NEW YORK, NEW YORK🏙🗽🌆

It’s the city that never sleeps. From its vibrant culture and city lights to the hustle and flow mentality of every soul, New York might just be the next move.  I know I have always wanted to move out from my home state (Lowell, Massachusetts) and move to a place where I could finally plant my own roots and lay the foundation of my life. As scary and crazy as it sounds the big apple might be destined for me.

So this whole idea started when I recently went for a weekend to celebrate a friend’s birth day.   Long story short it was LIT. I am talking about from the night life to a day of sightseeing. We ended up renting an Airbnb in Manhattan for the few days we were there and commuted everywhere using subway or Uber.  Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to visit NYC several times but it was only this time round where I got to see NY for its true authentic self and I completely fell in love. They weren’t wrong when they said home is where the heart is. In the past when I visited, I only did the touristy stuff. Visiting Times Square, Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty and so on and so forth. But it was until I got to experience the culture is when I finally fell in love.

NY is well known for its diversity. It’s literally a melting pot of everybody from different cultures and all walks of all life. One thing for sure, you’re bound to at least meet every race and ethnicity. According to worldsrtides.com, More than 800 languages are spoken in New York City, making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world. 4 in 10 households speak a language other than English.

It’s crazy because everybody that I have told about the idea of moving to NY has basically looked at me crazy. They get this look on their face of ‘WTF’. The notion of NY being an expensive city and the fast paced doesn’t scare me at all. I mean it does a little bit but it’s in the sense of the fact that I am getting out of my comfort zone. But all in all the idea of proving everybody wrong and challenging myself on a different level of capacity is one of the few things that’s actually attracting me to it.

In this journey, I have made sure to check other parts of NY just in case this whole city thing doesn’t really work out for me. I had the opportunity to visit a good friend who lives in Albany, NY. Albany definitely shocked me. It wasn’t what I expected it to be. Meaning, I was expecting upstate New York vibes and a whole lot of countryside. (I apologize for my ignorance and bad geography skills.) Although being the capital for NY and way much smaller than NYC, it left a good impression on me. A city that’s way more diverse in every aspect than what I am used to still contributed to my love for the state as a whole. Let’s not forget the beauty of its architectural buildings and its rich history of the American people.

When I think of living in the big apple I picture myself like the likes of Janet mock the co-stars of the new show hustle in Brooklyn, Jessica Parker in sex and the city and some of my favorite people that I follow or look up to. From their career paths to the social lifestyle. Low-key, they have made it look easy but I am ready to hustle and grind to make it in this big city. Failure is absolutely not an option.

All in all I am not putting my eggs all in one basket. The whole point of this post is to put the idea out into the universe and let it manifest towards my end goal. Maybe New York will not work out. It might be a different city or town in Massachusetts or even a different country but am so ready to plant my seeds in a different garden. Wherever that maybe, I am ready to spread my wings and soar.

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Rants & Randomness😡😩😒

So this is an epidemic that I honestly don’t know how to overcome but needs to be addressed immediately. The world is evolving and so is its technology. If you don’t know me by now, I like to document and capture every moment either through social media or just for the sake of it. Some might say I am a social media addict but I believe I am just an artist perfecting my craft. Long story short, I am frustrated and tired of being that friend that takes the good pics but don’t get the favor in return. For those who are active on social media whether it’s for work or pleasure or the ones who like to finesse even for the wrong reasons, together we shall rise.

Yup, you guessed it. Today’s blog post is literally a rant. For my friends (you know yourselves), I dedicate this post to you as well. I Am calling out all those folks who be expecting a good picture but in return do a dis-honor to the photographer.For lack of a better name, we call these folks enemy of progress. And Yes, I do say photographer only because these group of people are the ones who understand the art of taking a good pic. You know, from the lighting to hyping you up and even helping you get that good caption for the gram (Instagram).

Personally it’s happened to me several times with my friends. One minute Were literally vibing at a dope location wherever that maybe and then when it comes to taking pictures of each other, the ultimate disrespect comes out. So having the talent that I have, I take amazing pictures of my so called “friends” but it’s never reciprocated and if it is, it’s after hours of taking thousands of pics just to get the one. Now some of ya’ll might state that it’s because I am not photogenic but I rebuke ya’ll in the name of Jesus. The truth of the matter is, those that take the ugly pics just got two left hands.

