yoga

What is a Sound Bath?

Before heading to Trinidad, I joined Stephanie at a Brooklyn yoga studio for a sound bath. I had never heard of a sound bath. And I thought to myself, “What Boho Valley girl class is Stephanie trying to take me to?” But, after Stephanie explained to me why she loved (Eastern) yoga and the sacred and restorative benefits of practicing it, I decided to give it a try.

I thought, If anything it would be an experience and entertaining, to say the least. Stephanie was testing out this particular yoga studio and let’s just say the instructor couldn’t be characterized as zen.

yoga downward dog pose, stretching,

We began with stretching and breathing exercises and poses one would think of when you thought of yoga. Next, came a man that sang songs of nonsense. (No, seriously! Stephanie and I recited the words in our Uber back and couldn’t stop laughing.) As I lied on my mat with the lights dimmed, I tried to relax, but I was completely distracted. The man sang in English and I thought to myself if he sang in another language I wouldn’t recognize how ridiculous his words were.

I started to sneak peeks at everyone lying around me and it seemed as if every one was breathing deeply and seemed to be completely relaxed. Was I defective? So I tried to block out my thoughts, his lyrics, and just listen to the sounds.

Stephanie was right about needing to practice blocking out the world and practice listening to my body. As I finally became relaxed, it was over and surprisingly I was extremely emotional. Was that suppose to happen? Did it work? I had questions, but I was afraid to open my mouth. If I did, would I begin cry in front of complete strangers? 

Stephanie mentioned earlier that day that yoga would bring up emotions I’ve buried deep inside and would show me where I held my stress in my body. I skeptically listened to her thinking that must be for her personally, but boy was she right! I felt emotionally and physically tender and realized I carried my stress in between my shoulders and my lower back. 

Although my experience felt extremely foreign to me, it was genuine. Would I begin practicing yoga? I don’t know. But, I now believe it can be therapeutic for those who genuinely practice it. I can confidently say I will try another sound bath, but at a different yoga studio of course. 

Besito,

Melizza

What is "tabanca"?

It has officially been a month since I played mass in Trinidad and I was warned about experiencing “tabanca”. Some of you may be asking what the hell is “tabanca”? Is it a noun, a verb, or an adjective? And some of you may be all too familiar with it. Some might call tabanca the West Indian equivalent to being lovesick. But, in my case tabanca has absolutely nothing to do with a man and absolutely everything to do with Trinidad Carnival!

Where do I even begin when it comes to the topic of Trinidad’s Carnival? Hmm let’s begin with #TrinidadIsn’tARealPlace

I should have known I would be in for surrealism at it’s finest when ASP Wayne Mystar stated during Trinidad and Tobago Police Service media briefing that “picking up things (and people) could result in a criminal offense.” But did we really need a media briefing on this? Apparently, we did! For those of you who aren’t Soca lovers, here is the tune that started this all.

Mr. Killa – “Run Wid It”

Yes, that’s right rum has encouraged party goers to pick up ANYTHING and RUN with it! Trini fun is another level of wild behavior and it is not for the faint of heart! With that being said, here are my Top 10 recommendations when playing mas in Trinidad. 

1. Be prepare for NO SLEEP! Set one day, if you can, to catch up on sleep. If you’re not a “feteran” (partying vet) or a college student it will punch you in the face. We used our day off to get local cuisine and went to the beach.

2. Purchase all-inclusive tickets. The all-inclusive fetes were worth it especially if you drink. You are provided a reusable cup and It can be compared to bottomless brunches. Plus food is provided which you need to stay semi-sober. 

3. Less is more because Trinidad is HOT! It’s like being on a rush hour subway car in the middle of July…not the best for you hair but you skin is dewy for the sweat haha. Wedges and cute sandals are your best friends because most of the parties are outdoors.

4. You can play mass without a costume. I paid for a front line costume and truly did not believe it was worth the price ($1,100) especially because of the issues we had at the distribution center and with the actual costume. I felt amazing though and I wish I took photos before playing mass.

5. Don’t walk with tons of cash. I walked with $200 US and used my card when I was able. EVERYONE will try to sell you their TTDs but it is not worth it. My friend and I did the conversions and gave the American equivalency. I did not want to have money was worth 6.8 to my 1 dollar. Make sure you break down your money with 10’s, 5’s, and single dollar bills.

6. Beware of hustlers.  My friends and I felt like some one was trying to hustle us every day I was there. It may have been different if we had friends and family there but this feeling had me on high alert the majority of my stay. This trip was the first time I had ever change my flight to return home earlier than plan because I felt unsafe to stay by myself.

7. Wear COMFORTABLE shoes on the road. We walked 15 miles on both Monday and Tuesday. I wouldn’t claim to be athletic but I’m healthy enough to walk the distance. If you’re not trying to train before arriving in Trinidad. I placed insoles in my sneakers to make sure my feet weren’t crying early on. Regardless, they will be aching by the end of the day. 

8. Listen to Soca jams of carnival season. You don’t necessarily need to know all soca songs, because you will hear the top 15 over and over. No seriously! And we all danced as if we didn’t just hear that song an hour ago.

9. Pay for the travel plan with your wireless company and bring at least two fully charged backup chargers and your own charging cable. (We helped a lost tourist with a dead cell and no free wifi to contact her group)

10. HAVE FUN, DRINK, AND DANCE YOUR BUTT OFF! Trinidad Carnival and J’ouvert is a judgement free zone.  Wear what you want no matter your body shape, do what you want (pithing reason), and behave however you want! Make you you have bake and shark, roti, chow, and paella while in Trinidad. Ask for Peppa!

Besitos,

Melizza

Would you like to test out your sea legs visit while on vacation on the beautiful island of St. Croix? If so, take a full day sail to Buck Island on Big Beard’s 42’ Catamaran “RENEGADE”. This all-inclusive sail leaves promptly at 9:30am from downtown Christianstead and rates start from $26 (Children ages 5 and under) to $105 for adults. 

Big Beards provides sanitized snorkel gear and lessons to each guest in need of one at Buck Island’s Turtle Beach. After that,  the crew takes its guests to snorkel the lagoon on the other side of the island. You will be guided through the underwater trail and then can explore by yourself. 

Big Beard's Adventure, Plus size swimsuit

Guests are allowed to bring their own snacks and beverages (Prosecco anyone?). If you’re going to snorkel, I suggest you wait to drink afterwards. Once guests reach the private beach burgers, hot dogs, fresh fish, and assorted chips are served. If you would like a veggie burger you can request one. 

After lunch and all the rum punch (that will sneak up on you) we had a relaxing sail back to town. The trip was relaxing with tunes playing the entire times and it was even kid-friendly. The crew was friendly, knowledgeable, and amazing.  We had every age group onboard. Thankfully, we had a fun group that wasn’t uptight or sloppy drunk. It was a great way to celebrate Z’s birthday!

Because I’m extra, I brought more than necessary. Of course we brought our sunscreen, towels, water, healthy snacks blah blah blah. But, to fully enjoy this experience I brought Swimways mesh pool floats, my FRĒ Lifeproof case, and my waterproof bluetooth speakers from Altec  so we could fully relax while tanning in the water. 

If you would like to learn more or make reservations for the full day sail with Big Beard’s please click here

Besitos,

Melizza 

Cruzan Cowgirl Horseback Riding

Cruzan Cowgirls is a small family operated company on the beautiful island of St. Croix that offers horseback riding tours with rescue horses. The trail begins in the West End. Riders are guided through an old cattle plantation that full of papaya, tan-tan, and historical ruins. Riders are able to experience the rich and beautiful culture St. Croix has to offer before ending the tour in the gorgeous turquoise water so be prepared to get wet!

I Recommend You Bring:

  • Natural bug repellent (which you can find in the local K-mart in West)
  • Sunglasses
  • Waterproof Cell Phone Case (I have a Lifeproof Case) or 
  • Waterproof Bag (or at least a ziplock)

The site recommends what to wear but as you can see in my video I wore what I wanted and I did not regret doing so. I wore my most comfortable pearl jeans, a flow blouse, and sans footwear. I wanted to feel comfortable and I did! 

