Saturday, February 28, 2015

Heart Like A Lion

My new inspiration board!

With a little chalk board spray paint I now have encouragement while doing dishes :) 

For me, surrounding myself with positive affirmations helps me not loose sight of what my wants and dreams are.  

This week I was with friends, who I thought lived their life through "love", but surprised me when they blatantly expressed negative thoughts that were real.  It caught me off guard and really I was disgusted to the point of not wanting to hang out with them anymore.  Primarily, because I truly thought they were loving but turns out you never really know who people are....

That was the main reason for creating something for me and Josh to see everyday.   So when we are around negative people we can come home to positivity and happy thoughts.

You are what you think, believe,!
Create a happy home!

Could not be truer!

What do you do to create a happy home?

Have you ever heard of the reggae band, Rebelution?  Well, they are amazing and their song, Heart Like A Lion, always stirs my soul and gets me motivated to work on making our dreams come true!  Music is such great inspiration!

A heart like a lion, a burning like fire
Waiting just to be set free
A heart like a lion, a burning like fire
How can I bear captivity
Some they tell me I'm a fool, a fool who walks this road alone
So afraid of making changes, remember that nothing is carved in stone
Oh tell me why we are so afraid of the secrets locked within our souls
Everything that we're made of is dying just to be exposed oh yea

So don't turn your back on yourself, cause there's nowhere to run
You know your life's ain't a practice run
It's time to wake up you're mind oh yea
For maybe tomorrow will never come or maybe it will but by then it's too late uh huh
There's nothing left to do but cry
So now you cry and you don't know why, and now you cry but you don't know why

So what you want to be now well it's time to realize
That everything you need now has been right in front of your eyes
Don't point your fingers and blame, remember it's never too late to change
Don't point your fingers and blame, remember it will be okay

Maybe your dreams are just out of reach or will take a few years to obtain but start now on achieving them.  You never know how much time you have left so seize the moment and ignore all the nay sayers!

Seven easy steps to achieve your dreams...

  • Step 1: Dream it. Everything begins in the heart and mind. ... 
  • Step 2: Believe it. Yes, your dream needs to be big. ... 
  • Step 3: See it. The great achievers have a habit. ... 
  • Step 4: Tell it. ... 
  • Step 5: Plan it. ... 
  • Step 6: Work it. ... 
  • Step 7: Enjoy it.

  • Step 4 seems to be the hardest for me because I HATE feeling like people are judging me.  A bad habit of mine is keeping everything in and sometimes even keeping my wants from my husband.  I think I do it because I fear someone will tell me it can't be done.  It literally crushes me because by the time I have gotten to the point of wanting to share, I believe in it soooo much!  

    Changing my ways begins now....

    Another favorite of mine is "Moonlight", the melody and lyrics make my heart and soul smile.

    We've been lost out here for days
    Don't worry we'll be fine if we just wait
    Let's try to relate, in our own world we'll be okay

    The clock ticks faster on these days
    And ticking tocks the way, Can love thrash hate?
    Let's try to relate, in a bright world we'll be okay

    We'll be under the moonlight
    Dancing away like two silhouettes in the sand, what a sight
    Can you see? Can you see me? Or is this a dream?

    > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > >

    Live your life everyday as if tomorrow may be the last.  Follow the 7 steps to achieving your dreams and remember....


    Friday, February 27, 2015

    Perth, Australia

    Welcome to Perth, the capital of Western Australia!

    A little bit of geography...
    There are 8 different states that make up continent all with a different capital city:
    * Western Australia, Perth
    * Northern Territory, Darwin
    * Queensland, Brisbane
    * New South Wales, Sydney
    * Victoria, Melbourne
    * South Australia, Adelaide
    * Tasmania, Hobart
    * Norfolk Island, Kingston

    Why visit Perth?
    For starters, it is a laid back and mellow city, easily navigable, and the sunniest capital in the world.  It borders the Indian Ocean, is home to some of the world's best beaches, and a perfect Mediterranean climate.  Also, the city blends together a natural and urban setting by co-exisiting with the Swan River and Aussie bush.  
    Fun fact:
    Being the largest state in Australia, with more land area than Western Europe, Western Australia is sparsely populated with most of the inhabitants residing in Perth.
    The best time to visit is their winter and spring seasons which means our summer and fall.  

