In less than one week I will embark on a 13-hour flight to the UAE. If you couldn’t tell before, I am super excited! I’ve been doing lots of research for my trip and decided to look into some apps to download. First, I must say, PLEASE BE SURE TO CALL YOUR WIRELESS PROVIDER TO FIND OUT THE FEES ASSOCIATED WITH INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL. Yes I had to put that in caps. There is nothing worse then coming back to home and getting a phone bill for hundreds of dollars because you did not find out about those fees. I don’t plan on making any calls during my trip so my app game must be on point so that I can stay in contact with my family in case of emergency. I will be disabling my data and using strickly wi-fi because it is free and I won’t be charged for anything.

So after doing a little research and playing around with the apps (some of them I use already) here are are 5 apps that you should download before your next trip. All apps are compatible with iPhones and Androids.

1. Foodspotting

travel-foodspotting

Yes I had to put a food app as number 1 because I. LOVE. TO. EAT. I can’t help it, but I love food. This app is great because it gives you pictures of food that people took nearby and the place to get it. I downloaded this app the other day and did not realize how many great restaurants are only a few miles from me!

2. TripIt

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This app is a travel organizer. I’ve already plugged in my flight and lodging plans. It keeps your trip itinerary in one location. You can do an auto-import from Gmail, Google Apps, or Yahoo Mail. It scans your email for all of your trip itineraries and adds the information for you. You can add information about car rentals, and other modes of transportation, restaurants, tours, concerts, meetings, and other activities. I’m a list/detail-oriented and I always have my information in multiple places, so this app is a life saver.

3. What’s App Messenger

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I use this app all day everyday. It is a free messaging app that can be used anywhere as long as you are connected to wi-fi. One of my line sisters (Hey Robyn) is from St. Lucia and frequently goes back home to visit and that is how we communicate because it is free. It is like sending imessages or text messages. I use it for individual chats and group chats with my family and friends.

4. Globe Converter

travel-converter

This app is a quick tool to convert your money. I’m sure it will be ok to use USD, but some people may try to cheat you. Use the converter to make sure you are paying the right price for items at markets, fairs, and also for taxis.

5. Trover

travel-trover

Similar to FoodSpotting, Trover is like the Instagram of travel. People post photos of places they have visited all over the world. All you need to do is type in your destination to see the places that people have visited and you can add that to your itinerary. I’ve already checked out the UAE on trover and a few of the places that are on their are already on my list.

Honorable Mention: Uber-

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You never know when you will need a taxi service. Uber serves over 55 countries. Check to see if your next destination is on the list.

What are some apps that you all download for your trips?

We’ve been having some pretty decent weather lately. One day last week we hit about 60 degrees. Some people were ridiculous with their attire though. It is not time to shed all of your warm clothes, but here is a little spring time outfit inspiration.

Style Files: Spring Blossom

I love pastels and florals for spring. This look here would be great for work, church, an early afternoon date, and a fancy brunch with your girls.

Click the image for outfit details.

Last week I told you all that I will be going to the UAE for a little vacation in the coming weeks. In anticipation for this trip, as I do with other trips, I needed to figure out what we could do while on vacation. When I told people that I was going some were excited because they want to travel there, others were like “What are you going to do out there?” So here is your answer.

At this point in my life, I’m not all about the “turn up” anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I still want to party and have a good time, but I also want to see the world. I’m always down for a good excursion or sightseeing. If I have the means to travel to certain places I don’t just want to be posted up with a drink in my hand, I want to experience different things. So here is what my boyfriend and I plan to do while in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. This is the final version of the list. It went through many revisions because he gave me the, “babe you’re doing too much” look when he saw my first list.

