All I Want to Do is Eat and Travel – Don’t You?

All I Want to Do is Eat and Travel – Don’t You?

 Paris France on Rue Desiree “My Street

When I started writing, I was a Social Worker living in Charlotte, NC using every bit of PTO I could to travel. A late travel bloomer, I didn’t grow up traveling around the world with my parents or even going on yearly vacations that required airplane travel. We didn’t eat out much and my cultural exposure was limited to school trips. My exploration occurred when watching the world on television, catching the city bus in Baltimore, MD from one neighborhood to the other, and reading about far away places in the encyclopedia.

I knew the world was out there but it seemed far away. I couldn’t touch it, see it, or get to it- so I believed. The world has become much smaller these days. I am living in Long Beach, California experiencing life through the lens of those I am privileged to meet and break bread with.

I have 2 goals.

One is to share stories. The other is to make a difference in lives and communities through cultural immersion. I hope to inspire you to get out of your comfort zone. Anyone can go anywhere and I want to prove to you just that.

If you are up for it and curious about where this road leads … follow me and let’s go together!

Falling In Love With Long Beach: One Mural at a Time

Falling In Love With Long Beach: One Mural at a Time

Falling In Love With Long Beach: One Mural At A Time

September 2, 2019 marked 50 days from my 50th birthday. To celebrate the milestone, I created 50 random things for myself to do and placed them in a mason jar to pull each day until my actual birthday. Turning 50 feels like it warrants fanfare so for three weeks before I started writing what came to mind -pay it forward, tweet favorite celebrities wishing them a good day, plan next solo retreat, etc.

This past Saturday, I shook up the jar and drew out three notes instead of one. (I’ve been traveling and missed picking out of the jar) The first note read to unplug for 8 hours. The second was sending me off to go on a self-guided mural tour, and the third told me to visit a museum.

This in my eyes was a Trifecta! Not merely was I allowing myself a day off (I’m a blogger social media is my office) but I was giving myself permission to experience the world via the backyard.

My relationship with Long Beach is new arriving from the East Coast. I’ve lived here fewer than 6 months and I’m still becoming acquainted.  The art is an aspect of the city’s personality that provokes me to reflect outside my regular habit to rush by what I may see. It draws me into the community making me introspective and obliging me to be present. Isn’t that what art aims to accomplish?

I pass at least three of the murals daily in my neighborhood. My favorite is on 7th Street painted by Detroit artist Sydney James (mural featuring the black woman). I didn’t get to them all during this one trip so seeing them will be ongoing until complete.

My museum journey took me to the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA). The museums art was rich and thought provoking. I spent quality time there. I deliberated about the themes and I practiced Spanish as I read the placards that outlined the work. 

 This self-prescribed adventure reminded me you can find destination love right in your backyard. You need not leave behind your area code to encounter something different. Adventure awaits those who pursue it-no matter where you are.

National Coffee Day: Celebrating Connection

National Coffee Day: Celebrating Connection

Today is National Coffee Day (September 29th).

Coffee lovers dedicated time to recognize their most important drink of the day. I will admit that I do not identify as a coffee lover. I’d categorize myself as more of a coffee liker. I like coffee in a can take it or leave it sort of way.  I rarely require a mug to crank my brain cells or have a reasonable personality before 7am. What I appreciate about coffee has nothing to do with the bean itself but the connection that ensues when I spend time in a coffee shop.  Coffee brings people together bound by the common experience.

My city is not without interesting places to have a proper cup of espresso. In fact, you can spot one or more on just about every intersection of the city.  However, I end up in two places-The Merchant in Bixby Knolls or Philz Coffee on 2nd Street in the Belmont Shore district.  I cherish them equally using my schedule to determine where I go.

Let’s say you wish to have a coffee date with me. If I get to pick the place, we are going to the Merchant. I love the vibe of the Merchant!  The homey character, cozy nooks of round tables and the upholstered bench seating feels like a meaningful conversation is the precise activity that should take place there.  A friend suggested meeting there once and I’ve been going ever since. Make no mistake, the coffee is of immense quality and the pastry selection is impressive.  I order the iced Vanilla Honey Oat latte accompanied by the cinnamon roll.  The cinnamon roll is colossal, moist, and when warmed is heavenly with a glaze on top.

When I prefer to hunker down write and create I head to Philz.  Not that you can’t work in the Merchant but the bright décor, size, and access to all your technology needs makes Philz an optimal workspace. Seeing others submerged in their computers typing away on what I imagine is the next major novel or manuscript is the synergy I like when working.  Also, I love Philz menu! It lists roasts by darker, medium, and lighter blends and likewise identifies the tasting notes. It makes it simple for me to deduce what to ask for and as a coffee liker educates me on the finer points of the liquid energy.  My pick is the iced Mint Mojito with fresh mint leaves and the Mediterranean Avocado and Egg Toast. Drinking Mojitos in the morning is vacation behavior I prefer to repeat as often as possible.

No matter where I’ve traveled in the world, I have always been able to turn up a cup of coffee with a tribe of characters. The ebb and flow of consuming coffee was the common practice that tied me to the culture.  Coffee is an extensive love language.  As you celebrate National Coffee Day, I hope you score a free cup of brew and the tribe to go with it!

French’s Mustard Ice Cream

French’s Mustard Ice Cream

SOME THINGS SHOULD NEVER GO TOGETHER.

This was shockingly not the case with ice cream and mustard. 

As I said, some food combinations should never leave the brainstorming session, however French’s Mustard Ice Cream isn’t one of them. Coolhaus Ice Cream and McCormick, makers of French’s Yellow Classic Mustard, collaborated to bring us a one-of-a-kind flavor to honor National Mustard Day – and it tastes much better than it sounds.

Coolhaus (pronounced Cool-House) unveiled the unorthodox creation to the Los Angeles, CA area August 2nd at its Scoop Shop in Culver City, CA. I made my way there from Long Beach, CA to try before I was sure I was going to give it a thumbs down. So, what was the verdict?

I liked it. A LOT.

However, I am the woman who goes for the Caramel Old Bay ice cream (caramel ice cream with Old Bay seasoning) you get at The Charmery in Baltimore, MD so my taste buds may not be normal.

(Don’t judge me.)