Sunday, June 11, 2017

Recent Creative Developments

After my recent, rather lengthy, previous posts, I'm gonna try to make this one a bit shorter and just give you the highlights of my recent creative life. Just to keep everyone updated and mostly to try and hold myself accountable. So here it is!

As I mentioned on my previous post, my contract with Agora Gallery ended this March and I chose not to continue being represented by them due to their lack of sales of my work, despite the interest shown by the public during my November show. Fortunately enough I got approached by another Chelsea gallery earlier this year that wants to represent me. They seem to work differently than Agora and my images wouldn't be restricted under contract which is great, they also promised to be very focused on artists' sales and museum networking which sounds super promising. Unfortunately the way galleries work is that you have to pay upfront for representation, PR, printing material, etc and then you hopefully get reimbursed, ideally with profit through the sales of your work. As of now I'm waiting for the green light from the Universe to let me know when the time is right to pay for my next representation contract, hopefully one way or another my own art will pay for my this as was the plan all along. Meanwhile, I let the new gallery director know about my situation and not only was she extremely understanding, but she gave me an open invite. Whenever I'm ready all I have to do is fill out the paper work I already have and I'm in! Which is very exciting! So even though I have no active gallery right now, I will soon be back in NYπŸ˜€
For the moment I still have some online representation through ART UpCLOSE and you can see my work with them here.


On completely different news, I opened a zazzle store over a year ago and then decided I didn't quite like it so I never truly advertised it and eventually I completely forgot it existed. But as a wonderful sign of abundance, a couple months ago at exactly 2:22pm the once forgotten zazzle store made it's first sale! So I revived it and have slowly been starting to add more products. It still has a long way to go from what it could be, but it is alive now and hopefully after I'm all packed/moved-out, I'll be able to dedicate some serious time into my designs there. In the Meantime you can check out what I have so far here 😊
After "resurrecting" my zazzle store my brain started working on new ideas again and thanks to inspiration I got for a gift for my otspsecretsister, I got back to making illustrations. Which btw I forgot how fun they could be! Anyway the illustration I made for my secret sis can now be purchased as a print of the original artwork on my etsy or as a mug or magnet on my zazzle!

Getting to work on my e-stores again got my inspiration flowing and I now plan to create a line of illustrations and products for both stores exclusively to help save the vaquita on the second half of the year and into 2018! 50% of my profits will be donated to this worthy cause and after vaquita I plan to create a whole line of art, in any medium that inspiration strikes to help other endangered species. I'm super excited about this πŸ˜„.

Meanwhile, I've been practicing purposefully opening up more to the infinite abundance of the Universe through my art, and entering all sorts of different contests and juried open calls. Even if I don't win, it's good practice because I am letting the Universe know that I am willing and open to receive and by doing so I might even get unexpected exposure out of it.
The contests I'm most invested in now are, as I mentioned on my previous post, with NatGeo and the WWF. The WWF offers different prizes including photo expeditions to see animals in the wild which is my dream! And the people's choice award is a trip to see polar bears!! But for this I need your help, I need your vote daily for any or all of my following images:

http://dailywildlifephoto.nathab.com/contests/2-2017-wildlife-photo-contest/photos/6599-puffin-rock

http://dailywildlifephoto.nathab.com/contests/2-2017-wildlife-photo-contest/photos/6598-into-the-eyes-of-our-cousin


http://dailywildlifephoto.nathab.com/contests/2-2017-wildlife-photo-contest/photos/6597-the-face-of-innocence-2017

I know it's a bit of a pain, but every time you vote, even if it's a 100 times, you get entered to win a $500 gift card, so the more you vote the better your chances of winning also! Voting goes through the end of the month and any votes are greatly appreciatedπŸ’—


Lastly here's my random bit of information. This year I taught myself how to quill. I've always been so fascinated by quilled cards or art so I thought it was about time I learned. It's simpler than I expected by looking at the finished art but it takes a lot longer than I could ever have imagined! For now I'm focusing my practicing efforts on cards for friends and family but I hope to eventually be able to offer some cards through my etsy. If you have any ideas of something you would like to see please let me know!
Those are all my latest creative news, keep a look out for new developments and products on my stores and remember to always consider supporting the artists in your life and conservation issues that speak to you!

Love and Light🌟
<3 p="">

Monday, June 5, 2017

Life in Between Adventures

Wow June already! How can that be? Anyway, now that my big trip recaps are done, I can move on to "real life."
This half of the year has gone by so fast! And so much amongst nothingness has happened...
For weeks and weeks after the trip I felt like all I was doing was playing catch up with life that kept going on in town as I was, well, not in town. But at the same time it's almost as if all my mad scrambling made my perception of time stand still, February 6 was my January 1st ,so I kept thinking I had more time to do things or that it was earlier in the year than it actually was. I kinda still feel that way, especially with the crazy weather we've been having. Weather up until May 31 was very early April, cold and wet, not May at all! Which only helped reinforced my non-calendar perception of time and whenever I look at the "label" of the month I still freak out.
After realizing how much time I had "less," I started getting this feeling that lasted a long time, like I was floundering. I had taken time off school, I am in between galleries, I have no real social life at the moment, I haven't created much for my stores and I'm even behind on my reading challenge, granted that is because I couldn't do a lot of these things while traveling but still, floundering!
                                                I kept going from this -----------------------------------> to this! 
But then it recently dawn on me, all that external "nothingness," or rather, stillness was because I needed that time to myself because a lot of things were happening inside. When life is too crazy we barely give ourselves permission to stop and process all of our emotions. Sometimes we think we're ok or make ourselves believe we've grieved a loss enough and try to move on without truly processing. We fill our calendars and planners and are always looking at tomorrow but we're hardly ever in the today. Living in the present moment was one of the biggest lessons I got from my whole cancer experience and I cannot afford to forget those valuable lessons.
Most of the times when we don't have time to decompress, process, learn and seriously look inside ourselves at what is working and what isn't, it comes back to bite us in the butt. After all, about 90% of all physical ailments are emotional.
So sometimes floundering and being a hermit is more than ok. Sometimes it is necessary to go back to those times when we answered "nothing" to the question "what are you doing?" and actually meant it.

