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In Style, Travel on
November 23, 2014

Riviera Maya, Day 3 & 4

As I type this, I am laying in my bed cuddled up with my fuzzy blanket and wishing it were 95 degrees again… and that I could lay out by the pool again in Riviera Maya.


That’s where I spent most of Day Three.

After a quick stop at the breakfast buffet of course.


Pool ready!


My swimsuit is from Old Navy. Currently sold out.
I spent most of the day sunbathing and taking naps by the pool.


I stopped for a little ice cream around lunch time.
Then went right back to where I started.
Pool selfie with my Mama.
My mom and dad kept me company by the pool for a little while. Maya and I even took a nap together before she got bored and decided to go exploring the hotel on her own.
Eventually I looked up and the pool was closing and it was time to get ready for dinner.
We ate at the buffet tonight… sorry no pictures! I’m a very picky buffet eater so I mostly sampled all of their options.
Here’s a sneak peek of what I wore:



Fancy yellow bracelet courtesy of Iberostar Resort & Hotel.


Recreate this look:

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Day Three

After a hearty meal at the breakfast buffet, we decided to spend another day by the pool.




I gave my body a little rest from the sun rays and got a spot under a little shade.


I even made a new friend. He snacked on Maya’s lunch scraps.



Say hi to our new friend!
I wish I could say that my day was more exciting… but hey – I had a blast laying out by the pool and people watching.
And then just like the day before, I blinked and it was time for dinner again. This night we had reservations at the Brazilian Steak House.
We rushed back to the rooms to shower off the salty water and throw on something cute.



 First, we started off with appetizers and sides served buffet style.




Awkward first bite picture. So far, so good….
But now it’s time for the good stuff: if you’ve never been to a Brazilian Steak House before… basically a fine looking young man comes around with huge skewers filled with all types of meat. 


So fresh out of the oven that it’s still simmering. He comes to your table and asks you if you would like a piece.


When you say yes, he cuts you off a piece and puts it right on your plate for you.


They repeat the process with about 6 or 7 different types of meats ranging from chicken to various cuts of steak.


(FYI, I drooled on my own keyboard looking at this… but this is a judgement free zone.)


Maya had a tilapia fish cooked especially for her since she doesn’t eat meat. She said it was delicious. 


While she had her seafood, us carnivores got our fill of all the meaty stuff.


We ate and ate until we could eat no more. 
But there’s always room for dessert…


Coconut covered pound cake topped with fruit.


Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.
The restaurant was beautiful. It was indoors and I can’t tell you how much I appreciated that AC and  being free from the grasps of the mosquitos who just so happen to love me so much.
I snapped a photo of the buffet area before we headed out just to give you an idea of the space.
After dinner, we decided to take a few snaps.
Mom, Dad, and Maya


Us lovely ladies – we somehow could never get it right.



Never ready….


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We were heading back to our hotel rooms, when we got distracted by something a little more fun…A 70’s show! The hotel has actors and dancers on staff to put on different performances. We were walking past and decided to stop and stay for the rest of this one:











It was honestly a blast. The show was so colorful, the dancers were on point and the renditions of the songs they were singing we’re amazing. Definitely worth a visit. They do a different show every night too!
It was a welcome distraction from the little routine that we had created for ourselves. Soon after the show we were off to bed… we had a big day ahead of us.
More tomorrow!
In Style, Travel on
November 20, 2014

Riviera Maya, Day 1 & 2

This past weekend the ground was covered in a fine coat of snow. The other day it rained cats and dogs. I had to pull on my rain boots and rain coat before sloshing through campus to go to my discussion. Today, I shed tears while walking to class bundled up in my heavy jacket, gloves and scarves as the icy cold wind whipped me in the face. It’s fair to say winter is coming, and I am far from ready for it.

Instead of accepting the inevitable, I’m just going to avoid it all together and pretend like it’s not happening. Let’s reminisce on warmer days, shall we?This summer, my family and I took a trip to Riviera Maya in Mexico.
I can feel the warm rays of the Mexican sun warming up my body now…. or maybe it’s the hot cider that I’m drinking? A girl can dream….


Day One

My family and I hopped on the plane late morning. We are not early flight takers. It takes us forever to leave the house so an early morning flight just spells disaster for us.

My sister Maya was my flight buddy and we kept each other entertained. 


More like I kept her entertained….


The only plus side of having a window seat. Can’t beat this view!
We arrived in Mexico early evening. The only downside of taking a later flight was that we arrived halfway through the day. Plus, we were famished. We didn’t clearly think through the whole eating thing and I refused to pay $15 on the flight for a bunch of snacks that didn’t even look remotely tasty. 
The hotel that we stayed at was called Iberostar Paraíso Beach/Del Mar. It was just one hotel in a huge resort with SEVEN other hotels in it. I didn’t even get to see it all because it was so big… but I’ll do another post on that later. 
The first thing we did after dropping off our bags was head for the food!
Melodramatic Maya, describing how she was going to pass out from hunger.
The hotel where we were staying offered us many different ways to eat: buffets, restaurants (pre-reservation required),  and different spots that had snacks foods. We were too early for the dinner buffet and too late for the lunch buffet and it seemed like every where we went was just closing up. 
Then we happened upon a little taco place. 


Not fancy at all, but we were starving and didn’t care for all of that extra stuff, we just wanted the food.


Tacos were made fresh to order.


Filthy nachos (after I’d already eaten about half of them) smothered in cheese and topped with all of the fixings.
Pretty? No. Delicious? Yes.


Is your mouth watering yet? No?


How about now?




The nachos were delicious. The tacos were even more delicious. It’s fair to say that they satisfied the nagging hunger feeling that we had. None for our little pescearian, Maya. Poor girl ate nachos and cheese until dinner since they didn’t have any non-meat friendly options for her.
It was too late to go to the pool or beach, so after our little meal we wandered the hotel until the dinner buffet opened.


We even made some new friends!




I wore this outfit on the plane.
It was so comfy. My motto when traveling via airplanes: Less is more. 
Passing through security is a pain in the butt and it’s even more annoying when you have 250 things to take off and put back on.
Recreate my airport look:
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My camera died after we wandered around the hotel but the rest of our night went a little something like this: we stuffed our faces at the dinner buffet and then went back to our rooms and passed out for the night.Day Two

We were up bright and early for a meeting in Cancun.



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We were treated to a delicious breakfast buffet.



Breakfast was followed by some boring meeting stuff.




Then came the fun stuff: mimosas and champagne.



By the time our meeting was over and we got back to the hotel it was time to get ready for our dinner reservation.
The first night we had dinner at the Italian restaurant at the hotel.
Per usual – we all pretty much ordered the same thing.




Fried calamari and marinara sauce.




Fruti de Mare


A grilled shrimp and rice combo.


For dessert: tiarmsisui 


And a chocolate pistachio pudding. (None for me – I’m allergic!)

Dinner was okay. It was definitely not one of the best Italian places that I’ve been to. If you decide to head over for a visit – skip this one. You only get a certain number of restaurant reservations per days that you stay. Trust me – there are some better ones that you’ll want to try out instead.

Dinner outfit details:



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Overall – our first day and a half in Mexico was pretty relaxing. I basically got to dress up and stuff my face with food.

I promise I did other fun stuff too! More adventures from Mexico tomorrow…

In Life, Style on
July 13, 2014

Not-So-Suprise Birthday

Happy Birthday Daddy & America!
My Dad recently celebrated a huge birthday milestone, so I thought I’d surprise him with a huge surprise birthday party.

His birthday is at the beginning of July. We planned the party for 4th of July weekend – which I thought was perfect…. people would be taking time off of work anyways for the long weekend and it would be great for his family that would be traveling to get there.
4th of July was a bust. The rain ruined the entire day. Thankfully the next day, party day was wonderfully hot and sunny.
I had no idea what I was getting myself into… let’s just say that my Dad is not the easiest person in the world to suprise. First of all, he’s such a control freak. He is so nosy and constantly needs to know what’s going on with eveyone.
This party took me the better part of two months to plan. While he was away in Haiti in June, I was able to get out all the invites and remind everyone without him breathing down my neck, but somehow a few days before the party, he found out.

The party was a cook out – we grilled burgers and hot dogs and feasted on tons of Haitian food. Sorry, no #FoodPorn pictures, because nothing (besides the cake) lasted long enough for me to snap a pic.

Here are some shots of my family celebrating together (with a lil outfit of the day too):
Get ready for a million and one pictures…
Dress from Forever 21 // Shoes by Steve Madden // Necklace from H&M // Hat from H&M 
Feelin a lil’ leggy 😉
I love frolicking in my yard, hehe. 
My cousin Marley
Necklace from Forever 21
Clutch and Ring from Urban Outfitters
My cousin Rachel in all black
I wasn’t too happy that the wind was no cooperating with me to take this picture…


Finalllllly it settled down enough for me to take a decent shot that had both the Happy Birthday balloon and American flag balloon


But then a huge gust of wind almost blew away my hat and the balloons!
Recreate my look:

