Travel

Camping for Rookies

I have been camping probably hundreds of times in my life. I would go so far as to call myself a seasoned camper. Despite all of these trips and excursions into the woods and mountains, apparently it wasn’t enough times to prevent some very rookie mistakes this last weekend.Camping for Rookies-2

My husband proposed the idea on Friday. Randomly, he recommended we go camping on the beach for one night on Saturday. It sounded like a great idea to me! I couldn’t wait to wake up to the sound of the Gulf of Mexico, play with our kite, and bury my feet in the sand. The one perk of living in South Texas may be that you can comfortably go to the beach in February.ow+9znWlQ6ysOxaBmj3Tpw

Saturday came around, we took care of some household chores, loaded up the truck, and set out for the beach and our overnight camping expedition. The last time we went camping was over New Years, so we were looking forward to disconnecting, even if it was only for the night.

Well, we hit our first road block early into the trip. We first headed to Mustang Island State Park where I read it was free to camp on the beach. A quick 20 minute drive and we were pulling up to the entrance, only to find it was closed. They are still doing clean up after Hurricane Harvey that hit the coast in August 2017. Well we quickly reassessed our situation and headed in the opposite direction to the Padre Island National Seashore. This is a National Park, and luckily since he is active duty military we get an annual pass into national parks for free-I love free. Civilians can purchase an annual pass for $70. About 30 minutes in the opposite direction and we were in the park, our spot scouted on the beach, and we were setting up camp for the night.

Cue snag number 2. I started cooking dinner. Grilled chicken and a salad were on the menu. I immediately realized I didn’t have any aluminum foil to cover the chicken in the pan. Not a big deal, but it would’ve helped the chicken to cook a bit faster, especially since it was incredibly windy. Ten minutes into cooking and I noticed the flame was out on our stove. Fabulous. I thought it was due to the wind, but it was due to the butane fuel can being empty. No biggie, we have a spare in our kitchen gear. Not a full can though. It was about 3/4 empty. So five minutes into trying to cook with that can, and we were completely out of fuel. As a last ditch effort to salvage the protein for our dinner, we put the pan on the campfire. It turns out, cooking on the beach over a campfire, on a windy night, and no cover for your pan, will only lead to your food being completely covered in an extraordinary amount of sand. Making it inedible.

Snag number 3. We have a rooftop tent. This completely genius invention is a tent that can be mounted on- you guessed it- your roof! It is a GAMECHANGER! It’s probably a million times more comfortable than a ground tent, and takes about 30 seconds to set up.

Check it out:IMG_0634

Typically we keep our sleeping bags and pillows in the tent. Everything folds up so nicely and conveniently! Well, as I mentioned before, we went camping over New Years. Since our trip was about four nights long, our linens were due for a wash. In our haste, we remembered to get the sleeping bags from the linen closet, but not the pillows. Balling up a thin hoodie to serve as a replacement pillow is not ideal.

Overall this trip, while it could’ve been better, was still a great time. We learned that we definitely need to not get complacent with our camping prep and just assume we have everything we need in our pre-packed gear. We also learned that the trip is about being together, even in unideal circumstances. And we learned that sandy chicken is gross. I don’t care. I still got to wake up to the sounds of the waves from the Gulf of Mexico crashing onto the beach, just feet from where I was sleeping. YrssAQyUSF2Q0UY+%FzneQ

 

Travel

100 Travel Destinations

Today is the 100th day of school. I work in an elementary school, and the 100th day is kind of a big deal. Kids and teachers dress up… students complete themed activites based on the day… there may or may not be a parade for the students to show off their 100 day apparel, arts and crafts. It’s so cute! It also got me thinking, why do they get all the fun? Why not use this opportunity to take a 100-themed idea and put my favorite spin on it? Travel. So, what are the 100 places I’d like to travel before I’m 100?100 travel destinations before you're 100-2

In no particular order:

28 Destinations in the United Statestravel destinations in the US-9

24 Destinations in Europetravel destinations in Europe

20 Destinations in Asiatravel destinations in Asia

19 Destinations in AmericaTravel destinations in America

9 Destinations in Africa, Antarctica, and OceanaTravel destinations in the world

Whew! There are definitley a lot of places on my list. Just a few more than my typical 5. I literally cannot wait to start checking some of these off in the very near future. In fact, I’m getting ready to take a road trip in March that will take me through 4 states in the USA that I’ve never been to.

