Monday, July 27, 2015

Traveling Solo As A Female Can Be Invigorating

I've traveled solo many times for business and several times on a much needed vacation. I've lost track of the number of times that I've been asked throughout my journeys, "Are you going alone?" "Don't you have a friend to go with you?" or "You aren't afraid to travel by yourself, I could never do that." Lets not forget this one, "Do you get lonely?"        

I remember the first time I traveled alone for vacation. I was married and at the time my daughter was five years old. I decided to head to Los Angeles to visit my sister and her family. It was the first time that my daughter and I had flown. My husband made sure we got on the plane without issues, and the flight to Los Angeles was smooth. The next task was to get our luggage and find my sister. This too went without incident. I juggled luggage and a 5 year old through a international airport.  We had a great time in Los Angles and the surrounding areas. We made our way back to Washington-Dulles, and it was at that point I was bitten by the travel bug. 

I started making my way around the country for my job shortly thereafter. Getting in and out of airports became second nature to me as well as either renting cars and driving in strange cities or hailing taxis to get from point A to B. When you have a job that requires you to travel, your company doesn't pay for another person to accompany you so you don't have to go alone. You put on your big girl pants and you conduct business.

                                                              Vacationing in Savannah, GA

I'm no longer married, but I still love to do personal travel. Yes I have friends that I could travel with, but trying to coordinate a week's vacation with a friend or group of people can be taxing. I've been through that experience before, and it was by far worst than anything I've encountered while traveling solo.  I made a vow to never go there again. I'm not one to sit around and wait for another person to get in a position financially to vacation or find the time for a vacation. Most importantly, because a person is alone doesn't mean they are lonely. There's a difference. 

The people that I have met along the way have been insightful and have impacted my life immensely. On my last trip I met a lady at the airport that I have now become friends with. She called me her angel. I had arrived early at the airport and the United counter had not opened nor did they have a sign posted about their hours. I asked if she knew what time the counter opened. She didn't, but after a small conversation I could clearly see that she was stressed. She was on her way to the states as well; however, she was an inexperienced traveler. We talked and got to know each other and it turns out that she was from South Africa. In fact not far from where I would like to go on safari.  

                                                            Vacationing In Mexico

It's funny people see women who travel solo as courageous or brave. Why don't they see men this way?  Actually I see myself as neither, I'm simply doing what I love to do. As a matter of fact, I believe traveling solo has contributed to making me who I am today. I also believe that every woman should travel solo at least once in their life. Here's why: 

1. It Forces You To Step Outside Your Comfort Zone - It requires you to face your fears. I was quite nervous the first time I traveled alone, but I pushed through and marched forward. As a result, I became quite confident in my abilities to reach a destination and enjoy myself. It is definitely a self-esteem boost.  

2. It Broadens Your Perspective  - Traveling allows you to see that that there is another part of the world besides the little piece of paradise that you experience daily.  It allows you to interact with  people outside of your circle and allows you to get to know them and a little about their daily life.  I have met wonderful people along my journey, some I have remained in touch with and some I've just had a pleasant conversation with. All remain memorable. 

3. It Allows You to Experience Different Cultures and Foods - One of the things that I love most is experiencing different cultures and treating myself to local dishes. Eating out by myself the first time was a little uncomfortable, but I've learned to take my Kindle. I noticed one lady who was traveling solo doodling. People find a way to occupy themselves. I'm comfortable enjoying my meals alone and not feeling like an outcast. I've had people invite me to join them, but I've found I like relaxing and eating alone. I'm not obligated to make small talk and can focus on reading or getting on line and retrieving emails etc. 

4. It Teaches You To Think About Your Safety - Safety should be a major concern when traveling solo. It forces you to listen to your intuition and to become aware of your surroundings. I always do my homework before traveling. I educate myself on taxi fares so I will have some idea of what I should be buying. If I will be driving, I make sure I arrive during the day so I can reach my destination before night fall. I make it a habit of checking my surroundings, and never venture too far my hotel at night. I always park under lights and always keep my doors locked when driving or in my hotel room. They make peep holes for a reason, I use it before opening the door for room service, maintenance etc.  

5. You Return Feeling Like You Can Conquer The World - Traveling solo makes you stronger as a person. It enhances your leadership, planning and organizational skills. It allows you to get in touch with what you like and do they things you want to do. You get to plan and set your own schedule and not feel obligated to anyone. It's freeing and totally invigorating!   

We've come a long way baby. We have women who are executives in corporations or own their own businesses and they travel constantly. It seems that traveling for business is acceptable, but there's still a stigma for a woman traveling alone for personal reasons. Females traveling solo don't want to be looked at sideways. We want to feel invigorated, and we're simply refusing to be stifled in any matter. Let us assert our independence.  

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Sunday's Best Linkup - #30

Welcome to Week 30 of  Mother 2 Mother's Sunday's Best Linkup This is the last week for our Everything's Beachy theme. Families are enjoying their backyard pools and heading to the beach for a little fun and sun.  This is a great time to share your beach theme crafts, tablescapes, safety tips and anything else that you love about the beach.   

We also welcome other recipes, crafts, DIY, home makeover and gardening tips, SEO and blogging information, sewing projects, patio and deck makeovers, front porch makeovers, summer organization tips, ideas for backyard BBQ, summer flower arrangements and more.   

16 Mom Approved Kid's Beach Crafts

Summer is in full swing and families are heading to the beach. There are days that we don't head out, but stay inside and enjoy a day or 2 of crafts and movies with the children. I decided to do a roundup of mom approved beach crafts that will be easy and fun to make.  

Here's my roundup selections. Click on the link to check out the blog and instructions on how to make these adorable crafts or use the images as inspiration and create your version: 

1.  Dr. Seuss Crafts (Mrs. Thompson's Treasures) 

2.  Fish Hands (Mom To Two Plush Lil Divas) 

3.  Grandma's Sea of Love (Flickr Photo) 

4.  Shells and Shimmer (A List Maker's Life)

5.  Fish Bowl (Walking By The Way)

6.  Construction Paper Fish (Buggy and Buddy)

7.  Celery Stamping Fish (Crafty Morning)

8.  Bucket & Shovel (Learn Create Love)

9.  Cupcake Liner Fish (I Heart Crafty Things)

10. Paper Lemonade (Pitter Patter Art)

11.  Paper Plate Whale (In The Play Room)

12. Egg Carton Ocean (The Imagination Tree)  

13. Paper Plate Shark (Almost Unschoolers)

14. Beach In A Bottle (Country Chic Cottage) 

15. Bears At The Beach Snack (The Chickabug Blog)

16. Under The Sea (Daisy Cottage Designs) 

These crafts are mom approved and have be shared so you can enjoy them with your little ones too.  Pick out a few for your beach trip or have a little summer fun at home. I had a hard time selecting a favorite, but I do love number 15 - Bears At the Beach Snack. What a great idea.   What's your favorite?  Leave us a comment.  


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

9 Tried and True Foods To Pack For The Beach

It's beach season. Do you have plans to head to the beach within the next month to soak up a little sun and have a little fun? When I head to the beach I stay for most of the day. That means I pack plenty of food, drinks and a good book. Over the years, I've had food fails and successes when packing our lunch/snack bag.  

I've learned to invest in a good insulated food bag to ensure the ice doesn't melt and having it on wheels doesn't hurt either. My cooler has 4 plates, which is great for the kids. I pack it with plenty of ice so everything stays cool. Baggies are my best friend on the beach. I double bag everything to ensure the food stays dry and to help keep the sand away.  Sand somehow seems to land on everything, and we all know that it sticks.  I actually have a cooler for the food that needs to stay cool and tote for the dry goods like chips, crackers, cookies/brownies, wipes, small cups, forks, plastic grocery bags etc. 

