Part 3: Takin’ a Dip with the Dolphins!

QvwtwUfrXeRYvvTbuYTMtU6OLhdwTF1sVhlZ1ldRtEkFor those of you who read Part 1 and Part 2 of my posts thus far, I have now reached the finale of my three-part blog entry, recapping my experiences during my vacation last week — and completing three items on my 30 Before 30 list in one trip.

The top highlight for me by far was the dolphin swim excursion on Blue Lagoon Island in Nassau, Bahamas. I consider myself an animal lover so once I put this on my list; it became something I was looking the most forward to.

When we first got to Dolphin Encounters, we were required to go over all of the safety instructions, facts about the dolphins, etc. My anticipation grew the longer we sat there. I had a nervous excitement welling up as I didn’t know exactly what I was getting myself into. It seemed harmless and fun, but of course once you’re just moments away from doing something for the first time, the jitters begin to creep in.

My sisters and I waiting on the dolphins' arrival.

My sisters and I waiting on the dolphins’ arrival.

As we walked toward the water, everyone was instructed to put on a life jacket and then take a seat on the dock where our “dolphin friends” would be awaiting our arrival. My sisters and I were the first from our group to arrive to the dock area. The instructor told us to go ahead and stick our feet in the water while the rest of the group made their way.

While waiting, all of a sudden a dolphin popped up from the water and titled his head, staring at us with the “side eye.” In my mind, I was wondering, “has he been fed?” “is he sizing us up right now?” again, “has he been fed??” I remained calm because I knew these dolphins were well-trained and I know most animals can pick up on a nervous or fearful vibe, so I took a couple breaths and just relaxed. Continue reading

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Part 2: Just Call Me “Bahama Mama!”

Take me back to the Bahamas :-)

Take me back to the Bahamas 🙂

Yesterday was Part 1 of my cruise recap where I focused on just on-board activities. Today, I’ll talk a little bit more about the excursions in Freeport and Nassau. I can’t go into too much depth with the excursion in Nassau. I have to save the best for last ;-).

Although my sister claims that the Bahamas is not technically a part of the Caribbean, but the Atlantic, I still think it’s safe to say that I took a trip to the “islands” as part of my 30 Before 30 goals.

The first place we ported was Freeport, Bahamas. We originally had a beach getaway with an unlimited open bar scheduled; however, the rain pretty much dampened the mood (pun intended). Prior to the rain though, we did have a chance to walk around the port area of Freeport to look at jewelry, souvenirs and miscellaneous vendors. I was determined to find some nice “Bohemian” earrings and rings at some point during the trip. Sorry, no souvenirs for anyone. Continue reading

Part 1: Let’s Cruise!

Carnival SensationLast week, I knocked THREE items off my 30 Before 30 list in one trip alone. All of the fun and exciting memories are way too much to incorporate into one blog so I’ve decided to make this into a three-part entry, taking you along each journey with me as I continue to cross items off my list.

First up, my first ever cruise! Earlier this year, one of my goals was to finally get a passport and I revealed to you one of my greatest fears – large bodies of water. The very thought of being surrounded by nothing but water for four days was something I wasn’t too keen about. Everyone kept telling me, “You won’t even feel like you’re on a boat. Just relax.” Still apprehensive, I was thankful my mother brought along a fresh pack of Dramamine. I took one as soon as we boarded the boat and got to our cabin.

Headed to the cabinThe first evening, we stayed in the room as we began to set sail at 4pm. I might have felt an initial sway as we first took off. I did my best to NOT look out the window to purposely ignore what I already knew was going on. We went to the Fantasy Dining Room later on for dinner and there I really did begin to feel that we were indeed on a boat. I scurried through my purse for another Dramamine to get rid of the slight nausea I was feeling. The first night it was a little chilly and rainy so we pretty much stayed in the room and got settled in after a day’s worth of traveling. Continue reading

Adding Something New To My Repertoire!

I passed with flying colors!

I passed with flying colors!

It’s been a while since I’ve used InDesign, but ever since I started freelancing, I have gotten a lot of requests for basic design skills as well. I do a lot of content development so when people used to say, ‘this is great content, can you make it look pretty?” I would immediately scurry to find one of my design savvy friends to make a quick layout for me because I knew I lacked that skill set. The last time I used InDesign regularly was during my Howard University days doing newspaper layouts for The Hilltop and magazine layouts in my Publications class. These were simple design techniques consisting of a lot of filling text frames and placing images. Very basic design.

Being that this is something I wanted to brush up on, I decided to put it on my 30 Before 30 list. I researched the best method in order to take an affordable course that would teach me the basic knowledge I needed to possess. I saw some pretty pricey courses when I originally searched until I finally stumbled upon a brochure from Prince George’s Community College. Usually I am a person who prefers an in-classroom setting but they only had online courses available for InDesign CS6 so I went ahead and enrolled for the 8-week course. It was self-paced so I tried my best to stay on track with the readings and the assignments. I haven’t taken a class of any kind since 2010 for my graduate studies at Georgetown so my attention span definitely wasn’t what it used to be. I did play “catch up” a little bit at the end, but I made sure I didn’t miss any lessons or quizzes.

There were a lot of new tricks and shortcuts that I never knew and I was amazed at how much I was actually learning. For the course, we were creating collateral for a makeshift business. Just my luck, I recently had a logo designed and was going to attempt to work on my own business collateral, so I can say that this course came in perfect timing. From designing business cards, brochures, newsletters, invoices and even an eBook, this course touched on all the things (and more) that I need to create for myself. Continue reading

“The First Step To Being Your Own Boss” 

UTBArtSeries IG photoI began freelancing in November 2012 working with a former Olympian/nutritionist turned budding recording artist who graciously introduced me to a young woman who had recently opened a natural hair studio earlier that year in Silver Spring, MD. Starting out by promoting a few interactive events in her salon and revamping her website content, she approached me with her fabulous idea of hosting a natural hair show/expo in the D.C. metropolitan area. From there, our working relationship thrived and we embarked on that journey. July 28, 2013 marked the inaugural Naturalista Hair Show. That year, I was mainly in charge of public relations, website content and social media engagement. However, this past year I was given the opportunity to be an intricate part of the event planning process which added a new skill set to my freelance offerings.

When I began enjoying working on my freelance projects more than my actual full-time job at the time, I made a goal that I wanted to add at least two new projects either in the 2014 calendar year or before my 30th birthday. Well luckily, both projects came into fruition this year AND landed on the same weekend. Yes, the same weekend. It was slightly overwhelming but one thing I pride myself on is being good at multitasking. Prioritizing is also key! Continue reading