Travel, When in

6 Reasons To Keep A Travel Journal

As we look forward to some travel this year, why not start a travel journal? This is the perfect way to capture all your experiences not just through photographs but also on paper. Travel journals are the perfect companion for any traveller, small enough to fit in any carry-on and last a lifetime. Its the perfect conversation piece for friends and family. There are a bunch of reasons why you should carry a travel but here are just a few of my favorite reasons:

  1. Capture memories, trip details and emotions
  2. Self Awareness and personal development
  3. Pre-trip research, references and tips
  4. Trip Guide and experience log
  5. Important Info and Contacts
  6. A great souvenir

How To Start A Travel Journal

When you’re starting out, keep things simple. Personalize your journal and customize it to show who your are. Choose a layout that fits the flow of your travel experience with room to grow. Sections for tickets, travel schedules, sketches, people you met, best experiences, and summary pages are just a few of the options to put in your journal. Not an artist, no problem! Give travel stickers a try. There are plenty of Pinterest flatlays to give you some ideas. But don’t let it overwhelm you with its picture-perfect journals packed with wise quotes and beautiful sketches. Make your journal perfectly you!

Buy a simple journal that you won’t mind getting a little dirty from your travel adventures. A small A5 leather bound journal is a perfect addition to your suitcase. It’s better to have an imperfect journal that’s yours than none at all. Don’t forget to add a spot for a pen or pencil so your not searching for one while your having the best time of your life.

Keep it honest. Be truthful with yourself and don’t sugar-coat or aim for what you think a travel journal should be like. Let it be yours – and let it reflect the good, the bad and the ugly of your travels. A journal is a record of experiences – not a perfect narrative waiting to be published. But if you do get it published…..what a great story it will tell!! Safe travels!

Want more travel ideas in your inbox?

Subscribe Below

Travel, When in

Take A Spartan Holiday

We are always looking for ways to unwind from our busy daily lives….work, school, activities, etc but what about technology. In there era where technology rules everything…..shopping, bills, social media, texting a dual purpose vacation may be just what you need. A Spartan holiday allows you to take a vacation from our busy everyday lives AND technology. This type of vacation encourages a total disconnect from technology in order to allow you to truly enjoy your vacation; allowing you to get back to nature and best of all yourself. Shrimayee Thakur said it best:

“To celebrate a Spartan Holiday is to wring pleasure from the modest stuff…..To enliven a rainy day. To gain independence from the media narrative of the week….Honour the actual. Observe slowly. Engage the world like a traveller, canny but agape, whether five or fifty or 5,000 miles from home. That’s what you can expect here, an eyeful.”

Now, your probably wondering how you can travel without technology especially since we use our phones to take pictures and post to social media. Bring your phone but also bring a pen and paper or a travel journal. Draw what you see, write you feelings, thoughts and inspirations based on what you see and discover. Now is the perfect time to start a travel journal, there are lots of options to choose….from blank pages to lined to dot grid. A travel journal your personal narrative of your adventures and the life you have lived. And…it makes the perfect conversation piece with family and friends. Need more reasons on why you should have a travel journal and how to start one? Check out my post here about travel journals.

Another important factor of Spartan holidays is to stay in a micro hotel. Micro hotels offer tiny rooms that are much smaller than traditional hotels. Although they are small, the rooms maximize space! Equipped with full kitchens, outdoor patios with fire rings, and mezzanine bed lofts these rooms are perfectly nestled within forests, hilltops or mountain sides. Talk about fantastic views! Plus, you will have packed light. For Spartan holidays, you only need to take the essentials-clothing, food and travel journal. Less is more! Besides, you’ll be spending a lot of time in nature and not your hotel room.

So I encourage you to find time and a destination for a Spartan holiday. Take the time to get back to nature, unplug and re-center yourself. What before of self care than to pause and observe the world as traveller. What will you discover?

Want more travel ideas in your inbox?

Subscribe Below!

Food, Surviving Chaos

Brigadeiro: Traditional Brazilian Desert

Brigadeiro

How about a chewy candy to start your new year off right! Brigadeiro are rich “little chocolate nuggets” popular in Brazil and were created by confectioner Heloisa Nabuco de Oliveira. Brigadeiros typically accompany birthday celebrations but you can have them for any celebration. This Brigadeiro recipe is easy, kid friendly and makes quite a few….12-14 total!

Ingredients

  • 1 14 oz (300 ml) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 tablespoons (22 g) unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) water
  • 1 tablespoon (14 g) butter
  • chocolate or rainbow sprinkles

Let’s Make It!

