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April 2015

LifeStyle Technology

App of the Month: Hotel Tonight

Sometimes planning in advance isn’t an option. You may want to make a spontaneous trip to travel, have a staycation, or just need a last minute place to stay. Many times these last minute choices result in paying much more for a hotel room then you would have liked. The app, Hotel Tonight helps solve this problem.

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4 The Foodie California

Seafood City on City Island, NY

City Island, located in the Bronx, NY, is known for a handful of things! Besides scenes from one of my favorite movies, A Bronx Tale, it is also known for all the amazing restaurants that can be found there. One such restaurant is Seafood City!
Seafood City on City Island, NY  ©2015 HollyDayz
Upon arrival to Seafood City you will notice a big parking lot. Depending on the time of year, that lot may be completely filled. No need to worry as there is another lot to handle the crowd. On days with amazing weather you will also see tons of bikers hanging out on their motorcycles.
Seafood City
Seafood City is not your typical restaurant. There is no host to seat you, no waiters coming to take your order, and no one coming to check and make sure everything is OK. Seafood City is a cafeteria style establishment. You get on a line, order your food, pay for it, and get a number. You find your own table. When your number is called you go and get your food.
If you are allergic or don’t care for seafood that is OK, there is an area to order pizza, burgers, fries, and more. There is another line you can jump on to order a drink. They also make great drinks that are not watered down by any means. The prices are good, especially for what you are ordering. Fried or boiled, it is your choice! Just remember they only take cash, but if you forget they do have an ATM.

Inside looking out  ©2015 HollyDayz
Inside looking out ©2015 HollyDayz

There is also an arcade area for the family to enjoy. A huge outdoor patio overlooking the water with another bar is located outside. It can get pretty packed during beautiful weather and weekends. Long lines, that move at a decent pace can be found. You will find all walks of life enjoying lunch or dinner.
Shrimp and Whiting  ©2015 HollyDayz
Shrimp and Whiting ©2015 HollyDayz

My favorite thing to order is the fried shrimp and whiting. It comes with fries, a pickle, cole slaw, and a lemon to squeeze. It is so good and very filling. Their shrimp is so good and well worth going for! The atmosphere is also enjoyable, watching the kids have fun and adults talking, listening to music, and enjoying themselves. If you ever get the opportunity, Seafood City on City Island is the place to go.
 ©2015 HollyDayz
©2015 HollyDayz

Have you ever been to City Island? If so, have you been to Seafood City? What is your favorite restaurant on City Island?

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Dubai My Travelz UAE

A Safari in Dubai's Desert

When visiting the United Arab Emirates, a safari though the desert is high on many lists. It was certainly at the top of my list! The sandstorm kept deferring the desert safari and I was becoming nervous that we may not get the opportunity. Luckily the sandstorm ended and allowed us the experience.

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Dubai UAE

Dubai's Miracle Garden

Dubai is known for its extravagance, beauty, and the many world records it holds. The Dubai Miracle Garden encompasses all of the above. It is out the way and no where near the main attractions, but is well worth the visit to this amazing garden in the desert, even if just to sit on a teak garden bench and admire the views.
Dubai's Miracle Garden
The Miracle Garden has 45 million colorful flowers blooming. To see these beautiful flowers a car is necessary. We took a taxi. All the drivers know exactly where the garden is. There is also no need to worry how you are going to get back to your hotel because there is a taxi line. If you are driving yourself, just keep in mind there are no actual addresses in Dubai, only street names. The Garden is located on Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road.
Dubai Miracle Garden ©2015 HollyDayz
Entrance fee into the Miracle Garden is 30 AED. The garden also holds a world record for having the longest wall of flowers. It is truly a site to see. Walking around you can smell how amazing the flowers are. There are so many different areas to enjoy. The flowers are watered through a drip irrigation system that comes from recycled waste water. They are only in the first phase of development with a lot more amazing features to come.

