Essential Activities for Costa Rica




Back in the day I used to do a link-up called “Throwback Travel Thursday” (now that’s a throwback). While I don’t know if I have the discipline to hold myself to this on a weekly basis, I have been itching to write a travel post. After all, I originally started this blog as a way to document my various adventures. But lately I’ve been getting distracted with the future of our country and living my healthier lifestyle – priorities people.



You know those vacations that you take to simply relax and sip a piña colada in a cabana? Well, Costa Rica isn’t that. Earlier this year, my roommate and I decided to go on a five-day trip to this Central American country not really knowing what to expect. I honestly can’t even remember why we chose this destination. It probably had something to do with the fact that Jet Blue has really cheap flights. But through this spontaneous adventure, we learned a lot. Such as don’t leave cash out in your hotel because it will be stolen & bug spray is a must. But for normal people who already know this information I wanted to share some of the best activities Costa Rica has to offer.



Go on an Adventure // Costa Rica has amazing activities for outdoor enthusiasts. And even if you’re not a huge fan of Mother Nature, it’s a complete disservice to the country if you don’t actually go out and explore. You can do zip lining, bird watching, hot springs, suspension bridges and more. We decided to do a half-day tour of white water rafting when we were staying by the Arenal Volcano and it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. It’s hard to explain the feeling you get as your rafting through the rainforest, it’s sprinkling rain and you look up and see monkeys and sloths in the greenery above you. I promise you won’t regret stepping outside your comfort zone.



Trek Through the Rainforest // If you’re in Costa Rica there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t actually go into the rainforest – it’s all around you! On one of the days we hired a tour guide and he took us on a 3-4 hour hike through the rainforest. I felt like I never knew what we were going to see. One minute it was a snake (literally almost stepped on it), next was the largest tree I’ve ever seen in my life with bats. And of course, you can’t forget the howling monkeys. It was a one-of-a-kind experience that everyone should do.



Hold a Baby Sloth // Okay, this was one of the things that I truly regret not doing. The cards were not in our favor and so when we wanted to go the sanctuary and hold the baby sloths it was closed. But our driver was so nice when we mentioned how much we wanted to see a sloth he made a stop to take us to the zoo. Granted, it wasn’t the same it was still extremely thoughtful. So while I didn’t get to hold a baby sloth, I hope you do if you get the chance to go to Costa Rica and send me pictures!



Eat Like a Local // Is this considered an activity? Who knows. But regardless I highly recommend you skip the hotel restaurant and go into the city and find a hole in the wall with a ton of people. Our tour guide took us around Alajuela where he brought us to one of his favorite places. The only thing I can say was that it was SO much better then the food we had been eating at our ridiculously expensive (but worth it) hotel.

I think what I’ve been trying to get across is go to Costa Rica. And feel free to contact me if you need any more recommendations or help planning! 

Follow along { Facebook | Instagram | Twitter }
 
   photo Signature1_zps4kb4kmth.jpg

Advertisements

I’m Still With Her



Wow. All I can say was this past week has been one of the roughest ones in a while. I’m not always the best at articulating my thoughts, so I’m going to try and process what happened through writing. On Tuesday night, I truly believed that I was going to bear witness to a monumental time in history where our country finally elects our first female President. And I was proud for Hillary Rodham Clinton, who many considered to be the voice of tolerance, to bear that honor.  Today, I fear I will remember this day for years to come for another reason entirely.

Looking back I do think I was naive to think that Trump would never win this election. I truly believed that the majority of American citizens* would see what this man represented – bigotry, misogyny, white nationalism, fascism, homophobia – and would never align themselves with this, let alone choose to have this man run our country. I guess I should be lucky that I’m white (although I do have the woman thing against me) but I care deeply for people and when I see social injustices of our country I want to stand up and fight back. 

I have never seen an election that has fostered such fear among the American people. I received a text from one of my best friends, a 3rd-grade teacher at a school largely populated by minorities where her students were crying because they thought they were going to be deported. I have seen friends on my Facebook feed fear their LGBT rights, which they’ve fought so hard to obtain, are going to be taken away. And I have seen many of my African-American friends fear for their lives as racial tensions continue to grow. 

It continues to baffle me that the people who voted for Trump, including members of my own family, have ignored this culture of fear that Trump has allowed, and even capitalized on. I also don’t think we can ignore the fact that the majority of those who voted for Trump are non-college-educated, white menBut here we stand with a man who has been compared to Hitler as our President. 

It saddens me that Hillary will never sit in the Oval Office when she was unquestionably the most qualified candidate for the job. Watching her concession speech was all the more heartbreaking as she gracefully and eloquently told the American people to give Trump a chance, something I do not believe Trump would have ever reciprocated. 

Now I don’t wish for Trump to fail as that would just hurt this country and its people. But I think it would be untrue to myself and my beliefs to “move on” as I’ve been told. I will continue to speak up against hatred and fight for human rights and until Trump either becomes the person our country deserves or removes himself from office, I will not be silent. As Hillary once stated, “I have been called many things by many people. Quitter is not one of them”.

