Life's Sweet Journey: Happies
Showing posts with label Happies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Happies. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

February Currently!

Well Hello February! How did you get here? I can't believe it is already the second month of 2016! Hoping you are all having a wonderful Wednesday! I'm linking up with Anne and Jenna again today to share what my February looks like currently. Grab a cup of coffee and join me?!

Sending~ That sweet little adventure mug pictured above to the winner of my instagram giveaway for my blog shop grand opening! 

Eating~ Last night I ate some Kraft mac-n-cheese, which Babe refers to as powdered goop! So needless to say he didn't eat any. And do you want to know how much was left? Oh just about a spoonful! Powdered goop or not, I love me some Kraft mac-n-cheese! Maybe it's nostalgia and reliving my childhood, but I eat it every few months or so and something about it is just so comforting! However, we have really been trying not to eat tons of preservative, so today I am detoxing with walnuts and banana for lunch. 

Dreaming~ Of far off places and life on the road! This is pretty much a constant in my life right now. I am always planning our next mini Florida adventure, while also dreaming big of convincing Babe to head way out west and spend time traveling from one gorgeous park or BLM to another! I wanna see all the places!! All the places!!! 

Smelling~ the cup of coffee sitting next to me! It may or may not be Christmas blend! Who said Christmas had to end in December?! 

Hearting~ My new little shop! It is small, but I am so excited about seeing how it will grow! I was so humbled over the outpouring of love I got when I opened it last week. I was nervous and scared and excited all at same time and the support from friends and even strangers meant so much to my heart! Everyone was so kind and I can't be more thankful! 

Feel free to take a little peek (shop link in navigation bar)! I am covering shipping costs between now and Monday. Yay for free shipping! Yay for new adventures! And yay for coffee!! 

Hoping you have a beautiful day!!
What does February currently look like for you?! 

Monday, February 1, 2016

5 ways to Kickstart your Day

I woke up this morning and I laid in bed. I wasn't quite ready for life to start just yet. And those mornings can be nice, really so very nice! But that wasn't how I was supposed to start today. I had planned to be productive, but it was Monday and I wasn't ready. I finally pulled back the covers and made my way to the kitchen, where I vowed to myself to devote 30 minutes to quiet reflection on my thinking chair while I ate breakfast. After doing my devotion, I opened up my Instant Happy Journal and the prompt for the day was to trace the words "I'm Not Good Enough" and then cross through them once done. I originally thought about skipping it, because I thought it sounded a bit silly! But sometimes you just do it anyways!! Oh, it was so freeing! Freeing to cross out the "I can'ts" and to let go of the running list of ways to fall short! And after that my morning took a jump start! So I really started thinking about the things that, if done each morning, help me feel like I can take on the day at full force! So I figured I would share them with you. Hoping they help you get the day started off on the right foot- or if it's already on the wrong one, maybe it will help shift that weight! Either way, here they are... 

- Be Still to Start Strong! Take at least 10 minutes out of each morning to just be still; To sit in a quiet cozy corner somewhere and just breathe in the day. The rest of the day will be rushed, there will be things that must get done, but this 10 minutes? This is my 10 minutes! I like to spend mine with devotion and prayer. Today, carving out 30 minutes was so nice! I know that won't always happen, but if I just set my alarm a few minutes earlier the 10 minutes definitely can and should! I really do feel such a difference in the day when I don't have take that time to start my day off talking to God. 

- Journal! I had a prayer/ life journal that I kept for a little while, but like most things in my morning routine it got pushed to the wayside. So when I picked it back up at the beginning of the year and saw that the last post was from the end of 2013 I cringed. Writing down a few thoughts each morning really helps me to set a tone for the day. It clears my mind of some of the fluff and opens it up to make it ready for the new day. Don't journal? No worries, just thinking on something happy! 

- List the happy things! This one is huge! I couldn't recommend it more! Take a minute and list (either on paper or in your head) at least 3 things that make you happy in that exact moment. Today mine were: 
1.) extra quiet time
2.) doing things despite fears
3.) starting my morning off worshipping Jesus
Then I jotted down a few more too! The thing is whenever I start with my list of 3 things, I usually end up with a lot more than that. I actually do this a lot, not just in the mornings. I do it a lot in tough moments. It's amazing what listing things you have to be thankful for or happy about can do to uplift your mood. Seriously, try it right now! 

