Wanderlust Wednesday: Brooklyn Love

I have to admit, Brooklyn was not an area I visited often when I lived in NY. Though, in theory, it was a short trip from where I lived, the truth is the traffic was normally a nightmare, and mass transit wasn’t appealing to a person who likes to get in the car and go. So when my sister announced she was getting married in her neighborhood in Brooklyn I decided to take my vacation time to be with family and we booked a night at the Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge the night before the wedding.

Marriot at the Brooklyn Bridge Brooklyn, much like NYC,  is an area in that is growing and evolving. Truth is, when we drove in, I was stunned by the amount of development that had happened since I was last there.  The Barclay Center, which debut was in 2012 , has created an epicenter for new construction, businesses and entertainment. Built where Fort Greene, Prospect Park and park Slope neighborhoods join, I heard many locals grumble that as the neighborhood has expanded, so has the cost of living, pushing out many of the same people that has made Brooklyn the eclectic and artisan haven so many flock to.image

Though I was intrigued by a lot of the great restaurants, it was Friday night. People just getting out of work or coming to the area to start their weekend flocked to the area so we settled on roaming into a Shake Shack that was, by far, the best burgers and fries I’ve had in a while (not to mention the shakes) Even though it was a fast food joint, the urban decor with its reclaimed wood accents and huge windows opening up to the busy streets, added to the “hey, I’m in Brooklyn” experience.

Shake Shack

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After finishing the night drinking a couple of Berry Mojitos at the hotel bar we called it a night. The wedding was taking place at 9am at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and a trolley would be picking us up at 8:15am (have mercy!)

Being a hairstylist, there was no way I wasn’t going to do the bridal party’s hair so I recruited my dearest friend and partner-in-crime, Ramon Montalvo.

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Thank God he made himself available (and was my date for the affair) because not only is he a brilliant hairstylist but a perfectionist that was quick to dive in and adjust my sister’s hair throughout the event, leaving me to marinate in the joy of the event.

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With the temperature a cool 75 degrees, the guests walked through the beautiful gardens and marveled at the  breath-taking venue. There was a feeling that we were the only ones roaming about even though it’s in the heart of Brooklyn.

imageTheir ceremony and vows perfectly reflected their union.  Heartfelt, refreshingly unique and enough quirky elements that made you feel like you were on an adventure. How many weddings have all that?

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After the ceremony we all boarded a trolley, passing local landmarks like the Brooklyn Flea (oh, if I only had more time!) and arrived at a lovely French cafe, Chez Oskar.

As we entered, the string quartet played Bittersweet Symphony by Verve, my ALL TIME favorite song.
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The food, the music, the great conversation and the bustling neighborhood made for a brilliant morning.

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Though we had to quickly depart after the reception was over (had to pick up my son), rumor has it the bride and groom walked home in their bridal attire to change for their honeymoon. As they walked through the streets, locals clapped and cheered the newly weds and the bride, realizing she never threw her bouquet, threw it into a crowded sidewalk cafe as onlookers cheered on.

….and they lived happily ever after.

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Wanderlust Wednesday: Washington D.C. In a One Day

When the opportunity to go to D.C. for an afternoon while visiting Virginia came up I was a little hesitant. With the traffic and parking it seemed like a lot of work for little reward but I haven’t visited since I was 13. Hey, life’s all about adventure, right?
We arrived on Sunday morning and found street parking on Constitution Avenue right away. We were pretty far from the Mall but if we walked towards it we would be able to passively visit the monuments without actually going inside them.

image imageIt was about 90 degrees out and we were determined to get to air conditioned museums. Truthfully the walk became much of the adventure. We passed the White House (from a distance), the Washington Monument, the World War II memorial, and was able to see the Capitol Building (is it just me, or is it ALWAYS under construction?) The actual museum structures were a sight to be seen as well. The African American Museum which is still under construction was covered in a metal lace work that was stunning.

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Small but elaborate gardens seemed to be everywhere. At first we past right by them but then we realized many of them were filled with modern art sculptures. Some had gloriously refreshing fountains that many tourists sat and cooled their feet in.

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The museums opened at 10am and though the line to get in went down the palatial staircase, the bag check was a quick and efficient 5 minute wait. Besides, I can deal with a small wait for a free museum. We felt no pressure to linger for hours in each museum. We strolled through, hitting what interested us most, participating in some of the interactive exhibits with virtually no wait time and left to see the highlights of the neighboring free museum.