My time of doing nothing matched perfectly with the season and it is a beautiful energetic synchronicity. With the Winter solstice our energies shift from outward to inward, it is the time to "hibernate," take it slow, be by ourselves and look into our shadow self so we can heal it and let the Light of Spring in! Half of this energetic time I spent on a long crazy fun adventure, which makes sense that the Universe will then make up for it by making it stretch into Spring, especially since it's been a very cold, gray Spring. The outside world always reflects our inside one.

My biggest call of attention that I should be focusing inwards was by developing some weird pox-looking hives we couldn't figure out the reason for. But that forced me to look at my whole  emotional and energetic state at the time. Hives among other things develop out of an abandonment-anxiety or a feeling of being treated poorly and unjustly that is not corrected because of a fear of loss. Perfectly enough the first hives developed right on my birthday. How amazing is that? A new cycle of existence was starting and my own body did not permit me to drag stuff from the past into it, it forced me to look into things, bring them to the Light and start healing from the source even though it was a couple months of hard work and a maddening itch. One of the biggest things the hives, along with other minor health symptoms I've had throughout these months, have helped me find, was a very painful relationship that was/is still hurting me. I thought I had mourned it years ago but turns out I just got used to living with the pain, digging deep enough I found I'm still as hurt as I was the first day, so I've been working on healing all those aspects of myself. Allergies were also very present during these times and those are usually a manifestation of some suppressed grief, so I've been working on letting those feelings out, of actually feeling these waves of emotions and rolling with it as well as cleansing and detoxing both physically and energetically. Things we keep in the shadows for long were there for a reason and making sure we are taking care of ourselves as they are dredged up it's super important to make sure they don't get re-stuck on our systems.
Throughout this process I  also got more clarity on what I want out of friendships, out of school and even out of my e-stores.
I've been learning to talk more clearly with the Universe to co-create the things I really want, I've been learning to reshape my words to always attract and leave positivity, though that one is more of a challenge, I've been learning to communicate better with my body and practice self love, which is extremely hard for me, and I've been learning to enjoy the nothingness.
When people ask you what you do and you don't immediately answer with school or a job, preferably one you don't like, people always say "oh so you don't do anything," and you know what? Even if that was the case, then good for you! There's nothing wrong with not doing anything and letting the Universe and the Light fill you up and take care of you, but working on yourself, trying to raise your vibration, making yourself healthier and therefore bringing all those close to you higher on the vibrational scale along with you is a full time job, it requires a lot on your part and it is a lot of the times a lot more important than being in sync with the system...

Another thing I got clarity on was where I want my art to go, I got a new gallery offer (more on that later) but more importantly as I floundered and drifted I found several photo contests I applied to, a couple with the WWF and Nat Geo and doing this not only helped me practice opening up to receiving abundance but also clicked with a part of me that had been ignored for the longest time. When I was little I used to draw cards and "buttons" with animals on them and sell them out of my garage to people passing by to be able to donate to the WWF, Greenpeace and other legit organizations that are helping animals. Conservation is HUGE to me and I kinda put it on the back burner to pursue a more "selfish" art for years. Which is ok, everything has a reason and a purpose but now I'm ready to return to my entrepreneurial 5 year old. I have some good ideas I hope to put into practice on the second half of the year to work more with and for endangered species and help animals closer to home as well πŸ˜ƒ
I'm so excited about it, because I've long felt that usually what we dreamt of as little kids holds the truth to what we should be doing always πŸ˜‰

Lastly, here's a nice full-circle story and big news I'm leaving you with. When I first moved into the apartment I'm at now, I had a very good friend that was perfect for me. She is older so she was able to help me with adult things like grocery shopping, cleaning, etc. But not that much older that she didn't want to play with me. So when my mom wasn't in town, I always had someone around I could trust and she became my unofficial roommate as she spent 4 out of 7 days in my place at some point. We had the best of times, and she got to see the apartment in its early days. After she graduated college she moved away and we slowly lost touch, we saw each other twice in some years I can't even count with my lack of time awareness. We still had each other's numbers and would text to say hi every few months but we didn't seem to connect beyond that. When I got cancer she offered to come see me before the holidays but my mom was so overwhelmed with family coming and chemo appointments, etc. that we asked her if she could postpone her visit 'till January 2015. She couldn't make it then and stuff kept getting in the way until this February. We reconnected when I went to see her in Pittsburgh on the January-February road trip and we realized we have even more in common now than before!
And a couple weeks after my visit to her town she told me she would be visiting me to celebrate my birthday for a week! It was awesome, it's like time hadn't passed at all and we had the best of times again. And talking with her in my living room like old times, it clicked. It all made sense, the Universe kept throwing stuff in our way because it wasn't the time for her to come, she came when things became full circle. I moved here with her constant presence and support and now that I'm moving out she came to close this particular cycle of my life. My social life and the most insightful times in this apartment started and now ended with her πŸ’œ
So I'm moving!!! It's so bittersweet, things with the building's current managing company are horrible and we cannot keep living with them and I have also overgrown the space, but this is the place I've lived the longest in my entire life and I loooooove it. I do understand it is perfect timing though, that the Universe has allowed me all this time to flounder, introspect, let go of old wounds and people that no longer resonate, to release old baggage and come full circle to say goodbye in the best possible note to home so I can start fresh in a new place!
On to bigger and better things! A new chapter is coming and the calm before the storm is about to be over! Haha. I'm planing to continue living in Salem, I refuse to let my zip-code go unless I'm moving out of New England, I love my town and I want to continue to be a part of Witch City! But while the place I have in mind becomes available, I'm living in the moment and open to the millions of wondrous possibilities and probabilities the Universe has planned for me!





