Bleu Magazine Issue #58 Lucien Laviscount

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Table of

Contents Destination: Cape Town, South Africa

s Photography by: DAN GRINWIS

66 L U C I E N L AV I S C O U N T :

T H E A C C I D E N TA L A C T O R Words By ELYSIA TANSWELL

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DEAR HIV, ’ WE DIDN T GIVE UP. XOXO, SCIENCE There is no cure, but science is still in the battle against HIV. Today’s HIV treatments may help you get to undetectable. That means the amount of virus is so low it can’t be measured in lab tests. Ask your healthcare provider about HIV and treatment options.

Learn about an HIV-1 treatment option at

XOXOSCIENCE.COM

TM

XOXOSCIENCE.COM, GILEAD, and the GILEAD Logo are trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc., or its related companies. © 2018 Gilead Sciences, Inc. All rights reserved. UNBC5531 05/18 8

MAGAZINE


Table of

Contents Photography By Orlova Maria

s Destination OURIKA, MOROCCO

50 The Creatives 14 Access By Bleu

16 The 4 By 5

Finding Inspiration Behind Travel

52 Travel The Less Traveled Florida Makes All The Difference

Fantastic Places and Where To Find Them

18 Soled Up

58 Fashion Fly By Design

The Don

27 Books Men In The Kitchen

28 Gadgets

76 Travel The Highland Lakes Of Texas

80 Travel

Travel Solutions

Soaking Up The Sun In Koh Samui

29 Cars

84 The Humans

Dub Box USA

30 Grooming Combatting Lip Neglect

32 Fuel

88 Travel Backpacking On A Budget

90 Gadgets

What Bern’s In Tampa

Travel Essentials

34 Fitness

94 Spotlight

Get Your Winter Cardio On

24 Hours In DC

40 Fashion

97 Icon

Jermaine Jenas

Stan Lee

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MASTHEAD

On the Cover LUCIEN LAVISCOUNT Words By ELYSIA TANSWELL Photography By ERIK UMPHERY Fashion DOUGLAS HICKMAN

Publisher/Editor-In-Chief DĂŠVon Christopher Johnson

Head of Content EIC Bombshell by BLEU Ebony Allison

Art Direction & Design Vee Banionis

Editor-at-Large Darius Baptist

UK Fashion Editor Sean Azeez

East Coast Fashion Editor Raven Roberts

West Coast Fashion Editor Douglas Hickman

Fashion Market & Production

Deputy Editor Pauleanna Reid

Contributing Writers

Elysia Tanswell, Brandon Schultz, Dominique Carson, Kaylin Young, Kern Carter, Lavanya Sunkara, Tyrus Townsend

Contributing Photographers

Andrew Hart, Brandon Schultz, Chloe Gunning, Daniel Igbinyemi, Davon Chandler, Erik Umphery, Kezia RoyerBurkett, Khrystian McCalister

Interns:

Claire Concannon, Jamie Rollo, Victoria Mickens

Editorial Contributors

Merilee Kern, Kishon Springer, Sigourney Salley, London Burns, Matia Peebles

Terence B. McNealy

Contributing Editor

Chevy Wolf, Lorin Xavier Rivers

Copy Editor Trevoy Ross

Julian Kim

AD Sales:

Todd Evans, Rivendell Media 908.232.2021

Special Projects & Operations David Gaillou

Partnerships & Branded Content LaToya Shambo, Lashawnda Goffin info@bleulife.com

Digital Content Strategist

Kaylin Young, Brandon Beachum, Kwame Owusu

Brand Ambassadors Rannon Harris (Chicago - Midwest) Leroy Williams (Northeast)

Newsstand Distribution

Managing Editor Johana Lopez

Digital Content Designer

THE BLEULIFE GROUP Chairman, CEO & President DĂŠVon Christopher Johnson

Business Development

Brent Zachary, Massih Azad

TNG 1955 Lake Park Drive, Ste. 400 Smyrna, GA 30080

Submissions Bleu Magazine 140 West Street 2nd Floor New York, NY 10007 info@bleulife.com

Bleulife Media & Entertainment Inc. | 140 West Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10007 | E-Mail: info@bleulife.com | Online: bleulife.com Printed in Canada. Opinions expressed by advertisers, columnists, feature writers or other contributors are not necessarily the opinions of Bleu Magazine or its staff. All advertisements, photographs, text or illustrations are published with the understanding that the advertisers are fully authorized to have secured proper consent for the use thereof. Bleu Magazine shall not be held responsible for any errors, loss, expense or liabilities on advertisements accepted after the deadline. Publication of the name or photograph of any person or advertisement in Bleu Magazine is not to be constructed as an indication of sexual orientation of such persons, advertiser or organization. Partial or complete reproduction of an advertisement, news article, feature or photograph from Bleu Magazine is strictly prohibited as Bleu Magazine is a registered trademark. A $25 or 1.5% (whichever is greater) fee will be charged for all NSF checks. All rights reserved.

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PUBLISHER’S LETTER

Every time I make a run, girl, you turn around and cry I ask myself why, oh why See, you must understand, I can’t work a 9 to 5 So I’ll be gone ‘til November Said I’ll be gone ‘til November, I’ll be gone ‘til November Yo, tell my girl, yo, I’ll be gone ‘til November I’ll be gone ‘til November, I’ll be gone ‘til November Yo, tell my girl, yo, I’ll be gone ‘til November January, February, March, April, May I see you cryin’, but girl, I can’t stay I’ll be gone ‘til November, I’ll be gone ‘til November

Wyclef Jean, “GONE TO NOVEMBER”

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The pursuit of happiness is supposed to be one of those inalienable rights. Along with life, liberty and all that jazz. That doesn’t mean that you will ever actually ever achieve the blissful euphoria of what joy is. The implication is that the very quest of that feeling should be satisfying enough. I call bullshit. The simple desire to experience a tangible moment or thing is not good enough. We should never accept hope as enough. Being a “shoulda, coulda, woulda” is never satisfactory. We must go for the things we want not for practice, but the actualization of having an experience worth the time and effort used in the pursuit. These word plays that are ingrained in our subconscious require intentional efforts to unlock the constraints it places on our existence. It also makes us say things like “it wasn’t meant to be” or “maybe next time.” What happens when there is no next time? That’s like a police chase and the criminal takes the officers on a long pursuit and gets away. I doubt they turn and say to each other, “well at least we got a nice long ride through the city, that was a heck of a pursuit!” Looking back at all the things you didn’t do will never feel as gratifying as reflecting on all that you actually experienced and accomplished. Take a break from social media. Stop being a spectator in a life not your own. Book that trip you have been saying you wanted to take. Sign up for a night college course to complete the degree you started. Whatever you chose, put the work in to make it attainable. Then take a little time to sit back and enjoy your BLEU.

DéVon Christopher Johnson Founder And Group Publisher

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C O N T R I B U TO R S

E LY S I A TA N S W E L L

Elysia Tanswell is a lifestyle and culture writer from Britain. Quiet in person, she found that writing was a great way to make her point without being interrupted. Elysia started her writing career by taking part in a whirlwind internship right here at Bleu! Her pieces cover everything from adjusting to NYC, to being baffled by mandatory patriotism, to only slightly sarcastic responses to persistent millennial bashing.

Brandon Schultz is a full-time globetrotter determined to experience everything the world has to offer. He’s a travel expert for Forbes, a travel advice columnist for Outpost Magazine, and can be found in more than a dozen other international outlets regularly contributing travel stories. He’s the author of four books and lives in New York City.

CHRISTIAN ADOFO

ERIK UMPHERY

Since graduating in Sociology in 2010, Christian Adofo is a London based writer who looks at the intersection of heritage and identity in Music, Sport and Culture. He was written feature articles for the Guardian, OkayAfrica and Straight No Chaser acknowledging seminal figures and interviewing burgeoning talents across the creative spectrum within the African-Caribbean diaspora. Also a screenwriter and actor,his scripts have been longlisted by the BBC and seen him perform at Soho Theatre in London’s West End.

Originally from Baltimore, MD, Erik Umphery, was introduced to photography by his mother at a young age and developed a love for it. She passed when he was 11 and he stopped shooting. He graduated with a degree in Finance and went off to work in corporate America. Several years into his career a friend posted on facebook, “who wants to take a photography class with me.” He gave up suits & ties for a camera and a hell-of-a-life. His mantra is to live, love, travel, eat and along the way capture these moments.

KHRYSTIAN MCCALISTER

Khrystian McCalister is a visual artist with a passion for art, fashion and music. Her ultimate goal is to spread positivity to everyone she encounters and create beautiful lasting imagery. She hopes to have a great impact on our generation that will flow out into the rest of society.

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L AVA N YA S U N K A R A

Lavanya Sunkara is a New York City based writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Architectural Digest, and Fodor’s Travel among others. She covers travel, eco-lifestyle, and animal welfare. She’s been to several countries on six continents, and cherishes sharing her experiences and being a voice for the voiceless. Follow her adventures at www.nature-traveler.com.


BLEUMAGAZINE.COM @BLEUMAGAZINE

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AC C E S S BY B L E U

AHF CELEBR ATE S ICONS OF DANCE IN HONOR OF WOR LD AIDS DAY On Friday November 30th, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the world’s largest non-profit HIV/AIDS service organization partnered with dancer, choreographer, actress, writer, director, producer, and filmmaker Debbie Allen and the Debbie Allen Dance Academy in honor of World AIDS Day. The president of AHF, Michael Weinstein, was in attendance of this celebration that took place at the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem. The theme of the night was Icons of Dance which featured some of the nation’s highly acclaimed dance companies like Philadanco, The Syncopated Ladies, Ailey II, and the Dance Theater of Harlem. Award-winning dancer and choreographer, Jason Samuels Smith gave a special performance. The evening paid tribute to icons of dance that passed away due to complications from AIDS. Debbie Allen was presented with the second annual Legacy of Achievement Award for her leadership, advocacy and service in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Vice President of Sales and Special Partnerships for AHF, Samantha Granberry, President of AHF, Michael Weinstein, Choreographer/Director, Debbie Allen

Dancers of Philadanco

Dance group, The Syncopated Ladies 14

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Dancer/Choreographer, Jason Samuels Smith


AC C E S S BY B L E U

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LINCOLN CEN TER COR POR ATE F U ND FA SHION G AL A HONOR S COACH’S CR E ATI VE DIR E CTOR On November 29th during the Lincoln Center Corporate Fund Fashion Gala, Harper’s BAZAAR Editor-in-Chief, Glenda Bailey, honored Coach’s Creative Director, Stuart Vevers, with the Women’s Leadership Award. This award comes as a high honor for a male fashion designer. Vevers thanked Lincoln Center for its vital funds to support the 10 world-class resident arts organizations on the Lincoln Center campus. Whoopi Goldberg served as Emcee during the even in which Chaka Khan delivered a powerful performance. Among those in attendance were Coach CEO Joshua Schulman, Hearst President & CEO Steven R. Swartz, and Lincoln Center Acting President Russell Granet.

Coach CEO, Joshua Schulman, Lincoln Center Acting President, Russell Granet, Harper’s BAZAAR Editor-in-Chief, Glenda Bailey, Hearst President & CEO, Steven R. Swartz, Coach Creative Director, Stuart Vevers

Singer, Chaka Khan

Musician/TV Personality, Jon Batiste

Actress/Comedian/Author/Television Host, Whoopi Goldberg

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Words By CLAIRE CONCANNON AND VICTORIA MICKENS

THE 4X5

FANTASTIC PLACES AND WHERE TO FIND THEM Want to travel somewhere a little out of your comfort zone? When you make it there you might want to have an idea of what you’re getting yourself into. Here’s a guide to help you discover the temples of Indonesia to the rainforests of Costa Rica and all that lies in between.

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Suarapura.com

INDONESIA

Indonesia is one of those countries you will visit numerous times but never get enough of its beauty and grace. The list of things to do and see here is countless, from walking alongside monkeys in the Ubud Monkey Forest to joining in on a purification ceremony using holy water in the spiritual temple of Pura Tirta. When you want to enjoy the sun you can find one of the many beaches or try out the pink sand beach in Komodo. For those of you who like adventures why not wake up at 2am to trek up Mount Batur using only flashlights. Finish off your travels in Kelimutu where you will find volcanic lakes of different water shades, almost magical. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

1 3 Travelnoire.com

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Balijungletrekking.com

Monkey Forest in Ubud Pink Sand Beach in Komodo Mount Batur Volcano Trek in Kintamani Pura Tirta Empul in Tampaksiring Volcanic Lakes in Kelimutu

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Oyster.com

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Boom.pk

COSTA RICA 2

For those of us who love to be surrounded by nature while on vacation or need to be entertained with different activities then Costa Rica is a must. The numerous rainforests throughout the country leave plenty of opportunity to explore, why not walk the hanging bridge over a waterfall in Turrialba or climb the Strangler Ficus Tree in Monteverde. When you want to cool down take a dip in the turquoise waters of Rio Celeste followed by a stay in a treehouse in Finca Bellavista, where you can zipline through the different tree houses. To wind down at the end of your stay, treat yourself to a day in the Tabacon Grand Thermal Resort where you can relax and enjoy the natural hot springs.

