The Travel Diary

Tag: travel tips

Candacetravels’ 2016 Year In Review

“When asked if my cup is half full or half empty, my only response is that I am thankful I have a cup.”

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Babe’s Cafe – Brecksville, Ohio

What a year! 2016 doesn’t owe me a thing. Of course it wasn’t perfect, but it was certainly eventful. I gazed across the city of Dallas, TX from 470 ft up in the air, as well as dined on-the-go, spent Valentine’s Day strolling through South Beach in Miami, chased butterflies in Aruba, snorkeled and sampled cactus liqueur in Bonaire, lived like a local in St. Maarten while staying at Alegria, smashed dinner at my favorite spot on the French side, Cynthia’s, in St. Martin, changed planes a few times in Curaçao (visited there a few years ago,) stood in a ridiculously long security line in Newark, skipped along the cherry blossom filled Tidal Basin in Washington D.C., relaxed like a queen at The Ritz Carlton in Arlington, ate at a cute lil cafe in Eufaula w/my sis, let the ocean breeze blow over me in Panama City, where I saw the most beautiful sunset, chowed down on some delicious food in Atlanta w/a friend, while in between cities, attended the CAVS championship parade in Cleveland, among various other activities, made some new connects in Orlando, caught like a million flights back and forth between FL and OH alllll year long, learned about horticulture in Clermont during my down time, kicked back in Tampa and Clearwater when I wasn’t working, ate the best pumpkin risotto and mushroom sliders in Oslo, where I would happily spend my summers, staying at Scandic Vulkan, danced at the base of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, where I celebrated my B-day with friends, prayed inside the gorgeous 100+ year old Sagrada Familia basilica in Barcelona, after eating some yummy paella, spent a few hrs in beautiful Lisbon (which wasn’t long enough,) chilled out in the hot tub in Boston after my flight back to the US, and slept like a baby in Detroit! In the process, I smiled alot, caught a ton of flights ✈️(approximately 30,) rode on quite a few trains 🚉 (too many to remember) and in quite a few cars 🚘, (definitely lost count) as well as hit the water on a handful of boats 🛥 (that sounds about right) this past year too -and thanked God all the way thru! 🙏🏾In the midst of all of this, I met great people, sometimes traveled alone, while at times with others, and always with my favorite items – and wrote about many of my 2016 adventures on/in, in Upscale Living Magazine, on A Luxury Travel Blog, in Global Living Magazine and on Black – I’ve included several links above for you!! Just click to read the full articles or posts. A HUGE THANKS goes out to all of you for your support, and a big thank you to 2016 for a superb Global Expedition that included 7 countries (well technically 8 because St. Maarten and St. Martin are considered two separate countries,) and a host of cities. But… now it’s time to make room for 2017!🏾 Let’s prepare to create some new epic adventures together. Happy New Year everyone!!



This post includes both sponsored, as well as non-sponsored material. However, the events noted above do recount my actual experiences regardless of post. My goal is to provide you with useful information to make your travel experience as rich as possible.

5 Ways to Give Back While Traveling: Airport Edition

Greetings fellow travelers! I  hope this post finds you well. Today I want to discuss the topic of traveling with the goal of being a blessing to someone else in mind. We all love and appreciate the epic moments we experience while on the go, but how often are we thinking of doing something nice for others?  My question to you today is, do you travel with the goal of putting a smile on someone else’s face, or are you only thinking about your upcoming adventure? After reading this post, perhaps you will give it further consideration. I’m all for a great time! Lord knows I am, but it is important to me, to make a positive impact wherever I can. So, here are 5 easy ways to extend a blessing to others- during your domestic and international travels.

Buy a Little or Latte

We all know how long those Starbucks lines are in the airport. How about striking up a conversation with the person in back of you next time, and finding out what they plan to order. Engage in random, “How’s the weather where you’re headed” type of questions first, then work your way up to what they typically order. When the moment arrives, and you actually reach the counter 30 mins later, pay it forward! It’s not only a nice surprise for the person after you, but it also gives you and warm and fuzzy feeling inside, too. You just may make a new friend for life, and even if you don’t, at least you did something to put a smile on someone else’s face. Cheers to iced chai latte (tea) with coconut milk…in case you are ever standing in the line in front of me! Haha..but seriously! LOL.