* I'm redirecting all my mail to my mom's just to be safe during this transition period. So if you're reading this and you're a pen pal then get at me on social media for the new address πŸ™‚

Monday, May 29, 2017

January/February Trip Recap (Part 4)


Finally! The last leg of the trip πŸ˜ƒ and arguably the busiest one! My mom and I took once again to the road to make our way back up the coast, but this time, we veered a bit west so we could hit new states different from our usual route.
Our adventure back north started with St. Augustin, which strangely enough we had never been to. It's super weird because it's only 2 hours away from Orlando, so I don't know why we always veered more towards Tampa or Miami 4 hrs away than venturing a bit further north from Daytona. Anyway, after seeing insta posts from people I grew up with having an amazing time in St. Augustin, I pushed for a detour on our last day in central Florida to go see it for ourselves and it was better than expected. We only had a few hours to explore the area and it definitely requires a second visit but it doesn't feel very Floridian. St Augustin is the oldest city in America and with the beaches and quaint little streets it's definitely super fun, it just feels a lot more like Puerto Rico than the US. The fort and some architecture, the spanish-colonial history and their pirates stories are all very similar to PR, so if you can't make it out to sea and to the Caribbean, you can totally go check this city and play pretend, I doubt you'll be disappointed 😜 We missed a lot of the famous sights because of our lack of time but we did get to have great beach views, go into the old fort, and "go to school" in the oldest school-house in the country, it's a super cute museum set up just as it was when it did have students there in the 1800s, and once you're done exploring you get to pick up your diploma at the exit, how cute is that?!


Next on the itinerary was Tallahassee. Because of it being a larger city and our having had a longer drive after St. Augustin we gave it two nights. Unfortunately I cannot tell you much about it. It's definitely more Southern, culturally, than central and south Florida, so it was fun to get to know my home state a bit better and see the changes as we made our way further North on it. However it was the off season and no tours or attractions were opened. We tried to do our own thing but that is harder to do in a big city when most tourist friendly things are closed and we didn't get to do much. After a couple hours we gave up on doing it alone and my mom found a segway tour which was personalized so we could see all the highlights without having to drive around. I had only tried segways once before in the Caribbean but it had been fun, so off we went on our adventure. Except we didn't really. As it turned out, these were the smaller, less stable segways made for cities instead of the huge ones they use in the Caribbean. So on a practice run at a parking lot I went over a horrible bump and the thing flipped me over, threw me to the curb and ran over my leg!😒 Other than shock my first concern was that I had fallen over an icky ants' nest so I was worried about that and the throbbing pain along my arm, everyone else was worried about the fact that my helmet had broken from the impact, so thank goodness I was wearing one! After some fussing and confusion as to what to do I managed to get back on the thing, although I refused to go over any more bumps; but as time went by I started feeling a trickle inside my shoe and my leg was burning. We stopped at a public restroom and sure enough I had a puncture wound in my foot, which was bleeding and the back of my leg did not only had a bad road rash, it still had bits of rubber from the segway running over it stuck to it and unwilling to go away! Needless to say our tour was cut short, my mom was freaking out and I could barely move. The rest of the night was spent getting gauze and antibacterial solutions and washing and dressing the wound😞 It sucked! For days I had to change the bandage twice a day and could not walk or sit normally. So who knows how Tallahassee is really like? Lol. Also, we didn't know it but this was our last warm day...


From Tallahassee we drove to Louisiana so we could spend the next day and a half in New Orleans, which I loved! We did not expect the weather so far south to be in the 40s and windy so I was freezing after the 80 degrees day we had the day before but NOLA was so fun. Definitely not at all like what people have described to me; there is so much art on the streets and lots of cute touristy boutiques... I was a bit disappointed that not all of the architecture looks like the real life Princess and the Frog but there's a lot of that too and the fact that we're not in the 1920s/30s was also brought to my attention.
For our adventures we had beignets at Cafe Du Monde which tasted as good as Tiana's look like!! And had vegan po boys and gumbo in the garden district. We enjoyed the views to the Mississippi river, walked around the French Quarter and its market, took a quick bus tour around the modern areas of the city and had fun seeing all sort of tv and movie location spots!
The next morning we went to Lafayette Cemetery and when I started looking at everything through my lens: Wow! No wonder this is such a popular place for Hollywood filming. It totally made me want to watch Princess and the Frog, Vampire Diaries and the Originals again! I was disappointed that I didn't find any voodoo shops thoughπŸ˜• Not like I would even go into a real one, but I wanted to see the fake ones for tourists, however all I found was regular souvenir stores selling the classic t-shirts and mugs sort of dressed like a voodoo shops 😐 At some point while wandering I did see a magick shop in the French Quarter, but my mom didn't like the vibe and didn't let me go in so I have no idea what kind of magick it was...
We also just saw Burbon street in passing, during the day we just drove by it and didn't have time to stop and during the night is almost impossible to drive by it. It was nice to see everything lit up but there were drunks everywhere and who wants to deal with those vibes? It's worst than the voodoo, my mom didn't even let me get out of the car for pictures because you never know with drunks... Vampires might be better and safer lol.

On January 29 we got to play in Nashville and we fell in love with it! At least with the first half we saw; I think we did it "wrong" though haha our experience had very little to do with music and cowboys and everything to do with Greece.
We spent the bigger half of our time in the city exploring their Parthenon which even had Percy Jackson's script on display, so now of course I want to watch it again also! Lol. Their giant Athena was a photographer's dream and even though it was freezing outside, it was so nice to be walking around the different parks after having spent some time in just urban settings. We visited both, Centennial and Bicentennial parks and went up hills to look at Nashville from above as well as then go visit the state capitol up close. The Greek influence everywhere was not what we expected out of "Music City". Because we only had a day there and it was the off season we didn't have any country concerts or anything, we did our best to drive or walk past and get a picture of the Country Music and Musicians Halls of fame as well as the Symphony center and in the morning during breakfast at a little organic cafe they had open mic with some really nice girls singing country. I guess that counts right? Speaking of cafes and food during our stay in Nashville we managed to eat twice at one of my new favorite vegan places Graze! Food was pretty spicy because apparently everything in the South is spicy! But so worth the pain!!!! LOL
The only downside to visiting Nashville in the off season was that we went to Broadway street to look at all the neon signs and souvenir shops after sunset, and apparently only locals that want to drink are around and there's a big homeless problem in the areaπŸ˜• So as we were walking down a street pass a street musician, a man shoulder-hit my mom tying to get her to drop her purse and kept walking by really fast, fortunately the bag was a cross body, we have very active guardian angels and we were safe with nothing worse to tell. We were extremely shaken up though and couldn't enjoy ourselves after that, so after collecting ourselves in a shop we went straight for the car drove to Cincinnati earlier than planned.

By the time we reached Ohio the temperatures were incredibly cold, we didn't have a buffer "middle temperature" as we had naively planned, and so my body never got adjusted to the sudden winter 😣 Freezing as we were we couldn't really spend time outdoors and it was a Monday, the time when museums and botanical gardens close, it was the off season and combine that with the fact that we're not that used to big cities that aren't giant tourist magnets anymore, we found hardly anything to do! So in Cincinnati we just drove by the Gaslight district because the houses are really pretty, found a bookstore-cafe where we could hang out for a bit and continued through to Pittsburgh. The same story as the day before repeated in Pittsburgh, mainly because their day to close there for some reason is Tuesdays. Pittsburgh's lack of fun didn't really matter though, as we had only added it to our itinerary so we could visit my friend Marianne. I hadn't seen her since 2011 despite her trying to come see me when I had cancer, but nothing ever seemed to work in our favor and for the longest time she lived out of the country, so now that she had moved back to the states and was on the same coast we had to go se her! That was the biggest highlight of those two days, we had dinner, reconnected and talked for hours, we really had a good time, although strangely enough despite her being a photography major, me being me and us switching phone screens constantly to show each other pictures of different things we forgot to take pictures of our reunion! Fortunately we made up for that a few weeks later for my birthday when she came to see me, but more on that later.
Right after dinner with Marianne, my mom and I started the drive to Niagara Falls! It was a longish drive, and according to my mom a stressful one since it started snowing and apparently there were areas with white out conditions. I missed all the scary parts because I was looking down at my Nintendo 3DS' screen and belting out Moana songs and thanks to my mom's mad skills we got to our hotel just fine and I was none the wiser πŸ™‚...

Niagara Falls was freezing but so beautiful! I loved seeing all the snow around them and the bits of frozen water at the top of the river, it was such a magical experience. The only thing that was sad was how close Canada built their city! They get the best view because even if we have some houses and stuff nearby, there are not towering, glittering buildings so you do get the views of Nature right there. From our side is hard to try and get Nature shots, stupid Toronto is messing up the shots more than half the time! I don't understand why people don't have any respect for natural wonders or ancient marvels. Leave some space! Stop encroaching and endangering it! UGH!
But ok, other than that it was a great time πŸ’— We had almost two days which during the off season is a lot of time apparently, but it was so worth it for my inner photographer. We were even rewarded by a rainbow going up from the water to the sky. It was Breathtaking! Part of our adventure there was making me making us go out at night again to capture the falls with the light show on. I froze my hands until they almost fell off and I endangered my camera by dropping it on the other side of the fence to get the right shot haha, but every icy second was worth it. Being so close to something so magnificent is nature is extremely healing. Now we need to go back in the summer to get to the actual adventures of exploring the caves and going on the Maid of the Mist! 
After Niagara, that was it for our adventures. Everything was like a movie-ghost-town except, instead of tumbleweeds there were snow flurries! We hit Saratoga and Buffalo as the last sleeping stops before heading home but found nothing worth a detour for the Winter. On the last drive back we went through lots of different areas in Vermont, we tried mapping a route that would take us through a National Park, I wanted to make our road trip last as long as possible and since we were already in the area why not get more photo material? But even though the GPS clearly showed us crossing the park, there was nothing but houses and road and no signs for anything! So we just drove through without finding the woods lol and we eventually made our way to NH and to my mom's place where I rested and helped unpack, etc from Feb 3 to 6. Once the adventure was officially over, sad as I may have been, and once I was totally settled back home on Feb 7 that's when my year actually began 😜. And now you're all caught up!