Eiffel Tower at the Dubai Miracle Garden ©2015 HollyDayz
Eiffel Tower at the Dubai Miracle Garden ©2015 HollyDayz

Peacocks ©2015 HollyDayz
Peacocks ©2015 HollyDayz

As we walked around I spotted an Eiffel Tower and Burj Khalifa replicas. There were also some beautiful peacocks, houses, heart shaped archways, and so much more. This was flowers on another level. Beautiful beds of flowers were also found at every turn. If a break was needed, sit down and enjoy the beauty. It is such a picturesque place.
Houses ©2015 HollyDayz
Houses ©2015 HollyDayz

Flower Heart archways ©2015 HollyDayz
Flower Heart archways ©2015 HollyDayz

Sitting amongst the flowers ©2015 HollyDayz
Sitting amongst the flowers ©2015 HollyDayz

We got a little hungry while there. There is a food court area that is canopied by flowers. There are tons of chairs and tables. There are a handful of kiosks to get food from. We grabbed some pizza from one of them before continuing to walk around some more. I didn’t get the opportunity to see every single detail and area because we were on a time constraint, but it was very enjoyable.
Archways ©2015 HollyDayz
Archways ©2015 HollyDayz

If the opportunity presents itself it is certainly a place to see. The garden is an amazing site especially when you remember that you are really in the desert. It’s so inspirational and has made me want to do my garden up at home to make it as pretty as this! I might consider looking on https://www.lawncare.net/service-areas/florida/ and take advantage of their services like fertilizing my grass, getting rid of any shrubs, then I’ll do the rest and plant my flowers, just to add my own touch to the project! But for now, you can see more of the garden below.

Have you been to the Dubai Miracle Garden or even a botanical garden?

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LifeStyle New York Spotlight Travels

Spotlight Travels: Queensbridge, NY with Chris Jones

In 2010, he successfully began his road to stardom by releasing his first mix tape, Creative Control which was hosted by the acclaimed DJ Mick Boogie. It not only made a splash in the underground music world, thus surpassing industry expectations, but mainstream outlets such as Source Magazine also titled Chris as one of the top “hot up and coming rappers.” 
Nas-Mobb-Deep
Chris started his career at a young age by watching people from his famed neighborhood such as Nas and Mobb Deep reach global music success. Though he was still only listening and creating lyrics as a hobby at this time, he realized his “dream” of doing what he loved, sharing his life experiences but at the same time never forgetting his roots, could actually become a reality. He eventually developed his own signature style by combining and intermixing the sounds from his role models, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Kanye, Diddy and Fabolous, just to name a few.
In fact, this is what sets him apart from other artist hopefuls. He is a lyricist who is able to switch styles like chameleons who changes colors.  His music has many faces where it appeals to all individuals, from strugglers, to hustlers, to playboys, and even to women.

Chris Jones

And like his role models, instead of focusing his music on money, drugs and women, Chris aspires be a performer who tells his story through music. He stays true to his belief as his DJ Mick Boogie hosted mix tape, Creative Control, does just that. The title itself was created as a representation to hip-hop and its growth. Over time, he felt that hip-hop had been watered down to the point where artists were not talking about their true experiences. Therefore, Creative Control was a statement to the industry saying that he had complete power on what was on it. 
Because at the end of the day, Chris will never forget where he came from and he will always appreciate his roots.
 


 

Photo Courtesy of: http://www.international-hiphop.com/
Photo Courtesy of: http://www.international-hiphop.com/

HollyDayz: What part of Queens, NY are you from?
Chris Jones: I grew up in Queensbridge in Long island City

HollyDayz: Each area of Queens has its own identity, what identity does you area have?
Chris Jones: Long island City birthed great Artist, Basketball stars but it was also known for violence  unfortunately.

