Life's Sweet Journey

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

5 Top Cruise Must Haves for the Next Time You Set Sail

Cruise coming up? Here are some of my top cruise must haves! 

Happy Travel Tuesday!
Excited for this month's linkup and to see where you all have been!! This month I am sharing my top cruise must haves for the next time you set sail.

I was supposed to be on a boat right now, sailing through the ocean blue with my mom, sister and cousins... Sadly, due to Hurricane Matthew that is not to be! While I am wishing it could have happened, the fact that a missed cruise is the only thing I have to complain about means we got off easy here. Praying for Haiti and the Bahamas and for all those dealing with the severe aftermath of the storm!

Since I already had this post scheduled and ready to go for while we were gone, I figured I would still share my cruising essentials with you all! 
So, here they are... 

Top Cruise Must Haves

My Top Cruise Must Haves


No description necessary, but I may have to stock up on these beauties! They are under $10  and I lose sunglasses like it's nobodies business, so having an extra pair (or two) can't hurt!!

~Bathing Suit~ 

Top Cruise Must Haves

I always make sure I pack a bathing suit in my cruise carry-on! It can sometimes take a while for your luggage to get to your stateroom. The last thing you want is a beautiful sunny day, without the ability to throw on your suit and jump right in on the pool party fun!! These are two of my favorite one piece suits. The first is perfect for pool lounging, while the second is good for that as well as adventuring and jumping off seaside cliffs without fear of losing your top!

Top Cruise Must Haves

~A Good Book~ 

I can't go on a cruise without having at least one book with me! Hello sunshine, strawberry-banana daiquiri sipping and reading the day away!! A sweet friend just lent me her copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and I am one happy, happy girl!!

~ Good SPF is a Definite Cruise Must Have ~ 

My current self is sad to say that my younger self did not believe in proper sunscreen coverage. I would lather on some SPF 4 and call it a day! The war I am now forever waging with my wrinkles wishes that I had been more diligent! Sun Bum Sunscreen is my absolute fave! I love the smell and the way it doesn't sit on my skin feeling icky. Plus it's paraben free! I use SPF 30 for all over coverage and save the SPF 50 for my face, chest and shoulders!

~ Drip Drop Hydration Packets ~ 

These hydration powder packets are actually a new addition that I was going to try and will be taking with me when Babe and I cruise in November. I have taken to adding a splash of lemon Propel to my sangria, when I make it at home, to help me stay a little more hydrated. Plus, it actually tastes great too! I stumbled across this little happy when I was low on sweet wine and had to use regular dry red wine. Figured couldn't hurt to try and see if the lemon water would make it sweeter- and it did! 

However, your options for cruising are either a bottle of wine OR a pack of waters. Can you guess which one I would choose?! Needless to say I was going to need to find another way to get my electrolytes into my sangria, when I read about Drip Drop over on Carolina Charm. Christina said it kept her and her husband hydrated, while in Jamaica, after being on the beach all day and helped them to combat the effects of the sun, sand, beverages and older age the next morning! I will let you know how it turns out!! {Drip Drop also comes in Berry flavor, but I have tried Berry propel in my sangria and much prefer the lemon}.

And that's about it for my cruise packing essentials! Sure, a cute dress or two doesn't hurt- but one of the freedoms of cruising is that I don't often need much! If I feel like I can get away without makeup or having to blow-dry my hair then even better. Just give me some sun, a lounge chair and keep a drink in my hand and I am one content little critter! What are your top cruise must haves?

Hoping your travels find you somewhere fun with someone you love! Or traveling solo to explore a little more about the world and yourself! Either way, I am so excited to see where you have been adventuring to lately!

Happy Travels! 
Where have you been exploring lately? 
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
~No real 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. Leave a little love where you like! 
~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. September's fave was from Arrows and Awe, because how stunning is that lunch spot in Mexico? Seriously, go check it out!! 

Excited to explore the globe with you all! 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Our Hurricane Matthew Plans

It's Thursday night and we are currently boarded up and tucked away at home to ride out Hurricane Matthew! This is our first major hurricane as a married couple. The last big storms that were expected to cause severe damage actually took place right before we met and started dating- nearly 12 years ago. As native Floridians we don't normally fret much over hurricanes. For us it usually means a day or two off school/ work and some puddles to jump in after. Matthew may have other plans though! Even Disney closed it's doors, so when that happens you know you need to worry a bit- Disney doesn't close down for anything! So we prepped as much as we thought needed (sand bags, propane, making sure Flo was nice and stabilized) and stocked up on tons of snacks. We are praying for minimal damage to our community, for our neighbors, for those in the area looking for shelter, and for all those in places where Matthew has already been and who are currently dealing with the aftermath of the storm. 

So, while the weathermen have us fearing the worst and made sure we are tucked away as safely as possible, here is how we are combating the "locked-in blues" until we are truly hunkered down when Matthew fully hits in a few hours... 

1.) This post! I am currently supposed to be at work, but hurricanes do occasionally have their bonuses and, while I love my jobs, I am thankful for a day off to storm prep with my sweet hubs, check in on mom and dad, and have the extra time that I wouldn't typically have to devote to this little blog! 

2.) Movie Marathons! That is until the power cuts out!! We have been picking through Amazon Prime movies. We just watched Invasion with Nicole Kidman and are working on our next pick! Come on power! You can do it!! Just stick with it!! 

3.) Games!! I am assuming we will playing endless games of rummy by lantern light, just as soon as the power goes out! We also have Sorry and Scrabble on hand if we get tired of cards. 

Doesn't it just drive you crazy when you FINALLY finish a puzzle only to find two pieces missing?! Ahhh, oh well!
4.) Puzzles!! I just finished one puzzle that had taken me For-Eh-Vor! (said in full Squints from Sandlot accent) to complete! Not sure how thrill Babe is about the idea, but I can't wait to start a new one!! How pretty is this 1000 piece Cinque Terre puzzle?! Gets me right in my wanderlusting heart!! 

5.) Reading!! One of my absolute favorite things to do during a storm is to curl up in a cozy chair with a good book!! The rain on the roof, a warm cup of coffee, all wrapped snug-as-a-bug in a blanket with a book in my lap?! That is absolute bliss!! Anything good you are reading lately? I just got Harry Potter and The Cursed Child from a friend and CAN'T WAIT to jump in!! 

Now, here's to hoping I can actually stay in a cozy chair and not need to be hiding out in the hallway. Either way though- hallway or cozy chair- I am thankful to have a save place to weather out the storm! 

Praying for all my Florida friends and family! Stay safe! 

And for those not here, how are you spending your weekend? 
 Do something outside and adventurous for me! 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

What's Up Wednesday// Reading, Reminiscing, Loving

Happy Wednesday Friends! 
I am currently holed up in bed, with some kind of "happy" stomach bug. So I am trying to take my mind of the icky feelings and headache and figured I would take part in a little What's Up Wednesday fun! Here's a peek into what I'm up to this Wednesday... 
~What I'm reminiscing about: No, my day doesn't include views like these. It includes a lot of Gatorade and Ginger Ale, but I am trying to keep my mind off of it by reminiscing about our trip to Colorado a few years ago!! Hoping to get to take Flo there very soon and stay for a much longer period of time!! These views still blow me away! 

~What I'm reading: We are currently reading The Cuckoo's Calling for our book club. Written by J.K. Rowling under a pseudonym, Robert Galbraith. It follows private investigator, Comoran Strike, while he tries to find out what happened to a woman named Lula Landry, who fell to her death and he is out to find out why. Definitely not my beloved Harry Potter, but it's interesting to read something else written by the wonderful Rowling! Guess we will see how it turns out... 

~ What I'm doing this weekend: Babe is off for a bachelor party to celebrate my bro-in-laws upcoming nuptials, so I am planning to spend the weekend hosting a garage sale over at my moms. I am working on embracing a more minimalistic view of life (large work in progress) and I definitely know I get my slight hoarding ways naturally! My mom had closets full of candles and it felt so nice to purge most of them, along with another couple hundred things she has floating around the house that she doesn't need! 

~ What I'm loving: Pumpkin Season! It may not feel much like Fall here in Florida, but I already stocked up on pumpkins and can't wait to make me some honey roasted pumpkin seeds really soon!! 

~What I'm looking forward to next month: Cruising!! Next month I'm hitting the open seas with my mom, sister and cousins on a gals cruise to the Bahamas! Can't wait for some sun, sipping and fun with the ladies!! 

What are you up to this Wednesday? 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Things to Do at Rainbow Springs State Park

At the end of last month we took a little FloRida trip, out towards Ocala, to have a little fun at Rainbow Springs State Park and do some tubing. There are so many things to do at Rainbow Springs State Park. It was the bomb!! Here's why... 

Where We Stayed: 
We LOVE staying at state parks and Rainbow Springs State Park just added to the reasons why! It was a beautiful park! It doesn't matter if you had an RV or a tent, the sites were so spacious and very nicely maintained. There was still a good community park feel, but with the right amount of privacy. We love getting to see everyone at the park, but we don't love being able to see in people's windows, ya know?! Pretty much every spot at Rainbow Springs State Park had a private little alcove, with bushes to separate you from your neighbors. There were also plenty of very nice bathrooms spread throughout the park. Though we didn't use them, for those that do, there will always be a bathroom just a short walk from your site (with laundry facilities and everything)! We also LOVED that our spot had it's own black tank hookup (a bonus surprise). For all fellow RVers out there, you know that's like gold!! We got up the morning of departure, got Flo all fresh and clean, and headed out without having to fight a line of others leaving. There was also a really nice dump station at the front of the park (double-sided, pull-thru), with nice hoses for washing your rig if needed. 

What We Did:
RIVER TUBING!! And lots of it! Rainbow Springs is located in Dunnellon, Florida and the river is pretty much the main means of entertainment- for good reason!! The river is beautiful and, because it is spring fed, it flows really fast; fast enough to tube down. The spring feeds into the river which means you aren't just floating on the spring itself, so the waterway is nice and wide, allowing for plenty of room to sit back, relax and not feel like you are right up someone else's rear-end. You do share the river with boaters, but they are mostly float boats and for the most part they are very mindful of the tubers.

We had brought our own tubes, but the park does have them available for rent, along with a tram ride that will take you from your car to the drop in point (cost is $15 per person). We chose to save the money and, because we were staying at the campground (the drop in point for tubers), Andrew was able to drive the car down to the main park entrance and then bike back to the site. He did that for each of the 3 trips we took down the river. The bike ride only took him 5-10 minutes and it saved us a bunch of $$$! We like saving money! If you aren't staying at the park, this option is still doable. You can either bring two cars, take one to the drop-in site and leave the other at the get-out point, or you can bring a bike with you and have one person drop everyone off with the tubes, drive the car down and then bike back. Yes, you would then have to pick the bike back up once you get off the river and to the car, but depending on the size of your group it can save a good bit of money for just an added 5 minutes. Remember though, this only works if you have your own tubes!! If you don't yet, I say invest in a good one! I love my flamingo tube, not only because he is cute, but also super functional (he makes the best head rest)! Babe is itching to get a double tube with a cooler. We saw a lot on the river and they definitely looked to be where it was at, in terms of ultimate river relaxation! 

When we first woke up on Friday morning we did take a little bit of time to go up and check out the other part of the park. Rainbow Springs State Park is divided into three sections and the headsprings is one of those (with the main part-for getting tubes- and the campground being the other two). It is a beautiful spot where you can swim, rent kayaks (also available and the campground) and walk around the grounds of what use to be an Old Florida attraction. The maps showing what all use to be at the park are really neat! You can walk around and explore the waterfalls and the remains left behind from when there was a zoo and other attractions at the park. It gives the park an almost eerie feel, once you get past the waterfalls and deeper into the old park, and I love me a good spooky thrill! There is just something about an abandoned place, thinking about all the stories that it holds, that builds up my adrenaline and makes me feel alive. Definitely a neat place to walk around and explore! It is also very family friendly as most of the trails are paved and therefore easily accessible by both strollers and wheelchairs! We saw a family pushing their grandpa through the park and I had to wonder if he had seen it in its hay day. 

After our trip to the headsprings, we were on the river the majority of the rest of our trip! There is a nice hike at the campground, which took us about 30 minutes, but the rest of the time was devoted to the water. We did one tube on Friday night and two on Saturday. My advice for those looking for a more intimate float, go Friday night! There was barely anyone on the river and we saw tons of wildlife, including 3 otters who were frolicking in the water! Saturday morning is definitely very busy with boaters, tubers, SUPs and kayaks. Since we weren't doing the tram we were able to time it right and wait until the tram unloaded and that group got started before we took off, so we were further away from clumps of people who had attached together, but it was still crowded. Saturday evening was quieter than the morning, but still more crowded than Friday night. So if you can get there for a weekend away definitely hit the river Friday night before the crowds come in. I would love to see what it looks like during the week!! I am trying to convince Babe that we should be camp hosts there one summer! 

And one last piece of advice! JUMP! Keep your eyes peeled along the river for swing or jump trees (on the wild side of the river; no swinging off peoples property, that's just not polite)! We found one about halfway down the river and, even though the river patrol had cut the swing and taken out the first wooden board for climbing, we were able to get up in the tree to jump out (I, of course, had to be boosted by Babe... note to self, strengthen upper body). Just do it, you will thank yourself once you are down! It was such a rush that we of course did it as many times as my climbing arms could handle! 

Where We Ate: 
We typically try to eat at a local BBQ joint on our way to set up camp, but we had left after I got off of work late Thursday and so, sadly, we didn't get to try any local fare. However, we drove through town a little bit and found a few spots to check out on our next visit, including The Blue Gator, which is along the river. We love a good riverside dive! 

We LOVED our trip! After a very go, go, go summer, it was nice to have a relaxing trip that allowed us to just sit back and soak in some of Florida's best features!! If I have anything to say about it, we will be going back again very soon!! 

Other Florida Adventures

Happy Travels! 
Where have you been off adventuring lately? 
Share your link below and let's travel together! 
~On the 2nd Tuesday of every month I will be sharing a new travel destination and would love to see where you have been exploring! 
~Any linked posts will be pinned under Travel Tuesday on my Pinterest
~No real 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. Leave a little love where you like! 
~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. August's fave was from Away She Went, because I am itching to get to Glacier National Park! It has been on my bucket list for ages!! 

Excited to explore the globe with you all!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Tuesdays Together: The Drafting Desk and the Color of Hope

Happy Tuesday Friends!!
This post will be a bit different than recent posts, but I wanted to brag on some of my friends for a bit! I am so blessed to have some pretty incredible people in my life. People who use their stories, their heartbreaks, their imperfections (or uber-perfections that they have a hard time letting go of) and pour their souls open in hopes of letting others know that they aren’t alone. A few of those friends recently took big leaps of faith and today I want to share where that willingness to jump in has found them…

Lindsey and Rebekah are sweet friends that I know through church. Lindsey and I became close when we were working together in children’s ministry, before she moved to Michigan (boo for Florida, but yay for her new home state). We were also part of a sweet writers group. I miss her, but I have loved watching her story continue as she raises her growing family in a place where the seasons change! Lindsey considers herself a recovering perfectionist and, out of desire for her own heart to have something to remind her that it’s all about grace, she reached out to a gal named Rebekah and together they have began The Drafting Desk. It is a monthly newsletter filled with all kinds of goodness for those looking for a reminder to cut yourself some slack. We all need that, don’t we?! Though I wouldn’t consider myself a perfectionist (recovering or otherwise) I often find myself envying people who are. On a day when I have, yet again, failed at daily life tasks like getting my clean laundry off the couch (for the 3rd day in a row) and into the closet, I grind my teeth and curse myself for not being good at "adulting" and wonder if I will ever get better or if my poor husband will be left taking care of all the housework until we are both old and gray! I am looking forward to an inbox full of encouragement reminding me that it’s ok... It’s ok to be myself, flaws and all, because I was saved by Grace and my worth isn’t in the laundry on the couch, or the waffles in the shower (more on that another day), it’s in Jesus. That’s it, that’s all, amen! In Lindsey's own words, "The Drafting Desk is for all of us who are exhausted from the constant pursuit of "better and need encouragement to choose Grace instead of perfection." 

To join in simply head to their site to subscribe and also follow them over on Instagram. Their newsletters include great freebies like monthly printable prayers, plus phone and desktop wallpaper! 
                                                   the color blue and hope

My sweet friend Jenna; her story is one that can often find my heart in my knees and my brain playing through all the ways she shows how strong a person can be with the right amount of hope. Jenna is a mama of 4, with two babies here on Earth with her and two babies who are in heaven and always in her heart. Jenna writes about her journey over on her blog, The Color Blue and Hope, and her words can share her story much better than I could. She has taken the grief of losing her two baby boys and found the strength to make her pain something that can benefit others. Jenna is using The Color Blue and Hope as a platform to create care boxes for women who are fighting for the life of their child while on bed rest and for those who are grieving the loss of an infant. Jenna is loving on these ladies from a place of understanding and helping them to feel cared for.
You can learn more about her plans and read some of her story here on Instagram. You can also donate money towards a box, that will help show a sweet mama that she is not suffering alone, here at GoFundMe. Sadly, so many of us know someone who has lost an infant or we have a friend doing their best to stay in bed because doctors have told them their baby might not make it if they don't. Seeing Jenna use her story to help support those woman is something I feel blessed to get to witness!! 

I am hoping that today finds you with time to lift someone else up, to come together in community and support one another! That's what we are here for; we are here to love each other and cheer one another on! 

Who in your life could use a cheerleader? 
What friends of yours have taken big leaps of faith recently?
Share them, please! I would love to "meet" them!