- List the you things! While you are getting ready each morning, standing in front of a mirror somewhere putting on makeup or picking out clothes, think of 3 things that you love about yourself! We are so hard on ourselves all the time. I feel like as I approach 30 I have gotten even more critical of my appearance especially. At any moment, at any age and any time, we are beautiful! Life has taught us that we have to look a certain way or act a certain way, but that's all just lies! Be yourself and love yourself. Embrace your You-ness!! So name those three things and at least one has to be appearance based. Most of our time in the mirror is spent picking over the fine details; cover this, smooth that. So while you swipe a brush across your cheek, think of something you love, like your eyes or your smile or even that widows peak you (I) tried to cut off as a child that you have grown to find frames your face well! Tell yourself "I love you!!"

-  Pray! I know I talked about this in the first one, but this is huge for me. I am not going to lie, there are many mornings where the other 4 just don't happen the way they should. Seriously, I am NOT a morning person (the Lord knew I needed a job that started mid afternoon). So, if I am up before 7/7:30 I never make it to my cozy blue chair. Literally it is: push the snooze 3 times, stumble to the kitchen, pour cereal, head to the shower (yes, with cereal in hand), sit down on shower floor and just let the water run while eating breakfast. I am sure you are trying to image the scene. Just picture: shower cap on, cereal on the lip of the shower in between the plastic curtain and the cloth curtain, with my head in between the two as well so that I can eat without getting water in my food. This is real life! But I sit there, with eyes closed and mouth chewing and I say a prayer. A lot of early mornings it goes a little something like this, "Lord, please give me the strength and patience to be a morning person today!" Even if it is just short and sweet and half awake, it is so, so good for my soul. Not sure about this whole God guy? Don't believe in Jesus? It's ok. I just say try it. Try praying, even if you don't know what you believe yet. Send up a prayer the way you would talk to a friend, maybe ask about who He is, wonder it out loud, challenge Him with tough questions. He doesn't care how you pray, He just cares about you. Period. Belief or not, you are loved! Just wanted you to know! 

I hope these were helpful! For me, they were a good reminder to me more mindful of how important they are for me personally. My days are so much more productive and so much more full of life when I do them. And the funny thing is they are so very simple that I had to laugh at myself for not doing them more often! So I set my alarm a little earlier? Better than dragging myself through the day feasting for coffee! I mean, don't get me wrong, there's still coffee! But it's so much more enjoyable as an added bonus than something that I am yearning for. 

Happy Monday! 
Any thing that you do that helps to start your morning off right?

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Shop the Journey!

Today is a big day! The feels are running crazy right now; scared, excited, nervous, anxious, happy... 
Today this little space now has its own little shop (shop link above in navigation bar)! It is all still a work in progress- and a learning process- but I am really excited about it! I am excited to share my journey moments with all of you, because that is exactly what they are to me- little bits of inspiration that come from life's journey moments! 

I never thought I would open up a shop. I wasn't even sure how that even all begins. But then, I found myself making a tank top (not actually in the shop yet) to wear for a run my dad was hosting, in memory of my brother, to help raise money and awareness for those in addiction recovery. I created the shirt (for myself mostly), but I shared the link online for people to purchase it through the site I created it on (with proceeds going to support the run) and a few did. From there the idea grew. 

I took the image that I had created for the tank top and decided to make it into a mug to give to my parents for Christmas. So I designed the mug and ordered theirs, along with a few 30 extras. And the Serenity mugs became my first shop item. 
Addiction and recovery is a large part of my story, but it also strongly tied in with things that are hard and hold heavy meaning for me and my family. Being able to use that pain and try to turn it outward to encourage others is something that means a lot to me, but I also didn't want that to be the only basis for my shop. 

I also wanted my little shop to hold something that brings me joy and uplifts my soul on a personal level. Something that could be a daily reminder of light and fun and happy thoughts! It was out of that inspiration that the adventure side of my little shop was born! I figured what better way to start the Adventure line than with a little Adventure Fuel! 
And so the shop only has two items currently, but they are items that mean a lot to me and that I hope will bring you a little smile and daily inspiration as well!! 

