Cartagena isn’t just a city full of color, it’s full of great food and inexpensive cocktails. The interior decor of the restaurants are to die for. Many of the dishes are colorful and flavorful but sometimes a tad bit salty. If you’re not a heavy salt eater, I suggest you tell your waiter or waitress to go light on the salt, it makes a huge difference.

Let’s jump right in!

LA VITROLA 

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A classic authentic Colombian restaurant with a 1960’s ambiance. You are greeted with the sounds and beats of old-school Colombian live music. Your food is served by an all female waitress staff whom are dressed in crisp double breasted chef whites. Make sure to walk around the restaurant on your way to restroom or after your meal, the colors are magnificent along with the historical photos of legendary Colombians on the wall.

LA MULATA 

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In Spanish speaking countries, the word  “la mulata” means mixed girl and is a term used to refer to persons born of one white parent and one black parent or to persons born of a mulatto parent or parents.  The vibe of restaurant is very Afro-Colombian, including the art decor on the wall. Try the avocado and the fried platanos, they have some the best in Cartagena.

HARRY’S SASSON

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This restaurant is a “must see” landmark in old city Cartagena. It’s interior architectural structure is full of arches, high ceilings, and spiral staircases. You can tell this is a place where old money chooses to stay. The restaurant is also apart of a hotel that gives you a fabulous view of the city and the ocean. The lighting is always perfect and the food is always fresh, so make sure you’re camera ready.

MARIA & DON JUAN 

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Maria and Don Juan are are two restaurants that are located right next each other. Maria is the wife restaurant to Don Juan and Don Juan is the husband restaurant to Maria. This dynamic duo gives a flavorful fusion twist to Colombian food. They might be right next two each other but they have completely different menus. Try one place for lunch and the other for dinner.

ALQUIMICO

This vibrant 3 story tapas bar and restaurant is full of great music, games, and creative culinary. It’s right next to Maria and Don Juan, so maybe you can pop in here for a small bite or a drink before your dinner reservation. The first floor is laid back with a full bar and a cool playlist of R&B remixes. As you walk up the steps to the second level, you’re surrounded by gorgeous white columns that lead you to a fun game of pool or foosball. As you make your way up to the last and final level, it turns into a full roof top bar, just like NYC or DTLA. The music get funkier on the rooftop as it hops from 90’s to R&B, and Colombian champeta music.

ALMA

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This gorgeous restaurant and hotel is one Cartagena’s most famous establishments. It’s decor is filled with some of the finest woods and a breathtaking waterfall. Your food might take a little longer than usual but every bite is worth the wait. While you wait, try their famous Moscow Mule, you won’t regret it.

CARMEN

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TALK ABOUT ABOUT A MENU THAT WILL KNOCK YOU OUT OF THIS WORLD. JUST GO!

 

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If you ever go to Morocco, YOU MUST DEDICATE TIME TOWARDS BUYING A CARPET! It is nothing like purchasing interior decor in the states, it is a journey. Literally, it’s a journey getting lost in a Moroccan souk. A “souk” is a market in Arabic/North African countries. You can buy almost anything in a souk: doors, lights, furniture, jewelry, clothes, spices, and more. On my 3rd and most recent trip to Morocco, I made sure I took my friend Tori, co-founder of The Colored Girl, to experience what it’s like to search for a Moroccan carpet (scroll to the bottom to watch video).

When we entered the souk, we walked into the space where a majority of the carpets were sold and I felt like I was in heaven. We asked a vendor where the best carpets were and he took us on a long stroll through the souk. We made so many left and right turns, my head was starting to hurt, but on our last turn we made a sharp right into one of the greatest carpet warehouses. The warehouse manger and his workers were so kind, they were eager to pull out multiple carpets so we could figure out which one we loved the most. They explained how the carpets were made and what tribe they came from. They became even cooler when they offered us lunch and if you know me, food is the way to my heart. I don’t know what I was more shocked by, how kind the owner was or the variety of carpets there were. There were so many colors, textures, and designs. Here’s a fun fact, some rugs are made for winter and some rugs are made for summer, but there are also some rugs that are for both, like a 2 in 1.

I took a seat on the mountain of carpets and Tori snapped a cute photo of me (see picture above). When I looked at the photo, I realized how defined my curls were, giving off an old school Cher vibe. I was trying to think about how they looked so good and I realized it was all thanks to Form Beauty. The night before, I co washed my hair with the Moisturizing Conditioner, which gave my hair a lot of hydration. Also, before heading to the souk, I applied the Defining Curl Gel to my damp hair and allowed it to air dry. I love when my curls look defined AF. When my hair is on fleek, I feel like a kid in a Moroccan carpet shop, lol, maybe not a kid, but me. After I was done hyping up my hair, we continued to scan around the warehouse, but realized we were  almost an hour late for our lunch meeting. The best thing that I can recommend when shopping for a carpet in Moroccan is MAKE SURE YOU HAVE TIME! It’s not a easy process and you must figure out which one speaks to you. I call it a journey because you must dedicate at least 4 hours. You must see, choose, and barter. It takes time my friends, but if you’re like me and you really love cultural decor, it is definitely something you will devote time to.

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Photographed by Thaïs Martin

Carpet shopping with Tori

 

 

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Being in Marrakesh, Morocco, at the amazing boutique hotel, Jnane Tamsna, was an incredible experience. It was full of great food, great people, great culture and a whole lot of dry heat. It was so hot, that 110 degrees was normal. Don’t get me wrong, I loveeee the heat, but that was heat that could fry some bacon. That being said, when it’s too hot outside, I tend to wear my hair in a style that is pushed away from my face. In high heat, gel tends to feel like it is melting on my scalp. Pomade gives my hair a good hold that feels light and I always want my edges to be laidddddd, so I started to use the Form Beauty, Polish Pomade.

