Travel | Islandlife in Sweet Tobago

Culture, Food, Lifestyle, Travel

A trip to Trinidad isn’t complete without paying a visit to its sister isle Tobago. I was fortunate enough to enjoy a scenic stay in Pembroke in the countryside. Although it was about 20 minutes drive away from Crown Point, the hub of Tobago’s nightlife I really got the opportunity to appreciate the islands greenery and sea views. The drive between Crown Point and Pembroke runs along the island’s coastline which conveniently allowed me to capture some amazing landscape memories of this trip.

Screen Shot 2018-04-13 at 1.46.07 AM25936126

DSC_0740

It may seem like I didn’t do much, however my two-day stay in Pembroke was still quite satisfying and enjoyable, not only because I enjoyed taking beautiful landscape photos, but I also appreciated immersing myself into Tobago’s country life giving me a rare opportunity to unplug and detach myself from my hectic life.

I have to say though, the best part of my island getaway was my trip to the calm and relaxing waters at Store Bay in Crown Point.

20180409_110322

20180409_103551

20180409_104625The convenient and probably the best thing about Store Bay is that it is just a stone throw away from Crown Point’s nightlife. The ANR Airport, the bars, lounges, nightclubs and multiple resorts are all within a few minutes of each other surrounding Store Bay. In Crown Point you can surely have it all, there’s the serenity of Store Bay complimented by the pizzaz of the nightlife.

DSC_0752One thing you’d find most interesting about Tobago is that the locals are so warm and welcoming. Dawn Cape, owner of Sips WIne & Cocktail Bar was the perfect host and so willing to pose for all my photos that I just had to feature him in this blog. 

sips barLast but certainly not least, another highlight from my visit to Tobago was the food. Long before I had even arrived in Trinidad, I had been fantasizing about eating Tobago’s infamous crab and dumpling. crab dumpling1.jpgCooking is a social tradition that the family I stayed with enjoys doing outdoors in their backyard. The Sunday norm is to invite friends over and together they’ll cook up a storm over drinks, laughter and good conversation. 

All in all I genuinely enjoyed living the country girl, island life for a couple days. It was stimulating and refreshing, I would definitely recommend taking a visit to Trinidad and Tobago. Hopefully, I’d be able to enjoy another Caribbean getaway this summer, so look forward to more travel and adventure blogs from me here on hellomirabelle.com 

 

Travel | Hello Trinidad & Tobago

Food, Lifestyle, Travel
It Feels Good to be Home

Although I left Trinidad for New York to pursue a college education and career opportunities, I can’t help but stress the idea that there’s no place like home. Ugh, I hate clichés but it’s so true. There’s nothing like the feeling of nostalgia when you’re back home hearing the rustling of the leaves or the crowing of the rooster in the morning. It might seem so corny but I enjoyed listening to the chirps of the crickets that I used to find so annoying when I was younger. DSC_0631I don’t really have to go too far but a few steps into my yard to enjoy some chill vibes. I never gave it much thought about how much I missed my home until I kicked my feet up and soaked up some good Santa Cruz evening sun.

It’s been about five years since I’ve been in Trinidad and it feels good to be home. It may seem like a short time, but so many things have changed since I’ve been here. Nonetheless, the one thing that has remained the same, is the relaxing and captivating floral and fauna around our yard.DSC_0639

DSC_0647Coming on this trip I was definitely looking forward to the mangoes, the oranges, the papaya but most of all I just couldn’t wait to get my hands on a coconut! A real coconut! Picked fresh from a tree in our backyard. Coconut tree

DSC_0533I probably had about three coconuts. The coconut water was so sweet, nothing like that force ripe artificial flavor in the coconut water from the grocery store. And the jelly, not too soft, not too hard, it was the perfect consistency!

DSC_0539

While my dreams, ambitions and potential may be greater now than I had ever imagined, I will always cherish and appreciate my small town Trinidadian roots. Once an island girl, always an island girl! 

I will do my best to take as much pictures as I can on this trip so stay tuned for more about my visit to beautiful Trinidad and Tobago.

In case you were wondering where in the world is Trinidad and Tobago, here’s a little perspective for ya. 

map-of-trinidad-and-tobago-7a

Lifestyle | Spring Break Haul

Culture, Food, Lifestyle, Travel

Nature has been giving us a few sneak previews of the crisp air and warm sun that comes with Spring for the past couple weeks here in New York, but as we all know, you could never get too excited with this bipolar transition weather. But, it’s finally March 20th, Spring is here and I’m ready for it! My favorite season of the year. 

