The Best Way to Spend 24 Hours in LA

A month or so ago (for the first time in a while) I decided to leave Vegas and bring in the New Year somewhere else. The first place I thought of was my second home, San Diego, CA. Before I made my way to SD, I decided that I wanted to make a stop in none other than Los Angeles. I had wanted to hike the Hollywood Sign all year and I hadn’t been to LA as an adult for non-sorority related things…ever. I messaged two of my line sisters and told them I was coming and I already had an itinerary in mind. I flew into LAX Friday night, my LS Adriana picked me up (bless her heart), and we went back to her house in Ventura County where we rested until the next day. Our Saturday was going to be full of activities. Here is what I recommend to make the most of a day trip to LA: a hike (or other physical acitivity), brunch, a nap, and a night out in downtown LA.

The first thing on my list of things to do was to take a picture in front of AND hike The Hollywood Sign. Stretch before you start your hike so you don’t pull your groin like I did. Finding the picture I wanted actually took much longer than any of us anticipated, only because I had forgotten the instructions of a Youtube video I watched telling me how to get the perfect picture. Luckily we weren’t too far off and we were able to make it to the actual location. The pictures came out super cute!

After we took these pictures, we kept going on the hike. However, we made wrong turn and came to a dead end. It worked out those because this is where I got my favorite set of pictures from the hike. After convincing my LSs not to abandon the hike for brunch, we finally made it in the right direction of the hike. Make sure you stretch afterwards to prevent injury.

After the hike, we checked into our hotel and made our way to brunch. After I did my research for Bottomless Mimosas for 40 mins the night before, I decided to have the girls and I check out Eat This Cafe. Our wait was very short and we were in the restaurant within 10 mins of getting there. (Pro Tip: go on Yelp and utilize their “wait in line” feature.)

The cafe was much smaller than I imagined but I liked it that way. Sometimes it’s better to have a more intimate setting when you know you’re going to be boozin’ it up with bottomless mimosas and catching up on our lives for the last few months. After we were seated, we looked over the menu and I couldn’t decide what to eat. At brunch, I usually order eggs benedict (my favorite) but I also had a sweet tooth so I compromised. I ordered crab cake eggs benedict and a mini cinnamon roll (really much of a compromise haha) and BOTH were delicious. I also appreciated that our waitress kept refilling our glasses with mimosas. I would definitely come back to Eat This Cafe and try some of their other items! Brunch came to an end and we went to the liquor store to grab some stuff to pregame before we were to go out later that night.

After a much needed nap back at our room, we woke up, showered, and got ready. My best friend Alex drove from Vegas and met us there. She brought us food so that we wouldn’t drink on an empty stomach before going out. Once we were dressed to the nines, fed, and tipsy, we ordered our lyft and headed out. Our next destination was The Continental Club.

I loved The Continental Club! I’m not sure if there was a theme night or what but the DJ was playing late 90s, early 2000s (my favorite type of music at a bar or club). There was an event of some sort so it was really crowded but once I went to the bathroom and collected myself, I got used to it. The drinks were made really well and like I said, the music was great. I’d love to go back another day and see if I feel the same way. I may have drunk a little bit too much because the next morning I had one of the worst hangovers of my mid-20s. Thankfully Alex drove to LA and she just had me in the backseat of her car as we made our way sunny San Diego.

Overall, I enjoyed my day trip to LA. While I do prefer longer trips for the most part, I believe my day trip to LA was perfect. The only thing I wish I could have added was another brunch for the road but being sick the next morning made that impossible. I do want to go back for a longer period of time but I have other cities I’d like to see before I do that.

What’s your favorite city to take a day trip to and what do you like to do there? Leave a comment and let me know!

My Trip to Punta Cana (and a funny story)

So about a month ago I left for my Summer 2018 Vacation to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. I originally was only going to write about the 5 Things I Learned Traveling to the Dominican Republic but a few people have asked me to just write about my general trip. It’s been a little close to three weeks since I left Punta Cana but everyone who knows me knows I have not stopped thinking, talking, and dreaming about it since I got back so maybe once I write about it in detail I will get over this spell (doubt it but it’s worth a shot! Haha).

  • What airline did we fly?

We flew on Delta Airlines and this had been my first time flying Delta as an adult. I enjoyed how much stuff there was to do on the plan. There was a wide selection of movies (I watched Black Panther) and games on a monitor on the back of the seat. The roundtrip ticket came out to $800 once we added insurance for our luggage.