*Let it be known Hillary did win the popular vote
 photo Signature1_zps4kb4kmth.jpg

Little Ways to Be Healthier




I’m a little shocked that I’m even writing this but I recently decided to start living a healthier lifestyle. This revelation hit me a little over a week ago when I went to the doctor and learned I’d gained a few pounds that I did not appreciate. I knew I couldn’t keep Rory Gilmore-ing it and eating whatever I wanted without gaining weight but I just hoped (and prayed) that it wouldn’t happen until I was much older. 

Instead of completely changing my lifestyle of fast food and no worries I decided to take baby steps. I’ve noticed that when I’ve tried to become a version of myself that loves working out and eating kale, I end up giving up pretty quickly. But when you make little changes that can make an impact on your health, it’s a lot easier to stay on track. 

Drink Water // Everyone agrees that drinking water does wonders for your health. Just to name a few of the benefits water helps your brain health, energy levels and can assist with weight loss. I typically eat out almost every day and I used to always order a soda with my meal. But since I’ve started with health journey I order water – it’s better for you and I get to save money! Then, when I’m home I drink a LaCroix because the carbonation reminds me of a soda and it’s 100% natural. Plus, who couldn’t love these colorful cans?



Find a Workout Buddy // I admit it – I don’t enjoy working out. I’ve just accepted the fact that I’m never going to go to a spin class and think, “Man, I’ve got to do this again!” So while I’ve accepted this truth, I’ve also learned that just because I don’t enjoy it doesn’t mean I should completely abandon fitness. I rely on my friends, who are much more motivated than I, to drag me along and make it more enjoyable. Find your workout buddy and you can each hold yourselves accountable to going to the gym and finding a form of exercise that you both enjoy or in my case, tolerate. 

Healthy Snacks // Instead of grabbing a bag of chips or cookie (my go-to) I’ve been going to the produce section at my grocery store and purchasing one of those snack packs of celery, carrots and grapes. I’m learning that the key is simply finding a few fruits and vegetables that you like and going from there. I currently love apples, asparagus and pineapple – all of which make for a great midafternoon snack. 

Cheat Days // While I do think it’s important to stay consistent with your healthy meals I don’t think I can ever give up on Big Macs. I’ve been trying to stick to one, sometimes two, cheat days in a week where I can eat those meals that are definitely not god for you that I love. After all, what kind of life would it be if you couldn’t indulge in a Pizza Hut pan crust pizza every now and then?

What are some ways you stay healthy? I would love to hear from you and gather your tips! 

Follow along { Facebook | Instagram | Twitter }
 photo Signature1_zps4kb4kmth.jpg

You Know You’re A Blogger When…




I started to have writer’s block when I went to craft a post so I decided to take a page from Coffee with Summer’s book and refresh one of my older posts. 

I think as bloggers it’s interesting how similar we all are. While we might write about different topics, we face the same struggles when trying to grow our blog and we all have those days where we feel like giving up. But regardless of all the struggles we face it’s nice to know you have a tribe of kick-ass bloggers cheering you on. So for today, let’s celebrate those similarities. I give you:

You Know You’re a Blogger When…

Words like sponsoring, link-up and blog swaps become of your everyday vocabulary.

Your personal mantra is “Do it for the blog.”

You wake up in the middle of the night with a brilliant blog post that you have to write down – even though it’s 4am.

You’re pretty much a graphic designer because you can make your own “pinnable” images with Canva.

You’re constantly reading blog posts on how to drive more traffic to your site and get more followers. (Psst check out Venus Trapped in Mars if you haven’t yet!)

When you’re going out with your friends you always suggest doing something different just so you can write about in your blog. Skydiving, anyone?

You have to constantly explain to family members how you can actually make money off of blogging – to the point where you can one day make it your full-time job!

Your weekends and weeknights are usually spent in your room. Writing. With a glass of wine.

You get so excited when you see you have a new comment or person following your blog. On another note, you should definitely follow me on BlogLovin’ here 😉

You suddenly become a master at photo editing. Your picture too dark? Not a problem. Because we have PicMonkey.

The bloggers you meet online become some of your good friends – even if you’ve never met them in real life. While alcoholics have AA, bloggers have each other.

At the end of the day you don’t blog for money rather you just want to share a story with others and hope that it makes a difference, small or large, in someone’s life.

YOUR turn! Share in the comments below some ways you know you’re a blogger!  

Follow along! { Facebook | Twitter | Instagram }

 photo Signature1_zps4kb4kmth.jpg

How to Prepare For A Blog Conference

Atlanta

Hi, friends! Does anyone else feel like everyone is getting sick right now? I’m finally getting over my cold and am ready to write. I just got back from Atlanta where I went to BarkWorld for work (side note – when you find a job that literally pays for you to go play with dogs, you know you made it) and it inspired me to share some ways on how you can make the most out of a blog conference.
Do Your Research: There are a TON of influencer conferences out there. Before you open your wallet make sure the conference is a good fit for your blog. Check out the speakers and sessions and see if it’s something that can help you grow as a blogger. For example, while I do love dogs, it might not make sense for me (as a blogger) to attend a pet influencer conference when I’m trying to brand myself as a travel and lifestyle blog. All in all, just choose your conferences wisely since most people don’t have the opportunity to attend more than a few a year.
Come Prepared: Knowing what to bring is always smart before you head out the door for a conference – especially if you have to travel to get there. Below I’ve created a checklist for you so you’ll be all set when packing. Pinning for later is encouraged 😉

Blog_Conference_Checklist
Network: One of my favorite things about going to conferences is connecting with other bloggers IRL and learning from their experiences. For the most part, we’re all attending to learn information on ways to grow our blog. To quote B.o.B “if it’s all for one, and one for all. Then maybe one day, we all can ball” – sorry, guys that song has been stuck in my head all week.
So let’s help each other- exchange business cards and think of ways you can collaborate someday in the future and stay connected. Having friends in this online world is so important when it’s all too easy to simply give up when things get tough. Once you have friends like Bella, from Bella and The City, who comments on almost all my posts, it’s a great reminder for why you continue to write.
Have fun: My last tip may be a little obvious but have fun with it! Go to that open bar and get your money’s worth. Be a little brave and introduce yourself to another blogger you admire. You never know what connections can be made if you don’t try.
BONUS: Check out my company’s creator conference, IZEAFest in February! Take 15% off IZEAFest tickets with code: 2017CREATOR
As always, thanks for reading!

An Open Letter to My Dog

For her 10th birthday I threw her a party – and you thought she wasn’t spoiled.
Well, monkey. You’re officially 11 years old today. Or in dog years, 77 years old! But lets just stick with 11. I know you do everything you can to disprove your age. And as we know, you love attention. You even made sure to get born on your uncle’s birthday – completely overshadowing him you sly dog.

Bichon_Frise_Puppy

I still vividly remember the day I picked you, or more accurately when you chose me. Out of all the puppies in the litter you had your signature level of confidence and ran right up to me. I took the fact that you were wearing a purple collar (my favorite color at the time) as a sign that you were the dog for me.

Because you were only a few weeks old I couldn’t take you home yet. But the next couple of weeks consisted of driving over an hour each Saturday to simply play with you for a short period of time and introduce you to your new family. From your uncle to your grandparents and even your great-grandparents, you melted hearts.

Fast forward 11 years later and I have never once regretted having you in my life. Sure, you like to give me an occasional heart attack when you decide that rat poison will be your dinner. And we can’t forget the time you ate an entire bag of Dove dark chocolate two days before Christmas. I’ve just come to expect that every two years you will have a near death experience that will put a nice dent in my savings as well as giving me an emotional breakdown. But that’s just you.



I sometimes wonder what my next dog will be like (even though there’s nothing more I would want than for you to have some Luke Cage like powers and live forever). It’s hard to imagine another dog since your personality shines so much. I like to joke with my mom that her dog reflects her – sweet and docile, while mine reflects me. You’re stubborn, only giving attention when you want it, almost always never listen and will out bark any bitch.
Regardless of how much stress you put me through, there’s something about walking through the front door and seeing you go batsh*t crazy that makes the $30 prescription dog food worth it. So here’s to you Lils! 11 years and counting. 

Ways to Celebrate Fall


I know, I know. I haven’t posted in almost two weeks (cringe) so you might be thinking that I’m starting to slip. And, you’re probably – okay, definitely – right. But between surviving Hurricane Matthew and all-company meetings at my job last week I think I’m justified in being a bit behind.
Well, now that that bit of awkwardness is behind me lets chat about everyone’s favorite season. I recently got the Orlando Weekly’s issue with their Fall Guide for 2016 and it gave me all the feels. No matter what city you live in, chances are there’s a ton of fall-inspired events so I suggest doing some research to find out what you’re interested in. I’m especially excited for the Orlando Beer Festival. Since my Dads birthday is around the same time I’m thinking I treat myself – I mean him – to some craft beer.
If you follow me on Instagram (and if you don’t click here) then you’ve probably seen some of my apartment pictures. I absolutely love to decorate. Anytime I can justify purchasing another Rifle Paper Co. print I will do so. So when it comes to celebrating fall I love to pull out my cloth pumpkins, fake leaves and pumpkin scented candles. It’s a great way to change up your apartment with minimal effort.
Another thing I love about fall is that it gives you an excuse to purchase an all-new wardrobe. Between sweaters, boots, a new bag – heck pretty much anything you want you just have to tell yourself, “I need this for the new season” And voila! You’ve got yourself some new clothes.

Want a real like example? I recently saw a post from The Daily Tay with this adorable (and a little pricey) cardigan but after two glasses of wine I managed to convince myself that I absolutely needed it (even though I live in Florida where the weather is holding strong at around 82 degrees) and here I am writing this in said cardigan!
I think what I’m trying to say is, there are a ton of ways to embrace the basic and find your own way of celebrating fall. For me, it just happened to be buying an overpriced, but totally worth it, cardigan. Share in the comments below some ways you celebrate fall!