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Meet Me: Talking Travel with Bloomingdale’s on Thursday 6/7

My summer travels for work and fun are fast approaching and I am the queen of packing procrastination. So much so that when I pack ahead and have hours to kill, I always feel as though I’m missing something! Next Tuesday, I’m leaving for France and more or less will be gone for most of the summer. I’m packing for the weather in France, the UK and Morocco. I have an Away carry-on traveler as well as a checked bag and my new American Rhino Explorer duffel. So, what will I be packing?

Find out when you join me and other travel & fashion industry experts for Bloomingdale’s In Her Shoes series sponsored by Cunard!

RSVP to eventsrsvp@bloomingdales.comBLM_IHS_JUNE_BW2.jpg

 

I hope to see you there!

 

I’m Featured on Forbes.com – How to Get Paid to Travel!

I’ll often receive DMs asking me about my path to travel writing, “how I made it to my dream job.” It was far from direct but no matter what career or field I thought I would be in, travel was going to be a huge component of my life. Starting with TeenVogue magazine as a founding contributor, I did have a taste of publishing while in highschool, nevertheless, I went to Amherst thinking I’d end up in lawschool or maybe work for the FBI or CIA. My major, Women & Gender Studies was writing intensive, but no, I didn’t go to journalism school. All of this confusing? Maybe. But I say all of this to say there is no direct path to this career, especially not in this day and age. One thing I did was, when I had an idea, I invested in myself.

Forbes Invest in Yourself copy

My time, taking that L in earnings, my money, my skills… You have to be your toughest critic and biggest supporter. If this is your dream, your passion, put everything you have into it. And it won’t be easy. This is not the lifestyle for everything. It requires a lot of hustle, missed birthdays, uncomfortable situations, what sick days, what insurance? But to me, what I learn, the people I meet, the things I see and can share with you makes it all worth it.

Still interested? Check out Forbes.com to get some words of advice for how to get started in the travel industry from me and some fellow boss traveling women.

Forbes for Instagram

What’s in my jewelry box? Chatting w/ Shiffon Co

You may have noticed from photos — very rarely am I without jewelry. Looking at baby pictures, at months old, I had my ears pierced, had a ring on my pointer finger and wore a bracelet. Many of those pieces — if I didn’t lose them — my mom saved and I hope to pass down to my kids one day. That’s the power of jewelry. It tells a story. Maybe it’s of generations passed, maybe it’s of places been, moments, people that you knew. I love my jewelry and truly feel naked without them. True story, I refused to go to a dance at summer camp because I lost an earring and I couldn’t stand the thought of meeting those young studs with “naked lobes!” The horror! Luckily, one of my girlfriends at camp stepped in and lent me hers.

People often ask me about my jewelry, and ages ago I filmed a video discussing some of my jewelry pieces. You know me, always behind, so I was thrilled when the team at Shiffon Co reached out and gave me the impetus to go back to my box to discuss. You may have heard that Tiffany blue box described as the perfect little box. Well, we should all be so lucky, but my perfect box is holding a little more, stories of family, love, travel and I can’t wait to share it with you.

I’ll start with my Shiffon Co. pinky duet ring. I wear it every day and it reminds me to pay it forward to young women and young entrepreneurs. Founder Shilpa tracked me down on LinkedIn while she was a student at Harvard. Her passion, drive and can-do attitude inspires and amazes me everyday. Being one of her mentors is such an honor for me. Her vision with Shiffon Co., how it has already helped young entrepreneurs around the world, and grace and sense of humor is just incredible.

I am proud to wear the pinky duet ring every day and bought one for my friend Sophie Elgort, another inspirational female entrepreneur raising another boss babe, Stella.  50% of the profits from the sale fund start ups that empower women. Wear the change that you want to see.

Here’s my interview with Shiffon Co. below. Get your pinky duet ring and pay it forward today — #wearthechange — and definitely watch this space for a fun surprise we’re cooking up!

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Season 2 of Never Date a Traveler!

The last 9 months have flown by! I remember this time last year, planning out my summer, I had no clue what the upcoming year had for me. I actually recorded an episode for season one about Bordeaux, which is fitting as I’m going to Bordeaux in a few weeks. Maybe I’ll release it as a lost file. This season of Never Date A Traveler, I’m going to be bringing you more stories and a new format, guests to share their stories of love and wanderlust with you. Season 2 will bring in more guests to discuss the concept of love, dating and romance internationally. The world watched Prince Harry & Duchess Meghan’s union in awe this weekend, shows like “90-day Fiancé” have developed a cult following. What is it about about cross cultural loves that we romanticize and are captivated by? What are the stresses of it? Harry & Meghan had the means to maintain a relationship overseas, but plane tickets aren’t cheap! Let’s explore race, gender and relationship dynamics. Is it Gen Z vs. Millenials, vs our parents generation? Are celebrity dating habits normalizing what before now would be considered alternative? So excited to deep dive into all of that for you. In my first episode, I chat with dear friend and non-profit exec, Jennifer Estrada about her experiences with traveling all over the world for work and then we get into the question, “Is your person American?” Is there really a difference dating internationally? What does that mean.

Listen below, or if you prefer iTunes. Check it out and let me know what you think!

The Markle Sparkle  — What Will It Say for Race in the UK?

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I’m on a photoshoot on Nantucket but when I can, I will definitely be tuning into the royal wedding and having my mum record it for me. What can I say? I have gotten swept up in it. Having guest contributed to Meghan Markle’s blog, The Tig, I knew her as a lifestyle blogger with a message and a penchant for humanitarian causes before I knew her as Rachel Zane on Suits (I must admit, I’ve never watched an episode, but my mum was very excited when I was working with her as she does). Then the world knew her as Prince Harry’s girlfriend and now, an “American Princess.” I’ve met royals before, faux-jaded, I pretended I wasn’t very interested in their lives save a retrospective docudrama. Then, I found myself saving my UK Metro when Harry & Meghan’s engagement was announced (much like I saved the President Obama announcement), eagerly watching the couple’s BBC interview, eyeing her every look and fondly looking back at her emails to me and then — true rock bottom— this week, watching a Lifetime movie about their courtship. I watch all of this with a truly serene smile on my face. Meghan brought me such a sense of joy and calm. I always was a fan of Prince Harry and hoped that our paths would cross. Weirdly, I found myself as happy for them as I have been for friends in their relationship. But why?

I don’t actually see her as “my black Princess.” She’s not the first European black princess, nor will she be the wealthiest…. I relate to Meghan on many levels, her desire to do good, her ride or die relationship with her mum, her passion for travel…. I must say I did snicker that it was white side of her family that’s a HOTMESS. She is proudly biracial and I think that’s dope. Do I wonder if Harry’s ever seen her hair curly, and what that conversation was like? Sure! I’ve had it myself! I am so excited for what she’s going to do with this platform and the causes that she and Harry will champion. But, as we say in Through Our Lens, Representation Matters, and for little black girls to see a black princess, on that level of fame and pop-culture is marvelous. One who didn’t spend her life waiting for her prince — who lived a full life before him and he’s adding to it. Especially little girls in the UK.
Race is a funny thing in the UK. Home of the OG colonizers. On the surface, especially in black, white relations, don’t seem as fraught with tension. Get Out and Black Panther’s Daniel Kaluuya phrased it perfectly in a video with W magazine. “British culture is more reserved, so it’s more systematic.” (The video is very short and absolutely worth a watch.

In the UK (actually most European countries), I’m American first, and the good and the bad stereotypes that come with that. Sometimes there’s relief in that, sometimes you’re wondering, “is there something I’m missing?” Sometimes, I felt London to be a utopia, with a seamless blending of people from different races and cultures. Much more so than New York. I thought it, “the empire effect.” What it is is money. Yes, you can go to a cocktail party in Notting Hill and mandarin, Arabic, French, Portuguese and English flow freely. Guests are from all corners of the globe. People of colour seemingly well represented. But this is what we’d call in America, the one percent. Many of these people went to the same schools, holidayed in the same area, are patrons of the same artist. And at the end of the day, oft marry each other. There can be a vileness, but you have to know what you’re listening for. Especially as an American.

Race relations in the US are ugly, festering, raw because slavery was on US soil, the Civil War happened here. In the UK, slavery was banned earlier and it was in lands unseen. India was far away, the Caribbean… And British culture still lingers in these places of the commonwealth, in colorism, classism and perhaps the reservation to discuss these unsavory issues. I’m sure Meghan would have a lot to say on these issues. My story on Bordeaux was one of the last to go up on the site before it closed and I must say, I miss her perspective and voice and the easy access to it there.

Meghan is a breath of fresh air for the monarchy — Stand By Me and Etta James will be sung at the wedding and a gospel choir! And unfortunately, just by being who she is, the color she is, she represents a lot. She can’t just be a beautiful woman marrying the love of her life. Prince Harry ushered the palace into the woke age when he called out the racist undertones of the coverage and attacks surrounding Meghan.

The universe has a way of working things out. Some years give us Trump… others give us the Markle Sparkle.

 

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photo by Alexi Lubomirski

I’m an Estée Lauder Brand Ambassador! Black Girl Make Up

As we say in Through Our LensRepresentation Matters! There were times when I’ve been in a drug store, at a make up counter, in a make up chair at a shoot and could tell the attendant or make up artists did not have my color. Their perplexed faces as they tried to scramble something together that inevitably looked ashy on my skin stung. I haven’t experienced it much, but when I do it’s infuriating. So when I find a brand or a make up artist I have a huge amount of brand loyalty. Unfortunately, they are still few and far between. Estée Lauder is a forerunner in the beauty industry so for them to recognize this issue, treat it as second nature and not even an issue makes me so very proud to be an Estée Lauder Brand Ambassador this winter representing the 7N1 Deep Amber for their #DoubleWear Stay-In-Place foundation. Last night I shared my first post on Instagram. Check it out and double tap to show me some love!

 

UPDATE 12/31/17 – Here are my latest two posts for Estee Lauder!

 

UPDATE 5/14/18

Originally posted in December 2017

Travel Beauty Deep Dive: MICROBLADING

OK, so you might be thinking, WTF does a cosmetic procedure have to do with travel, but as I demonstrated in my first travel beauty hack videos, for many of us travelers, if there is any way for us to save time and that precious commodity, space, in our carry on, we’ll take it. For me, I’m a pretty expressive person and I’ve always loved the look of a strong eyebrow, but years of threading have left my eyebrows nowhere near as full as I’d like them to be. Freshly threaded though? I love them! It’s a vicious cycle. I’ve watched hours of YouTube videos on brow tutorials but I’m a little lazy with make up, so I wasn’t going to spend 10 minutes everyday just on my brows. What a luxury! I’m also a bit rambunctious and quick to jump into a sea or ocean. Wouldn’t it be nice to emerge with your brows fully intact? After seeing a few articles on Vogue.com and Refinery29, I began to really look into microblading. But before I did I had a ALOT of questions about the process, especially for dark skin tones and healing, including keloids, scabbing and scarring. I looked at tons of YouTube videos and those particular questions just weren’t being answered. I knew it couldn’t possibly be only me. I did decide to get the procedure (after NOT doing it at a spa in London) and I was in great hands with the technicians at Eye Design in New York City midtown east (right next to Chanel!). Here is my video giving you a glimpse into the procedure (close up!) and busting some of those myths and FAQs about the procedure. And check out how much time exactly I’ve saved!

instagram.com/nneya
Eye Design Management // nadia-afanaseva.com

Technician // Nadia Afanaseva

Camera // Antoine Braxton

Music // HookSounds

 

Have you had the procedure done? Have more questions about how it went for me? Let me know!

And here it is on my Pinterest!