  • What resort did we stay at?

We stayed at Breathless Punta Cana. The story of how we chose our resort is funny. We both were doing our research looking for the best all-inclusive resort we could find. I came across Breathless and they only bad review I saw said it was too much of a party resort. Sounds like a good problem to me. I texted Lizeth and told her I liked Breathless and she said she was sold when she read the same review saying it was too much of a party resort. I knew we were going to have a good time! For 9 nights and 8 days we paid around $3,200 all together which came out to around $1,600 each which honestly for all you can eat and drink, a gym, and everything else the resort has to offer, it was worth it and more.

We arrived late at night on Wednesday July 18th. When we got in our arranged transportation he handed us a can of El Presidente (DR’s local beer) and we drank as we took in the fact that we were actually in the Dominican Republic. We finally got to the hotel and we could hear the party going already. We checked in, got our keys, hurried to our room, showered, got ready, and went to see what was happening. The first thing we did when we left the room was go to the lobby bar and order some drinks while there was some karaoke night type thing going on. I tried to order a Paloma (tequila and squirt) and learned quickly that that’s not a thing in the DR. I got tequila and sprite instead and it tasted like shit! Haha I literally almost spit it out. Maybe I would just have to stick to drinking tequila sunrises. Finally we made our way to the bar upstairs. The vibe was great. I loved the variety of music they played. From Top 40 hits, to old school rap, to Bachata and Reggaeton, I was definitely feeling the vibes. After a whole day of traveling and a night of dancing and drinking, we went back to our room to rest.

What did a typical day at the Resort look like:

Punta Cana Lizeth Mara

Up until Tuesday when we went to Saona, our days were pretty standard assuming neither of us had a hangover and needed to rest a bit. We always missed breakfast until a few days before we left because we could never find ourselves ready to go by 10am and they stopped letting people in the breakfast buffet at 10:45ish. Our first day we went to eat lunch, chilled at the beach for a little bit. I enjoyed reading on the beach, writing a little bit, standing in the water and checking in with myself, saying some affirmations, and meditating. Finally, we went to the freestyle pool which had music playing and the party we had been looking for. Within a few hours I knew this was where we would be spending most of our days at the resort. We quickly befriended the bartenders (always a good thing to do no matter where you find yourself) and they told us there would be a foam party later that night that they would be back for after the pool closed to be cleaned/set-up and they went to get food. We threw on our cover-ups over our swimsuits, ate at some fancy French restaurant (in retrospect this was a horrible idea because the portions were small and we had been drinking all day and planned to keep going), and freshened up a little bit, and headed back to the pool. The foam party was a blast! Unfortunately there was only one the whole time we were there because I loved it. We definitely didn’t make it out for the night time activities because we were both exhausted and drunk as hell.

What was the funniest thing that happened on our trip?

Tequila Shots.jpg

So Friday was very similar to Thursday but the only thing that differed the next day was that Lizeth had a paper to write on her study abroad trip and I resolved I was going to the gym at the resort while she finished writing her paper. The gym was actually a really nice fitness area. It had mostly everything I wanted (excluding a stairmaster) but honestly it was so humid in there I probably would have passed out if I even tried it (the only other day I worked out was the second to last day before we left). I got back to the room, showered, and waited as Lizeth finished up her paper and we left for the beach to repeat what we had done the day before. However this night ended differently because I got wayyy to fucking drunk because I thought the pool bar closed at 6pm and we didn’t make it out to the pool until 5pm. What was my solution for this? Taking 10 shots of tequila in an hour. No I’m not exaggerating. I counted them. The pool bar only closed at 6pm on nights they had pool parties, which they didn’t so it was actually open until 7pm. Long story short, we stayed until 7pm, only God knows how many more shots I took after that. I also had some shots called Scooby Doo (like the song, Scooby Do Pa Pa) and Pink Pussy. I couldn’t really tell you what is in either of them but they are both fruity and sweet. I’m pretty we also had some Mama Juana which is a local drink in the DR made with rum, red wine, honey, and bark. THAT is some dangerous stuff. Anyways, after all of this… it was a hot mess express. We went back to our hotel room and ate shit in front of our room door. The entire village (aka our floor) came out to help us up (after hearing the thuds of us falling down, I’m sure), and we couldn’t stop laughing. My drunk ass laid down on the shower floor and ended up flooding our room we knocked the power card out so there was no light in our room! I legit called it “Noah’s Arc.” The cleaning ladies noticed water coming out of our room and were talking to Lizeth in spanish trying to sweep the water out of the room with a broom! Finally Lizeth got them to leave and just threw all of our blankets on the floor to soak up the mess. We pissed somebody off because they didn’t give us blankets for the rest of our trip lmaooo. All of that