Fork Over Your Window Seat

If you happen to find yourself on a row with the kindest person ever and their little anxious toddler, who is so excited to fly for the first time, consider doing the ultimate! Let them get the sweet taste of the window seat. Chances are you’ve flown a million times by now, and even if you haven’t it’s still just nice to do. Help make the kid’s first flight an epic ride that he or she will never forget. Your incredible act of kindness will last a lifetime, or at least for the duration of the flight, and when they grow up, hopefully, they’ll consider doing the same for the little travelers who come behind. In addition, you’ll be taking some added stress off of the parent, too. The views outside will keep their little one so occupied, that it’ll make for a smooth flight for everyone…including you! This will lesson the amount of “Are we there yets?,” because they’ll be too busy counting the clouds. Look at you!

Invite a Stranger to Lounge

I was just in this position last year. I was the stranger, who got an invite to the lounge. I wasn’t able to make a Barcelona flight out of JFK one day, and the nicest guy, who just so happened to work for Delta, didn’t make the flight either. He noticed my distress and invited me up to the Delta lounge. He totally saved the day. I was beat and had been in the airport all day. Before you freak out, I felt totally safe. If you’ve ever been in one of the airline lounges, then you know, they are packed with people, well lit and have staff available onsite. There is food, TVs, places to lounge and even access to showers. They are fantastic! If you have a pass and strike up a great conversation with a random stranger, who is on your super delayed or canceled flight, be a superhero and help them out. They will be oh so grateful! As a matter of fact, I’m friends with my Delta angel to this day.

A Not So Blind Lunch Date

I’m sure by now you can tell I spend a ton of time in the airport! With a ton of flying comes delays, cancellations and even reroutes. With that being said, the airport is a great place to meet some really awesome people. I find myself talking to people at the gate or in stores all the time. How about a not so blind lunch date? Not a date, date, unless you just so happen to make a connection with a really amazing guy or gal, but otherwise, I mean a “one good human being doing a good deed to another” type of date. You can learn a lot about life and people over a meal. And if you just so happen to find a match and meet the love of your life after reading this post- because you decided to buy someone lunch, you can thank me later! I accept payments in the form of airline miles, tickets and hotels. LOL. Just kidding….uhm…unless you really just feel led to bless me of course. But seriously, there’s no better way to make a person’s day than by buying them a hot or cold meal. Bon appetit!

Share the Plunder

There have been a few times in my life where people have complemented certain items of mine, and I felt led to give it to them. Just recently, on a reroute to Detroit from Boston, I met the nicest lady and her daughter. She’d just turned 21 (the daughter,) and really liked my jean tote bag. I was so exhausted that night, considering we’d just endured the day from well… it certainly was not Heaven let’s just say, and it was roughly 12:30 am by the time the airline got us all situated with a hotel. I wanted to just give her my bag then, but didn’t have the energy before we parted, to dump the contents and pass it on. Fortunately, we’d exchanged names, etc. and they reached out to me of FB, to offer me a ride the next day to Cleveland. We had all been on a cancelled flight, and Detroit was the closest place that 5 of us decided to head to. We all figured it would be pretty easy to get to OH from there, and after being stuck in Boston for 13 and a half hours, I was ready to get to just about anywhere else, that wasn’t there. In any case, I didn’t get to take them up on their offer for a ride, because I’d already made arrangements earlier that next morning to get to Cleveland. I was trying to get to my aunt’s memorial service, so it was imperative that I make it to my home state in time. In any case, I was so thrilled to hear from them and upon getting to Ohio, I got the address to send that young lady my tote bag. I have a million of them, so why not bless her with one. No biggie!! Happy to share the spoil and hope she had a super 21st birthday.

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Jean Tote with Contents Prior to Passing It On

Thanks for reading, dear friends! Here’s to happy, safe and “paying it forward” travels to you. Have a great November and remember to be thankful for all that’s been given to you.








3 Tips for Spontaneous Travel…


How long has it been since your last, spur of the moment getaway? If you took longer than 30 secs to answer, then boy are you overdue for a trip! Not sure when you will find the time to steal away? Well, here are 3 quick tips to help get you out of the office-and on the road, or in the air today.