Are any of these places on your list? I thought it would be hard to come up with 100, but it was actually hard to narrow it down to ONLY 100!

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Travel

Seattle Bound

2017 was full of traveling and experiencing new places for me. Everytime I start to write about a destination I went to, I find myself beginning to say, “This was one of my favorite places I’ve ever traveled”. And it’s true every.single.time.

I fall in love with every location. If I’m only there for a short time, I leave hungry for more. If I’m lucky enough to have a longer stay, I fall deeper in love, every day.Seattle Bound..png

The same is true for when I went to Seattle, Washington in June of 2017. I traveled with my husband from Houston, Texas to visit his brother and boyfriend for a whole week. I had high expectations for Seattle after binge watching Grey’s Anatomy, and it definitely delivered. The views, the diverse culture, the weather. I loved it all. Shall we review?

  1. Transportation
    • Spirit Airlines
      • Spirit Airlines is a budget airline that sometimes gets bad reviews from certain travelers. I was hesitant to book our flights with this airline because of some of the reviews I read online. I’m so glad I listened to my wallet instead of the internet. As a very frugal (aka cheap) shopper, I was persuaded by the hundreds of dollars worth of savings Spirit offered compared to the next cheapest flight from Houston to Seattle. We paid just over $200/each roundtrip. This included selecting our seats in the emergency exit row and checking one bag.
      • I have zero complaints and only compliments to share about Spirit Airlines. Even though the seat did not recline (not a big deal to me), I thought the seats were comparable in size to any other airline I have traveled on. Our seats were in the emergency exit row, so we did have more leg space than average, but I’ve sat in their regular seats before and still had leg space for my 5’6″ plus size frame. There were no snacks provided, so I just packed our own from home, no biggie. The flight attendents were friendly, comical, and again-comparable to any other airline. I’ll take the cash savings over a small bag of pretzels any day.
  2. Foooooooooooooooooooood
    • Aladdin Gyro-cery & Deli located at 4143 University Way NE near Washington University has amazing Middle Eastern food. Screen Shot 2018-02-03 at 8.00.06 PM.png
    • We did get seafood while we were in Seattle. It was good. I must apologize, I cannot for the life of me remember the name of the restaurant we ate at.
    • GINGER BEER! It was good! It was fun! Get you some! IMG_0608
    • We also had icecream, turkish delight, and delicious cinnamon orange tea at Pike Place Market. I highly recommend it all! We also saw them throw a fish in the market, but I wasn’t fast enough to get photo or video evidence.
  3. Must-sees in the city
    • Everything. We went up in the Ferris Wheel down by the pier. We also walked down a bit to an overlook over the city in the same area as the Ferris Wheel.
    • Quirky things like the gum wall by Pike Place Market, and doing the underground tour are tons of fun. Did you know Seattle was built on top of itself? And you can thank a prostitute for the city’s survival?!
    • More quirky things like a troll built under a bridge and this novel abandoned manufacturing plant near Kite Hill.

    • Who doesn’t love a science museum with an awesome playground nearby?
  4. Must-sees outside of the city
    • Ferry rides are a compulsory activity of course. IMG_0459
    • Stop to learn about the Native culturesIMG_0474
    • From the beaches to the mountains. The views are to die for.

    • And venture outdoors to hike to a waterfall.

  5. Saved for Future Visits
    • We saw and did so much in the week we were in Seattle, and barely skimmed the surface on what this city and surrounding area has to offer. I would love to do more hikes to see the beautiful and amazing outdoors. Eat more food, see more shops, just get lost in all the streets. I wish I could be more specific, but there’s just so much there, I don’t even know where to begin but everywhere. I can only hope we’re lucky enough to return in the future.

Have you ever been to Washington? Do you have any recommendations on where to go or what to do?

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Military

The One Item you Cannot Live Without: Your Military ID

This post was originally published on Military Spouse Advocacy Network and I am honored to work with them. Military ID-2

You meet the love of your life. You fall in love and promise to stay together forever. Now it’s time for logistics. Your Military ID.

There is not much you can do without your Military ID. You will need it to gain access to the military base without your significant other. You will need it to shop at the Exchange or Commissary. You will need it to enroll/use Tricare, which are your medical benefits. You will need it to gain access to any and all entitlements or discounts you may be eligible for as a family member to a service member. For all of these reasons, and more, you need to make obtaining your Military ID a priority.

How do you do it? Follow the steps detailed below:

  • The first thing that needs to happen is you will be enrolled in DEERS using form DD Form 1172-2. This can be done one of 4 ways.
    • Your sponsor can use their CAC card to submit your information via the RAPIDS self-service portal. (This is a website accessible via the Department of Defense (DOD) website)
    • Your sponsor can sign into the RAPIDS self-service portal using their login information.
    • Your sponsor can fill out a paper form and have it notarized.
    • You can use your power of attorney to complete the form in your sponsor’s place.
  • You will need to provide documentation of your relationship to your sponsor to prove eligibility. This is your marriage certificate and your birth certificate.
  • You will need to provide two forms of identification. Refer to the list of acceptable forms of identification.

Pin the graphic below for an easy reference guide:How To Obtain your military ID

This information was pulled directly from http://www.cac.mil/docs/required_docs.pdf .

Military ID’s aren’t all business and no fun though!

You can use your Military ID to access great resources such as the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR). Depending on your location, this could include access to a movie theater, bowling alley, video games, party rentals, kayaks, sailboats, or even couples getaways. Our last duty station offered a couples retreat to do a local high ropes course! You can also utilize your Child Development Center (CDC) for child care (check with your center for availability), and shop at the commissary and Exchange for tax free shopping. There are a lot of benefits to obtaining your military ID, so try not to procrastinate!

If you have special circumstances or additional questions, be sure to click on the link referenced above and refer to additional information there. Also, do not be afraid to reach out to your ID office on base or your service member’s command.

Military

Basics for the New Military Spouse

This post was originally published on Military Spouse Advocacy Network and I am honored to work with them.Basics for the New Military Spouse-3

It was May 2016 and the day finally came when my whole world was about to change. My husband was leaving for Newport, Rhode Island for what would turn into fifteen weeks, to embark on his dream of becoming a Naval Aviator for the United States Navy. Officer Candidate School (OCS). We prepared for this for weeks. We made sure he had the right t-shirts, the right socks, he could run 1.5 miles in a certain amount of time, and even made sure he could do X amount of pushups and curls as well. We were prepared with stamps and paper so he could write. He had a watch for when he could have one again, and we prepared snacks and food for his drive. But I wasn’t prepared for the goodbye.

We woke up early, loaded his truck, and double checked we didn’t miss anything on the list. I was fine. I thought to myself, “this isn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.” And then he turned and looked at me. And I wasn’t fine. I was excited for him, and I was excited for me, but I couldn’t help but cry because this would be the last time I got to see and touch his face in person. We hugged each other tighter than we ever have before, and I followed him outside to the truck. We hugged and kissed a dozen more times before I watched him back down the driveway onto the street, he made a right onto the next street, and another right on the street after that. As he drove away and the corn fields were between us, the tears stopped and I began counting down to when we would be reunited. I wasn’t ready for the goodbye, and I wasn’t ready for how quiet the house would be when I stepped back inside. It was eerily quiet.

The military is a challenging life to maneuver and you are  thrust into it in a way that is no better explained other than sink or swim.

“Hi welcome to military life, now I’m going to steal your partner away for you to figure it out on your own.” “Here, let’s talk in acronyms so you feel like you’re trying to translate a language you’ve never heard before!”
There are so many things I learned those first few months while my husband was away, and there is so much more I have to learn. There’s a lot of pride you can gain from learning something new or overcoming a challenge on your own, but if there was a cheat sheet I could have had last May,this is what I wish it would have said:

