#AlifeinthedayinBelize: Art & Sweets In San Pedro Town

Last night I dreamt of San Pedro….

Does that little tune by Madonna sound familiar? Did you know she was referring to San Pedro town in the beautiful land of Belize in “La Isla Bonita”? Well if you don’t know, now you know. In staying true to the beauty of San Pedro (aside from its gorgeous beaches and resorts), I wanted to share with you some local gems that are both creative and sweet.

Belizean Melody Art Gallery as seen from the street

As San Pedro is such a huge tourist destination, catering mainly to the tastes of North American visitors, it is easy to get caught up in the hype; the shoreside karaoke joints, restaurants, hair braiding, etc. Having visited numerous times, and no longer considering myself a tourist, I have discovered that the beauty of San Pedro is deeper in town, starting as close as a few streets away from the sea.

Being a lover and consumer of art, I always make it my duty to purchase artwork/crafts from local Belizean artisans on all of my trips. I’m reminded of such by my grandfather’s late wife, Miss Shirley, who always told me to “support your Belizean brothers and sisters”. Staying true to these words, I stumbled across the Belizean Melody Art Gallery on Barrier Reef Drive while perusing the streets with my mother, and decided to stop in.

A bevy of works inside Belizean Melody

Once stepping through the threshold, I was transformed in a space filled with artwork solely from local artists, which was refreshing. There were reminders around the space that mentioned that none of the artwork/souvenirs were made in China. Kind of cheeky, huh? Mom and I sifted through the pieces and ended up in a corner that housed homemade spice blends and freshwater pearl rings.

Mom near the spice blends

It was in this corner that we decided on our purchases. My mother got two spice blends to bring back home, and we both purchased delicate, freshwater pearl rings. You can see mine in the photo below.

My freshwater pearl ring

After admiring the local art and chatting with the sales associate at the gallery, it was time for ice cream, because it’s always time for ice cream! Directly across the street was the famous Manelly’s Homemade Ice Cream, a San Pedro staple since 1985.

Signage for Manelly’s

As this was a repeat trip to Manelly’s, I wanted to try a new flavor. The ice cream joint sells Belizean favorites in Soursop (Guanabana), Craboo, Strawberry, Mango and more, but on this day I wanted to try the Belizean Fudge flavor. Belizean Fudge refers to a dessert made with sweetened condensed milk, sugar, and butter, that is often mixed with nuts or raisins. The ice cream flavor was vanilla with generous chunks of peanut fudge throughout.

My Belizean Fudge ice cream cone

Disclaimer: this cone is EXTREMELY sweet, but it was such a treat. I’m really picky when it comes to fudge, but to have a great piece of fudge with peanuts (my favorite) in this cone was a delight! Can you sense my happiness whilst writing this? I hope it radiates throughout the computer screen. Along with ice cream cones and cups, Manelly’s sells fruit paletas, milk shakes, and waffle cones.

Full menu at Manelly’s

The ice cream really perked me up, and prepared me for the rest of my exploring that day. This is just the beginning of my series on Belize. Look out for more posts covering different locales and spots in the country!

 

*Photos by Andrea K. Castillo

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Back From Belize, And Refreshed!

Outside my grand-aunt’s house in Belize City.

Living in such a fast-paced world, it is incredibly necessary to take that time to step back to reflect, explore, and re-charge. I had the opportunity to do so during the latter part of August as I visited Belize for 18 days. I used the time to be as offline as possible, although I did post some photos every now on Instagram when I caught WiFi. It was a time to be with my family and really explore the country in a way I had not prior. Usually, my time is split between Belize City (where the majority of my family lives) and Ambergis Caye (where our timeshare is located). This time around, we covered much more, visiting all corners of the country and meeting family, friends, and new experiences along the way.

Peeking through the mangrove in Caye Caulker.

In the Northern region of the country we visited Caye Caulker and San Pedro, which are big tourist destinations, in the center, Belize City and the nation’s capital, Belmopan, in the Cayo District in the West, Xunantunich (one of the most popular Mayan ruins in the country), and in the Sounthern Stann Creek District, the town of Dangriga (where we have family) and Placencia where we have roots and many family friends.