 

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The polish pomade is lightweight and  “uses a blend of oils to lock in moisture, fight frizz and provide a smooth look and soft feel” (www.formbeauty.com). I was able to create the hairstyle, in the pictures above, in four simple steps.

  1. Since I was going for a sleek but bushy look. I first brushed out all of my curls.
  2.  I made a part in the center of my head but I only parted it half way.
  3.  I then damped the front part of my hair so my edges and the front could be slicked down and the back could big and bushy.
  4. Lastly, I brushed down the front area down and pinned it tight. I made the back part of my hair bigger and bushier for as 70’s style inspired look.

Inspiration

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Photo by @photo__mark

If you don’t know me by now, I am a full born and bred Cali girl. I’m hardly home, but I am always reppin’ Los Angeles City. I grew up learning how to roller skate on Santa Monica beach, playing basketball at Pan Pacific Park and spending my weekends at The Grove. Los Angeles will always be home but most importantly, it will always have my heart. Many people make the assumption that Los Angeles is the city of sink or city (it definitely can be), but when you are surrounded by people who truly care about your growth and success the journey is worth it.

People have often told me “if you’re not losing friends, you’re not growing up”, which was true for me but it doesn’t have to be true for every one. Some people are in your life for a reason or a season but that also relates to your environment. After I graduated  high school, I began my college journey upstate New York. Many of my friends stayed local or went to college and universities a few hours away from home, but that was not my route. Spending my college years in Syracuse, NY, then moving to New York City after graduation, taught me that it’s important to live in an environment that makes you happy. I could of easily returned home to Los Angeles after graduating, but I wanted to challenge myself. I currently live in New York City, but every time I return home to Los Angeles, it’s like I am pressing a restart button.

Los Angeles has taught me that I ALWAYS HAVE OPTIONS. Not everyday is a surf on the beach, but it’s okay to watch the waves. The L.A. city life is definitely laid back, which has taught me that you can only control situations that you have control over. It’s annoying to sit in traffic, but you can’t control that, so find an alternate route because there is always a way. Home has also taught me that FAMILY IS EVERYTHING. When living at home, I became used to a routine which consisted of me spending time with my family. Los Angeles is a city full of adventure and when you have family to share those adventures with, it’s very rewarding. My family and I consistently tried new restaurants, worked out, and even went to concerts together. Success can always be accomplished when you are surrounded by individuals who feel rewarded witnessing your growth. Lastly, home has taught me that LIFE IS ABOUT BALANCE. Los Angeles has given me different outlets to find my happy place. I am the type of individual who needs a getaway when they are upset or off balance. L.A. is full of scenic views and each one I go to, I’m able to find peace and balance. I’ve been so blessed to grow up in this amazing city and gain knowledge of my surroundings, but the best thing of all is that I’ve gained knowledge about myself.

XOXO,

IVY COCO

Shop The Look: @eldiorsodeckdesign

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When I hear the word “Senegal”, I automatically thing of beaches, braids, and the motherland. I recently had the opportunity to visit Dakar, Senegal, for two weeks. After experiencing new people, places, and perspective, it is definitely a destination MUST when visiting West Africa. Not only is it full of beaches, but it is full of rich culture, color, and history. I’ve visited Senegal twice as little girl, but never truly experienced it for myself as a young adult. This time, I was able to appreciate every moment with deep understanding.

1. NGOR BEACH and NGOR ISLAND

Make sure to get a gorgeous tan and meet new people while laying on Plage Ngor (Ngor Beach). If you want a luxurious private escape, you can take a 7 min boat ride across the water to Ngor Island and lay under your own cabana.

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Swimsuit from http://www.blingostyle.com/

2. PARC FORESTIER ET ZOOLOGIQUE DE HANN

Visiting the zoo is always fun, but I promise you that you haven’t seen a zoo like this before. Most zoo’s don’t allow animals to rome in large spaces, but this zoo is actually based in the national park where the animals have a lot of freedom and space. This large atmosphere allows the animals to feel as if they are in their natural habitat. After the zoo, take a 15 min boat ride on the park’s lake. You can enjoy a drink and see beautiful ducks, birds, and swans.

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3. ATV IN THE SAND DUNES

If you love adventure, you don’t want to miss out on the sand dunes. Dakar is known for their excursions and ATV rides that will lead you to paradise. When you get deeper into the san dunes, it will lead you to the water. Once you reach the water, hop off your bike and take in the waves because it is definitely a site to see.

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4. HOP ON A CAMEL 

If you want a more quiet excursion, take a camel ride. Camel rides allows you to take in your surroundings and reflect. Plus, not everyday you get to ride a camel.

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5. GOREE ISLAND 

Goree Island is a 20 minute boat ride away from Dakar and there is boat ride fee and a fee to spend the day on the island. If you like vibrant colors this is definitely a place to visit. Goree Island is home to the House of Slaves Museum which which was the final exit point for slaves from Africa. It is very emotional and overwhelming so make sure you are ready. If you have time walk up to the top of the volcano and see the 360 view of Dakar.

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Pants by @Shahedah_textiles

6. THE AFRICAN RENAISSANCE MONUMENT 

This gorgeous statue stands tall at 49 meters (160 feet) and is made out of pure bronze. It is definitely a little hike to get to the top, but the pictures are worth it. If you really want to see an amazing view, continue your climb to the top of the males crown to see a spectacular view.

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7. HAVE CONVERSATION & MEET NEW PEOPLE

I am definitely a person who loves to converse and meet new people, no matter where I am. I am a true believer in Black Girl Magic and I appreciate the conversations that I share with other Black girls around the world. It’s important that we learn new perspective through conversation. Having the ability to learn from experience is a true gift.

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