The Bahamas Edition

I recently traveled back home to surprise my aunt for her 70th birthday.  We came together as a family and threw a surprise party which turned out magnificent.  There were a number of things that went back and forth in my mind up until the day of the party.  I kept wondering how things would turn out overall, the number of guests that would attend, would she enjoy this being a person that doesn’t really like surprises, would the photographer capture the moment, etc.  Well, all in all, I must say we outdid ourselves.  I still cannot believe how phenomenal everything was.  My aunt’s face from the picture below shows pure joy.  I mention this event because my aunt’s birthday is on September 22nd and I was celebrating my 2-year anniversary just 3 days after the fact.  My husband and I decided to vacate to the Bahamas and this anniversary trip was by far one of the best decisions we’ve made in 2018.

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It’s funny to me how you may get a little stressed when event planning but then when the day comes and goes, what do you do next?  In this case, pack up and take on Paradise Island.  We arrived on Monday to our all-inclusive adult only resort, Warwick Paradise Island, and was promptly greeted with a Bahama Mama while checking in.  When we walked in, I knew this was going to be a memorable vacation.  The décor was chic, the staff were super polite and the view from the room put the icing on the cake. I vividly remember feeling like a kid would feel who perhaps were visiting Disneyland for the first time.  I could not wait to tour the resort hotel, see the amenities and plan activities daily for us to enjoy during our stay.

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Usually, I think most people may feel the first day of travel is consumed with all the travel accommodations and noted as the day to just relax.  For me, I still wanted to enjoy our travel in day.  We ate at the restaurant that was considered more upscale, Edgewater Grill.  I planned to eat here for our anniversary the following day as well and just couldn’t wait I guess. This restaurant did not disappoint.  OMG! I’ll give more details in a bit.  They also had a late night bar that stayed opened I believe until midnight, called Chickadee.  The menu had pretty good selections including the sweet and spicy wings, quesadilla, conch fritters and pizza to name just a few that became our favorites.  Afterwards, we hung out at the bar in the lobby which seemed to be the place to be that night as many people had traveled in that same day.  We met quite a few people and enjoyed unlimited drinks at the bar until the nightly entertainment started.  On this particular night, the nightclub on-site was having karaoke night.  Well well well.  Don’t threaten me with a good time.  This was the highlight of the evening.  Something about karaoke and unlimited drinks just made the night that much better.  People sang their little hearts out for hours and I prepared to rock the crowd with my go to karaoke song, This is How We Do It by Montell Jordan.  When there’s karaoke, you have to perform this song!  It gets the crowd every time.  Overall, our first night was one for the books and set the standard pretty high for the rest of our trip.

The most popular place at the resort would have to be The Hog Bar that was outside by the pool/beach area.  At this bar, they played different games everyday like jumbo Uno, Jenga, Name that Tune and poker all while really encouraging you to drink up.  Bartenders would usually pass out specialty shots every hour and if you asked for water, they replied “We serve alcohol at this bar”.  I learned this early on so I started bringing bottled water from the room or grabbed it from the lobby before heading to the pool.  On this trip, I really wanted to focus on relaxation.  That being said, I think Tuesday became pool day.  Occasionally laying out for a bit in the sun and hearing the sound of the beach waves nearby while catching the slight breeze that came through at times and having endless pina coladas made this day perfect.

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I was really impressed by the restaurants and just how good the food was here.  All-inclusive is the best option I would say since your food and drinks are covered throughout your stay.  With that, it really helps when the food is actually good.  Warwick did not disappoint.  Edgewater Grill became our favorite place to dine.  There was a salad bar that you could enjoy and the menu was made to offer like a land and sea option along with any vegetable sides of your choice. As mentioned earlier, we went here on Monday night and doubled back for our anniversary the next day.  My husband had the steak accompanied with shrimp and the truffle mashed potatoes.  I went with the short ribs, mashed potatoes and mushrooms.  Okay, the presentation was by far the best.  The wine reduction sauce that was prepared with the short ribs was simply amazing.  Whew, I knew after our first experience, we were definitely coming back to this place.  I remember saying, “Hey, this is the place I reserved for our anny”.  My husband said “Well, we’ll just be back tomorrow”.  So there we had it.  Dinner for the next two days were already set in stone.  The resort also had a buffet style restaurant that served breakfast, lunch and dinner called the Veranda.  I frequented here for breakfast daily.  There were so many good options.  Cooked to order omelettes, pancakes, French toast, grits, a charcuterie display including meats, cheeses, olives, cornichons, veggies, and pastries just to give you an idea of the many items they had at this buffet for breakfast.  On our last day, they even hosted a BBQ outside by the beach.  Oh man the BBQ, homemade mac and cheese, potato salad, crab salad, rice and peas…the list goes on and on. Warwick did a phenomenal job with their many great food options and the BBQ finale on that Thursday night was just too perfect.

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On that Wednesday, I reserved a sunset dinner cruise for us. The voyage began around 6pm and was scheduled to last about 2 hours.  The tour guide gave interesting facts about celebrities that owned properties along our route and also shared historical facts about the island as well.  The best part however was in fact the sunset.  The view was unmatched.  Something about the sound of the ocean and seeing the sunset just gives you a feeling of serenity.  For dinner, they served Bahamian BBQ, salad, rice and peas, mac and cheese and a slice a cake.  Rum punch was served for the drink of course.  By this time, I think I had reached a good rum punch limit for the day and opted for a coke.  Nonetheless, the dinner was great and the ocean views were picture perfect.  After the cruise, we decided to venture to the Atlantis hotel.  We gambled a bit (no victory here but it was still fun), did a bit of sightseeing of the property and finished the night with a slice of carrot cake from one of their bakeries as a nightcap.

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The final full day always seems to get there much faster than you want.  Although I still wanted to focus on relaxing, I thought it would be a good idea to experience some of the culture outside of the resort too.  We took a taxi to downtown Nassau and enjoyed the Straw Market, souvenir shops and did a little more sightseeing. This day it was extremely hot so I couldn’t wait to get back to the pool.  We decided to take a ferry back to our resort and this was particularly nice because I couldn’t get enough of the crystal blue water the Bahamas has.  Of course we stayed by the pool for hours and finished the night with the BBQ night that I mentioned a bit earlier.  Overall, this trip was very much needed and really appreciated.  The relaxation it gave, the fond memories created and the peace given cannot be matched.  My husband was already mentioning booking the next trip back before we left.  Bahamas, you outdid yourself and I thank you for one of the best trips I’ve experience so far. Until next time….

 

California Dreaming: A Leap of Faith

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As of June 9, 2017, new beginnings were just ahead for me.  That was my official last day at my current 9-5 and my final night living in NYC.  My husband and I decided we’ve conquered the jungle and wanted to change the pace just a bit.  Be somewhere more aligned with our lifestyle and actually be more at comfort while at it.  We decided to take our talents west.  All the way west to the City of Angels better known as Los Angeles. The next morning we finished packing, loaded a Caravan and started a journey towards our true dreams.  When I shared this story, a lot of people could not wrap their finger around the decision to quit a full time job without having another one and the idea of abruptly leaving NYC to road trip it to California.  We also didn’t have a place of our own just yet.  This just added to the craziness and idea of packing up and taking it across country with pretty much ourselves, clothes and shoes.

It took 3 days to make it to California  with 2 pit stops in Texas; one in Dallas and the other in El Paso.  After trying to capture all of the state welcome signs, I finally saw the one I had been waiting to desperately see after over 30 hours of travel. Welcome to California!! Within 2 weeks, I landed a job and a little before 3 weeks secured an apartment.  I say all this to say, never give up on your dreams and do not live a life with fear.  With the faith of a mustard seed, things were able to come into fruition and just fell into place so perfectly.  I’ve made a number of trips to LA and decided awhile back this would be my next home.  So many things I have yet to do but I now can scratch off move to Los Angeles 🙂