Sunset in Placencia.

I wanted to give you all a written and photo introduction to my tales of Belize. I captured a lot, ate lots of food, and have so much to share! Stay tuned for #AlifeinthedayinBelize!

*Photos by Andrea K. Castillo

#AlifeinthedayinToronto: Coffee Goodness at Rooster Coffee

The entryway of Rooster Coffee

A trip in the life in the day of Andrea is not complete with necessary amounts of caffeine, so I wanted to share a cute coffee joint in Toronto with you all. Located on King Street E near the corner of Berkeley St., Rooster Coffee House is an understated yet super cool coffee shop that is filled with all the caffeinated beverages your heart could ever dream of. We passed the location on the way back to the apartment, and as I was in need of a serious caffeine fix, I ran in once I saw the word “coffee” on the business’s sign.

Art displayed throughout the shop by local artists

Upon entering the doors of the coffee house, we were greeted by a warm environment, filled with various canvases of original artwork from local artists, as seen in the photo above. The shop’s menu was displayed on chalkboard with all offerings handwritten in a artistic manner.

Full view of the space, including the super chic bar area

As we moved up in line, I decided to order one of my favorite coffee drinks, an Iced Red Eye, sweetened with half and half. My wait was short, and I was able to better view my surroundings, and get the password to the WiFi, which was written on another chalkboard further back in the cafe.

The goods

A few minutes later I received my seriously caffeinated beverage, and was quite pleased with the outcome. The photo above shows my drink and the “coffee condiment station” (I just made that up). My drink was a perfect caffeine pick me up for the night I had ahead, which included a concert and more. Definitely a great place to meet up with friends, work, or just chill out.

 Rooster Coffehouse

343 King Street E.

Toronto, ON

416-995-1530

I would most definitely recommend Rooster Coffee to my friends in caffeine and open work spaces. They have good hours and sell pastries and sandwiches alongside their coffee beverages, which is also a plus. Definitely pass by if you are in the area, and be sure to check out all my favorite spots in Toronto on my TripleSpot list.

*Photos by Andrea K. Castillo

#AlifeinthedayinToronto: A Trip To Molson Ampitheatre for Day 1 Of OVO Fest

Our tickets to OVO Fest, day one.

The fifth annual OVO Fest was held at Toronto’s Molson Ampitheatre on August 3rd and 4th. The brainchild of one of our favorite artists, Drake, is known for its major headliners, this year being Outkast and Drake, and special guest appearances. Kortnee and I left the States without tickets/passes for the show, and gave it up to luck for finding a pair for either night. Our mission proved successful, and we were able to score a pair of 300-level seats for the first night of the show headlined by the legendary Outkast.

A beautiful day for an outdoor concert!

The day started out a little cloudy, but ended up being sunny and gorgeous once it was time to head over to the venue. We cabbed it to Lakeside (where the venue is located) and got in line with the slew of fans. While waiting we bumped into fans from New Jersey, and Michigan; it was evident that many people traveled from out of town for this event.

Fangirl shot in front of the merch booth, rocking my “6” tee

Once we entered the venue, we made it our duty to find some sustenance as we hadn’t had lunch earlier. We decided upon fish tacos from one of the food trucks on site. I realized after the fact that there was a poutine truck in the cut that we totally missed out on, next time though! There were numerous mercy tables selling OVO gear, and we tried our luck getting tour tees. Unfortunately, all the smaller sizes were sold out this time, so we were happy that we had purchased some goods at the pop-up shop the day prior. I rocked my “6” tee with my favorite skirt. So simple, so comfy.

A view of the crowd in the ampitheatre

The photo above was a view of the crowd from our perspective. The amphitheatre was quite spacious and the seats were not steep, so you could see the stage from multiple angles.

