HairyKat's March Madness: Events, Music, and Travel brought to you by www.katkreate.com
March was an extremely busy month. Take a look back at how we spent our March including my experience traveling as a single mom.
EventsThis month I attended Power Brunch LA hosted by Miss Dunnie O. The event was held at Maggiano's Little Italy at the Grove. It was a perfect LA day for the event. Actually it was 92 degrees in March. I'd like to officially apologize to my Midwest and East Coast readers that were literally weathering a snow storm. Any who, the event space was beautiful held in a banquet type setting but outdoors next to a garden. The event featured super talented Dj LaLaLand (previously featured in our interview serieson this blog....scroll down after you finish reading this). It was the perfect way to spend a Sunday, networking and making new partnerships. The atmosphere was perfect and the attire was Suits and Sundresses everyone looked simply stunning. I love to people watch and check out how everyone put their looks together. I really had an amazing time. I shared a table with one of my close friends, PR, and Event Planner: Victoria, Curvy Fashionista Blogger: Marie Denee, the Creator of Sheeq Cosmetics: Melissa Hibbert, Writer and Photographer Milan Carter, and Evolution of Curves Founder and Model Sandy Jean. I was so inspired to be in such a space with such successful people. Being a small business owner and having the opportunity to meet and network with other amazing business minded people that were personable and open about their journey was unforgettable.
Here's some photos of the event. Photo Cred: Victoria
Of all the albums that dropped this month my pick for this month is YG's My Krazy Life. Even though I'm unfortunately becoming more out of touch with some of the new hip-hop music being released these days, this album keeps me connected to when and why I fell in love with hip-hop in the first place. I should be more specific and say West Coast hip-hop. The first album I heard was on cassette tape, and it was Dogg Food by the Dogg Pound. I was 8 years old. These types of things occur when you have an older sibling. Thanks sis :) lol. I don't know if I was infatuated by all the curse words or those funky sounding, bass clap treble beats with enough boom to blow your speakers out. I loved that music! I love that music. For me YG is that music.
If you don't know much about YG that's what the HairyKat Chronicles is here for. To get you acquainted with the artist that we love and support . Well, do you remember the song Toot It and Boot It from a few years ago? That was YG. The 24 year old rapper is from Compton, California (Whoop whoop!) and is signed to Jeezy's CTE/Def Jam Label. He's dropped several mixtapes and My Krazy Life is his debut album.
The production on this album is the epitome of West Coast hip-hop. That sound cannot be denied, if you're not inclined to pull out your stock speakers and buy some 12's at Slauson, or hang out on Crenshaw on a Sunday just to see the Low Riders dance to the rhythm of the beats, you don't know West Coast Hip-Hop. Unlike Kendrick Lamar's GOOD Kid MAAD City, YG gives us a different glimpse of Compton, from the perspective of one that was knee deep in the grit that Kendrick tried to escape. YG makes it known that Compton, or shall I say, Bompton, is the city he represents.
On tracks like Do It Ya, YG pays homage to Daz and Kurupt's Let's Play House, with his on take on what Let's Play House means these days as in Do it To Ya, I suppose lol. The heartfelt song, Sorry Momma, is one of my favorites, where YG gives us some insight of the relationship between the young black man caught up in the street life and the toll it takes on his mother.
I think this album preserves that element of LA street life culture that is very much so kept alive by its music. Although some may find the lyrics to be disrespectful and inappropriate, I respect the culture of West Coast Hip-Hop from Eazy-E, to Tupac, to YG.
Be sure to grab your copy.
TravelI've never really travelled very far beyond the states, I've been to Atlanta, Louisiana, DC, Detroit, Las Vegas, Arizona but despite my city hopping I had this overwhelming pressure to go somewhere different. Since starting my new job as Business Manager of an amazing school where my son is also a student, I had my first Spring Break since college, a week off of work and nowhere to go. I was tired of that song. I've had a professional career for 8 years now and despite being a single parent I didn't really do much and needed a change. I went back and forth with my girl friends for months about joining me in Puerto Rico for the summer for my birthday, but something said forget that, why not give my son that experience.
I was terrified to spend money, that much money, on leisure, not sure if I'd need it for a rainy day. Single mom guilt I suppose, But something tugged at me saying what if that rainy day never comes, and if it does, have faith that everything will work out fine. So I did it. I booked a trip for my 5 year old son and I to travel to Puerto Rico, just he and I. I was super excited and I called my mother to tell her. I wanted her to be excited too but she was just as terrified as I was when booking the flight. Instead of her fear being about spending so much money, she feared how vulnerable I'd be in a "foreign" yet US place, alone, with my child. I had that same anxiety but I refused to give in to it.