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We were able to stop by the Air and Space Museum, the American Indian Museum, and the Smithsonian Museum of History with a break for lunch in between.
Best tips:
1) Bring a good picnic lunch to eat on the Mall. If you are a people watcher this is the place to be. From foreign visitors, Segway riding tourists to peaceful protesters and football games, it was an interesting mixed bag. My son actually said it was one of his favorite parts of the trip. So many people from different cultures in a beautiful setting….amazing.
2) Water, water, water! Just consider D.C. The intellect’s version of Disneyland. Lots of places to visit and $3.95 water bottles. LOL!
3) Street parking is available in some areas on the weekend. Go early (9am) and stroll a bit before the museums open.
4) try to visit for 2 days. I’m already planning my next visit and what to hit. The Art Museums, the monuments, more gardens….it could take a few days

Wanderlust Wednesday – Chicago 

Day 1: Up bright and early to head to the Orlando International Airport on about 2 hours of sleep. Being a raging insomniac and a morning person is no joke! Anyway, I do my usual headphones and sunglasses to portray the “I don’t feel like chatting” vibe. It is all I do all day, everyday. Traveling is so peaceful to me because of the music in my ears and speeding through the airport hallways blurs the rest of the world. Zoning out of the airplane window let’s my mind wander, like dancing in a large field with an endless horizon, whereas at home it feels more like a whirlwind of unorganized thoughts. I dream when I am up in the air and feel like a bird that was just released from it’s cage.  
I fell in love with this cat sculpture at my layover in Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport. 

  

  


Day 2: Thank the gods for coffee and gatorade! I am at the Pivot Point outside of Chicago. We learned about everything from history and chemistry to culture and just learning about each other. Everything was very intimate as well as informative. 

Mandatory dinner at Prairie Moon in Evanston, Illinois. My brain is very full! Goodnight!

   

We met the publisher of Modern Salon! So much amazing information to soak in!

   

  

Day 3: 

So busy! Class is from 8:30am-6:00pm then mandatory karaoke at Trader Todd’s from 8:00pm-12am.   

   
 

Day 4:  Peter Coppola went to the Supreme Court in 1972 to fight for lifting the ban of men’s cuts in beauty salons. The next day, the term “unisex” was coined. What I love about this company is that we all come from different backgrounds and different cultures, ethnicities, genders, and we all have out own brand of crazy. The product line is not the reason we are here. It is genuine and unisex and simple. The products are amazing. They make our jobs in this industry more sufficient and effective. 

The name, the brand, is a culture. We want to inspire the industry with simplicity, safety and versatility. We are all equals. We are here to galvanize the beauty industry with something real and to unite our industry with inspiration, education and support. Humility is the secret to success. Mastery takes a lifetime. 

  
At the end of all of this, I found that I have found a family and others that I can relate to. It felt more like a spiritual journey for all of us. We all caught the feels. I cannot wait to see what happens next and where this journey will take me. 

  

  Wanderlust Wednesday-Kelly Park Rock Springs

   

There are so many gorgeous springs all over Florida and being conveniently located near the ocean can sometimes make us forget. I hopped in the car last week and headed to Rock Springs. The springs are typically a clear and cool 70 degrees. 
  
I googled Rock Springs and let my smart phone direct me there. When I arrived to the destination I was at a closed gate that had no water access. I parked my car and went to the website and got the correct address on the other side, about 12 miles around. I passed a Rock Springs Bar and Grill where you rent the tubes and paid $5 to get in. They do not rent tubes in the park or allow reentry. 

That being said, I highly recommend you bring your own or stop at the bar and grill to rent tubes because there is a perfect float stream. I also highly suggest to arrive no later than 10am because they close at a certain capacity. When we left at 1pm the park was still closed.   
  

It was a little brisk at first but after sitting in the sun it felt refreshing. It was very much worth the hour and a half drive and great to see my feet in the water. So clean!  

Check out their website for the correct address and any other tips I may have missed! 

Rock Springs Kelly Park

Wanderlust Wednesday-Not all those who wander are lost

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Everyone decides they want to leave their hometown one day and do bigger and better things. For me, I have had many hometowns. I was born in California and remember chasing chickens on my grandmother’s farm and ducking under tables when the earth shook. I also have memories of my first snowball fight in Portland, Oregon. I lost my neighborhood in a tornado in Clever, Missouri and lived in a house without power for a month during the 2004 hurricanes in Central Florida. My parents always had the itch to take off and start over somewhere new, where I was always forced to be the shy new kid in school. I had fantasies of being someone different in each new town, but always froze when stepping foot in a new school when I was walked into my classroom to interrupted the lesson and be introduced to all the quiet eyes peering into my soul.

I can safely say that I have worked or lived in Cocoa Village for over a decade now, which is something I never thought I would do: settle down somewhere. I always found myself wondering where my home is. What I have learned is that everywhere you go is a small town but with different people and new scenery. Cocoa Village is my home. I may wander off here and there in search of mountains and cute accents but I will always drift back. I have fallen in love with my morning routine of grabbing an iced caramel macchiato at Ossorio’s and walking to work to start my day. I love the historical detail in the buildings and the breeze from the river. So, yeah, I can finally say I found my home.

Model: Nina Justine

Hair and Makeup: Danni Gess & Misti Blu

Location: Jaded Emerald in Cocoa Village

Dress: Bobbi’s at Parkside

Necklace & Photography: Misti Blu Day

Motorcycle: Hard Luck’s Rootbeer Flake