  1. Use half of the butter to grease a big plate or platter.
  2. In a small bowl or cup, mix the cocoa and water so the cocoa dissolves.
  3. In a medium-sized, heavy saucepan, use a wooden spoon to combine the dissolved cocoa, condensed milk, and the remaining butter over medium-low heat.
  4. Keep stirring until the mixture thickens and starts to look a bit like brownie batter. When you drag your spoon across the bottom of the pan, it should take a moment before the gap fills back in. Hang in there, this step can take as long as 20 minutes.
  5. Spread the chocolate on the buttered platter and let it cool to room temperature. If you want to speed up the cooling, pop the platter in the fridge.
  6. Once the mixture is cool, grease your hands with a little butter. Scoop up some chocolate in a spoon and then roll it between your palms to form a ball.
  7. Roll the ball in sprinkles. Scoop and roll the rest of the chocolate the same way. Enjoy!
  8. Muy delicioso!!

Want more recipes in your inbox?

Subscribe Below!!

Style, Surviving Chaos

2020 Year in Review: Favorite Books

Although 2020 didn’t quite work out the way we planned….we still managed to get some reading done. I ended up reading more books this year because we’ve been staying at home to stay safe. I found myself reading books in new genres like fantasy, historical fiction, books written by women of color, autobiographies, trilogies and more. Diving into a good book has helped me stay sane, especially during the chaos of this past year and gave me some me time away (self care) from everything happening in the world. It’s been a tumultuous year!!! Below is a list of my 5 favorites books from this year, some you have heard of and others you may not. Although these are my 5 favorite books, I did have some honorable mentions that are definitely worth picking up on your next trip to the bookstore. Happy reading!!!

Queenie” by Candy Carty-Williams

Queenie is a great exploration of being black modern women in today’s world. I was so glad to read a book from our perspective and dealt with issues within the black community that are rarely discussed. Summary: Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle class peers. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places…including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth. As Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, “What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?”


Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing is a wonderful novel based with strong appreciation for the natural world. I really enjoyed being part of the main characters journey and she navigates childhood to womanhood, love and loss, growing independence and survival. Summary: For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.


The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig

The Midnight Library was definitely a book that took me out of my comfort zone. A story about life, regrets and missed opportunities, this book will definitely have you reflecting about your own life. I love the philosophical nature of the book and all the lives the main character thought she wanted only to come back full circle to her own life. Summary: Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.


Behind Closed Doors” by B.A. Paris

If your looking for a good page turner, Behind Closed Doors is definitely it! I love the suspense of this book, the twisted nature of the characters and being on the edge of my seat. This book is definitely worth reading. Summary: Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace. He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do. You’d like to get to know Grace better. But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of the bedroom windows.


The Fifth Season” by N.K. Jemisin

The Fifth Season is book 1 of a great fantasy trilogy with lots of twists and turns. I loved the level of detail that intricately connects the characters and their story lines. Plus I love seeing the representation of my ethnicity and culture portrayed throughout the book. Summary: Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Mighty Sanze — the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years — collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman’s vengeance. Across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land to save her daughter.


Notable Mentions

  • A Song of Wraiths and Ruins by Roseanne A. Brown
  • Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton
  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  • The Turn of A Key by Ruth Ware
  • The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
  • Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Family, Surviving Chaos

2020 Christmas Guide

We’re doing things a little differently this year for Christmas. This past year has been a trying time for everyone around the world; we’ve lost loved ones and seen our livelihood turned upside down during the pandemic. We feel it is so important to come together as a community, nation and world to support each other through this difficult time. So instead of providing a list of gift-able items, we have curated a list of organizations to support that need our help now more than ever. Whether you choose to donate time or money, we hope that you support these groups as they help support our community and the world.


Doctors Without Borders

Doctors Without Borders is an independent, impartial and neutral global movement providing medical aid where its needed most. They develop and produce per-packaged medical kits that be transported within hours of a disaster. Many doctors work within conflict zones, long epidemics and other long-terms settings. With offices in 21 countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. Doctors Without Borders are available at any time. You can support Doctors without Borders by donating here which will go towards programs, medical supplies and logistics.


Feeding America

The Feeding America network is the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, working to connect people with food and end hunger. Donors, staff, and volunteers all play an important role in our efforts to end hunger in the United States. They work with manufacturers, distributors, retailers, food service companies and farmers to gather food before it goes to waste. Our communities need a healthy variety of foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean protein. Each year, Feeding America does more to secure these foods for our nationwide network of food banks. You help Feeding America in a number of ways, check out the opportunities they have available here.


Texas Baptist Children’s Home

Texas Baptist Children’s Home (TBCH) embraces children and families in need in order to empower and equip them for a promising future. Children and single mothers who come to TBCH are often lost, hurting, and hopeless, without a place to turn for help during their time of greatest need. Their residential program provides a safe home and a stable family environment where they can learn, grow, and ultimately experience a happy, healthy future. There are many ways to support TBCH; check out all the opportunities here.


Red Cross

The Red Cross provide provide compassionate, through volunteers, to care for those in need. The Red Cross network of generous donors, volunteers and employees share a mission of preventing and relieving suffering, here at home and around the world. We roll up our sleeves and donate time, money and blood. We learn or teach life-saving skills so our communities can be better prepared when the need arises. We do this every day because the Red Cross is needed – every day. The Red Cross provides a number of services from disaster relief to blood drives; you can find more ways to volunteer and support the Red Cross here.