I am really excited to see where this will go and how it will grow! I am excited to use this little shop to hopefully encourage others and to also help support missions that hold a special place in my heart. My dad and his friends run a company called Mind, Body and Soul Surfing Club, whose goal is to help those in addiction recovery through surfing. A portion of all Serenity line sales will go to supporting them and the work that they do. A portion of all Adventure line sales will go to support Agua Viva Serves. Costa Rica is a wonderful place to explore and adventure, but it is also a place where families living there do not have access to the same healthy drinking water that we do in the states. Agua Viva Serves works to bring clean water to communities in Costa Rica. 

I really believe that the work they are doing matters! I really believe in this little space! I really believe that our stories can be used to encourage others! It is my hope that this shop is just another facet of that. I pray that today you are encouraged! I pray that today you take one more step towards whatever dream it is your dreaming! 

Happy Tuesday Friends! 
In honor of the shop opening I am hosting a giveaway over on Instagram for one adventure mug! Head over and check it out and let's get fueled for whatever adventure today may hold! 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Currently December & a Giveaway

Linking up with Anne and Jenna for another edition of Currently! Join me?
Wishing~ That this Advent season would linger. That each day I would be mindful to carve out time to just sit and soak in what this season means and celebrate the true Gift of Christmas and what it means that Jesus was born. 

And maybe for a few of these goodies too! 

Remembering~ Memories of past travels and Christmases as we decorated the tree. And remembering my sweet Mimi, whose tree topper Angel now adorns our tree. I love our tree and carrying on the tradition my mom had of decorating with the hodgepodge of ornaments made or collected over the years. When we got our house my mom gave me a box with a lot of my ornaments from when I was a kid, so it is really neat to have those, as well as the all the ones I have made or collected for us as a couple. It makes decorating the tree each year such a wonderful trip down memory lane! 

Baking~ Not a lot lately! I did manage to roast some pumpkin seeds though and have two more pumpkins that I plan to do the same with! I just can't keep myself from craving some honey roasted pumpkin seeds, so I usually save a few pumpkins for well into December. I am pretty sure I even managed to get one through January last year!!

Decorating~ The tree!! This year we had my niece the night we got the tree and she helped us decorate. We were only going to do the lights the night we got it, but she was so excited that we did it all! Also, decorating with a 4 year old makes the tree extra fancy. There is literally an entire line of ball ornaments on the bottom of the tree. And the side she couldn't see?! Completely naked! It reminded me of when my siblings and I were kids and my parents would have to press us to put ornaments on the side facing the window. It was bittersweet thinking about as I was decorating with her, knowing her dad wouldn't be here to share in those memories, but how thankful I am to have her to share them with and to tell her stories about her daddy from when we were little. I thought about rearranging things once she left, but figured, nope! It's just extra ready for Santa! Especially the bottom of it. Who cares if the neighbors think we own no ornaments because the window side is bare?!

Wrapping~ Not much! We decided to fore go spouse gifts this year and are only doing stockings over here. And I am still waiting for all the gifts for my parents, and the nieces and nephews, to make their way over from Amazon so I really haven't done much wrapping at all! However, I am really excited to wrap up this giveaway and get it in the mail for one lucky reader.
I thought with all the hustle and bustle the season can bring, that I would share a little package that might help someone find a quiet moment to sit for a while; to breathe in and just enjoy the small wonders that surround this time of year and to maybe take a moment to de-stress if needed. So I am dubbing this the Bee Stress-free Giveaway! It includes this great adult coloring book that I got from blogging for books (and a set of colored pencils). I love adult coloring! It is so soothing and really helps to give my mind a break from the running lists of things to get done. 

Every Little Thing is the cutest coloring book! Perfect for the nature and animal lover, as each page is filled with the sweetest little creatures you ever did see! And you get to color them! You want a pink panda?! Go for it! Seriously, how cute are these pages?! 
I am also including some honey from the Savannah Bee Company and a bag of coffee! I have been wanting to share my love for honey in my coffee with others and thought what a perfect addition! A little coloring time, with a nice hot cup of coffee sweetened with honey?! That sounds like my kind of moment! Seriously, for those of you who haven't tried honey in coffee, you are missing out! I use to use it as a way to cut down on refined sugar and would do half sugar, half honey. Now I'm 100% honey! It adds such a great flavor to a regular cup of joe! This Barney's brew does have some natural hints of flavoring too it, which I thought would be a nice holiday treat, but it's also amazing with just your regular, everyday blend as well! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck!
Happy December! 

Friday, November 6, 2015

November Currently

It's November people! As if being 6 days in meant you were just in the know. November is looking pretty exciting (and still very hot in Florida) around these parts! Linking up for November Currently with Jenna and Anne and for a little 5 of Friday fun! Join me? 
~COOKING~ Well considering I don't "cook" a whole lot of anything these days, I figured I'd fudge a little and go with something I prepared instead. Mixing cream cheese and mayo can totally count as cooking right?! Sure! Anyways, it was my turn to host a monthly book club I am in and we try to theme our food based off of things in the book. Luckily, I picked an easy one, The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen. In honor of the main character, Josey, I baked a treats! Cupcakes and brownies, which meant licking clean the batter bowls = YUM! Josey's mom, Margaret, frequented going to tea, hence tea sandwiches. For these I used one 8oz. package of cream cheese (softened), 1/3 cup mayo, a good sprinkle of garlic salt and some fresh dill. I mixed the cream cheese and mayo together and then added the seasoning. I used the lid to the garlic salt to made bread rounds out of a slice of sandwich bread (usually 3 rounds per slice). I then spread the mixture on top of the bread and topped that with tomato or cucumber. Then I cut a little more fresh dill to sprinkle on top. Quick, easy and delicious!!

~PLANNING~ Flo's next adventure!! She hasn't been out of the driveway in a while and she is very sad about it! So because we has been cooped up for so long she has a lot of adventures coming her way in the next few months. We are doing two mini Florida adventures in November, but Flo is most excited about her big out of state adventure right after Christmas!! We are headed to Savannah and couldn't be more excited! I haven't been since I was in 6th grade and Babe and Flo have both been NEVER! Alright Savannah lovers, dish please! What do was have to see and where do we have to dine?!

~SMELLING~ Coffee sitting in the pot, filling the house with it's gloriousness!! 

~APPRECIATING~ Happy mail instead of scary movie moments!! So Babe was out of town and my bestie and I were having one of our "no-more-adulting, lay-on-the-floor" moments. We had literally made it through my front door and sprawled ourselves across the rug right at the entry to the house. We were scrolling through Pinterest, reading each other quotes (come on ladies, you know those moments). It is also noteworthy to mention that it was pitch black dark out... when the doorbell rang!! We both looked at each other like, "say, what?!" Babe was gone, we were together, who in the world could be at the door? So I get up and look at out the peephole. Oh, wait! It's nobody! Nobody is there!! It's two days after Halloween, we've all seen the movies. I love scary movies! So, I know you are all thinking, this girl sure ain't going to be dumb enough to open the door! Oh contraire! I did! However, our entry has a long walkway, with no ability to access the door from the sides, so I figured I would have enough time to peek out and then slam the door shut if necessary. But in fact it was just a little package of happiness, literally happiness, sitting right at my doorstep!! 

That was a long build up to this moment, huh?! Anyways, I got this sweet little package of Instant Happiness dropped right on my doorstep (apparently UPS people deliver packages at 6pm and you think it must be 9 because, well, darkness!). I received the Instant Happy Journal free to review, but all opinions are mine. I love, love, love it!! For a quote lover like myself it is the perfect little book! And it really is a great booster for finding a minute of happiness and joy in everyday. Each page has a place to put the date and then there is either a quote that you can then record your thoughts on, a question asking you to jot down whatever answers come to mind or both. Each page is a great reminder to remember the blessings that make life memorable and moments happy. I mean check these out... 
How would you answer those? And don't those answers just make you want to smile?! Mine did! 
I would definitely recommend grabbing a copy and adding an extra dash of happiness to your days! 

~ANTICIPATING~ Swimming with sea cows!! So, while I am pretty stoked about our big Savannah trip, we actually have an upcoming Florida adventure just around the corner. In two weeks we are Flo bound for Crystal River to swim with manatees! And I can't wait!! Yay!! I will hug them and love them and they will be my friends! 