Marley and Rachel are my favorites to take pictures with. I love that I can just hang out and be silly around them. 
Okay that’s enough fashion stuff… back to the party….
I love the summertime because that’s when my Dad’s family tends to get together the most. His cousins are so hilarious and I love spending time with them. Some of his family travelled from New Hampshire, New York, and New Jersey just to come and spend time and celebrate with him.
We had so much fun playing outside. But don’t take my word for it… see for yourself.
Baby cousin Amaya, 4th of July Baby
Izzy and Amaya
Umm, Daniel – That’s not how you hula hoop but ok.
My dad’s cousin Belony attempting to hula hoop
He figured out out he can do it better if he puts his drink down. 
I bought a ton of bubbles for the kids to play with and it was a hit. They loved it.
The lovely ladies!
Of course, little Amaya had to do an outfit change.
My dad and his cousin!
Daddy hanging out with the guys.
Planning a suprise party is definately no easy feat. Especailly with a big family like mine. Between my Dad’s family, my Mom’s family and all of their friends, the guest list was over 100 people.
I wanted to do something really special for my Dad. You only turn 50 once and I felt I owed it to him after giving him a hard time in high school.
Birthday cake – we only do Haitian cakes at our parties. (It’s basically like pound cake, but with a lot more spices and sometimes if you’re extra good, they put a little rum in it too hehe)
I helped my aunt make this one. Story behind the cucumber: We could’t find the 0 candle so we improvised! 
My mom and dad dancing before cutting the cake -______-
Me, mortified and hardcore judging them lol.
Thank you speech before cutting the cake.
Of course, my Dad had to give a speech too 
Baby cousin Nya
Daddy’s Girl
I wasn’t joking when I said I had a big family… here are some shots with a few of my cousins and aunts
My Grandma Ines busting a move on the dance floor! 
Everyone had to pull out their cameras and phones. This lady dropped her cane and was moving like no one had seen before.
As the evening was winding down, we had a serenade on the patio. My dad’s friends pulled out their guitar and sung some beautiful Haitian folk songs and French love songs. A group of us sat around and listened and sang along. 
My parent’s friend Lala. This woman is nearly 90 years old, but you would never be able to tell.  She wears heels, and was dancing like nobody’s business. New life goal: to be just like Lala when I’m 90.
The serenade was beautiful. I remember going to them with my parents when I was younger. I would usually fall asleep on the couch listening to the beautiful music. Listen for yourself:

Happy Birthday Daddy! Even though you ruined your own surprise, I hope you enjoyed the party! I love you!

In Life, Style on
July 9, 2014

On The Run Tour: Beyonce + Jay-Z

I can officially say that I’ve been to see Beyoncé live twice in my life!
beyonce jay z on the run tour

This is a big step for me… I’m not a concert person at all. For the same reasons I hate going to clubs – I hate being surrounded by drunk strangers in close quarters, especailly when they can’t hold their liquor and ruin my time.

My friends from school Cindy, Sarah, and I went to see Beyoncé and Jay-Z on their On The Run Tour.
The first time I saw Beyoncé was in December as part of the end of the Mrs. Carter World Tour. I went with Cindy and we had a blast… but our seats were not the best. We were so far away from the stage so I basically watched the show on the promters. I knew this time had to be different. I put together all the extra change in my savings that I could spare to get good seats #BrokeCollegeStudentProblems.
I picked up Cindy and we braved the traffic to meet up with Sarah at Gillete Stadium in Foxboro. Note to future concert goers: Always check if their are parking fees! I thought since it was Gilette the parking would be free… I was far from wrong and thankfully we had cash on us for the $30 parking cost.
outfit of the day
Sarah + Cindy
“All I need in this life of sin… is my and my girlfriend(s)” – The truest words spoken by Jay-Z
 We went to eat a quick dinner at 5 Guys Burgers and Fries in Patriot’s Place before heading into the stadium.
Selfie while waiting in line for 5 Guys
I wore a light pink crop top from H&M, floral print shorts from H&M, (old) wedges from JustFab, necklace (which I’ve basically been wearing all summer) from H&M, and purse from HM. (Clearly I have a problem and need to stay away from H&M.)
Recreate the look:

The stadium was packed. I’m so glad that we decided to eat before the show because the lines for food were so long and the cost of food a drinks was ridiculous.
Before we knew it the show started…

They played all my favorite Beyoncé/Jay-Z songs within the first 10 minutes. I wanted to full experience the show so I didn’t have my phone out to record it yet – I regret it already. I wish I could go back and relive it.Here’s a vid and some snapshots from the show!

jay z
The concert was amazing. We had really good seats for the price we paid. They were the last seats in the row of our section so we had pleanty of space to dance and sing and be crazy without feeling claustorphobic.
The entire time I was thinking “Is this real life…” which coincidentally is how Jay + Bey ended the show… along with a cute montage of their life together.
I wish I could teleport back in time to see them again. It was so great.

Want to know what wasn’t great… sitting in the parking lot for two hours waiting to be able to drive home. The show ended by 11:20pm and we didn’t leave the parking lot until well after 1pm. I didn’t get home until right before 3am and I had to work at 8am the next morning.

This doesn’t even begin to show how crowded it was at the end of the show.
…But it was all worth it. One of the best shows of my life.

Who should I see live next? 

In Life, Style on
July 1, 2014

Wedding Bells

The summer time brings longer days, sunshine, vacations, and most importantly: weddings. This year I was so lucky to get the chance to witness my cousin tie the knot with his fiancé!
Ring the wedding bells!

Let me start by saying that I don’t have any photos of the ceremony… because I missed it. Note to self Chekara, double check to make sure the GPS and all that is up to date and working so that you don’t get lost on the way to the ceremony.
I did make it just in time to snap some pictures of the newly wedded couple as they were leaving the church.
The bride Brittani and the groom my cousin Fredny.
 We took advantage of the nice weather and got some wonderful pictures outside before heading over to the reception hall conveniently located right up the street from the church.
//Outfit details//
Dress by Lulu’s, jewelry by Charlotte Russe (can’t find an online link), clutch by HM, flower hair clip by HM (similar here), shoes by Guess (similar here).
I am absolutely in love with this Lulu’s dress. At first I wasn’t sure that I wanted to get it because it was a little bit pricier than what I wanted to spend. But the beauty of the dress is that you can wear it several different ways. The top half of the dress is actually two big, long pieces of fabric that you can wrap around you however you want. It can turn the dress into a halter, strapless, cutout, you name it. Despite the nearly $70 price tag, I would definitely buy this dress again. I’m thinking of saving up and getting it in a different color.
I bough the dress in a size Medium because the reviews online were mixed. The medium ended up being just a tad bit loose on me. I ended up getting it tailored to cut off an two inches of fabric – it was just too long and I knew I was gonna end up tripping everywhere on it.
Recreate the look:
We had about 30 minutes to kill before the cocktail hour so we naturally took that opportunity to take photos!
My mom, aunties, and the bride and groom’s mothers
My mom, my sister, my aunts, and me!
My uncles, who couldn’t stop cracking jokes the entire time.
Me and lovely sissy Maya
Maya and my Mama
After taking a million photos we moved on to the cocktail hour which was conveniently located 5 minutes from the church. We snacked on cheese, crackers, fruit, and bacon wrapped scallops while sipping on fruity cocktails.
Mom, Maya and me at the cocktail hour.
Finally it was time to be seated. We all rushed into the reception hall to wait for the newly weds to be introduced. I had perfect seats for this part…
How beautiful is the bride in that dress?!
The first dance was so beautiful.
There was not a dry eye in the entire reception hall during the mother and son dance either.
Finally it was time to eat! Dinner was a light vegetable medley, mashed potatoes, baked chicken, and a fish. It was served buffet style which I have to admit I like much better because I can determine my own portion sizes. Sorry, no photos of the food – I was too hungry and ate it all up. 
But I did get some more pictures with everyone…
My family with the groom
Me and the groom, Fred!
Brittani the bride and her friends. 
Gorgeous (and delicious) cake featuring the bride and grooms initials rather than the typical bride and groom topper.
The bride slipped into the divine sparkly open back number with slits up the sides to show of her long legs. She looked amaaaaazing. 
Brittani and Fred sharing their first piece of cake together.
After cake cutting we moved on to the bouquet toss. I stayed far away… I was not trying to catch anything…
Finally, the time had arrived…. it was time to party.
The DJ opened up with Beyoncé’s “All The Single Ladies”… Someone taught the flower girl how to do the dance and it was just the cutest thing ever!
Let me tell you, Brittani can dance. The dance floor was filled with dance battles and tons of joking around throughout the night and Brittani was definitely the Queen of the Dance Floor.
My mama droppin’ it low
The evening ended with a touching tribute to the groom, Fred’s brother Jonathan. He passed away tragically in December and it’s been a rough road for the family. A few tears were shed throughout the evening for him – we were all devastated that he couldn’t be there physically to celebrate with us, but we know that he was here in spirit.
Everyone was handed a balloon and we each released it up to the sky in his honor.
It was such a beautiful wedding. I’m so happy that I got to share the experience with my family. Welcome to the family Brittani! I can’t wait to make many more wonderful memories with you guys.
Wishing the newly wed couple all the best in their future.