✵For more pictures and random trip details from my traveling bear's perspective you can follow their insta account. If you scroll down enough you'll see the trip day to day. If you scroll down to Xmas in Manhattan you've gone too far 😜

Thursday, May 18, 2017

January Trip Recap (Part 3)

Third out of four installments of my trip recap! This one all about home AKA Disney World!

Immediately after being "kicked out" of the cruise ship at an ungodly hour before 10am on January 7, we got our car from the cruise's terminal and drove to Orlando to stay for the next 2.5 weeks, because that is home, and that's the place you go to recharge and decompress, which by this point with my mom sick and my misadventures on the island the day before we really needed.
We had lots of plans to be "tourists" this time, since we haven't really seen non-disney properties in the area for years, but as already mentioned we debarked under less than ideal circumstances, (if you missed it you can read all about them here) and to make matters worst, when we got to Orlando we were received by a freakish 30 degree weather, which was a great shock to my system and got me sick tooπŸ™.
Half of our time in Orlando was spent recovering from the flu so we took it easy, only doing half days at the parks, visiting favorite restaurants and shops within Disney and between Lake Buenavista and Kissimmee and just sleeping the bug off to be honest.
All our plans went out the window and we used Disney for the most part as a breather from life as we usually do haha. At least there's no better place to stay inside than a Disney resort!

But now on to the main even during my time in Orlando. The absolute biggest highlight of those two weeks was meeting my first IGGPPC pen-pal and one of my very best friends now...in person! Ann from Carnival Hearts πŸ˜ƒ
We've been friends for a couple of years now and one of our biggest bonds has been over Disney. We both grew up in the Orlando area and love going to the Disney parks as much as possible so getting to have our first in person meeting there was beyond perfect! You can read an interview we gave about a year ago for the IGGPPC blog about our friendship and daydreams to meet at a Disney park here!


It is sometimes weird and kinda surreal to hang out in person with someone you've only ever met through letters, but we had already shared so much and were now in the most magical of places that it all felt pretty natural within a few minutes, despite both of our social awkwardness.
My only regret if you can call it that, was that both me and my mom were sick and were not as energetic and enthusiastic as we wanted to be. Nevertheless I had a blast with both Ann and her boyfriend Steve and at least from my perspective, also hanging out with her boyfriend and my mom at the same time didn't feel awkward at all. We all got along pretty great and both Steve and my mom would give us "friend time" alone on rides or strolling around the parks so we could catch up which was amazing! <3 p="">
It was so fun to experience the parks with someone new and get to know each other better, picking up conversations from our last letters and doing our belated holiday gift swap in person! Ann and I got to play at all the parks together except for Epcot because that was the day I couldn't breathe and therefore didn't make it 😞 But we made the most of our time together and I even got to share some Animal Kingdom secrets she was unaware of. It was just so fun!
At animal kingdom, because we were wearing our "I'm Celebrating!" buttons, a cast member asked us about the story behind them and then got so excited about our friendship story, we got our picture taken, for a stories-thing the cast members share between themselves, and were given a free giant "friendship" Mickey cookie! It was such a magical experience and I can't wait for the next time we get to hang out together.
We had so many fun moments, at Hollywood Studios we got to ride Toy Story Mania 3 times in a row! Got to meet Moana and get our pictures taken using "the force" and shared a meal at my ultimate favorite restaurant in the entire world: The Sci-Fi Dinner πŸ’œ                                           Magic Kingdom was where we first met, but since my mom and I weren't feeling great after a quick trip to Tomorrowland we had to leave. On Ann's last day at the parks however, I caught up with her and Steve to enjoy our last few hours together as much as possible. My mom couldn't join us that night and the rain seemed to want to keep me and Ann apart since they were trapped going from ride to ride in Adventureland while I was stuck on Main Street. I eventually found them and we got to meet Aladdin and Jasmin, go on a few rides, have our own merry unbirthday party spinning the mad tea cups and have dinner together before saying goodbye at the main gate after getting our last friendship picture taken in front of the Mickey flowers.
"I've Decided We Should Be Pencils" Tank Top by Jordandene
I'm really grateful I got to meet Ann in person, and can't wait to see her again. Hanging out with her made my visit back home extra special. I started missing her the day after she left and not only do I wish we could live closer to each other but now I also want to meet other great friends I've only met through letters!
After Ann and Steve left the next biggest highlight was attending the first ever Epcot Festival of Arts which was a lot of fun. It's similar to the Flower and Garden Fest but with art, there's food shaped like art, different chalk paintings on the "streets" of the World showcase, a mural all guest can be a part of painting, concerts, and a figment art scavenger hunt which was the most fun for me! At the end if you completed it you got a magnet of figment as one famous painting.

