Wanderlust Strikes Again: St Augustine Edition

St. Augustine is such a precious Florida gem and holds a great deal of history for Florida as a state. It’s also a very fun, beautiful and walkable place to do a short day trip and staycation and there is a little fun for everyone in St. Augustine. I am a huge wanderlust so I love going to places near and far, discovered and unchartered to awaken my senses, check out new sights, or make new memories at old ones. This particular trip is no different. I visited the St. Augustine African American History tour for the 2nd time (even better than the first, even though the first was pretty awesome) checked out the Lightner Museum, and got a great shot of Casa Monica, one of the first luxury hotels in the St. Augustine area. Check out some of the highlights of my trip below!

St Augustine
Inside the Lightner Museum entryway
St Augustine
Gorgeous fountain and bridge inside The Lightner museum and someone was preparing for a wedding this day
St Augustine
Me inside the Lightner Museum. I love the arches and the architecture! SO PRETTY! It was also a rainy day that day!
St Augustine
Back view of the Lightner Museum
St Augustine
These chandeliers really caught my eye!
St Augustine
As you can see the wedding prep had already begun! So exciting!
St Augustine
Side view of The Historic Casa Monica
St Augustine
Casa Monica
St Augustine
This is a sit in counter that many civil rights pioneers participated in sit ins that took place in St. Augustine. One of many stops on the African American Heritage Tour
St Augustine
St Augustine Foot Soldiers plaque dedicated to the important work of The Civil Rights Movement that took place in St. Augustine. The next time you find yourself in St. Augustine check it out!
St Augustine
Dr. Martin Luther King was arrested here in connection with some events associated with the fight for civil rights in St. Augustine
St Augustine
Steps that Dr. Martin Luther King was pushed down. Look up Monson Motel and this will give you a little more insight on the significance of this landmark. Definitely check out the African American Heritage tour and ask for Mrs. B! She’s amazing!
St Augustine
Another stop on the African American Heritage Tour! Andrew Young Crossing! Andrew Young is also another pioneer not only for the fight for equal rights in Atlanta but also in St Augustine. Check out the walking tour for more great info into some vital historic pieces of St. Augustine history.

What are some of your favorite places/sights/foods/ restaurants in St. Augustine? Have you been to St. Augustine? What parts do you appreciate or treasure the most? Leave me questions or comments below? I’d love to hear from you! And thanks so much for joining me on this journey!

Foodie Files Jax Edition: Restaurant Orsay

I pretty much love food and having a sensory foodie experience. I will literally go to any restaurant, food truck, cafe,  establishment that sells food or drink, you name it in the name of trying out something new to titillate my tastebuds. This time around I had the great pleasure of visiting Restaurant Orsay located in the Avondale area which is also one of my favorite culture and eating spots in general in Jacksonville.

Can I just say that it was well worth the trip? From the cozy yet sophisticated ambience to dishes that are flavorful and pleasing to the palate to the knowledgeable and amazing service, this a great treat for a special occasion, date night, or just step outside of the ordinary. It’s fine dining chic with casual cozy appeal and the French style cuisine allows you to get a gourmet twist on some well-known dishes. Overall, I was pleased with my entire dining experience and definitely plan on returning very soon to indulge a little bit more. Here are some quick recaps from my trip. I wanted to surprise my mom and do something extra special for her birthday (who came into town to spend the weekend for her birthday so several dishes will be featured below.) I almost forgot that I didn’t get a chance to snap a picture of the lobster mac n cheese that we had as an appetizer but it was absolutely delicious and was a great start to the meal.

Restaurant Orsay
Prosecco and Birthday Champagne. Added a nice touch and brought out the flavors of the dishes that came afterwards.
Restaurant Orsay
Eden Farms Berkshire Porkchop
Restaurant Orsay
Sea Scallops
Restaurant Orsay
Beef Stroganoff

 

 

Do you have a favorite French restaurants? What are some of your favorite restaurants or areas in your city that offer hidden jewels? Let me know about your fave food and culture spots in the comments! I love to hear from you guys!

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival 2018

It’s been a few weeks but I’ve been a little busy little bee and have been out exploring my world and I have so many wonderful things to share with you so here we go! I visited Epcot for another splendid festival and magical time! This time around it was for the 2018 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival. Let me just say if you love sensory details and being outside or are an outdoorsy type, this is a dream come true. I enjoyed every minute of it from beautiful flower and garden displays to Disney infusing a little magic into each area as only Disney can! And as with every Epcot festival plenty of yummy treats and drinks to spare! This festival puts you right in the mood for spring with all of the beautiful flowers and especially with all the recent cooler temperatures we’ve been experiencing this spring. Awesome start to the season!

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival 2018
Entrance to the Festival!
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival 2018
Tres Amigos are super cute!
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival 2018
By far one of my favorite displays. Butterflies are such a symbolic symbol of spring and nature, with the transition of one season to another.
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival 2018
Daisy Duck is ever the lady!
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival 2018
Butterfly Garden. One of my favorite attractions for this festival. The butterflies were so beautiful and peaceful to watch.
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival 2018
Cocoons up close and personal. So amazing!
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival 2018
Chia Pet like pups! So adorable!

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Epcot Flower and Garden Festival 2018
Honey peach cobbler freeze! You could taste the honey in it! And even better everything was made from a local honey bee farm! Yay!
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival 2018
Everyone’s favorite friendly bear from The Hundred Acre Wood!
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival 2018
Piglet and Eeyore!
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival 2018
My absolute favorite dwarf Dopey! So cute!
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival 2018
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs!
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival 2018
Lady and The Tramp! So cute! Such great artistry!
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival 2018
Not a flower garden but still impressive! Amazing street trapeze artist!
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival 2018
Tigger! My spirit animal!

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival 2018

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival 2018
Timon and Pumba!
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival 2018
Our favorite Arendelle royalty, Elsa and Anna!
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival 2018
Not in Epcot but thought this was a beautiful spring arrangement in front of Hollywood Studios paying tribute to Fantasia!
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival 2018
And of course concluding with some beautiful flowers!

 

Such a fun way to kick off the spring season and so much amazing artistry showcased! What is your favorite way to enjoy the Flower and Garden Festival? Favorite exhibits or areas? Special memories? Leave me a comment, I would love to hear from you!

The Problem with Falling for Potential and “The Prototype”

I’m wildly optimistic and positive.  Most times, this serves me very well especially in terms of needing perseverance and motivation when life has its way of throwing challenges my way, that are arguably essential and pivotal to my growth as a young woman. In some instances, especially more romantic instances, my wild optimism makes me view some potential suitors in a light that often times may not be the  deserving light leading me down one less fulfilling version of Alice’s plunge down the illustrious Rabbit Hole.

falling for potential and the prototype
Photo Credit: GIPHY

One thing I’ve learned about myself is that when I care about others is that I have the ability to conveniently not notice character flaws and other red flags that are going to be vital to not having my heart be vulnerable and open to people who should have never gotten past hello. As someone, who is loving, giving, and truly looks to see the best in others and tries in most instances to see the positive in EVERYTHING, even giving people the benefit of the doubt beyond the FLASHING DOUBT, I’ve learned that creating prototypes out of people who never had intentions on fulfilling those expectations or standards is a dangerous way to LEAD YOURSELF ON and leave you picking up the pieces of your shattered alternate reality.

falling for potential and the prototype
Photo Credit: GIPHY

By no means am I here to spout war stories of bitterness, broken spirits, or disillusion. Quite the contrary, as I previously stated, I am ever the optimist and still am equally as excited and hopeful for a love that complements the love I have and am continuously developing for myself. But I am here to share (which is the whole reason I love this space and started this blog) the true problem with blindly falling for potential and the prototype.

falling for potential and the prototype
Photo Credit: GIPHY

I absolutely advocate for each person who desires love for themselves one day to have an idea as to what their ideal mate encompasses spiritually, mentally, emotionally etc. But don’t become attached to anything other than the non-negotiables of that image. Why you ask? It’s simple. I love “Prototype” as much as the next hip hop head who grew up in the 90’s and early 2000’s loving all things OutKast.  It’s chock full of hope, romanticism, and all the feel good feelings of finding/encountering your true love, “the one”, and your soul mate. But prototypes are better in virtual reality than real life, and often waiting on potential to manifest can leave you trying to figure out it never manifested and little more than mythical fairy dust in your hands and a sense of disappointment in your heart.

falling for the prototype and potential
Photo Credit: GIPHY

 

falling for potential and the prototype
Photo Credit: GIPHY

Loving the prototype and potential makes you blind to when you’re compromising because this person looks good on paper, but doesn’t touch your soul in a way that’s meaningful, beneficial and impactful. Loving a prototype and their potential makes you lose sight of the fact that you love, like, care for, and are giving very vital, intimate parts to this person while they are just as unconcerned as can be about meeting you where you’re at and being fully invested in you and your development because they only care and are concerned for their development or  are only interested in you when you can serve their development.  Loving the idea of prototype and potential makes you look at all this person can be and conveniently allows you to forget all that they are (good and bad) and assess whether you even love or like this person at all.

falling for potential and prototype
Photo Credit: GIPHY

You see, if people were meant to be androids or robots, loving them and having relationships independent of  the good, bad,  character flaws, idiosyncracies, mood swings, feelings, failures, and successes would be a lot more foolproof. But what kind of love is that? Loving people only when conditions are right  or based upon created ideals crafted in the mind isn’t unconditional love at all.

So, the real problem in falling for potential and the prototype is that you deny yourself from loving a perfectly imperfect person, because you love the ideal of what can be versus the often harsh reality of what is.  You can also miss out on encountering a  perfectly imperfect person and allowing them the opportunity to meet what a prototype could never be, a perfectly original version of you. So go ahead and have your standards and non-negotiables, but realize real people are who they are.  Don’t attempt to change that.

In the famous words of Maya Angelou, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.” If it isn’t what speaks to your highest self or aligns with who you are, let that go and allow them to be whoever they choose and need to be for who or whatever purpose or person they were created for. There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG with someone/something not being for you and that doesn’t make the other person a villain either. If it aligns with your highest/ best self and values, and brings you joy, allow it to flow and be exactly what it’s going to be. It’s not a prototype, but you can definitely find a way to tiptoe to the sun and grow in love with a real live person who is willing to realize and be more than you ever imagined and satisfy your whole being in a way that awaiting on potential to manifest never could. And that’s something that’s worth being in love again for.

falling for potential and the prototype
Photo Credit: GIPHY

Know Your Worth and add Luxury Tax

The phrase know your worth and add tax has become such a common phrase in culture and social media. We see it everywhere, we make mantras to forge our lives and live it but what does it really mean in actuality?

know your worth and add luxury tax
Photo Credit: PsychCentral.com

Society causes us to place worth and value in a lot of things: careers, money, status, desirability, followers, love, success, the list goes on. But if any of those things change, the very foundation of how worthy you feel as a person could come crumbling down right along with it. Yes, these are great accomplishments, and you should always be striving to become a better version of yourself than you were yesterday but you’re not a title, or what you do, or who does or doesn’t love you, or how many followers you have. YOU ARE YOU. And that level of value extends far beyond the tangible things that you can see, touch or feel. It goes deep down to the core of who you are as a person, your spirit, the things you’ve experienced and how it has shaped you, how you treat others, what energy you put out into the world and mostly HOW YOU SHOW UP IN THE WORLD.

Before we get into how you can know your worth and add luxury tax let’s look at what a luxury tax is. A luxury tax is a tax rate placed slightly above the standard tax rate and which tends to be a little more costly. So, why would you want to add a luxury tax to your own worth?  To ensure that you’re always slightly beyond reach or require a little bit more for yourself than the baseline level of what is required. Essentially, what this ends up looking like is you don’t grant  access to people, places,  and opportunities, the energy that you have for anything that does not serve your greatest good, and align with your truest, most valuable self. This will save you time and energy from expending the best parts of yourself to things that are just not worthy.

know your worth and add luxury tax
Photo Credit: GIPHY

Is this to say your life will always be this linear path where you never make a mistake or misstep? Heck no! Will you never NOT SETTLE EVER? You’re human so don’t give yourself that weighty responsibility of living this life of perfectionism. Let’s be honest, we’ve all been there. We accepted a job that we knew didn’t align with what our true purpose or calling is, we didn’t push for that extra set of coins at the negotiation table and now we beat ourselves up regularly (free yourself from that burden too), we allowed someone in a romantic situation to cloud our judgment as to whether or not they were the best partner for us and ignored our own needs, wants, and values in an effort to be accepted, validated, and affirmed.  We often say we want one thing,  but our actions say something completely different as it relates to living our best life etc,. The important thing is to acknowledge what didn’t align in your life, pray, forgive yourself and seek divine guidance and forgiveness as well.

So how do you get back on track with knowing your worth and adding luxury tax to live out the most fabulous version of your best life possible?

know your worth and add luxury tax
Photo Credit: Newworshipresources.com
  1. You establish what you’re worth from within and from God.

If you wait on this world to tell you what you’re worth and affirm you, you’re going to always be on a whirlwind roller coaster of emotions based off of others affirmations and beliefs for you. If you affirm yourself, then any other opinions are just icing on the cake,  and the not the cake itself. This isn’t about puffing yourself up with false confidence, but really being able to do the work, show up the way you truly desire, and living the life that God purposed for you. Get yourself some affirmations you truly believe in and do the work until you see the results you desire.

know your worth and add luxury tax
Photo Credit: Pinterest.com

2. Forgive yourself

You messed up. You settled, You tolerated. Something you did, didn’t represent the best you know you have to offer the world. Accept that. Forgive yourself. Start your healing process, and give yourself the grace and kindness to move forward. Don’t keep reliving and replaying the scenarios and hurt over and over in your head. Lift that burden off your shoulders, learn the lessons you need to learn from it, and be committed to carrying the lessons on with you into the next chapter of your life.

know your worth and luxury tax
Photo Credit: GIPHY

3. Figure out why you settled

Take some time out and really assess why you settled or didn’t really position yourself to be able to do the things you desired or were best for yourself. Be honest with yourself. Whether that means going to counseling/therapy, writing it out in a journal, having quiet time, etc. Whatever it takes get in tune with yourself, and figure out how you can be committed to knowing your worth and living a life that speaks that.

know your worth and add luxury tax
Photo Credit: GIPHY

4. Walk in it

It’s probably the most simplistic of all the steps, but perhaps the most difficult to achieve. We often get stuck in either figuring out why we settled, or in the inability to forgive ourselves. Once you’ve done the assessment and the work, its time to move forward and just live what you learned. That’s what knowing your worth is truly all about, knowing what you’re worthy of in this life, and showing up in the world ready and willing to manifest it.

Pray that this blessed you! What are some ways you might have not known your worth? How did you come back from that? What are some tips you would give others? Let me know in the comments, I so love hearing from you all!

Epcot International Festival of the Arts 2018

Hi Guys!

Can you believe that the month of February is almost over? We were just in January and now we are more than halfway through February on the cusp of March. How crazy is that? Time flies when you’re having fun!

These past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind but I am so excited to share my time at the Epcot International Arts Festival with you. I recently visited the Epcot International Arts Festival which ran from January 12th to February 19th.  It was so cool to watch Spaceship Earth turn into a living palette of color, awesome food, performers/ artists, and visual displays. Truly a magically artistic time that at some point every one should partake in and that I am excited and grateful that I had the chance to enjoy.

 

Here are some highlights from my trip!

 

epcot international arts festival
At the entrance to Spaceship Earth!

 

epcot international festival of the arts
International Arts Festival time! 
epcot international arts festival
Amazing chalk art!
epcot international arts festival
Acrobatic artists!
epcot international arts festival
Frose! So yummy!

 

Some awesome posters from the Expo Hall where you could take arts classes, try out arts inspired hors d’oeurves, and enjoy some custom Disney inspired art

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epcot international arts festival
Art Inspired Treats!
epcot international arts festival
Gallery Bites! So good!

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epcot international arts festival
In true Epcot fashion, a passport to unlock the fun!
epcot international arts festival
Metal Statue 1
epcot international arts festival
Metal Statue 2
epcot international arts festival
Figment’s White Chocolate Puzzle! So cute! Love it!

 

This was such an amazing festival! Epcot has an amazing way of organizing some awesome festivals that are fun for the entire family! What are some of your favorite ways to enjoy Epcot festivals? What is your favorite Epcot festival? What is your favorite Spaceship Earth moment or memory? Let me know! I would love to hear from you! Leave me a note in the comments!

 

 

Foodie Files Jax Edition: Palm Valley Fish Camp

Hey again guys! I had the amazing opportunity to go and get some great seafood in Ponte Vedra Beach a couple weeks back at the Palm Valley Fish Camp. Truly a one of a kind and delectable experience. Everything is made from scratch right when you order, it’s truly a hidden gem right off A1A and Palm Valley, and the seasonings and preparation are apparent and seasoned with love. This is a great spot to go and enjoy some great views and sit on their dock and enjoy an afternoon cocktail or wine on a quiet Sunday or lazy Saturday while ordering some great seafood and beautiful ambience. 

This time around I ordered their signature shrimp and grits. By far some of the best, creamiest, melt in your mouth grits I’ve tasted EVER. And believe me when I say I’ve had a lot of grits in my lifetime. The shrimp tasted fresh and the grits are made with a white wine butter sauce and I believe a splash of bacon, tomatoes, and a few other secret herbs and spices. I was in a bit of rush on the day that I visited as I was in a bit of adventurist mode so I didn’t get a chance to stop and linger for too long but I know for sure I will definitely be back. I saw several other items on the menu that greatly peaked my interest and with their location being right off the water its guaranteed to be caught and served fresh.

What are some of your favorite local foodie spots for seafood and good eats? What are some hidden Jax gems you’ve come across? What are some of your favorite local Jax seafood spots and dishes? Leave me a comment or suggestion below! I would love to try it out, review and chat food with you!