I understood Spanish when spoken slowly but couldn't speak it very well but what was there to fear, its Puerto Rico, and we didn't even need passports. Right? I only packed one suitcase for he and I to share. I didn't do much shopping, mostly a few pair of swim suits and sandals but I didn't feel angst to get a new wardrobe in order to travel. Our flight was a Red Eye and I had gone out the night before so this was going to be a really good flight or really bad. My son was uber excited. He loved flying and he also loved people, he can hold a convo with any and everyone, which was my other anxiety, his over friendliness. We flew to Florida on a Saturday night. The plan ride was so bumpy that I barely slept. My son on the other hand knocked out most of the ride. It was awesome. We weren't in Florida very long before we boarded a plane to Puerto Rico. By this time I swear everyone in the Florida airport knew where we were going because my son's overzealous personality wouldn't allow him to keep a secret if you told him IronMan himself would hang out with him for week if he did.
Nonetheless two hours later we were in Puerto Rico, where everyone greeted us in Spanish. I thought great, we're doomed.
I had this perception of Puerto Rico being this beautiful tropical island but to my surprise it wasn't that at all, at first. We cabbed it to our hotel. We stayed at the Verdanza Hotel. We arrived at 11:30am and to our surprise the hotel was fully booked despite check-out being at noon and that whole, check-in early policy didn't apply unfortunately. We sat in the lobby until 2:56 pm. I was almost near tears as we sat there with our suitcase and carry-on bags full of our devices, 2 kindles, a 3ds, a cellphone, and our camera. It was super heavy. My son kept reminding me that he needed to use the bathroom in between each bite of Cheetos I had stashed in his backpack. I started to regret coming alone when I had to lug our suitcase and two bags to the bathroom because he was too small to go alone. What was I thinking I thought? I can't do this. I want to go home. We came back from the bathroom and our room was ready.
We headed to our room and I immediately took a shower and prayed to do my best to enjoy the experience. We changed clothes and headed to the beach. It was a Sunday and apparently the place to be because the beach was packed. We were definitely in the city, Carolina to be exact. We were about 30 minutes from San Juan which is where I thought we were staying. The crowded beach reminded me of a weekend in LA where there's no parking to get to the beach, except there were people in the water. We don't do that out here. I grew more disappointed that I didn't do more research. The water wasn't very blue like I had imagined, it just seemed like a normal beach, I honestly felt like I was back home, which kind of defeated the purpose of taking a trip. We made our way back to our hotel which was about a block from the beach. I was so mad at myself that I wasn't enjoying the experience or even trying to. We made it to our room. I went to the bathroom and cried. I wanted to go home. I felt alone, like I needed another person there to balance things out, to pat me on the back, or at least give me a little break because between son's excitement, the plane ride, and the wait in the hotel lobby, I felt overwhelmed.
Luckily my son didn't pick up on my disappointment which he never does. He's always ultra excited about every aspect of life. In fact every morning he says out loud "today's my lucky day" that's just how he approaches life and I admire him for it. I got over myself and the day I was having and we made our way to the pool where we met some really nice people. I was starting to feel more comfortable, like I made the right decision, especially when I saw how much of a good time my son was having. There was a splash park by the pool and he had the time of his life playing all by himself while I watched from the pool.