1 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Hanging Bridge in Turrialba Strangler Ficus Tree in Monteverde Rio Celeste in Alajuela Finca Bellavista in Cartago Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort in Alajuela

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Costa Rica Star

Minube.net


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SINGAPORE

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Singapore is one of the cleanest places in the world with also one of the lowest crime rates in the world. As both a country and a capital city, Singapore has plenty for tourists to see and do. One of its main attractions is Gardens by the Bay, in the town of Kallang. Everything in Singapore seems to be overwhelmingly massive and this colorful futuristic park is no exception. Take a stroll on the skywalk over the gardens and fall victim to the inevitable captivation you will experience in the midst of hundreds of trees, plants, and spectacular lights. You can also cater to your beach cravings at Palawan Beach on Sentosa Island. Venture across the famous rope bridge, if you dare. Big spenders can look into staying at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore City. This impressive, Las Vegas Sands owned resort, is home to the world’s largest and highest infinity pool. If you haven’t had enough of enormous sights, there’s the Singapore flyer, the world’s largest ferris wheel. Standing at 175 meters high with 150 meters in diameter, you’ll feel as though you can see the entire country. Ready to take a more low key approach, try a visit to Clarke Quay. Although now a collection of restaurants, cafes, bars and shops, this attraction was originally Singapore’s center of commerce.

Nparks.gov.sg

Travelwithjoshcohen.com

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Embassyalliance.com

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Gardens by the Bay in Kallang Palawan Beach in Sentosa Island Marina Bay Sands in Singapore City Singapore Flyer in Singapore City Clarke Quay in Singapore City

Commons.wikimedia.org Parkhotelgroup.com

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ECUADOR

Sometimes getting in touch with nature is the best way to travel and learn about yourself. Ecuador is a South American country that provides the ideal landscape for this; with about 14 indigenous nationalities whose respect for nature prevails. The Cotopaxi Summit is an active stratovolcano and the second largest summit in the country. Its snow covered peak is clearly visible from the capital city of Quito. You can get up close and personal with the environment in the less dangerous setting of the Cuyabeno Wildlife reserve in the Andean foothills of the Orellana Province. It’s home to over 500 species and known for the over 15 species of monkeys. An hour shuttle flight from Quito will get you to Galapagos Islands, a volcanic archipelago and the foremost destination for wildlife viewing. When you head to Cuenca, the Catedral Nueva is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the country. You might be able to spend an entire day in the Otavalo Market purchasing arts, crafts, jewelry, and more. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Cotopaxi Summit in the Andes Cuyabeno Wildlife in Orellana Wildlife Viewing in the Galapagos Islands Catedral Nueva in Cuenca Otavalo Market in Otavalo

Explore-Share.com

3 Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

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PADI Travel

5

Nothing Familiar

Cuyabeno Lodge


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Photography By MALCOLM GEORGE

The Don For noted sneaker collector, Donovon Harris aka “Don Gotti”, each shoe in his sought after collection reveals how his revered hobby has transformed into a lifestyle. From his first Jordan purchase, to becoming an influencer and receiving releases before they hit the masses, each sneaker holds a story. With a cult following of over 22 thousand followers, The Don’s Instagram page is every sneakerhead’s wet dream come true.

AIR JORDAN 6 RETRO+ ‘INFRARED’ Original Price: $120 Average Resell Value: $533

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AIR JORDAN 7 RETRO ‘CARDINAL’ Original Price: $150 Average Resell Value: $236

AIR JORDAN 1 RETRO ALEALI MAY Price: $550 *Price subject to vary by size 20

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SOLED UP

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*Shoe in Air AIR JORDAN 3 RETRO OG “BLACK CEMENT” Price: $245 *Price subject to vary by size

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AIR JORDAN 11 RETRO ‘CONCORD’ Original Price: $180 Average Resell Value: $602

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AIR JORDAN 6 RETRO ‘OLYMPIC’ Original Price: $160 Average Resell Value: $264

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K A M I E S H A GA R B A DAWA L A

V O L U M E

Ryan Leslie SWITZERLAND

BRANDON FRANKLIN

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KITCHEN MEN IN THE

Words By LORIN XAVIER RIVERS

THE READ

3 MILK STREET

by Christopher Kimball

From healthy eats to Southern hearty flavors, these authors offer mouthwatering recipes to recreate. These books teach you how to feed your mind and body. 1

PROJECT FIRE

by Steven Raichlen From the man who helped change the way we look at barbecue comes Steven Raichlen again with his Project Fire cookbook. The 100 recipes here will make a grill master out of anyone. Bold and daring in its flavor, Project Fire holds nothing back, and owners of this cookbook won’t be disappointed. 2 THE 4-HOUR CHEF

Concise, direct, and healthy recipes from Christopher Kimball and his diverse team of cooks allows for delicious and high quality meals in any kitchen. Focused on the food and not the sometimes highly stressful process around the food, readers will be eating well and quickly with Milk Street. With over 100 different and engaging recipes Milk Street is a welcome addition to any shelf. 4

AMERICAN COOKERY

by James Beard World renowned chef and pioneer of the American kitchen, James Beard has allowed us in on some of his secrets with American Cookery. It is filled to the brim with more than 1500 of Beard’s favorite recipes. As well American Cookery is a wealth of knowledge from the chef himself with advice on picking your meats and vegetables and tips on preserving fruit. American Cookery is a triumph of the American kitchen. 5

PICKLES, PIGS & WHISKEY: RECIPES FROM MY THREE FAVORITE FOOD GROUPS AND THEN SOME

by Timothy Ferriss

by John Currence

In the 4-Hour Chef, Timothy Ferriss not only provides delicious recipes, but also provides the novice everything they need to feel confident in the kitchen. A step by step guide to the culinary world that will be sure to enthrall audiences and have them coming back for more. Timothy Ferriss truly opens the kitchen to all.

James Beard Award winner and Proud son of New Orleans John Currence gives us a taste of the south with Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey. It is directed, pointed, and refuses to focus on anything other than the food. With 130 mouthwatering recipes Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey is about flavor, flavor, and flavor again. John Currence pays homage to and looks to show the world-class culinary traditions of the American South.

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GADGETS Words By VICTORIA MICKENS

Travel Solutions IN YOUR POCKET

These apps prove to be reliable digital travel buddies. Even the most seasoned travelers, experience the sometimes immense stress that comes with booking flights, lodging, navigating new cities, or even brutal layovers. For less seasoned travelers, you may have gone on a trip that took so much out of you and deterred you from giving it another go. Nowadays it’s rare to see people traveling without phones, tablets or other electronic devices. Essentially, 21st century globe-trotting has its perks or its apps, same difference. Before checking out these apps there are a few things to consider to reduce travel stress. You can check your finances and make a realistic budget so that when you’re booking experiences you have a solid idea of how much you can spend. You can do some research on where you’re headed. And the best thing is to try to be open minded. Traveling has its quirks and will always catch you off guard. These apps will be by your side through all of it. VRBO One of the more stressful aspects of traveling is accommodations security. VRBO connects travelers with just that; a multitude of vacation rentals, cabins, condos, and beach houses to chose from. This app is ready to set you up whether you only need a few nights or a few weeks. It creates the opportunity to rent entire houses for less money than you’d typically pay at a hotel.

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HOPPER It’s hard to cover ground when traveling without an airline ticket and buying them can be a tricky and not very fun game. Hopper comes to the rescue and tracks flight prices for you. When looking at booking a particular destination, it will provide periodic updates letting you know whether or not it is a good time to buy or wait. In addition to the heads up, Hopper will also let you know when the optimal date is to purchase your ticket. If you want a one stop shop, go ahead and book your ticket with Hopper for a small fee. FLIO You just might be able to enjoy a long layover with FLIO. If you want to know just about everything the airport you’re stuck in has to offer, this is your app. From airport services, lounges, and transit to dining options and Wi-Fi networks, FLIO gets you a little more familiar with your surroundings and allows you to use your long layover times efficiently. WAZE Waze takes things a step further than Google Maps. Beyond informing you of officially reported problems, the communitydriven app knows about specific police traps, potholes, debris in the roads, slowdowns and more. Waze is a battery drainer because it constantly requires GPS function but it’s absolutely worth it.


Words By KERN CARTER Photography By DUB BOX USA

Dub Box USA

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When it comes to durable trailers with multiple functions, there’s not much the Dub Box can’t do. If you’re an entrepreneur looking to get on the road and sell some tasty dishes, the Mobile Culinary Trailer can serve as your retail foundation. For the outdoor lovers who enjoy a little adventure, the Dub Box has the Adventure Camper I and II. And if you enjoy driving around from city to city hauling loads or for your own urge to travel, the Dinky Dub will take you there.

S TA R T I N G AT $ 3 7 , 0 0 0

BASE MODEL SPECS: Interior

MOBILE CULINARY TRAILER AND P O P - U P R E TA I L Lightweight, easy to move around, and a turn-key mobile experience so you can start running your food truck from day one. The Dub Box Mobile Culinary Trailer comes with commercial floors, stainless steel backsplashes and countertops, plus a six-foot dropdown counter and rear condiment counter. Take it to a farmers market or park up on downtown city streets. It’s everything you need for your business to be a success.

S TA R T I N G AT $ 2 7 , 0 0 0

DUB BOX ADVENTURE CAMPERS Weekend warriors, this is your dream camper. The Dub Box Adventure Camper comes in two models and is light enough to be carried by most vehicles. It comes with a handpump sink and a five gallon fresh and portable water tank. It’s also dense enough to be stored in your garage which takes away the hassle of storage. The interior has a stowaway dining table and u-shaped seating that converts to a queen-sized bed.

5’ Wide, 12’ Long0-60mph 6’3”

Max Headroom Exterior Length (tongue extended):

16’

Exterior Length (tongue retracted):

14’

Coupler Requires

2-Inch Ball Hitch 14”

Height From Ball to Ground 7-Pin Wiring Harness UVW:

2500 lbs

GVRW:

3500 lbs

BASE MODEL SPECS: Interior: 5’ wide, 12’ long Max Headroom: 6’3” Exterior Length: 16’ long (tongue extended), 14’ (tongue retracted) Coupler Requires a 2-inch ball Height from Ball to Ground: 14” Reflectix insulation Black coin flooring UVW: 2,300lbs GVRW: 3,500 lbs

BASE MODEL SPECS: 3500 lb Spring idler axle

S TA R T I N G AT $ 1 6 , 9 0 0

DINKY DUBS You get three models of the Dinky Dubs to choose from: The Dinky Sleeper, Dinky Sleeper and Kitchenette, and the Toy Hauler. With fiberglass body and bumpers, 7-pin wiring harness, and your choice of body color, expect any of the Dinky Dubs to stand up to any of your road trips. Enjoy a custom queen mattress and a 30-amp power center to go along with a hand pump faucet.

Fiberglass body and bumpers 1 Stabilizer Scissor Jack 1 Tongue Jack Coupler 3” coupler needs a 2” ball. 2 Bias Tires with Moon caps Reflectix Insulation Black coin flooring Weight approximately 1,000 lbs 8 acrylic cast windows

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One Balm at a Time

Combatting Lip Neglect

Words By CLAIRE CONCANNON AND VICTORIA MICKENS

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Let’s face it, your lips are used for so much and catered to so little. Every single day, particularly during the colder months, they endure wind burn, dryness, sores, and more. These lip balms we’ve selected are going to take your lip care routine to the next level and give you one less thing to worry about when you’re going about your tedious routine. 28

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GROOMING

1. RUGGED AND DAPPER LIP BALM FOR MEN Made with only natural ingredients including jojoba oil, sunflower oil and peppermint oil, this organic roll on lip balm will nourish and hydrate your lips while protecting them from harmful elements. The eucalyptus and mint infused balm leaves your lips with a refreshing sensation and the matte finish is the perfect masculine touch.

2. JACK BLACK-THE STICK This natural roll on lip balm gives you fast relief for dry or chapped lips and is infused with peppermint oil to give a subtle mint finish. Giving a smooth, nonwax finish, this product gives antioxidant protection and is suitable for all skin types. Free from parabens, sulfates and phthalates this pocket sized lip balm will cure your irritated and chapped lips.

$12.95

3. KIEHL’S LIP BALM #1 This product has been a Kiehl’s staple since 1969. Squalane, a hydrocarbon derived by hydrogenation of squalene, and antioxidant Vitamin E comfort and soften damaged lips. It comes in a convenient tube and it is easy to refresh and hydrate your lips. $9.50

$7.50

Available at Kiehl’s.

Available at getjackblack.com.