And that's my November currently! 
What are you up to this month?! 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Loving Lately

It's been a busy week around these parts! From out of state wedding fun to Run 4 Recovery planning talks with my sweet daddy we have been pretty go, go, GO! We are gearing up for a garage sale this morning (PURGE ALL THE THINGS!!), so I thought I would just take a minute to share some of what I have been loving lately before jumping off to the next task on the checklist... 
PRETTY JEWELRY! I love my awesome and colorful necklace from Noonday Collection. My sweet friend Lauren (who blogs overs at Boundary Stone) recently became an ambassador with Noonday. If you haven't heard about Noonday, they are a jewelry/fashion company who links arms with those in vulnerable communities to help create jobs, empower woman and impact the lives of these families all over the globe. If you are interested in learning more or just want to shop around a bit, you can do so here! Such cute, cute stuff!! I love cute stuff with a great message and reach! 
PERSONAL HAPPIES! I got the sweetest gift from the kids I have watched for the past almost 11 years. As they have gotten older and we have entered new seasons in our lives my time with them has gotten further apart. But now that just means that we are more intentional about making time to be together and that when we are it is that much more full of all the things we enjoy. You know those people that become like family? That is these guys and it made their sweet gift that much sweeter!! 

PLUMDOG! So far this is my most favoritest (yup, that is totally a word!) book that I have gotten from blogging for books! The illustrations are so sweet and the book is adorable. It is a diary told from the perspective of a dog and while it may sound like a kids book it is the perfect book for adults (especially dog lovers) and children alike. In my opinion it makes a great coffee table book, one that people can pick up and skim through to put a smile on their face!! Just look at these cute illustrations and sweet excerpt... 
How much more adorable can you get?! 

WRINKLE FREE EYES!! I received the OZ Naturals Matrix 6 eye gel free for review, but the opinions are all my own. I love this stuff! I have tried quite a few different eye creams, some with good results and some that don't seem to do much, this stuff however, works like a charm. I can feel it tightening around my eyes as soon as I put it on. It evens out my skin and can be applied under makeup. You can apply it twice a day and, in my opinion, the results last for a good period of time, pulling skin tighter and making fine lines appear smaller (some even nonexistent) immediately. 

*Note: I would also add a lotion on top before you apply makeup as it does occasionally (on my skin, depending on weather) make the makeup appear dry.

5.) SERENITY PRAYER SHIRT!! If you saw Tuesday's post, then you saw the Serenity Prayer tank I made to help raise funds to support the Run 4 Recovery happening in a few weeks. It can be ordered as a tank or a tee and you can currently enter to win one of your choice between now and Sunday. 

Hope you are having a wonderful FRIDAY!! FRI-YAY!! 
What are you loving lately? 

Friday, October 2, 2015

5 on Friday: Coffee and Other Happies!

Hey, Hey, it's Friday!! Do a little dance, do a little dance!! 
This week has been extra jam packed, but that also made it fly by and now it's Friday and the weekend is upon us!! Any adventures for anyone this weekend? We will be home based this weekend for some family birthdaying and house catch up. So to get the weekend started off I figured I would share some of the things I am loving lately! 

1.) Last Weekend's Adventure!
Our big adventure took us to Weeki Wachee, so I left our little impromptu stop on our way up there out of yesterday's post, but I still thought it was worth a mention. We have driven by the Lakeridge Winery so many times and never been able to stop, so as we were about to drive past for the thousandth time, we instead decided to pull off and finally give it a go. The winery was beautiful! They offer a great free tour and wine tasting. We had the funniest guide (Doug), who made it very informative, but still a lot of fun. I had never tried their wines before and we found some yummy favorites that are perfect for FloRida evenings (Southern Red and White are both really good and light and only $9.99). Unfortunately we were there two weeks too late to see the grapes on the vine, but we are excited to go back for some of their many festivals (can you say grape stomp?!) in the future. If you haven't made a trek out there, you should definitely head that was sometime. 

2.) Last Weekend's Food!
I know I talked about it yesterday! But seriously, you have got to get out to Jack's BBQ! It is the (yes, I just brought that back)! It is just that yummy! Sandwiches piled high with meat and a yummy glass of sweet tea?! And now it's making me hungry! 