With every new season comes new fashion statements, makeup trends and new friends so I just had to do a collab with one of the most fashionable lifestyle bloggers I follow, the gorgeous Diva Named Dom. The self proclaimed cosmopolitan diva creates fashion, food, culture and lifestyle content that captivates her essence and desire to be the best version of herself.

Collab Feature | Domenique

Domenique’s blog and instagram feed has successfully maintained an attractive aesthetic to amass loyal readers who are always genuinely inspired by her content and originality. When she isn’t blogging, this Miami beauty enjoys relaxing at home spending quality time with her mother’s foster children and five Dachshunds. This spring, Domenique’s followers can definitely look forward to more amazing blogs and fascinating photography as she plans to shed her winter clothes and enjoy the fabulous Miami weather. Check out her latest post Spring Has Sprung.

What Have I Been Up To Lately?

2018 started off a bit rough for me but I’m finally getting my life under control. While trying to be a little more consistent with my blogging, I’ve also been tutoring part-time while still wrestling a crazy schedule this semester as I prepare to graduate in May, hopefully. Unfortunately, I’m about six credits shy of the required minimum necessary for graduation. However, through several appeals and permission from the English Department and the Registrar at Queens College, I have been permitted to attend commencement in May. Hooray for me! The pit of the prune is, I’ll have to return in the summer to do two classes to make up for my unfinished credits. Not too bad, right? I’ll knock those off by June.  

Spring-Break-Family-Beach

That drama aside, spring blossoms also means Spring Break! Turn up or Nah? Throughout the past four years of school, I have never looked forward to Spring Break this much because I usually never go anywhere. This year though, I am destination ready headed for sand, sea and lots and lots of tropical sun. Although I didn’t go too crazy shopping for this spring break trip, I definitely picked up a few blog worthy affordable finds that I am excited to share with you. 

Mini Spring Break Haul

I absolutely fell in love with these cute flats the moment I found them. They seem so retro yet modern at the same time, a bit nostalgic, because I almost remember having a similar pair in brown as a kid. I also picked up these fab African inspired accessories that just brings out the Wakanda in me! And of course, you can’t go wrong with a good ole pair of trendy thrift store sunglasses.

dsc_0484.jpg

Getting a straw bag for a trip in the spring is an absolute must have. I was especially attracted to this reddish brown color not only because it matches these cute flat sandals and compliments my skin tone, but I also feel like the regular light tan straw bags are so ordinary. I’m a sucker for a good glow and some lashes so I just had to snatch up these Kiss ‘so wispy’ lashes and this Elf ‘sunglow’ illuminator. 

DSC_0505.JPG

I try my best to be a minimalist whenever I travel but I just gotta have a different shoe for every different outfit! So, the minimalist way to try to achieve this is to get the staple colors; white, brown and black. I can’t wait to get my toes freshly done to wear these gorg sandals. I also had to try these layered lashes from Kiss that I got on sale at a beauty supply store in Brooklyn, it was only $1! Can’t beat that bargain. I always get compliments on this floral embroidered crossbody bag so why not include it in the fun right? And it was only $13 on Amazon! Bargaaaaaaain!

DSC_0502.JPG

Shockingly I’ve become quite a sneakerhead lately. These suede mauve Reebok Classics are giving me so much life! I’m so looking forward to sporting them with my matching  headwrap this spring! My favorite sneaker brands at the moment are Reebok, Vans and Puma, mainly because they have so much unique colors in simple classic styles. 

DSC_0485.JPG

Last but not least, I just had to cop these crocodile hunter looking Under Armor sneakers for all the animal farm, camping, hiking and long walking trips that I plan to take this season. However, it’s just a shame that this picture isn’t doing this headwrap justice! I’m so looking forward to wrap my hair up in all its glittery and sparkly glory.

DSC_0494.JPG

I hope you guys enjoyed my quick mini spring break haul. Stay tuned for my travel updates within the next couple weeks, I promise you it will be amazing! Happy Spring! 

 

Travel | When Your AirBnB Sucks!

Lifestyle, Travel, Uncategorized

Small

Traveling to the Dominican Republic had been long over due. On the agenda since 2015, on November 18 I was finally making my way to Santo Domingo. Just a disclaimer though, the above picture is just for visual appeal, because my real air bnb sucked! 

I admit, I absolutely love the idea of the AirBnb app, its innovative, easy to use and offers travelers the opportunity to immerse themselves directly into the local lifestyle and culture. Nothing against the big chain hotels and resorts, but when I travel, I want a genuine experience and not all the over priced bells and whistles that mask your destination’s reality and beautiful grittiness.

While preparing to arrange a reservation to Santo Domingo for 9 nights and 10 days, I probably spent three weeks filtering through rooms looking for decent, clean accommodation at affordable rates. Keeping in mind that I was traveling out of the country for my surgical appointment with one of the best breast reduction surgeons in the region, Dr. Mallol, I had to adhere to my planned budget for accommodation which was around $22 – $30 bucks a night. I eventually, decided to book a quaint little one-bedroom apartment for my mom and I to share which cost us $220USD for our entire stay in Santo Domingo. Judging by the pictures, it wasn’t anything fancy, just decent and comfortable enough for my stay. Once I have a clean comfortable bed, air condition and wifi, I’ll be satisfied. 

Prior to leaving New York, our host and I exchanged conversations about her apartment, and the purpose of my visit. Having been informed about the reason for my trip to Santo Domingo she became concerned about my dirtying her sheets and towels. Apparently, according to her, she had had a bad experience with a guest who stayed in the apartment who also had surgery. Understanding her concerns I promised in advance to be very careful not to damage any of her property. 

After my tediously draining 4-hour flight, I was finally on my way to my Airbnb, I had never been so excited to just crash into bed and sleep. Our host was very polite and she spoke English really well too. Opening the door to the apartment she began mentioning–as if she had only just remembered, “Oh, we are in a electricity controlled district. The power shuts off every day for a couple hours.” I wasn’t too bothered, although it didn’t concern me until it actually happened. 

                      temperature

The next morning at about 10am the power shut off, and with that we had no air condition, no wifi, no sanity! The room became so humid and clustered that my mom sat out on the porch until the power came back on. My second day in the country and I’m getting the true experience of life in the Dominican Republic. I just wished she had mentioned this in her AirBnB ad. It’s ironic how one problem brought light to all the things that was wrong in the apartment. 

towel

Apart from the daily power loss, our host also chose not to provide sheets or towels. How in the world can you host a guest at your home and not give them sheets or towels? We also didn’t have hot water in the shower, and this wasn’t due to the power loss, the hot water didn’t work period! I know I said that I liked experiencing my trips in all it’s authenticity, but this was a little to real for me! At least she was courteous enough to have the maintenance come to try to fix the water heater. 

crocAnd I say ‘try’ because yet still on the fourth day of our stay we still didn’t have hot water. Imagine being hot and sticky with no air condition while also being to scared to take a shower in the icy cold water. We ended up having to boil pans of water to bathe which my mother hated greatly. 

When the going gets tough the tough gets going! On the fifth day yet another problem came up, the wifi stopped working. Our trip was beginning to suck, suck really bad! I was extremely disappointed. I didn’t want to jump to conclusions but I was beginning to like our host lesser and lesser with each passing day.

Not sure if this was just a way for her to make a quick buck, but the business of hospitality management isn’t for everyone. Taking on the responsibility of being a host to foreign visitors should be taken seriously, after all I did pay cold, hard cash. Had I just been staying there for free I wouldn’t complain. Shouldn’t there be certain standards that these hosts adhere to? I totally understand being in an electricity controlled district, it’s really not her fault, however hosts need to be held accountable for their integrity and honesty on their AirBnB ads. She could have inserted a disclaimer explaining the  true conditions of her apartment. I get it, it would probably affect potential guests interests, but you can’t advertise bread and cheese sandwiches and only serve bread! 

It all became a little too overwhelming, I had to check out of her sham of a lodging earlier than planned if I wanted to maintain my sanity. I contacted AirBnB for a refund for the balance of my reservation. I did appreciate though that our host wasn’t resistant and aggressive about our decision to leave. 

dreams-la-romana-resort-and-spa-23152457-1505313478-ImageGalleryLightboxLargeI definitely still stand by what I say, I always hope to have an authentic experience when I travel but I also like to know in advance what I’m getting myself into. So I guess when your AirBnb sucks you may find yourself having to upgrade to the fancy shmancy perks that I claim to not prefer, yet I will admit that perks aren’t so bad after all. Room service, breakfast buffet, housekeeping with clean fresh sheets and towels–I think I could get used to luxury traveling. Although, the last minute change of plans did put a major dent in my budget. Four nights and five days at the W&P Hotel cost us about $490USD, but when you consider all the carefree benefits, its a cost that’s worth affording. Bare in mind, I did say worth ‘affording’, because why stretch your budget if you’re going to go back home broke? 

Hotelpreise_2_0

Who knows, maybe on my next adventure I will spring for the bells and whistles in advance. I really love traveling and I hope it’s something I could incorporate into my life at least once a year. Next destination on my bucket list is Costa Rica!