My objective for this trip was to not be a tourist. I don't really care for sight-seeing. I like to experience places as if I live there. Monday, we took a cab to the movies to see Mr. Peabody and Sherman at the Mall in San Juan. It was hug, the mall. After the movies I shopped a bit and made our way back to the hotel. We changed and hit the beach again. This time it wasn't too crowded which gave me some relief. I just don't do well in large groups of people. There was a small shop next to the beach where I daringly purchased a Pina Colada with Bacardi to enjoy as we relaxed on the beach. The Bacardi and the spacious view made it more enjoyable. I knew my limit. I knew how to enjoy myself while still being a mom to my boy. We built Sand castles and ate chips. He wanted to put his feet in the water so we made our way to the waves. It was warm and relaxing. I felt at ease and decided to stop seeing everything wrong with the trip and started enjoying myself more. As each wave hit me I noticed more and more things I appreciated about being in this space. I had given my 5 year old, African American Male, from the inner city, in a single parent home, a first of many experiences that would last him for life, and while he didn't recognize it as that in that moment, I did and I was touched. As the sun hit my face I thanked God for the opportunity to share that with my child. I looked around and noticed that the beach was full of half grown palm trees, there were beautiful people everywhere, there was music playing, and life was happening. I had fallen in love with Puerto Rico. Besides there were some beautiful fellas in Speedos, making their way to the beach, it was a win-win. LOL
It got a little windy and my son and I were hungry so we headed back to the hotel to eat and play in the pool. When we got to our room there was a letter stating that the pool was reserved for a private event. I thought great just when I started to like being here, we can't even use the pool. I tried to block it out of my mind as we headed to lunch. I ran into the hotel manager that told me there was an event being held for the Puerto Rican Pro Basketball team, and we in fact could use the pool. I fell right back in love. There's nothing like a little eye candy when you're feeling homesick. My son and I finished lunch and made our way to the pool. There, we met three young ladies from New York. They were super friendly and super sweet. I'm not sure if they knew it but they gave me some balance. I got to talk to adults and still enjoy the trip with my son, who was off in the pool stealing a newlywed's pregnant wife. It was awesome. We discovered that the hotel restaurant had a waiter that took drink orders at the pool, so there were more Pina Coladas that came my way. I asked the girls what sorts of adventures they were taking while they were in Puerto Rico and they told me about a boat trip to a private island. They also named some clubs and I unexpectedly lived through them. I fell in love with the idea but remembered this wasn't a girls trip for me, I brought my son for the experience. I started to think of other places we could go but was too afraid to adventure with just He and I. He loved the pool so we stayed there the rest of the night until it was dinner/bedtime.
We had dinner at a traditional Puerto Rican restaurant where he threw up from overconsumption of Puerto Rican chocolate milk. I was terrified, yet again, to take care of him in such a far away place from home. I was hoping he wasn't sick because I didn't realize it was the chocolate milk until later, but when he requested a bag a chips after demolishing the restaurant, I knew he was ok. The next day I woke up with this overwhelming adventurous spirit, sort of like the spirit I had that moved me to book the trip in the first place. I woke up, got dressed, got my son dressed and headed to the lobby to inquire about any adventures being sponsored by the hotel. This was my second attempt at taking my son more than 10 minutes away from our hotel. The day that we arrived the guy working the tours/activities booth said there were no kid friendly activities but I had to give it another try. The lady at the desk was a mom, who had actually worked at some of the destinations. There was a Bacardi Factory tour, historical sights, and shopping, she said was kid friendly because he could just drink soda at the factory and he would love the old sights and then there was the snorkeling trip. Neither my son and I could swim so I booked that snorkeling trip to live outside my comfort zone.
It was theeeee best idea I ever had. On the ride to the boat we got a tour of the different cities in Puerto Rico, the bus ride was about 45 minutes. We arrived at the boat and strapped on our gear. There were 4 Captains 3 male 1 female. The men were beautiful, and shirtless. There were people on the boat ages 5-50 including my son which made me feel more like a family trip and less like mommy's dragging baby to have fun. There were bottomless Pina Coladas, and Virgin Rum punches on the boat, and amazing music, like Michael Jackson, Prince, Marvin Gaye, amazing. I was in heaven and so was my son. He loved the boat ride. We sailed to a private island called Icacacos Island the water was clear and the sand was white. It was amazing! My son and I faux-snorkeled in the water pretending to see fish when all we saw was each other LOL! It was awesome nonetheless to the point where he didn't want to get back on the boat. We travelled to a second reef that was about 20 ft deep where I opted to stay on the boat. One of the captains, Juliexa gave my son bread to throw to the fish that swarmed around the boat. His face lit up in excitement as he fed the fish (and himself) until there was no bread left. We returned to our hotel after our adventure and he convinced me to go back to the pool until 9 oclock at night. It was his vacation too so I didn't mind at all. In fact we spent the rest of our vacay at the pool, at the beach, and we even gave ourselves a walking tour of the area. I regret not booking more adventures or asking more questions about the tours day 1. I regret not falling in love with the idea of being in Puerto Rico from the beginning, but I don't regret going. I felt free, and grown up. I feel blessed to have shared the experience with my son and I had an amazing time because I took him.
I feel more secure about travelling alone with him. I just think I'll pick more kid friendly destinations or return to places like Puerto Rico when our family is more than just He and I or as a girl's trip with friends;) . I'm so glad I took him because he has yet to stop talking about it, which is what I wanted to give him, memories. My anxieties about being vulnerable travelling alone, falling asleep and having someone steal all of our luggage, my son being "that kid" that does not stop talking on the flight, were all self-perpetuated falsehoods, minus the chatty kid. Everything was fine and we enjoyed our vacation!
That was March here at the HairyKat Chronicles. Looking forward to what April brings.