Kortnee and I in our seats

Here we are in our seats. The show was opened by West Coast rapper YG, followed by an hour break with Outkast hitting the stage at approximately 9 PM. The duo has been celebrating 20 years together in 2014, and in turn, have been performing multiple festival dates. This was Kortnee and I’s first time seeing Outkast, and a great time at that as they performed all their hits over the years. We were treated to one more special guest before the show closed out in Bun B, performing his verse from “International Players Anthem”. A moment to remember indeed.

To continue on with my Toronto tales, be sure to follow my TripleSpot list, Enjoy Toronto w/AKC. Cheers!

*Photos by Andrea K. Castillo & Kortnee Leigh

#AlifeinthedayinToronto: Take a Bite & Sip at 416 Snack Bar

Real wine, real candles

I hope you have been enjoying my Toronto tales! I wanted to circle back to my first evening. As I had mentioned in prior posts, my first food stop was Patois. After this, my friend and guide Jahmal had to leave me, and gave me detailed directions of where to walk to get a real taste of the city, along with the location of one of his favorite spots where he would meet me later on in the evening; 416 Snack Bar.

Korean Fried Chicken

Located on Bathurst Ave, steps away from Queen Street E, 416 Snack Bar totally felt like home when I walked in. The lights were dim, soul music played in the background (from a DJ in the back right corner), and the crowd was eclectic and calm. Since I had some time to kill, I figured I would have a little drink, and a small bite from their food menu. I kept it simple and ordered a cider, and the Korean Fried Chicken (pictured above). The restaurant used chicken thighs for their recipe, as opposed to white meat, and seasoned generously with soy, ginger, sesame seeds, chives and other flavors.

Tourist Photo 🙂

In my time at the bar, I made a few new friends, and was really able to take in the atmosphere as I had gone there solo. It was kind of a big deal for me, because I had never really gone to a bar/restaurant alone before, especially not in another country! Just goes to show that we live and we learn, right?

Once we exited, I asked Jahmal to take this lovely tourist photo of me, seen above. As someone who takes photos, I’m never in much photos, so I made sure that I got snapped in front of as many cool spots as possible during my trip.

416 Snack Bar

181 Bathurst Ave (near Queen St. E)

Toronto, ON

Phone: 416-364-9320

info@416snackbar.com

Be sure to check out 416 Snack Bar if you are out and about in Toronto. Also, check out all my spots in detail via my TripleSpot list, Enjoy Toronto w/ AKC!

 

*Photos by Andrea K. Castillo & Jahmal Sang

#AlifeinthedayinToronto: Take a Sip at The Beaconsfield

A view of the bar, fully stocked with top-shelf everything

Located on the corner of Queen St W and Beaconsfield Ave, stands a bar unlike any other, aptly named The Beaconsfield. The bar and restaurant is steps away from the famed Drake Hotel, and boast a beautiful exterior, housed in the historical Molsons Bank, with a cobblestone patio hugging the space’s perimeter. We stopped by the watering hole to end off a chill evening with friends.

Crystal chandelier, that added to the old-school vibe

Upon entering The Beaconsfield you are immediately transformed into a space that is both luxurious and inviting at the same time. Crystal chandeliers hung from high ceilings, and all the attention was on the bar, fully stocked with various spirits, bottled beers, and fine wines; they are known for their impressive tequila selection.

My drink of the evening, dark rum with a splash of pineapple

Soon after our arrival and my admiration of the space, we all ordered drinks. I kept it simple and ordered a dark rum with pineapple on the rocks. The guys had beers and vodka drinks for the most part, and we sat back to unwind with great tunes in the background (lots of Drake and Majid Jordan on the playlist to be exact). I had an unfortunate encounter with a man whose horrible “I like the way you drink your drink” pick-up line scarred me for the rest of the evening. Thankfully, I was diverted by friends who conjured up aimless conversation to save me. Phew!

I would definitely recommend The Beaconsfield for groups of friends who want to chill out, or even a date as there are some super low-key tables in the back of the space. I found out after that they have a full food menu, which you can view here. I will definitely be back!

Beaconsfield
1154 Queen St W
Toronto, ON M6J 1J5
(416) 516-2550
Be sure to check out more of my favorite spots on my Enjoy Toronto w/ AKC TripleSpot list!