Available at RuggedandDapper.com

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4. MENAJI LIP AGENT Calling all athletes! This product is a must have for sports enthusiasts of all sorts. It is enriched with vitamin E, sunflower, macadamia and jojoba oils. No drying or waxing ingredients to worry about. Bad weather, sweat, and sun don’t stand a chance. $7.50

Available at menaji.com.

5. SUPERGOOP! Sun damage is not usually associated with the winter. However, the sun’s harmful effects are prevalent especially with the reflections from ice and snow. Not to mention your face and lips are already super sensitive throughout the cold season. Super goop offers grape polyphenols and broad spectrum sunscreen SPF 50 for optimal protection and moisture. $22.00

Available at Sephora.

6. SHEAMOISTURE-SHEA BUTTER VEGAN LIP BALM WITH COCONUT MILK AND ACACIA SENEGAL

All of the soothing and hydrating power one could need in a convenient little tube. Its key ingredients each work simultaneously to combat windburn and any other hardships your lips may endure. Acacia is known for its firming and thickening properties while coconut milk hydrates, and organic shea butter moisturizes and conditions. $3.99

Available at Ulta.

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What Bern’s In Tampa 30

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FUEL

Words By JOHANA LOPEZ

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Images Courtesy of: BROOKE PALMER KUHL

You Can’t Leave Tampa Without Experiencing Bern’s Bern’s Steak House’s dedication to their guests and food makes it an experience hard to match. You’re first greeted with an extraordinary lobby reminiscent of an extravagant opera house. It’s dark and vampy with red walls, red carpeting, and red velvet chairs with intricate gold details. An enormous mirror ahead of the entrance is the first statement piece to make an introduction. There are stairs on the right side with an ornate banister of sculpted figures and an array of paintings on the left wall. A chandelier hangs from the ceiling and black vine-like light fixtures adorn the wall where the mirror hangs. Almost everything is red and gold. To further describe the ambiance at Bern’s, their website states a dress code of “business casual to semi-formal.” The entire lobby welcomes guests in a way that takes you into another world and says “this is only the beginning.” A reservation isn’t required at Bern’s but it is definitely recommended. From the lobby you’re escorted to one of several dining rooms. It should be mentioned that if guests do not abide by the dress code, they may be seated at the lounge area instead of the dining rooms. Once seated, your server brings out an extensive drinks menu and this is where the experience truly begins. Bern’s boasts the world’s largest wine cellar. Their wine cellar, which can be toured after your meal, houses over 600,000 types of wine. The drink menu is a small book. It can be overwhelming but this is another example of Bern’s dedication to food and guests. Their servers are excellent with customer service and culinary care. Every facet of the restaurant is intricately woven into the next. Before earning a silver tie as a server, the staff must work on the Bern’s farm. That’s right. This restaurant has its own farm to provide

guests with the freshest ingredients. The staff is required to commit up to two years of training in all aspects of the restaurant. After training on the farm, all aspects of the restaurant itself, and training for their current position, by the time your server presents you with that overwhelming menu, you can rest assured they will recommend the best wine-to-cheese pairing for your indulgence. This is clearly not your average steak house. The steak menu is highly detailed. I’m talking, someone must have created an excel spreadsheet for it before turning it into a menu. You can choose from the Filet Mignon to the T-Bone steak. The next columns detail the thickness, weight of the steak, serving size and the price. The next page describes how it comes out and how long it takes when it is broiled to your liking depending on the type, thickness, and weight of it. All steaks are U.S. Prime only and aged 5-8 weeks. As an example, if you choose the filet mignon at 8oz, your steak would be 1¼ “ thick if prepared rare or medium rare. If prepared medium to medium well, it would be 1⅛” thick. Each entree includes a salad with house-made dressing, French

onion soup, and a loaded baked potato which is prepared at the table. The entree itself is served with crispy onion rings and vegetables of the evening. Knowing where your food comes from is incredibly satisfying. While I usually order well-done, I decided to go with medium-well for the filet mignon and you can definitely taste the difference with this quality of steak. You can take a tour of the wine cellar and kitchen after your meal. After the tour, you’re escorted to the Harry Waugh Dessert Room. The Harry Waugh Dessert Room is on the second floor where guests are seated in wine holding tanks made of California redwoods. There are 1,000 after-dinner drinks and over 50 dessert choices including the Macadamia Nut Ice Cream that Mr. Bern Laxer perfected himself. Since its humble beginnings in 1956, Bern’s Steak House has certainly earned their prestige in the culinary world. Whenever you’re in Tampa, Florida make a reservation and savor a steak paired with the best wine at Bern’s.

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Words By KERN CARTER Photography By KHRYSTIAN MCCALISTER

GET YOUR WINTER CARDIO ON Although temperatures are dropping low, that doesn’t mean you have to let your body go. Here are a couple of ways you can exercise indoors without a treadmill.

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So jogging outside is out of the question, but if you’re still running on a treadmill, stop right now. Yeah, getting your heart rate up is an important part of working out, but there are better ways to break a sweat. We know you just want a quick session that makes you feel good and keeps those pounds from piling on. That’s why we’re about to give you five cardio workouts that don’t involve ever stepping on a treadmill.

Kettlebell Whether you do five minutes or tough it out for 20, the goal is to keep the kettlebell off the floor for each set. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Lay the kettlebell on the ground about a foot in front of you. Bend your knees and grab the kettlebell with your palms facing towards you and your body almost parallel to the ground. Swing the kettlebell through your legs keeping your knees bent, then drive your hip forward and lift the kettlebell in the air.

Burpees Don’t laugh. Burpees might sound like a walk in the park, but they’re anything but. Start in a standing position, bend your knees, touch the floor, then kick your legs behind you. Pull your legs back in, stand and then jump with your arms in the air. It only takes a few of these before your breathing starts to get heavy. Sets of ten is a good start.

Swimming Don’t underestimate the aerobic power of swimming. It’s one of the best cardio workouts you can give yourself. You can time yourself from end to end of the pool, or do however many sets you can manage over 30 minutes with a short rest in between. The resistance created by the water means you workout more muscles than you would from jogging. Doesn’t matter if you do breaststroke or backstroke, you’ll be getting pretty much the same workout.

Elliptical We know we said forget about the treadmill, but the elliptical is like a relative of the treadmill and our one exception. Plus it’s simple to use and so much easier on the body than a treadmill, so we don’t feel bad about including it. Try the 15-minute elliptical workout where you increase the resistance and incline every three minutes. Take the last two minutes to cool down.

Medicine Ball Slams This is one you don’t hear every day. Not only is this great for cardio, but it also helps to get out some of the anger and frustration that’s been building all week. Lift the medicine ball over your head, rise up on your toes, then slam the ball back down to the floor. Make sure you’re using your hips, core, and arms to get that full body workout. Catch the ball when it bounces off the floor then do it again and again. No limits on this. Keep going till you’re all raged out.

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Fashion By SEAN AZEEZ-BRIGHT Fashion Assistant By SAFA MOHAMED Photographer DANIEL IGBINYEMI Grooming JOLANDA COETZER AT LHA REPRESENTS Words By CHRISTIAN ADOFO Talent By JERMAINE JENAS

JJ Tackles The Soccer Field and Youth Crime Soccer player, Jermaine Jenas, AKA JJ, is committed to teaching the youth the lessons he learned on and off the field.

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It’s a warm yet deceptively breezy morning with the sun transitioning into the leafy red crispness of early Autumn making occasional cameos into a warehouse studio located in the burgeoning area of Peckham, South London. Familiar homegrown sounds of UK Garage (also known as UKG) and classic 90’s RnB drizzle lightly through the air transporting dormant eardrums back to early adulthood evoking memories of the fearless hedonist wide-eyed innocence to the world. We anticipate the arrival of a figure who is settling into the autumn of his career after a long time spent on the pitch playing at the domestic and international stage who forgiving intermittent sabbaticals on the injury table would’ve reached greater heights.

Tottenham Hotspur and Queens Park Rangers representing England through the age groups before making his first team debut in 2003. Dressed in a casual tan jacket, fitted black denim jeans with cool sparkly sunglasses to match his silver Louis Vuitton backpack he appears more akin to a babyfaced streetwear model who regularly sprays “Eau Du Pharrell” on first sight. Instantly affable and laidback upon entry, Jermaine (also known as JJ by fans) apologizes for his late arrival after appearing the night prior on Match of the Day where he is the youngest pundit ever on the longest running football programme in the world that regularly broadcasts Premier League highlights into 5 million homes every weekend across the UK.

Jermaine Jenas is one of England’s most recognizable footballers (Soccer to our American cousins) turned successful presenter and football pundit. A technically silky central midfielder during his football career, Jermaine played in the English Premier League for Newcastle United,

I query about his early upbringing in the neighbourhood of Clifton, Nottingham (his hometown situated in the East Midlands of England 128 miles north of London). “Tough. Very tough. It was a predominately white neighbourhood. Rough. Strong gang culture, crime…You name it. It was all

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there and then on top of that obviously my mum and my dad.” He takes a short pause in reflection. “We were a mixed family. Being mixed-raced in that area constantly…It was just fighting I suppose the whole racism issue”. Despite the challenging context, football remained a constant that enabled the young Jermaine to remain focused early on, “I knew exactly what I wanted to do from the age of 7 and I didn’t veer from it”, recalls Jenas. “I had all the warning signs of why my dad didn’t make it I realised that football is a tool and a leveller in life in terms of it helped me and it shouldn’t have gone this way but it helped me gain the respect in my area that I needed as there were so many ignorant people. I had a good core group of friends, concentrated on my football, and my mum (Lynette) was just sensational in making sure I got to where I needed to get to and made sure I played my games. It was probably the biggest gift I’ve been given in my life.” He reminisces on the separation of his parents as “tough” at a young age with his dad Dennis (a semi-


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professional soccer player who endured racism in the early 1980’s) soon leaving England returning back home to the United States, yet a strict regime resonated with the future professional long after his departure. “He was very strong on discipline my dad as well and I remember him at a very young age. I’d be in my kitchen on a Friday night and he would bring his bag in with his (football) boots and my boots as well.” He chuckles, “I used to have to take the studs off his boots, scrub them up, polish and take all the mud out of where you put the studs in! On Saturday morning, I’d have to get up extra early shine up his boots and make sure they were good to go and do the same with mine. That was his weekend routine and even when he left my mum it stuck with me that discipline.” A defining trip to the FIFA World Cup in 1994 held in the USA strengthened his love for the beautiful game further. ”It was mad. I flew there on my own with a chaperone they have on their flights. I fell in love with football because of Italia 90 World Cup, so I couldn’t wait to go to the next World Cup and England didn’t get to ‘94 (World Cup). I got to watch Italy, Ireland and Colombia play some good games. Any time to go and watch the World Cup as a kid especially in America was a surreal experience”. Gifted talent coupled with a firm work ethic and live exposure to the world’s most watched sporting event were complimentary catalysts that provided Jenas a fertile foundation to ascend in his own footballing passage. Jermaine soon started his career coming through the academy at hometown club Nottingham Forest becoming the youngest captain in their history aged 18 in 2001 before earning a £5 million move to Premier League club Newcastle United subsequently becoming the third most expensive teenager in the world for a brief time in 2002. After three seasons spent in the North-East of England where he played European football and won the prestigious PFA Young Player of the Year Award in 2003, JJ was soon on the move south to North London club Tottenham Hotspur in 2005. A bittersweet period where he won the League Cup and was made vice-captain but had his playing time stalled by serious injuries during what should have been his peak years. Coincidentally it was during his time at the club that Jermaine made his first unlikely steps into the world of fashion modelling, “I did a bit when I was playing for Tottenham for Aquascutum (British-based luxury brand). At the time, I didn’t realise how big the shoot actually

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was and the photographer liked me. We went into something similar like this (referencing the studio setting for Bleu) with an actual high-end female fashion model. I’ve gone in there and she’s got a right attitude looking at me like “Whose this kid coming through the door?!” he laughs and adds, “I remember walking down Oxford Street (Europe’s busiest shopping street in the West End of London) one day and it was on one of the big shop front windows. Everyone kept ringing me going “what you doing in that?!” His sartorial style strikes me as a blend of high couture and high street referencing Spanish fast fashion brand Zara “You can pick up a nice pair of trousers or chinos (from there)”, JOSEPH “for knitwear”, Lanvin and KOOPLES “for my shirts trying to change it up for different vibes”. He also cites a special relationship built up with GhanaianBritish designer Ozwald Boateng for his suits, “I’ve known him for a long time…Again it’s just the little tiny details (with suits) so when I finished playing I went to his store (on Savile Row-a historic street in London’s Mayfair known for traditional bespoke male tailoring) and bought some suits off him. They are all a different version of a Navy to Grey. Maybe different cuts. One has a sheen to it and another hasn’t, so I just like to find the little details I suppose.” Following his retirement from the intense training and playing routine of a professional footballer in 2014, Jenas initially found that adaptation difficult thinking about the next step in a career off the pitch. However, his early feelings of withdrawal from a game he gave unwavering dedication eventually aligned his focus closer to home in the form of his wife Ellie and young family of whom he regular posts about on Instagram. “I had to really adapt and my wife was absolutely amazing with it,” he explains. “It was weird because as a player I didn’t get to enjoy them as children. I was quite strict in terms of “I’m going to bed and need to rest. It’s been so enjoyable to not have to worry about that side of things and take them to all their parties and just be a part of their lives properly. I love being a Dad and it’s amazing.” He ponders and laughs. “I’m not sure I’m ready for anymore, but three girls is pretty crazy trust me!” Despite his regular appearances offering fresh analysis and insight on football as a young pundit, his BBC Three documentary Britain’s Teenage Knife Wars saw him return home to Nottingham to focus on the knife crime epidemic shifting the focus 40

