blocking people. I am often told that I’m too nice. It’s true. I try to listen to everyone’s perspective and give way too many chances. Until this weekend. 

I received a text from an old high school friend. The text exchange was pretty cordial up to a point. Then, it went sideways. I told the individual that I didn’t want to continue the conversation anymore. He insisted, so I had to block him. It hurt at first because I’ve known this person for a long time. However, the thing that made me block him was me.

The one thing that I noted, which caused me to block this peer, was my personal temperature. A few days prior, someone shared a post that resonated with me. The post said, “Someone asked me if I was tired of this cold world. My response is that I’m controlling the temperature around me. End of story.” And I thought about something. If a friend only pops in your life once every blue moon and causes you to get this upset, is it worth them having access to you? 

I decided that moving forward, if someone disrupts my peace, I am letting them go. I refuse to let stress from unnecessary people get to me. Instead, I choose to use my energy on people who love me. People who will always be there to support me in all of my endeavors. People who ask me how my day is and check to see if I made it home safely. People who want to travel with me.

We only have one life. I am living it to the fullest. In the words of Lil’ Duval, “I’m living my best life. I ain’t going back and forth with you.”

What have you blocked from your life?