3.) National Coffee Day! 
So I celebrated National Coffee Day on Tuesday with two lovely coffees. The first one I did not get for free- when a girl wants her Starbucks, she wants her Starbucks. I have recently begun forgoing my normal super sugar crazed drinks, I just can't finish them anymore (I haven't even had a pumpkin spice latte yet). Instead I order a regular latte with just one pump white chocolate mocha and a half a pump pumpkin spice. So much easier to drink and a little cheaper too! Then on my way to work I drove to Wawa to partake in their free coffee deal. Amazed! I had never been to Wawa before. There were so many options and I LOVE options! I literally mixed every kind of coffee they had (minus hazelnut) and spent the rest of my afternoon sipping in happiness! They even had honey as a sweetener choice! I was sold! 

4.) Flo's Family Photo Shoot!
So we drove Flo over to meet my mom on our way out of town last weekend. She had back surgery recently and had not been able to be introduced yet. I loved her excitement over meeting Flo!! She was so excited in fact that she asked us to sit in the doorway so she could snap a few pictures. Of course I obliged, Babe (as usual) had to to be coaxed. But I am so in love with how they turned out. We even borrowed the dogs for the shoot. They are iPhone pics so they came our a little grainy due to the shade, but I love them even still! And she snapped tons which I always love. Like mother, like daughter I guess. 

5.) Tinted Sunscreen!
While I did receive this product in exchange for a review, the opinions are mine. OZ Tinted Sunscreen Moisturizer is great! I put it on my face before leaving for our adventure to Weeki Wachee, of course before reading it wasn't best for water days. However, I rolled with it and it was the only sunscreen I applied to my face that day and it protected really well (even having been in the water). My shoulders got a little burnt (no sunscreen for the first hour) but my face didn't even get pink. I also loved the way it provided some coverage. I didn't apply makeup on top, because I knew it would just sweat off, and the tint to the sunscreen provided a great medium for evening out my skin tone. I think it's the perfect little sunscreen for days like our hiking adventures, when I don't typically put on makeup but would love to have a little something, something on my face so that I don't look a fright. I also like that it kept my face moist instead of drying it out like other face sunscreens can tend to do. I have combination skin that can go really dry depending on the weather and this worked like a charm to keep that from happening! 

And just to leave you with a little cuteness for the weekend... 
Hope your weekend is as happy as a little dog who thinks she's getting to go in an RV!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Sunday Currently

I am linking up for the Sunday Currently with Lauren over at Siddathornton. I haven't done a Sunday Currently in a while so I figure it was a good way to catch up! And then, in writing this post, realized that this entire edition of my Sunday Currently is brought to you in part by Flo, our newest addition to the family and that sweet little thing you see in the about picture. 

Happy Sunday, y'all!! 

reading: The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah. I love all her books and this one does not disappoint. I don't typically like period pieces, but this one is really keeping my interest! 
writing: This post and a post for Monday all about Flo. I am including my first blog video along with it and I am nervous! But Flo's excited! 
listening: to Jerrod Niemann's new song, Blue Bandana. That and Wild Child by Kenny Chesney have become some of my newest faves because I feel like they are such a perfect reflection of how my soul feels when I am riding with Flo! 
thinking: about all the new adventures we will be having soon and about our first big Flo-venture that we will be taking this weekend to St. Pete and Fort DeSoto. Any Florida (or even Georgia) friends out there with great ideas for adventures to be had?!
smelling: the hair product that is still lingering from dying my hair last night and dreading the fact that there is just more to come. Folks, I have dyed my hair from a box before many a time and have never had an issue but last night it didn't take. I used a different box than I usually do because it was a on sale (Garnier Nutrisse) and let's just say this time being a girl who always goes for a deal didn't pan out. I even did it twice thinking maybe I had missed spots by accident and ended up with the same results. (note: It has since been redone with Clairol and no more spots!) 
wishing: That it was Friday and that we could already be en route with Flo. I am noticing a trend... Just have adventure on the brain! 
hoping: For the grandest of adventures and less Florida rain for this upcoming weekend!! 
wearing: My cleaning clothes; I had tried to get some cleaning done and let's just say I hopped on here and... 
loving: FloRida Reva! I just don't know what else to go with, I am quite smitten with our new "baby." 
wanting: A warm cup of coffee! But I am trying not to drink caffeine after 3:30 (note: this post was written yesterday around 5pm). Maybe decaf? The fact that I even consider it is crazy! I swore I only drank coffee for the energy, I would never just drink it for the taste. But oh, how that sweet goodness of yummy has grown on me! 
needing: A good burst of energy so that I can actually be the productive person I planned to be today! Alas, I think the rainy afternoon blues have hit me, so I think the clean house will have to wait. 
feeling: tired; tired and excited!! We got 14 days of free camping with our purchase of Flo (thank you Lazy Days) and I am calling to book our very first campground once I am done writing this! Can't wait!! Fingers crossed that there is a corner unit that backs up to the woods! 
clicking: Through some other Sunday currently posts soon! But also trying to learn how to use this iMovie thing. Definitely a lot of clicking involved for sure! Anyone who has it down? I am happy to hear pointers! 