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away from London to how the problem affects young people in the community he grew up in. It’s a topic that resonates closely for Jenas with former school friends being stuck in the violent cycle and his own robbery experience at 19 at the hands knife wielding thieves that led him to fall out of love with his hometown for a while. “I wanted to make sure that I portrayed that in the right way.” He continues. “I think not only do people think all crime is only in London but the bigger issue for me is how Knife Crime is represented in terms of the kids or the young adults that are carrying knives. It’s an issue which we all know but what is the reason behind it. There are a portion that are perpetrators which will go out and act maliciously to harm and to steal. I do not dispute that in any way shape or form but there are a huge group of youth and youngsters that are carrying in fear”. This offered an opportunity to meet with those families affected and gang members anonymously to find out what was causing the spike in young deaths across the city. I can sense frustration in his voice at the lack of care from his encounters with the latter group long after the cameras stopped recording. He adds. “That’s what scared me most about them. It’s like they are just a vessel and aren’t even present in their bodies to an extent. It’s like a person’s life didn’t enter their mind…they just don’t think twice and say of course I’ll shank (UK slang for stab) him. I struggled with that toward the end of the documentary and I have to say it infuriated me that even though they knew their path they weren’t willing to change it”. In the UK, Footballers have always been heavily entrenched in the public domain on a weekly basis but the advent of social media has now heralded a hurricane of hypervisibility. Often followed by negative rather than complimentary press in proximity to the form of the club you’re playing

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for. The post-playing life has seen Jermaine Jenas - husband, father and role model come into focus. As a co-founder of the Aquinas Foundation, which provides programmes for schools to tackle youth crime and truancy, “It’s easier to destroy than create” wise words from an early coach now tattooed on his body, education remains a priority for the next generation in his eyes. “On the pitch and in any walk of life, it is far more difficult to be creative and forgiving in this world than be destructive” I ask a final query of whether the long-term vision remains and he gladly responds without haste, “Of course. I take it into anything now”. The same open outlook on life coupled with a methodical approach and humble spirit to succeed could well see JJ deliver a striking performance in another spectator filled arena in years to come.

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FINDING INSPIRATION

BEHIND TRAVEL Many people travel for recreational purposes or

for a change of scenery. Evita Robinson chooses to make a living and impact people’s lives through her

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rban traveler Evita Turquoise Robinson added new meaning and purpose to her life when, after visiting all of Europe and twenty other countries, she decided to put her Television and Video Production skills to use by launching the NOMADNESSTV web series. In September of 2011, Evita went on to create the NOMADNESS Travel Tribe, an online platform for travelers all over the world. NOMADNESS Travel Tribe held their inaugural travel festival created for black and brown travelers, AUDACITY Fest, in Oakland, California in 2018. Robinson’s innovative approach to travel has been featured in print and digital publications including The New York Times, Travel + Leisure, Entrepreneur, The Daily Beast, EBONY, and Essence, just to name a few. She has served as a keynote speaker for TED Residency and a consultant for destination making. Robinson has received awards for her travel endeavors and entrepreneurship. We converse with the multi-talented traveler and entrepreneur about her introduction to traveling, her “Black travel movement,” and plans for the future. What inspired you to major in television/video production and fine arts at Iona College? Evita Turquoise Robinson: I majored in television/video production and fine arts because I always had a voice. I wanted to be opinionated and I started thinking about television and production back in high school. I knew that I can project my voice through mass communications. Why did your trip to Paris change your personal and professional life? ETR: When I went to Paris, I learned about another culture and a new way of living. I was just engaged by the culture in Europe. I realized traveling is way bigger than New York and the United States. I just bridged my newfound love of travel and it just changed the path of my life. It just made me want to travel

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Photo: Pete Monsanto even more because I feel free when I travel. I feel alive even more; it’s time to get out and just enjoy life. What motivated you to launch the NOMADNESS Travel Tribe? ETR: There was a need for a community for Black and Brown travelers. I wanted to create a “Black travel movement.” I wanted us to create a community amongst ourselves. I started working on the NOMADNESS Travel with my camera in Samoa four years ago. Before the NOMADNESS Travel Tribe, I was an English teacher and a bartender on the weekends. I started working on a web series when I lived in Japan. When I started the web series, I was mentioning my experiences when I was overseas. This was not scripted and I just wanted to connect people with the same drive and interest. One year later, our audience grew and started figuring out alternate steps in travel. For the last six years,

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Photo: Evita Robinson NOMADNESS focused on our identity and reevaluating the stereotypes of an international traveler. I also worked with Issa Rae, who was the co-executive producer of The NOMADNESS Project web series on YouTube. As you know, Issa Rae is the creator of Awkward Black Girl and Insecure. It was a great experience working with her because we co-created the web series for two seasons. We established a level of rapport and respect for each other. Now the group has 20,000 international members with over 100,000 passport stamps. What inspired you to step out of your comfort zone? ETR: You can’t teach someone to come out of their comfort zone. It has to come from within, it’s a trait that can’t be taught. I think it was just always in me to be different. Stepping out of my comfort zone is an internal and innate desire for me. You don’t want to get comfortable with being comfortable. I don’t like being repetitive or performing the same routines over and over again. I just wanted to be creative and take risks. I want to be a risk taker. I want to poke at certain things because I have an inquisitive and curious attitude about myself. As an urban traveler, I want to create experiences that will allow me to be my best self. I have to create, performing the same routines is a death. I learned that about myself as a child that I was named after Evita Peron, a powerful woman from Argentina. So, my name speaks for itself and I have to live up to my name. Let’s talk about your AUDACITY Fest. ETR: We started the AUDACITY Fest four years ago and we thought it wasn’t going to start until 2019 or 2020. AUDACITY Fest is an event where people of color can discuss their travel experiences. During the festival, we have panel discussions, fireside chats, rock climbing, and music. We want to create a safe space for black and brown travelers. Black and brown travelers can talk about their personal experiences and how travel connects with community. We explore how travel affects the world and our current livelihood. Travelers also express what it’s like traveling in a certain climate or country. What are your upcoming projects in 2019? ETR: Right now, we’re promoting the AUDACITY Fest which will take place from September 27th - September 29th. We will have our annual NOMADNESS BBQ on July 27th in Richmond, Virginia. I am also visiting Johannesburg, Africa on Wednesday, December 12th. There are other countries I’m visiting: Tokyo, Turks and Caicos Islands; I’m just excited about traveling and creating memorable experiences. What piece of advice will you like to offer young Black millenials that are pursuing their dreams? ETR: Just start, just do it! Don’t worry about perfection. Success is a journey, not a destination. Just start figuring out your goals and aspirations and continue to build from your dream.

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Words By JOHANA LOPEZ

Photography By VISITSTPETECLEARWATER.COM

The Less Traveled Florida Makes All The Difference Florida is an obvious vacation destination for many, and while most will go for the beaches and amusement parks, take a detour to immerse yourself in the lesser known adventures Florida offers.


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Whether it’s the BBQs of Texas and Tennessee, the hustle and bustle of New York or the sunshine and beaches of Florida, every state has its own culture. But Florida is so much more than Spring Break Miami, amusement parks, or a place to retire. Florida’s sunny weather and ecosystem gives reign to a place where you can stray off the beaten path and into natural springs. One of the many adventurous explorations to take part in while in Florida is swimming with manatees in naturally occurring springs. Crystal River, Florida makes this experience possible at Three Sisters Springs where manatees spend the winters escaping the Gulf Coast’s cold temperatures. Crystal River is one of the few places in Florida that gives tourists the opportunity to float alongside these magnificent mammals. Plantation On Crystal River makes this experience convenient with their Plantation Adventure Center on site. Before the tour, guests are briefed on “passive observation” of the manatees. This provides guests with how to properly observe manatees without disturbing their habitat. While manatees aren’t allowed to be

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touched, they can swim up to you and even hug you. The manatees are familiar with the captains so they tend to swim up to them the most. Swimming with wildlife in their natural habitat is certainly something you don’t want to miss. Aside from swimming with wildlife, Florida’s status as a peninsula makes it an excellent place for seafood. Chef Richard’s Katch Twenty-Two is a prime example of this with dishes like Fish of The Moment. If it isn’t for the sign, you may skip out on this amazing restaurant because it looks like a small house. The inside is just as homely. This is a testament to the way they prepare the food. You aren’t just a customer, you are a guest and presentation matters. The foods were just as delicious as they were beautiful to admire. A cut of salmon served with a citrus foam on top was too Instagrammable to pass up. The butternut squash soup was also too pretty to eat right away. It was common to hear guest tell one another to hold off on eating the food for a picture. Not surprising that according to Chef Richard’s start here, he says “I

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walked away from the comfort and security of a Hotel Executive Chef Position to do my own food, my way.” That spirit is the driving force for Florida vacations of today. Water adventures dominate Florida as the weather keeps it summer all season long. Another fun activity that locals of Crystal River have the pleasure of knowing very well is kayaking on the Chassahowitzka River. The river is fed by the Seven Sisters Spring and with a tour from Dave of Hunter Springs Kayak Company, the adventures embarked on are bucket-list worthy. The water is clear and ropes hanging from trees are common as the locals frequent the river for fun dives swinging from those very ropes. Dave also takes you to a small underwater cave where you swim into it on one end and come out on another. The miles kayaked are forgotten as you navigate through narrow passageways. It makes you feel like a true explorer. You finally reach a hidden jewel that is referred to as “The Crack” which is only accessible by paddleboard or kayak.

Regarding accessibility to a beautiful view, aerial tours are available at St.Pete’s and Clearwater, Florida from the Albert Whitted Airport you can take a biplane ride tour over the beaches downtown. The 30-minute ride takes you high enough to feel like you’re on top of the world but low enough to see your plane’s shadow hovering over the houses, trees and streets. From here you get an incredible view of The Don CeSar also known as the “Pink Palace.” Apart from being another great place to dine, The Don CeSar was built in the 1920’s and its extravagant pink exterior is reminiscent of a Barbie Dreamhouse which looks even more spectacular from the air. While your pilot is in charge of flying, there’s also adventure back on the water that you’re a little more in control of. St. Pete’s Speed Boat Adventures provides a narrated tour where you get to navigate your very own speedboat. The tour takes you by National Wildlife Refuges, the historic Fort De Soto Park, and the Sunshine Bridge. The exhilarating power of a speedboat creates a different sense of adventure as everything is in your hands.


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W H AT TO DO

PLANTATION ON CRYSTAL RIVER Hotel Marina Lachen 9301 West Fort Island Trail Crystal River, FL 34429 (352) 795-4211

SWIM WITH MANATEES Plantation Adventure Center Plantation on Crystal River 9301 W. Fort Island Trail Crystal River, FL 34429 (800) 632-6262

POSTCARD INN 6300 Gulf Blvd St Pete Beach, FL 33706 (800) 237-8918

KAYAK Chassahowitzka River Campground Hunter Springs Kayak Company 8600 Miss Maggie Drive Homosassa, FL 34448 (352) 228-4715

ALOFT TAMPA DOWNTOWN 100 West Kennedy Boulevard Tampa, FL 33602 (813) 898-8000

BI-PLANE RIDE Albert Whitted Airport 540 1st St. SE St. Petersburg, FL 33701 (727) 823-7767 Photo by Chloe Gunning

THE DONCESAR 3400 Gulf Blvd St Pete Beach, FL 33706 (727) 360-1881

SPEED BOAT ADVENTURES 1901 Pass a Grille Way St. Pete Beach, FL 33706 (727) 744-3218

WHERE TO E AT

W H AT T O D O

KATCH TWENTY-TWO 2924 W Gulf to Lake Hwy Lecanto, FL 34461 (352) 746-6691

OXFORD EXCHANGE 420 W Kennedy Blvd Tampa, FL 33606 (813) 253-0222

IL RITORNO 449 Central Ave. #101 St. Petersburg, FL 33701 (727) 897-5900

BODEGA ON CENTRAL 1120 Central Avenue St. Pete, FL 33705 (727) 623-0942

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n e n i e i c c u LL : : t t n n u u o o c c s i s i v a v LLa R O T C A L A T N E D I C C THE A Through boyish British charms and rebellion, Lucien Laviscount’s personality couldn’t be contained, and so television helped him showcase it.


T The invasion of British talent into American culture continues with the arrival of Lucien Laviscount. Last seen in the SonyCrackle TV adaption of Guy Ritchie’s Snatch, the actor has performed in a wide variety of roles throughout his career. From British independent films, like Honeytrap, to the STX horror movie The Bye Bye Man. From classic British soaps to juicy American dramas, the actor has demonstrated a versatility that makes him intriguing to watch. Much of Laviscount’s charm can be found in the story of how he first got into acting. At age 10 it was suggested that he go for a modeling job at a children’s clothing line after he was overheard confidently asking a pretty, age inappropriate girl for a date. He then landed the gig modeling for David Beckham’s M&S line. One day at Beckham’s Manchester apartment he misbehaved. But luckily for Laviscount instead of getting the sack, the footballer found his antics funny and told him he should be an actor. Of course as a young English boy at the height of Beckham mania, if David tells you to do something, you do it.

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This first gig also set off a trend in Laviscount’s early career of taking on British Institutions. M&S is nearly as iconic in Britain as Beckham himself, and almost as famous for its sex appeal (the adverts are bizarrely sensual for trying to sell groceries). The actor has appeared in powerhouse long running staples of British television such as the North of England based soap Coronation Street, as well as iconic modern classics like Skins. When asked about the transition from the UK to the US acting world Laviscount said that, “Transitioning from the UK to the US felt like a natural progression. The UK side carries a rawness and authenticity that can’t be mimicked anywhere else.” Laviscount’s roles in Britain encapsulate this love of all things raw and gritty. From the soapy working class grittiness of Coronation Street, to the youthful rebellious rawness of Skins, the modern in your face grittiness of the movie Honeytrap, and even kid-friendly gritty rawness in the case of the school drama Waterloo Road. Laviscount displays an ease with this peculiarity of British storytelling.

“TRANSITIONING FROM THE UK TO THE US FELT LIKE A NATURAL PROGRESSION. THE UK SIDE CARRIES A RAWNESS AND AUTHENTICITY THAT CAN’T BE MIMICKED ANYWHERE ELSE.”

Of the American style of storytelling, Laviscount says that, “the US side dissects so many different genres on many different platforms which makes it exciting to pursue and truly limitless.” Again Laviscount’s summary of the form can be seen in his own career path. Even the roles Laviscount has portrayed within the specific genre of horror show a huge difference in style, tone, and platform. The 2017 horror The Bye Bye Man is a more typical, modern Hollywood horror. In the movie a group of friends are tormented by a mysterious figure who uses hallucinations to bring the gang to their demise. Laviscount plays John, one of the ill-fated friends, described as something of a jock and a ladies man. On the total other end of the horror spectrum is the fabulous Fox show, Scream Queens. This star studded series is a sexy, campy, on the nose satire of slasher movies, that is still pretty spooky in its own right. Laviscount took on a the role of Earl Grey, a British frat boy with a sweet side. Much like in the case of the M&S job, the project almost didn’t work out. Laviscount was initially rejected when he first auditioned for the show. It was only after a brief mourning period that he got the news. Ryan Murphy had made the decision to write a character into Scream Queens just for him. If you are wondering if the inspiration for the character came from something Murphy saw in Laviscount himself, it doesn’t seem likely. “When Mr. Murphy found it within himself to write me a role in Scream Queens, I jumped at the opportunity to deliver what his incredibly beautiful & twisted mind had in store but I wouldn’t say I was similar to the character at all. He was fun to play though!” Ryan Murphy is not the only juggernaut of TV writing that Laviscount has worked with. He also took part in a Shonda Rhimes pilot for ABC entitled Still Star-Crossed. With a mix of experience across both television and film. there comes the question of whether the actor has a preference, or particular appreciation for one form over the other. Not so in Laviscount’s case who says of the issue, “We’re living through an era where TV has become something so wonderful and film will always be timeless. I’m more intrigued by the content and the stories than long form or short form but if something is created punchy and artistically I’m about it!”

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“WHEN MR. MURPHY FOUND IT WITHIN HIMSELF TO WRITE ME A ROLE IN SCREAM QUEENS, I JUMPED AT THE OPPORTUNITY TO DELIVER WHAT HIS INCREDIBLY BEAUTIFUL & TWISTED MIND HAD IN STORE BUT I WOULDN’T SAY I WAS SIMILAR TO THE CHARACTER AT ALL. HE WAS FUN TO PLAY THOUGH!”

Jacket JACOB HOLSTON Pants JONATHAN MARC STEIN Shoes COS

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“EVERYTHING AND NOTHING!“

Shirt MATIERE Jacket STEFAN GRANT

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This easy-going approach to the question seems to be representative of Laviscount as a whole. When asked the (admittedly cliché) question, if you could go back in time and play anyone else’s role which part would you take? He responded, “If I could go back in time and play any role I’d be me at 10 predicting the lottery for my mates, and be a legend!” But don’t mistake the cheeky chappy persona for inattentiveness. Laviscount is serious about his craft. To the question of which actor’s performances inspire him, the actor gave the somewhat surprising answer of Marion Cotillard in La Vie en Rose. The 2007 biopic, spoken largely in French, follows the story of legendary french singer Édith Piaf on her rise from abject poverty to superstardom before her eventual tragic early death. Cotillard was heralded for her immersive performance and earnt herself the Academy Award for best actress for her her portrayal of Piaf. It’s a serious and fruitful performance for actors to analyze. This answer is a glimpse at the dedication lurking beneath the relaxed charm. We see yet more of this assiduity in Laviscount’s description of his approach to the craft: “My approach to acting comes from my upbringing raw, and real. I morph my reality, and the people I meet into my work. I engross myself within the craft, and art whilst working to tell stories that I hope touch people, change perspective, take people out of their own lives and on a journey.” The fame aspect is secondary to the notion of making an impact through storytelling, “If people jump on for the ride then great. But I’m petrified by the notion of leaving this world and not changing it for the better and that’s something I can do through my work and with a platform, I see fame as a tool just like a screwdriver! Job by job, seed by seed.” Laviscount is not someone who stumbled onto success. He may have discovered his passion by happy accident, but with that discovery came dedication and commitment. In fact this graft is one of the ways he defines himself personally. According to Laviscount the one thing people should know about him is that, “I go after things I’m passionate about with everything I have in me.” This dichotomy between carefree and studied, cheeky and serious, can perhaps best be summed up by the answer to the question, What’s on your bucket list? “Everything and nothing!”

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Words By BRANDON SCHULTZ

Sometimes the serenity of nature is all you need to recharge.


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or most of the 90-minute drive from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to Canyon of the Eagles, I didn’t see much. Once Austin was behind me, the landscape was primarily tan, sporadically punctuated by a building or two. Sometimes there was even a shopping center alongside the highway teeming with glaringly white license plates decorated with nothing but black lettering. It was a palette I was soon to associate vividly with the Highland Lakes region of Texas—tan and white—however unvivid those colors may be. I almost fell out of my seat when I spotted an armadillo; there hadn’t been anything as interesting in miles. And then the scenery changed. Suddenly I was riding up and down hills, twisting and turning through blackened woods that seem to have been intentionally burned, and crossing through steep valleys with warning signs that I should turn back if the water level was high, or I’d face a fate of drowning. Woods, hills, and fast-rising waters weren’t things I associated with Texas, even though I did know in advance I was headed to “Hill Country,” and my attention was piqued. Arriving at Canyon of the Eagles in Burnet (that’s pronounced burn-it, like what I imagine someone said of the woods I saw earlier) momentarily disoriented me somewhat. I immediately felt a sense of sprawling space, it’s a 940-acre property of protected land and wildlife, and the sheer size felt very Texas, where everything is promised to be bigger. Yet I still couldn’t help but feel bewildered by

the intimacy of being surrounded by so many trees and hills leading to the edge of Lake Buchanan. In my defense, the lakes are not actually naturally occurring; the Highland Lakes region consists of six lakes formed by six dams of the Colorado River (not the Grand Canyon Colorado River—there are two), so my surprise wasn’t completely unwarranted. My room was on the side of a small waterfront cabin, but it took me awhile to get in. The rocking chairs on my front porch were too inviting to pass by, especially with the uninterrupted lake view and abundant butterflies flitting about. Canyon of the Eagles is an official Monarch Waystation, and plenty of other species visit, too. When I finally did venture inside, I was relieved to find that my entire lakeside wall was windowed and the view from bed was nothing but water, trees, and endless sky. The simple, clean layout of the room coupled with its nature-immersive vistas was a recipe for instant serenity. The next morning, after an ancient grains bowl with fresh berries at the The Overlook, the property’s full-service restaurant (a local award winner) with panoramic views of the region, I joined a 2-hour Vanishing Texas River Cruise for an 18-mile journey across the lake to the mouth of the Colorado River. The area is home to bald eagles, pelicans, cormorants, egrets, and all manner of majestic birds, but it’s the cliffs and waterfalls that steal the show on the Scenic Wilderness Cruise. My visit came on the heels of heavy flooding in the region and, though it muddied the waters and littered the route with floating trunks and other natural detritus, it provided waterfalls even more

numerous and powerful than usual. From smaller boats, the water is swimmable, and the waterfall basins are hugely popular in summertime. The Highlander House of Buffet and Steakhouse provides more than just a mouthful to say; there’s enough fried food to supply all of Burnet County, and everyone seems to know it. Shortly after I arrived for lunch, the restaurant was packed with patrons intent on packing their stomachs with every possible iteration of fried meats and fried vegetables. There was a salad bar next to the good stuff, but it seemed nearly as full when I left as it was when I arrived. The plates of Texas Hill Country have generally the same palette as the scenery, stacked high with the tan breading of fried foods swimming in creamy, white gravies. With cobblers and puddings dominating the dessert table, tan and white continued to rule the day. Any fried meal calls for a beer, and probably more than one, so I spent the afternoon checking out two local breweries. I stopped first at the Double Horn Brewing Company in Marble Falls and sampled a beer flight ranging from light to dark beers, but heavily skewed to the lighter side. Logan Hoff, the brewer at Double Horn, said that lighter beers tend to sell best in Hill Country climate, and I have to admit the Electric Watermelon did seem to go down easier than the chocolatey brown ale that afternoon. Double Horn has an attached restaurant, but I’d had enough fried food for the afternoon and moved on for the next set of drinks. 74

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At Save the World Brewing Co., also in Marble Falls, which turns out to be the town to be in for beer in Burnet County, I drank more than my fair share of Belgian ales in the infectiously enthusiastic company of co-owner Quynh Rathkamp (husband, David, is the brewer), who explained how their careers as physicians came to a halt when they decided to brew beer professionally and donate all profits to charity. I can’t recall exactly how many beers I tasted at Save the World, and that’s a compliment. Don’t worry: I wasn’t driving. For the wine lover, Hill Country has yet more surprises. There are more than 400 wineries in the Lone Star State, but the first was Fall Creek Winery. For ages, no one believed wine could be made in the state, but the conditions in Hill Country are ripe for good wines, as Ed and Susan Auler proved over the past 43 years. Like Europe, home to many of the world’s favorite wines, Hill Country terrain was once ocean floor, and the climate of the region is remarkably similar to that of the Middle East, where it’s believed that all vines originated. Tasting the selections at Fall Creek, it seems obvious now that world-class wines should be produced there, but it took visionaries like Ed and Susan to pave the way. Back at Canyon of the Eagles, before turning in for the night, I took advantage of the property’s observatory. A short ride in a golf cart brought me up a hill to a dark expanse with nothing in sight. Until I spotted some small red lights leading to a dark structure. Inside, I discovered the building had no roof (it’s retractable), and the red lights served to avoid light pollution. Astronomer Jim Sheets wouldn’t even let me use my cell phone, lest my eyes lose adjustment to the darkness. But there was no need to look at a screen here, because Jim had incredibly powerful telescopes trained at the vast sky above, and inside them I witnessed spectacular stars and planets closer than I’d ever experienced. And I saw Saturn, complete with rings, for the first time. I spent almost two hours with Jim, asking anything I wanted and learning about stardust, how planets are formed, and that there’s no such thing as a “shooting star,” (and, incidentally, spotting a few meteors, which is what you should be calling “shooting stars.”) Jim opens the observatory five nights a week from nightfall until the last curious observer departs. It’s an invaluable resource, stunningly entertaining, and I couldn’t believe it was free to all guests of Canyon of the Eagles. But that’s the way most of the Highland Lakes region was. The most enchanting, humbling, and inspiring attractions came from nature, free and invaluable.

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SOAKING UP THE SUN IN KOH SAMUI,

THAIL


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Photography Courtesy of TOURISM OF THAILAND AND LAVANYA SUNKARA Words By LAVANYA SUNKARA

Sun on your skin, sand between your toes, sizzling spicy food, and exclusive spa treatments: these are just a few indulgences Koh Samui offers.

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nown as the island of coconuts, Koh Samui off the east coast of Thailand is always sunny, avoiding the rains that drench Phuket in the monsoon season. With idyllic beaches and a rainforest interior, this gem is a perfect getaway after spending a few days in the country’s bustling capital. Getting to the island is a breeze. Hourly flights take off from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport to a private Bangkok Airways Airport on Koh Samui. For a more budgetfriendly option, fly to Surat Thani Airport or Chumphon Airport and take a ferry. Located in the Surat Thani province, Koh Samui is suited for both budget minded travelers and luxury seekers, offering a wide range of beachfront accommodations and activities. The stunning Wat Phra Buddhist temple, with a striking 60 foot Buddha statue, is hard to miss as you make your way through the island. Enjoy shopping, delicious cuisine, and nightlife in Bophut’s Fisherman’s Village. Go to the lush rainforest for spa treatments and hikes. Take a short speed boat to the Ang Thong National Marine Park, an archipelago of 42 pristine islands, boasting limestone pinnacles, jungles, and serene beaches. No matter the length of your stay, there are numerous things to do in Koh Samui, unless you are relaxing on a beach hammock. But if you can get yourself away from lounging, take a ride to the rich rainforest and indulge in a four hour relaxation ritual. At the Tamarind Springs Forest Day Spa, you can detox in steam and sauna rooms built into caves, relax in natural hot springs, and delight in a two-and-a-half hour herbal compress massage. In the open air massage tents, the soothing waterfalls, birdsongs, and the serene fragrance of lemongrass and frangipani are sure to bring a state of nirvana. After you’ve pampered yourself, make your way to the Fisherman’s Village in Bophut, which comes to life on Friday nights. At the outdoor market, browse

through hundreds of stalls selling traditional clothing, beachwear, handbags, and souvenirs. If all that shopping gets you hungry, there are plenty of seaside restaurants on Bophut Beach Road that serve authentic Thai cuisine, from simple dishes to scorching curries. The most authentic meals come from roadside shacks that serve Kôw Gaang (choice of curry ladled over rice) alongside a round tray set with vegetables, eggs, and chilis. Afterwards, try the Lod Chong Tang Thai (flour jelly with Thai melon in coconut milk), a refreshing Thai dessert to battle the heat. End the night with a performance of fire dancers that light up the beach. With their awe-inspiring acrobatic moves set to energetic beats, the group puts on a lively show of twirling and juggling objects on fire. Sip cocktails as you sit on the comfy bean bags provided by Coco Tam’s bar and restaurant, as the waves lap under the light of the moon.

For those seeking a more active vacation, Koh Samui is ideally situated near Ang Thong National Marine Park, a string of gorgeous islands accessible only by boat. Here, you will find quintessential Thailand vistas-- sheer cliffs surrounded by turquoise waters, long tail fishermen’s boats, and secluded beaches. Snorkel with colorful fish around Koh Wow, hike up Koh Mae for an incredible view of Emerald Lagoon--known as Talay Nai, a salt water lake surrounded by cliffs-- and kayak around Sam Sao’s rock formations and natural rock archway. Make sure to stop by the only inhabited island in Ang Thong, Koh Phalauy, to dine at Phalauy Sea Food Restaurant, serving delicious meals with fresh fish and vegetables. The island’s Koh Phaluai Eco Resort has affordable sea-view bungalows for overnight stays. Back on Koh Samui, you can also find eco-friendly resorts. Among them is the elegant Santiburi Resort on the northern shore. Although Santiburi is over 20 years old, a recent renovation and addition of 19 new Grand Reserve Pool villas introduced modern features such as motion sensing lights that reduce electricity. In this luxury resort built by the Singha Beer estate, you won’t see plastic bottles anywhere, and the onsite restaurant serves drinks with bamboo straws and dishes cooked up with locally sourced ingredients and herbs from the garden. Whether you want to experience a jungle spa, go island hopping, feast on authentic food, or party under the stars, Thailand has it all.

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W H AT TO DO

WHERE TO E AT

SANTIBURI KOH SAMUI 12/12 Moo 1, Maenam Beach

VISIT ANG THONG NATIONAL MARINE PARK 45/1-2 Moo 1, Thongsala Koh Phangan

LARE LAE RESTAURANT & BAR AT MUANG SAMUI RESORT 13/1 Moo 2 Chaweng Beach Bophut

MAI SAMUI BEACH RESORT 2/6 Moo 5, Laem Yai Beach

SHOP IN FISHERMAN’S VILLAGE 3 Borphud Sub-district Koh Samui District Amphoe

PHALAUY RESTAURANT Green Island, Koh Phaluai Ang Thong island

KOH PHALUAI ECO RESORT Green island 35/1 Moo-6, beach 2., Tambon Ang Thong

GET A SPA TREATMENT AT TAMARIND SPRINGS FOREST SPA 205/7 Thong Takian, Maret

MAI SAMUI PUB & RESTAURANT 2/6 Moo 5, Laem Yai Beach

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Words By KEZIA ROYER-BURKETT

Kent Johnson Kent Johnson is no stranger to adventure, having gone on his first international trip at the age of 7. This global traveller, and ½ of the Black & Abroad founders, is on a mission to shift the culture and shift the Google search results by using his platform to share personal experiences and reflect diverse perspectives of exploring the world. Take us back to where it all began. What has been your earliest memory when you knew this was the career path you wanted to pursue? Travel was something that was very normal for my family. My first trip was an international trip to Germany in second grade. I went to live with my dad for a year. That kind of entry to the travel industry really made me have an ease with it and it seemed like something that could be viable for me as a business and as a career.

How does your educational background intersect with your current career choice? I went to undergrad at Morgan State University. I have a bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in writing for television and movies. I use it in some aspects when we are crafting stories or when we are working on campaigns. Then I went to Law School. I’m an attorney by trade and that is something I use very regularly in the business because I handle a lot of the legal tasks for the company. Those two degrees work in conjunction with one another on a regular basis. One thing that I learned outside of the classroom is to treat your connections and your network like you treat your credit. You want a high limit, but you want low utilization. You want people who are willing to do things for you, but you don’t want to have to constantly call on them. That is something I have

tried to maintain, be willing to help people and to keep my requests very minimal so that when I do need something people are coming out in droves to support. At what point did you commit to the idea or concept of your business? My mission from the outset was to shift culture, to shift Google results. My stake in what I do stems from going online, like everyone else does, and searching for things to do, places to stay, and I would never see any kind of marketing or imagery that was targeted to my demographic. My co-founder and I, we went from idea to implementation in about two weeks. I think sometimes people get scared by the idea of what it takes to start. The starting is easy, it’s the maintaining that becomes the struggle. We both put in $200 to start the business and we started rolling from there. What was your mission on the outset of when you first started? From the outset we were very focused around our brand and our mission; pushing the idea of a community aspect. My co-founder and I are two guys, we have a very unique perspective on travel but it is not representative of the entire black community. We have highlighted people who have different experiences than we do, (i.e., travelers of Muslim backgrounds, women in solo travel) because there are travellers who are looking for that information. We always make it to where people felt like they could see themselves or any variation of themselves in our brand. What can we look forward to seeing from your brand in the new year? I can’t give away all of it, but we are expanding our destinations as far as the trips that we are planning. We will be announcing some of those in Q1 2019. We are actually working on a project that helps bring together all of the different corners of the African diaspora and really furthers the idea of cooperative economics. That is a big project that we are working on now. We are working on showing everyone how closely related our stories are, and how we can be of benefit to each other. What advice do you have for our readers who’d like to follow in your footsteps? One thing that I live by whenever I have an idea is that I don’t sit on it. There is somebody waiting for you to create the idea you have stuck in your head. There is somebody at their computer right now googling your idea and there are no results coming up and they are waiting for you to produce it. So, what are you waiting for?

Photography By Philippe Bertrand

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Rachel Hill What has been the most significant barrier and what are you doing to overcome this? I would say the most significant barrier is just making sure you are continuing to be creative and innovative. With any brand you have to continue to find new solutions to different challenges and problems. Once you start one thing there are a lot of people who are doing something similar, so it’s like how do you stay interesting? How do you stay relevant? How has your definition of success changed from when you first started to now? When I first started, I was successful in corporate America. I graduated top of the class, I have several degrees, and I was making six figures in my midtwenties. At that time, I was the textbook definition of what success looks like, especially from a Black American cultural perspective. When I started to become an entrepreneur, I found that my definition changes every year. I feel like it changes often based on the goals that you set for your own business, whether it is financial, whether it is impact related, brand-awareness related. All of those things.

After retiring from corporate America at 27, Rachel What is the mission of your brand and why do you feel your community continues to be Hill, of Rachel Travels, is on a mission to share so loyal and believe in its vision? knowledge of how to become a travel influencer. Through her online courses and masterclasses, Rachel When I first started my brand it really wasn’t teaches people how to work with brands, how to be going to be a brand. I left corporate America after working for a couple of years. I was suffering profitable and how to identify their uniqueness. from anxiety disorder and depression. I wanted Was there a mentor or a person in your life who to just take some time for myself, travel, and have really opened your eyes to the possibility of a a whole Eat, Pray, Love moment[s]. I really just career path in the travel industry? wanted to share that you can have all the things I became interested in travel because I was raised as an that you want, and it is okay for you to recreate only child and one of the things I did often was read books. your life. I realized at that time there were people I made a decision very young that when I’m older, who looked like me, millennials, people of colour, when I have the money and the resources, I’m going specifically Black Americans who had the desire to see all of these things that I read about. I took that to travel, but they still thought it was unattainable, all the way into high school. I got into an international or they thought it was too expensive. I know that studies program - we had to take two foreign languages, is not true. I created some solutions to commonly world religions, and international studies classes. I had asked questions. Now my mission is to share an opportunity to travel abroad in high school. That with people how to become a travel influencer [interest] went over into college where I took a semester of colour, how to work with brands, how to be abroad, and it stayed with me into my adult life. profitable, how to be unique in your lane.

We look forward to seeing what’s next for you. What can you reveal about your upcoming plans for 2019? For 2019, I will be doing a tour. It’s going to be a meet-up/book tour. I’m excited to meet some of the people who have been following me and supporting me. My book is about teaching people the blueprint on how to be a profitable travel influencer. I’m excited to share that information that I think a lot of folks in the industry don’t really want to share or aren’t that thrilled about sharing. What would be one phrase or quote that would describe how you live your life? Create the life that you want to live. I’ll also add to stay encouraged, just like anything in life—life ebbs and flows. Think of life as a current, you’re water, just stay fluid. There will be ups and downs but if you’re really passionate about it you will keep floating.

You can follow her Instagram: @racheltravels

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Rondel Holder Passion-driven founder and creator of Soul Society 101, Rondel Holder, has traveled the world, experiencing the cultures of over fifty countries. Recently discovering his ancestry and tracing his roots back to Africa, he is dedicated to dispelling the myths about his homeland and believes the best education is life experiences and travel. At what age did you become fascinated with your industry? As a child I was fascinated with watching National Geographic, The Travel Channel and any programming that showed me images of people, cultural experiences and terrains that were different than my own. I didn’t know what type of career I could actually have in it, so I majored in Marketing in college. I also took enough Africana Studies and Anthropology courses. As I started my career in entertainment media, I began to travel more on my own. People were constantly asking me for travel advice from the Black perspective and I was not able to find that online. I started sharing stories, images on Instagram and birthed Soul Society 101 in 2012. It has developed into a multiplatform media brand including video, podcast, social media, website, research and consulting. How many countries have you visited and what kind of impact has this had on your vision for the brand? I have now traveled to over 50 countries worldwide and I have a specific focus of sharing the beauty and truth of the world, especially [the continent of] Africa. We have had so many misconceptions of what Africa is. So many people think of Africa as a mission trip, but there is so much to be enjoyed as a vacation to a beautiful place – the same way we would to somewhere in Europe, The Caribbean, or Asia. Whether you are a beach snob, a luxury traveler, city dweller, foodie, history buff, animal or nature lover, there are tons of destinations across Africa to visit and explore. My goal is to share that through my travels and the content that I put out with Soul Society 101. Your community consists of travelers from different backgrounds and experiences. In what way is Soul Society 101 improving the lives of others? Soul Society 101 has always been about inspiring and guiding Black people to see the world. For those who have never traveled, I hope to inspire them to travel for the first time. For those who have only traveled domestically, I hope to inspire them to travel internationally. For those who have traveled internationally, my goal is to inspire them to travel deeper, smarter and more intentionally.