Overall a very different experience from what we have planned but so good and so necessary. After all like they say you have to be full of expectancy but never of expectations. Planning is never that great, taking it one day at a time is the way to go, we got lots of rest so we could have our health back for the road trip back home, had the most amazing few days with one of my besties and we were there at the right time for my new favorite Epcot festival. It was perfect despite life being lifeπŸ˜‰
<3 p="">                                                                                                                                                                        ✵For more pictures and random trip details from my traveling bear's perspective you can follow their insta account. If you scroll down enough you'll see the trip day to day. If you scroll down to Xmas in Manhattan you've gone too far 😜

Thursday, May 4, 2017

January Trip Recap (Part 2)

Second Installment on my adventures! This one is all about my Eatern-Caribbean cruise πŸ˜ƒ



From Dec 31 to January 7 my mom and I were on board the Disney Fantasy. To be completely honest this is my least favorite Disney ship, but still a Disney ship and any of them is better than pretty much any other cruise ship out there hehe.
We had the best last day of 2016 chilling by the pool, riding the water coaster (the Aqua Duck) and overall just enjoying ourselves on deck. Minus the bits when we were also trying to get the last bits of cell phone reception to wish our loved ones a happy new year, which was a mess because of everyone's time zone differences and the afore motioned distractions 😜. At night we had dinner and as usual a massive deck party to ring in the new year topped with fire works at sea. It was so fun! Even if incredibly packed and we didn’t get as good a view of the stage or the fireworks as we did back in 2013 but no complains! If you’re not at the Magic Kingdom to receive the year covered in Pixie Dust, a Disney Cruise is definitely second best! 



January 1st and 2nd were days at sea (but at least we’re talking about 2017 now!) Which one would assume are nothing but relaxing, but in general cruises have so much happening on a daily basis, and Disney cruises much more so, that sea days are usually a mad dash to catch as many possible activities and shows and explore all the magical details of the giant ship in just those few "off" days.

As Gold Castaway Members we even got a special "mixer" with Captain Mickey to attend first thing Jan 1st!

The third day brought us to the British Virgin Islands and we visited Tortola. This was a new island for me which is awesome, I love that feeling of visiting a new place for the very first time! I am so blessed and do not ever take it for granted, but I was a bit disappointed on the island or rather on the services. As it is to be expected the landscape is the same as the US Virgin Islands, which is amazing!😍 No complains on that department but the service and friendliness of the people leaves a lot to be desired in comparison to other islands in the area. One lady even wanted me to go fetch her the ingredients she left away from the kitchen while preparing my smoothie! Also the cleanliness of the non-natural areas isn’t as spotless as one would want and expect in a paradise island πŸ˜• 
It was super fun though, especially going to Pusser’s landing to enjoy the Caribbean vibes and watch pelicans chill on yachts, then walking to the “souvenir market” and getting to watch lots of tiny, fluffy baby chicks trying to escape, climb on or burry themselves under their mom haha. 
That night after all the port fun we had the Pirates in the Caribbean party, which is super fun. Everyone dresses up in their best buccaneer getups and there are character’s dressed up in their pirate’s best all over the ship and there is a deck party/show before dinner, then themed dinner and later at night Pirate’s club, which is a different mini show before having it be an open air night club that includes more fireworks at sea, making Disney cruises extra special. No one else can have fireworks at sea, let alone two shows in one weekπŸ˜ƒ





On January 4th we visited both St. John and St. Thomas. Since we had already visited these islands a few times before, I decided to put photography as my priority versus adventure. Big mistake! I mean yeah the views are amazing! But the way our tours were scheduled we had free time but not enough to go swim with seals or dolphinsπŸ™ And as I realized way too late, on the way to all the fun animal encounters you also get some picture stops...So this was a live and learn situation. As it was, we ended up going on a super fun ferry boat to St. John where we got beyond soaked after 10 minutes, explored St. John’s ancient sugar mill and high island points as well as their newer areas and then we headed back to St. Thomas for lunch and to just enjoy the bits of island and shopping areas closer to the port.
video

Next time I’m going back to Ocean World or something similar so I can have more exciting stories to tell hehe 😜

January 5th was our last full day at sea which we finally took more for relaxing this time. We enjoyed ourselves by just going to a couple shows, playing mini golf on deck and having more pool time before the semi-formal dinner.
Next day our port adventure was Disney’s private Island, Castaway Cay
This is usually my utmost favorite island in the Caribbean, there are so many things to do and enjoy, there's never enough time to have all the adventures and enjoy every hidden scenic gem, but some changes seem to be happening that not everything I remember was operational, and to my iggle dismay the post office closed early, way before I could get my special stamps! 😒
There was still enough adventure to go around and we started the day on the island parasailing. This was my second time trying it and therefore the experience was less nerve- wracking than three years ago, sadly it was booked solid and they didn’t offer repeats or single rides this time, but it was super fun for me and totally relaxing for my mom lol. After returning to land we were supposed to go snorkeling but mom had gotten sick the day before and as the day’s temperatures increased she started feeling worst. We hadn’t noticed it before but apparently a bug was making the rounds in the ship and some stresses we had over this week depleted our immune systems. My mom waited for me to snorkel on my own, but without a grown up to make sure I didn’t drift off to open sea or drown I was to stressed to enjoy it. Also, the floaty bag I got my iPhone worked great outside of the water but not under, it wouldn’t recognize my finger on the screen so it didn’t focus on the fish, which were also much harder to see than in Hawaii. So I ended up out of the ocean after only about 30 mins just in time to find my mom ready to return to the ship😞
I stayed behind with the plan to just take some pictures around the island, shop for some island-exclusive goodies and head back on board early. This is when the real adventure began…
For some reason while asking a cast member at the shops where the best vistas around the main area were, he didn’t seem to know and a lady overheard us and decided to give me directions for the look-out tower. My mom and I had heard about it the night before but she told me it was inaccessible unless you took a bike, I do not know how to ride a bike so it was out of the question. I told this to the random lady and she said from where we were it was close by on foot and sent me around a not very traveled loop. I ended up getting lost in the 5K loop, where no cast members patrol, hardly any visitors ever go by and if they do is on bike! So because of bogus directions I ended up making the 5K loop and then some, carrying shopping bags and camera equipment, completely on my own, under the 90 degree sun with no water and wearing water-shoes not made for walking!! There was hardly any one I could ask for help and those I did see were unable or unwilling to help! By the time I made it back to the main areas I ended up in the grown up beach which is super boring and isolated and full of drunk people so I had to wait for a tram to come get me as the one that saw me approach left me anyway! I’m sure in the future this will be a very funny story of my misadventures but I still get annoyed. I was so exhausted and dehydrated when I made it back to the ship! For a while there I was even worried of not making it to the all aboard time, my phone had no reception and I had not brought the sea phone with me to let anyone know I was in a marshy area of the island! 
The day ended with me passing out for a while before dinner and then having to go to the last dinner alone with my bear since my mom was still not feeling well.
I know it happens, but don’t you kinda hate it when life happens while you're on vacation? LOL


