How to Live a Joyful Life

For a long time I was stuck in a rut. Just existing. Living life but not truly living my best life. One of my mentors pointed out to me that I accomplished so much, but what is my goal? What do I want at this moment in my personal and professional life? She challenged me to figure out my “why” and connect biweekly with senior leaders, influencers, key stakeholders, and those that inspire me to create a powerful network.

The lightbulb clicked after talking with my mentor. I immediately took ownership of my life and my joy. After a long period of darkness (grief, sadness, anger, isolation, and denial), I finally found light. I became unstuck. Not solely through a clinical therapist but through traditional Chinese Medicine and Accupuncture. The accupuncture improved my mood by correcting the imbalance of energy in my body. I also found a Life Coach. My Life Coach helped me to identify my source of happiness: the little uninhibited girl inside of me. That little girl has no fear, she’s joyful, loves to have fun and travel.

Through the encouragement and support of my Life Coach I started to practice self-care and to do what brings me joy: travel and creating memorable experiences.

• I’ve traveled to the Great Wolf Lodge with my Dad, Baby Brother and Cousins and had the time of my life at the indoor heated water park! Watching the kids play and enjoy themselves brought me joy.

• I saw Anita Baker LIVE at her farewell concert with my elementary school best friend and spent time with a dear Air Force Friend. This filled me with an indescribable joy.

• I traveled to Hawaii to see my Air Force Sister retire. It was joyful witnessing her ceremony and feeling all the love from friends and family. The beach and spending time with my Military family brought me immense joy that I haven’t experienced in a long time.

• Next week I’ll be traveling to New Orleans for the Essence Music Festival to enjoy great food, Sister Fellowship, Great Drinks, and of course listen to musical icons like Janet Jackson, Jill Scott, The Roots, Escape, Mary J. Blige and Fantasia. This brings me exponential joy.

You see I was spending time “accomplishing goals” but I wasn’t living in the moment. That was my “aha moment.” My mentor helped me to realize that my toolbox of accomplishments was not my source of joy. I needed to rediscover what brought me joy. Not every treatment or method of therapy is going to help everyone the same. I’m a big advocate of traditional therapy as needed, but also incorporating naturopathic treatments and seeking mentors and life coaches. For me healing is a collaborative effort. We are all unique. I will eventually seek a grief counselor as I’ve suffered tremendous loss in a short period of time. For now my methods of treatment have worked tremendously to improve my mood and quality of life. I’m living in the moment with joy.


Simply Ebony

Dubai Travel Tips

I visited Dubai with the fabulous Kenna Williams for the #DubaiBlackOut in 2017. Our travel dates were October 26-31, 2017. All of the events started and ended on time (this is important specifically when organizing large groups.) There were 500 in our group, the #Chosen500.

I’ve chronicled for you the itinerary, optional excursions, and tips to make your trip to Dubai a memorable experience.


10/26/17 (Thursday) Hotel Check In/Dinner/Happy Hour

10/27/17 (Friday) Saffron Brunch at Atlantis Hotel Dubai (12:30PM-4:00PM)

10/28/17 (Saturday) Yacht Cruise (4:00PM-8:00PM)

10/29/17 (Sunday) Abu Dhabi Day Trip (9:00AM-9:30PM)

10/30/17 (Monday) Meet and Greet on the hotel rooftop (11:00AM-1:00PM)

10/30/17 Sundowner Desert Safari (Experience the magic of the desert at sundown on a 5-hour safari, and enjoy a dune drive at sunset. Afterwards, go to a traditional Bedouin-style camp for a delicious buffet dinner and live entertainment.)

10/31/17 Departures!!! Go home or travel to popular destinations: (i.e. Egypt and the Maldives.)

Important tips:

Dress is casual. You do not have to cover up or dress in traditional Muslim garb. Just be respectful. ***The only time you have to wear full Muslim garb is while visiting the mosques.***

Transportation: Use UBER, Request hotel shuttle service, use cabs sparingly (MAKE SURE you have internet reception or download google maps and have the directions to desired locations BEFORE you get in the cab.)

FOOD Delivery Service: The Talabat APP allows you to order food 24/7 delivered to your room!!!

Bu Qtair: BEST Fish Restaurant

Ting IRIE (Jamaican Restaurant):

De La Mer Spa-(Ladies book appointments with the spa):

Make your reservations via the website or email for more info and group packages at:

Optional Excursions: (Special Tip – Allow lots of flexibility into your schedule for shopping/and other interests.)


Burj Khalifa (world’s tallest building):

High Tea at the Burj Khalifa:

Burj Al Arab (Most luxurious hotel):

Dubai Miracle Garden:

Cost for Excursions:

Safrron Brunch $155

Abu Dhabi Day Tour plus brunch and yacht cruise transportation $40

Abu Dhabi Day Tour (Request shuttle/transportation from your hotel concierge or book tours here):

Must-see attractions in Abu Dhabi:

• Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque. The key word about this place is ‘Grand’! (YOU MUST WEAR FULL TRADITIONAL MUSLIM GARB)

• Emirates Palace. The Emirates Palace is a must see stop on your Abu Dhabi day tour from Dubai.

• UAE Heritage Village.

• Desert Safari Experiences in Abu Dhabi. (BEST EXPERIENCE would recommend you wear TRADITIONAL MUSLIM GARB for a photo shoot).

• The Corniche.

• Yas Waterworld.

• Ferrari World.

• Musandam Tour.

Yacht Cruise

Cost: $170

Desert Safari $108 (This is a great EXPERIENCE!!! Wear TRADITIONAL MUSLIM GARB for a Desert Photo Shoot).

Sundowner Dune Desert Safari with Dinner and Show:

Recommended Hotel:

JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai

Rate for entire stay $1250

Special Note: This hotel offered daily breakfast, and easy access to the nearby Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Opera.

This information will hopefully get you on your way to a life changing experience in Dubai. Please comment and tell me what you think or provide additional suggestions. I’d love to hear from you.


Simply Ebony

How to Prepare for the Aruba Soul Beach Music Festival

To those looking for a soulful travel experience to Aruba: The Soul Beach Music Festival (SBMF) during Memorial Day week is a great time. The One Big Happy Island is beautiful and very welcoming. I highly recommend exploring beyond the parties and concerts. This is all the information you will need to create a memorable experience. *I am not affiliated with the Soul Beach Music Festival.*

The 2018 Soul Beach Music Festival has a great lineup of Alicia Keys, Maxwell, the Roots, Guy, Marlon Wayans, and many others. DJ Jazzy Jeff will be in Aruba with guests! The Comedy Show and Concerts are scheduled for Friday-Sunday, May 25-27, 2018. There is an official Aruba Welcome Celebration on Wednesday, May 23, 2018. The Day Parties are held at Moomba Beach (Palm Beach) from Thursday-Saturday, May 24-26, 2018, and on Baby Beach (San Nicolas) on Sunday, May 27, 2018. The Soul Beach All White Party will be held on Thursday, May 24, 2018. Night Parties are held daily and there’s a Memorial Day “Cool Down” BBQ on Monday, May 28, 2018.

For the concert lineup, schedule of events, and tickets to the official Soul Beach Music Festival events visit here: SBMF18

The #MingleFlag Over Aruba events are a great option for fun! There’s multiple events planned to include: The Old School Welcome Party, Chucks and Tee’s Cruise, Toga All-White Cruise, Polo’s and Stiletto’s Party featuring The Vybe Band and the Wakanda on the Sea All Black Snorkel Jam. For tickets and more information about the #MingleFlag events please visit here:

#MingleFlag Over Aruba

Aruba Hotel and Beach Map Locations:

Many SBMF attendees stay at the Holiday Inn or surrounding hotels near Moomba Beach (Palm Beach) where the daily Day Party is held. Attendees also choose to stay in the local Villas. See below. If you do reserve a Villa you have the option of renting a solo room or inviting a group of friends to join and rent the whole house.

Private Home/Villa/Condo/Townhome Rental Companies (book your accommodations early!):

Home Away


Air BnB

Aruba Happy Rentals

Tierra Del Sol

Merlot Villas Aruba

Visit Aruba Accomodations

Aruba Hotels

Here is other important information that you will need to plan your trip!

Aruba Airport Info and Schedule of Arrivals and Departures: Aruba Airport Info

Shuttle Transportation from the Airport:

Sun Transfers

Car Rentals: Aruba Car Rentals

Suggested Airline Flight Searches:

Google Flights: Set Google Flight alerts for your desired travel dates to get the best prices!

Google Flights

Southwest (Check for the Aruba flights using your desktop browser.): is a great app to help you book cheap flights and compare travel dates:

Hopper is the perfect app to help you compare flights and tells you when is the best time to book your flights: Hopper

Need a Passport? Visit here:

*Allow yourself at least 90 days to obtain your passport. Verify that your passport is current. There is an option to expedite your passport if you are traveling at the last minute but it is costly. It is highly suggested that you copy your passport and travel documents and give to someone you trust.*

To apply for your Global Entry and skip the long airport security screening and customs lines!:

Global Entry

What to Pack for Aruba: Aruba Packing List

Cell Phone Service. Make sure you verify your coverage with your provider prior to traveling. Here’s a great guide about cell phone coverage: Cell Phone Coverage in Aruba

Where to Dine in Aruba: Aruba Restaurants

Where to Shop in Aruba: Shopping in Aruba

Aruba Beaches: 10 Best Beaches in Aruba

Nightlife Spots:

Aruba’s Best Bars:10 Best Bars in Aruba

Aruba Bars and Lounges: Aruba Bars and Lounges

Where to Party in Aruba: Aruba Night Life

Kukoo Kunuku Party Bus: Kukoo Kunuku Party Bus

Excursions and Tour Guides:

DePalm Tours

Jolly Pirates

Bike Rentals:

Aruba Bike Rentals

Bus Schedules: Aruba Bus Schedule

ATV Tours and Rentals: ATV Tours and Rentals

I hope this information helps you! I am not affiliated with the Soul Beach Music Festival, any Travel Agencies or Event Companies. If you have any additional tips that you think should be included please let me know. Enjoy your vacation to the One Big Happy Island!


Simply Ebony

Travel the World on a Budget

#Travel #Tips #Money #Savings #DiscountTravel #ErrorFares #FlightDeals #GlitchFares #Discounts #Flights #SimplyEbony Here are travel tips that I’ve compiled to help you explore the world for cheap! Who doesn’t like savings? Please review and if you have additional tips please comment. Don’t forget to follow my new blog “Simply Ebony” to stay updated on Travel, Politics, Trump, Federal Government Employment, Career tips, Entertainment news, and Life.

* Plan around cheap airfare! If you see discount deals. Book the flight! Then reserve your lodging.

* Sign up for Ebates to get cash back and discounts on hotels, flights, tours and much more:

* Get travelers insurance! This will save you the headache and unexpected costs to cover instances where you need to change travel arrangements, lost baggage, unexpected illness or medical emergencies.

* Research, research, research!! Know what it costs to fly to your favorite destinations so when you see a sale pop up you will recognize it as a deal.

* Research Hotels, Excursions, and Destinations…use Trip Advisor (

* Set price alerts for flights…. you can do that on Hopper, Kayak, Google, via the airline websites, and other airline ticket sites. They’ll send you updates with flight prices and notify you when the price drops.

* One way tickets can save you money. Search around and compare prices for one way fares vs. round trip fares.

* Contact travel agents to get quotes on full packages and then go to Kayak or similar travel sites to see if you can find cheaper prices for air and/or hotel. If you find better deals you can try to negotiate a lower package with your travel agent or break down your package and solely book air and/or hotel with the travel agent if it is cheaper.

Maximize your Airline Rewards!
* Apply for and use the airline rewards Credit Card
* Shop via the airline rewards website
* Register with the rewards dining program
* Research and shop/dine at rewards places to get points
* Check the hotel partners list and make sure you update your accounts with the airline info so you get rewards points for your stays

Discount Vacation Deals

* Expedia –
* Travel Zoo –
* Groupon –
* Living Social –
* Bookit – (Bookit allows you to make payments. You can make a reservation and change/cancel the reservation if the rates drop or your plans change.)
* Clark Howard – (Great deals for international travel)

Cheap Flights

* Airfare Spot –
* Kayak –
* Secret Flying –
* Fare deal Alert –
* Flight Deal –
* Google flights –
* OntheFly –
* Skyscanner –
* Priceline –
* SkipLagged – (Great for those who use carry-ons only)
* Affordable – (Layaway tickets)

Special Note: Follow all of your favorite airlines and the above flight deal sites on Twitter and FaceBook to get real time notifications and Flash Deals.

Cheap Hotels and Lodging
* Priceline –
* Express Deals –
* Better bidding –
* Hotwire –
* –
Special note: Visit your desires Hotel’s link directly to find good deals and comparison shop using the above links.

Private Home/Villa/Condo/Townhome Rental Companies
* HomeAWay –
* VRBO –
* AirBNB –
* InnClusive –

Special Note: Private Home/Villa/Condo/Townhome Rental Companies are great ways to save money. If you are traveling with a group you will save substantially by splitting the cost of lodging. If you don’t mind cooking some of your meals, you can go grocery shopping and maximize the use of your kitchen and savings. Extended stay hotels also have kitchenettes where you can cook small meals.

Follow these sites on Twitter and Facebook to get immediate info on Flight Deals and Flash Sales:

* Travel Deal Tree @traveldealtree

* Secret Flying @SecretFlying

* The Points Guy @thepointsguy

* The Flight Deal @theflightdeal

* Airfare Watchdog @airfarewatchdog