Life's Sweet Journey

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! 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Happy Things 2016: January Happies!

Happy Monday Friends! Hoping that Monday has you pumped and ready for a new week, but if not, maybe a little dose of happiness will help! Today is the first of my Happy Things for 2016! I would love to have you join and share yours too!
These 5 things made me really happy in January!
1.) Flo's first out of state adventure was a huge success!! We loved our trip to Georgia and can't wait to adventure again soon!!

2.) It is finally cold enough to have a fire in the fireplace! Not only that, it has stayed cold enough! Florida is freezing y'all!! We have had a fire in the fire place every night for the past week. And the make it even happier, we moved our bedroom into the living room. We usually do this once it stays cold enough. We take the mattress off the bed and plop it right next to the fireplace. We build a fire big enough to last well into the night and I fall asleep with my face only about a foot or two away from the flames! It's absolutely lovely; the flames dance and create a colorful display behind my closed eyes, while the pop of the burning embers play music that lulls me to sleep. Seriously, if you have a fireplace and have never done this, you need to! Especially if you have kiddos! We don't, but piling into the living room when my nieces and nephews are over and having a "camp-in" by the fire while play games and watching a movie= perfection!
3.) Teaching my niece to play Sorry! Sorry was the game we grew up playing as a family. Last week I ran into her and her mama at Publix and they came over to play by the fire for a bit. She is almost 5, so it was really fun to have her actually grasp how to play and for her to get to play by herself (with our help). We would give her the best options and she would get to pick how she moved. It was hysterical to see her little brain decide who she would "Sorry!!" Apparently, I was the big target! But in the end it came down to the two of us (kicked poor Uncle Andrew right out of the running), literally both of us waiting on a 3 to get our last man home. Ultimately I ended up winning, so it was also really neat to get to teach her how to be a good sport. It's something I have trouble with myself sometimes, so I told her it was ok to want to win but that a true winner is one who can lose with grace! A good lesson for both of us for sure!!
4.) Seeing The Sound of Music with my sweet mama!! I love going to plays and this was the first time getting to see the stage version of Sound of Music, as well as the first time in our new downtown Orlando theater! My Sound of Music loving heart was very happy!!!

5.) Orlando day hikes!! I love adventuring and I love getting to go away in Flo, but it also makes my heart really happy when Babe and I have days off together to explore in our own backyard! So the other day we did just that and headed up to Little Big Econ State Forest to go to Kolokee Trail that a coworker had recommended to me. It was a beautiful day! Weather in the high 60's and sunny. The loop cuts through some of the Florida trail and was really well maintained (probably one of the most maintained trails we have done). It was a great area to check out for any of you local Orlando hikers!

Other happies: beautiful sunsets, lots of oyster eating, best woman wedding accepting fun, farmers market days, 4Rivers dates with friends we met on the road

What are some of your happies?!
I would love to see! 
Join the link up and share your happy things for 2016!! 
Link Up Rules: 
- Share a post (up to 2) about anything happy; it can be 5 happy things, 1 happy thing, really just anything for the month that has made your heart smile! 
- Feel free to share the image above so that others can link up their happy things too!
- Leave a happy comment on at least one other post
- I will interact with all posts in some way (comments, pinning to Happy Things 2016 board...)
- Share your happy things on Instagram using #happythings2016
- Come back on the last Monday of each month to share your happy things for that month and start a community of people who are adding a bit of cheer to Mondays! 
- Link up will be run through Friday of the same week

Friday, January 22, 2016

Strawberries 5 Ways: 5 Favorite Strawberry Recipes!

I love Florida! Oh so much! Yay for strawberry season!!
I was so excited to see that Brook Hollow Farm would be starting their season early this year. They are a hydroponic farm in Orlando and I LOVE them. I love not having to bend down to pick berries!! The farm is run by the sweetest couple, who live on property. While the majority of their farm is geared towards strawberries, they will also have blackberries and tomatoes soon! They make my heart (and belly) very happy! If you live in the Orlando area, you have to check them out!

Needless to say, I have been strawberry happy over here!! So I thought I would share with you some of my favorite ways to enjoy their red and juicy goodness!
Fresh!~ I mean this needs no explanation! Fresh strawberries each morning are bliss! Right off the plant? Even better!!

Smoothies!~ I always freeze a good handful or two so that I can keep them for smoothies!! My favorite is banana and strawberry with a hint of tangerine. I do the following...
1 half frozen banana
1 half fresh banana
3 frozen strawberries
1 half of a vanilla Greek yogurt
about 3/4 cup almond milk (add more or less for desired consistency)
1 drop of tangerine oil (smoothie must be in glass cup if oil is used)

Honey Mustard Tilapia with Strawberry salsa!~ This dish has been a favorite of mine for a while. I had found a similar recipe along time ago in a cookbook I had checked out from the library and tweaked it to create one more my style. Here's the recipe:
For fish baste-
2 small/medium tilapia filets 
3 or 4+ tablespoons honey
1 small squeeze yellow mustard (could change mustard based on taste preference)
Garlic Salt 
Season all Salt 
Preheat Oven to 420. Line pan with aluminum foil and coat with a bit of oil. Place fish on pan and season both sides with garlic and season all salt. In a small bowl mix honey and mustard together. I do a tiny squeeze of mustard because I prefer mine more of a honey base, but Babe like mustard so once I have basted my fish I will add a larger squeeze of mustard to baste his. Make sure to coat both sides of fish. I will also add a little pepper to his fish. It's great because you can really play to taste preference. Once preheated bake fish for 5-6 minutes on one side, then flip and bake for another 5-6 minutes. 
Handful of strawberries cut up
Pineapple chunks
Lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
While fish is cooking mix strawberries, pineapple, a few drops of lime juice and 1 tablespoon honey in a small bowl. Put in fridge until fish is done. Once the fish is cooked, top with salsa. I usually serve over/ with rice. I know you might be thinking, fruit and fish?! But oh my, is it delicious!! When in season I will also use kiwi or peach in the salsa.