What Excursion(s) did we go on:

Saona Island

We didn’t leave the resort for an excursion until Tuesday when we decided to go to Saona Island. This was also the first day we made it to breakfast because they were picking us up at 7:25am and told us to eat beforehand because lunch was until 1pm. We picked up other people from their resorts and had an hour and half drive until we made it to where the boat was. I wish I had packed some snacks because a rushed breakfast, unlimited rum & coke on a boat, made me hungry and a little (a lot) drunk. I really didn’t think I was going to make it to the Island. For real for real, I thought I was going to be the drunk bitch throwing up in the Caribbean Sea, bringing dishonor to me and my family.  We first had snorkeling in the sea, then we went to the blue lagoon, and we finally made it to the Island. I loved Saona Island sooo much. The water was clear and beautiful (but salty, don’t open your eyes), the sands was so soft (I was playing in it for like 10 mins because drunk me couldn’t believe how soft it was!), and it was just incredible. In my 25 years of life it was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. The trip was quite a long one, we didn’t get back until 6:30pm that night but I’d do it again. I highly recommend going.

Overall Experience:

I really enjoyed my vacation in Punta Cana (if you couldn’t tell haha). I really feel like it is somewhere I can see myself going many more times in my life. I enjoyed staying at Breathless Resort very much and all of the staff there were amazing. Everyone was so kind to us and hospitable. I honestly wish I could move into the resort but unfortunately I’m still a broke-ish upcoming law student so that will have to wait. Maybe one day.

One thing I would change:

Saona Island (2)

I wish we had done more excursions. I’m definitely going to plan for that when I go back…probably sooner than later. I know I want to go to Hoyo Azul and a tour of Santo Domingo the next time I’m there. I also want to consider staying in an AIRBNB for a day or two just to see how it is to be off the resort, but we’ll see.

I would say if anybody is considering a vacation to somewhere beautiful with friendly locals and an overall great time, they have to go to Punta Cana and you should stay at Breathless because it is the best! However, even if you can’ t go to Punta Cana, taking a vacation for a few days is a good way to ground yourself and reconnect with yourself. In the moments I was on the beach or sober (shit, sometimes even drunk), I enjoyed checking it with myself, my emotions, and just being at peace.

Have you taken a trip somewhere recently that you fell in love with? It doesn’t have to be abroad. Let me know in the comments! I’m always looking for traveling suggestions.

5 Things I Learned From Traveling to the Dominican Republic (Punta Cana)

Hey everybody! I know it’s been a while since the last time I posted on here but life has been throwing me some twists and turns, that’s for sure. I feel like I’m at a place in life where as soon as I get used to a routine, something shifts and I have to adjust to a NEW routine. I’m a big routine person so this has made keeping my intended posting schedule a little difficult. However, now that I’ve explained myself…I will get to the point of why you sat down to read, my trip to the DR. Now just some background information, I haven’t traveled outside of the US (excluding a handful of drunken nights in Tijuana during my undergrad years) since I was 18 and I went on a Eurotrip. When we landed in Punta Cana it was probably 9:30pm and by the time we got our luggage and went through customs, it was 10:30ish. That being said, we couldn’t really see outside of the van that picked us up to go to our resort because it was late and dark. There were only a few times we left the resort so this will not be some blog post on the all the cultural richness the DR has to offer because I unfortunately did not get to see that (this time). With all of that out of the way, I will be sharing 5 things I learned from traveling to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.

1. How Important it is to Know More Than One Language

Don’t get me wrong, I definitely could have gotten along fine at the resort without speaking Spanish but watching how comfortable people got around my sorority sister Lizeth when she spoke to them in their language made me wish I had actually practiced SPEAKING the five-ish years I studied Spanish in high school and in college. I’m just all about communicating with people and I think I would have probably enjoyed my trip a little more if I was able to speak more than one or two sentences. I think this applies to anywhere I want to travel in the future as well. I want to be able to communicate with the locals and really at least have a little bit of conversation with them. I actually could pass for Afro-Latina (specifically Dominican) if I spoke Spanish. When I got to the DR and I spoke the little bit of Spanish I did know, many of the locals thought I was Dominican as well. One of the guys selling rum and mamajuana said I looked like his sister. Honestly I have never heard anything like this except one time when I went to New York and lost my ID and had to report it to the police station (don’t ask).

2. Dancing is an Universal Language

Regardless of what language you speak, we can all be connected through dancing. There are many things I’m not good at but dancing is not one of them. I’ve always loved to dance ever since I was a child and even took jazz, ballet, and hip-hop when I was wayyy younger. The thing I loved about the Dominican Republic is my knowledge on how to dance to various Latin and Caribbean genres really made me feel like I had something in common with people from a different country than me. When the music came on and the entertainment team (locals who performed in the dance shows at night, pool parties, and whatever else at the resort) saw Lizeth and me dancing, they gravitated towards us and even complimented us on our dancing. It was fun to just dance with them. Even if you don’t speak a language, learning dances from other cultures and countries is another great way to feel comfortable and share commonality with people no matter what country you find yourself in. Also, most other countries play American music in their spaces so just get down!

3. To Start a Random Vacation Fund

I didn’t decide I wanted to go to the DR until after I got into law school back in March. Then my grandmother passed away in April and I had to take 2 weeks off of work to be in Ohio, which made me miss out on a little over $1,000. While I obviously was still able to pull of my trip, my life would have been way less stressful if I had a “random vacation fund” to dip into for my trip. I’ve decided that I’m going to put away a certain amount of money every payday for the rest of my life strictly dedicated to traveling. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of this sooner. If you haven’t thought of it yet either, do it! Even if you only put aside $35 a paycheck (biweekly pay) that’s almost $1,000 dollars by the end of the year. I’m sure there is somewhere you could getaway to with that.

4. Leaving The Resort is a Major Key

While earlier I mentioned we didn’t really leave the resort too much, we did leave it once or twice and those were a lot more fun for me than the resort life. While I loved the all-inclusive resort and becoming friends with the bartenders, I’m someone who gets bored of too much of the same stuff. We were there for 8 days and our excursion to Isle Saona saved me from going crazy of being in the pool majority of our trip. If I could re-do one thing, I would have ventured off the resort maybe few other times. I had really wanted to go to Santo Domingo. My tip is to book two excursions BEFORE you get to Punta Cana that way you have to follow through with them. I recommend doing one in the beginning and one towards the end of your stay for the best experience. That’s what I’ll be doing next time.

5. How Much Privilege I Have as an American:

I try not to write too much about my politics on my blog just because I consider a space where I can just…write about my life without any other bullshit out of my control that may influence it. One thing I will say is that different groups of people have certain privileges in this country compared to others (for example: I have privileges as a cisgendered woman compared to a transwoman). Well in the DR, I was introduced to a different privilege that I have, the privilege of just being born in America. While as an African-American woman, shit ain’t always sweet, I have the privilege of pretty much going anywhere I want to in the world (to an extent). I remember I fell in love with Punta Cana and the people and my friend and I declared “we are going to move here for a year in a few years!” and the bartender looked at us like we were crazy. The thing is though, I could probably save up enough to be comfortable in the DR for a year way easier than I could save up to live comfortably in America (well anywhere I would want to live). That’s a privilege of sorts: me deciding that I can just move wherever I please for a year or so. Most people on countries like the DR wouldn’t even think of something like that in regards to moving to America. Also, the workers at the resort worked soooo hard sometimes having 12 hour days only to be paid what converts to $25 a day. Even factoring in different costs of living that’s wild to me. So yeah, I realized how privileged I am to have just been born here. That’s not to say there aren’t people who struggle here as well, but you get what I’m saying.

All in all, my trip to Punta Cana was amazing. I really have never felt like I belonged somewhere as much as I did there. I had this rule about not going to the same place out of the country twice until I go everywhere I want to go but I know the Dominican Republic has changed my mind. I can’t wait to go back! I will be posting a general post about my overall trip later this month so keep an eye out for that. If you can afford to, travel the world. It’s really the best way to see things from a different perspective.

Is there anywhere you want to travel to soon? Let me know in the comments.