  1. Pack a Bag

Whether you choose a weekender or duffle bag, just grab something- and fill it up! Yes, pack it and leave it out in eye view. Place it outside of your closet, or somewhere near your that perhaps, you can trip over it, lol. Let it serve as a constant reminder to you that some time away- is needed soon. Also, don’t forget to toss in your favorite travel  and lifestyle magazines, books and any favorite, non-perishable snacks that you’d most enjoy.

     2. Prepare Cameras & Other Devices

Pull that camera from atop the shelf in your closet and charge up that battery -NOW! Gather your flashes, hoods, lenses, SIM cards, as well as any portable chargers, adapters or other must-haves, for the road. Once you’ve collected all the items, toss them in the bag that you packed, and again, remember to set it outside of your bedroom closet. Yes, that weekender that you’re going to keep bumping into- unless you get serious about getting away!

      3. Create a Checklist

The major benefit of having a check-list readily available, is that you’ve already taken all the guess work out. Remember, spontaneous trips are…well… spontaneous! We’re cheating a little by preparing in advance, but it’ll be oh so worth it. Make a list of necessary contact numbers and must-do’s before leaving the premises today. This will ensure that you’re not disregarding any previously confirmed engagements, nor sacrificing any necessities in the last minute process. Have a person or kennel on hand that would agree to keep your pet or mini-you (like an overnight daycare,or trusted granny, who never turns down time with your favorite little persons,) for a day or two, on short notice. Let these individuals know ahead of time that one day in the very near future, you will be calling them for help! It may surprise you to see just how much they’ll encourage you to do it, too. Also, remember to make arrangements now (by putting them on notice that a spontaneous getaway is in the making) for taking out the trash or picking up the mail.

Sooo, now that you’re ready- you are going to ditch work one Friday, (only if you have vacation time to use…and even if you don’t,) and catch a flight or hop in the car for the spur-of-the-moment time of your life!

Now that you are all set- get ready for some spontaneous travel fun! Share your stories with the Candacetravel team when you return, as well as of any adventures from your last spur-of-the-moment trips. We’d love to hear from you!! Safe travels!

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Charles de Gaulle Airport- Paris, France




The Perfect Stowaway

Looking for the perfect “stowaway” for your summer 2016, travel schedule? If so, then do I have a great suggestion for you. It’s a traveler’s favorite- the fantastic line of Stowaway Cosmetics. I’ve trekked across the country with these goodies for the last 3 months, and it’s been quite the pleasure having them in tow. Since I now refuse to leave home without them, you can bank on spotting me with one or more of the beauty products on. From the smooth and silky lipstick, to the gorgeous, natural shades of the eye shadow palette, these beauty enhancers are a must-have for your upcoming adventures. Below are my top 3 reasons why you should add Stowaway Cosmetics to your packing list- today.


  1. Size

Stowaway Cosmetics are compact and portable. They are the ideal size for weekend getaways or even extended business or leisure trips. The primary benefit to having smaller sized cosmetics, is that they take up much less space. As a result, they leave room in your make-up bag for other essential travel items; like nail files, facial cleansers and mini perfume bottles. The lipstick tube is about the length of a pinky finger and the eyeliner is about the size of a ring finger, whereas the cheek and lip rouge is just a tad larger than a silver US dollar. The eye shadow palette is the size of a hotel room key (or credit card,) and the mascara stick, complexion balm (foundation) and tiny concealer are about 2/3rds the size of traditional ones. Since I’ve become a minimalist over the last couple of years, these items work well with my current lifestyle. I’m certain that just about every road warrior and person on-the-go, would appreciate this line. Aside from being an absolute home-run for travelers, Stowaway is also fantastic for nights out on the town. They fit perfectly into just about any clutch, wristlet or small purse.

Where has Stowaway Cosmetics been all of my life???


Stowaway Cosmetics- Taken at The Ritz Carlton- Pentagon City, Arlington, VA


Lipstick tube in comparison to a standard M.A.C. tube


Essential Eye Palette – The size of my (The) Ritz Carlton hotel room key

  1. Customization of Products & Packaging

It’s easy to customize a kit online, as well as to select individual items. The online store is user friendly and provides information about each beauty product. The available colors are listed under each item, along with the price. The Stowaway Cosmetics line (lipsticks, rouges and lip glosses) primarily features colors within the pink and mauve family. There is also a beautiful red, creme lipstick to choose from and a range of moisturizing tints. The Essential Eye (Shadow) Palette is comprised of beautiful matte and shimmer earth tones that can also be used for brows, as well as for a liner. The gorgeous Cheek and Lip Rouge complements the lipstick and lip gloss line impeccably, and the Effortless Eyeliner and Extreme Lash Mascaras both come in black, and the eyeliner is offered in brown as well.  Most of the products come in a cute matte, gray encasement with the word “Stowaway” in white – on the outside of them, and the Radiant Complexion Beauty Balm cream moisturizer and Creaseless Concealer come in white tubing with gray lettering. The packaging is adorable!

When my kit arrived, it was in the most charming little white box with all of my goodies packed away inside!


Stowaway Cosmetics upon arrival- in individual boxes


Stowaway Cosmetics upon arrival- enclosed in tissue paper and label

  1. Use

Product Review

I have used all of my Stowaway products for the last few months, and have really enjoyed them. They have traveled with me from airport to airport and from hotel to home and all points in between. They’ve held up well under fierce travel conditions and have proved to be durable despite being small.

Use- I really like the feel and the creaminess of the raspberry lipstick. It’s brighter than what I normally wear, but I wanted to step out-the-box with this one a bit. It feels great on my lips and complements my rich brown tones. The mascara is also pretty great and goes on easily. I like the thickness of the product, for the perfect lash. The eyeliner is soft and silky, but actually takes a few applications before showing up for me. The cheek and lip rouge is a real winner. I appreciate that it’s a two-in-one, allowing for maximum use. I can wear it on my lips and cheeks, which cuts out the need for a separate lipstick tube some days. It’s cremey and applies rather effortlessly for a little pop of color. The eye palette is probably my most favorite of the bunch, because of the beautiful earth tone shades. I typically aim for a more natural look, so the long lasting colors worked well for me. The complexion balm wasn’t exactly a match for my skin tone, especially since I’m summer sun-kissed, so I passed it on to my niece. I’m a deep caramel and rich brown, so the darkest shade available, “tan,” wasn’t quite deep enough for me. However, I did like the texture of it when I tried. Even though it is a tad darker than what my niece normally wears, she loved it! The concealer was equally as smooth, but was also a shade or two lighter than my normal tint. This too, was passed onto my niece, and she absolutely adored it. She said that it was one of the best concealers that she’s ever used- and that’s a real complement coming from her. She is a makeup connoisseur. She models, dances and acts, so she takes her beauty items very seriously. I look forward to seeing the addition of some new tints and lipstick/gloss colors in the future, but all and all, my overall experience with Stowaway Cosmetics has been an extremely positive one!


Raspberry Lipstick and Peony Cheek and Lip Rouge 


Radiant Complexion Beauty Balm and Creaseless Concealer -both in “Tan”

Stowaway products are cruelty, paraben and phthalate -free, and are appropriately priced. From $8 for tinted lip glosses, to $22 for beauty balms, these items are a treat.


Stowaway Cosmetics Packed inside my Tumi bag with room to spare

*I reviewed these sponsored products for Stowaway Cosmetics. This has in no way altered my opinion of them, and I have provided readers insight, as well as my true experience with the beauty items. 




Packing Tips: How To Pack The Right Way

How difficult is it to pack some trips? If you’re anything like me, then you may have to decide between travel companions. When an assignment comes in, I have the daunting task of selecting who will accompany me. No, I’m not talking about a person, but instead am referring to which of my lovely travel bags will have the pleasure. If it’s a short trip, then possibly my Vera Bradley backpack will do. However, if I have need additional items, then it may require my faithful (of over 20 yrs,) Ralph Lauren tote bag and small roller bag. Then there’s my trusty Genius Pack Entrepreneur laptop bag, my large roller bag…my denim duffle, and of course my many weekenders to choose from. Regardless of who makes the cut, it’s super important that I have room for all the essentials- for my journey. For packing tips, click here to review a great little visual guide to help you prepare, before your next trip. Happy packing and safe travels!!!

IMG_4971Short trip- leaving out of MCO Airport – Vera Bradley Backpack Weekend

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