My mood now and forever is to maximize my time and stop talking myself out of living my life. I've been blessed with opportunities to go out and see the world around me and that's exactly what I set out to do. I promised myself that I would make traveling more of a priority because it truly has its benefits on an emotional, creative, and wellness level. One of my travel goals is to explore every country in Europe. Yes, that's right, every single one. I traveled to London when I was much younger and I thought revisiting the country as an adult would be a great way to kick-off my mission to explore Europe.
Last month, when I turned 27, I decided this was going to be the start of it all. I only had four days off from work and I was not going to let that interfere with celebrating my day like a Queen and knocking a few things off my bucket list. I made a list of a few things I knew I wanted to do and did some research on how to do it. I'm not going to lie, four days didn't initially sound like a lot of time but when I put together my itinerary, I was able to do much more than what I expected.
I think I have nailed down how to make the most of these mini-vacations, so it's only right that I share it with you. Here's how you can make the most out a four-day trip in London.
See What’s Going On In The City
I think one key is trying to see what's going on in the city. Search Eventbrite, local event pages for that city, Facebook, Meetup, anything that posts events. You'd be surprised at what you can find there. Prior to getting to London, I looked at what events were going on and that's how I stumbled across the Carribean Carnival, also known as the Notting Hill Carnival. It's filled with Carribean pride, and let's just say Londoners really know how to turn things up. There was music, costumes, food, activities, and floats. I knew London had a Carribean community but I was also impressed by how large it was and how they showed out. Of course, with the Carnival, you can expect nightlife events to continue the celebration. Learning what's happening in the city ahead of time is an easy and fun way to get the most out of a short stay.
Find Deals On Tours In The City
If it's your first time in a city or country, there is nothing wrong with being a tourist. I personally think you should visit a place more than once so you can fully enjoy everything a place has to offer. However, tours are a quick and easy way to knock out all of your tourism interests in one go.
When I went to London, I signed up for a tour with River Thames Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Cruise. When I booked my sightseeing tour, we visited important and historical monuments and places to see in London. I even stopped at the London Eye and enjoyed the entire view the city had to offer from the Ferris wheel-inspired setup to take in the view of the city. Plus, you can have a drink or two if that's your thing.
You can choose from a variety of tour options, depending on what you want to see. The tour prices range from as little as $10-$68. And you get to see the city without breaking your pockets, which sounds like a deal to me.
Visit Cities (Or Countries) Close By
If you are visiting a place like London that has a train system that takes you to nearby cities, please go! From London, I took the train to Paris and went on another tour through Golden Tours. We toured the Eiffel Tower, took another boat cruise in Paris, and visited the Louvre Museum. In my opinion, it's the most inexpensive way to get the most out of your trip and the most bang for your buck. Each activity would have been way more if I booked each event individually. All together, everything came up to $260 including our roundtrip train tickets. You can check out how to get the most of your trip to London and Paris through another article on our site here.
Go Out And Explore
Some of the cutest gems tend to be right in front of us and in places we overlook. Take the train and explore places in the city or around your hotel. Whether you're shopping, going for a bite, visiting bars and lounges, just go out and enjoy the local scene as well. London has a very diverse selection of food, for every type of diet. If you're vegan/vegetarian/pescatarian, you still have a lot of options. Most restaurants are very friendly with dietary restriction and they offer a little bit of everything.
While London isn't known for a particular food, you can definitely find great places to eat. One of my favorite restaurants was an Indian cuisine name Mogul. This one isn't super vegan-friendly, but if you like Indian food, it's a great choice. If you're stuck on where to go, ask the employees at the hotel you're staying or ask any locals you may run into. You can also check pages like Airbnb that offer experiences and recommendations on things to do and see.
Get the most out of your mini-vacations, you can enjoy more than you think.
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Freelance writer, content creator, and traveler. She enjoys the beauty of simplicity, a peaceful life, and a big curly fro. Connect with Krissy on social media @iamkrissylewis or check out her blog at www.krissylewis.com.
How Content Creators Hey Fran Hey And Shameless Maya Embraced The Pivot
This article is in partnership with Meta Elevate.
If you’ve been on the internet at all within the past decade, chances are the names Hey Fran Hey and Shameless Maya (aka Maya Washington) have come across your screen. These content creators have touched every platform on the web, spreading joy to help women everywhere live their best lives. From Fran’s healing natural remedies to Maya’s words of wisdom, both of these content creators have built a loyal following by sharing honest, useful, and vulnerable content. But in search of a life that lends to more creativity, freedom, and space, these digital mavens have moved from their bustling big cities (New York City and Los Angeles respectively) to more remote locations, taking their popular digital brands with them.
Content Creators Hey Fran Hey and Maya Washington Talk "Embracing The Pivot"www.youtube.com
In partnership with Meta Elevate — an online learning platform that provides Black, Hispanic, and Latinx-owned businesses access to 1:1 mentoring, digital skills training, and community — xoNecole teamed up with Franscheska Medina and Maya Washington on IG live recently for a candid conversation about how they’ve embraced the pivot by changing their surroundings to ultimately bring out the best in themselves and their work. Fran, a New York City native, moved from the Big Apple to Portland, Oregon a year ago. Feeling overstimulated by the hustle and bustle of city life, Fran headed to the Pacific Northwest in search of a more easeful life.
Her cross-country move is the backdrop for her new campaign with Meta Elevate— a perfectly-timed commercial that shows how you can level up from wherever you land with the support of free resources like Meta Elevate. Similarly, Maya packed up her life in Los Angeles and moved to Sweden, where she now resides with her husband and adorable daughter. Maya’s life is much more rural and farm-like than it had been in California, but she is thriving in this peaceful new setting while finding her groove as a new mom.
While Maya is steadily building and growing her digital brand as a self-proclaimed “mom coming out of early retirement,” Fran is redefining her own professional grind. “It’s been a year since I moved from New York City to Portland, Oregon,” says Fran. “I think the season I’m in is figuring out how to stay successful while also slowing down.” A slower-paced life has unlocked so many creative possibilities and opportunities for these ladies, and our conversation with them is a well-needed reminder that your success is not tied to your location…especially with the internet at your fingertips. Tapping into a community like Meta Elevate can help Black, Hispanic, and Latinx entrepreneurs and content creators stay connected to like minds and educated on new digital skills and tools that can help scale their businesses.
During a beautiful moment in the conversation, Fran gives Maya her flowers for being an innovator in the digital space. Back when “influencing” was in its infancy and creators were just trying to find their way, Fran says Maya was way ahead of her time. “I give Maya credit for being one of the pioneers in the digital space,” Fran said. “Maya is a one-person machine, and I always tell her she really changed the game on what ads, campaigns, and videos, in general, should look like.”
When asked what advice she’d give content creators, Maya says the key is having faith even when you don’t see the results just yet. “It’s so easy to look at what is, despite you pouring your heart into this thing that may not be giving you the returns that you thought,” she says. “Still operate from a place of love and authenticity. Have faith and do the work. A lot of people are positive thinkers, but that’s the thinking part. You also have to put your faith into work and do the work.”
Fran ultimately encourages content creators and budding entrepreneurs to take full advantage of Meta Elevate’s vast offerings to educate themselves on how to build and grow their businesses online. “It took me ten years to get to the point where I’m making ads at this level,” she says. “I didn’t have those resources in 2010. I love the partnership with Meta Elevate because they’re providing these resources for free. I just think of the people that wouldn’t be able to afford that education and information otherwise. So to amplify a company like this just feels right.”
Watch the full conversation with the link above, and join the Meta Elevate community to connect with fellow businesses and creatives that are #OnTheRiseTogether.
Featured image courtesy of Shameless Maya and Hey Fran Hey
Halle Bailey Says She Appreciates That Everyone Wants To Protect Her, But She's Got This
Halle Bailey and her boyfriend of over a year, rapper DDG, are young and in love. We learned the two were dating in January 2022 after they were spotted together at Usher's residency concert in Vegas. DDG later confirmed the romance that March when he made it all IG official with a birthday shoutout to his bae. And since then, they've been seemingly inseparable, attending public events together, most recently, for the Vanity Fair Oscar party as Halle prepares for the premiere of her career-defining role in The Little Mermaid.
While there, DDG gave flowers to his bae, telling PEOPLE, "I'm very proud of her. And I'm just happy to see it. I feel like sometimes I'm even more excited than anybody else. Just seeing it and seeing everything that she dreamed of coming to life, it's really dope."
It's the support for me, m'kay?!
And listen, Halle loves her 'some him' too, showing that she pulls up for his music career by starring in the music video for his single, "If I Want You." "Everyone go watch 'if i want you' by @ddg it's out now ❣️you might see a familiar face 🤭💗," she wrote on an Instagram post. She doubled down on her support, revealing to ESSENCE that she had been "a fan" even before they met, adding to the cocktail of their romance that has captured the hearts of many by simply being two young lovebirds navigating their journey of fame, loyalty, and love for the world to see (and dissect).
Well, that was until a little drama, or ex (his), showed up on their doorstep and publicly tested whether the couple's relationship is what they say it is. And after the dust settled (and a little PR work), Halle hopped on IG Live to basically tell us what's understood between the two of them, does not--and will not--be explained. In fact, after sending comment sections into a frenzy for weeks because the culture was coming to her defense, she let us know that, yeah, she appreciates the love, but she's got this.
When speaking about the new music she's recording she said, "This music that I'm making right now, is a lot about the time, how I felt, when I was filming. I was very independent and on my own but also felt isolated and it's also about what happened when I got back home and being in love and all of that..."
"I just think it's so funny, people getting to see me, you know, being in love, in a relationship...I think because I've grown up in the public eye since I was younger, people just feel like this sort of protective energy that they feel like they have to have with me, which honestly I think is sweet, but it's funny."
Halle also wrote on Twitter in a now-deleted tweet, "the devil is working ♥️ lol please don’t feed into the lies, especially from a third party 💕✨stay blessed everyone."
In other words, it's giving 'nothing-to-see-here-but-I-ain't-the-one-and-he-knows-that-so-we're-not-even-going-to-entertain-this.' And as grateful as Halle is for the continued support she has received, she admits is in the process of setting boundaries surrounding matters outside of her craft.
She touched on the subject again, telling Yahoo!'sThe Unwind, "They still see me as that 13-year-old girl that they first discovered and I understand how if you've been supporting somebody for a long time you get invested in their personal lives," she says.
"It's definitely been a learning experience for me. And the beautiful people that have supported me and stuck with me for a very long time, can continue to support what I do publicly in my business affairs, and I really appreciate that, but everything else is my business. And I have to make that priority."
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Featured image by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic