New Orleans, Louisiana

Beignets, Red Beans & Rice, Chargrilled Oysters, Jambalaya, Po-boys…



Is your mouth watering yet??

Well mine is, and it happens every time I think about and step foot into the marvelous city of New Orleans. So, is food my motivating factor for frequenting this city? Absolutely! However this city offers so much more that is best described only through experience.

As soon as you exit the plane you immediately feel the warm embrace of the people and spirit of New Orleans. And in some areas of the airport you may even here some jazz music to welcome you to the city. So with the biggest grin and heart full of excitement, I was ready to hit the streets and explore this great city of New Orleans.



We had the pleasure of staying at a charming 19th Century boutique hotel called the, St. James. The staff was very hospitable and helpful during our stay. If you’ve never stayed in a boutique hotel, it is worth the experience. We were welcomed each morning with a complimentary tray of warm croissants and orange juice. The only requirement for this delicious treat…. Write on your door hanger: 1) How many croissants? 2) What time do you want them delivered? Simple and something you don’t want to skip. The hotel also had two quaint courtyards that you could use for reading or simply enjoying your morning snacks.

After getting settled the adventure began with a stop at Ruby Slipper Cafe. Voted best brunch in New Orleans for consecutive years, you can expect to see a large crowd waiting to enjoy this Southern gem.

IMG_2760The vibrant staff, delicious food and smiles on satisfied customers is enough to make the wait worth it. In addition, If you are not a Benedict fan, this place will make you a believer. Trust me! I selected the Peacemaker, which allows you to choose two different Benedict options. On my plate you’ll see the Eggs Cochon on the the left and the Chicken St. Charles on the right. My selected winner of the two was the Eggs Cochon.

At this point, a nap sounded like the best option simply because we were so full. But the streets of NOLA were calling our name. Right before we made it to Bourbon Street, we were approached by a representative for one of the many hotels in New Orleans. She took time to share some of the free benefits that she could offer us if we went to a presentation to hear more about her company’s vacation benefits. So in the proper essence of our go with the flow spirit we obliged and went to the presentation. I’ll save you from the details of what was asked of us. What I will say is that time share presentations are lengthy, pushy, and concerning especially if you don’t know what to expect. What we gained from this, was a free dinner on the Natchez Steam boat.

IMG_2776Finally, we then made it to the French Quarter. Restaurants, bars, people, laughter and dancing is what you’ll see plenty of. We strolled down Bourbon and decided to escape the  party to see the charming Armstrong Park. You’d almost forget that just a few blocks away, thousands of people are eating, drinking and celebrating life. This park is quiet and packed with history. Named to commemorate the legendary Louis Armstrong, this park honors the African contributions to modern music, specifically jazz. You’ll see an array of sculptures, a lagoon, and simply plenty of places for a perfect photo op. In addition, there is a significant landmark inside Armstrong Park, called Congo Square. Congo Square was previously known as “Place de Negres.” This is a place where the enslaved and freed black people would gather for meetings, to socialize, to sing, to dance and to market their homemade goods. Take some time to enjoy the overwhelming stillness that this park offers.



Day 2 consisted of food, Jackson Square and more food…. We kicked off our day at Drago’s to try their Chargrilled Oysters. My personal go-to has always been Felix’s so I was ready to step out of my comfort zone and try another restaurant. Felix’s is still a winner in my book!!

New Orleans is certainly the city to expand your taste buds, be adventurous, and simply a great place to unwind and have fun. There was even more to share about this trip, so take a moment to head over to my itineraries page to see more of what made this trip to New Orleans a blast!


Laissez Bon Temps Rouler

“Let the Good Times Roll”










I am……

Happy New Year!!

Can you believe it’s 2018?!

Every new year is an amazing time to assess, reflect and plan how we want the upcoming year to manifest. Lose weight, buy a home, pay off debt, travel more, enroll in school…. So many amazing goals that each of us set out to accomplish at the start of a new year.

An activity I do in preparation for a New Year is a vision board to allow myself to visualize what outcomes I’d like to attain. This creates an opportunity to think big, bold and vividly about my goals. This year, in addition to that activity, I am also challenging myself to think deeper and ask myself some additional questions in an effort to ensure that my goals are aligned with who I am.

Here’s a few of those questions:

Who is Shyla? Not who do I want people to think Shyla is, who is Shyla?

Is this who I want to be?

Is this what I want to do?

What’s holding me back from greatness?

What will I do to remove the roadblocks?

So I started with jotting down every thing that I feel represents me through I am statements. I’ll share some of my I am statements below:


I am a daughter

I am a sister

I am a friend

I am caring

I am loyal

I am courageous

I am understanding

I am a travel junkie

I am willing to take risks

I am not a know it all

I am unsure of each of my next steps

I am a beach lover

I am willing to learn from my mistakes

I am a foodie

I am strong

I am a fun seeker

I am enough

I am confident


This was a revealing activity for me as my list continued to grow longer and longer. It allowed me to open up and recognize all of the things I feel strongly about myself as well as those areas that evoke strong emotions and may require some additional digging. This grew deeper as my goal was to only write the things that I truly believed embodied me, how I feel and not how others perceived me.

So, the next question was is this who I want to be? If not, what’s holding me back from greatness?

These questions will be very personal to you (as they were for me), however a great positive way to help you set your intentions to strive for the best version of yourself.

As I began to set my intention, believe it or not… my intention is to truly let my light shine, in any capacity that I am fortunate to have the opportunity.

Another truth, that was revealed in this process for me is to not runaway from the things I’ve asked for guidance on and that have potentially already been revealed…For instance (Take a look at my last 3 years of Vision boards below, you will notice that each year has had some type of reference to “Shine.”) So this journey towards recognizing my purpose and walking in faith towards what God has called me to do in a way has been revealed, however it’s time for me to own it and move from comfortable to uncomfortable as I grow.

I encourage you to take some time to ask yourself those questions I shared in the beginning and then take a moment to jot down your I am statements. Please feel free to share or comment your reaction, thoughts or feelings after doing this activity.

Happy planning and Happy New Year!!

Don’t Forget to Shine!!