basics list

  1. Power of Attorney– If your partner will be going away for any amount of time, you need to have a power of attorney to manage important matters while they are away. It may seem intimidating, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Documents can be printed offline and you can sign them with any notary. If you are unsure, or still feeling hesitant, the legal office on base can assist at no charge.
  2. DEERS– Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System. Your first acronym, and there will be many more to come. To get you enrolled in DEERS your partner is going to need your birth certificate, social security card, marriage certificate, and photo ID. These have to be originals or certified copies. For your marriage license, make sure you have the certificate from your county clerk’s office. We didn’t think about this, and when my husband presented the license the officiant filled out, it was not accepted. I then had to obtain the correct form and overnight the marriage certificate to Rhode Island. Why all the hassle? Your spouse will also need the certificate to enroll you in TriCare, in order for you to obtain medical benefits.
  3. Military ID– Get a military ID ASAP! If your partner has all of your documents, and is deployed, you will have to wait for him to send them back to you. It might be a good idea to have duplicate certified copies of all important documents, so both you and your spouse have a set. Once you have these items, go get your military ID. This will give you access to the base, Exchange, commissary, and will allow you to receive military discounts at other businesses.
  4. Social Media– Not everyone uses social media, but if you do there are some really great support groups and pages out there. Another spouse may be aware of a local page or you can do a search for your area and ‘military spouse’. Many times the groups are private, so you may need a member to add you. While my husband was at Officer Candidate School I was lucky to find a page for friends and family of his OCS class. The girlfriends and wives of the class then formed a spinoff group and we messaged each other every single day. Being able to share your experiences with others going through the same things cannot be substituted. No matter how supportive your local friends and family are, it simply is not the same. I still talk to these wonderful women to this day.
  5. Be Empowered– Your partner is embarking on this amazing opportunity to further their career and accomplish goals they’ve set to enrich their life and yours. This does not mean you are simply along for the ride. You can further your education, work on your health, your career, or even your passion.  While my husband was away I made multiple lifestyle changes towards a healthier lifestyle and lost 40 lbs! There will be times when you will be alone, and lonely. These are the times when you have to rely on yourself, and your strength to get you through. Reach out to a friend, in person or virtually (again those Facebook groups are great!). You have the power to make or break yourself.

When do you reach the point when you’ve learned all you need to know as a military spouse? I’m going to guess never. Have I mentioned the acronyms? There is a never ending supply of acronyms. The military is not static, and it is always changing and evolving. Right when you think you have it figured out- nope! How exciting does that sound? Or is it exhausting? Let’s be positive and say exciting!

Health

Simple Life, Happy Life

Less is more.

This popular saying is my mantra for 2018.

Five tips for a simpler, more satisfying life pinterest.png

I’ve spent so much time thinking and planning and trying to outdo myself in every aspect:

  • Having the perfect pinterest-worthy house
  • Making as much money as possible
  • Perfect body: thin, flawless skin

It’s so easy to get caught up in the rat race of life where nothing is ever good enough. There’s the belief that there’s always room for improvement, and nothing and no one is perfect. The danger of this mindset is that you will never be satisfied with anything you ever accomplish. Lost 2 lbs this week? You could’ve lost 3 or 4. Ran a mile? You could’ve done it faster. Made x-amount of money? You can make more if you do xyz. It’s a never ending cycle.

Yes, it is important to have goals and not be stagnant. It is also important to learn to appreciate what you do have. Gratitude, health, and happiness will contribute to a more fulfilling life than any of the material items, or non-essential milestones I or society sets before me. What does simplifying my life look like?Five purge tips to simplify life.png

  1. The Household Purge
    • I’ve moved twice in the last year, so I already downsized a lot of items just so I won’t have to move a bunch of stuff over and over again. Now that I have lived in one place for 9 months, I can identify even more items that I can get rid of. If it hasn’t served a purpose in the last 9 months, then there is no reason to continue hoarding it or bringing it to the next destination.
  2. The Clothing Purge
    • I’ve had a lot of the same clothes since high school. They’ve had a good run and I think it’s time to retire them. May they rest in peace.
  3. The Social Media Purge
    • I deleted the Facebook app off my phone. I have spent too much time mindlessy scrolling through my newsfeed. I unfollowed anyone on Instagram I don’t personally know. I’ve gone a month now with these drastic reductions in social media and it has been so refreshing. I honestly don’t miss any of it.
  4. The Career Purge
    • Work/life balance is crucial. Identify if what you are sacrificing is worth the reward. I’m having a hard time making any changes in this. I still want to make more money. I’m still actively pursuing ways to do this. I’m a work in progress.
  5. Body Expectations Purge
    • Yeah, I need to work on this too. I still want to be thinner, and my skin sucks. I can’t do it all at once. Baby steps. But learning to let go of certain expectations and not maintaining the thought that once I achieve certain things, only then will I be happy. I will purge myself of this behavior.

I am looking forward to continuing to implement these small adjustments to how I live my life. I’m turning 30 this year and one of the great things about getting older is really getting to know yourself and for me a simpler life is a happier life.

 

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Travel

Travel Addiction

My name is Carlie and I am a travel addict. 

It feels good to get that out.

This time last year I made a list of a few destinations I wanted to experience in 2017. You can read the original post here.

Let’s review what did and didn’t happen.

  1. New Orleans  – checknola-bound_new-orleans-in-24-hours
  2. Overlanding the TransAmerican Trail – didn’t happen =(
  3. Camelback Mountain Resort and Waterpark– checkCamelback Mountain Resort
  4. Pensacola, Florida – checktripadvisor-vs-local-top-5-things-to-do-in-pensacola-florida
  5. Washington – check; Alaska – didn’t happen =(IMG_0526

So these were what I planned to do for 2017. As you can see, most of my plans did happen! Some didn’t. But I was able to add some destinations that weren’t on my original list! Such as:

  1. Corpus Christi, TexasCorpus Christi feature image
  2. San Antonio, TexasSan Antonio Feature image
  3. OBX, North Carolina
  4. Road trip: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New HampshireNew England road trip
  5. Big Bend National Park-TexasOV7nQXjiQpKRO0NcNq+eSA

2017 was a great year of traveling for me. I experienced so much more than I thought I would and it inspired a few of my travel goals for 2018.

2018 goals

  • Visit 30 states before I turn 30 in NovemberF45A4A34-5770-4E22-9A31-15F8D2B0997D
    • I was able to check off 7 states I never visited before in 2017. I have now visited 23 states in the USA, so I hope to visit 7 more states to bring my total to 30 states before my birthday.
    • March 2018- Spring Break Road trip Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas
    • Moving We may be moving again this summer. Wherever we end up should give me the opportunity to add another state to my list. Will it be Mississippi? Will it be New Mexico? We shall see.
    • Nevada Long weekend in Vegas? I’m hoping I can make this happen.
    • New York: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Weekend Vermont– since I’ll be in the area
  • Learn Latvian in LatviaMy husband is from Latvia. He lived there until he was a teenager and Latvian is his first language. We’re approaching 8 years together and I’ve always said I wanted to learn the language. This is the year I make it happen!
    • The University of Latvia offers a free intensive language course over the summer. So I’m hoping to make the journey to Latvia to spend 3 weeks finally making strides towards learning the languange of his people!
  • Dirty Thirty Cruise
    • I didn’t get to take a cruise in 2017, which is one of my favorite ways to vacay. I’m due. And I’d love to relax in Mexico with a margarita for my thirtieth birthday.

Do you have travel goals for 2018?

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Military

Dream Military Weddings

This post was originally published on Military Spouse Advocacy Network and I am honored to work with them.

It started with a proposal to spend the rest of your lives together: to make the world know how much you love each other through a pair of rings, a set of vows, and probably changing your relationship status on social media. Many people grow up wondering what their wedding will look like when the time comes. It may include robust flower arrangements, an extensive guest list, and elaborate centerpieces. When I was planning my wedding in the civilian world, Pinterest became my best friend and my enemy. Pinterest is wonderful for making you feel crafty and creative. It will also encourage you to make those individualized mason jar invitations that explode glitter, fireworks, and cupcakes when opened. And can be made in three easy steps! Oh, if only it really was that simple, and if there was about ten more hours in the day this would be incredible! Unfortunately, that is not reality, and furthermore the military lifestyle complicates our ambitions for marriage before we even get started.

The Multiple Journeys to Wedded Bliss

Since my husband commissioned into the Navy, I have made friends with numerous couples who started as friends, became fiancés, and ultimately spouses. Every single journey to their marriages looked different, but the end result was always the same. Wedded Bliss.

wedded bliss

Couple #1 got engaged directly after the commissioning ceremony. They were engaged for a few short weeks before having a small beach ceremony with family and friends, and then the husband had to depart for his first training school.

Couple #2 had their ceremony at the courthouse and followed up with a larger reception with friends and family a year later when their schedules allowed.

Couple #3 spent the last 10 months planning their dream ceremony and reception to be held this summer.

Each one of these scenarios was unique. Not every story was lived how they pictured it would be when they were younger, but none of them have any regrets. When your ultimate goal is to spend the rest of your life with your partner, you make the best of the hand you are dealt, and I would not call that settling. Each of these couples still has the same result.