The tour lasts about 1.5 to 2 hours and can be reserved by calling or texting (340) 690-7433. Visit Cruzan Cowgirls for more details. 

 

Besitos,

Melizza

Rose in Arrow Photography of fashion stylist Melizza P. Williams in Tampa on the beach

For so long I fought to settle down in one place even though I knew it just wasn’t me. As each year passed, I increased my travels. I thought the life of a nomad was for hippies. And that was something my A-Type personality did not want to be associated with. My anxiety was increasing with each step I made to stay put and plant roots. It felt as if everything I was doing was wrong. Somehow going against something I couldn’t quite put my finger on, even though certain things were considered successful.

Rose in Arrow Photography of Melizza on the beach

I realized in Italy that I could no longer ignore what my body and mind were telling (reads: screaming at) me. Island Company’s Quit Your Job motto has always resonated with me.

“Quit Your Job,
Buy A Ticket,
Get A Tan,
Fall In Love,
Never Return.”

Never in a million years would I have thought that I would have done this so early in my life! Once I returned from Italy, I did just that! I quit my job. I bought a one-way ticket to the Caribbean. I’ve gotten a much appreciated sun-kissed tan. And I’m falling in love with myself. I plan on returning to America, but I can’t say when or for how long. What I can say is that everything is falling into place as I’ve fully accepted that I’m meant to travel, explore, and this is not the season for me to stay put or plant any roots. My soul is at peace with this decision. 

Rose in Arrow Photography of fashion stylist Melizza P. Williams in Tampa on the beach
All Photos were taken by Rose in Arrow Photogrphy

I don’t subscribe to the pressures of having a 9 to 5, getting married, and having children early in my life. So for those concerned about the status of my uterus, don’t be because it’s none of your business. I’ve always wanted to be the cool aunt that was constantly traveling and who had a fabulous wardrobe. If I happen to fall in love, get married, and have kids, great. If not, also great! I’m dancing to my own beat and I want it to stay that way.

So go ahead and put your headphones on, select your jams, tune everyone else out, and dance away!

Besitos,

Melizza

plus size travel, venice Italy, rialto bridge,

Last December, during my day-long layover in Boston, I decided to visit the Isabella Gardner Museum before traveling to Copenhagen. There was a gallery featuring work inspired by the artist’s travels throughout Italy. It was in that particular gallery where I strongly felt that I would be traveling to Italy within the new year.

As I walked through looking at each piece, I began to feel overwhelmed with jealousy and determination. I wanted to be in Italy just like the artist. But, I didn’t want to experience Italy through her brush strokes and her memories. I wanted to experience Italy for myself and create memories that only I would have! I told myself that no matter what I would find a way to get to Italy and see it for myself. Fast forward to six months later and I wasn’t just traveling to Italy. But I was living in Italy!

I was able to briefly immerse myself in the culture and I fell in love. Espresso filled mornings, gelato filled afternoons, and Spritz filled evenings. Italians are passionate people. They spoke my love language even though I could barely spoke theirs. They had a warmth and energy that I gravitated towards. And like every other country that I have ever visited, I now incorporate a piece of their culture into my everyday life.

Italia, Italy, Venice, Plus size travel,

I worked as an AuPair during the week and had the weekends off to explore. Exploring Venice was a priority of mine. Normally I like to explore by myself, but for this I knew I wanted a tour of Venice and I wanted to hire a photographer to capture my experience. So I began my search and I found Anthony Sulchia on Airbnb. Not only did he have the credentials as a cinematography and photography professor, but all of his reviews were excellent. And I must say he exceeded all of my expectations! We avoided the crowds of tourists through alleyways only known by locals, he took us to the must-see spots, and treated us to the best gelato Venice had to offer!  If you’re ever in Venice you MUST hire Anthony. Check out his reviews and his availability via Airbnb.

