This year, I've been trying to stay on top of my goals. One of my goals is to be consistent with going to the gym, and for me that's daily during the work week. I'm fortunate to have a gym at work, so I honestly have not excuse. What I find makes the going-to-the-gym-struggle easier is having my gym bag all packed and ready to go when I head to work.
So what's in my gym bag, you ask? I know this is a question a lot of people have so I thought I'd share how I pack my gym bag. I'll talk about what items I bring and why. I truly believe that packing well and bringing all the necessities help make going to the gym a breeze. Trust me, getting to the gym is hard enough, you might as well feel prepared to go.
1. Inspiring Gym Clothes
Ok, besides the obvious fact of needing to bring gym clothes to the gym ? you should bring clothes that make you feel good about yourself. I call my gym clothes "outfit" lol, that is, I want to be cute when I go to the gym! I try to bring matching tops and bottoms in cute styles. But I don't do it for other people, I do it for myself. Now tell me, would you be more excited going to the gym looking fly or going to the gym looking frumpy? I'll wait...
5. Baby wipes
Ok this one might be awkward for some folks. These are for the moments when you don't have time to shower, but you still need to get clean. There have been a few occasions in which either I forget a have a meeting to run to right after my workout or I don't have a ton of time to spend at the gym, but would prefer not to skip. Baby wipes allow you to do a quick wipe down and get the stink off. Lucky for me, I'm don't sweat a lot. If you're a person that sweats a lot, you might want to reconsider this one and just work some shower time in.
There you have it guys!! This is a short but sweet list, but it's all I need. One more tip - pack your gym clothes the night before to avoid forgetting things and to minimize any stress about going to the gym. Again, most of these items will live in your gym bag, and the only thing you'll really have to change out is your gym clothes. Packing my gym bag this way has helped me feel prepared and has made going to the gym less stressful. Hope it does the same for you!
Until the next adventure,
You guys! I'm celebrating two years as an Atlanta "boomerang." That is, I lived in Atlanta (I came here for college) moved away for grad school, and then I moved back to Atlanta! (That's how a boomerang works...get it? ? Y'all have to laugh at my corny jokes, lol). I can't believe it's been just about 2 years already! [Insert happy dance here ?].
This is exciting for me because I always knew that Atlanta was home for me. Ever since I was a teenager in the Caribbean, I dreamed of living in Atlanta. I don't know why. ??♀️ I just believe that what is meant to be will be. God had a plan for me! I was fortunate enough to move here for college (Emory University alumni, stand up!). Now that I'm back, I work at a company that I love and I've bought a house, so I guess I'm permanent now! Y'all are stuck with me now for good, so...... I'm an ATLien for life.
But now on to the good stuff. Since moving back, I realized that what I love about Atlanta is all the fun things to do! When people ask me why I brag on Atlanta so much, my response is that the city has such a cool vibe and it's always popping! I am never bored or at a loss of things to do. There are activities I've loved for years that I always go back to, and there are new activities that I've added to my "Favorites." If you're an Atlanta resident, my hope is to inspire you to explore and enjoy this wonderful city even more! And if you are new, I know you can find something fun to experience on my list.
As your resident non-official Atlanta ambassador, here is my list of my 7 favorite things to do in Atlanta:
1. The rooftop restaurants.
Y'all already know I love a rooftop (if you're following me on instagram @living.life.to.the.t then this fact should be clear, lol). My favorites are the Skylounge at the Glenn hotel which is right in downtown, and the view is AMAZING. Skylounge has such a cool grown and sexy vibe. The second is the Sundial Restaurant, Bar & View. This is the swanky restaurant/bar at the top of the Westin hotel downtown that provides 360 panoramic views from over 700 feet in the air. It.is.amazing. It used to rotate, but someone got hurt and it doesn't any more. Bummer. Safety first. Plus the view is the view, even without the spinning. Besides the view, the best part about the Sundial is the ride up on the glass elevator that is on the outside of the building. So you get the view on the way up/down. If you don't like heights, don't look down!
