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

valentine's day, cake, dinner party
If you’re anything like me and your middle name should be Procrastination, then you’ve come to the right place! Hence, this guide being posted on the day of Valentine’s Day! For the past three years, I would normally attend a Galentine’s Day brunch with girlfriends at a lovely restaurant. Absolutely minimal work…I just showed up, ate, chit-chatted, paid, and left. But, this year work was a complete GD-blocker! Sadly I wasn’t able to attend the annual Galentine’s Day Brunch so at the last minute I decided to host Valentine’s Day dinner. 
 
 
Valentine’s Day is a great time to celebrate love and friendships after a hectic Christmas season and long AF January! And hosting a Valentine’s Day dinner can be extra special and inexpensive. Here’s is how to pull off a successful Valentine’s Day dinner (on a budget)!
valentine's day menu, salmon, ravioli

* Create a simple menu. Since we’re all coming straight from work I didn’t want to be in the kitchen forever to cook a meal or have them waiting too long. I love Italian cuisine! It can be simple, filling, but most importantly fast and delicious Make sure your dinner is partially premade and partially homemade. So I purchased lobster ravioli from Trader Joe’s. I’m making semi-homemade tomato sauce and tomato Feta soup. I purchased a baguette and salmon to make a simple smoked salmon Crostini.

* Ask your guests to bring wine or dessert. Not only is it going to save you time from having to get everything, it’s going to save you money. Don’t worry it’s not déclassé. Your friends truly won’t mind. Besides, you’re cooking them a lovely meal and entertaining them.

* Create a beautiful tablescape. Don’t get caught up in expensive red roses. Get flowers in soft hues with a whimsical touch from your local grocery store or a street market vendor. Seriously, everyone is selling flowers today…even the gas stations! I have classic white dinner plates and actually found my gold trim dessert plates at Goodwill! My vases were a gift, but if you don’t have any go to the Dollar Store and quickly grab one.

* Create a color scheme and stick to it. My color scheme is white, gold, and pink. Make it easy on yourself! Get colored napkins. White is seriously your best friend for dinnerware.

* Create a balance playlist. Your playlist should be whatever you and your guests enjoy listening to. Mix up the genres. I’m making my playlist on the metro ride into work. I’m mixing the genres with an upbeat theme of love and friendship.

Just because you procrastinated, that doesn’t mean this should be stressful! Make it simple and fun! If you feel like you’re becoming overwhelmed, order an amazing pizza and eat it with candles lit, music flowing, and have a glass of wine. I, personally, just love to entertain and set the atmosphere so I do extra work that my friends don’t necessarily care about but they appreciate it which makes me love doing it more. Enjoy Valentine’s Day whether you’re single or you have a significant other!

 

Besitos,

Melizza

 

haute-chocolate-styled-stock-photography-relax-13-final

We’ve all had weeks where we think to ourselves “WTF…can I just stop being an adult?” And if you haven’t please do tell me your secret! Lol well, last week was one of those stressful weeks that I wanted to crawl into bed and say, “F*** it!” But, I was so busy I would legitimately have to schedule in crying session (which never happened). So when my friend said she was doing a staycation I didn’t think twice and packed my bags. We stayed in a hotel in the Financial district, explored new restaurants, watched girly shows on TLC, and danced the night away. Our staycation only lasted 24 hours but we felt like we were away in another city for an entire week.

Here are my top 5 reasons to do a staycation:

  1.   It’s less expensive than an actual vacation.  Staycations help you save on expensive airfare, car rentals, accommodations etc. I took the train to our hotel and allocated that fare to something else I wanted. We found an amazing deal on our accommodations. Using Airbnb is another one of my favorite options for accommodations.
  2.  You’ll see your city in a different light. We explored new restaurants, shops, and venues in a neighborhood that we’ve never lived in. I legitimately felt like a tourist in another city. New York has a million new things to see and do. I’d just advise you to make a list and plan out where you want to do and what you want to see. The best part is you can’t really get lost.
  3.  You’ll connect more with yourself and loved ones.  I spent this staycation with my former roomie (turned friend) and we got to know each other more and we bonded over super girly things!
  4.  You can COMPLETELY unplug. I didn’t answer any emails or phone calls while I was relaxing. I wasn’t out of the country, so my family had no need to panic when my cell went straight to voicemail. I was liberating not being chained to my electronics.
  5.  You’ll feel completely refreshed. Our staycation only lasted 24 hours, but it felt like I was gone for an entire week. I went to work the next day feeling as if I could wrestle a lion with my bare hands (which I would never do in real life even if I could).

haute-chocolate-styled-stock-photography-relax-4-final

So start planning your staycation! You deserve a little R&R. A little bit of research and planning can help you learn new things about your city and maybe even help remind you why you have stayed and haven’t relocated.

Besitos,

Melizza

Volez, Voguez, Voyagez, Louis Vuitton, Exhibition
Like a bear during Winter, it seemed like my body began its own preparation for hibernation. Add in the holiday spread and forget about it! But this Winter I wanted to make a conscious effort to stay stylish like the women on my Pinterest boards! I gave myself a healthy spending budget to purchase some comfortable and stylish jeans, sweaters, and footwear…you know, give myself some kind of incentive to get dress and leave my home. So when I decided to take my best friend to the Louis Vuitton New York Exhibition I pulled out my Plus Size Refuge Destroyed Pearl Applique Crop JeansCharlotte Russe, metallic and white slip-on sneakers, and my vintage fur coat. I wasn’t about to let this amazing outfit go to waste!

We arrived at The American Stock Exchange Building here in NYC which is “Volez, Voguez, Voyagez – Louis Vuitton” until January 7th, 2018. From the moment you enter, you can sense you won’t be disappointed. The tour opens with the most symbolic object of the House: the trunk and retraces the adventures of the House of Louis Vuitton and its founders from 1854 to the present. It even features select articles on loan from the Palais Galliera and the Musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris along with objects and documents from the Louis Vuitton heritage. This historic journey was designed by Robert Carsen and curated by Olivier Saillard and is worth the wait!

Tickets can be reserved here. Guided tours are sold out for the duration of the exhibition.

**This post contains affilitate links**

Besitos,

Melizza

manicure, nails

Only the heavens know what gave me the brilliant idea to apply my Jamberry nails for the very first time this late at night. I sat at my desk chanting to myself “I think I can. I think I can” like the Little Blue Engine. Two episodes later of Southern Charm and my determination and energy were practically nonexistent. I wanted to call my consultant like she advised, but I knew she’d be asleep and wouldn’t be thrilled to walk me through a simple process at 1:30 in the morning. I thought to myself, “This isn’t Rocket Science Melizza…What were those tips again for ridding my nails of these air bubbles?”

The clock read 2:35 a.m. and I was beyond exhausted. I rolled over and told myself I’d contact my consultant in the morning before rushing out to catch my flight. And  my body groans as I climbed into bed with a pounding headache knowing I have less than 3 hours before I would l be tempted to smash my alarm against my bedroom wall.

With a quick morning text over to my Jamberry consultant, she recommended using a heated spoon or knife to press out the air bubble and once again reminding me to work from the cuticle to tip. And again I thought “This isn’t Rocket Science Melizza!” The need for my nails to look professionally done was increasing rapidly and these air bubbles were messing up my vision. But, I had less than 20 minutes to do my makeup, hair, and get some caffeine in my system before dashing out to the airport. This technique would have to wait until I landed in Miami. From afar my nails look great but as I type these words at the airport, I’m literally cringing at these air bubbles and almost desperate to use the hand dryer in the restroom and a plastic knife to press them out. But, could this really be done with looking me suspicious? I wasn’t willing to risk be detained for the annoying air bubbles in my nails. It would just have to wait until I arrive at my hotel.

manicure, nails

I was excited to know Jamberry offers over 350 designs. My consultant chose this beautiful matte lilac color with rose gold tip near the cuticle, which was definitely my style. This design was supposed to last about 2 weeks, but the only thing I would think about while pressing and heating my nails was “Is this worth it?” I mean my salon manicure only last 2.5 days before chipping. And on the 4th day I couldn’t take it anymore and grabbed my acetone to remove the polish.

By the time I checked into the hotel it was late in the evening, all I wanted to do was to shower and rest. But, I was constantly reminded of the air bubbles on my nails. I practically torched my nail beds to smooth out these air bubbles and did a decent job but it wasn’t as smooth as I wanted. My ultimate desire was for my nails to look like I had them professionally don’t without the salon price. Sure I was complimented many times about my nails, but I swore these air bubbles would be the death of me.

My Jamberry manicure did chip like a normal salon manicure and didn’t last the advertised two full weeks. Now it lasted longer than my regular manicure, but those air bubbles were a thorn in my side. I would like to think that I may give it another try with the tips from my consultant. But, I can honestly say I haven’t been turned into a believer and that probability is extremely low.

manicure, nails

I could blame my dissatisfaction on multiple things. Maybe it was me and not the product, maybe if I had a hotter blow dryer, or maybe if I didn’t do it at 2 am I wouldn’t have had the air bubbles. But either way, I realize I don’t have the time, patience, nor the desire to trim design to my nails or to torch my nail beds to get that smooth perfected look that I desire. It involved more work than I wanted to do. This should have been tried on a lazy Sunday when I had the time.

If you guys have used Jamberry let me know your experiences with the product. Do you have any tips for women thinking of purchasing Jamberry instead of going to the salon or purchasing press on nails?

Besitos,

Melizz

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