Mid-Century Tropical Design, Retro Bus, Miami, East Little Havana, Airbnb, RiverInn

Mid-Century Tropical Airbnb

 I believe everyone can live, travel, and shop for the finer things in life on a budget. Traveling on a budget doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice comfort or style. So to get the best of both worlds I either find my hotels on discount sites like HotelTonight or I search for beautiful homes on Airbnb. Here is one of my absolute favorite accommodations was River Inn located in one of Miami’s oldest neighborhoods, East Little Havana.  This “Aparthotel” had a beautifully vibrant Mid-Century Tropical design. If you are wondering what elements create this overall theme,  I’ll quickly break it down for you below. 

Design Breakdown

Mid-Century Modern style makes use of clean lines, geometric shapes, and furniture with tapered legs to bring a more lived-in look to traditional modern style. It also incorporates wood and tweed elements while drawing attention to specific pieces of furniture and decor.

Mid-Century Tropical Design
Image by: DelightFull, Decoist, Ruffled Blog, Atomic Ranch,

Tropical style is all about comfort, ease, and utility and is eclectic by definition. The style is characterized by warm and soothing, colors drawn mostly from natural elements such as the sea, sky, and vegetation. Hues may be deep and rich or may fall on the lighter, brighter side.

 

I fell in love with their Mid-Century Tropical design so much so, that I will be designing my new apartment with pieces that were inspired by it. 


If you are interested in staying at River Inn click hereSign up with my link and you will get up to $55 off your first trip.

P.S.

*Contains Affiliated Links*

 

Besitos,

Melizza

 

sneakers with dresses

Since living in NYC, I’ve learned to appreciate sneakers! I mean we are walking everywhere! Whether you’re running errands or meeting up with your best girlfriends you don’t have to sacrifice being comfortable and casual to be chic. It is beyond necessary to own a great pair of that are chic and comfortable.

As you guys know by now I hate wearing pants so I’ve mastered the art of rocking sneakers with a dress. I’ve worn them with maxi, minis, and everything in between. There are a few things I tried to keep in mind when pulling off this look.

how to wear sneakers with a dress

When wearing something that is form-fitting or short I tried to make sure my sneakers are sleek and not bulky. I love rocking an all black body-con dress with a pair of crisp white high or low-top Converse. Scandinavians have perfected this look. I suggest adding feminine touches if your sneakers are masculine. The pair of Adidas I’m wearing in this outfit are actually men’s (thank you, Sheldon).  I’ve created a sexy high slit by unbuttoning a few buttons and I’ve paired the outfit with simplistic accessories. My all-time favorite pair are my slip-on sneakers. I can quickly slip into a flowy floral dress, slip into my slip-on sneakers, and run out the door within seconds! I live for this kind of effortless style!

Here are my Top 5 Sneakers every woman can pair with a dress.

1. High-Top
2. White Low-Top
3. Trainers
4. Slip-on
5. Velcro

My dress can be found at Target by Universal Thread

denim dress, sneakers,
Photography by: Christina Jones Photography

Besitos,

Melizza

plus size suit

What's your go-to interview outfit?

Do you have a to-go interview outfit that makes you feel strong and confident? When I purchased this light blue suit, I didn’t purchase it with an interview in mind. I purchased it with a meeting in mind. A meeting in which the attendees already knew I was creative yet professional.

While I was in Florida, I was presented with the opportunity to interview for a position I wanted back in NYC. I hadn’t traveled with any business casual or business professional outfits because I was having my very own “Eat, Pray, Love” moment.

I quickly became frustrated at the plus size selection offered to the women of Tampa Bay. It was pure shit! My friend had warned me but I didn’t think it was as bad as she described. I took my selection for plus size clothing in NYC for granted!  Finding an outfit in Tampa was beyond necessary…there wouldn’t be enough time to shop once I landed back in New York.

I was searching for hours! From 11:30am until 7pm to be exact. I was almost to the point that I wanted to cry. It felt like nothing would fit and the fabrics looked and felt cheap in the plus size section. Thankfully I found a black Liz Claiborne suit from JcPenny and a navy blazer and ankle pant from Lane Bryant. I purchased both for $200 thanks to the sale JCP was having and was truly lucky.

Focus on the Fabric Content

 Appropriate attire depends on the industry and the company in which you will be interviewing, it’s location and the season. So pay attention to the fabric content. You can purchase affordable suits or separates just make sure the fabric doesn’t look cheap. Work within you budget…even if it’s low. Try to go for pieces that have a higher natural fiber content than synthetic. This A New Day suit was a cotton/ polyester blend.

 Search local thrift stores. You’d be surprised in what you can find if you have a little bit of patience. I found an Ann Taylor wrap dress as a backup option from Goodwill and purchased my heels from Nordstrom Rack. Mixing high and low pieces can really make an inexpensive outfit look expensive. Just pay attention to the fabric content.  

Company Culture & Dress Code 

For companies that have a business or business casual dress code, be sure to keep your look conservative for the first interview. Wear a conservative suit in dark grey, navy, or black. Complete the look with basics pumps, simple jewelry, and a structured purse.

For startup companies or creative companies where employees are allowed to work in jeans and tees don’t show up in a suit. It may signal you won’t fit in with the company culture. You could wear a casual dress with flats and a statement necklace.

If you’re applying for a fashion-industry position, depending on the company, I believe you have more freedom to express your style. You don’t want to dress too stuffy or too corporate. So one element of your outfit should be polished and professional and one element should be fun like a great pair of tailored trousers and a chic colorful or patterned blouse with a great belt and great pair of heels.

plus size suit
Photography by: Christina Jones Photography

“Dress for the job you want – not the job you’re applying for.”

Besitos,

Melizza

"At the beach, life is different. Times doesn't move hour to hour, but mood to moment. We live by the currents plan by the tides, and follow the sun." ~ Unknown

I’ve spent the last 7 months traveling, running away from the hustle and bustle of the city that never sleeps. Only to experience many sleepless nights. On most of those nights I found myself driving to the beach to sit beneath the stars and listen to the waves crashing against the shore.

Life is different at the beach for me. It is more significant to me than others can understand. All my worries seem to wash away with each crashing wave. I’ve spent many hours, which felt like minutes, soaking up the sun, drowning out my fears, and listening to my unfiltered desires. It is a sacred time for me, where the mood is always right.

Florida beaches, plus size swimwear

I’m saddened that I won’t have access to a Caribbean or Floridan beach this entire summer but I know this sacrifice will benefit me in the long run. I’m beyond appreciative of the moments I’ve spent with myself on the coast. So much so that an entire post is dedicated to those moments. Maybe it’s time for me to get use to the northern coastline.

Until then, here is a list of my Top 5 Floridan beaches:

  1. Key West
  2. Nokomis
  3. Siesta Keys
  4. Sanibel 
  5.  Naples

Check out Travel Channel’s Top 10 Beaches on Florida’s East Coast. (Clearwater and South Beach are too touristy for me to ever fully love them…that’s why they will never be on my list). 

P.S. 

My bathing suit is from Target. 

plus size swimwear, Florida beach
Photography by: Christina Jones Photography

Besitos,

Melizza

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

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