As with anything in the military, flexibility is key, so be prepared to start with your wedding if you are new to the life. You will hear many times over the course of your lifetime that the military comes first, but even if you find yourself compromising on your wedding there will still be great rewards in the end. Regardless if you elect to do a courthouse ceremony, a small ceremony, or a large wedding, the ending will be the same: you will be lawfully wedded to your service member, the love of your life.dream military weddings-2

Are you a military spouse? What did your nuptials look like? Do you have any advice?

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Travel

Three Days in San Antonio, Texas

You may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas!

-Davy Crockett

I can’t lie. I haven’t been the biggest fan of the Lonestar State since moving here in April 2017. My main complaint is the heat. My second complaint is how long it takes to travel ANYWHERE. Texas is a beast of a state.

Those complaints aside, I spent a wonderful weekend in San Antonio, Texas with my best friend when she visited me in May 2017. Despite the heat, I loved San Antonio! I loved the history, the sites, the food, and just the overall experience. Do you have a trip planned for San Antonio yet? Add it to your list and you must do and see everything we did! I did the hard part of researching, planning, and testing it out, so you don’t have to! You’re welcome.

Accommodations: We stayed at this fabulous Airbnb. The host was super kind and full of recommendations on where to eat and what to do while we were in town. It was also very conveniently located less than a mile from the Pearl District and more affordable than any of the hotels I researched.

Never used Airbnb? Well pal- if you use this link, you will get $40 of travel credit when you sign up. What are friends for?

Transportation: We parked our vehicle at the Airbnb and used Uber to travel downtown and then walked to many of our destinations from there. Some of our other excursions that were not located downtown, we drove to easily in my car from the Airbnb.

Itinerary:

  • Day 1-
    • Arrive and check in at your hotel or Airbnb.
    • Find your way to the Pearl Brewery for amazing food, views, and shopping. You have to sample a flight of beer at Southerleigh, and indulge in macaroons from Lorraine’s Bakery. 10 out of 10 friends would recommend it.
    • Next, travel downtown for the Riverwalk. Take a riverboat tour and enjoy hearing about the history of the Riverwalk and recommendations on places to go while you’re in the area. IMG_0172
    • If you are there on a Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. You CANNOT leave until you have experienced the light show outside San Fernando De Bexar Cathedral. It’s completely free and worth sticking around until 9pm, 9:30pm, or 10pm. fullsizeoutput_ac9
    • We intended on going to Cowboys Dancehall San Antonio after the light show, but I’m an old lady at heart and was ready for bed instead. However, this place has great reviews on TripAdvisor. They offer dance lessons, live music, and tasty drinks if you’re not quite tuckered out yet. me
  • Day 2-
    • Head on back downtown for what you really cannot leave San Antonio before seeing. The Alamo. Do I even need to explain? It just has to be done. To be honest, I was underwhelmed because I expected it to be a lot larger. Which apparently is the case for many. But the amount of history and significance of the destination continues to make it a must-see. fullsizeoutput_ace
    • If you’re in the market for souvenirs then you should definitely make your way to the San Antonio Market Square. There are tons and tons of little shops and stands for you to acquire everything and anything you need and don’t need all at the same time. I saw some pretty large margaritas and there was also live music and performers in the center of the Market Square. IMG_0286
    • Despite The Alamo not being what I anticipated, the San Antonio Missions exceeded all expectations. They make up for in size what they lack in popularity. I had never heard of the Missions before researching things to do on this trip, so they were a pleasant surprise.
    • If you still have time, you could also go to the San Antonio Zoo, Japanese Tea Gardens, maybe even the Old Time Wooden Nickel Company.
  • Day 3-
    • I really wanted to experience something unique and a little weird on this trip. And I definitely succeeded. The Toilet Seat Museum. It’s exactly what you think it is. Hundreds of toilet seats decorated and on display. A very kind, elderly gentleman has been honing his toilet seat decorating craft for decades. He has been on numerous television shows and even honored by the mayor of San Antonio for the museum he runs in a small building located next to his home. Be sure to stop, sign his guest book, and sign the toilet seat for whichever state you hail from. IMG_0304
    • On our way to another excursion, we decided to make a pitstop for a unique photo opportunity. The Largest Boots in Texas. They’re on display outside a mall. I won’t lie. You can skip this. It wasn’t that impressive. IMG_0289
    • Have you ever been down into a cavern? Well a short drive outside of San Antonio you will find Natural Bridge Caverns and Wildlife Ranch. If you’ve never been in a cave, you really must. And if you’ve never driven next to elephants, giraffes, ostrich, and various other wildlife, you really, really must.