*All the photos in today’s post, excluding the two showing Anthony, were taken by Anthony **

Traveling is possible for anyone who truly wants to! You can travel on a budget. It’s all about balancing when you’re on a budget. Some nights I ate a simple panini with chips and other nights I would splurge on a fancy meal with wine. Some weekends I stayed in an Airbnb room and other weekends I stayed in a hotel. Some weekends I traveled first class and some weekends I traveled by bus or the train.  I was able to travel and live in Italy as an AuPair. I had some luxurious moments but I also had very long, stressful, and hard days at work. At the end of the day, the sacrifices and hard work  always makes it worth it!

Anything is possible if you put your mind to it! Do the necessary research and save your money until you’ve arrived at whatever destination you desire. In the same way that I sensed I would visit Italy last Winter, I know I will return for an extended stay. I don’t know when, but I know it will happen. Until then, I will continue saving my money and researching how to make it happen. 

Besitos,

Melizza

The Daisy Brunch Love Triangle

Confession time! I was caught between two in a serious love triangle this summer. One that should have ended once season was over. And to be honest, I’m still caught between the two and have kept them both a secret.

As much as I don’t want to do this, it is time to break up with Brunch and Bellini. Or should I say it’s time to take a break? Because let’s keep it real! Come Spring, I’ll begin the stroll down memory lane and begin flirting with the idea of reuniting as soon as the temperature increases

The Daisy Brunch Love Triangle

After a few months of living in NYC, you’ll get into seasonal habits of New Yorkers. Summer is all about day parties, brunches, and having a summer fling or two or three (who’s counting and who cares?). Fall is about spiced lattes, apple picking, and an open call audition for future cuffing bae (if you haven’t secured that spot with your summer fling).

Winter is all about indoors events, high emphasis on indoors, daydreaming of luxury tropical resorts, and being home more often than you’d like. No one wants to face the bitter cold or the high probability of falling on black ice in heels. It’s the only time of year where it’s almost socially acceptable to cancel because it’s too damn cold. And to quickly summarize Spring, you’re basically a social butterfly waiting for the right moment to break out of your hideous and dark cocoon. All contingent on the weather of course! Obviously you don’t have to adhere to these habits, but they are habits you can easily be picked up.

The Daisy Brunch Love Triangle

So cheers to one last affair between Brunch and Bellini. The Daisy is a new gem of mine is located in the Upper East Side at 1641 2nd Ave. I highly recommend the Regina George (yes, named after THE ultimate mean girl). I had the delicious salmon eggs benedict over a homemade biscuit. The Daisy is a seasonal restaurant so their menus change often. Use the hashtag #WeDrinkPink for a chance to win a free premium bottomless brunch.

Besos,

Melizza

abundance tres jolie

On a rainy day in Williamsburg, Stephanie and I decided to grab a cup of coffee and chat. There’s rarely ever a moment where we’re not chatting. I remember thinking how I was working my ass off and I felt like I wasn’t bearing any fruit. I felt like my harvest was dying as each season passed. What was the point of all this intensive labor if I couldn’t reap from anything I sowed? Stephanie gave me great advice and told me to write down the word abundance. I knew the literal meaning of abundance, a very large quantity of something, but didn’t understand why she of all the words she could have suggested she chose abundance. And I never ask why so it plagued my mind once we departed.

abundance

Fast forward to months later through heartbreaks, strained friendships, depression, and other tribulations I didn’t share with anyone until recently. I now understand why she chose abundance. I needed to change the frame of my thinking (once again). I remember her suggesting meditating and mantras and I snobbishly thought, “I”m not a hippie and yoga is NOT my thing”. But once I put my ego aside I realized it was not about yoga. It is about connecting with one’s self. My thoughts were formed from a place of scarcity.

When I thought of the word abundance, it was on the terms of financial and materialistic gain. I had money. I was able to travel whenever I pleased. I could shop and dine out whenever I wanted. But, I still felt poor. I read somewhere that true abundance is when you experience “joy, health, happiness, a sense of purpose, and vitality.”

abundance tres jolie

The essential meaning of abundance is that you are solidly happy with who you are and no external event or situation—whether good or bad—can add or subtract from that happiness. So be mindful of the seeds you sow within, practice gratitude, practice self-care, perform a random act of kindness, and change your frame of thinking.

ABUNDANCE.

Stephanie, thank you for choosing a word that was once meaningless to me until now.