Thank you for staying with me on the journey with Lifeofacitygal.  This is a passion project of mine and I will continue to bring great content, food recommendations and a bit of fashion sense.  That being said, this cute little number came from one of my favs, H&M, and is absolutely perfect for LA nights.   I paired it with my classic neutral mule to give me a little height due to the length of the dress.  Stay tuned for more greatness and again thank you for your continued support.  Don’t forget to share this with a friend!IMG_9034

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Nobody Safe Tour

If anyone knows me well, you would be sure to know I’m a huge fan of Future.  The first date for the Nobody Safe Tour in Atlanta, the best city ever 🙂 , was on May 5th.  Without a question when my best friend asked me to attend, I was there!  First flight out of NYC to my hometown to share this moment. Okay, so normally Cinco de Mayo consumes this day without a doubt but this May 5th would definitely be different.  Of course, we indulged in the festivities and had margaritas for a little pre-game but the hype for the evening was this concert.  Unfortunately, it had to be the coldest day Atlanta had so far in 2017 and it was rainy.  Never mind these circumstances, the show must go on and my excitement for it remained at its highest.

After standing in the “mist” and cold for about 15 min, we made our way to our seats and waited for the show openers.  To my surprise, Young Thug graced the staged first.  He sung a few songs, repped his hometown of course, and wrapped up in about 20 min or so I would say.  Ok no biggie.  Enough time to grab snacks and wait for the next appearances.  Moments later, the man of the hour appeared.  Singing hit after hit and really giving the fans a show to remember.  Unfortunately, the Migos did not make our show or any other guests for that matter.  Since this is Future’s hometown and he’s one of the most popular rappers in the industry, I just knew he would bring out a slew of artists as surprise guests.  To our surprise the only guest was Trouble, an up and coming rapper in Atlanta.  Being the huge fan that I am, I could care less but I did travel many miles to share this moment.  Come on Hendrix lol.

As the night continued, I remembered thinking to myself and then telling my best friend “Future has arrived”.  To see the sold-out crowd and to be in Atlanta for this was monumental for me.  I often gazed the crowd to see them just as hyped as I was to hear the Atlanta classic “Itchin”, seeing them sing word for word to “March Madness” and the reaction to ‘Mask Off” was unreal.  Future has definitely created a lane of his own lane and continues to deliver, especially from his latest project Hndrxx.  I loved the production and melodic tunes from this one.  Just might be deemed my favorite thus far.  Nonetheless, I can honestly say I genuinely enjoyed this show.  Didn’t get a ton of photos or videos this time around, just lived in the moment for once. I did capture a few good moments 🙂 .

My first winery visit

 

imageGeorgia is the home to some of the most beautiful cultural attractions, best restaurants and perfect go to spots for pretty much any occasion.  One place that I had never been to was the winery and resort, Chateau Elan.  I heard such great things before and even thought about having my wedding here.  Luckily, my mother-in-law booked a wine tasting and dinner reservation as a surprise gift after our wedding.  How sweet is she?

Chateau Elan is a little over an hour outside of Atlanta, specifically located in Braselton, Georgia.  Driving into the resort was an experience itself.  It looked a like a mini castle from afar in la la land like in the movies.  My hubby and I drove mesmerized all the way to the front of the ‘castle’ and just stared in awe.  We started with a nice tour of the winery.  Great way to learn more about wine and its origin.  After the tour, we participated in the wine tasting which included a sample of 8 wines.  Of course to go with the ambiance, I added a nice cheese plate.  It was nice to enjoy the scenery and walk the trails of the vineyard.  This was our first time at an actual vineyard so we were sure to enjoy every minute of it.

The day at the resort was topped off with dinner at one of the fine dining restaurants, the Versailles.  I was highly impressed with the decor, attentiveness of the staff and food presentation.  We started the meal with the pickled Georgia shrimp which looked like their take on a classic shrimp cocktail.  The shrimp laid on top of a homemade spicy tomato sauce with lemon and basil.  The flavor of that sauce added such a great taste.  For the entree, I decided to have the filet and truffled whipped potatoes.  My hubby got a little fancy and went with the pan roasted snapper topped with a lump crab salad.  I normally pick the better dish but I think he may of beat me this time.  Both were pretty amazing!  To top it off, we shared the lemon cake with a light butter cream and blueberry compote garnished with a piece of candied ginger.  The overall experience at Chateau Elan was nothing shy of amazing and most of all, memorable.  Checkout more pictures in the gallery of our day spent at our first winery visit.