2. The festivals
To me, enjoying the Atlanta festivals are all about enjoying the weather. I'm an island girl, so being outside is easily my favorite pastime. One of my favorite festivals is the Dogwood Festival. It is HUGE and happens in Piedmont Park every Spring around my birthday. Dogwoods are a pretty popular flower in Atlanta, so you can basically consider it a spring festival. Another fav is the Atlanta Jazz Festival, which is usually pretty top notch. They bring in some of the best jazz artists and it's so relaxing to sit on a blanket at Piedmont Park and be serenaded. Other favorites are the Atlanta Caribbean Carnival (a taste of back home) and the Sweet Auburn Spring Festival (named after the district that houses a lot of history from the civil rights movement).
3. The salsa dancing scene
Salsa dancing is one of my favorite things to do. I am an old school salsa junkie and I enjoy the workout I get from dancing. There are so many places to go salsa dancing. Some of my favorites are Coco Cabana (in Northlake), Havana Night Club (Buckhead) or this really cool hole in the wall place called Nemoe's Tavern (Peachtree corners). If you're ever up for salsa dancing, hit me up!
4. The sports events
Football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer - you name it, Atlanta's got it! I'm a diehard Falcons fan, and more recently an Atlanta United fan (after all, we are the 2018 MLS Cup winners!!) I particularly love the Falcons and Atlanta United teams more since they built the new Mercedes Benz stadium (same place where the Super Bowl will be held). That place is super nice! And there isn't a bad seat in the house! Whenever I get the chance, I love going to games because the energy is ridiculous and it's always a good time.
5. The Arts Scene
I consider myself to be very cultured person (Pinky up! Can somebody pass the Grey Poupon? ?) If you love the arts, there are plenty of opportunities to expose yourself to these things. I love getting dressed up and going to a play at the Fabulous Fox theater. What I love is that every broadway/major show will typically make a stop in Atlanta. For instance, Alvin Ailey will be here in February and I cannot wait to see them! I also love going to shows by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (violins make me happy), or to the latest exhibit at the High Museum of Art or at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. All these can be enjoyed alone, with some friends or on a date.
6. Ponce City Market
Ok, this one is new. I swear, when I moved away it wasn't there (it was still an old abandoned warehouse). When I moved back, it was everyone's favorite place to be! And with good reason! This is more than just an outdoor-indoor mall! It is an experience! Besides the eclectic mix of shops, there is the City Winery, where you can feel grown and sexy by enjoying a famous artist perform live while sipping local wine (Pinky is still up!). Then there are the wide variety of restaurants that fit any taste, from casual to fancy. And finally there is the rooftop with the VIEW and tons of games and entertainment. It's the one place adults can run around and play like lunatics and not be judged for it. And when you think it couldn't get any better, Ponce City Market is right on the Atlanta Beltline, a 22-mile trail that connects 45 Atlanta neighborhoods. So when you finish eating at Ponce City Market, you can just grab your friends and go for a walk on the Beltline! It is truly one of my fav spots!
7. Eating Out
There are like 500 million restaurants in Atlanta. Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit, but there are A LOT of places to eat! The food scene in Atlanta is ridiculously good! (Shameless plug: see my 2019 Atlanta Restaurant Bucket list lower down in the "T's Fav Things" section of my website ?). Plus, it seems like a new restaurant opens every month, so you never feel like you have to repeat places lol. No matter what food you like, there is something for everybody (and every budget).
There you have it guys! There are lots of other things I like about Atlanta (like the weather, the music and the people), but if I put it all on this list, you'll be reading until the end of the year. I think this top 7 hits the nail on the head and gets at the essence of why my city is da bomb!
Leave me a comment with your thoughts, or let me know what you love about Atlanta!