HollyDayz: Name the top 3 things to do in Queensbridge/LIC?
Chris Jones: The area has changed a great deal since I was a teenager and I find myself enjoying the new restaurants like Blend On The Water. I still enjoy the view from the famous River park behind Queensbridge housing and I believe the best pizza is still made at Polito’s.
Polito's
Politos’s

HollyDayz: Who are your influences?
Chris Jones: My influences were the guys who lived a block away from me as a kid. Nas grew up on the 40th side of Vernon. Havoc of Mobb deep grew up on 41st side of 12 street and the list goes on. It’s easy to say Jay-z, Biggie, Pac but watching nas film “Nas is like ” on my block really did it for me

HollyDayz: What opportunities do you think are available to you as a hip hop artist that you can only have in NY?
Chris Jones: To be honest there aren’t a lot of opportunities for NY artist. We have so many talented artist who get over looked because we are putting out music with substance. It will take co signs from successful artist to help a young NY artist take off. But you know what they say ” If you could make it here .. You could make it anywhere.” Look at French Montana, he continued to work hard and promote his music until a few doors finally opened for him.

HollyDayz: How do you think living in Queens has influenced you music?
Chris Jones: It has influenced it a great deal. IT gives life to the stories I tell in my music. Songs like Fall Back , and Schemin Scream Queens.

HollyDayz: What are some things people wouldn’t know about Queens?
Chris Jones: Queens is beautiful .

HollyDayz: Do you have a particular go to spot to eat in Queens?
Chris Jones: Moca Bistro in Forest Hills ..

HollyDayz: What makes New York hip-hop so different from another place?
Chris Jones: Its Real. From the days of the Tunnel to now Griffin or Perfections. All the hot new artist love to come here and perform because the energy here is hard to ignore.

HollyDayz: Many say New York hip-hop has fallen off, what are your thoughts on that?
Chris Jones: That is a joke. In a year we will see if folks are singing the same tune.

HollyDayz: Where is your favorite place to go that brings out your creativity?
Chris Jones: I honestly don’t have one place. Before I start a new project, i just go out and live. The words come naturally after you spent a good year going through ups and downs.

HollyDayz: Are there any artists you would like to work with in the neat future?
Chris Jones: I would definitely want to work with Curren$y.

HollyDayz: Describe your music to someone who has never heard it.
Chris Jones: Imagine a classic New York feel with a more polish flow. I mean who could be more polished than Jay, Big and Nas but im part of a different era   but i feel like we were cut from the same cloth.

HollyDayz: Describe Queens for someone who has never been.
Chris Jones: Imagine heaven … (laughs) Imagine a diverse area where everyone will show you how far hard work can take you. Dreams are made reality or destroyed due to bad choices. Queens is reality.

Keep up with Chris Jones on Twitter and Instagram! Head over to Soundcloud to listen to his music!!

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Dubai My Travelz Travel UAE

Visiting the Gold and Spice Souks

The sandstorm that decided to linger around the UAE caused us to alter our plans again. Instead of the desert safari we decided to head over to the infamous Gold and Spice Souks. A souk is a traditional market. There are tons of deals to be made and things to see at a souk.
Visiting The Gold & Spice Souks  ©2015 HollyDayz
The Gold and Spice Souks are located in Deira, Dubai’s commercial business area. A quick taxi ride from Downtown Dubai left us in a very crowded area. People everywhere! The taxi driver instructed us to go through the revolving door to get into the souk area. Upon going through the doors we were inside a small jewelry area. We walked a bit and found ourselves outside.

The area right next to the souks ©2015 HollyDayz
The area right next to the souks ©2015 HollyDayz

This area of Dubai is very different then the rest. It looks older and rundown. Dubai is a very safe place, but that isn’t a place I would want to be late at night, based off the way it looks. There is an open walkway with tons of jewelry stores and benches to sit down. As you walk down the main corridor there are narrow alleyways. Down these narrow paths are tons of stores, some are open air and some are inclosed.
The main area of the gold & spice souk  ©2015 HollyDayz
The main area of the gold & spice souk ©2015 HollyDayz

The moment we stepped foot into the area we were approached left and right by several people. They were trying to get us to come to their store. It was constant and non stop. The people were very friendly, especially since they want you to purchase goods from them. So if people pressuring you to visit their store isn’t up your alley, I wouldn’t recommend these souks.
Gold and Spices are not the only things you can buy in the souks. They also sell clothing, souvenirs, shoes, watches, bags, and more. The designer watches and bags were not real, but people were trying them on nonetheless. Looking at them you can’t tell off a glance they are fake. If you touch it or you know your fakes from the real you will certainly notice.
Getting ready to haggle for a few items  ©2015 HollyDayz
Getting ready to haggle for a few items ©2015 HollyDayz

A local informed us that the best deals can be found towards the interior of the souks. So you need to go towards the middle and not stay on the outskirts. A skill set that you certainly need when going there is the art of haggling. Don’t ever go with the price they give you! If they don’t want to work with you then don’t be afraid to walk away. They will stop you and try to work with you because you can always go to the next place and get the same exact thing.
Also have a converter on your phone. I used the Globe Convert App. Everytime they would give me a price, I would convert it to see if I was comfortable with the price. It really helped a lot. You can get caught up when you are seeing prices in AED.
Another important tip is what you wear. There are a lot of people from many different traditional backgrounds. Not to mention you are surrounded by a lot of men. I had on a tank top, but I also used a button up shirt as a jacket. It became pretty humid and I briefly took it off. One of the stores I went into a gentleman kept trying to get me to purchase a shirt by holding them up to me.
Taking a breather from the haggling  ©2015 HollyDayz
Taking a breather from the haggling ©2015 HollyDayz

The first time he tried his hand seemed to go on my skin right above my breast and I thought maybe that was a mistake, until he did it again. I left very quickly and put my button down back on immediately. Needless to stay I lost my interest in being in the souks after that. I also later found out that it isn’t typically in their culture to even touch your hand. You do get some random creeps who will and they can be arrested and deported if you report them.
We did manage to get some souvenirs and other nice items from the souks. We did not buy any gold, but did get the opportunity to look at some things. The price of gold changes and there are signs that tell you how much it costs so you can’t be duped. Some places also take credit/debit cards, but you get charged an extra 5%.
Certificate for the world's heaviest gold ring  ©2015 HollyDayz
Certificate for the world’s heaviest gold ring ©2015 HollyDayz

We took a seat on one of the benches and watched some tours go by. I saw a lot of people standing by a window. When I went to see what they were looking at I realized it was a huge ring! In fact it was the world’s heaviest gold ring. Not too surprised as we were in Dubai. Walking a little more we ended up in the spice souk which is laid out in the same fashion as the gold souk.
Heaviest Gold Ring In The World  ©2015 HollyDayz
Heaviest Gold Ring In The World ©2015 HollyDayz

We went into one store where the gentleman had us smell frankincense and myrrh. He also pulled out saffron, vanilla, and more. He had some colorful chocolate rock candy that he let us try. It was really good and I ended up haggling with him and buying some.
Some spices  ©2015 HollyDayz
Some spices ©2015 HollyDayz

More Spices  ©2015 HollyDayz
Beautiful Color looking at the Spices ©2015 HollyDayz

We then noticed right across the street were boats (abras), so we headed over there. We took the abra across the creek for 1AED. We didn’t explore too much because we had reservations at Ewaan, so we stopped at store, bought a ton of candy and other goodies and paid 1AED to head back on the abra to catch a taxi from there.
Getting ready to hop on the abra  ©2015 HollyDayz
Getting ready to hop on the abra ©2015 HollyDayz

Abra going across the creek  ©2015 HollyDayz
Abra going across the creek ©2015 HollyDayz

Overall it was a lot of fun, but a bit stressful with the haggling and everyone talking to you every second. The ride across the creek was a fun experience.

Have you ever been to a souk? What was your experience like?

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