San Antonio helped me change my negative Nancy outlook on Texas. Texas was no longer the never ending stretch of hellish heat I was stuck in. Instead, it became an opportunity for adventure I got to conquer- one mile (going 75 mph) at a time. I DO love the speed limit here.

Have you ever been to San Antonio? What did you think and what did you do?

Never been? When will you be coming? I’ll meet you there!

San Antonio pinterest graphic.png

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Health

The Weighting Game

Pun intended. The weighting game-2

My second blog post was titled, How to Lose Weight. I recall being so proud of writing this post. I was told how brave I was for being so honest about my struggles with my weight throughout my life. I remember feeling almost smug at how I had it all figured out. I had dropped a pretty decent number of pounds and I was down to the lowest weight I had been in many years. I was pretty pleased with my progress.

P1010054
Looking fly-y-y-y

 

Fast forward 3 months. Well ten pounds crept back on, but no big deal. I knew I had the combination figured out on how to easily lose it again. I’d get right on that once we were settled into our new move to Florida.

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Not that noticeable, but ten-ish lbs heavier.

 

Fast forward 4 months. Well another ten pounds crept on, kinda starting to feel like a big deal, but all I needed to do was get back into my routine, follow the steps that made me successful before and I could drop the weight in no time. I’d get right on that once we were settled into our new move to Texas.

Houston
Black dress, hand on the hip does wonders to hide that I’m 20ish lbs heavier.

Fast forward 8 months. Sonofabitch. I’ve gained 30 pounds total since that super awesome, lowest weight ever circa summer ’16. It’s officially a big deal. Unfortunately, my half-assed attempts at working out a week here or there, and tracking my diet/nutrition on my ghetto-ass, generic, weightwatchers app isn’t cutting it.

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In case you didn’t know, the leaning pose is slimming. But alas, it doesn’t deceive the scale and I have some weight to lose.

While I fear of sounding like a broken record, shit just got real (I’ve said this before, and yet I continued to gain). Buuuuuuuuuuut, for real this time. Being more active and making good food choices are now my job. What does this look like for me? Allow me to break it down…. in a list!

  1. Weight watchers: my bootleg app isn’t going to cut it. I joined weight watchers again. I’ve peeked the new freestyle format, and I think I’m in looooooove! Even more than I was with the Smartpoints. Eggs are zero points. I could, for real, eat eggs for every meal.
  2. Water: Goal- 120 ounces a day. I’m going to be peeing so much, my coworkers will probably think I have an UTI.
  3. Morning Exercise: I’ve become a bit obsessed with Tone It Up. Each day there are daily moves to complete and I’ll throw in whatever videos pique my interest on their youtube channel. Katrina’s booty is serious booty goals.
  4. Evening Exercise: That’s right. I have two workouts scheduled. Why? Because instead of coming home from work and sitting on my NOT-Katrina-esque booty, why not do something more productive? So I’ll be going for a walk or jog/walk around my neighborhood. C25k is my app of choice.
  5. Rest Days/Cheat meals:
    • As far as rest days are concerned, I was given some great advice from a friend who doesn’t plan rest days. Instead she listens to her body, and if she’s exhausted, too sore or sick one day, she rests. Otherwise she rallies, gets her shit together and worksout. I like that idea. Maybe Wednesday is going to be a shit day and I’ll need to hold off on busting my rump to finish the Tone it Up Daily Moves. Or maybe I’ll have the energy and mindset to kick my own ass and take names everyday.
    • Cheat meals are my cryptonite. It never fails, if I even overindulge on one stinking meal, I can pretty much gurantee I won’t lose any weight that week. So I need to really be strategic with my nutrition and recognize that “cheat” meals are only cheating me and my health. If only brownies and pasta didn’t taste so good. I’ll figure it out. strategies for weightloss.png

I have my plan. I have my spreadsheets written out. And I look forward to dropping these pounds so I can post a super bitching before and after comparison again.

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