PHILADELPHIA ADVENTURES: THE PHILLY FLOWER SHOW

If you are obsessed with flowers just as much as I am, it is a MUST that you attend the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show held at the Philadelphia Convention Center. It is one of the nation’s largest and longest-running horticultural event and features stunning displays by the world’s premier floral and landscape designers.

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Started in 1829, the show introduces the newest plant varieties, gardens and design concepts, and organic and sustainable practices. This year, the show celebrated the centennial of the National Park Service and PA’s majestic natural landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture. The 2016 Flower Show theme “Explore America” took visitors through acres of displays inspired by iconic parks like Acadia and Cape Cod, Valley Forge and Shenandoah, Yellowstone, and Yosemite and many more!

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As soon as I walked in, I was so overwhelmed with the vibrant and beautiful colors of every plant or flower I saw. For those looking to hire designers, they set up arrangements for those planning celebrations. It was simply breathtaking!

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In addition to the flower and plant displays and demonstrations of park rangers, there were many vendors where you could purchase merchandise for your garden or trinkets to decorate your home with. My boyfriend and I took to the wine and spirits vendor where they offered wine, vodka and brandy tastings. In addition, they had a butterfly room so that guests could explore the wonders and uniqueness of the special arthropods.

If you ever get the chance to experience God’s creation all in one place, I would do so next year! You won’t want to miss it.

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PHILADELPHIA ADVENTURES: INDEPENDENCE HALL, CONSTITUTION CENTER & THE LIBERTY BELL

About a week ago, I wrote about my ‘Philadelphia Adventures’ to the cutest hipster cafe I’ve experienced in this life! But we didn’t just go to the city to eat! We wanted see the sites and experience something that we don’t get to do often.

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Sitting under the statue of ‘The Father of the Navy,’ John Barry.

I was able to visit the The Constitution Center, The Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. Being able to see all three for the first time was an amazing experience and allowed me to see our country in a different light. At each, we were able to get tidbits of information that we did not know before. Out of the three, Independence Hall was the most interesting due to the fact that it had artifacts that were actually used during the 1800’s.

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If you have not visited, you must go!

Consider yourself a Pennsylvanian? Go to votespa.com to register! The upcoming primary election will be held April 26!

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TRADITIONAL NEW ORLEANS BEIGNETS RECIPE

About a year ago, my parents traveled to New Orleans. As a souvenir, they brought back Cafe du Monde beignet mix. I decided to finally cook them and share my thoughts on them.

History

Beignet, similar to the English “fritter,” is the French term for a pastry made from deep-fried choux party. Beignets can also be made from other types of dough, including yeast dough.

Beignets are a traditional dessert in New Orleans as a breakfast served with powered sugar on top. They are traditionally prepared right before consumption to be eaten fresh and hot. Variations of fried dough can be found across cuisines internationally; however, the origin of the term beignet is specifically French.

In the United States, beignets have been popular within New Orleans Creole cuisine and are customarily served as a dessert  or in some sweet variation. They were brought to New Orleans in the 18th century by French colonists, from “the old mother country,” and became a large part of home-style Creole cooking, variations often including banana or plantain – popular fruits in the port city.

Today, Cafe du Monde is a popular New Orleans food destination specializing in beignets with powered sugar, coffee with chicory, and cafe au lait. Beignets were declared the official state doughnut of Louisiana in 1986.

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Picture courtesy of purewow.com

I first became aware of this delicacy watching the vlogs of The Lavigne Life on YouTube. They previously resided in New Orleans and showed themselves and a bunch of friends at THE Cafe du Monde for Dee’s celebration! Watch their vlog here! They have recently moved to Arizona!

I have included a recipe in this post so that you can try them for yourself! Your taste buds will be singing!

Here’s a picture tutorial of the steps to make Beignets!

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Use an abundance of flour to roll it out.

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Dough will rise to the top after about 1 minutes in the oil.