I've also learned to pack foods that can be handled by both children and adults. Finger foods are great beach foods. I can have the children sit and relax in their beach chairs and they can handle the finger foods on their own or with a napkin. Finger foods are also easy to obtain from a container or baggies.   

Our favorite foods to take to the beach are: 

1.  Lettuce Wraps - Lettuce wraps eliminates the need for bread and is a much healthier alternative. The wraps go over much better with adults. Anything green is still an enemy for the kids. Another reason we love wraps is because they are so versatile. You can wrap chicken or tuna salad, spicy shredded beef etc., and control the size of the wraps. If you pack anything with mayo make sure is housed on ice. I use plastic containers to house the wraps because they are water proof and I can cover the container well with the ice. 

2. Pepperoni Slices - These are great for both the kids and adults.  You can pack low fat or turkey pepperoni.  Pack plenty, these are a favorite. 

3. Fresh Fruits - I love freezing seedless grapes. They are so refreshing after being out in the sun. I also slice a seedless watermelon and cut each slice into 4-6 pieces. I place the slices into gallon zip lock baggies. The children can handle eating it, and the adults devour their share too. Chopped cantaloupe, honeydew or strawberries will work too. Just chop it and place in a gallon baggie. Use a plastic cup to hold the chopped fruit when you're ready to eat it. 

4. Mason Jar Salads - These are great for adults.  I would recommend chopping your ingredients into bit size pieces before you place them in a pint size jar. You can add your favorite dressing before leaving the house. A plastic fork is the only utensil you will need.  

5. Fried or Baked Chicken Wing Pieces - These are a huge hit with the kids. They are easy to handle and eat without a plate. I double bag these in gallon baggies and just let the kids grab a few. Place the bones in a plastic bag and just throw them in the trash.  

6. Cheese Cubes/Slices and Crackers - The kids love cheese cubes. I buy a bag of the cubed cheese and transfer it to a zip lock baggie. It's easier to access them from the baggie than the package from the store. I also pack sliced cheese to place between crackers for the kids. They love it. 

7.  Brownies - My family loves brownies. I cut them into small squares and place them into baggies. Nice sweet treat without the mess. 

8.  Rolled Deli Turkey or Ham - I take deli ham or turkey and roll it. I take a long toothpick and place it through a few olives before placing it through the rolled meat. Both the kids and adults like this. You can also add a slice of cheese to the top of the meat before you roll it. 

9.  Chips -  Not healthy, but always great at the beach.  You can purchase low fat or baked. My family doesn't care. If the bag says chips, it's on.  

Be sure to pack plenty of water, Gatorade, or flavor infused water. It's better than sugary fruit drinks. I also take a container of wipes that I purchase from the dollar store to whip hands before and after handling the food. What's your favorite foods to take to the beach?  Please add them to our list, we may want to pack them to. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Free Printable Ant-Man Activity Pack - #Antman

Ant-Man is in theaters and it is a hit. Print our free activity pack for your little Ant-Man fan. The activity pack includes:
  • A mask with instructions
  • Maze
  • Coloring activities
  • Spot the differences and answers
  • Matching card game and instructions 

Sand Sculptures That Will Wow You

If you're looking for an event to attend with the family in the Hampton Roads area, check out the Neptune Festival in Virginia Beach, VA. It's a great way to spend the day with the family, soak up some sun and end the summer with a bang. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Sunday's Best Linkup - #29

Welcome to Week 29 of  Mother 2 Mother's Sunday's Best Linkup This week the theme is Everything's Beachy. Families are enjoying their backyard pools and heading to the beach for a little fun and sun.  This is a great time to share your beach theme crafts, tablescapes, safety tips and anything else that you love about the beach.   

We also welcome other recipes, crafts, DIY, home makeover and gardening tips, SEO and blogging information, sewing projects, patio and deck makeovers, front porch makeovers, summer organization tips, ideas for backyard BBQ, summer flower arrangements and more.   
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