Hoping everyone has a beautiful end to the weekend and a great start to their weeks!! 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Welcome Flo!! And our {Current} Top 5 Florida Adventures!!

I think this is now the third post where I mention Flo, but this is her first formal introduction. If you don’t know yet, we bought an RV!! I am in love and all things happy!! Babe has been about ready to tape my mouth shut from all the random song bust-outs (yes she has her own songs) and squeals of delight and anticipation that seem to escape my lips without prompting! We are actually in the car en route to pick her up as we "speak". We get to stay the night, learning all the ins and outs of all things travel trailers, before we bring her home.

Flo is short for FloRida ReVa. She was originally going to just be FloRida, but then I was reminded that this is a rappers name and I wanted to her to be her own true “person”, so I gave her a last name. ReVa is for R.V., but I like that it also sounded like Reba (McEntire), which yes is just another singer, but I have now decided to embrace it. So Flo is a little bit country, a little bit rock-and-roll and apparently a little bit rapper too! She'll grow into it! Can’t wait for you all to get to know her more right along with me!!

Until then I thought I would use this 5 on Friday to share the adventures that spurred in me a love for exploring and ultimately to a desire to hit the open road, which let to Flo.

There will be plenty more adventures to come now that we have her, but here are our
 top 5 budget friendly gas tanks adventures from Orlando 
(most at around1/1.5 hours away).

1). Spooky , Swampy Adventures!

(most suitable for able adults; cost: gas and $5 park fee)
Babe and I are both in agreement that our absolute favorite so far was our very first big Florida adventure. I had planned a little Florida surprises adventure for us and Oliver and Kerri (the bro-in-law and his girlfriend) and so I was the only one who knew where we were going. Our main destination was Spook Hill. It’s a little tourist pit stop destination where you try to park on the road and then your car moves by itself. It’s a little corny, but it works and it’s fun! From Orlando you take the Haines City (Highway 27) exit off of I-4. Following Spook Hill, we explored the orange groves down an old clay road and then looked for a place to go hiking. 
We settled on Lake Kissimmee State Park. There are tons of trails to take and we settled on the 6.7 miles loop. It was quite the adventure that’s for sure! The trail description did mention that there might be spots of standing water. That was a “slight” exaggeration, but I loved the water!! It just made the adventure grander in my opinion. At the first spot of water, the four of us (ok, who am I kidding it was mostly us girls) tried to keep our feet dry by building bridges out of logs. And while we did succeed, this was a futile endeavor. Further into the hike we hit a trail of nothing but mid-calf water which we hiked through for about a half a mile. Let’s just say, if you do decide to take this trail (which I would highly recommend) you should be prepared with shoes you do not care about getting wet. Overall it was a great hike, with a lot of different landscapes, and we loved it!