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Final product 🙂

 

Recipe: http://bit.ly/1J7mWr6

Source: http://bit.ly/1Rqh3GA

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REASONS TO VISIT BARBADOS

As many of you may or may not know, I had the wonderful opportunity to go outside of the United States for the first time in my life. Yes… at the age 22, I was able to venture down to the Caribbean for some much needed relaxation. Not only do I want to document and share my experience for you, but I also urge you to visit this vibrant and unique country.

I have always known that my family, more specifically, my mother’s side of the family was from the island of Barbados. However, I felt somewhat detached to the culture and not particularly connected with the Bajan way simply because I had 1) never been to the motherland and 2) my mother, her siblings and cousins adopted the American way of doing things. I had no idea that I had this long lineage of family that I had NEVER met in my life. It was so refreshing and heartwarming to meet people that I happened to be related to.

Here are a few tips for your next visit to the island of Barbados:

1. If and when you can go during ‘Crop Over’ Crop over is a traditional harvest festival celebrated in Barbados. The central theme of crop over is the conclusion of the sugar cane season. They throw a week long celebration commemorating the ending of the sugar cane season simply because the sugar cane season is a great contribution to the Barbados economy; I’ll drink to that!

In addition, crop over has a lot of live music ‘soca’ artists; this year Rihanna made an appearance. It is a really big deal and you won’t want to miss a crazy time.

2. Don’t just visit the ‘tourist’ side; visit the countryside too— I am so lucky to have family down on the island so I rarely ventured into the ‘tourist’ side of things. Besides, being a tourist down there is expensive. Sandy Lane, the more upscale portion of Barbados, is usually where all the celebs get married or vacation. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely want to vacation like a celebrity at some point, later down the road, but it was a very humbling experience seeing the countryside and how everyone helps one another when needed.

The first day that my family and I got there we ventured up to the mountains of Bethsheba. It was quite beautiful as you can see from my photos I took. After getting lost quite a bit we had lunch at The Atlantis, a hotel near the bay; which was quite a treat.

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(From L to R) My cousin Jazzy, Me, and Uncle Rupert. This land and its surrounding area; my uncle will build a town including a hospital, mall and housing.

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Made a little pit stop to get some refreshments and take in the beautiful landscape of Apes Hill.

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Some crops and more landscape of Apes Hill. Not pictured, but behind me was a hut that sold refreshments and souvenirs. This area was a very popular spot where tourists visited from the resorts of Sandy Lane.

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My cousin and I taking impromtu pictures in the middle of the road. But, lets be honest, how cool is this mural of this lion?!

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The Bay near The Atlantis Hotel.

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My cousin and I thought that the architecture was so cool here. We took advantage of it and took many pictures!

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All of the following pictures were taken at Codrington College, school of theology for the Anglican church of West Indies.

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On the steps of the Codrington College, a school for the delivery of theological education and training, in St. John, Barbados.

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Loving life.

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A little garden behind Codrington College.

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(From L to R) My brothers Eric and Corey, me, and Jazzy.

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4. Going to the beach is a MUST– Before stepping on foot of a Barbados beach, I have been told by many natives including my grandmother and some aunts and uncles that the water is “crystal clear” and the sand is beautiful. You know, at the time of confession, I thought it was all but an exaggeration, but after seeing it for myself, that water puts all the American beaches to shame! The water was sooooo clear and I couldn’t help but to want to get in (I have never fully submerged myself in an ocean before in my life). I guess the fact that the ocean felt like a swimming pool is what prompted me to let go of whatever fears I had of going into the ocean. Below are just a few pictures that my cousin took of me while I was on the beach the first day that I was in paradise. The place that my family and I stayed at gave us access to a private beach so no crowds, which was great!

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Posing on the sand!

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0255. Be sure to try out Chefette– Chefette is Barbados version of fast food. They have literally everything on the menu from fried chicken, pizza, orea cream pies and their native dish called ‘roti’. From what my aunt was telling me, McDonalds lasted all but 2 months down in Barbados because the food was not of “quality” to the natives because the food lacked seasoning. Man, these people LOVE their spices.

