Walking to New Orleans.......

I always thought about the idea of going on a trip solo for a while now (my niece “When Geeks Travel, did a trip a year before) it inspired me and I decided to give it a shot in May 2018.  It was a few days before my birthday, a year since graduating grad-school and I was itching to getaway. I was used to telling friends or family “I can’t go” because of a final and now I ended up with a lot of free time.  A few days before leaving for NOLA, I was nervous if I made the right decision to go on a trip by myself to a city that is known for partying. I figured I can’t turn back now and either way the experience would end up on the blog, ha ha!

Rather than running from attraction to attraction, I realized I am more of  fly under the radar, live as I would if I lived there type of traveler. New Orleans ended up being  the perfect city to break in traveling solo. The culture, music, food, and the coffee! The people in NOLA are friendly, warm, and welcoming.   Special shout out to my friend Allyson and my new friend’s from NOLA Scott and Robi they really looked out for this city gal!

New York Times listed New Orleans as the top place in the world to visit for 2018. With this year being the 300th anniversary of the city, there couldn’t be a more perfect time to check out. I’m glad I did! Check it out!


Street Cars – The city still operates very old-school trams. Of course I got lost in one of them being Uber spoiled! Not only do they look cool but they also take you almost anywhere a tourist would want to go! At $3 for an unlimited day ticket or $1.25 single ride they are by far the cheapest (albeit a little slower) way to get around town.


Cemetary Tours-Due to much of the city being below sea level, burying the deceased above the ground is common practice, making the city’s cemeteries a popular tourist attraction..  St. Louis Cemetery #1, was one of my first stops in NOLA. It is where the famous Voodoo queen, Marie Laveau, is believed to be buried. Book your tour though the nonprofit Save Our Cemeteries to help support their preservation.


City Park – The largest in-city park in the US, (an easy uber or streetcar away) is also home to a fabulous art museum (mix of contemporary art and antiques with a great mix of well known artists) a pretty good botanical garden and a nearby sculpture park.


French Quarter- Besides Bourbon Street (check out Acme for the Chargrill Oysters btw), there are more activities to do in the French Quarter.   Walk around (with a to-go cup from Pat O’Brien’s) and take in the beautiful Spanish and French Architecture. You’ll run into beautiful Jackson Square where you can have a peek into St. Louis Cathedral (oldest cathedral in the U.S.), watch cute old people dance, and most importantly make a beignets stop at the very famous 24-hour open Café Du Monde for your Beignet fix and frozen coffee. This combo was amaze I ended up here a few times during my 4 day trip. First time having Bourbon Punch too, Bourbon House specializes in that!


Frenchmen Street-Walk down the street, listen to the open venues, and grab a seat and listen to music, swaying back and forth in your own world. The Spotted Cat was my favorite! Then check out the market!


New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA): they have a mix of contemporary art. When I went to NOMA in May, I spent a good half the morning there with my lovely friend Allyson. The Alexander McQueen exhibit was EPIC! “A Queen Within: Adorned Archetypes”  The exhibit showcased rare pieces from one of the world’s largest private collections from the designer. After NOMA stroll over to Morning Call-I kid you not they have the best Cafe Au Lait!


Walking tour of The Treme:  The Treme' (pronounced Tre-May) sits adjacent to the French Quarter and is the oldest African-American neighborhood in the United States.   Treme' was originally settled by Free People of Color; often referred to as Creoles, whose unique experience helped shape the civil rights movement. It is the hallmark of African-American history not to be missed. Today, Treme' is home to artists, musicians, and craftsmen and is a living, breathing, joyful piece of New Orleans history.  The tour I went on, had a great balance of historical info and personal anecdotes from our local tour guide Robi, who is a resident of Treme’.  Robi was deeply knowledgeable (and passionate about) his community and it shined through in his analysis of cultural politics in the neighborhood.

Louis Armstrong Park: As soon as you set foot in the park, you have engulfed yourself in African American history that dates back to the 18th century. From Congo Square to the Mahalia Jackson Theater, every inch of the park’s grounds contain history that has become a vital part of New Orleans’ culture. The park’s history involves slave culture, music, dance and entertainers that have all made an impact on the Treme area.


Magazine St. – I spent time on Magazine Street the final day before heading to the airport. I couldn’t get enough of looking at the Southern Style porches! This is a long stretch of street in the lower garden district with cute bars, antique shops, vintage stores and interior shops with stretches of residential colonial style houses in between. My last meal was at the Ruby Slipper, ahh it was amaze never had biscuits so fluffy and sweet. Thanks for the recommendation Scott!


I am grateful for NOLA being my first solo traveler experience. I embraced my identity in a way I didn’t think was possible and eagerly submersed myself in the culture, meeting new people, and discovering things about myself.  I am stoked to plan more solo trips for 2019 and beyond!


WCW: Singer-Songwriter-Felicia Douglass

Her name is Felicia Douglass!  If you have not heard about her - you will. I discovered her on FB, where I had an opportunity to listen to her sing. After listening to a few tracks from her SoundCloud page, I was blown away!  Felicia has a voice that is reminiscent of the 90’s R&B queens from our childhood; add in some electro soul from today, then top it off some 80’s influenced melodies, and BOOM!  LEGIT Listen folks! I was grateful that I had an opportunity to interview Felicia about her art, what inspires her, why she considers the songwriting process to be a puzzle, and her drink of choice. Check it out:


O.C.O: How did you get started with playing – and creating – music?

F.D: My parents got me started with piano lessons when I was little and I was also in chorus and musical groups elementary school through college. I'm very thankful for that today. I didn't start writing my own songs till middle school. I got pretty attached to my 4-track recorder.

O.C.O: What song instantly puts you in a good mood?

F.D: Free by Deniece Williams.

O.C.O: Where do you usually gather songwriting inspiration? What is your usual songwriting process?

F.D: Anywhere and everywhere. I am the weirdo on the train platform singing into my phone to record a voice memo. I'll still sift through memos from years ago and find something to expand upon. I don't have a set process, sometimes I’ll start with a short vocal idea and build around that and other times I’ll work on beats and synth parts. It's always possible to get stuck but I really enjoy writing lyrics and switching out words, it's a puzzle. Collaborating with other musicians has helped me change my outlook on generating material and being open to trying out ideas. If something's not working and you can't fix it, it's totally fine, just save it and make something else. I consider it all to be valuable.

O.C.O: I’m interested in your musical roots – which musicians and songwriters have been the greatest influence? F.D:  What are your favorite albums?

I grew up surrounded by music. My father is a music engineer and when I was younger he turned half of our living room into a music studio. When he worked at other recording studios in Manhattan I'd visit and be a fly on the wall. I loved it. I was introduced to a lot of RNB, soul, funk, rap and rock music through osmosis. I really admire Sade, Sly & The Family Stone, Beck, Janet Jackson, Fiona Apple to name a few. I definitely listened to Supa Dupa Fly by Missy Elliot non-stop for a long while.


O.C.O: How would you describe your current sound?

F.D: Tropical future funk.

O.C.O: What do you think is the biggest misconception about your line of work?

F.D: That's a tough question. Maybe the glorified rockstar lifestyle? I think some people forget that when we're performing at a bar or nightclub it is still our version of work. If I drink too much I won't perform well, if I'm stuck around smokers I'll feel horrible, if I'm at a loud bar all night I'll lose my voice, and I need my voice to work. Tour can be exhausting and financially taxing sometimes. When I have a long string of shows I should just wear a t-shirt that says I DO NOT WANT TO PARTY in huge letters. 

O.C.O: If we’re going to buy you a drink, what should it be?

F.D: Nothing special, anything fizzy with some fresh citrus.

O.C.O: What do you think about the internet as a tool for promoting yourself & your music?

F.D: I think it's extremely helpful! I've been able to connect and work with so many artists I admire because they've come across my work, or vice versa. I'm pretty lax about posting unfinished songs and videos of the process on social media. With my solo music, I am in complete control and I like sharing different stages of my work along the way. As a visual artist, I often use Instagram as a tool to share new work. I'm also big on spreading love and positivity, inspired by some artists who are doing it right like Sinkane and Dam-funk. I didn't plan ahead when I started them but I have a few hashtag series, #felmoovs is a collection of my impromptu dance and movement related videos, mostly to songs I love, my own music, or city background noise. I'm currently up to 59 videos. My other series #trashreflections is used when I stumble upon a broken mirror set out as trash on the sidewalk and take a selfie. Sounds mundane but I love how different the settings can be, from capturing a vibrant blue sky in the reflection or carefully balancing to take a shot without falling into bags of trash. It's also transient by nature. Pass by the same block the next day and it will all be gone. I'm a New York native and I’m not sick of wandering around in the city yet :)


O.C.O: What are your plans & hopes for the future with regard to your music?

F.D: I hope to do music full time! I've been doing more songwriting collaborations with other artists which is a dream come true and I'd love to do more of that in the future. I have a few albums in the works with my bands Gemma and Ava Luna that I'm very excited to share. They'll be out in due time.

O.C.O: What advice would you give aspiring musicians? 

F.D: It's a gift. If you love it and you believe in yourself stick with it!


Felicia will be performing in at Unit J in Bushwick this Saturday September 23rd! Here are the details-Spacey Presents: Felicia Douglass / Photocomfort / Inalukt / John Kengla .  Follow her on Instagram and Twitter: @feldou 

Be sure to check out Felicia's site: http://feliciadouglass.com. She has some rad artwork! I plan on buying her CASTLE drawing!




Wild, wild, wild thoughts.....

Usually when it comes to my makeup, I’m pretty simple. Covering up my dark circles, thickening my lashes, and adding a sun-kissed glow are the only steps in creating my everyday look. Don’t get me wrong—I love playing around and trying out new products. But let’s face it (literally): I’m not an expert when it comes to applying makeup lol! I’m WAS more of the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” kind of gal when it comes to make up.

Rewind to last month…., I decided to try something new and contacted Vanessa Cruz who is THE make-up expert. I wanted to break out of my usual make up routine :)

For my look, I pulled inspiration leaning more towards the vamp punk look I have been seeing lately...  I love it, it’s romantic, dark and brooding and elicits intrigue.

I’m totally convinced that I was an early 80s punk head in my past life time! I love the IDGAF vibe that filled the air during that time: Grace Jones, The Clash, Joan Jett, Blondie, The Stooges. The OG’s, the original hustlers, they started the whole DIY mentally that still exist today! What a time to live amongst that creativity :)

Voila! This was a fun make up session, Vanessa and I were listening to the new album “Grateful” by DJ Khaled in the midst of it, with “Wild Thoughts” on repeat!

Vanessa used the following products, it was a mix of high and low end product!

Brows:  NYX Cosmetics: Micro Brow Pencil in "Brunette"

I was happy to get out of my comfort zone and give a look I wanted to try a shot J. Vanessa thanks again for the encouragement.

If you guys are in NYC and would like to book Vanessa follow her on IG at @glammbyv