*Photos by Andrea K. Castillo

#AlifeinthedayInToronto: A Trip Downtown to the OVO Pop-Up Shop

A streetcar, that is not so desired

Twas an overcast afternoon on Queen Street E, and the gang, which included myself, Kortnee, Jahmal, and our host Deb, decided to take a trip to Dundas St. in Downtown Toronto to stop by the OVO Pop-Up shop. As we were in town for Drake’s OVO Fest weekend, the star held a local pop-up shop of OVO branded apparel & accessories downtown, as well as at the festival.

During our stay we were introduced to Toronto’s streetcars (seen in the photo above), that have been around for decades, and continue to have mixed reviews from the public as society becomes more advanced technologically. We decided against taking the streetcar, and opted for a taxi to Dundas St.

Canadian 20 Dollar notes

Once we arrived, Kortnee and I exchanged some of our American money over to Canadian dollars so we could more freely shop! Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s face emblazons the dollar notes, which have a plastic-feel. I can compare the notes most closely to Euros in regards to look and feel.

Kortnee, our lovely hostess Deb, and I

Whist walking to the shop, I decided to stop and take a group photo of the girls and I. I don’t call it an “USSIE”, I call it a group photo taken with my long arm, cuz I’m old school yo! I really dig this photo because it was totally unplanned and it came out just the way I had imagined.

A face seen throughout Downtown Toronto. Reminiscent of Disclosure, no?

We jumped on the line for the OVO Pop-Up shop (yes there was a line, but we were tourists, so we waited) and my eyes were treated to many walls covered in cool street art. I snapped a photo of this face up top, that reminded me of “The Face” that is present in all of Disclosure’s visual marketing and merchandise.

Kortnee and I posted up with OB O’Brien of TOP SZN

After a few minutes of waiting, we finally got into the shop to peruse the latest offerings from OVO. The minimal space showcased tees, hoodies, shorts, hats, and keychains in OVO splendor, marked with the collective’s signature owl, “6IX” and “6” as a homage to Toronto’s 416 area code, and the simple “October’s Very Own” branding.

While inside, we had the opportunity to take a photo with OB O’Brien of TOP SZN, who’s song “2 On” is currently burning up the airwaves. OB was a sweetheart, and soon after we met the other half of TOP SZN, Ryan. We had already taken a photo, so we didn’t want to be weird and take another, but it’s all good. The guys were great, and the quality of the tees was super comfy.

Keep an eye open for a glimpse of the tees later on in my series, and be sure to check out all my spots in my Enjoy Toronto w/ AKC TripleSpot List.

*Photos by Andrea K. Castillo

#AlifeinthedayInToronto: Take A Bite at Patois

“Juicy Jerk”, the crafty sign behind the counter at Patois

As promised, I am here to share bits of my recent trip to Toronto with you, in a weeklong series entitled #AlifeinthedayInToronto! If you have come accustomed to the topics that I cover on the blog, you would have noticed that I am a huge foodie, and I love to discover new eats everywhere I go. Aside from spending time with friends both old and new, a big part of my Toronto experience revolved around food.

Fresh off the plane, my first stop was Patois, a Jamaican-Chinese fusion restaurant on Dundas St., in close proximity to the park, nightlife, and other cute restaurants.

Pineapple Rum Punch, quite refreshing

Upon entering the space, I noticed how inviting it was, having extended bar seating for groups, as well as a good amount of tables in front, and towards the back of the space. I went with my Toronto guide Jahmal, and we took a seat at the bar as it was quite busy at that time (after-work/dinner hours). We started off with drinks, I had the special which was Pineapple Rum Punch, seen in the photo above. The house rum for Patois is Gosling, a famous dark rum from Bermuda, which the restaurant uses in all their rum beverages. The punch was refreshing, but it could have used a bit more of a kick (I’m not a lush, I promise).

