In Bradenton and Anna Maria Islands

My "Vwayaj" to Anna Maria Island

After a nice wedding on June 30th, we decided to start our honeymoon trip at Anna Maria Island, a barrier island on Florida’s Gulf Coast that is well known for its broad beaches. We rented a great car, and drove to Bradenton to spend the night so we can go to Anna Maria the next morning.
Bradenton is a Florida city on the Manatee River, south of Tampa.
We arrived to the city around 6pm and we quickly settled in to our hotel because we wanted to go to the pier for sunset. The pier was walking distance to the hotel we stayed at which we were happy about. At the pier we found a fancy restaurant where we had dinner while admiring the beautiful sunset. While waiting for the sunset, a boat came with more than 20 people in it partying and dancing. Cool, a party boat! It was really nice to see how happy they were, how they were singing and how they could forget for an instant their fears, their doubts, their sadness. In that moment they chose to live their lives to the fullest. And I also really wanted to enjoy like them. Sadly, the boat left. Now, we focused on the sunset again as we lived in our moment.
After enjoying the food, we left the restaurant and walked a street that happened to be right in the middle of the downtown area. As we walked, we noticed  so many churches, of different denominations and architectures but all so distinctly beautiful. One of them look so much like the Saint-Marc's cathedral, a coastal town in Haiti where we are both from. We stopped and snapped some pictures, for the memory books.
At around 10pm, everything was winding down, like it was about to be curfew time. The streets were emptying, and the traffic getting lighter. A cold breeze urged us to walk faster back to the hotel. 
The next morning, we ate our breakfast early so we could get a head start to Anna Maria, we had heard that it could get crowded on the road there. It took us about 20 minutes driving with a slowdown to get there. We parked fairly close to one of the beaches and instantly knew that we wouldn't regret our trip there. Each of the 3 island piers has something different, something wild to offer. The views were amazing. If you want to stay longer there, bring your beach umbrella for the sun and enjoy the sands. 
When it was time to leave Anna Maria, I felt a little sadness in my wife's eyes. We had to leave because we had a long drive to Saint-Mary in Georgia. We planned on hitting two nearby islands, Cumberland in Georgia and Amelia back in Florida. But first, cruise down the highway singing and telling jokes, staying awake to see as many sights as possible. Our adventure continues! 

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In Haiti hurricanematthew saintmarc sea

Current thoughts: Hurricane Matthew Haiti

I'm coming out of blogging hiatus for this post...
Hurricane Matthew.
My heart breaks for the cities in South Haiti who are still unreachable and where the damage can't even be assessed yet.
I'm sitting here in a relatively good position being that I am a Saint Marc native and our city has largely been spared. But, there's always room to lament in these kinds of situations, especially for people who live near the sea. As I am writing this,  countless homes near the coast of Saint Mar have literally vanished. As I look at pics of the neighborhood where I literally spent my summer vacation this year, I am unbelievably sad. My fiancé lives right there and back in January I had the most beautiful night of my life somewhere along there... With a bottle of wine and some chairs, the waves softly brushing my feet, and calmly sounding in my ears, all contributing to the poetic theme of the night; love. If memories weren't etched in my heart I couldn't see it here now. All gone.
I couldn't imagine how his neighbors came back today expecting maybe some damage, maybe flooded houses... Those are things that they could be ok with knowing where they live but to see their whole houses flattened?
Our thoughts and prayers are with all affected. Even though we have our lot, so many are suffering and some have unbearable losses. We stay humble and count our blessings today.

Picture credit: Jean-Georges Joubert
More pics and videos to follow...

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In Food

My Haitian Plate: Bannan peze sandwich

I can't even remember where I saw this wonderful creation first but I thought "how come I never did this before?" So I did...
That's how I ate half of my Thanksgiving food lol
plantain, chicken, lettuce, avocado, pikliz

plaintain, turkey, salad russe, lettuce, pikliz

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In Culture Food

Thanksgiving Haitian style

 In the midst of Thanksgiving preparations and dealing with family and working, I decided to take some time and look up different Thanksgiving menus because I was curious about how different groups (ie Italian-American) incorporate different dishes along with the traditional plates. So I thought that someone should document our standard Haitian-American Thanksgiving menu so why not me? Well this is my family's Thanksgiving dinner this year.

All the desserts were store bought lol...
Macaroni au gratin

dinde farci ( a l'haitienne) stuffed turkey

fried chicken

baked Ham w/ pineapple and deviled eggs

riz djon djon ( duri noir)


beet salad ( salad russe)

potato salad

Not pictured: bannan peze ( fried plantains) and collard greens
here's my plate

This is Thanksgiving A l'Haitienne :)
Now I'm thinking about writing down the recipes for all of them and maybe some other common Haitian food for a holiday/regular party menu... I wonder if anybody is interested...

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In Fashion

Mod Ayiti: Haiti Fashion week 2012!

I've been missing a lot of good things happening in the Haitian community lately but I couldn't stay away after I saw some awesome pictures from Haiti's first fashion week that ended on Sunday. Designers from all over the world participated in the show amisdst some really great Haitian designers. Pictures from my friends on facebook had me jealous that I wasn't there because that's the kind of stuff I love to see in Haiti.
Well here are some pictures for you too. I'll be adding more pictures later but here are some of the Haitian designers presentations

Edited to add

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In Fashion Models

Miss Haiti 2012: Christela Jacques

Edited to add pictures

Haiti has a new miss!!!!!
Meet Christela Jacques

She's 19 years old and from Port au Prince

I can't wait to see her with professional makeup, hair, clothes, training. I think she has good potential.
From my quick online search I didn't find much about her so I'll be keeping my eyes and ears open for more info and pictures.

Edited to add

Here's her miss universe page if you want to vote

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