Throwback Thursday: Bele Chere 2013

I am so ashamed to admit this, but I've lived an hour away from Asheville since 2007 and this was my first time visiting. 

I was looking for a weekend trip and a friend mentioned 
Bele Chere. Perfect timing. 
 After 30+ years, this was the final festival. 

The view from our room. 

 You know I came home with two bags. 
Taste so much better than store bought.
It's a local couple. He fries and she seasons with homemade blends. The BBQ was delicious. 
Low sodium and zero calories. #winning 

 The sign said it all. 

The first woman MD in the US studied in Asheville. 

 As the queens would say,
 " This sign is giving me LIFE!"

 I have a love hate relationship with my hometown, but everyone knows I'm from

 I could not talk him into this tour. 
No worries. Just another reason to come back.  

 The BEST crab cake ever!!! Nothing but meat and butter.

Chocolate treats for planning a fun and relaxing weekend. 

I decided NOT to post photos of the religious and equality protesters. I am all about freedom of speech, but once you start talking about the Heavenly Father having sex, Meredith is done. 

Thanks for reading,

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Monks and Mormons #MahalaHi13

*None of these photos have been enhanced in  anyway. What you see is what I saw.*

If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home." - James Michener

My friend Steph from Boston has nicknamed me Dora. As in Dora The Explorer. So she will not be shocked to hear that in one day, I managed to visit a multi-faith cemetery, a beautiful non-denomination Buddhist Temple and a multi-cultural Mormon University. None of these things were on the itinerary for the day. 

Leaving the city. 
I don't let driving stop me from taking a good picture. 

What a beautiful place to lay your loved one to rest.

While there, we stumbled upon the Byodo Temple . 

So proud of my mom for being open to a new experience.

 @Rowsbelle ringing the Sacred Bell.

During our visit to the Polynesian Cultural Center,  we hopped on the trolley. We thought we were going on a tour of the center.  We ended up at...

 Brigham Young University -Hawai'i campus. 
"Enter to Learn, Go Forth To Serve."

The visitors center for the 

Leave it to my mom to start asking questions about black members, teen pregnancy and same sex marriage. The poor missionary was NOT ready for that southern baptist pop quiz. 

Thanks for stopping by. Please leave a comment!
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Hungry in Hawai'i #MahaloHi13

I don't know why I thought this was so funny! 
 Don't let PARADISE  fool you. 

Yes! I went to Waikiki. Home of some of the best cuisine in the country and I went on a food truck crawl. What can I say? I am an off the beaten path kinda girl. Where else can I get sticky rice and fresh garlic shrimp from a food truck by the ocean?

I saw this place on Unique Eats.

 One of the gems I discovered using Instagram and Twitter was  the Honolulu Night Market #HNLNightMarket. 

Perfect timing!

Decided to take a selfie in the cab. 
At 32, I probably should not be saying selfie.

Thanks Instagram! We got ours!

Soror-Momma found her favorite. The Ice Cream Truck. 

@AlohaPops Menu at the Honolulu Night Market
Lilikoi was light, but very sweet. 

 Italian Soda from Life is Sweet

Food. Art. Music. Clothing. 
Go where the locals go.

 My Love...My desire...My waffle cake. 

#1 I was seduced by their tagline. 
#2 They were only $3.

I prefer savory, so I got  Hot Stuff
 Cream Cheese, Cheddar Cheese and Jalapenos 

Monya loves her chocolate!
Gimmie S'more
Handmade chocolate fudge, Marshmallow, Gram crackers
and Powdered Sugar

I know McDonald's isn't a food truck,  but I had to try this.

The other M's were NOT feeling it, but it wasn't bad.

Thanks for reading,
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#Hashtags to #Hawai'i: Why I didn't use a travel agent.

hashtag is a word or a phrase prefixed with the symbol #. It is a form of metadata tag. Short messages on microblogging andsocial networking services. Hashtags provide a means of grouping such messages, since one can search for the hashtag and get the set of messages that contain it. (Wikipedia) 


After years of talking, months of planning, and a 10 hour flight;  I finally made it to Hawai'i. As a budget traveler, I (we) opted NOT to use the services of a travel agent beyond coordinating flights and accommodations. We were all coming from various cities on various dates and it was much easier to let AAA Travel handle it. 

So what do #Hashtags have to do with my trip to the South Pacific? EVERYTHING. The reality is people enjoy over sharing on social media and  I took advantage of that. I can't give away all of my secrets, but following #Hashtags saved us #Hundreds ! #BudgetTravel 

Follow #MahaloHi13 on Instagram and Twitter

Initially, I wanted to use a local travel agent. I liked a few pages on Facebook, started following a few on Twitter, and made cold calls.  It wasn't long before I was reminded that the goal of the travel industry is just like any other business. #TurnAProfit. Before I go any further, I am not knocking travel agents. It has crossed my mind a time or two to become one. Therefore,  I am going to share my experience using "I" statements. 

  • I needed this trip to be tailored to our needs and not what was convenient and profitable for an agent. 
  • One popular agent posted negative comments about his clients on Facebook and Twitter. I felt that was unprofessional and rude. 
  • I did not want to spend 11 days riding crowded tour buses to places that were of  no interest to us simply because they were apart of a prepackaged deal.
  • I wanted to save money.
I am putting together a list of tips and questions that you should ask travel agents and  tour companies before booking an excursion. I believe if a person is spending their hard earned money, they should have the experience they want. Within reason of course.

Thanks for reading,

Personal Perspectives: Give From Your Overflow

Personal Perspectives: Give From Your Overflow: This year I opted to work through the summer and go on vacation in the fall. I am looking forward to disconnecting and engaging in activitie...
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Excuse me miss! Pardon me, sir!

Hope everyone is well. I am LaRia and I just wanted to stop by to let you know about my recent adventure to Belize. Being a first time international traveler, I knew just the place to visit: Belize! Belize is one of the last untouched paradises and the name itself is simply awesome to say! So, for this trip, I wanted to experience life as a Belizean and leave all cares & worries on US soil.

First stop: San Ignacio. While in San Ignacio, I went to an Iguana project to learn about why saving green Iguanas is so important for their culture. The Green Iguanas are becoming endangered and people hunt for Green Iguanas to kill and eat. YUCK! Anywho, while there I saw  Iguanas (eggs) and had the opportunity to hold the ‘man’ of the house, Gomez.

One of the other focuses of the trip was to spend time with children. I had the awesome opportunity to work at DorothyMenzies Child Care Center in Belize City, Belize. Let me sum up this experience: humbling! Oftentimes, life gets so busy, bills continue to roll in, and the stress levels are so high that I forget to appreciate the ‘small’ things: clothing, shelter, food, family, friends, and education. Working with the children at DMCCC allowed me to reflect and appreciate the life I live. While I don’t have everything and am far from rich, seeing children with no family and a desire to learn (all schools have fees in Belize) really humbled me. I look forward to going back to visit and minister to the kids.  

(***Due to human trafficking, I was unable to take pictures of the beautiful babies). 

Now, after visiting DMCCC and the Museum of Belize it was time to head over to San Pedro, party town! Man o man, the men, beautiful men! Everything about Belize was great from food, sights, animals, and even their horrid mosquito! There’s nothing about this adventure that I’d change and I’m so glad I lost my international traveler’s virginity in Belize!
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#FollowMeTo: My Kind of Love

Previous experience with denigration, judgment and the growing and unforgiving world of social media has cause me to become private and particular about how much I share about my love life. Beyond my occasional "Single Girl Problems" stories, I try to keep love talk to a minimum and besides platonic friends, you won't see me "boo'd" up online, unless it's at my wedding reception. I will admit I am a hopeless HOPEFUL romantic. I love me some black love.I say all of that because, a few days ago I was scrolling Tumblr for travel post and came across a series of photos called Follow Me To. The concept was sweet and unique. People always ask me, " What if you meet someone who doesn't like to travel. Is that a deal breaker?" It's not a deal breaker,however; because being a Xenophile is a large part of my life, I hope a mutual love for travel will be one of the things that bring us together. We shall see.

Russian producer, Murad Osmann, said "the photo series began somewhat by accident back in October 2011 when he was visiting Barcelona. His tendency to take pictures of anything and everything began to irritate his journalist girlfriend who grabbed his arm in frustration and tried to drag him along."  Osmann  continued to take photos despite this, and the "follow me to..." series of pictures was born.  ( courtesy of 

Check out the Follow Me To Series
 on Instagram:

♫ Spin the globe, whatever it lands that's where we'll go♫ 

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