Strawberry, PB & N Flatwich~ I discovered this delectable treat one afternoon while making Nutella sandwiches for the kids I nanny. You simply take the FlatOut pita wraps, swipe some peanut butter on one side and Nutella on the other and then slice strawberries and spread them across the middle and then fold in half. This is my favorite hiking day snack, because unlike a meat sandwich, the warmer the sandwich gets the better it is!! When I am eating it at home I will often put in the microwave for a few seconds (between 9-12). It makes the perfect little treat or a sweeter lunch! Great option for picky kiddos too!

Strawberry Water~ I have the hardest time remembering to drink enough water during the day, but when I have strawberries in the house it makes it A LOT easier!! I love strawberry water! Just cut the top off a fresh berry and plop it in the water! Keeps me refilling that water all day! Yay for hydration! To vary it up every so often I will add cucumber or blueberry with the strawberries. I also love to plop in a drop of grapefruit oil too to give my metabolism a boost (always use a glass bottle when adding essential oils)!

Strawberries make me happy and I can't wait to get back to the farm!
Happy strawberry season friend!! 
It's FRIDAY!! 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Words for Wednesday: See the Magic

I have always loved this quote by Roald Dahl. There is something so magical in this world, something so unique and wonderful and I pray that I always have eyes (and a heart) that are open to seeing it. There is beauty and magic all around us... It is that beauty that leaves me without a doubt in my mind that we have the most wonderful Creator; there is too much imagination in the colors of a sunset, the immensity of a mountain landscape or the music that is made by the crunch of Fall leaves underfoot for me to ever think otherwise. And I pray I am imparting that onto the next generation. Hearing my niece get so excited about Flo and adventuring and seeing the world makes me think that maybe I am doing my small part! 

Thank You for the beauty. 
Thank You for the wonder.
Thank You for the magic. 
Thank You for adventure! 

Here's to Wednesday and finding wonder. 
Where have you found yourself wandering lately? 
Where have you found magic?

Friday, January 15, 2016

QALO Adventure Rings!

Happy Friday Folks!! It's Friday, it's Friday! And Monday is a holiday! Do you know what that means?! That means adventure!! We are looking up local hikes to do this weekend and I can't wait to get out there! Especially now that we have our new adventure rings!
I am partnering with QALO Rings today and am super excited to share them with you! I found them when I started looking for a ring to get Babe for Christmas. He lost his wedding band years ago while wake boarding and, being the "on the ball" wife that I am, we never got around to replacing it. Sure, it was sad when his was gone, but after the initial loss I didn't really think it was that big of a deal and had just planned to get around to it sometime or another. Then we hit year 3 with no ring and I thought to myself, "it is time to do something about this!" Insert QALO!

QALO rings are the bomb! I know I just totally brought back 90's slang, but I am not kidding! These babies rock! QALO rings are a silicone based ring made for the adventurer in all of us! There are so many colors and styles to choose from.

I figured the best way to share the love with you is to share some of the reasons I think QALO rings are so great! So here they are....
5 Reasons I Love QALO Rings
1.) They are perfect for all sorts of adventures!! Hiking, climbing, wake boarding, going to the gym, working with your hands... QALO makes it super easy to be active! Each ring comes with it's own zippered pouch that can be clipped onto anything (gym bag, hiking backpack), so that when you need to switch out your metal band for your adventure ring (if you don't just wear it all the time) you can easily switch them out and have a safe place to store your other ring until you switch back. 
2.) The quality is superb! The rings are made of medical grade silicone; yes they are bendable and pliable, but that is their purpose. They are made to move with you! Though they are flexible, they are also strong! I will let you in on a little secret. Prior to finding QALO I had stumbled upon a set of rings on Amazon and thought I would give those a try. Bad idea! Babe took one look at them, tried one on and said nope! They were more rubber band than ring. QALO rings are well made and you can feel the difference. They sit more like a metal ring, don't squeeze your finger and allow for some give and take.
3.) They are super cute! Yes, I said cute! I love the availability of choices they provide. Each ring comes with a small imprint of one of their signature symbols (a heart, kettle bell, compass or axes). The color selection is right up my alley! I love a little color pop for adventuring!!
4.) They are really reasonably priced! Perfect for a money saving heart like mine! With rings ranging from $16 to $25 you won't feel bad roughing them up too much!! They are built tough anyways and made for getting active!! 
5.) And a personal perk! I love seeing a ring on my man's hand again!! Friends were always saying to me, "Why don't you get him a ring?! Isn't that kind of a big deal?!" And really it wasn't, I knew we were married, other people knew we were married, the ring was just the thing. But then I saw a ring on his finger again and my heart got way happy! It was nice to see that symbol of our promise to each other sitting right there on his finger!
QALO rings really are wonderful and they stick by their motto: