Quick & Cheap Miami getaway

Oh how I love Meejami, if I can’t get to the Caribbean, Miami is the next best thing.  Every morning I like to check Frontier & Skyscanner to see what the latest deal is and BOOM I found a $30 roundtrip flight from Atlanta to Miami on Frontier Air. If you don’t live in ATL, fret not Frontier and Spirit always have random kick ass deals outta random cities to Miami and plenty other locations.   These budget airlines aren’t giving you ANYTHING for free (other than ice and water) so make sure you don’t check a bag, you meet their requirements for carry-on bags, bring your own snacks, and buy a drink before you board… don’t forget to bring your 3 oz bottles full of your alcohol of choice.  Stay Thirsty My Friends

From MIA airport I caught the $2.65 Miami Beach Airport Flyer to South Beach, hit up the liquor store, Fat Tuesday and then spent the afternoon drinking and chillaxing on the beach.
After I was done soaking in the sand and sun, I caught an Uber ride across the bridge to downtown Miami and checked into the InterContinental using reward points.  Hopefully you recall me previously posting about how I get my free lodging by acquiring the credit cards of various hotels, charging whatever is required to get the free points and then dumping the card after I use all the free night stays.
I'm not driving so I can drink as much as I want!
After freshening up, I walked next door to the Bayside Marketplace for dinner, there is a restaurant called Tango grill in the food court that has AMAZING food. Save your $100 on the fancy Steak House and have yourself a $13 Argentine Steak with rice, salad, and plantain.  TRUST ME!!! There is a Fat Tuesday in the marketplace so of course I had to indulge again.  Stay Thirsty My Friends.
Went back to the hotel and got online to see who could provide me with the lowest cost resale ticket to that nights Miami Heat game.  Ticketmaster and the hotel front desk were selling 100 level for $100, but I found a 100 level $40 resale on vividseats.com Whoop whoop. I like to buy tickets about 2 hours before a game for a “low low” deal from a season ticket holder who can’t make the game, but hasn't managed to sell it for the marked up price.   
Enjoyed the game with some super cool locals who were seated next to me & drank my life away because of course I had a purse full of flasks (did I already mention that you should stay thirsty my friends?)    I stopped by the Bayside Marketplace while walking back to the hotel for some late night grub because it is full of restaurants and of course I had to reup on the Fat Tuesday.  Enjoyed the live entertainment while eating and boozing.  It would have been nice to hit the town afterwards, but sadly I was exhausted because there is a slight possibility that I may be getting old. 
In the morning I ventured out on foot for breakfast and pix and then chillaxed at the hotel pool before heading home that afternoon. 
And that my friends is a quick getaway for under $100. I now leave you with a recap video.
The cheap getaway to Miami I took 2 weeks ago *teeheehee*

DIY Feather Leg Pieces

Carnival season is upon us and I wanted to share a tutorial on feather leg pieces.  Before I start I just want to throw out a disclaimer that necessity is the mother of invention!  I made all this ish up, it could be completely wrong, but it worked for me. 

If you are an auditory person, here is a video of sober me (unenthused and unamused) giving a break down. 
If you are like me and hate the sound of people talking and prefer to receive your information visually, here you go…

To create the frame of the leg piece I purchased plastic cutting boards from the Dollar Tree (don’t judge me) I needed a material that was sturdy yet slim & flexible.  I knew I wanted diamond shapes, rather than draw it free hand I used the glass Q tip holder in my bathroom (again don’t judge me) and traced onto the cutting boards. 
I upholstered the plastic with fabric (if I only need a tiny amount of fabric I like to hit up the remnants corner of the fabric store for dirt cheap fabric) this fabric was left over from the feather collars I made.  PS:  my favorite fabric to use when creating carnival creations is sequin fabric because is so sparkly & tricks the eye. 
After upholstering the diamonds I added plastic pearl trim to the edges and plastic gold trim along the center to jazz it up.  The plastic trim was purchased from ebay. 
Next was to glue feathers to the top of the leg piece. I was using left over feathers so some of them were on a trim and others were single feathers.   I also get my feathers from ebay. Some of the feathers I found in the colors I needed, but I needed an odd shade of pink to match our costumes so I dyed some white feathers pink and tan.  Dye can be purchased from your local craft store (Michaels, JoAnns, Hobby Lobby).

Lastly I glued string to the back of the leg piece so that itc could be tied to my leg and then I glue pink foam (purchased from the craft store) to the back of the leg piece. 
 Ta-Da!!!  Good luck with your creations!

Another low cost vacay

This time last year I wrote a blog about my low cost vacay to the Florida Keys. This year I took a random low cost vacay to Miami. 

Many people reach out to me for travel tips or just to find out how I travel so often.  It’s not that hard if you strategize.   Here is a video of sober me (unenthused and unamused) giving a break down. 

CHEERS to cheap trips!!!

Panama... Home Sweet Home

I’ve lived many places, but Colón, Panama is the place that I call home.  Usually a flight home is $600 - $700 which is why I don’t go home that often, but out of the blue Delta and American dropped flights to Panama for under $300, I was so happy I decided to book two separate trips.  The first was a reunion trip with two of my bros, the 2nd trip will be with my friends to have some fun in the capital of Panama City. 
The 1st trip required us to drive to Charlotte, NC, with a layover in Atlanta.  Seems crazy I know, but you aren’t always gonna find flight deals out of the city that you live, so I am A-ok with booking out of a city that I can easily travel to.  The good part about this trip is that on the way back it had a layover in Atlanta so we could hop off (there is a website called www.skiplagged.com that will help you find flights where you layover somewhere that you want to hop off at. Oddly sometimes these “hop off” flights are cheaper than booking directly to the city you want to go to.)

Anyway, when we were on the flights completing the customs form there was a question that asked, “Are you a Panamanian citizen?”  We didn’t know how to answer that, we now travel with a US passport, don’t have any Panamanian ID, & weren’t sure if we still hold dual citizenship.  The customs officer saw that I didn’t answer that question and since my US passport says I was born in Panama, without me even asking, she said, “Tu eres Panameña! (You are Panamanian)”  The smile on my face was priceless and with that my day was made!  So good to know that my country loves me as much as I love it! 

Upon leaving the airport, our dad was outside waiting with a maxi (shuttle) to take us to Colón, a bucket of KFC (or “Kentucky” as it’s called by the locals), and plenty liquor. Although my dad did not come down to Colón with us, he did come down twice during our trip and invited us to join him for drinks at his favorite bar.  You can see where I get my booze-ology from.
There was a lot of birthdays that weekend (I think 4 or 5 family members).  My cousin Indi was celebrating at a club with friends and Paco and I stopped by and bought a bottle of rum, this is the first time in my life that I have ever bought a bottle in the club (I’m cheap, I like to hoard my $$$ and spend it on trips). My very first nightclub bottle cost $25 USD, oh how I love partying in 3rd World Countries, reminds me of partyin on The Ave in Trinidad.  Funny thing is that everyone drinks beer over there, so Paco and I had to tackle the bottle alone and we were feeling pretty nice before we even walked in the place.  Needless to say that when we left, we were tore up from the floor up.
If you don't have an alcohol bottle piñata at your party, you AINT poppin!

Got to see my grandma who was in the hospital because of injuries sustained in a fall.  It amazes me that when she sees me she says, “Iris??” (pronounced Edés)” with shock.  *Spoiler Alert* my first name is not Angela and my last name is not Panama lmfao.   Can’t just be throwing my government name around with all the silliness I post. Anyway, back to grandma… She has so many grandkids and great grandkids, can’t believe she remembers my face, especially when I don’t come home often.  *side note* on my dad’s side my nickname is Girly, on my mom’s side my nickname is Iris. Oh how I adore the sound of my name and nickname said in Spanish. *side note* another moment that made my day was finding my nickname on a coke can.
Excuse my outfit, you have to put on sleeved shirts and pants to enter the hospital
Colón is really lacking a decent public beach, but Paco and I made our way to this tiny beach in a gated community that we stumbled upon when we went home in 2013. When I say tiny, I mean TINY. Being on this beach reminds me of a beloved childhood book called the Little Prince about a boy who lived on a tiny planet of his own. We had a tiny beach of our own.  If you are ever in Colón and wanna check it out, it’s right next to the Hotel Washington.  Although as much as I love my city I really wouldn’t recommend going there unless that’s where you are from, you have peeps there, are on a guided tour, or are there to partake in shopping at the Colón Free Trade Zone: the largest free zone in the Americas and the second largest in the world.
Underwater yoga?

It was just a whirlwind time of seeing as many family members as possible & just chillaxing on the block where we use to live, and where a few of our cousins now reside. I’ve had people ask in the past to come to Panama with me and I say to them, “You wouldn’t like where I am going.” BUT I had the frekkin time of my life.  It’s no wonder Panama is listed as one of the happiest countries on earth.  They may not be rich with money, but they are rich with life.  Everyone and I do mean EVERYONE has a crazy sick sound system in their place and they spend their free time with friends and family congregating in random places, enjoying cheap cervezas (beers),  jammin, and enjoying life. 

For the majority of my life I was the youngest, I like to still think of myself as the youngest.  On our last trip, I met my little brother Aymar & he stopped by to see us this trip.
I had a blast and can’t wait to see you in 2016 Panama!!!   Chow!