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We focus on content and community to get people galvanized around the positive impact of travel and experiencing cultures. What has been the most significant barrier in your career? The most significant barrier in building a travel media platform catered to Black people is that there is no blueprint. There is no reference point to say this is what I should do next, or these are the things that I should avoid. When you’re the first at something, just about everything is trial and error and people who come after you get to walk down the path that you’ve created for them. What can you tell us about your education background? Looking back, what was the most important thing you’ve learned either in or out of the classroom? I have a bachelor’s and a graduate degree, but the best education is from life experience and travel. Traveling has taught me so many truths about history and present day that I would have never known otherwise. As much as I support formal education, everything is better learned firsthand

if possible. One of my biggest lessons learned from travel is that living in the U.S. we’re taught to have a very egocentric viewpoint of the world, but there is so much to be learned from cultures and societies everywhere. We don’t have it all the way together and we don’t have the best of everything either. How do you define success? Success is a journey. I realize my successes when I feel happiness and satisfaction. I live with the pursuit of passion. I believe everyone has at least one thing, or usually a few things, that they’ve been put on this earth for. It’s important to try to identify those things, listen to that voice in your head and try to see them through to fruition. Live your passions so you can die with no regrets.

You can follow his Instagrams: @kingronthedon & @soulsociety


HUMANS

Words By KEZIA ROYER-BURKETT

Lin Tzu-Ho Taiwan native Lin Tzu-Ho is a trained artist who has mixed his love of art and travel in a unique union. After traveling to the United States and other countries, Lin began connecting his travel experiences with his artistic creations. When did you realize this was the right career path for you? I have been learning the arts since I was very young. I am truly grateful for my parents who discovered my talent in the arts and allowed me to start my art learning in drawing and painting then. In Taiwan, learning art is not with as much freedom as it is in the States. Being restricted within the Taiwanese educational system, we need to heavily emphasize the importance of traditional, classic still life drawing and painting at schools. Any artwork that is either too abstract or intangible for interpretation is unlikely to receive high scores in admission examinations for the visual arts at any school levels. I am fortunate enough to survive through this educational system; receiving my Bachelor’s and

Master’s degree in Fine Arts and being offered a full-time art teaching position in Taiwan. Perhaps it is the biggest difference between the Eastern and Western art trainings that my art teachers/ mentors have guided me to enhance my skills of realistic/observational drawings instead of focusing on concepts and issues that could be represented through artwork. Looking back, what was the most important thing you’ve learned either in or out of the classroom? I was fortunate to meet many talented people from different professional areas when I was in college. They inspired my imagination of many aspects in life, including music, movies, photography, and the development of my personal blog. Additionally, my father is a passionate backpacker; he is my “Lonely Planet” (a popular travel guide). He was my inspiration for beginning to connect my traveling experience with my artistic creation. For example, I planned a trip to New York City

for the concerts of the famous composer Hans Zimmer and the American rock band Linkin Park; I have documented my journey and places I visited during that trip through art. This method of artistic creation has enriched the memories of my traveling experiences. Moreover, I have been to Indonesia, Tokyo, and Thailand as my destinations for both travel and artistic creation. For me, these experiences are not something you are able to learn at schools. In addition, I love writing so I often share my observations, realizations, and experiences with others through my words as well. Some of my articles were published in magazines in Taiwan. I sometimes have an illusion that I work for “Lonely Planet.” How do you define success? For me, this particular Thomas Fuller (1608-1661) quote is able to capture the guideline I follow to enrich my personal life: “He that travels far knows much.” I believe it is important that we do not limit our own lives. We need to try to initiate changes within our everyday routines and courageously create opportunities to ourselves, this is just like trying to find your loved one in this big world. What do you still hope to accomplish in your career? For my art teaching, I hope to develop strategies that help my students learn more effectively because it is my sincere goal that they will be admitted to great universities. I also hope that they will be able to visit New York City in the future and see the arts there. For my artistic creation, I have been thinking to travel to South America, Iceland, and Europe to draw and paint their unique landscapes and cultures, although it would be expensive.

You can follow Lin’s work at: tzuho.wordpress.com

Looking ahead, what does 2019 have in store for you? Maybe I will plan a trip to Chicago to search some art in that city or Perth in Australia. I’m hoping the future plans will be just as wonderful. Someone said: When I’m travelling and disconnected from work, my brain is overflowing with ideas. I deeply agree. Last words of inspiration for our readers. I would say - stay passionate about life, be healthy, and be aware of everyday aesthetics.

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B Words by JAMIE ROLLO

Backpacking On A Budget

Nepal Nepal is a great country for backpacking beginners. It has beautiful mountainous views with a rich culture to accompany it. Visit the regions of Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth. Not everyone can reach the tip of Mount Everest, however, there is plenty to see on ground level. Hike through the Sherpa Villages at the base of the mountain where you’ll find a very religious region of locals. Nepal also has a deep history that can be studied through its beautiful cities. Visit Bhaktapur in the Kathmandu Valley, a city stuck in time, and you will be able to get a sense of what the valley looked like in the medieval ages. Nepal has so much culture for anyone to engage in. There is great food, gorgeous religious monuments, and a population of happy and friendly citizens! Stay at the Hostel Swastik in Bhaktapur; it’s $15 a night and is less than a mile from the city’s Durbar Square.

BUDGET: $30 A D AY.

*tip: Be kind to the locals, they will help you with directions and places to stay.

TREKKING MOUNTAINS Photo by Simon Matzinger

So you want to backpack across the world? Backpacking can be one of the most awe-inspiring adventures where one can fully immerse themselves into a country’s culture while, for the most part, on foot. The first step would be to pick a country. Among the most affordable and wondrous places to visit include Nepal, Nicaragua, Sri Lanka, and Peru. It is important to note a few general tips for a beginner backpacker. For one, you want to keep a positive attitude the whole time. Backpacking is no cushy, resort-like vacation, and it can be hard. Just make sure to pack light and enjoy everything your desired country of interest has to offer. It’s also important to prepare. Do in-depth research on the country(ies) you choose to travel to. Make sure you have a contact for your country’s consulate office, access to healthcare, and get any immunizations you may need.

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HOSTEL SWASTIK Bekhal-4,mahalaxmi Bhaktapur, Nepal 44600 Phone number: +977-985-1000425 Photo by Hostel Swastik/Booking.com


T R AV E L

Peru Peru is a strikingly picturesque country with a deep cultural history. Start of by combining these two elements and travel the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, the ruins remain. from a civilization from long ago. Nestled in the mountains, Machu Picchu is utterly breathtaking. You can also take a trip to the Amazon River at Peru’s main port, Iquitos. Take a boat ride down the river and maybe catch a glimpse of native tribes who live there. Visit Peru’s historic capitol Lima. A city surrounded by nature, Lima is home to beautiful pre-colonial and modern architecture. Find a chance to see La Casa Aliaga or Palacio Torre Tagle mansions, or the many churches that line the streets of this extraordinary city. You can stay at the 1900 Backpackers Hostel in Lima for just $9 a night, and have access to a bar and free breakfast.

BUDGET: $ 35 - 50 A D AY.

*tip: Do not wander in Miraflores at night; it seems safe but it has a high amount of robberies.

MACHU PICCHU Photo by Pedro Lastra

1900 BACKPACKERS HOSTEL Ave. Garcilazo de la Vega 1588 Lima, Peru 15046 Phone Number: +51-981-279-599 Photo by 1900hostel.com

Nicaragua Nicaragua is home to one of the most beautiful beach landscapes rich in culture and architecture making it the perfect place to backpack. Granada is one of Nicaragua’s oldest cities home to historic churches dotted along cobblestone streets. There is also so much to do close to the city, including Las Isletas which are a group of tiny islands clumped together in Lake Nicaragua.

Sri Lanka Sri Lanka is home to gorgeous landscapes and nature, as well as elegant cities. A popular tourist attraction is whale watching which can be done from Dondra Point and Trincomalee. Move inland to visit the Yala National Park, a place with diverse ecosystems. This area contains about 215 different bird species, 44 mammals, and the one of the largest leopard density in the world.

Take a trip to Little Corn Island, a place where no cars are allowed in order to keep it the most serene. There are beautiful Caribbean beaches with the bluest water and thick, lush forests separating the island. Rio San Juan runs through thick jungles making it the perfect venture for nature lovers. And, for coffee lovers, make the trip out to Nicaragua’s coffee country, Jinotega. For only $12 a night, you can stay at Hostel Oasis in Granada, which is considered the perfect location for backpackers.

Sri Lanka encompasses beautiful cities including its main tourist hub, Colombo. Here you can eat amazing seafood, enjoy the nightlife, and take in the culture through art museums and temples. You can also take a trip to Sigiriya where you can view an abandoned palace atop a 200 meter high rock surrounded by the remains of old gardens. Colombo is home to some of the nicest, luxury accomodations for tourism. Look into staying at the Hangover Hostels in the city where you can choose from single rooms or classic hostel living spaces.

BUDGET: $25 A D AY.

BUDGET: $32 A D AY.

*tip: September through November has the most ideal weather for backpacking.

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*tip: Make sure to do your research so you can truly see everything the country has to offer.

GRANADA, NICARAGUA Reproduced with permission from Philip Lee Harvey / Lonely Planet © 2019

YALA NATIONAL PARK, SRI LANKA Photo by prise69

HOSTEL OASIS Calle Estrada Granada, Nicaragua Phone Number: +505-2552-8005

HANGOVER HOSTELS MIRISSA Mirissa, Sri Lanka Phone Number: +94-77-791-7916 Photo by Hangover Hostels/Booking.com

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Photo Credit: VAT19.COM

Middle Of The Ocean With LifeStraw? No problem. The LifeStraw is 62 ounce filtered straw that can turn any water into clean, safe drinking water. Costing $19.95, this gadget is the perfect add-on for traveling and is an ideal product to have around the house incase of emergency. The easy to clean, durable straw is able to remove 99.99% of bacteria (including E. coli), parasites, and microplastics. LifeStraw is the simplest way to get clean water when needed and it is easy to use. First, remove the lids at both the bottom and top. Then, prime the filter by dipping the bottom of the straw in the water for 10 seconds and take a few small sips to get the water going. When your thirst is safely quenched, empty out any remaining water in the straw and close the lids.

only water to pass through. The filters are also long lasting. It is able to filter through 1,000 gallons of water, enough water to sustain a person for five years. For every straw that is purchased, one child will have access to clean drinking water for an entire school year. LifeStraw is owned by Vestergaard, the innovative leaders in the global war on disease. The beginnings of design were focused on eradicating Guinea Worm by bringing access to clean water for communities in need. They began inventing different filters, which inevitably lead to the creation of LifeStraw. Thus far, they’ve donated 37 million Guinea Worm filters.

The powerful filter contains a hollow fiber membrane that has microscopic pores that pull out any contaminants. As water goes through the LifeStraw, contaminants are blocked since they are too large to fit in the pores allowing

Available for purchase at lifestraw.com for $19.95

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T R AV E L G A D G E T S Photo Credit: SITSTAYGOCO.COM

SitStayGo With Your Traveling Pet Finding a travel buddy can be difficult which is why some people choose to travel solo. Then there are those who travel with a whole other species: our pets! Pets offer us companionship at home and on the go. This is definitely more relatable for our readers with dogs who are required to have them on leashes in most place. SitStayGo is the perfect solution for traveling light with your beloved pet. SitStayGo is an all-in-one pet dinette and leash, with a built in 10oz flask and attachable food bowls. The initial purchase comes with the leash, flask, water bowl and an extra bowl for food (the bowls are stackable!) and it’s only $19.99 (or as I like to say, $20). Its compact size was created for ease of use when traveling whether you’re on a car/plane trip, vacation, or out camping. It’s also BPA free and the bowls are food-grade material which makes it safe for your pet to drink and eat from. To make it even more convenient, it’s dishwasher safe! So you can pop it right into the dishwasher while your pet best friend/travel buddy is taking a nap. SitStayGo’s creator and founder, Michelle Glasser, created the SitStayGo after having to buy water from stores far too often while out on walks. The flask’s spout provides an easy way to fill, store, and serve water so that you don’t find yourself buying another water bottle for your pet at the store. Glasser also created the SitStayGo after her dog contracted a waterborne parasite. She learned that water bowls outside of stores and businesses can carry waterborne parasites, and diseases so for peace of mind the SitStayGo is here for traveling with your pet companion.

Available for purchase at sitstaygoco.com for $19.99

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Photo Credit: CDN.SHOPIFY.COM

ShowMe’s Mini Virtual Laser Keyboard Fits In Your Pocket An Amazon’s Choice recommendation, the ShowMe mini virtual laser projection keyboard is a headturner. With packing dimensions of 5.5 x 4 x 1.5 inches (pocket sized!) it’s perfect for carrying along with you on long and faraway trips. Rated one of the Top 10 laser keyboards of 2018 by gadgetsliving. com, and at $29.50, it’s no wonder why it’s recommended by Amazon. The ShowMe laser keyboard connects through Bluetooth so it’s compatible with almost any device. Its mini Bluetooth speakers support voice reporting and music playing. It uses a micro-usb port which you can use to charge it and connect to any device you would like to pair it with. ShowMe upgraded the battery from 600 mAh to 1000 mAh for a longer lasting battery life. Aside

Available for purchase at amazon.com for $29.50

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from the battery’s usage power, they use original LG rechargeable batteries which provides one of the safest batteries for consumer use (so you won’t have to worry about airplane incidents leading to banning the devices). A verified purchaser commented, “This was a gift for my father, who works in the field and can’t always have a real keyboard onhand. Its small size allows for him to carry it to most job sites in a pocket and use it to fill out documents related to his work. Android compatible is a plus, as our devices have become central to our lives in productivity and personal use.” Sounds like the ShowMe laser keyboard is on its way to becoming a travel essential.