    Main attractions:

    Perth Zoo
    I am a zoo fanatic, especially overseas because they offer you chance to see and sometimes interact with animals you only read about in books.  Animals are amazing!  This zoo is located in the middle of the city but it also creates habitats for local wildlife to call home!
    Whale Watching
    This is a must as the western shore of Australia is a natural Humpback and Blue Whale migration route.  The best time for this is April through August as they are passing through to their breeding grounds.  If you do are keen on being in open water there are plenty of vistas from shore too.
    Cottesloe Beach
    This beach is a local favor and offers clean, crystal clear water for swimming, snorkeling, and kicking back.

    King's Park and Botanical Garden
    Overlooking the Swan River, sitting on 400 hectares is the magnificent park where you can spend a whole day walking, picnicking  bird watching, etc.  The city included walk ways through out the whole park that give you great views of the bush.
    *Bush: any sparsely inhabited region.
    Rottnest Island
    Take a ferry and spend a couple of nights on this small, exquisite island full of hidden coves, reefs, and sunsets that will blow your mind.  Accommodations range from camping, hostels, B&Bs, home stays, and resorts.  No cars are driven on the island so imagine the peaceful, natural island vibe that will rejuvenate your soul.
    Check out this website for a comprehensive list of activities in Perth!

    > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > 

    United Military Travel

    Wednesday, February 25, 2015

    How Dangerous Is Traveling Solo???

    Recently, numerous articles about women's safety when traveling solo abroad have circulated targeting specific city's crime statistics like murder, rape, and robbery.

    My favorite article is from a London based publication the Daily Mail, entitled "Sex attacks, muggings and harassment: World's most dangerous holiday destinations for women (and some of the places may surprise you)".

    Honestly, the article really just makes me sick and it is an un-neccessary blow into the tourist industry.  It reflects the author in a negative way as she comes across like she is saying "if you are a woman and travel abroad you will get raped or murdered!"  Seriously????

    As many of you know, I am a huge supporter of men AND woman traveling solo and think that it is a necessary rite of passage into adulthood.  When you venture out into the world, one day on the streets in a unfamiliar setting will teach you more than one week in a classroom.  Having traveled solo internationally many times myself, I have encountered only a few experiences where safety was a concern so it makes me sad to hear someone almost intentionally trying to dissuade people from traveling.

    To me it does not matter if you are traveling internationally or domestically, the risk of violent and non-violent crimes exists and for the sake of being smart you should ALWAYS be aware of your surroundings and understand how to keep yourself safe.  Unfortunately, accidents do happen and sometimes no matter the precautions you take you cannot avoid fate.  This applies at home too.

    And for the record - I HATE, HATE, HATE news channels.  They all make it seem like the world is falling apart and going to shit in each episode they air.  Anyone can make you afraid of any subject by highlighting the negative things on a reoccurring basis....basically brainwashing you.  The media has such an affect over the minds of millions that it is terrifying, they can make us perceive and believe anything they want to.

    Not me.  My perceptions of the world will ALWAYS come from my own experiences.

    But let me clarify.  Yes, I believe that traveling can be dangerous whether you are solo or in a group but I also believe that the risks of crime happening at home are just as prevalent.

    Everyone has an opinion on the matter but it is important how you form your opinion.  Is it from following the news or from actual experiences?

    Lets put this into prospective.
    The article cites that in South Africa, "More than 66,000 sexual offenses were reported in 2012-2013, a rate of 127 sexual offenses per 100,000 population."

    Well according to RAIIN, the nation's largest anti-sexual assault organization, "There is an average of 293,066 victims of rape and sexual assault each year.  Every 107 seconds, another American is sexually assaulted.  Here's the math.  There are 525,600 minutes in a non-leap year.  That makes 31,536,000 seconds/year.  So, 31,536,000 divided by 293,066 comes out to 1 sexual assault every 107 seconds."

    So what is my point?  Is it really fair that she targeted South Africa when ANYWHERE in the world experiences sexual offenses???

    My second point:

    The author discusses female harassment in Morocco, which as we all know is a Muslim country.  Yes, it is common practice for female travelers to dress conservatively when in ANY Muslim country AND to understand the views of men towards women.  But is there really a difference between the catcalls in Morocco than Italy?
    Why is Italy not on the list for harassment when all day every day men shout to women, "Ciao bella!"
    That is how it is and I speak from experience.

