I’m starting to really love sneakers. Maybe it’s because I spent so much of the past few winter months in very cute, but somewhat less comfortable high heel winter boots. I mean, a long coat does look amazing when you walk down NYC concrete sidewalks, you feel like a woman on a mission, a lady in charge.
But when all that is said and done, you’re tired, your feet hurt and you wonder if it’s even worth it. Growing up in Cameroon, West Africa, the saying was “nyanga di hot”- which translates to “beauty is pain”. Although Nyanga doesn’t really mean Beauty, it’s more like “looking good”.
But you know, looking good doesn’t have to hurt. Long gone are the sneakers of old, the ones that professional women back in the 80’s and 90’s would switch in and out of during their commute to work. That look was the butt of many jokes but I’m sure we understand why they did it, it wasn’t about looking good, it was about getting a final bit of comfort at the end of a long work day.
Fast forward and aren’t we glad that so much has changed. Now, there are so many better “get out of your heels” options- you can definitely take off those heels and look arguably better in a pair of sneakers than you did with your office shoes. It all boils down to the right pair, and I’m walking on Air, quite literally, in the new Nike Air Max 270. These are so beyond chic and comfortable- I do not own a pair of sneakers that are softer…period!
Another look at the entirely new Nike Air Max 270, selling out as I type.
Galentines day- when Leslie Knope, one of my fave characters on a tv show (namely parks and recreation) created this little holiday- it was an instant- why not? Why don’t we have a a little time set aside for the women we love and sometimes spend more time with than anyone else- our girlfriends- they are the ones we call when you know who misbehaves, the ones we talk to when there is No significant other, the one we text when we think there’s a new hopeful relationship on the horizon. But not everything revolves around relationships- much of our gal time is to talk and share about other things- work, careers, children, politics, activism. From love to heartbreak, from being lost to discovery. So how is it- that’s the roses and dinner are all saved for Valentine’s Day.
So ladies- when Seagram’s Escapes said- hey how bout we sponsor a little girl time fo you and your gals to celebrate Galentines- I said hey why the hell not??
First think we would need would be drinks- definitely chatting goes well with a little something to sip and chat with. Problem solved- I’ve got Seagram’s Escapes in the fridge- what flavor? Well- all of them, (add flavors) make it even more festive with some fresh fruit, lime wedges, cherries or even sliced berries. Fancy it up- your girls deserve it.
Next, flowers, real flowers- they just lift a room, they smell great and gets everyone in the right spirit. Roses are a staple for a reason- when they open up, so perfect. But there’s so many other flowers that would do. You don’t have to stick with traditional red or whites either- go ahead mix and match, from colors to varieties.
Food- well, you can do a few things here, depending on your style and your crew. My gals love to cook, they are so busy that cooking is a luxury and a joy- when we get together, we want to be in the kitchen. But that’s just one set of friend- I have another girl squad that’s meal prepping every week and they really don’t want down time to be cooking time, so guess what- there’s an app for that. There’s no shame in calling in for your fave meal- maybe even ignore your usual limits, splurge a bit, get something you wouldn’t normally dare order. Because- why not?
And it’s that simple. You have food, drink, your friends, in your flower filled home- I promise you/ that’s the perfect- most no stress way to enjoy and celebrate Galentines day.
One day, my home will be filled with her art. Erin Robinson, the artist behind Brooklyn Dolly is such an inspiration and every single one of her pieces do something to me, make me imagine, make me dream, make me gaze in wonder, make me see myself, perfect embodiment of what I look for.
I’ll let you in on a not so little secret. Women are AMAZING. And there’s nothing like an evening spent in a room filled with women from all walks of life and backgrounds to remind you of that. Ann Taylor hosted an elegant affair, a Galentines affair, at the Gramercy Park Hotel last week where we got to celebrate each other, received advice not only from a panel of badass female entrepreneurs but also from the ladies who were seated next to us and all around us. The panel included Amber Venz Box (President & Co-Founder of rewardStyle), Alli Webb (Founder of Drybar), and Stephanie Nass (owner, Chefanie Sheets) and they talked about how they started their respective businesses, how they handled being the only women in the room and how that helped catapult them to where they are now.