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Wedding Bells

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I felt it was only right to share one of the biggest moments of my life thus far, my big day :-).  After months of planning and becoming a mini bridezilla in the final days leading up to this moment, the day had finally arrived.  The Grand Hyatt in Buckhead Atlanta was the place where all the magic happened.  I decided to stay there the night before to make things easier for myself and the bridal party.  The day started around 7am and I went nonstop until the reception ended.  After hair, makeup and many mimosas and cocktails later, it was time.  Just after the sunset it was time for me to make my debut. My dad and I had a little “prep” talk and shortly thereafter made our grand entrance.

I really understand now when people say to be in the moment.  It all went by so fast but boy was it fun! Just to have family and friends travel to see us share our nuptials was special enough.  Now fast forward to the reception.  I made it my duty to ensure my husband and I were not one of those couples that do not eat at their reception.  The food was too good not to! After dinner, cake cutting and silly photo booth sessions, we danced the night away. Literally.

There are three things I will always remember about our big day. First is the father daughter dance. My dad and I are huge Prince fans so I picked his most fitting classic ‘The Most Beautiful Girl’ for our dance.  I probably sang as much as I moved my feet but the look in my dad’s eyes was priceless.  Second would have to be the toast given by the best man, my husband’s brother.  He spoke so highly of his role model and mentor aka his big brother aka my hubby.  He also said so many great things about the sister he was gaining and made me tear up. Love him to pieces!  Last but not least, I cannot forget the look in the eyes of my lifetime partner when I said “I do”.  It was such a great moment and I will never forget the great memories made on September 25, 2016.  A special thank you to each and everyone that helped contribute to making this day a success.  Meet the Douglas’

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Back to the Future

 

imageFuture has embarked on quite a journey in his music career. With the success of DS2, Evol and What a time to be alive, the sky seems to be the limit for him. After the collab with Drake, it only seemed fitting to have Future apart of the Summer Sixteen Tour. The two have undeniable chemistry on stage and it’s safe to say they both have significant followings that would pack out each and every venue.

I was excited to gain knowledge of the Futurehive pop-up store that occurred during the tour. Some of the merch was the same that was at the venue but, of course there were also other pieces that weren’t. Upon entering the store, you stepped right into all things Future. Pictures of Future lined the walls and all types of merch were available for purchase including dad hats, crafty ‘Wicked’ candles, pins, Freebandz stamped cups and even a limited edition 14k gold eagle pendant designed by GLD shop. Hopefully you were able to stop by or it came to a city near you. Take a look into the hive below.

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Gucci’s Homecoming

On July 22nd, the world was finally able to hear the long awaited album ‘Everybody Looking’ from Atlanta’s own, Gucci Mane aka Guwop. Before there was knowledge of this album and its release date, upon Gucci’s return home, he announced the ‘Gucci and Friends Tour’ that would be hosted at The Fox in downtown Atlanta. My bestie, whom I love soooo much, purchased a ticket for me and just stated do my best to try to make it back down home. I immediately thought if Gucci’s home, I’m home and of course, I made it happen so I could be in attendance to this. The anticipation of what he would start the show with, which friends would also be performing, how many of my favorites would he perform, were all thoughts that I had until the lights dimmed and there he was.

In true Gucci fashion, it was only right to open the concert with one of my personal favorites ‘First Day Out’. Zaytoven, a highly renowned producer for many of Gucci’s classics, played the piano and we all started rapping the words. The show continued with many other hits, some mainstream and others for true fans of Gucci, such as Freaky Girl, Trap House,I’m a Dog, Go Head, Photoshoot and So Icy just to name a few. Now to the guests. I was overwhelmed with pure joy when I saw Future come out to one of his DS2 tracks, Stick Talk. Shortly thereafter he was joined by the one and only Drake. They performed Jumpman together from their #1 album, What a Time to be Alive and Drake also blessed us with Enemies and joined Gucci for their new summer tune, Back on Road. As if Future and Drake weren’t enough, Gucci’s friends also included OJ da Juiceman, 2 Chainz, Young Dolph and Peewee Longway. To say the concert was great, would be an understatement. Seeing that I was born and raised in Atlanta and love all things about my city, Gucci Mane was definitely a huge part of my lif, especially back in my college days for sure. To be home for this and to rap along to all of my favorite Gucci classics right alongside my best friend was definitely a night to remember.

 

Taco Tuesday

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Atlanta is definitely becoming the home of new and unforgettable places to dine.  Bartaco, located on Marietta St, undeniably left a lasting impression on me.  I am always looking for the new hot spots when I visit home and was so glad my friend recommended this place to grab dinner and catch up over drinks.  The ambiance here is very relaxed and inviting for a nice girls out.  We sat directly near the outside dining area; close enough to catch the summer breeze.  Before I even placed my order, I knew I would love it solely based on the vibe the restaurant gave upon entering and taking a seat.

There’s a nice selection of food as well but not too overwhelming when it becomes too hard to choose what you want.  We all know that feeling.  From various tacos, rice bowls, quesadillas and salads; all of which sounded very appetizing. We ordered guacamole for the table which was amazingly fresh and tasty.  I went with the duck and fried oyster tacos.  Great is an understatement! I also tried their rendition of Mexican corn which was a great addition to my meal.  Just enough chipotle-like mayo, cotija cheese and spices added to provide the perfect combination of flavors. If I hadn’t taken small samples of everyone else’s food, I probably would of double backed on the fried oyster taco.  The oysters were cooked to perfection.  Some of the girls ordered rice bowls with toppings of their choice and other taco selections.  The cocktails were quite refreshing as well.

It felt like a beach should be in near sight or accessible to allow for a stroll after drinks.  Upon reading the story about the restaurant, the beach and coastal vibes were mentioned in the description and this place definitely gives off those vibes.  Very chilled and relaxing environment.  It was perfect for our girls night out and I will definitely be back.  Their upscale street food is definitely worth a try.  Check out more pics below and pay them a visit if you’re in the Atlanta area.

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The Juke

 

imageAtlanta is the home of a lot of great restaurants. Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint in the heart of downtown happens to be one and I’m so glad I decided to take my family here for an outing on my last visit home. There’s nothing like a good ol’ Southern cooked meal and this place doesn’t disappoint.

To start, we decided to have the crawfish tails, fried green tomatoes and their rendition of bacon and eggs; which happened to be the delectable deviled eggs topped with candied bacon. Unfortunately we tackled the appetizers pretty quickly and I was only able to snag a picture of the deviled eggs. For my entree, I went with the half rack of ribs which were absolutely amazing. In the south, you have to have a good mac and cheese as a side so of course I ordered that for my vegetable along with fried okra.

What I love about the south is that home feeling you get anywhere you go. Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint gives a great vibe and the live band adds a special touch as well. While eating, we often stopped to chime in on classics that the band played including songs by the legendary Earth, Wind and Fire and the Gap Band. You have to chime in on these right? It was definitely a great experience and to see the smiles on my family members faces made it that much better. Check out more pics below.

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A trip to Marlow’s

For any trips to Atlanta, I try to make sure I visit some of my favorite restaurants. Sometimes fancy, other times, bars or simply fast food work just fine.  This trip I decided to make a stop by Marlow’s Tavern.  It gives you a nice American pub scene with a full bar of course and good choices for both lunch and dinner.  The shrimp and crab nacho plate never disappoints.  The rock shrimp and crab covered with melted pepper jack cheese, topped with a bit of spice from the jalapenos, are a match made in heaven.  It’s a perfect starter for the table or can be ordered as a meal if you want a lighter dinner.  I also went with the infamous fish tacos.  If you cannot tell by now, I love tacos.  All kinds from all places! The blackened tilapia, fresh avocado and smoked chili cream really caught my eye on the menu for this dish and boy was it a good choice.  Give them a try if you’re in the Atlanta area.  They have quite a few locations you can check out.

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