Life's Sweet Journey: February 2017

Friday, February 24, 2017

5 on FriYAY! Life Lately!

Happy FriYAY Friends! 
It's time for another 5 on Friday catch-up game; 
mostly because that seems to be all I have time for these last few weeks!
Anybody else feeling the second month of the year craziness?! 
Any who, here's a peek around my world! 
 1.) We got to do some Florida adventuring last a few weekends ago and finally got to check Myakka River State Park off the bucket list!! I had been itching to get there ever since seeing pictures of the canopy hike on so many people's Insta feeds. We woke up early Saturday and headed out from our RV park. The 30 minute drive was beautiful and Myakka even more so!! It was pretty crowded for a state park, but that was because of all that is offered. They have boat and tram tours, so there were a lot of young families and elderly visitors who planned to enjoy motorizes explorations! There is a boat launch, kayak rentals and tons to see along the river by the gift shop and restaurant. Can you say, hello alligators?! There were tons! We took a few minutes to greet them and then we headed out away from the crowds. The park is HUGE, so even though it was busy, you can definitely get away from it all. There are almost 40 miles of trails in the park and we chose a loop of about 6 miles. Once we got a little ways into the trail we only saw maybe 5 people in 3 hours. After our hike we headed towards the canopy walk! While it wasn't as grand as I had thought (pictures can be misleading and made it look really long), it was still awesome! The canopy walk itself is maybe a couple dozen feet from start to finish, so it will only take you about a minute, but it sways and rocks and it cool to cross. Then you go up, and up, and up the stairs to an awesome lookout tower 74 feet in the air, which provides gorgeous views above the tree line as far as the eye can see! One little boy, who was there, kept going up and down to cross the canopy walk again and again, laughing gleefully and screaming, "this is the best! Let's do it just one more time!! Can we come back again?!" I love watching little people get excited about the outdoors! 

2.) We stayed at Riverside RV Resort in Arcadia, Florida, which is a Thousand Trails/ Encore RV park. It was a gorgeous, very well maintained park! While we typically prefer to stay at state parks, sometimes the amenities are very well enjoyed. Even though the park was full (so many snow birds), it was super quiet and everyone we met was so friendly! We swapped tons of stories with our Canadian neighbors. The park has access to the river so we were able to take out the paddle boards, for a stunning sunset paddle! We also loved that they provided fire pits, as sometimes you don't get that at RV parks. Our favorite amenity though would have to be the hot tub!! We took a dip every night (I may have even told myself that constituted as my bath) and had the whole thing to ourselves. It might have been due to the fact that the sign said that it closed at dusk, but we didn't see the sign until we got in and we also find dusk to be an interpretive term! Every time I road my bike by during the day though, it was still empty. I would definitely go back again! I mean we didn't even get to try the shuffleboard, putting green, or horseshoes!! I must note that there were also tons of scheduled activities!! While we were enjoying our hot tub soak on Saturday night, people were flocking into the tented pavilion for a Valentine's Dance. We watched couples carrying their covered dishes, decked in their pink and reds, and then got to listen to the music and laughter drift out over the grounds! Definitely a happening place! 

3.) This past weekend I got to see Harry Potter in Concert at the Dr. Phillips center, thanks to my bro-in-law marrying a fellow Potter freak! Since I don't have pierced ears she wasn't sure what to gift me, until she saw the tickets go on sale. Not knowing what they were, she just saw Harry Potter and said, "yes! Those!" And boy am I ever thankful!! It was the most amazing way to ever experience a Harry film. I won't lie, I hated the symphony as a kid, when you would be forced to dress up and attend for a field trip. I didn't understand it; I could never sit still long enough to. Watching the Orlando Philharmonic, play the music to accompany the movie, was one of the most moving things I have seen in a long time. When the first score started, and the bows went across violin strings as Albus Dumbledore walked down Privet Drive, chills literally went up my spine and tears graced the corners of my eyes. It made the music come to life! It added a gentle movement to the movie and for a while I wasn't sure where to look and how to take it all in. Once my senses adjusted to this new thing unfolding in front of me I could do nothing but sit in amazement! Are you a Harry fan? If you ever get a chance to experience any of the movies in this way, you HAVE TO take it! Hopefully we will be able to makes it back in November for Chamber of Secrets! 

4.) I have been busy working on some new things for the shop, but I am also working on adjusting how the shop itself works. If we are ever going to hit the road full-time, there will be no way I can hold inventory at home (given that my home would be a small, constantly moving one). So I am taking things a little more online. While some options are still left in my Etsy shop, you can get tons more color and style choices in my online shop. The "You keep me safe & I'll keep you wild" and "Serenity" shirts will be available there for the next two weeks. Then, as I add more inventory, it will stay up longer. Thanks for supporting this little, growing dream of mine! 

5.) Tomorrow we are heading downtown to enjoy our very first Orlando Food & Wine fest! We have thought about doing it so many times, but have never actually committed. Well, our tickets are purchased and plans are set. We have no idea what to expect, but are excited to eat our way around!! Anyone done it before (or one in your city) with advice or tips on how best take try as much as possible?! 

Hope your week has been wonderful and that your weekend if filled with adventure!! 
What are your plans for the weekend?! 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

#TravelTuesday 13// Active Fun on the Allure of the Seas

Happy Tuesday Fellow Travelers!!
So I have been falling behind on blogging! Trying to squeeze it in between work and life and trying to get out and adventure when we can is hard yo! So, while I had been all kinds of hopeful to share our day in Jamaica for this month's #TravelTuesday Link Up (join in below), I just couldn't get my ish together enough!! Instead I figured I would start with the mode of travel that got us there and share 5 of the active, mostly-outdoor activities that we enjoyed en route to Jamaica, while aboard Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas! And so, here are... 

5 Fun and Active Spots on the Allure of the Seas
1.) Carousel! My absolute favorite ride of all time is a good carousel! I know, I know, for an adrenaline lover it’s a surprising choice, but there is something just so happy to me about a carousel. I will not leave Magic Kingdom without riding it and any time I find a new one I get really excited! So riding a carousel, while on a cruise, got this heart all kinds of pumped. I rode it multiple times, typically with children under the age of 10, but there was one night where it was just little old me riding a bear. Babe of course rolled his eyes, but I was in heaven!!
2.) Rock Climbing! We both love rock climbing, so we picked one of the open climbing times and got there a few minutes before they opened the ropes, making us the first in line. I was actually surprised that not too many people showed up after us either. It was nice, because I was able to go twice. The courses were actually pretty challenging, which just made it even more fun. By the time I got done with the second course my arms were jello- aka need to work on that upper body strength (hello, none)!

3.) Ice Skating! We can definitely call this a first; ice skating, on a ship, in the middle of the Caribbean. Yeah, it was pretty COOL (pun slightly intended)! However, it was also a sign that we are getting older. I used to be able to ice skate for hours! We didn't even last the full 30 minutes that we were planning to be out there and our ankles were killing us! The ice was pretty scratched up though, making made it harder. They save the open skating for the end of the cruise; after the ice shows have all been done. **Side note: We weren't planning to do any of the ice shows, but ended up squeezing in "How to Train Your Dragon: Ice Show" and LOVED it! Definitely a super cute must see; even without kiddos! One other can't miss show would also be the awesome aqua-theater dive show, Oceanaria!

Because, didn't you know, you are so much more "fierce" with your tongue out! Gracious! 
4.) Wave Riders {aka Flowriders}! These were one of the highlights of the ship and usually had a pretty decent size line, but they were worth the wait. They have a man made wave that you can ride. There are two options available; a lay-down boogie board and a stand-up surfing type board (looks a little more like a snowboard). I stuck to the boogie board, as that was hard enough, but Babe gave the stand-up one a try (and made me wish I had). He said it kills your calves, but he lasted for a while so I wish I had given it a go. However, the line was long by the time I watched him try and I had left my room card in our beach bag, which was at our lounge chairs, pretty far away. You have to have a wrist-band to do the Wave Riders, saying that you are old enough and have signed the waiver. So don’t forget to bring your card, as they can’t look you up!! *They have people there to help the whole time, if needed. They also offer windows of time specifically for giving lessons, but just know you don't have to get the lesson to be able to ride. They will still help you get the hang of it. 

5.) Putt-Putt! We are a super competitive couple, so we always love a good game that will pit us against each other. However, I need to remember that putt-putt is NOT my game!! I can't tell you how many times I have lost terribly and stomped off in frustration. This time was no different! The course is beautiful though and lines up right along the edge of the boat so you have gorgeous water views. And don't worry about my pride; I creamed him in ping-pong!! 

**The ship also has a zip line that crosses over the ship's Boardwalk area, a good 7 floors below (see the carousel photo for proof). While we didn't actually end up partaking in this particular adventure (the line was always pretty long and the times were when we preferred to be lounging in that Vitamin D bliss), it looked pretty neat when you would see people flying overhead from below! It was definitely a happening spot for all the older kids and teens! 

We really loved our time on the Allure of the Seas! 
But then again, we love to cruise! This ship had tons of options and amenities and we can't wait to get back out on the wide open ocean! 

Are you a cruise lover?! What are your favorite things to do on-board?! 
Not a big fan of cruises, or haven't been yet, but been adventuring somewhere else? 
Maybe even in your own backyard?

Share your link below and let's travel together! 
~On the 2nd Tuesday of every month I will be sharing a new travel post and would love to see where you have been exploring!
~Any linked posts will be pinned under Travel Tuesday on my Pinterest account. 
~Please leave a little love on the post directly before yours and then anywhere else you like! That way we can all grow this community together :) 
~Not many other rules, as I am not a huge fan of those sorts of things! Just add any travel related link and I encourage you to peek around and see where everyone else has been. 
~Feel free to grab the image from the sidebar and add it to your post so others know where to link up. 
~I will also be sharing my favorite post from the month before. January's fave was from Portland| Grace, because her pictures are absolutely stunning and made me want to go to Spain like yesterday (I mean streets just lined with Orange trees?! Come on!)! 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Camping at Faver-Dykes State Park

Right after Christmas we hitched up Flo and headed north towards St. Augustine. There is actually a state park only minutes away from the heart of the city(Anastasia State Park), which we hope to stay at sometime, but it books up months in advance because it's right near the beach. Luckily, we found Faver-Dykes State Park and had an absolutely wonderful time!
Faver-Dykes State Park is a wonderful option for staying near St. Augustine! We were able to go into the city for a whole day of exploring and then head back to the park for peace and relaxation the rest of the trip. We spent one full evening paddle boarding, searched for some Geocaches, and enjoyed the stillness of being tucked away from the rest of the world (internet included, as there was very little service)! It was a beautiful, quiet, well-cared-for park and we would definitely go back again! 

Hope you have a wonderful Friday!! 
We are off to explore Arcadia, Florida, and finally check Myakka River State Park off the Florida bucket list! 
What are your plan this weekend? 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Sketchy Tacos Author Interview// Meg D. Gonzalez

Happy Wednesday! 
I am super excited to have share today's post with you! 
I just got done reading Sketchy Tacos and, for a travel lover like myself, it was absolutely perfect! If you love travel and want to be "whisked away" to Mexico, you should definitely check it out. It's a lovely coming of age story about a girl named Mila, who spends a beautiful (and sometimes blunderous) summer in Mexico, learning about the culture and even more about herself. I won't give too much away, but you can get a little glimpse of what's in-store by watching the book trailer over on YouTube. One of you will also get the chance to win a digital copy of your own to read. What I am most excited about though, is today's interview with the author herself, Meg D. Gonzalez! Here is a little more about Meg and her new novel, Sketchy Tacos... 
What do you love most about writing YA travel novels?
Oh, wow! Where to begin? I guess one of the things I love most about writing YA travel novels is that to write a travel novel, you have to travel! I've been traveling internationally since I was 13, and I fell in love with it even then. Luckily, my husband has that same love of travel. We use our vacations to check out new cities and countries whenever possible. Traveling has inspired several novels (which I hope you'll see soon)!
Another thing I love most about YA travel novels, is the adventure/discovery aspect. I can't travel nearly as much as I'd like, so I turn to travel novels to vicariously go on the adventures I long to have. When you're on an international adventure--whether in life or on the page--you discover all new cultures and customs, and you get the chance to view the world in a whole new way.
And why YA? Because YA novels are awesome! Young adults are still figuring out who they are and what they want to be. There's so much potential for growth and change. That's a lot of fun to work with as a writer, and a ton of fun to experience as a reader.
What are some of your favorite places to visit?
My #1 favorite city I've ever been to is Berlin. (Book 2 of the International Adventures series will be set in Germany.) There was so much history packed into one city and it lived comfortably, side-by-side with present-day Berlin. We took a long walking tour, which was an incredible way to discover the city, and our guide said, "The Germans are very upfront with their history. They don't try to sweep it under the rug. Their attitude is: 'This happened, and we will keep it here for everyone to see. That way it cannot happen again.'" We visited back in 2013 and that quote has stuck with me ever since.
Another favorite place to visit is, of course, Mexico! It's got a rich, vibrant culture that draws you in from the start. The food is amazing. My mouth is watering just thinking of costras--my favorite kind of taco (you can get a free guide to Mexican food here). And the people... There aren't words. They burn bright. They're loud and full of life. And they welcomed me with open arms. I will never forget my year in Mexico.
How do you feel you relate to your main character, Mila?
Like Mila, I moved to Mexico without knowing enough Spanish to get by. Unlike Mila, I moved in my twenties after marrying my husband who was born and raised in Mexico. Even though I had my wonderful husband there for support, I was a lot more alone than Mila, who's constantly surrounded by her host family, because I was stayed in an empty house for 10-13 hours a day while my hubby was at work. So those feelings of loneliness she struggles with totally come from me!
Also, Mila doesn't have a lot of confidence in her body image or fashion. I totally get that. The girls in Mexico are super fashionable, and I felt like my wardrobe never quite added up no matter what the circumstances were. And so many of the girls literally never had a hair out of place. As a young woman who was still growing out her hair that falls somewhere wavy and straight and refuses to go up without a halo of frizz, this was super intimidating.
The one thing that I wish I related to? Mila's skills as an artist. I love art supplies. The colors and textures are fabulous. I have more colored pencils and crayons than I could ever use. I walk into art supply stores just to admire the brushes, paints, and canvases, but I have no skill. I get these beautiful pictures in my head but I cannot get them to appear on the page. It's utterly frustrating. So I became a painter with words. And it allowed me to have a ton of fun with Sketchy Tacos. Read it and you'll see how!

Meg D. Gonzalez Author Headshot
Who knew that one night of salsa dancing could change the course of a life? When Meg D. Gonzalez accepted Alan’s offer of a dance, she began on a journey that pulled her out of her sheltered life and into a big and beautiful world. Living in Mexico for a year showed her a rich culture and varied landscape that captured her imagination, and she just knew she had to share. Meg would love to connect! You can email her at meg (at) or connect with her on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram. Check out Meg D. Gonzalez’s new teen travel novel, Sketchy Tacos, now only $3.99 on Amazon.

Sketchy Tacos Cover Image

"Mila’s summer in Mexico is going to be perfect. She has a plan. If only life would stick to it. After facing everything from a flash flood to Moctezuma’s revenge, from a romantic date for two to a gaggle of snide girls, teenage artist Mila Gulick finds the biggest challenge comes from the war within herself. Her heart, her art, and even her safety are at risk as she struggles to find a balance between cultural differences, old assumptions, and strange romance. Will her trip end in disaster or will she find the strength for which she’s been searching?"  To get the latest updates, the first two chapters of Sketchy Tacos, and instant access to the adventurers’ and writers’ resource libraries, click here now!

Sketchy Tacos really is a beautiful story, in a vibrant setting!
I love getting to "travel", while sitting at home, with the help of a good book!
Enter the giveaway below to for the change to take a little trip to Mexico with Mila!  
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A February Currently Giveaway!

Happy February!! 
Joining in with this month's Currently edition for a little peek at my month! 

{Packing} I am technically still unpacking from our trip to Vegas, because I am HORRIBLE at unpacking from a trip (it was a month ago)! But I think I will just save some of those clothes and throw them in Flo for our trip out to Peace River next weekend!

{Jonesing} For a good cup of coffee!! I have been trying to cut back on my endless coffee consumption and I think I am doing well... at least until someone asks me what I want. "A cup of coffee! A very strong cup of coffee!!" If you are jonesing for a cup or two yourself there are a few days left to enter my 'Adventure Fuel' giveaway over on Instagram!

{Texting} There are typically about two people in my life that I am texting on a consistent basis; either the hubs or my bestie. So I am sure it's one of them. A lot of them lately have read "adulting is hard! Why didn't anyone tell us that adulting was for the birds?!"

{Reading} A couple different things; including The Mapmakers Apprentice for book club, which is the second book in the Glass and Steel series. I had never even heard of the series until the first book was picked for last month's read. We were all so enthralled with it that the second book was picked for this month! I am also halfway through Sketchy Tacos, a new YA travel novel by Meg D. Gonzalez. I have actually never really read a travel fiction novel before and am loving it! Having the scenes of a different culture set the backdrop, while the storyline of the main character, Mila, plays out is really neat! Check back in on the 8th for more about Sketchy Tacos and an interview with the author! In the meantime take a peek at the book trailer here.

{Hearting} Amazingly sweet friends who know my love for adventure well and the new double hammock they got us! Can't wait to try it out soon!! I am also hearting their gorgeous videos! Amanda and Dustin make up the Simple & Speraw team. They are a wonderful couple, with huge hearts and awesome videography skills! Any video needs in your future? Definitely plan to check them out! 

Thanks for stopping by! 
What is your February currently looking like?!