Jerk Chicken Chow Mein, spicy yet mild

Next up was our meal. Jahmal ordered the Jerk Chicken, and I ordered the Jerk Chicken Chow Mein, as seen in the photo above. The jerk chicken was shredded and marinated in jerk sauce and seasoning, placed over a bed of chow mein. You could taste a bit of soy sauce, and shallots were mixed in to fuse both Jamaican and Chinese flavors. Overall, a good mix. I cleaned my plate.

Bread pudding, a treat!

As Jahmal had to leave, I decided to stick around and chat with my new friends at the bar, and try a dessert. As with my prior two choices, I went with the special, which was Bread Pudding. What made this bread pudding special was that the raisins were soaked in rum, and it was served with a dollop of fresh cream on top to balance tastes. This was a great treat and wonderful way to finish off my meal.

I would definitely recommend Patois to anyone interested in a good meal and cocktail in downtown Toronto. Be sure to check out my full list of spots in my Enjoy Toronto w/ AKC TripleSpot List!

 Patois

794 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON M6J 1V1

Just East of Palmerston Ave

Phone: 647.350.8999

Photos by Andrea K. Castillo

Travel Essentials: Escape to Belize Feat. Cosabella, Eva NYC, Velvet Eyewear, Coola & More!

It has been a busy time over here in the realm of Andrea, and I am so grateful for all the adventures, meeting new folks, and collaborations in the works. In a few days, I return to the motherland of Belize for a much needed retreat for the rest of the month. I call it a vacation, but I will be snapping away, and taking note of some of my favorite spots to share with you through this blog, as well as partnering with the great folks at TripleSpot in featuring my spots in Belize.

As I get to packing, I’ve decided to showcase some of my travel essentials for my trip. We can start with the personal care and accessory items in the photo above. From center:

  • Hematite & Jadeite Necklace- purchased during one of my last trips to Belize from a local artisan, I love this necklace because of its clean look and versatility. Both stones are also known to have healing properties.
  • Smith’s Rose & Mandarin Lip Balm-  aside from being super-moisturizing, the balm has a nice rosy tint, and fresh mandarin scent. Great for both day, and to moisturize lips overnight.
  • Velvet Eyewear Joie Sunglasses- I love the shape of these shades, which give a nod to the 1960’s. I also love the subtle blue to camel fade on the frames. Sea and sand anyone?
  • Model’s Own Coral Glaze HyperGel Nail Polish- as they don’t yet sell in the US, my cousin brought me back this polish from London. I love the shade, and can’t wait to try it out!
  • FLOSS GLOSS Wet & Con Limon Polishes- because it’s the color of the Caribbean Sea, and the slice of lime in my Rum Punch, obvi.
  • Eva NYC Get Up And Go! Hair Care Travel Kit-  all of the products from this line are infused with Argan Oil, which is great for combatting frizz.
  • COOLA Sport SPF 30 Piña Colada Sunscreen Spray- because I want to tan the safe way while smelling like a tropical adult beverage.

Clockwise from top center, then looping back to the middle:

  • Theodora & Callum Greek Keys Printed Scarf (similar)– one of my favorite prints in my collection, this cotton/linen blend scarf is incredibly versatile and can be used as a cover-up, head-wrap, or as a shawl when it gets breezy.
  • JBL Synchros E10 in-ear headphones- super lightweight and great for the beach. Also has a microphone and is phone compatible, but I won’t be taking any calls 😉
  • Element Blythe Dress-  the nautical vibe dress is perfect for my sea-filled vacation. It is also cotton with a bit of stretch, so I will stay cool during the hot temperatures.
  • Ester-C Immune Support Tablets-  you can never have to much Vitamin C, and I will make sure my immune system is up to par with all the traveling, and varying temperatures.
  • Element Trini Short-  these fleece, drawstring shorts are perfect for lamping around the beach, not the town, because they are extremely short (but I kinda like it that way).
  • Cosabella Sol Lowrider String Bikini  when it’s time to tan, I like maximum exposure, therefore I always opt for tiny bikinis. This string bottom is tiny, whilst remaining tasteful. I love the teal color as well.
  • Old Navy Palm Tree Print Beach Towel- the colors and print are perfect, and the towel is a nice large size to lay out on.
  • Cosabella Sol Push-Up Triangle Top  as a proud member of the ittie bitties, I love this top because it adds a little lift, without looking like a padded mess. Also I appreciate how slim the strings are, to facilitate in less tan lines, woop!

Here’s a close-up of my beach essentials (above). I can’t wait to jump into the water in my new bikini! Hopefully I will get some photos in it. I can’t wait to set off to Belize for some much needed R&R. Be sure to keep an eye out for my spots, and of course, an #AlifeinthedayinBelize feature!

 

Photos by Andrea K. Castillo

Travel Essentials: Caribana Weekend in Toronto Feat. JBL, Private Party, Ouidad, EOS & More

Later on this week, I hop on a flight to Toronto to experience Caribana weekend, and a wonderful opportunity to connect with the local creative community. I will be exploring the city and all it has to offer in the realm of food & drink, entertainment, retail, and culture. I will be staying for five days, and have decided to share some of the essentials I will be packing!

Clockwise from top, then making a little loop at the bottom:

Side of some of my travel wares for Toronto. Isn’t the Selena tee the best?

Close-up of everything. At this point in life I probably have more toiletries and beauty items than anything, but it’s fine, because I write about them! I’m super pumped for my trip, and will be documenting for a special A Life in the Day in Toronto series when I return right here on the blog! Keep an eye out. 🙂

*Photos by Andrea K. Castillo

Take A Picturesque & History-Filled Stroll Through the Big Apple With Walks of New York

As a native of New York City, we often are put into one of two boxes.

  1. The know it all, that has a story about everything from delis to fancy night-life spots
  2. The avoider, AKA, the one that avoids crowds. This is the person that you will never find at any major tourist destination.
Street art on Gansevoort
Street art on Gansevoort

I myself, am somewhere in between. I have a vast knowledge of hidden gems and hot spots in the city, but at the age of 27, I can’t say that I have visited the Statue of Liberty (sad life, I know). Because of this, I am always on the lookout for opportunities to learn more about the city in which I live, and Walks of New York fills that void.

In celebration of National Walking Day on April 2nd, the team at Walks Of New York held a series of free, themed walking tours around the city for media. The company is an extension of Walks of Italy, a successful walking tour company of European destinations that began in 2009. For New York, the company is starting out with five tours:

  • Highlights of New York Tour: Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Grand Central
  • Meet the Met: Highlights of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Lower East Side Stories: Traditional New York Culture & Food
  • B&H New York Photography Tour: High Line, Meatpacking, Chelsea Market
  • Express Access – Empire State Building Tour and Skyscraper Walk
Depth of field.
Depth of field.

Being the photography nerd that I am, I chose the B & H Photo Tour. We started out in front of the Gansevoort Hotel on 9th Ave and 13th St. Our walk headed westward, and in this time we were introduced to some of the area’s history by freelance photographer, Kirsten Alana. Along with educational bits on the neighborhood, Kirsten gave us insight on perfect locations to snap beautiful photos.

New blossoms along the Highline
New blossoms along the Highline

Our westward walk took us to one of my favorite places, The Highline. Once an elevated train track, The Highline has since been remodeled to be a mini park and path of sorts, for us to experience nature at a higher level. The sunlight was splendid on the afternoon, so I was very pleased to capture great shots on the street, as well as close ups of foliage, as seen in the photo above. Continue reading

From A Fan’s Perspective: Coachella 2013 WKND 1 Highlights

Coachella sunset PANORAMA!
Coachella sunset PANORAMA!

Back on the East Coast in my beloved Brooklyn, I am happy to say that I survived Coachella 2013, weekend one! I survived extreme temperatures and a lovely sandstorm on Sunday night, along with my feet surviving the hours of standing. This year was a treat for me as it hosted some of my favorite acts right now, a large number of them hailing from across the pond.

I have arrived.
I have arrived. Long arms, closed eyes and all.

In total, I counted via my snazzy Coachella 2013 iPhone app that I viewed over twenty acts in the three-day festival, so on average, I watched approximately seven shows a day. Not for the faint of heart, patience, or those that insist on wearing heels; it ain’t gon’ work boo. All tents are named after deserts, Mojave (hosting the majority of UK acts) and Sahara (EDM acts) being the largest, Gobi hosting an eclectic mix of acts, and Yuma, the newest addition to the festival, hosting smaller international DJs. The two headlining stages are the Outdoor (which hosted Wu-Tang on the final night), and Main (which hosted the Red Hot Chili Peppers on the final night).

Pink's Chili Dogs and a Taco stand in one of the food concession areas.
Pink’s Chili Dogs and a Taco stand in one of the food concession areas.

Food at Coachella is as exciting as the musical acts. There is a mix of famous food trucks including Coolhaus, Border Grill, Green Truck, LA staples like Pink’s Chili Dogs, a good array of vegetarian options, full bars, and more taco variations than I have ever seen in my adult life. The grounds are huge, but food facilities are nestled in each corner so you never go hungry. New this year is the Red Bull Speakeasy; a 1920s themed air-conditioned lounge that serves cocktails and hosts live dueling piano players, and a photo booth.

Dueling piano player at the Red Bull Speakeasy
Dueling piano player at the Red Bull Speakeasy

The famed ferris wheel is a must! For 8 bucks, you get one of the best views one can imagine of the festival grounds. Definitely worth it.

View from the ferris wheel of the Coachella grounds.
View from the ferris wheel of the Coachella grounds.

With that said, I bring to you some of my musical and scenic highlights of the weekend, from the perspective of Andrea the music & nature lover/ people watcher. Get ready for weekend two!

Baauer during his set in the Sahara tent
Baauer during his set in the Sahara tent

BAAUER.

The man behind the hugest dance craze in recent history to sweep the world, “Harlem Shake”, rocked the crowd with a a set of  booty-shaking down south tracks. My friends and I were right up front for this, and it was thoroughly enjoyed by all. I unfortunately missed “Harlem Shake” as I had to run to another stage, but it’s all good, another act re-enacted this. Read on.

2 Chainz performing at the Mojave tent.

2 CHAINZ.

Despite being twenty minutes late for his set and having a semi-exhausted crowd boo in spurts, Titty Boi AKA 2 Chainz performed a memorable set for his first Coachella experience. I was caught somewhere in the mid-front of the crowd of this set. I thought I was going to be trampled numerous times, water was thrown on me, and I was pushed, BUT I sang every lyric at the top of my lungs like I was on stage. His performance of “Crack” was definitely the climax of his set. #TurnUp.

Continue reading

I left my heart in Belize…

San Pedro, Ambergis Caye. The view while waiting for the next boat.

Well not all of it, but a large portion of it. Belize is the motherland. The home of my parents and all generations before them. A tiny country located in the Yucatan, Belize is bordered by Mexico in the north, the Caribbean Sea in the east, and Guatemala in the west and south. It is the only English-speaking country in all of Central America, formerly known as British Honduras. It is a land I call home although I was not born there, my heart is there. My heart is in every grain of sand that lines the shores of the beautiful Ambergis Caye. My heart is in each stone that has built numerous colossal Mayan ruins. My heart is in the coconuts that overflow my grandfather’s backyard, which give water better than anything you can find in a can or carton. My heart is in the people, of all races and creeds, my heart beats in the people of such a multiethnic and beautiful land.

Hibiscus flower.

I visited my second home back in August. I go every other year, but this trip was particularly difficult as it was a large reality check for me. Prior to my departure, I had lost two aunts who basically molded my view of Belize, and who I so closely tied to everything that reminded me of the country, and my every day life while there. They were both very strong women in their own right, who were very influential in their respective communities. I am incredibly grateful to have known them, and shared so many fond moments with them both over the years. Along with my parents and family in the US, I count my aunts as large influencers to my love and pride for my home country. Here are some photos of my time abroad. I hope you can see the beauty that I see.

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