The frustration is real because some of us are single meaning every representation of our self is an opportunity of a future significant other to notice us. Social media has addressed this issue by making memes out of it. Yes it’s hilarious but not when it’s happening to you.

All am saying lets be considerate of each other. If you know that you are an enemy of progress, get it together and change your ways. For those who are on the struggle and can completely relate, Please let’s keep hope alive and continue the journey in search of that friend who will reciprocate the good deed we share with our closest ones while finessing on the inter webs.

Cancun, Mexico 🇲🇽 🌴☀️

Let me just start off by saying writing on the regular or maintaining this blog is a work in progress. It’s not the lack of content but rather the time, motivation and energy for me to sit down and write. Of course when I do write it’s always therapeutic. Think of it as going to the gym. The hardest part is literally gathering all of yourself and going to the gym. But after you get there and work out, it’s the best feeling ever. So please bear with me and continue showing the love and support. I promise I will get it together.

So it’s the beginning of summer and Lord knows this had been a long time coming. Literally, this was my light and rainbow at the end of my hurricane.  This past winter season had truly been the test of time if it wasn’t already the lowest point of my life.  Afro-Flava wasn’t doing well, my minimum wage job that I had at the time wasn’t working out and having car troubles were some of the experiences life was throwing at me. I was basically trying to make ends meet. Paying my rent at the time was a mission and a half. Looking back, I am still stunned that I was able to push through and make it out. (Those are some stories for another time)

My friends and I had been talking about going on a tropical trip together to start off the summer. All those winter months of watching travel vlogs from the likes of Lydia Dinga, Est-Are and among many others, it was time for us to make our dream a reality. At this point, I had saved a little bit from the new job I had started towards the end of winter into spring. We originally had planned to go to Thailand but the flight prices were not working in our favour. Besides, the amount of hours it takes to travel to Thailand, one needs at least two weeks to not only recover the jetlag but to fully explore Thailand and some of the other Asian countries. (This is still goals). We then settled going to Cuba until last minute when we found out how one has to typically carry cash for the entire trip since debit cards from America do not work there. Let’s not forget the struggles of customs getting into Cuba. (Thanks Trump for ruining it for us after Obama had cleaned up the mess.) After intense deliberation, Cancun, Mexico was where it was meant to be. None of us had been there and some of the packages were within our budget.

We got a package of about $700.00 per person that was all-inclusive (food and liquor, flight and accommodation for 6 days 5 nights). I don’t know about you but that’s a pretty decent deal. This was also the first trip of the year so the hype was very much anticipated. It was also the first time travelling with a big group which I was very selective in going just because the vibe had to be right.

Cancun is a Mexican city on the Yucatán Peninsula bordering the Caribbean Sea. It, is known for its beaches, numerous resorts and nightlife. Just Like every travel destination, Cancun is composed of 2 distinct areas. The more traditional downtown area, El Centro, and Zona Hotelera, a long, beachfront strip of high-rise hotels, nightclubs, shops and restaurants. Cancun is a popular destination for college students during the spring break period.it is also a very popular destination for black folks especially for memorial weekend

We stayed at Princess Yucatan Resort which is about 40 mins drive outside Cancun. A resort that I must say I will definitely go back. We also bought different activities beforehand so when were there we wouldn’t have had to worry about money or any surprising costs. Going to Cancun was the first trip I had done in terms of going on a full vacation resort. You all know that when I travel I like to experience the culture and learn the way of life. Unfortunately this trip was not one of those but at the same time you can’t blame me after the stormy weather I went through. All I wanted was to bask in the sun by the pool with my cocktails and relax.

This trip was everything and more. Not only was it much needed but it was a reward to myself. I am grateful I got to experience this trip and just like I imagined it did set the tone for the rest of the summer. Make sure to follow me on Instagram @Victor_4realzz and check-out my highlight for the full visual aspect of the trip because words cannot express the magical experience.

LUCY

I wouldn’t call myself a creative guru but after this photoshoot, might as well add it to my repertoire.

Since the beginning of summer, one of my best friend Lucy mentioned that she wanted to do a photo shoot for her 24th  birthday. Now I am not sure if you remember her from one of my last post, “Whitney”. she was the creative director/Make up Artist on that shoot and we created magic. Just like me, homegirl knows how to work the camera behind and in front of the lens.

I would say lucy and I are one and the same when it comes to the creative aspects. We tend to be on the same page and have the same vision. For this photoshoot, I was very eager to challenge myself on the creative director role, especially with the trust and confidence that my dear friend bestowed upon me.

We also partnered up with our other good friend Rita, owner and publisher of VisualMag who is a beast when it comes to photography. A woman who’s dedicated her career to telling stories through visuals has proven that dreams can be valid with a lot of hard work, ambition and the attitude of a “go-getter’. Make sure to check out her work and be inspired.

We woke up at 3 am and had to be at the location (Salem, MA) by 5 am in order to catch the sunrise. The whole point of the shoot was to catch that natural lighting. Believe it or not, this was the first photo shoot we ever did as friends many moons ago. Aside from the runaround, being at this location brought so many memories and added that bit of luck and charm for a successful shoot. We literally watched and experienced an idea that started out as a joke come to life.

Lucy, I hope this was everything you dreamed of. As you mark another year in the bag, I wish you more joy and happiness. Better yet, I grant you the wish of partnering with me in the many more projects to come.

Through my previous posts, I believe I have proven to Y’all my capabilities as a model and photographer. Now check me out as I dominate the role of Creative Director. Make sure to show some love, subscribe, repost if you can and comment. Enjoy the pictures.

Back At It. 🥂🍷🍾#winetasting

It’s been close to two years since I visited a vineyard and had a wine tasting session. Today, all the memories came rushing back from the mini adventures that I ventured in South Africa through my wine tasting escapades. Oh Stellenbosch how I miss you.

For those who’ve been with me from back in the day, I am sure you know what am talking about. If you haven’t, please do yourself a favour and go check out my archives and you’ll get all the way caught up.

I got a chance to visit Nashoba Valley Winery in Bolton Massachusetts with a group of special folks. Two of my co-workers who I adore to death and Esther who I met for the first time but had a lot of mutual friends. Esther if you’re reading this, I am still baffled why our so called “friends” never introduced us because the connection was too real.

This is my first official wine tasting experience in America and I must say, “What the hell have I been doing with my life?” Quick note to all my wine lovers. It doesn’t matter what location, city or country. The culture of wine tasting is literally all the same. As soon as we arrived, I felt right at home. Not to be extra and all dramatic but I did feel like the prodigal son that had finally returned home.

For just $15, we got to taste and sample 10 different wines out of at least 20 options based on one’s preference. Well technically, you get 10 tokens and you can use them to sample wine, beer or brandy. Of course I used all of mine to try the wines.  Compared to Rands (SA currency🇿🇦), this is some bull pricing but for the average Americans, this is absolutely affordable. The atmosphere and the energy was absolutely amazing. From the open greenery fields to the actual vineyards, the views were absolutely stunning and very relaxing as well.

Towards the end, we bought a couple bottle of wines. Some to take home and the rest to sip while we ate and enjoyed the day and the views.  What better way to soak it all in with some good vibes, friends and amazing outlooks.

The weather was perfect as well which added to the aesthetics of the property that contributed to a dope Instagram pic. As I am getting older, the clubbing scene/night life is kinda getting too outdated for me and I am finding myself leaning towards these kind of vibes and hobbies.

I absolutely recommend for everyone to check out Nashoba Valley Winery. It’s perfect for a date, mini day get away for couples, friends and even with family. Stay tuned because there’s definitely gonna be more post on my wine adventures.

WHITNEY

They say that in photography there is a reality so subtle, that it becomes more real than reality. It’s definitely a different perspective when you look through the lens of a camera. I bet most of my fellow photographers can relate to what I mean. When taking a picture, there is one thing the photograph must contain, the humanity of the moment. We all view the world and its content through the lens of the human eye. A good photographer must attain that humanity of the moment with every picture through just the lens of a camera.

I got the opportunity to shoot my old time friend Whitney with the help of one of my closest friends Lucy.  I met Whitney through a friend of a friend and it was an instant connection. Her soft spoken voice that filled the room with so much vibrance and personality which was easily recognizable. Oh and you can’t forget that touch of the ‘Lowell hood’ with a sprinkle of a southern belle which she expressed with every reference of “ooooh child” in every sentence of a story she told. She knows what I am talking about.