I have to admit, before I got to the event that evening, I was feeling a little bit drained, just over thinking some situations that had happened in the office and thinking of how best to proceed with my blog and with possible collaborations that had recently come my way. I wasn’t taking time to appreciate all this instead choosing to let it stress me out. There was definitely no better therapy than sitting with other bloggers/influencers talking about how they manage their workload and their platform. I could completely relate to their experiences and I knew their advice was coming from a real place. We laughed, shook our heads, nodded in agreement as the night went on. So much goodness from a little sisterhood.
So from listening and chatting to eating and drinking, we couldn’t end the night without comparing looks- all of us decked out in Ann Taylor’s best from Head to Toe. The Ann Taylor woman is every woman, those decked out in leather jackets and boots to those in floral dresses and sandals. Here are a few of my fave picks of the night – Especially the shoes- oh the shoes.
When you start planning a trip to Bali, you will hear over and over again that while there are many sides to Bali, there are 2 types of Bali experiences. There is the party scene, hip, vibrant, loud, alive- these terms are often used to describe Seminyak. And then there’s the more immersive, quieter, truer side of Bali- these terms are often used to describe Ubud.
Ubud has been described as the culture and heart of Bali, or better yet, the cultural heart of Bali. While Ubud lacks the overly busy and touristy atmosphere of Seminyak, don’t be fooled, it is quite clearly not a secret anymore. There are plenty of tourists flooding the markets and shops, especially along the main strip of Monkey Forest Road. So if you are indeed looking for a quiet escape, a temporary seclusion, an opportunity to quiet down the noise then you have to be especially strategic about your choice of hotel. Unlike the early 90’s where hotels where few and far between, when so few made the trip here, there are now hotels every where, many promising an experience that they may not be able to deliver on as competition has caused some areas to be lined with hotel after hotel and tourist attraction after another.
LOCATION: Samsara Ubud is a brand new hotel- it only opened in October of 2017 and the location is set in the mountains, in the middle of lush greens and quiet breezes. It is located about a 20 minute ride away from the center of Ubud which made for perfect scooter ride distance. Scooters were delivered upon request and for the times, we didn’t want to get on a scooter, the hotel offered complimentary shuttles to and from the city center.
When I pulled into the hotel, driving through the narrow entrance, there’s a curiosity that peaks, as you know there’s more; has to be more, beyond the driveway. And as you drive down to the main level, you arrive at an open air and expansive lobby, that looks out into the jungle. Gone is the standard reception and lobby. I don’t think I’ve ever had to be pulled away from the reception area. Electric white golf carts shuttle guests and their luggages to their villas; villas that are positioned at different levels of the mountain. The multi-level and layered architecture is a tribute to Bali’s centuries-old rice terraces, providing all villas with unobstructed views of the lush tropical jungle.
While the large infinity pool is in every way amazing and a sight to see, I found that I spent just as much if not more time in the private pool that my villa and all villas on the property are fitted with. The days in Bali are hot, that intense heat and humidity that can give you the glow up or keep you at the beach all day. But nights are cooler, much cooler and what a difference a heated pool makes. Love when hotels think about all the details. The pool is a nifty highlight, but the rooms themselves have every comfort you need on a vacation. From both and indoor and outdoor shower, to soaking tub in the bath. I can also definitely add the bed at the Samsara on my list of top 5 most comfy beds. At nighttime, you can create different moods by changing the light settings, including one really cool effect of lights under the bed- it’s hard to describe, you just have to see it.
There were no shortage of amazing meals in Bali, but we knew we had something special, when we consciously made sure to eat most of our meals at the Samsara’s restaurant- Kelusa. Not just for the food (especially the Nasi goreng which I had on the daily for breakfast) but also for the deep seated comfy chairs on the wide terrace overlooking the jungle. It’s in those moments, that you can reflect and think about why it is important to get away every now and then.
OVERALL: Priced rather affordably ($175-$250/night) for what you get, the Samsara wins high marks from me for being both stylish and authentic. This is a definite recommend and an inspired choice if you’re visiting the area.
Reflecting on all the mural fun I had last year during my Montreal trip. Counting down till my 2018 trip. Jazzfest info is now available here. I encourage you to book your accomodation sooner than later if you’re going.
Try Tripadvisor, Airbnb or Corporatestays (used them and been very happy)
This site is my new obsession. In another life, I would have created this site, a perfectly curated selection of global finds- African, Asian and everywhere in between. See what happens when you sit on an idea for too long, someone comes around and does it. Sometimes, better than you would imagined. The Accompany website is definitely bookmarked. I will be checking in to make sure I don’t miss anything.