6. Get on a boat!– My cousins, my mom and I decided we wanted to get on a boat to spice up our vacation. It was litterally, so much fun! The cruise was 115 BBD ($57.50 in US dollars). The Tiami Cruise experience was 5 hours long and included lunch, unlimited drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks), and snorkeling! It was just an adventure and I would do it again in a heartbeat!

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My family I met for the first time!

198 243Overall, the week that I experienced in Barbados was awesome! I have a better understanding of my heritage and I met some new family members along the way. If you are ever wondering where to visit for you next vacation, make sure Barbados is a part of your plans. It’ll be a time you’ll never forget!

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10 THINGS TO DO BEFORE SUMMER IS OVER

Don’t we all wish that summer nights and days would last forever? I know I do. Unfortunately, its natural for our beloved earth to go through its seasons. But you don’t have to dread it just yet. With September 21 (first day of fall) steadily approaching, but we’ve gotta make the best of what is left of summer. You’ll thank me and yourself later. Don’t miss out on your best summer while it’s still here!

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1. Learn how to sail a boat or how to surf. So, you’ve always wanted to learn how to sail a boat or even be taught how to surf. Why not learn now? Right now is your chance. There are sailing and surfing lessons available everywhere you’ve just gotta do some searching.

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2. Rent out a yacht with some friends for the night. Not gonna lie, this may be a bit on the pricier side, but if you have a big crew, splitting the cost shouldn’t be so bad, but who doesn’t want to feel like Kardashians for a couple of hours?! There are plenty of places that have this opportunity, especially in NYC. Get to it!

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3. Go camping. For some this may not be their thing (bugs, wolves, bears, oh my!) but it’s all about the people you’re spending your time with and making new memories. Even pitching a tent in your own backyard could be just as exciting. Don’t knock it til’ you try it.

Hands up, while driving a convertible.

4. Go on a road trip with family, friends or a significant other. Road trips allow for true bonding time. Also, if you want to test a relationship and see your significant others true colors, try staying in a car with them for hours on end. Hopefully it’ll make your relationship and not break it.

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5. Splurge on something designer on Super-Sale. The annual Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is going on until tonight! I know you’ve been eyeing those Tory Burch Riding Boots for awhile now. Treat yo self! You’ve earned it!

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6. Rent a sweet ride. Have an event to go to like a wedding? Even if you don’t have any place special to be, renting a limo or car for a girls night out would be pretty sweet! Just like the yacht, this could be a bit pricy but get a bunch of your pals together and split the bill for the night of your life!

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7. Plan a romantic glam picnic. This one is for all my lovebirds out there. And guys, if you don’t know what to do for your special lady, try this out and see the look on her face (you can thank me later). All you’ve gotta do is find a nice park nearby, get your favorite treats and a bottle of your fav wine or champagne and you’re all set. Just make sure alcohol is allowed at the park… or you can sneak it ;).

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8.  Go to an outdoor concert or performing arts event. There are plenty of these in NYC! The Today Show Summer Concert Series has been very popular for 20 years now. Make sure you get there early, though, space is limited and people love FREE! You can also find live performances in Lancaster, Pa at TellUs 360. You can’t forget the Made In America Festival September 5-6 in Philly.

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9. Plan a staycation. Staycations can be a lot fun because who doesn’t like to stay in hotels? The plush beds, you get to be as messy as you want, maid service, the list goes on and on. To plan a staycation all you need to do is to book a hotel in your hometown. This is perfect for people who don’t have the vacation funds to go on an exotic vacation. You’ll feel like you’re on vacation just for the sheer fact that you’re staying in a hotel. The best part is, you won’t even need to leave your room because room service has got your back.

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10. Go amusement park hopping. This one is for the thrill seeker! If you love amusement parks as much as I do (I intern at one) you’ll love Hersheypark, Busch Gardens, Cedar Point, and you can’t forget Disneyworld/Disneyland. Make it a weekend trip with friends that you’ll never forget!

What’s your favorite way to celebrate summer? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

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