Whitney was the first person that I experienced the late night city lights of Boston. This was around the summer of 2012 and every other day we would drive my little hoopty hoopty, otherwise known as black cherry into Boston. We would immerse ourselves into the city’s diverse population and culture that we lacked back in our hometown. We shared our dreams and goals to each other as we made promises to our future self.  This was about 5-6 years ago. After losing touch, life as you know it had a funny way of bringing us back together.

Whitney is now about 36weeks pregnant and had asked me to do a maternity shoot of her before she gave birth. Of course I had to bring in my partner in crime Lucy, who is my creative twin that we see eye to eye when it comes to the art of fashion. Lucy helped me execute this one of a kind master piece.

 

Lucy, who’s a Picasso when it comes to make up, helped with co-directing of the shoot and setting up of the scenes. Of course her energy and positive vibes added to the ambiance of the room.

 

What was only expected to be a just a favor for an old time friend, turned out to be the best baby shower gift I could give to her. Here is to you Whitney as you begin this new chapter of your life. I know you’re going to rock being the best mom in the world.  Happy Mother’s day.

Lets Talk Style!

In the recent years I have found different ways to express myself. Through Music, the art of cooking and photography. But my newest form of expression or rather my new form of therapy has been travelling and fashion.  Initially when I started this blog, it was specifically for travelling but later on it just made sense to talk about my experiences and my journey as a whole.

For today’s post I wanted to share my interest for fashion specifically. In all honesty I don’t think I have ever had a conversation with anyone about my sense of style and how or why I can express myself through it. I have always just allowed it to speak for itself. I would never call myself a fashion expert or any type of fashion influencer but I do believe that I have a type of swag that can be well respected with those in the fashion community.

I would say my sense of style is very versatile, hence why I shop everywhere and anywhere. I don’t care about brand names (my bank account doesn’t even allow it if you know what I mean). As long as it looks good on me, I am all for it. I kind of started paying attention to the way I dressed between my later years of high school and going to college. At this point it was basically figuring out what works for me. Being on the heavier set, it’s not the same like for the average norm. Knowing what stores would carry your size yet still have a variety of styles to choose from that would also cater to your budget.

Name brand stores like forever 21, H&M which cater to the younger generation and style, sadly don’t accommodate as much to those who happen to be a little heavier. Personally I am always lucky whenever I can find something that fits, stylish and is current. I mean it’s great that right now we can have thicker models on the runway and brands that are catering to the average size woman but what about our fellow gents who are big and tall?

I don’t know about you but for me, whenever I get dressed up it has to be appreciated. Meaning the justice of the outfit needs to be served. Have you ever dressed really well and by the end of the day it feels as if your outfit just went to waste so you end up repeating the same outfit for another day/event? Well that’s exactly what it means when your outfit’s justice is not served.

When I dress good, it makes me feel good and it adds to my confidence which is portrayed by my energy and how I interact with people. It compliments my whole being and who I am as an individual. I always feel like I am telling a story and exuding a character every time I pay attention to what I wear.

It didn’t help that I went to a school in the middle of nowhere, where my environment was very country. Not that there is anything wrong with that in fact, I did walk away with a newfound taste of fashion sense for that type of environment. You see, if you really love fashion, you see beauty and style out of clothes, accessories and any fabric known to man. During this period of time while in school, I began collecting pieces and “must have fashion items “. Like I said before, being on the heavier set is a full time job when shopping for clothes. It was also at this period of time where I learnt a lot about thrifting which I must say has played a big role that’s added to my knowledge for good quality materials.

If you look at my style today, you will see that I like to incorporate a touch of different styles that contribute to an entire outfit. Currently I have been more attracted to print styles and that retro/vintage style. (my dad back in the day)

When it comes to accessories I love African pieces from the necklace to my wrist game. Finding inspiration through fashion gurus from Instagram socialites like Michael Anthony who’s based in Detroit and Julian Hernandez from Stockholm has also greatly influenced my style and confidence.

Now that you’ve gotten a glimpse of how I express myself, I want to know how you express yourself. If you can relate or just enjoyed reading this piece, make sure to leave a comment and don’t forget to share and subscribe.