Besos,

Melizza

 

P.S.

We were having coffee at Toby’s Estate in Brooklyn. Check them out!

Revlon Live Boldly, Refinery29, 29Rooms,

  • bold·ly  ˈbōldlē/
    adverb

1. in a confident and courageous way; showing a willingness to take risks.
2. in a way that is characterized by having a strong, vivid, or clear appearance.

What does it mean to live boldly? Do you imagine of a scene worthy of an action thriller? Maybe you imagine someone standing up for their convictions when it goes against popular belief. Or do you imagine yourself facing a personal challenge?

It was outside 29Rooms from Refinery29 where I had a rather late but beautiful epiphany. My entire life my mom has shown me, by example, how to be a bold and powerful woman. She would always say, “What Lola wants, Lola gets!” And I would always think, “Who the hell is Lola?!”

You’re probably wondering what does this have to do with 29Rooms. Well, I’m getting there…thank you for your patience. My girlfriend was back in town from Israel and going was on her wish-list. But, 29Rooms was completely sold out and this was the last day it would be held in NYC. We knew the chances of getting in were slim to none but my mom’s voice popped into my head loudly and clearly saying, “What Lola wants, Lola gets”! So we trekked from the Upper East Side down into Brooklyn a little weary and wondering if we were wasting our time.

Our hopes dropped once we saw the line. We stood on the corner and began discussing other options. But once again I heard my mom’s voice. “What Lola wants, Lola gets!” Instantaneously, I was determined to get us in! I felt great in my outfit so my confidence was soaring high and so was my charm. I immediately channeled my inner Lola. Repeat with me “What Lola wants, Lola gets”! And just like that, I got us into 29Rooms.

Revlon Live Boldly, Refinery29, 29Rooms,

We entered Revlon’s 82 Shades of Bold as our first installation. This was beyond fitting considering the series of events that lead up to us entering 29Rooms. I chose a shade I believed Lola would approve of. Black Cherry was its name. And as the makeup artist applied it onto my lips I couldn’t help but laugh and wonder if this is how alter egos are created?

Revlon Live Boldly, Refinery29, 29Rooms,

Obviously, I’ve omitted details and names to protect the employees that allowed us the opportunity to enjoy 29Rooms. It was on this day that I realized how Lola gets exactly what she wants. Lola isn’t manipulative nor is she a mean girl. Lola gets what she wants by being kind, confident, persistent, and bold.

So I challenge you to #LiveBoldly. Even if your first step is as small as trying on a new shade of lipstick that’s outside of your comfort zone.

Besitos,

Melizza

Today marks the first of September and mentally Fall has already begun for me. But, if you must get technical, the first day of Fall is officially September 22nd. Needless to say, Fall is all about: plaid, the leaves changing, a spiced latter (or two), and most importantly my annual trip to Boston, MA. Thanks to my go-to booking app, HotelTonight, I was able to stay at a modern and industrial chic hotel in the heart of downtown at The Boxer

The unique structure is similar to the Flatiron Building in New York City. The tufted bedframes, open steel wardrobes, and the marbled bathroom immediately caught my attention. I had a pre-planned photo shoot so I needed a hotel that was not only accessible but also relaxing. And The Boxer provided just that!

My room was furnished with an iHome, Keurig coffee maker, and a large flat screen TV. You know… “first world” essentials. The Boxer offers smart business amenities for those traveling for work. Complimentary Wi-fi made working on my personal workspace hassle-free. Complimentary printing is available at the lobby computer kiosk if needed. The Boxer is also pet-friendly and has a 24-hour gym. After a long day of traveling, pulling, and prepping for the shoot I was more than happy to have dinner and drinks at Finch, its on-site restaurant, conveniently located on the ground floor. Check, check, and check! Seriously, The Boxer has everything covered! It was tempting to stay in my room and never leave the hotel. But sadly, the duties of being a responsible adult (gag) called and reluctantly I left the comforts of my suite.

If you ever truly want to experience Fall and explore Boston, I highly recommend you stay at The Boxer Boston! Check out their website for more details.

Besitos,

Melizza

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