Until the next adventure,
I can't think of a better way to celebrate "National Plan for Vacation day" than with my reveal of the latest addition to my living room! I bought this ADORABLE world map decal from Etsy (my 1st Etsy purchase btw). I searched high and low for the perfect one that would fit on this wall above my bar (which I made btw...shameless plug: check out my blog post on that Ikea hack in my "Decor & DIY" section). This map gave me the perfect way for me to display all the cities I've traveled to in the world. I've had this for a few weeks now, and honestly, every time I walk by, I can't help but look up at it ?...it's so gorgeous!
To give the map more visual detail, I decided to use pins to mark each city where I've visited or lived. The pins help me visually see how much of the world I've covered. I'm glad I did that because it has led me to several conclusions:
1. I dont need to go back to Europe anytime soon - I've been to most European countries...I almost ran out of pins (and space) trying to mark all the European cities I've been to.
2. I would like to travel South America more
3. The African continent is calling me - South Africa in particular.
4. The eastern side of the globe is also calling me. Australia in particular, also Japan and southeast Asia.
I am proud to call myself a world traveler. I've traveled to 32 countries on 5 continents, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of the world. Traveling is my passion. People don't always understand why I love traveling so much. Listen - I spent most of my life living on a tiny 37 square mile island. That's just over half the size of Washington, D.C.! Don't get me wrong, St. Maarten will always be home and I love it there. I also didn't feel like I was missing out on anything when I was living there. However, as I got older I realized that the world is a big place! And that there is more to life than the Caribbean. I love getting to know new places, people, and cultures. I'm kind of obsessed, lol. When I'm exploring a new city or country, I just feel at peace...I get in my happy place. ?
Here's a quick time-lapse of me installing the decal. There are actually two installation methods. In the video I use the method where you remove the backing from left to right (vs top to bottom, which is the second method). Here are the basic steps:
But when you're done! It looks sooo amazing! Here are some close up photos!
Here is a close up of the pins I used to mark each city I've visited. I love how they give the map a 3D look. The cities I visited, I marked with yellow pins, and the cities where I've lived, I marked with black pins. I got both sets of pins on Amazon.
Here are the details of the Etsy shop where I purchased the map:
StoneCreek Wall Decals (Saint George, UT)
That's it guys! Drop me a comment and let me know what you think!
I LOVE to eat! Does anyone else love to eat? lol. One of the things I love about my city Atlanta is the plethora of eateries! That is just heaven for this foodie! It seems like every month they open a new restaurant, and I'm not complaining. I've decided that I am going to be more intentional about trying out new places to eat - I'll just make an adventure out of it. Food brings people together, so trying out new restaurants will give me the opportunity to invite friends to come and spend time with me. So, selfishly, I'd be combining two of my favorite things: Food and People. Sounds like a win to me! 😆
I decided to share my Atlanta restaurant bucket list so my readers could see what I'm into and looking forward to. I also thought it could also start a dialogue with those who are also excited about those places too or with those who have already tried places on my list that are willing to share their experiences. This will be a living, breathing list, meaning that I might add some places to the list as they come up, lol. The list is not that long! I can visit 1-2 places per month, which is not unreasonable. Most of these places are mid-range and budget friendly, which I am very intentional about - I love to eat, but I also love to save money.
Ok friends - here's my list!
Ok guys, there you have it! Let me know your thoughts below or if you have a restaurant you think I should try and add to the list!
Till the next adventure,
Can you believe we're less than a week away from Christmas 2018?! This will be my first Christmas in my new house (yay!) and I wanted to deck the halls. One thing though - I don't like to go overboard. My style is contemporary, casual chic, and a bit understated. So I only did a few decorations. Here's a look at my holiday deco:
Let's start at the door...I hung my wreath from last year, which is a silver-sprayed grapevine wreath with aqua embellishments. First thing you need to know about me - I don't do traditional green and red. My Christmas colors are aqua, teal and silver. I actually made this wreath myself at a #diy class at Michaels last year. All I had to was buy the wreath and they provided the decorations and glue gun. I went to the wreath decorating class with my older sister who also made one, and we spent about an hour at the store making putting it all together in one of their classrooms. It was super fun! I decided to use the wreath again this year because I liked it so much and it's a treasured memory with me and my sis. But I did change it a bit. My regular non-Christmas wreath was so fabulous that this Christmas one needed a little "zhush" ?
Oh, Christmas Tree
Teal, aqua and silver all day baby! As I mentioned earlier, those are my Christmas colors. This year, I kept that color scheme, but I changed 3 things with one easy trip to my local At Home store:
1). I decided to add a bit of blue to even out the color scheme, and I think it works well! I bought two large containers of Christmas bulbs at At Home that were a mixture of -- you guessed it!-- teal, aqua, silver (and clear) and blue bulbs! I only used a few pieces on the tree and the rest for my next project (see next section).
2). The second thing I added this year was a silver ribbon. I decided to do a cascading look, in which I draped the ribbon from the top of the tree down to the base. I was able to get 3 ribbon streams from one roll. I found that this pattern took the work out of putting up the ribbon, compared to having to go round and round the tree.
3) Finally, I added a new silver star. It's somewhat 3D and VERY silvery and glittery. For the record, this is one of the few instances in which I'll allow glitter inside my house! LOL.
Fireplace Bulb Garland
I really wanted to spruce up my fireplace and make it a focal point. I saw this garland design on several sites online and decided I could make my own! I had lots of bulbs that I bought at At Home which would be perfect. The only other pieces needed were wire string, which I got at Michaels and some Command hooks, which I already owned. I measured the length of the fireplace and doubled that length to determine the length of the wire (I felt that doubling the wire would make it stronger). Then I stringed the bulbs onto the wire one-by-one, and then hung the finished garland on the fireplace using the Command hooks (one on each side of the mantle) - it was THAT easy!
Christmas Bulb Pedestal Jar
I wanted to bring some of my colors into my dining room so I decided I would do a simple table top piece. I found this plastic Pedestal Jar at Target for less than $10. Then I filled it with some smaller aqua Christmas bulbs that I also bought at At Home. Honestly, I think it's all the table needed to balance out the room and bring Christmas into the dining room. When the holidays are over, I will use this jar to hold candy or cookies for when guests come over - a win win!.
Hope you enjoyed a little piece of Christmas in my home! How do you decorate for Christmas? Do you go all out or do you keep it simple like I do? Let me know in the comments below! Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to all!
As a new homeowner, one of the things I've been excited about is all the cool gadgets that I could install. This is my first home so a lot of the apprehension I had as a renter in adding technology to my home have gone away. I never saw the need of having smart gadgets until I bought a two story home. Man, those stairs got old real quick! When I was upstairs snuggled in bed, I would think "did I turn down the air downstairs" or when I was getting ready to leave the house, I didn't want to run all the way back upstairs to check if I did in fact unplug the flat iron. I slowly started seeing the need for more convenience in controlling certain aspects of my home more seamlessly. This post details the first 5 smart home gadgets I bought to make my home easily controllable, right from my smart phone! What's great is that most of these smart devices are available at the Home Depot, so you can pick them up in one trip. They are are currently running a Smart Home event, so it's definitely worth checking out!
1. Smart Security: SimpliSafe Home Security
OMG how I love this system! I first heard about them about a year or two ago when I kept seeing their TV commercials. When I bought my house, I did a lot of comparison shopping of different security systems and decided that SimpliSafe would give me the best bang for my buck. What I love about it is that it can be easily self-installed (literally plug and play). It is non intrusive in that it does not require someone coming and drilling holes in your walls to install wires, and you can take it with you if you choose to move.
Here's how it works:
All in all I love SimpliSafe because it provides me with the convenience in monitoring my home and it makes me feel safe. The system can be purchased at SimpliSafe.com or from retailers such as Best Buy.
2. Nest Smart Thermostat (Eco version)
This was one of the first things I purchased after buying my home security system. I have a two story home, so I have two different HVAC systems for upstairs and downstairs. I got tired of running up and down the stairs to get the air just right or to turn down the air upstairs when I was downstairs and vice versa. In addition to not wanting the monitoring of my heating/cooling system to be a chore or exercise routine, there is also the issue of wanting to use energy efficiently in my home. (And you know how I like to save money!! Cha-Ching!) The Nest website claims you can save 15% on your cooling bill, and 10-12% on your heating bill. After one month of having the Nest Thermostat E (Eco version), I was quite impressed that my power bill for my entire house was $10 more than it was for my 1 bedroom apartment with half as much square footage...now that's what I'm talking about!!
Here's how it works"
Nest can be bought at various retailers and some power companies offer discounts for customers who decide to upgrade to this energy efficient life. The Home Depot is running a smart home event right now so I would also recommend checking it out there.
3. Google Home Mini
As an Apple user, I was initially offended by Google home devices, lol. They wouldn't work with my iPhone or the entire Apple ecosystem I've build for myself (laptop, tablet, watch...). I also was apprehensive of smart home devices for concern that they would always be listening to my business at home. Let's be clear, I still have that apprehension. What made me make the jump was the fact that I got them for free with each of my Nest E thermostat purchases. (Hey, you'll get me with FREE almost every time!) So I have one upstairs and one downstairs.
The best thing about the google home is that I can control all of my smart home devices with just the sound of my voice. Makes me feel like I'm finally living like the Jetsons LOL. Although I might have become a little lazier ? Oh well, one struggle at a time ?
4. Smart Plugs
If you're like me, you're always checking that you turned things off. I will literally make myself late by going around the house to make sure I unplugged everything I used that morning. Safety first! But sometimes I'm a bit obsessive with it. Then I realized that smart plugs would help solve this problem for me. By plugging in one-use items to the smart plug (e.g. curling iron, clothes steamer or iron), I can takeaway my concerns of leaving things plugged in because I don't use them regularly, and I get to keep my home safe. These are also good for lamps that you can turn on remotely so your home is not in darkness if you get home late during the day. And the best part - these also come with a smart phone app, but are also compatible with Google Home, so can also be controlled with the sound of your voice ("Hey Google - turn off the smart plug upstairs"). Yass....
I bought this pair on Amazon for prime day (and because I now buy two of everything...one for upstairs, one for downstairs).
5. Linksys Smart Wi-fi router
Now I did not know that these existed! I went to the store one day looking to update an old, out of date router and was kindly introduced to this technology by a sales person. Who woulda thunk that you could control your wi-fi from your phone! Yasss!!
Here' s how it works:
I love how I've made my home a Smart Home with just a handful of upgrades. I plan on adding more smart devices as my budge allows. What other devices do you love that would help make running and monitoring my home more convenient and efficient? Please comment below with your device recommendation or with your experience with a device I talked about above.
I am a die-hard meal-prepper. I mean, I just feel off if I don't have all my meals cooked and in the fridge by Sunday night lol. As someone who meal preps, I ALWAYS bring my lunch to work. In our cafeteria, we have available to us plastic utensils that we can utilize to eat. HOWEVER, I am on the 14th floor and I usually eat at my desk or in our kitchen on the 14th floor. So it's incredibly inconvenient to go aaallll the way downstairs to get utensils every day. Not too mention how bad that is for the environment!! And I dont like bringing my real silverware to work because I would risk losing them and that would just mess up the set. Well...I finally found a solution!
One day while scoping out the sale shelves at TJ Maxx (one of my favorite Saturday pastimes, LOL) I stumbled upon THEEE CUTEST cutlery set!! It had little attachments for not only the expected knife, fork & spoon, but for chopsticks too!! CHOPSTICKS! Ok, if my friends thought I was bougie before!!
The set is by a brand called Sistema To Go. What i like about the set is that the utensils are durable, you have all the necessary pieces, and it comes in the most adorable case. It's also not bulky so it fits nicely in your lunch bag. One caveat, make sure you keep track of all the pieces!
Check out the quick video I made of what it looks like below... I love this! Get you one!!
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"T's Favorite Things" is all about the products and brands that I love! I'm sharing the love :)