Overall this was the least super-amazing Disney cruise in general. There were definitely lessons in tolerance and letting go at every moment. Lots of buttons got pushed with the staff not meeting Disney standards of service, not speaking English when visiting only English speaking Islands in an American ship! Lack of vegan options which we had never had a problem with before, super rude, loud and intrusive guests, Disney’s weird allowance of so much alcohol everywhere which is pretty new and leads to obnoxious and inappropriate drunk people…the couple of misadventures and of course my mom getting sick… But as I always say, if I don’t travel it I don’t learn it lol. My biggest lessons usually happen while traveling. And I don’t think I truly managed to learn these lessons, they still got me pretty peeved so at least I know where to focus on my growth so things like these don’t repeat and we get to enjoy our next cruise as much as we have every other Disney one!

*For more pictures and random trip details from my traveling bear's perspective you can follow their insta account. If you scroll down enough you'll see the trip day to day. If you scroll down to Xmas in Manhattan you've gone too far 😜

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Happy Earth Day

Animal Kingdom opened Earth Day 1998

It's Earth Day!
I know everyday should be Earth Day and we should strive everyday to do our best for our planet, the animals and our ecosystems, even if only for the selfish reason that otherwise we won't have a place to live anymore! But just as it's always nice to have one day to honor our existence, I think it's nice to have a specific day to honor Earth πŸ’œ




I think I mentioned before that at home we always recycle. I'm super proud to live in a green town where recycling is mandatory and we even have fun town events made to clean up our beaches and turn harmful plastic bags into art among other things. I also try to save as much water as possible, eat only vegan and organic and make sure to to not leave electronics/lights on when I'm not using them. Those are my every day things but I always like to do something on Earth Day to acknowledge the day.
This year I'm going to celebrate at a local forest reconnecting with nature and exchanging healing energy with it, as well as honoring life in my very favorite way, capturing it on pictures. Later I'm planning to see Disney's Nature Born in China. It's such a simple and relaxing activity that doesn't seem to matter, but as long as we see the movie on opening week donations from the each ticket go to support conservation funds! So go check out the movie, who doesn't want to see a baby panda roll down a mini hill?! And then you can feel good knowing your ticket helped save little cuties like the ones in the movie!


Speaking of pandas, you can join the WWF Panda Nation to start your own fundraiser in fun ways like walking or running with your pet, be part of a team or set up a birthday/celebration fund in your name and instead of receiving gifts, you raise money for your favorite endangered species!
Next weekend there will also be a march for climate you can learn more about here
Or you can apply to become a panda ambassador here

https://www.worldwildlife.org/
If becoming actively involved is not your thing there are still little things you can do in your everyday life that will help the earth, yourself and possibly your wallet in the long run.
- Walk or bike to places more often.
- Group as many of your errands as possible to same areas to avoid several car trips back and forth.
- Switch to energy efficient light bulbs, they might be more expensive up front but last forever and your electric bill will go down.
- Ditch the polluting and hazardous plastic bags and bring your own cute reusable bags when shopping.
- Drink tap/filtered water to avoid plastic bottles, but if you can't then remember to ALWAYS recycle them responsibly. If your town doesn't recycle, a lot of large grocery stores do it for free, you can bring your recyclable trash to Target, Whole foods and Stop and Shop, or google your local chains that offer recycling bins. No need for the hassle of driving to a plant and having to pay to be green πŸ˜‰ 
- Compost when you can.
- Don't buy more food that you can eat, who wants to throw food and money away?
- Switch to rechargeable batteries and dispose of regular batteries at responsible places like batteriesplus.com or similar, don't throw them away with your regular trash.
- Try buying sustainable or recyclable only household products.
- Try minimizing your animal-based consumption in your diet. Animals are friends not food.
And here's the surprise one that no one mentions but it does make a difference:
If you are an energy healer of any sort send healing to the planet and the animals,  if you aren't prayers and good vibes whenever you can remember work too! Also, if you're having a bad day, you're in pain or in general feel any bad vibes in your body or energy field, let them go into the Earth or a nearby tree, set the intention of having whatever is bothering you leave your life for good and give it up to nature with the intention of that energy being transmuted into the Highest and Best. It's like composting for your energy!

