All posts tagged “Travel

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EVERYTHING BUT ESSENCE

For an explanation of feet, keep reading.

Names and details have been changed to act like I am protecting the identity of family and friends but we all know I’m not. 

This was the first time I made a effort to attend Essence. Although I grew up in New Orleans, Essence weekend has always been a headache for locals. The influx of nearly every African American woman, unfortunate husbands and boyfriends, cat daddies, and a couple of lost colonizers results in traffic and price gouging so we always left town. I made a few attempts several years ago but it was hot AF so I swore to never return during the months of July and August yet there I was but the weather was not impossible thanks to a few showers.

I am not sure of the details but the cousins group chat spilled over into a fake-ass Girls Trip. We lost a few cousins so it was just the four of us. No, they are not dead but didn’t attend for reasons that are none of your business. Due to my cousins wanting an authentic experience, we did everything but Essence (but you already knew that because it’s the title of this post). We saw one panel featuring Amanda Seales, Tichina Arnold, Tisha Campbell-Martin, and Kym Whitley, spent a ton of time trying to find the Read’s booth, browsing stages where we saw Mary J. Blige and Fonzworth Bentley, and passing tons of vendors. Essence requires more than the weekend. You need time to tour the city, get the energy necessary to attend the panels and performances, check out the night life and recuperate (which I haven’t since I returned to a sick child and husband; thereby, resulting in me being sick).

We ate and drunk all weekend; most notably, Cafe Du Monde, Superior Seafood (where I learned about non-binary gender and valet kept bringing me the wrong car), Ruby Slipper (where Kofi Siriboe stood us up, he was invited via twitter), Deanie’s Seafood (where we received terrible service for the first time ever but the tip was already included so they didn’t give a damn), 30/90, and District Donuts.

Listed on my Bucket List and something I’ve been trying to see for three years is the Read Live! This is the very first podcast I started listening to and still my favorite. We arrived during the pre-show to a podcast we aren’t familiar with but who I was familiar with was their guest: Big Freedia, the Queen Diva (you already knoooow, girl down). If you don’t know who she is, google. I don’t have time for your foolishness.

As expected, Freedia gave us a twerk session and asked for volunteers. This is the moment I’ve been preparing for since giving birth. I twerk at least once a day and felt that I was ready to perform on stage when she asked for volunteers so there I was, next to Freedia, throwing it in a circle… in my head. There is no way I am going to shake my mommy ass in public so you guys can upload it to your Snapchat or whatever mediums you millennials use.

According to one of my cousins, their live episode is available and I’m wondering if I will be able to hear myself ask Crissle to let Meghan ask a question. I take full responsibility for the positive impact she’s going to make on white America. Each one teach one.

We also saw Dustin, Fran and Assante which was a nice treat since I also listen to their podcast, the Friend Zone.

We did a little shopping on Bayou Road where there is a string of black-owned businesses. I bought a book and pins from Community Book Center, another pin from Material Life and a cupcake from Cupcake Fairies.

We shopped in the French Quarters where I bought Pyrite studs from NOLA Rock Co and a T-shirt and onesie from Kitchen Ink which illustrates to Jacksonians I will always be a New Orleanian as if they don’t already know, as if they care.

We drove through Uptown, the Garden District, City Park, and I took the cousins to the Lakefront. Speaking of the French Quarters, I finally got the chance to see my best friend since childhood perform at 30/90. Please follow Sierra Green & the Soul Machine and see her live instead of jumping on the bandwagon later on. I mean, I’m sure she’ll still take your money but I’m just saying.

Other notable experiences include my lesbian cousins dressing alike opposed to the required skank-wear, cousins falling asleep every time they get in the car like newborns, my cousin’s feet being entirely too close to my face (we had an abundance of space), my cousin getting out of my car and telling Pickup Truck Patrick to stop blocking the hotel parking lot because he was causing traffic and you guessed it, he did not move. There were other activities we shall not speak of *stares*

We are already talking about attending next year but it will most definitely require me taking several days of vacation and actually attending Essence. I didn’t take a ton of pictures, that’s not my ministry. You can check out several on Instagram, you’re welcome.