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    And I agree with Stephanie from Twenty Something Travel on how the best aspect of this article is the advice from her fellow travel bloggers.

    My point is this, I do not think it is fair to target certain countries and state they are dangerous for a women to travel to when EVERYWHERE has dangers.

    Simply choose wisely on your travel destination and while you are on home soil - be safe out there.

    Tuesday, February 24, 2015

    How To Start Any Kind Of Blog

    Or any blog for that matter.

    First, find your niche.
    What are YOU passionate about and most knowledgable.  It is never a good idea to write about something you have no experience in or do not love.  Your content will come out plain and boring.  Also, the blog is yours and yours alone so write it for you.  If you happen to get some followers awesome, but just do it for you.

    Second, choose a blogging website aka platform.
    This step reminds me of a kid in a candy store.  So lets break it down to the top three.

    Wordpress in December powered over a fifth of the internet so it is easy to stay they are the most popular out there.  Why?  Well, since many people use them,  majority of the hosting companies (which you will need) allow for a "one-click" installation for free.  Currently, I am working on a personal blog with Wordpress and anything I can do with one click and not have to dive to deeply into "techy" things the better!  Also, they are FREE.  Usually the term free means that your customazation options are limited but not with Wordpress.  They also offer you a slew of affordable themes to choose from.

    Tumblr is a blogging platform yes but in the micro sense and serves also as a social networking website.  Now, you may be thinking, "we'll isn't that great to get my posts seen?"  Yes, it is but imagine Tumblr as a mix between Wordpress and Twitter.  You will see posts feeding while also wronging your own profile to share ideas more elaborately than you could on Facebook or Twitter.  The official description from Tumbr is this, "it empowers people to create something extraordinary.  Find and follow the things you love.  Share photos, gifts, video, music, quotes, chats, links, and text.  I just created an account of my own there to connect to my Wordpress blog and also to house my favorite photos.
    Personally, I get distracted easily so when I go to write a post I do not need the temptation of all the streaming posts lurking on the next page.

    Blogger is such a great free beginner website.  As you can see I am using it now and the layout is fairly straight forward and simple.  I was attracted to it when I first started out for three reason: it is powered by Google, it has been around the longest, and the actual name.  My primary email is Gmail so the conveneince of Blogger makes it incredibly easy to access and for some reason I just trust Google.  No, actually, I love Google.  Blogger has also been the longest free running platform to date and that always speaks well about a product.  Also, starting out I wanted to be a blogger and that really was all I knew so duh, I would choose "blogger".  Its that simple.
    BUT would I choose it again?  No, because it is to simple.  That is the only reason.

    Third, find your hosting website.
    What is a hosting website and why do you need it?????
    In lamens terms a hosting site takes away the .blogspot or .wordpress in the IP address and gives you a simple .com.  Do you have to have your blog hosted?  No, BUT it will make it look more professional if you do.  Essentially, a hosting website allows you to rent a piece of the internet to call yours which in turn give you a better chance to come up in searches than if you did not use one.
    While Bluehost is not free it seems to provide the best site promotion, you get your domain name for free, and technical support is always there.  After that try GoDaddy!

    Fourth, customize your blog.
    Honestly, this one is the most challenging for me not because it truly is difficult but it does require you to know some website building fundamentals.  If you do not know any have no fear because you can always search Google on "how to" an BOOM you have been shown the way!  Two things you need to understand when designing your website/blog, you need:
    Plugins are simply add-ons that make your site functional.  When you create a blog it is coming as a blank canvas and it is your job to make it function and user friendly.  Widgets on the other hand are not necessary but do add extra flare to your blog.  For example, if you want to show the amount of followers or having the latest social media news stream on your site.  Those are widgets.
    Since plugins are the most essential here are the top FREE ones according to Adventurous Kate:
    Akismet – Keeps spam under control (and yes, you will get LOTS of spam otherwise!)
    Comment Reply Notification – Notifies commenters when they have a new reply to their comment. (It’s a courtesy thing.)
    Contact Form 7 – Allows you to install a simple contact form so people can email you through your site.
    Digg Digg — Displays social media icons on a floating sidebar, making it easy for people to share your posts.
    Facebook Social Widgets — See that little Facebook widget on my right sidebar? That! Makes it easy for people to become your fan on Facebook.
    FD Feedburner Plugin — Manages your feed, your stream of new content.
    Google XML Sitemaps — Makes it easy for search engines to find your content.
    nRelate — Puts little images of related posts at the bottom of each post, showing people more content they might like.
    Photo Dropper — Helps you add Creative Commons photos to your site the easy way and cites them legally. You should use your own pictures whenever possible, but this is good when you don’t have pictures from certain destinations.
    Ultimate Google Analytics — Installs Google Analytics, the industry standard of measuring your site’s visitors and traffic.
    WordPress SEO by Yoast — Helps you create content that shows up better in search engines.
    WPTouch Mobile Plugin — Makes your site look nice and easy to read on mobile phones.
    Fifth, join Social Media and follow other blogs.
    Jump right in to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+ and share, share, share!  Once you determine your screen names for each (I recommend trying to keep them all the same) add your social media plugins to your site so people can connect directly.  One of little tricks to having a successful blog is to follow other blogs because they should in turn follow you.  When you visit a blog you like or read a posts that interest you, leave a comment!

    Sixth, BLOG!!!
    Blog everyday, the more activity the more chances of your site being seen.  At best try 3-5 posts a week.
    The best way to create a successful blog is to write and share, write and share, write and share!

    Good luck and have fun with it!!!
    If you have a fun blog I would love to follow it, just leave a comment and I'll check it out!!!!

    Friday, February 20, 2015

    Rock Islands of Palau

    Located in the Western Pacific Ocean this group of limestone islands and coral reefs are considered the crown jewels of Micronesia. 

    photo credit:

    In 2012 the islands were turned into a World Heritage Site which means they are considered to have special cultural and/or physical significance that needs to be protected.  

    How to get there:
    No matter where you are in the world these islands are remote and it will take a few stops to get there.
    But basically every major international airport will get you there most likely with your final departure out of south east Asia.
    United Military Travel 

    When booking my airfare I personally would spread out the departure dates so I could spend a little bit of time in Asia or spend a few days in Hawaii before heading home.  

    General Information:

    Time zone: GMT + 9 
    Climate: Average 82 degrees with more rainfall during the months of July and October but still has plenty of sunshine.  
    Currency: The U.S. Dollar is the official currency and all major credit cards are excepted.
    Tipping:  Optional and always appreciated.
    Documentation:  all visitors require a passport than is not less than 6 months from expiration AND proof of return arrangements.  Citizens of the U.S., Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Guam, and the Northern Marianas Islands with valid passports receive a Visa good for 1 year upon arrival.  

    Things to do:
    Diving: Go with Fish N' Fins as they have been described as one of the best diving operations in the world!
    photo credit:
    Snorkel:  I would definitely check out Jellyfish Lake.  Thousands of years ago this lake was connected to the ocean but over time the limestone formed cutting off all access trapping the jelly fish inside.  What that means is that over the years since there were no predators they evolved and lost their stinging capabilities.  Over 10 million jellies now call Jellyfish Lake home so go, see, and swim!

    photo credit:
    Or if jellyfish aren't your thing head to the beach for an inshore swim!
    photo credit:
    photo credit:

    Need I say more???

    Hike: Ngardmau Waterfall is the largest waterfall in Palau is the primary source for all life.  After a 40 minute hike through pristine jungle you will be able to refresh your soul in this beautiful waterfall! 

    WWII History Tour: 
    Here is what Sam's Tours of Palau has to say about the history significance of the island.
    "The nowadays peaceful ambiance in Palau was not always as such. Since WWI, Palau was under Japanese occupation, serving as a territory for mining, agriculture and more, as well as one of the biggest Japanese Marine Bases in the Pacific.
    During WWII, Palau was a fierce battlefield between the US and Japan, with the longest battle conducted in Peleliu, where the Japanese built a small yet effective landing strip.
    Peleliu Island was the scene of one of the Pacific's bloodiest battles when U.S. Marines made an amphibious assault on the beaches in 1944 to liberate the island from Japanese forces. Peleliu was heavily fortified with massive concrete bunkers and over 300 man-made and reinforced natural caves used to shelter the Japanese forces during massive naval bombardments prior to the assault. The battle lasted several months, resulting in victory for the US, ending the Japanese occupation of Palau and beginning the US involvement in the archipelago."
    photo credit: Tony Cherbas

    Where to stay:
    From an aerial view it is quite deciving because you really just see water and jungle but Palau does offer a diverse number of accommodations.  Take your pick from luxury resorts, bungalows, motels, hotels, b&bs, live aboard a boat, or stay with a local family!  It seems that the majority of travelers choose to call the island of Koror home because that is where the majority of resorts and hotels are located but if you are in search of privacy try the northern and southern islands for a bungalow.  
    The visitor guide website is a great reference to find the perfect accommodations for your needs! 

    photo credit:
    > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > >

    You only live once so get out there and live!!!

    United Military Travel

    Thursday, February 19, 2015

    Score The Best Travel Deals

    Savvy: adjective
    1. 1
      shrewd and knowledgeable in the realities of life.

      Apply this when you are planning a trip and you can score some of the best travel deals out there.  You just have to know when and where to look and book.

      My favorite ways to book a vacation...

      1.  Wanna Cruise?
      Try a repositioning cruise.
      1. "A repositioning cruise (repo cruise) is a cruise in which the embarkation port and the disembarkation port are different. This is a less common type of cruise, in the majority of cruises the ship's final destination is the same as the starting point." source
        Cruise ships often times cruise 365 days of the year and try to always be at full capacity but they do have to "reposition" occasionally.  In order to keep some capacity they offer "one way" trips or a "repositioning" trip. Since you are just going one way they are much less than departing and returning from the same port and often less crowded.  
        Here is what a Royal Caribbean spokesperson said about their repo cruises:
        "Whether you're a cruising newbie or a seasoned sailor, our Repositioning cruise vacations are worthy of exploration. Since these cruises typically sail from one destination to another—departing from one port and ending in a different one—they offer a blend of exciting cities or ports you wouldn't see on our other itineraries. So why not enjoy the authentic Italian dining of Rome, dive among the coral reefs of Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, or let your jaw drop at the sight of Gaudí’s distinctive architecture in Barcelona?"
        On their website you can use their normal search method to find a cruise just change the drop down menu to "repositioning" and start your trip planning there.  
        2.  Bounce back deals
        This is an easy way to get deals sent directly to your email.  Simply go to any of the travel websites you would want to book through and complete your purchase process all the way up to payment.  But DO NOT check out!  Close out your browser and since your history is saved, as well as your cart, the company will recognize what you are looking for and since they want you to book with them they will send you lower quotes for what you want.  
        3.  Avoid large booking websites
        When you want to book a hotel room check out which is a site that was created by chains like Hyatt, Hilton, and Wyndham that offers discounted room rates. 
        Also try:
        But more importantly...
        Always try calling the hotel directly as they may offer you a better rate or perks that you cannot find online! Basically, look everywhere before you book. 
        4.  A home stay
        For those of you who follow me all know that I am a HUGE advocate of house rentals when vacationing.  They are great because they offer you more of a local feeling and privacy.
        5.  Think less main stream
        What I mean by this is instead of booking your trip to Paris why not try Lyon or Marseille.  Or head to countries that are either "third-world" or just getting out of economical trouble.  The businesses are going to offer you just about anything to get you to book with them.  And developing countries are always easy on the wallet.  Just be aware of what is going on in the world and plan a trip accordingly.  
        6.  When to book....
        There is a logistically way to online bookings and that is to understand which days are cheaper to book on and which ones offer the highest rates.  
        The simplest break down of when to book is this:
        Least expensive domestic travel: in order of best rates...
        And purchase between the hours of midnight and 1am on Wednesday and after 3pm on Tuesdays.  
        Then if you need to travel for the holidays try to travel on the actual holiday because you can save up to 30% for domestic flights and 15% for international.  
        A trick that I always follow is to fly early and avoid the peak hours between 9 and 5.  
        7.  United Military Travel
        UMT is an award-winning, trustworthy American company that offers active duty, career retired Military and government personnel travel loans to anywhere in the world.  If you do not have the money saved up but enough income each month to afford a vacation you can use them and pay for your vacation each month until it is paid off.  It doesn't matter if your trip is while you are still paying on it - go whenever you want.  Also, not only do they finance flights but also car rentals, hotels, and travel accessories.

    Wednesday, February 18, 2015

    20 Snowiest Places In The United States

    With eight inches of snow on the ground and 100% chance of snow tonight ALL I realistically can think about is moving south
    I ABSOLUTELY HATE, HATE, HATE winter time!

    And I never vacation in wintery destinations....NEVER.  We head south to warm tropical beaches to escape the winter blues.  

    I rather play with coconuts than snow balls.

    I cannot imagine having to continue your daily life in snow but, this is coming from a North Carolina girl where our government shuts down for an inch.  

    Call me a wimp if you want but seriously - who likes snow?!?!?!?!

    My favorite part of snow is making snow cream.....that is all :) 

    Out of curiosity I Googled the snowiest places in the United States, basically to make sure I NEVER live in any of those places.  Some of the cities are a no brainer and some surprised me. 
    Here are the cities that made the cut for "Top 20 snowiest".

    20.  Madison, Wisconsin 
    Average yearly snow fall: 51.6"
    Average yearly temperature: 46.3 F

    19.  Fargo, North Dakota
    Average yearly snow fall: 52"
    Average yearly temperature: 42.2 F

    18. Rochester, Minnesota
    Average yearly snow fall: 52.5"
    Average yearly temperature: 45.1 F

    17.  Denver, Colorado
    Average yearly snow fall: 53.5"
    Average yearly temperature: 50.1 F

    16.  Green Bay, Wisconsin
    Average yearly snow fall: 53.9"
    Average yearly temperature: 44.1 F

    15.  Fort Collins, Colorado
    Average yearly snow fall: 54.5"
    Average yearly temperature: 50.2 F

    14. Billings, Montana
    Average yearly snow fall: 55.3"
    Average yearly temperature: 48 F

    13.  Minneapolis/St. Paul
    Average yearly snow fall: 55.5"
    Average yearly temperature: 45.4

    12.  Salt Lake City, Utah
    Average yearly snow fall: 56.5"
    Average yearly temperature: 54.8 F

    11. Provo, Utah
    Average yearly snow fall: 57.3"
    Average yearly temperature: 53.4 F

    10.  Worchester, Massachusetts
    Average yearly snow fall: 65.6"
    Average yearly temperature: 47.8 F

    9.  South Bend, Indiana
    Average yearly snow fall: 68"
    Average yearly temperature: 49.8 F

    8.  Cleveland, Ohio
    Average yearly snow fall: 68.5"
    Average yearly temperature: 51.3 F

    7.  Grand Rapids, Michigan
    Average yearly snow fall: 75.3"
    Average yearly temperature: 49 F

    6.  Anchorage, Alaska
    Average yearly snow fall: 75.6"
    Average yearly temperature: 37 F

    5. Boulder, Colorado
    Average yearly snow fall: 87.6"
    Average yearly temperature: 51.5 F

    4. Buffalo, New York
    Average yearly snow fall: 96.1"
    Average yearly temperature: 48.2 F

    3.  Rochester, New York
    Average yearly snow fall: 100.5"
    Average yearly temperature: 48.4 F

    2.  Erie, Pennsylvania 
    Average yearly snow fall: 100.8"
    Average yearly temperature: 49.9 F

    1.  Syracuse, New York
    Average yearly snow fall: 126.3"
    Average yearly temperature: 48.9 F

    > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > 

    Snow fall

    Monday, February 16, 2015

    Surround Yourself With Inspiration

    Years ago one of my most successful friends told me her secret to her success.
    "Surround yourself with inspiration.  Inspire yourself everyday so you never lose sight of what you want."

    Does a concept that easy really work?


    We all know what is deep in our hearts and what our most wildest dreams are but if we do not express them openly more than likely they will stay buried deep inside of you.

    Whether you dream of climbing the corporate ladder, creating a magnificent garden, becoming a swinging trapeze artist, or lion tamer - surround yourself with it.  
    [Put a picture of your dream on your desk, bedside table, and in your car.  Place inspiring quotes EVERYWHERE so each day you read them and they start to resinate in your soul.]

    If you believe it with all your heart and soul and work towards it everyday your dreams will come true!

    Quite obviously my ultimate dream is travel.  
    But not any kind of travel.
    I want to become a professional family travel blogger and live by the sea.
    (We did live by the sea...we moved...and are now trying to get back)

    Now that our family has expanded everything has changed and whenever I think about going somewhere, even just to a friends, it always comes down to "what does Noah need".

    No, I do not wish to travel full time because we have fur babies that we cannot, CANNOT live without.  But I would like to take my family on three to four trips a year domestic and internationally for  two reasons:
    1. First hand inspiration for blogs.
    2. For Noah.

    > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > >

    The inspiration for this posts generated when I began searching for a new theme for Noah's nursery.  
    We want to surround him with all the things important to us in hopes that one day he will know and enjoy the same things.
    Maybe.  Maybe not.  Don't all parents do that?
    He will always be able to explore whatever he finds interesting and we will always present him with the opportunities and knowledge of the world thats out there.  

    My ideas:

    Any of those would be great inspiration for a youngin'!

    Here is a peak of my favorite daily inspiration pieces around our house...
    We love sunsets and this one is of Josh in Playa Maderas, Nicaragua

    I have a slight obsession with sea turtles

    Sunset - Isla Ometepe, Nicaragua

    Our life motto....
    "If you can't stop thinking about it, don't stop working towards it."

    Friday, February 13, 2015

    Pure Hawaiian

    National Geographic is one website that I view a couple of times each week and today it presented me with photos that spoke to my soul.

    Surfing > Hawaii > Children

    That is what my soul longs most for.  My family has a deep connection with the ocean and we understand how it speaks to the soul and can wash away all negativity with one wave.  
    Water is a powerful element and we are truly blessed to have the ability to share it with the Earth.  
    It really is no wonder why Hawaiians are such peaceful people.  It is because they love and respect the land, the ocean, and all things above and below so in turn the Earth loves them back.

    Nat Geo has put together a series of photos entitled Pure Hawaiian that shows how surfing is part of all Hawaiian's cultural identity. 
    Before the 1800's surfing was the primary way chiefs and chiefess demonstrated their skill and courage to their people and it was layered into the society, and religion of the islands.  Once the haole and Hawaiian cultures merged the sacredness of the surfing, among other customs, started fading and all people could ride the waves.  From there you know the rest, but one thing is for sure surfing is still deeply rooted in Hawaiian culture and many Hawaiians still practice the ancient traditions in order to pass to the future generations.  

    I long to be apart of such strong cultural beliefs and often feel that I was born into the wrong society.  Everything I want and believe in lies elsewhere and makes me choose between family and my hearts desires.  

    Hawaiian man with traditional tattoos.

    Teaching their children to love the water.

    Setting the ground work.

    Washing it all away.

    Mind blowing.

    Thursday, February 12, 2015

    Ocean Atlas

    Welcome to the world Ocean Atlas.

    This beauty is a 18 foot, 60 ton Bahamian girl who holds the weight of the ocean on her shoulders.  She can be found just off the coast of Nassau, Bahamas and was designed and built by artist and conservationist Jason decayers Taylor.  His inspiration was from the Greek Myth, Titan Atlas, who holds the celestial spheres on his back but Taylor's goal was to represent the need for ocean conservation.  
    To me the sculpture's message is clear:
    The health of the oceans is the most important environmental issue today and we all bear the weight of it.  NO matter if we live near the coast or not - we ALL determine the health of our oceans.  And the symbolic message of this girl taking on all the burden yourself represents the individuals, groups, and organizations that have devoted their lives to protect the most pristine element on the Earth.  

    Many of the existing reefs in the Bahamas have been negatively effected by tourists.  So when Taylor designed Ocean Atlas he chose a pH-neutral material that promotes the growth of corals and other marine wildlife in hopes it would bring tourist to this new artificial reef and bring new life to the old ones.  

    But why is that important?
    Here is what Earth Watch has to say about the Bahamian reefs,
    "Coral reefs are hugely important. They foster plant and animal biodiversity, help defend shores from storms and waves, and draw visitors to countries that depend on tourism.
    But these benefits—known as “ecosystem services”—are under threat. Many reefs and the seagrass beds, mangrove creeks, and patch reefs (small reefs in shallow water) that border them suffer from global climate change, overfishing, and coastal development."

    > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > >

    Diving in the Bahamas is a grand experience and there are many types of dive sites to choose from.  
    Just always remember to leave no foot print!!!
    The third largest reef in the world, Andros Barrier Reef, resides here and is 190 miles long and houses 160 species of corals and fish.
    Not only that but you can dive or snorkel blue holes, caverns, caves, and now Ocean Atlas.  

    For the ultimate dive experience in the Bahamas I would recommend three different resorts:

    Stuart Cove
    Rid in subs with Stuart Cove!
    Valentine's Resort

    Or if an exclusive island is what you want Valentine's is your place!

    Tiamo Resort
    Dive multiple sites through their own PADI center!
    > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > >