life curation · travel

Another Weekend in Charlotte, NC

Happy Monday, beautiful ones! I hope your week has gotten off to a pleasant start.

I just returned from a girlfriends getaway in Charlotte, NC. I told you all about a trip that I took to Charlotte a few months ago, but I just visited again over the weekend. It was a good weekend for a trip: St Patrick’s Day festivities and warmer weather were just what I needed.


We had plans of getting out into nature and spending some time on the trails, but we couldn’t quite get things to work out as we planned. As you know, plans are great but the decider is fate, so we rolled with the schedule changes and still had a blast. After all, it’s really about the COMPANY, and not the activities. And the company I enjoyed on this trip was superb!

We had a fantastic weekend and I can’t wait to return! I’ll post more specifics about our trip in a few days (including a hotel review) but, in the meantime, enjoy this video about Charlotte, the Queen City, that I found on YouTube. Talk to you all soon!

international · travel

Review: Ibis Styles Nairobi Westlands Hotel

During my incredible trip to Nairobi, I stayed at the Ibis Styles Hotel in the Westlands neighborhood. The recently remodeled hotel is a member of the Accor Hotels family. It is modern, secure and tastefully appointed. I stayed for a week, so I’m pretty comfortable mentioning the pros and cons of the hotel as I experienced it.

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The rooms are small but comfortable. The view isn’t particularly incredible but it’s a major city, so you should expect to see lots of buildings and not a ton of lush greenery. Oh, it was kind of nice to look down from the room and see schoolchildren playing during recess. I could even hear them when the television was turned off: it was fun hearing them laugh.

ibis-2 - Edited

Room photo as available on the Accor Hotels website


Views from my window

The hotel security is top notch, quick and pleasant. Had I chosen to drive, I could have parked there for free all week (that’s a big plus!). The hotel has a restaurant on site that served incredible meals (I chose half board, so breakfast and dinner were included in the price of the room). There was also a small cafe that served quick, tasty snacks and small meals. Sadly, these options weren’t available after 11 PM, so if you want to nibble late at night, you’ll either have to stash goodies in your room or be prepared to go out and grab a bite.

? ibis Styles Nairobi Westlands ?

Utamu is the hotel’s restaurant, and Sky Bar is the Cafe



Some of the meals I enjoyed during my stay

One of the advantages of this hotel is the excellent insect control: the room did not have – nor did it need – mosquito nets. During the entire stay, I didn’t experience any bug bites. That may have been because I visited during dry season, but my hunch is that the hotel has a stellar repellant setup to make up mosquito nets unnecessary.

Now, as great as this hotel was, there were some drawbacks. For starters, there is NO space for storing clothing. There are no dressers, and very little hanger space in the room. But what it lacks in storage space it makes up for in room under the beds: it was easy to slide my luggage out of sight. There are also no in-room refrigerators, so you’re limited to room-temp snacks (not a big deal, unless you plan on staying for more than a few days). There is also no in-room iron or ironing board, though there is an ironing room on the floor. Every time I went to iron my clothing, no one else was in there, so I’m guessing this setup works for most people.


Painting in my room

The room shower gets hot enough (yay for that!) but the drainage isn’t so good: water puddled and spilled out of the bathroom no matter how hard I tried to prevent it. That’s a design flaw that I don’t anticipate will be fixed any time soon. However, it was easy to contact room service and get more towels as needed.


Mirror detailing in the room

Also, despite describing itself as having an exchange counter, the staff seemed uncomfortable and confused about exchanging US dollars for Kenyan shillings. Their rate is MUCH higher than going to the ATM at the mall that I visited (The Hub in the Karen neighborhood). It’s easier and more cost efficient to withdraw from the ATM than to exchange money at the hotel. Not a con, per se, but something I’ll remember during my next visit.

So, would I return to Ibis Style Hotel in Westlands? Yes, absolutely! The pros far outweighed any cons, and I was pleased with my stay overall. The only way I’d consider a different hotel in Nairobi is if I planned to stay longer than ten days: I need a dresser in my room LOL!

international · travel

My Time at Nairobi National Museum

You all know how much I loved my time in Kenya. I wanted to make sure that I took in the local history, arts and culture while I was there because, why travel if you don’t wnat to learn about the place you’ve traveled to?

While in Nairobi, I visited the Nairobi National Museum. This museum DID NOT disappoint! I took photos in every area except the art gallery, in which photography was prohibited. Which is a real shame, since the artwork was wonderful. However, I understand the need to protect the artists from having their work ripped off and duplicated without credit.

Without further ado, here are some of my photos from the Nairobi National Museum:

Photos from the exterior of the museum

The mammal exhibit


Decor inside of the museum

The bird exhibit


Drawings from Joy Adamson,

Artifacts from the exhibit describing social customs in Kenya

Artifacts from the political history of Kenya


I wish I could have visited this museum again, because one visit simply wasn’t enough. This area is so rich in history, beautiful and culture: Kenya is an incredible experience. I highly recommend anyone visiting the area to go to the Nairobi National Museum. The price of admission is roughly $12USD for nonresident adults and $6USD for nonresident children. It was worth every penny!

international · travel

I’m Back From My Trip To . . .

Nairobi, Kenya!

No one won the prize I offered in my Guess Where I’m Headed post, so I’ll be the sole benefactor of some neat Kenyan souvenirs. But even if you didn’t guess the location correctly, you can still check out my pics from the trip: I have photos on my Instagram but I’ll also share a few on this post.

Since I enjoyed a lot of activities while I was there, I will have a LOT of reviews coming over the next couple of weeks. I am excited to talk about my hotel experience, sightseeing at major landmarks, my museum visit, my first safari, dining out, and more. I also plan to do an in-depth video explaining how anyone can afford international travel, and how to plan for domestic and international trips (including timelines and helpful tips from an experienced traveler).

Without further ado, here is a soupcon of my photos from my time in Nairobi, Kenya. Enjoy (and look out for those reviews soon)!

culture · travel

Review of the Hilton Charlotte Executive Park

This past weekend, I stayed in Charlotte, NC to attend a kizomba weekender and to spend time with one of my best friends. We stayed at the Hilton Charlotte Executive Park on Westpark Drive.

The hotel is easy to locate; it’s less than two minutes from the Tyvola Road exit on I-77. It’s a 3- star, moderately priced property that’s conveniently located near lots of attractions and is a short drive from downtown Charlotte.

If I haven’t mentioned it on this blog before, let this be the first time I tell you all this little fact about me: I love fountains. So seeing the fountain right in front of the building was a good sign for me:


The room was lovely and comfortable. The only drawback was that there wasn’t a microwave in our suite. No worries – we used the microwave in the Market, where guests could purchase snacks and beverages. The hotel staff was understanding and even joked that our reheated food had the lobby smelling delicious! Here are some view from the lobby:


And naturally, here’s the obligatory bathroom toiletry shot (seems to be a “thing” with me):


The suite was spacious and pristine. Aside from the microwave issue, I only had one other tiny “complaint”: I couldn’t connect to the wifi all weekend! It was a blessing in disguise, though: I was able to really focus on connecting with people offline. And who couldn’t use more face-to-face connection? For that reason, I didn’t even bother asking the hotel staff for assistance with the wifi.

I really had a great stay! I’d definitely return, uncooperative wifi and microwave oven and all!

international · travel

Dreaming of Costa Rica . . .

With this recent string of cold days (what other weather would I expect in November in Virginia? I digress), all I’m thinking about is getting away to somewhere warm and sunny. Somewhere like . . . Costa Rica.

expedia costa rica

(photo courtesy of Expedia)

I’ve dreamed about a Costa Rican vacation for well over a year now. Aside from the tropical weather and beautiful water, I really want to see the sloths.

I mean, what’s cuter than a baby sloth?


(photo courtesy of

The Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica makes it possible for visitors to tour and learn more about sloths in a safe, protected environment. I can’t wait to visit!

I won’t be going to Costa Rica this winter, but I may make it happen during the early months of 2019. I have a different adventure planned for this upcoming year (specifically, February 2018). I’m staying mum on the details of trip until after I’ve purchased the tickets, hotel rooms, and travel visas.

I can’t wait to share that with you! But in the meantime, just dream of Costa Rica with me . . .

Talk to you all tomorrow!