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THE STORY OF MY FIRST & LAST CANOE TRIP

Dirty little canoe, dirty little life jackets, dirty little paddles and my badass backpack.

I remember premarital counseling like it was yesterday. I was told to be Husband’s playmate so despite being scared of heights, I traveled into mountains and caves on our honeymoon. Despite not being able to swim, we went canoeing last weekend.

Previously, I was a bit bummed about missing the French Quarter and Ponchatoula Strawberry Festivals but was fairly over it. But guess who wasn’t? Husband. The entire week he secretly plotted on how to make the upcoming weekend awesome; although, I planned to attend a local event. Friday, he informed me that we were going canoeing and proceeded to shop for our picnic. My first thought? Is he trying to kill me? Surely he knows I don’t have the best life insurance, it’s best if he keeps me alive. So, I decided to be adventurous; although, I sort of kind of don’t like being outside, have skin allergies that are most active in the Spring and Summer, CAN’T SWIM, hate bugs, reptiles and whatever else lurks in the wild, and CAN’T SWIM!

We drove about 30 minutes outside of Jackson to D’Lo Park. Once we arrived, we had to complete a form stating we wouldn’t damage their already damaged equipment and to provide an emergency contact. Do you know who my emergency contact is? The guy who was taking me canoeing! Upon departure, we were given jinky directions regarding our canoe route. After 3 or so hours, we would see a big bridge that we shouldn’t go under or turn but try to park; although, it was washed out. Then, we should call the Park People to pick us up. We were confused because there are bridges along the route but whatever. We drove a few feet and met up with our dirty little canoe which contained 2 dirty little life jackets and 2 dirty little paddles. For 30 bucks, what was I expecting? Once in the canoe, Park Guy gave us a push and off we went!

Shortly after I killed the spider who tried to kill me.

Immediately after entering the river I exclaimed “I don’t like this.” We were closer to the water than I expected, there was more water than I expected, the boat was rockier than I expected and did I mention the canoe was dirty? Shortly after, I made eye contact with a spider. Why is a spider in our canoe already? Did he just get here or hopped in when he saw us so he could rob and shank us? After I MURDERED him (spider), I noticed we were the only people on the river. Not only were we the only people on the river but we are also black which increased our chances of being murdered (like the spider) and our bodies never being found. It was the perfect plot for a horror movie.

Canoeing is more difficult than I imagined. There were lots of bends (turns), fallen trees and rocks we had to dodge. Of course, Husband didn’t want me to help paddle. According to him, I didn’t know what I was doing which was interesting because he didn’t know what he was doing either.

Guess who’s having a blast in the dirty little canoe?

I was an anxious mess the entire time; although, I didn’t vocalize it much. I just hoped we would get down the river in half the time we were told (3 hours). Probably a mile or so into our trip, Husband turned the boat around. You guys, literally a mile down the river and maybe 30 minutes into our trip. He knew I hated it. Me: “But isn’t going against the current going to be hard?” Husband: “Canoes are made for this.” I think it took us the same amount of time to go back as it did to go down stream. As we approached the dock, I got into a paddle scuffle with a dragonfly. He kept trying to land next to me and I was like “no, I don’t know you and I don’t like bugs.” Husband: “Stop before you flip out of the boat!”

As we pulled up, there were 2 Bite-sized demons (kids) throwing rocks at our canoe. Had I not been scared to rock and fall out of the canoe, I would’ve thrown them back and wouldn’t have missed. Shortly after, we were pulled out of the water. Land! We had a picnic on the side of the river when Husband revealed the snakes and other wildlife he saw. If you can remember, I just got in a fight with a dragonfly so imagine how I would’ve reacted if I saw a snake. Overall, I’m glad I went. How else would I know I’m never going again?

Our view while eating lunch.

Read and share my previous post: Faux Product Review 45: Rock Hard Hardener & Basecoat

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100 THINGS TO DO IN JACKSON, MS BEFORE YOU DIE

Source: Amazon

Source: Amazon

I know what you’re thinking. “What is Jackson, Mississippi,” “I thought Jackson was in Florida” and “I didn’t know Jackson, Mississippi had 100 things to do.”

I arrived in Jackson at the age of 17, 13 years ago. My biggest gripe: Nothing to do; especially, in comparison to my life in New Orleans. Note: I had to add “in comparison to New Orleans” because I could feel the grunts of hardcore Jacksonians who say there is plenty to do. And we have proof, thanks to Natalie West. Book description:

It s not hard to see why Jackson is called The City with Soul. Its depth and diversity permeate its art, music, history, food, fashion and even the passion of its sports fans. 100 Things To Do in Jackson, MS Before You Die is a tour guide everyone can use to experience the heart and soul of Mississippi’s capital city. A blend of geek, urban, indie and alternative cultures influences shopping, events, galleries, concerts and nightlife throughout Jackson. Natural parks and abundant green space ensure the beauty of nature is never far away, even in the heart of the city. Native American, Civil War and Civil Rights history sites tell the story of its roots. Established arts districts like Fondren and Midtown along with up-and-coming neighborhoods in Downtown and west Jackson showcase the talent of the city’s future. And the food. So much incredible food. 100 Things To Do in Jackson, MS Before You Die is divided into five categories: Food & Drink, Music & Entertainment, Sports & Recreation, Culture & History, Shopping & Fashion. Each section includes insider info and tips to help visitors and residents make the most of everything Jackson has to offer.

So what are these 100 things? The book is divided into categories (food and drink, music and entertainment, sports and recreation, culture and history, and shopping and fashion) includes photos, tips and facts as well as an itinerary. This book is great for not only tourists, residents and semi-residents (such as myself) but those who may be reluctant to visit Jackson *stares at Mom* And, word on the street (aka the author told me so), there may be a contest for the people who do the most “things” in a year. May the odds be ever in your favor.

Buy the book here, stay abreast of events here, and read and share my previous post: Thank You and Goodnight: Top Posts of 2016

You’re welcome.

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GUMBOGATE 


Husband told me I couldn’t blog about the events of Christmas weekend. After much consideration, prayer and meditation, I’ve decided to blog about the events of Christmas weekend.

Because we spent Thanksgiving in New Orleans with my (our) family, we spent Christmas in Houston with his (our) family. We left Friday morning, passed through Louisiana to drop off my brother and pick up a can of Ice Box Cookies from my grandmother. These are my favorite cookies. I love them so much that I ate cookies out of all the other cans to preserve the amount of cookies in my can. Husband snitched on me. He said I was too quiet which meant that I was up to something. I don’t feel bad about it.

Saturday morning we ate at The Breakfast Klub, went to The Galleria and met up with Husband’s childhood friend (Read: Double No). Childhood Friend had been texting Husband about his Gumbo all day. You know, the Bible warns us of false prophets. Being from New Orleans, I don’t like eating Gumbo outside of Louisiana. I don’t care what you say, where you got the recipe from and how many people like it. People are rarely equipped to tackle such a dish. What’s worse, I am a picky eater so I rarely allow people to pressure me into eating something. But, I was vulnerable. After all, I had been sick for the past week and wasn’t in my right mind.

As soon as we walked into the kitchen, Childhood Friend and Childhood Friend’s Dad started bragging. Talking about they were about to show someone from New Orleans how it’s done. As we approached the cauldron (the pot witches use for their potions), Childhood Friend starts talking about how he didn’t need to add any filé in it and how the shrimp were stuck to the bottom of the pot. How Sway?! Nonetheless, I got a bowl and threw a crab on top. I took my first bite and had to drink water immediately after because I didn’t want to throw it up on these nice people’s table on Christmas Eve. I can best describe it as swamp water with rice. I told him it was OK for his first time; although, he burnt the roux, should’ve used filé and andouille sausage opposed to wiener. He had whole bell peppers and onions. My dude, couldn’t you have chopped this? What’s worse, it had been sitting out all day! You guys, Gumbo has to be refrigerated an hour or so after it’s cooked. So, naturally I thought I was going to spend all night in the bathroom or DIE. I started to call my mom to get my affairs in order because I just wasn’t sure I was going to make it. However, God let me live so I could tell my story.

I woke up late Sunday morning. I’m not a kid, what’s the rush? There was a brief moment of gift giving then it was time  for me to cook my mac and cheese. I was done 40 mins later then started getting ready for the day. We would be traveling to Angleton, TX for our Christmas meal. Once out of the shower, I asked Husband where his mom was and what time we were leaving. We we’re supposed to leave at 1 but then 1 hour passed, 2, 3…then 4! Finally, Diana Ross (mother-in-law) emerged and we left Houston shortly after 5PM and did not eat until about 6:30PM! Another near death experience. I did not even know my body could go that long without food. Whew, the great endurance I’ve displayed during this trip. Interestingly, I did not load my plate with food; although, I was super hungry. Husband’s family allows people who can’t cook to contribute to the meal. As I was adding food on my plate, I tried to mouth to Husband “who made this?” He could not read my lips so I didn’t take any risks. I got the basics: MY Mac and Cheese, Broccoli and Cheese Casserole, Dinner Roll and burnt ham (I was told it was left in the oven too long but it was aight). Later that night, we attempted and failed at seeing Fences.

Monday, we woke up late, said our good byes and ended our trip at Pappadeux’s (which is how everyone should end a trip to Houston). We briefly stopped at my grandparents house in Louisiana where I was gifted a Coverd Stockpot, gift cards, REAL gumbo, and a slice of sweet potato pie from my other grandmother #Blessed

So, how was your Christmas? Did you do anything I suggested in the Guide to Bore-Free Christmas Vacation list? Read and share my previous post: New Year’s Resolution: Slay in Fabletics

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GUIDE TO BORE-FREE CHRISTMAS VACATION


Let’s watch TV together heresubscribe to our weekly newsletter, “like” Pink Gumbeaux on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Bloglovin. Now, to your regularly scheduled post:

Christmas is a little more than a week a way and I’m hoping to have the same experience in Houston with the In-laws that I had with my family in New Orleans. What experience am I referring to? A little thing called FUN (Read: I’m Thankful for Family, Food & Daiquiris)!

People have saved money to travel, took a few days off from work all to eat and hang around the Christmas tree, Kinara and or Menorah all day? We could’ve stayed home for that! As a result, I am recommending to both you and Husband a guide to a bore-free Christmas vacation.

  1. Don’t nobody want to eat Christmas food for a week. Switch it up and take your family to brunch or dinner. I’m looking forward to going to Pappadeux Seafood Kitchen while in Houston. It’s the only seafood restaurant I like outside of Louisiana.
  2. I don’t know what you’re doing on your Christmas night but I’m trying to see Fences.
  3. So, I know finances may be nonexistent after Christmas shopping but every major city has a list of free things to do. If you’re rural, make sure you’re in a major city next year…
  4. Maybe it’s too cold to go out. There is a boatload of games that are on sale right now. My faves are UNO and the never-ending Monopoly. Unfortunately but fortunately, I don’t know how to play Dominoes or Spades. And, yes I am still black without those particular skill sets.
  5. Go all Love and Hip Hop Atlanta and fight. Put paws on the aunt that keeps talking about your weight. Toddlers can catch these hands too. 
  6. Binge-watch new and classic shows and movies. Allow each family member to choose one. I know kids matter and all to their parents but I say put those little turds in their own group. No one wants to suffer through Frozen (which I have yet to watch completely).
  7. Shopping? I don’t know about you but I prefer the post-Christmas sales. Plus, there are stores in Houston that we don’t have in Jackson (duh). I think I want to purchase a hot pink Mink…
  8. Houston is 2 hours from San Antonio. I’m hoping to take a day trip there and possibly push Husband in the Riverwalk. What? He knows how to swim…
  9. Gossip about missing family members. Where is so and so? You know she broke up with so and so and brought the new one. Who is that little boy? You know so and so just found out he had another son. 

May the odds be ever in your favor. Wish me luck as well. Thank you.

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