Hope everyone has a happy Earth Day and that even if it's just watering a plant outside your home we all do something to help our planet feel loved after all it does for us. Don't take it for granted! I know a friend that is more science-inclined and is attending a science rally for those areas of science that do care about our future and what happens to our planet, some people in town are holding an energy circle to send healing to the planet, another friend sent her potted trees to be plated out where they have space and benefit everyone and a couple of other friends have been working on personal gardens to help out pollinators, kudos to them honestly, I'm so terrified of bugs I could never do something like that, but it comes to show that whatever your interests are there is something out there you could do and enjoy that will help our home planet, even shopping! Check these awesome people that channel their art and creativity into upcycled wonders that help our planetπŸ˜ƒ

πŸ’™www.planetlovelife.com
πŸ’šwww.afrodutchpaperstone.nl
πŸ’™www.natureartists.com/buy_art/
πŸ’šwww.etsy.com/shop/LandfillDzine


Love and Light

Monday, April 17, 2017

The New Year Trip Recap (Part 1)



Finally sitting here to recap my latest long trip! I’ve decided to break it into small installments  focusing on the highlights or it’ll be too much and would end up being a novella lol. So part one is all about the first week of the adventure. Road tripping down to FL before a week long Caribbean cruise to ring in the new year!



We (my mom and I and my travel bears hehe) set out right on Xmas eve. We had our little dinner and gift exchange celebration the night before and on Dec 24 we packed the rental car, my mom prepared a special festive dinner and snacks for the road and we left home towards Albany. There is not a lot to do/see on Xmas eve and Xmas day since everything is closed! But, we did find out about this holiday light show they put on for cars to drive by in Albany which was perfect, festive, new for us and happening at night! So we didn’t have to leave home too early or rush on our way thereπŸ˜€ The lights were fun although the "trail" was too short in my opinion πŸ™and we were a bit disappointed that there was nothing else to see that night after the car excited the loop of lights. But we had fun anyway πŸ˜ƒ and I was grateful there was at least something to do that offered photo ops haha.

The next day after opening gifts from Santa (New 3DS thank you!!) We headed towards what we thought was our next stop in NJ, but as it turned out the only thing to do that day somewhat in the area-ish was in Brookline... So back to New York we went to finally check out a movie-like neighborhood covered in holiday lights and displays! It was so fun and a good walk, much needed after two days in the car. Plus I've always wanted to see one of those neighborhoods that go all out and only seem to exist in my screens 😜



The day after was a longer drive down to Baltimore both on miles and traffic. Who would have thought traffic could be so bad the day after Xmas! We were so bored moving at like 10mph, we ended up just pulling into Delaware’s visitor center while the traffic cleared a bit. The unscheduled stop and crazy traffic made our Baltimore arrival a really late one (for normal business hrs that is.) So we just had time to check Ripley’s Odditorium on the harbor and have dinner in the same area. It’s such a fun area that it was worth it anyway. And we learnt about Baltimore’s own Nessie-like legend, Chessie the Sea Monster πŸ˜†

We had about 24hrs or so in Baltimore, so next morning, by googling what we wanted to do (apparently google suggest self-tours with all its routes for you, who knew?) we modge-podged our own "tours" to see as much as possible, even if it was just driving through to take a picture on some spots. We had fun, but if you’re not going shopping or have time to go to the museums, a big city has just so much appeal before it's just another city... The best area was definitely the harbor and we found out as we were leaving they had little Chessie boats to explore the bay, just for that I’d like to go back. 
The one museum we did get to see was the Geppi's museum which is all pop culture and had a lot of Disney history and a special exhibit on Alice in Wonderland! It was so fun to get to see comics, toys and random items from every decade!! I wanted all the disney ones!!! Especially the 50s ones, why don’t we have cool toys like that anymore? 😞



Next stop was Richmond VA, and since we only had that day for it and in previous years we had already done the city, we decided to explore new areas which landed us in the Maymont gardens and mansion. It was gorgeous and very much needed. The weather was fantastic, there were animals and lost of nature all around to walk and reconnect with, and the mansion has Italian and Japanese gardens, which I can only imagine how they must look during any other season. Also if you plan your visit in advance you can get tickets to see the inside of the mansion just as it was in the 1800s πŸ˜€ So fun! As it was, it was tourists season and so crowded we only got to check out the servants quarters, but even that was impressive and fun. I love seeing old timey stuff hehe. We spent the first half of our VA day there. After Maymont, looking for something photography-worth it and still in the festive spirit we went to the Lewis Ginter Botanical garden and OMG! It’s the best botanical garden I’ve been to, at least the way they dressed it up for the holidays made me like it better than the NY(Bronx) one, it’s ranked 4th in the country and now I NEED to go find the first three. It was amazing! We went at night for their special holiday lights display, but having just done something similar in Boston before the trip I could see the huge contrast and just wow! 

After the botanical garden closed we were on our way to somewhere in SC lol, that was just a sleep stop and we spent the whole next day on the road on our way to Savannah. We barely made it to dinner on River Street at what used to be our favorite place there, which is still pretty good, but the fried green tomatoes were much better the last time we were there, and played a little taking pictures around the street, getting the most amazing pralines and stretching our legs. 

The morning of the 30th we went to visit Forsyth park and Wormsloe since we had never given ourselves the time, grabbed breakfast at my new favorite place, a small vegan spot called Sentient Bean and headed down to Cocoa beach for our last night on land! Unfortunately after Savannah the whole day was spent on the road, and had such an early morning the next day and had to re-arrange our luggage deciding what went on the cruise and what stayed, doing our nails for the new year, etc that all I saw of Cocoa beach was the hotel room lol. 


Next morning super early, we took the 20min drive to port canaveral to sail away on the Disney Fantasy and straight into 2017πŸ˜ƒ More on that on the next post. 

*For more pictures and random trip details from my traveling bear's perspective you can follow their insta account. If you scroll down enough you'll see the trip day to day. If you scroll down to Xmas in Manhattan you've gone too far 😜