2.) Lake Apopka Adventures!
(suitable for any age or ability depending on what you do; drive is great for families with small kiddos or elder folks looking for an adventure with AC; cost- gas only)
After reading about the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive, in an article through the Orlando Sentinel, I planned a full day of exploring for Babe and me. We began the day at the Oakland Nature Preserve, which is really neat because it borders an animal sanctuary and, depending on the day, you might see anything from ostrich to zebra hanging out by the fence along one of the trails. My history buff also enjoyed taking the boardwalk to Lake Apopka, where you read about its history. We then ate lunch at the new brewery in Winter Garden before continuing our explorations. We drove from Winter Garden to the Ferndale Preserve, which had a nice trail, but if you are going to skip any part of this adventure this would probably be the one I would skip. The trail wasn’t well covered and it was hot, plus -though it did offer great views of the lake from up high- you couldn’t get right near the water. There is a really awesome playground though if you have kiddos! There was also a roadside stop we stumbled upon called the Green Mountain Overlook (yup Florida mountains haha) with a great look out tower. We were only there about 5 minutes, but it was a nice little stop (it’s the start to a bike trail for any avid mountain bike riders out there). We then drove from there to our ultimate destination, the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive. This is a one way drive through a water management system that they are using to try to clean up Lake Apopka. It’s a slow drive, but there are a lot of spots to get out, see things and search for gators! To start our adventure we took the 408 West towards Clermont, but once we reached the Oakland Nature Preserve we spent the entire day on back roads, taking the Florida Scenic Highway and that too added to the charm of the day!

3.) Merritt Island Adventures!!

(great for all ages, something for everyone; cost- gas and $5 park fee per car)
We spent one afternoon exploring the National Seashore at Cape Canaveral/ Merritt Island. There is a lot to do out there that we didn’t know about. They have a great visitors center where a ranger will give you a map and tell you about all there is to see around the area. Our main points of interest were the wildlife drive and the beaches. The drive was nice, though we did see a lot more wildlife on Lake Apopka. We got out a few spots, but mostly just enjoyed the drive together. We opted for the Black Point Wildlife Drive, which is a maintained gravel road and is included in your $5 park fee. There is a free wildlife drive, however that drive is not maintained so there will be more potholes. We can’t wait to go back and try that one! We also went to the manatee area (which is basically the boat ramp) and there were tons of cute “little” sea cows!! We ended our day with a swim in the ocean! I had never been to the beaches there at the National Seashore and it was nice to be in a place with no hotels for as far as the eye could see.

4.) Back to Nature Adventures!
(great for all ages, cost: $5 donation fee per person to see the animals)
While out hunting down more hiking fun Babe and I stumbled upon a place called the Back To Nature Wildlife Refuge, unfortunately it was a Monday and they weren’t open. But we did get to hike at the trails that are on the same road. It is the Split Oak Forest trail at Eagle’s Roost Preserve. It was a really nice hike, but I was most excited to get back the next day with my bestie and peek around the refuge. Back to Nature rescues animals that have either been hurt in nature or by people who think they can turn wild animals into pets. They house them and release them if possible, but it is also home to some sweet friends who will not be able to be released back into the wild. We had a great morning visiting with the critters and taking the short trail out to the lake!

5.) Pancake Adventures!!

(Something for all ages; cost: $5 entrance per car, extra possibilities: pancake house, canoe rentals)
De Leon Springs has a lot to offer, from a playground to a swimming hole, hiking and canoeing, there is something for everyone. But the biggest drawl for me was the pancake house. I had not been since I was a kid and was really excited to try it again and take Babe, Ol and Kerri. While it was a fun experience I doubt we will go back (at least not for the pancakes). There was a long wait (over 1.5 hours), which was perfect because we were able to hike while we waited. The hike was nice, but very buggy (a few ticks too).  The pancakes were a nice treat after a long hike (though there was no ac and it was very warm), but I think we are more of ‘BBQ-after-a-hike’ type people and the pancakes just weren’t cutting it. One major perk was getting to explore the old run down orange factory that sits right outside the entrance to the springs. I do love some old Florida exploring!! 

Bonus: Only cheap with a birthday buddy!!
While these are our top 5 options for being really budget friendly, with most only costing the half a tank of gas it takes to get there and back, I do want to give an honorable mention to Boggy Creek Airboat Rides. I had always wanted to go and recently did and while it was not as thrill seeking as I had thought it would be, it was still a really cool experience. We did the 30 minute ride which was, in my opinion, the perfect amount of time. We got to see a lot and the ride was fun AND a huge perk is that if you go on your birthday it is ABSOLUTELY FREE (for the birthday person)!! Otherwise it's a little less than $30 per person. Great for any age as it's a super safe ride. 

Have a fabulous weekend and I hope you get to spend a little time getting lost!!