T R AV E L G A D G E T S

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Photo Credit: TARRISS.COM

Tarriss Saves You Weight And Money The classic airport horror story is having to pay a large fine for overweight luggage. Now, with Tarriss Jetsetter Digital Luggage Scale, that fear can be obsolete. The lightweight and portable design allows any traveler to easily measure the weight of their luggage in seconds. The scale is made to be strapped onto the handle of any suitcase. It is weighed by lifting the scale up with the luggage, and has precision accuracy of 0.2 pounds. The weight can be seen easily with its LCD display. The sleek design makes perfect for travel and can easily slip into any suitcase to weigh luggage on returning trips. The scale is programmed to automatically shut off to preserve battery for optimal use. It also sends an alert when the battery is low giving anyone ample time to make sure it is ready to use when needed. The Tarriss luggage scale can only hold up about 110 pounds, but it will alert you when it goes over that amount. Now, you no longer have to pay large for fines or begin shoving your belongings in other bags to fit the standard 50 pound limit.

Available for purchase at tarriss.com for $14.97

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48 -HOURS

IN WASHINGTON DC Words KAYLIN YOUNG

Don’t be fooled by the political landscape. DC’s 25 cent mimosas will have you wondering why you thought it might be too stiff for any real fun.

So you want to see what the fuss over DC is? Whether you’re visiting for a concert, a college homecoming or a White House visit, there’s always something fun to do in the District. After living here for four years, I’d consider myself a pro at where to go and what to do in and around the city. If you’re planning a weekend in the ‘hood, here’s a list of places to visit that’ll let you blend into the DC community.

Saturday:

- Since your Saturday is going to be jam-packed and your foodie heart wants to stop by as many spots a humanly possible, go with a light breakfast today at Sugar Shack, located in the heart of Shaw – or you can find 10 other locations around Virginia. This is a local fave for their funky variety of donuts – you can get anything from basic sprinkles to glazed granny smith apple fritter! If you need something a little heavier, their Luther Sunrise is a donutty twist on a breakfast sandwich. Also, there’s a super-secret speakeasy cocktail bar in the basement that is definitely worth it if you want more of an exclusive night.

Washington Harbour (washingtonharbouroffices.com)

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National Mall


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- If religion isn’t your thing, check out the Southwest Art Club at the Blind Whino. It’s an abandoned church that was turned into an art gallery with over 15,000 square feet of space dedicated to DC arts programs. Murals, paintings, themed rooms… all of these elements mean one thing: Instagram-worthy pictures. - Cava Mezze is Capitol Hill’s Mediterranean brunch go-to. For a $35 bottomless brunch, you have a long list of plates from gyro hash browns to Nutella waffles with bananas… and $0.25 mimosas. I SAID 25 CENTS PER MIMOSA! If that doesn’t excite you, they have a rooftop patio.

The Wharf (wharfdc.com) - If you’re in the mood to live like a local take a stroll up New Hampshire Ave. to DuPont Circle – it’s like a half-hour walk from Shaw. Sure, there are vintage boutiques, farmers markets, and houses that are so gorgeous they make you gasp… but if you look under the asphalt, you’ll find a whole new world. Literally. DuPont Underground is a trolley station-turned-creative space. It’s a non-profit space for visual, environmental, and performing arts. - Okay, is it time for lunch yet? Let’s go to The Wharf. The latest waterfront hotspot is an urban boardwalk that has recently been updated to include hotels, a concert hall (I saw Miguel there!), and high-end restaurants. But right before you step onto the Kebony wood panels sit a cluster of seafood shacks. Fried fish platters for less than $10 are always a yes. - By now, you might need a midday nap, but you don’t feel like going all the way back to your hotel or your bestie’s couch? No prob. For just $9, you can take a power nap at recharj, DC’s first napping and meditation studio. Quiet space, earplugs, a psychoacoustic sleep system – I don’t even know what that means, but I want it! - Now that you’ve “recharjed”, it’s time for happy hour. The Caged Bird is a fun restaurant for a quick bite, weekly hip-hop karaoke and game night. For your pit stop, get a drink and dip because we’re going out tonight.

- The Washington Harbour! Just a walk away from the bustle of Georgetown, the harbor is full of fun for all seasons. In the winter, it’s home to an ice rink perfect for date night. In the warmer months, you can find yourself at any of the waterfront restaurants and bars – or on a yacht tour if you’re fancy. - While you’re in Georgetown, you could stand in line for an hour to get Georgetown Cupcakes – seriously, no judgement if you stop here because the icing is so good! Or you can grab a German chocolate “cakecup” at Baked & Wired. There’s a reason why over 4,000 people have given it 4.5 stars on Yelp. - Sunday is a calm day in the city, perfect for shopping. CityCenter DC is a tucked away plaza of restaurants, stores, and animated walls – literally. As you’re walking from Dior to Hermès, you’ll pass through CityCenter’s main attraction: an outdoor courtyard under permanent video installment wallceiling thing that you can’t really describe unless you’ve seen it. - Before you go back to your hotel for the night – you’re staying at The Carlyle, right? End your night at Dirty Habit for curry shrimp or their house-made gnocchi and dramatic scenery. DC gets a bad rep for being a stiff political universe, but those who live here know there’s another side to Washington that most people don’t see. We’ll keep it that way because we don’t need more people moving here (lol no, but seriously). From DuPont Circle to Capitol Hill, DC is full of surprisingly fun locations for any occasion.

- Tonight is not the night to stay in! If you want a celeb sighting or if you just want to sit on lush sofas with a cocktail listening to music, St. Yves is the spot. Known as “An exceedingly gorgeous lounge”, this club lives up to that. It’s not super big, so you won’t feel overwhelmed by people; it’s just enough space to move around from room to room and still feel like you’re always a part of the scene. - You just danced your heart out. You’re tired, but also slightly hungry. This is what was in the mind of the creators of Surfside, a 24-hour taco stand that thankfully serves more than tacos. Their chips and guac are to die for. - If Mexican food isn’t your thing, try soul food at Oohs & Ahhs, open until 4am on Fridays and Saturdays. Everyone who is anyone loves Oohs and Ahhs - even the Food Network since Guy Fieri obsessed over this hole-in-the-wall on Diners, Dives & Drive-ins. This spot is a U Street staple, so while you’re in the area, walk the strip to see the busiest nighttime corridor in the District. - If you’re still awake, the National Mall is a calm place to end the night. In most cases, I’d never promote anything touristy, but if it’s a warm night walking the Mall is lovely. The reflection pool is gorgeous as it looks like a mirror of the sky and there are fewer people.

Sunday:

- DC is home to many inclusive houses of worship, some of the most popular include: The Washington National Cathedral, it’s the sixth largest in the world! The Islamic Center of Washington DC, this mosque is neighbors with Embassy Row, so feel free to stroll around after service to see some gorgeous international architecture of different embassies, Capital City Church a millennial-focused Christian church dedicated to loving everyone. Sixth & I a synagogue by day and an center for arts by night – who knew you could get your worship on and dance party in the same place?

Southwest Art Club

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BLEULIST

DREAM DESTINATIONS

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Nairobi

Guatemala City

Lisbon

Nantucket

San Juan

Brooklyn

Paris

Yamoussoukro

Athens

Beijing

Miami

Cannes

Cairo

Pompey

White Sands

Bogotá

New Orleans

Florence

Medellín

Shanghai

Copenhagen

Havana

Chicago

Berlin

Venice

Jerusalem

Bangkok

Lima

Phuket

Maldives

Nice

Las Vegas

Amsterdam

Barcelona

Mumbai

Perth

Casablanca

Vancouver

Madrid

Aspen

Dubai

Houston

Rome

Puerto Cortes

Oakland

London

Oranjestad

Moscow

Portland

Hong Kong

Lamu

Chihuahua

Rotterdam

Cusco

Mexico City

Helsinki

Accra

Hiroshima

Newark

Santo Domingo

Rio de Janeiro

Tokyo

Tallinn

Cape Town

Seoul

Brisbane

Buenos Aires

Durban

Cleveland

Lagos

Chefchaouen

Juneau

MAGAZINE


ICON

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To Stan Lee, With Respect Words By TYRUS TOWNSEND

The legendary comic book writer, editor, and publisher created alternate worlds that mirrored injustices in our own. Although he has passed on, these alternate worlds remain as symbols of his influence forever.

Photo: Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for IMDb

Not only was the comic book revolution immortalized in pen and pencil, it was televised on small and big screens, in numerous periodicals, on your favorite game consoles and in real life through Comic Con. All of this was because of the legendary Stan Lee. One of the most prolific and influential writers in the industry, Lee provided a unique voice for the voiceless and disenfranchised; especially women and people of color. They saw themselves through a community of super-humans in an alternative world known as Marvel. Comprised of a myriad of characters that were contemporary and reflective of the time, Marvel mirrored societal struggles: racism, discrimination, evil, lack of empathy, and difference.

Born on December 28, 1922 in Manhattan, Lee found interest in literature at an early age gravitating to Shakespeare and while in high school had aspirations to become a writer, eventually being hired at a relative’s company, Timely Publications, that dabbled in comic book publishing. This launchpad would clear the way and bolster his work in comics. It ignited a vision brighter than a shooting comet, and thus Marvel was born. Birthing a new generation of defined geeks, Blerds (Black nerds), and comic enthusiasts, Marvel created a culture of fellowship in which people could congregate in a positive and progressive manner.

Fast forward a few years later and the first Black male superhero was introduced to comics in 1966 via the Fantastic Four: King T’Challa, known as the Black Panther. Lee allowed us to reside in the African kingdom of Wakanda where its technological advancements proved vital for the rest of the world’s existence. At the time it portrayed Black men as highly intelligent, even superseding Reed Richards (who was at one time of the smartest men in the Marvel Universe) and Wakanda was a never colonized utopia of what we always knew of Africa: an ideal civilization rich in resources. Adding onto its influence of the culture, it also held similarities with The Black Panther Party.

Considered the father of comic book heroes, Lee’s first success was X-Men. They existed as semi-mortals whose feelings and opinions addressed real problems in real time. The X-Men tackled issues of race, discrimination, and the Civil Rights Movement to attract those who needed distraction from tumultuous times. The leader, Charles Xavier’s method of teaching was influenced by Martin Luther King Jr.’s tolerance and forgiveness. His enemy Magneto was based on the brilliance and militance of Malcolm X. Their relationship, though they differed and oftentimes clashed, was based on respect and a social consciousness to better others through their actions. Let’s not forget, it spawned our favorite comic crush, Storm, who became one of the first popular women of color to not be categorized in a stereotypical role.

Throughout Lee’s illustrious career, he saw his franchises develop into Hollywood blockbusters and record breaking cinematic successes such as Spider-Man, Iron Man, The Avengers, X-Men, The Hulk, Black Panther and the list goes on. Marvel’s heroes brought about action figures, gaming, and costumes. Lee even managed to make a few key cameos in “Teen Titans Go! To the Movies.” These successes begat Falcon (the first African-American comic super hero) who begat Luke Cage, Meteor Man, Blade, Spawn and a bevy of other superhuman idols inspiring young brown boys and girls to live their best geek life authentically across the world. So, Mr. Lee, we thank you. We honor you and know that your work will continue to live on and spawn a new generation of writers, actors, producers and Blerds in this galaxy and beyond!

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S TO C K I S T

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NOVESTA - gonovesta.com NUDIE JEANS CO. - nudiejeans.com OAK NYC - oaknyc.com PRIVATE POLICY - privatepolicyny.com REEBOK - reebok.com SALVATORE FERRAGAMO - ferragamo.com SAND COPENHAGEN - sandcopenhagen.com SELECTED HOMME - selected.com THE VERY WARM - theverywarm.com TIMBERLAND - timberland.com TO BOOT NEW YORK - toboot.com TOMMY HILFIGER - usa.tommy.com TOMORROWLAND - tomorrowland.com TOPMAN - topman.com TRIWA - triwa.com UMBERTO LUCE - umbertoluce.com UNIQLO - uniqlo.com VANS - vans.com VINTAGE FRAMES COMPANY - vintageframescompany.com WARDOG NYC - wardognyc.com WOOD HOUSE ARMY - woodhousearmy.com WRANGLER - wrangler.com YSL - ysl.com ZARA - zara.com


Talks with Dascha Polanco

HUGH HEFNER

PA N A M A

T U PA C S K A K U R

Ryan Leslie

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V O L U M E

V O L U M E

K A M I E S H A GA R B A DAWA L A SWITZERLAND

BRANDON FRANKLIN A N D R É L E O N TA L L E Y

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HOT SPRINGS

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