1. Yas Island Ferrari World- I’m super excited to visit the place with the world’s fastest roller coaster. I probably won’t get on it lol. My tolerance for rides has decreased significantly, but there are tons of activities to do. We will probably spend a lot of time on Yas Island because there is tons to do.

yasisland

Yas Island, Abu Dhabi

Ferrari World

Ferrari World

2. Grand Sheikh Zayed Mosque- This is the largest mosque in the UAE and took nine years to build. The late president of the UAE Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan wanted to create a place that united the cultural diversity of the Islamic world.

Grand Sheikh Zayed Mosque

Grand Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi

3. Gold and Spice Souks- A souk is an Arab market or market place. This is where you haggle your prices. No price is definite at the souks. I think I’m more excited for the spice souk than the gold souk, because I’m starting to love experimenting with different spices in my cooking, and I can see a plethora of these spices from the Bible…I mean who wouldn’t want some  frankinsense and myrrh?? Lol, I know I can find those here in New York, but visiting the souks would definitely be aesthetically amazing.

Gold Souk

Gold Souk

Spice Souk

Spice Souk

4. Desert Safaris- Camel rides, sandboarding, henna, belly dancing, sunset bbq? Please sign me up.

Camel Riding

Camel Riding

Henna

Henna

Desert Safari

Desert Safari

5. Burj Khalifa- The tallest building in the world. I mean how can you go to Dubai and not visit this place? The observation decks are at level 124 and level 148 of the 163 story building. They have tours that typically take up to 1.5 hours.

burjkhalifa

Burj Khalifa

6. Dubai Underwater Zoo and Aquarium- Located in the Dubai Mall, it is one of the largest suspended aquarium’s in the world. It houses thousands of aquatic animals. There are a number of things you can do here including the Aquarium Tunnel, Underwater Zoo, Glass-Bottom Boat ride, fish feeding, and various dive packages including caged snorkeling.

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Aquarium and Underwater Zoo

I would also like to visit the Al Ain Palace Museum and Emirates Palace, but that’s only if there is time.

alainpalacemuseum

Al Ain Palace Museum

Emirates Palace

Emirates Palace

As far as travel, we will probably take taxis most places. Taxi Fare Finder is a great website to get estimated prices for your travel without getting cheated. They give you prices with no traffic, light traffic, and heavy traffic.

Also I’ve been using the Google currency converter to convert AED prices to USD, just so I can get an idea of how much we are going to be spending.

*Keep in mind that on Fridays many places do not open until mid afternoon (around 3pm) because Fridays is known as Jumu’ah or day of prayer. That should be kept in mind when planning your vacation.*

Has anyone been to the UAE, what places did you visit?

I wasn’t seeing any improvement with my hair, skin, and nails and it was making me gain weight.

I was a faithful biotin user over the years. I would take the maximum potency pills everyday for about two or three months then I would stop. Then my hair, skin, and nails would start acting crazy and I would go back to my biotin.

biotin

Now let me tell you, those pills are expensive. If they were ever on sale at a drugstore I would buy two, or buy them in bulk at BJs to get somewhat of a deal. So in addition to my multivitamin, I was taking biotin, and hair, skin, and nail vitamins, which is just biotin and other a few other vitamins.

I wanted to achieve the hair results that were promised by Hairfinity and Manetabolism. Again, this goes back to my issues with my hair. So I just randomly stopped taking the biotin and hair, skin, and nail vitamins in early February. This was unintentional at first. I just stopped. I still have a bottle of vitamins in my desk drawer at work. I think my subconscious self realized they weren’t working.

no vitamins

I was taking the pills faithfully, but I have not seen improvement in my hair, skin, or nails. I’m thinking that maybe in the past I was being a little delusional because everyone else said it worked. Maybe it did work, but it definitely stopped. It just made me hungry. This year I realized that when I would take my biotin my appetite was crazy! I was just eating constantly. Since I stopped last month I have noticed that my appetite has changed. I cannot attribute all of my weight gain to these little pills, but they definitely played a part. I have heard of biotin making your hair thin and causing acne, but I started doing research about weight gain and although there is no research that supports it, many of the reviews by people who have taken the vitamins have said it made them gain weight. This may not be everyone’s experience, but it has been mine.

fruitsandveggies

So now that I am free from taking the biotin pills, I have to make sure that I eat a healthy diet instead of taking supplements. I’ll get my vitamins the old fashion way, fruits and veggies.

Have any of you ever had issues with biotin? How did you deal with them?

*Disclaimer* I wrote the following post on January 15, 2015. There is a March 2015 update.

As of January 2, 2015 I unfollowed 97% of the hair pages that I was following on Instagram. I was trying to “Keep up with the Jones’” and try styles and products that really did not suit my hair type or preferable style but I had just had to follow them because they were “popular.” I’m officially done. On December 30, 2014 I was so hyped to get crochet braids because they were the new “It” hairstyle. I did some research, bought some hair, and went to the salon Tuesday at 9am. I showed them the hair and they said it wasn’t suitable for the style I wanted. I went back to a beauty supply store and bought the proper hair and spent 4 hours getting my hair done. Although I have a small head, I have a lot of hair. The process wasn’t as painful as box braids or senagelese twists. Everyone that came into the salon kept complimenting the hair and how the style was coming out so I was excited to see it.

hair2

So around 1:30 I was done. I looked in the mirror and I was not happy. I managed to smile, paid the money and kept it moving. I was miserable. It was way too much hair and did not look like the styles that I see on the gram. I met up with my mom and sis and did not want to take my hat off. Once I did there was a lonnnnngggg pause…then my sister said “It’s not that bad.” I said, “But it is bad though?” It was a mess. I tried to restyle it, but on headbands and I just wasn’t happy. Usually when I like a hairstyle I like it and you know it. I was not feeling confident at all. My boyfriend wasn’t a fan, my line sister said “Fix it Jesus” lol. I wasn’t upset with them because I hated it too.

Yeah...my hair did not look like this...

Yeah…my hair did not look like this…

I went to a game night on Friday January 2, 2015 and some people didn’t even recognize me. So Saturday January 3, 2015 around 12pm I cut the bulk of the hair and took out the crochet twists. I needed help because of the “closure” the stylists did at the top. It was a mess.

I went to my salon got a wash and set and now I am back to square one.

My hair is the thinnest that it has ever been. It’s not crazy thin, but I’m used to having thicker hair. The front stops around my cheeks and the back grazes the shoulders. The front of my hair is so thin and short because my ends were badly damaged and fuzzy, so they had to go. Remember a few years ago I didn’t relax my hair for about 6 months and then started to texlax for a few months, then I went back to my regular relaxers. I had 52 different textures, mainly in the front. My hair dresser did perm my ends, but did not want to over process them, so she would trim my ends often. That’s why I have two different lengths. I am going to go back to what I was doing before I was encapsulated by all of this blogging stuff: protective styles, co-washes, marley buns, texlaxing, relaxer stretches, etc. That stuff works for some people, but not for me. I’m going back to my old regimen. Wash and sets and deep conditions every week and a half or two weeks, relaxers every 8-10 weeks, trims, moisturize and seal when necessary. All of that in addition to having healthier diet and taking my vitamins.

hair

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. So I’m going back to my old ways.

*UPDATE  March 11, 2015*

hair6

I. AM. LOVING. MY. HAIR. Based on how my year started off, I did not expect to be saying that so soon. I stopped doing what I saw and did what was best for me. Being a blogger I would often get invites to various events and get tons of products that really weren’t for me. I would see results on other bloggers, but they were natural and it worked for them. Instead of trying to keep up with that lifestyle I went back to what I knew worked; my Dominican wash and sets and deep conditions. Spare me with the heat damage and all of that other stuff. My hair is the healthiest that it is has been in years. I am retaining length and my hair is much fuller. Most importantly, I’m happy with the results and progress.

What are your hair goals and regimens?