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Mel's Life: #TurksandCaicos

For the big 3-0 my best gal pals decided to take a trip Providenciales or Provo as it is commonly referred to by the Turks and Caicos Islanders. We stayed at Villa del Mar located in the popular Grace Bay area. I must say the staff at Villa del Mar were so kind and put up with our shenanigans (Joseline voice) with a smile on their faces. The same can be said for the locals we encountered on our trip. Everyone was super nice, for a second we thought we were being duped. Talk about east coast cynicism lol.

What you really want to hear about is the beach, I know. It did not disappoint. Grace Bay is stunning!!!! The water is so clear that it resembles the gleam of diamonds sparkling in the sun. I could honestly stare at the ocean forever, and I practically did. I spent a lot of the time at the beach curled up under a beach umbrella either reading or catching some beach side zzz's. My absolute favorite part of the trip however, was the chartered catamaran. We sailed to near by Iguana island. The island gets its name because its occupied by several scary looking Iguanas. The trip was so magical that I forgot my hatred for reptiles lol.

I will say the island is EXPENSIVE so if you are headed down to Turks do not be shocked by the prices. I recommend bringing your own libations and snacks. Also, renting a car and buying some groceries unless you want to eat resort food everyday ($$$). Speaking of resort food, the best meal of the trip was at Bay Bistro, where we had a beautiful sunset dinner on the beach. Chef Clive, served delicious meals that we all raved about on our way back to the hotel.

I will definitely be visiting the island again.


Father's Day was this past Sunday, and I am grateful for my Dad every single day.  After all he is where I get my love of science and nature from. I never really thought about my dad's style until I was inspired by Bonobos. My Dad's style has gone unnoticed because I am typically raiding my mom's closet for awesomeness and praying she doesn't notice (lol).

I would describe my dad's style as comfortable and functional. My dad is very much a jeans and shirt type of guy but can mix things up when he is going out. That's why the chinos at Bonobos are perfect for him and any man who needs a multi-functional wardrobe. After all, who doesn't need a wardrobe that can do both?! Dad can easily pair the chinos with a pair of sneakers for an insta-casual look or  trade the sneakers for a pair of loafers for a dressier night time look.

Next time I am searching for wardrobe gems I might have to take a peak into my Dad's closet. Cheers to dad style! 

Mel's Life: #Sydney

Three or four years ago, I would have never imagined I'd step foot in Sydney let alone Australia but that is where I found myself in February. I was already familiar with Sydney's airport after spending an eight hour layover there. With two of those hours spent trying to access an elusive Nando's that turned out to be located outside of the gates. Any who...I had one mission and one mission only the minute we stepped foot outside the airport and that was the BONDI BEACH! We dropped our bags off at the hotel and suited up immediately. Bondi is super gorgeous but the water was a tad bit too cold and rough for my liking. However, I didn't mind the coolness of the water after soaking up the sun. Australian heat is no joke lol. After the beach we went to a cute roof top restaurant near the beach and later grabbed gelato while taking in the sunset. Not a bad why to end your first day in Aussieland.

The next day we decided to purchase an iventure card to see the cities main attractions. We decided on the flexi 5 pass, which gave us access to 5 different attractions. We made it to the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Aquarium, Zoo, the Sydney Museum, and the Queen Victoria Building.  Where do I even begin?! The Opera house is absolutely stunning. This was my wow...I'm really in Australia moment lol. I wish we could have seen a show but the next concert wasn't for hours and we were sun beaten.

Our hotel was located across the street from the Queen Victoria building...Jesus was a fence around my wallet and I managed not risk it all shopping at this gorgeous mall. After all I needed to drop money where it counted on Food! We stayed at Sydney Hilton and the later the Marriott. I would recommend staying at either hotel. The Hilton had an interesting speakeasy with a great craft cocktail list. Speaking of cocktail bars, we absolutely loved Eau De Vie, a 20's style cocktail bar. It reminded me of DC, I guess that's part of the reason I enjoyed it so much.

Overall, I enjoyed my time in Sydney and I would totally make another trip. Although, the next time I head down under I definitely want to check out Melbourne, Brisbane, and Tasmania.

Mel's Life: #Auckland

In February, I headed to Auckland for a bit of R-n-R. It was my first 15 hour flight but I drank got through it like a champ. The free flying half bottles of Australian wine may have made the skies a wee bit more friendlier and Qantas my new favorite airline. We stayed at the Auckland Hilton, which is centrally located and a quick walk to the popular Queen Street. The first couple of days were rainy and overcast which lead us to the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. This museum is stunning, I wish we could've enjoyed a cuppa but the cafe was ridiculously crowded. We took in The Māori Portraits: Gottfried Lindauer, which featured over 100 portraits of Māori chiefs and leaders.

After a couple of days in Auckland, we headed for Waiheke Island. The was one of my favorite parts of my trip to New Zealand. The picturesque island is filled with wonderful wineries and sheep! We stayed at the Gorgeous Inn, a cute little cabin with big scenery. I recommended it if you are ever staying in Waiheke. We took a half day wine tour to sample some of the offerings of the local wineries. My favorite spot was Thomas' Bach. Needless to say I left for Sydney with a suitcase full of delicious wine. Over all I really enjoyed my trip to Auckland, the people are friendly and the food is exquisite. I hope to make it back to New Zealand to explore other areas. We headed for Sydney after, I will dedicate another post to my time in Australia.

Mel's Life: #Brazil

Last week, I went on a whirlwind tour of Brazil and loved every minute of it. My cousin and I flew to Manaus, Salvador, and Rio all within 6 crazy days. I must admit we saw absolutely nothing in Manus as we flew in at night and left at 4 am the next day. The one day that we did have to explore the area we crashed hard and spent the day in our hotel (lame but necessary).

On Friday, we flew out to Bahia! I was most excited about heading to Bahia because of the rich cultural history. Bahia is the home to the largest population of black people outside of the continent Africa and it is apparent immediately. I felt like I was returning home in a sense because everything felt very familiar. The music, the food, and the overall vibe of the city is reminiscent of the Caribbean. My cousin and I were in awe at how much the people of Salvador were able to save culturally from the clutches of colonialism.

After taking in Salvador, we set our sights on Rio de Janiero. We arrived around noon in Rio and hit the ground running. We headed straight to the famed Escadaria Selarón steps, after walking up the stairs we built up a pretty hefty appetite. We grabbed lunch at a cute restaurant and indulged in Brazilian steak (o-m-g soooo good).

The next day we went to see the Christ Redeemer statue. I wasn't expecting the statue to be so massive, I was a little taken aback. In photos, it does not appear to be so large. The vantage point at the statue is absolutely stunning, you can see Rio's beauty from every angle. Did I mention it was blazing hot? To take a break from the relentless sun we concluded our day at  Ipanema beach (where the water is cold and the food delicious).