Political Burnout

Tips to survive 2017:

1. Find a simply way to voice your concerns. This will help you feel more in control and less helpless. Even if it’s an illusion, it works. My favorite method of the moment is ResistBot

2. Find an ally or two. Most people I know are not as consumed with the political news cycle as I am. Luckily I have two friends who are equally as insane/vested as myself. We maintain a group text solely to talk politics, which gives me an outlet to the freely vent about today’s WH daily press briefing without an eye roll.

3. Read up on American history. It has been very comforting to remember that this is not the first nor will it be the last time people were deeply unhappy with the state of affairs. The country has been through wars, assasinations, impeachments, dramatic Supreme Court rulings, unpredictable elections etc., and we have survived. I try to keep this in mind when I feel things are on the brink of collapse and it has helped immensely.

 

 

 

 

Copan Ruinas, Adventures in Honduras Part 1

We flew into San Pedro Sula and then made our way to Copan Ruinas via the bus. Herman Alas shuttles you from the airport to their secure terminal in the city.  Much like an airport- the terminal is gated, guarded, and security checks your passport to board. We enjoyed the very clean and comfortable bus ride to Copan.

Copan Ruinas is a quaint town close to the Guatemalan border where you can visit the Mayan ruins of Copan. The ruins are a must see, and the town is small, but has enough to keep you busy for a few days. It is worth mentioning that I felt very safe in this town. Guards are stationed at the entrance to the town, and the local people are extremely welcoming. Copan Ruinas has a laid back family vibe.

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We stumbled upon Cafe San Rafael and it became a favorite stop. We frequented this cafe multiple times during our stay because the setting was just perfect and the coffee was AMAZING.

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The town of Copan Ruinas is filled with narrow cobble stone streets. While it is small enough to walk everywhere, there are lots of hills and we were always happy to flag down a ride.

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Street Food! Hard to pass a food vendor without stopping.

Copan Ruinas

Copan Ruinas

Copan! In the heat…
Definitely the main attraction and it did not disappoint- except that the weather was sweltering. Not only was it about 100 degrees, but there was no breeze. We did not line up a guide in advance as I had read there are plenty outside the gate for hire. While there were, our guide did not really speak English, and I was a little disappointed attempting to understand through the language barrier. Overall though, the ruins are fascinating and we enjoyed it very much. You should hire a professional guide though if you are making the trek out there.

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Where to Stay in Copan Ruinas

The town is so small it is hard to go wrong, but I recommend staying at a hotel within a block or two of the Main Square, on the map it comes up as “Parque Central”. Arrange activities and transportation through the many tour outfits situated right off of the square. The ruins of Copán are accessible via tuk-tuk, as is the bus station.

 

Must See 

While of course the ruins are the main attraction,  Cafe Welchez was our favorite surprise excursion. It was a fairly long ride outside of the town, but so worth it! We had a half day private tour of the plantation, plant, lunch, and coffee tasting and it was amazing!

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Being my first visit to a coffee plantation I loved that our guide was so knowledgeable of the process and the history of the farm.

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It felt more like a tropical rainforest tour than coffee tour at one point as we walked through part of the protected jungle that was truly magnificent. With so many coffee plantations in this area to visit, I highly recommend a tour because we really enjoyed it!

Overall we loved Copan Ruinas, and we were pleasantly surprised but the charm of the town. As a matter of fact almost everything we read was focused on the ruins, but the town itself is truly charming. I loved the main plaza, and the way you zoom around the town in little tuk-tuks. Spend a few days exploring here you won’t regret it!

How to Get There

Where to Stay

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The Littlest Things Can Change Your Life

I would never call myself frugal, but the daily indulgences that I’m ashamed to say are critical to my survival theses days can really add up. I rarely treat myself to a coffee outside of my home but the haphazard way of making a good iced latte or cold brew was time consuming and messy. Enter…Takeya. BPA free, $25, 2 day delivery, sold. life changed. iced coffee every day.

Palm Trees in the Snow

Clocking in at almost 3 hours and I have watched it 3 times!!! Love love loved this film. Captivating scenery, beautiful soundtrack, it is a must see and is on Netflix! If you like Spanish films, you have to watch Palm Trees in the Snow/’Palmeras en la Nieve’. Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes- my favorite site for movie reviews.

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Dog Products I Love

Two years ago we adopted a dog from the SPCA. This little dog brings me much joy I don’t know what I did without him. We adore him- and he is treated like a Puppy Prince.

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Some things we need to work on- walking better on a leash. Things he excels at- commands like sit, stay, down, and come.

I have spent a lot of time and money researching and purchasing products for my furry family member, and wanted to share my favorites. They have been hit or miss so hopefully you can find this feedback helpful.

Sherpa Delta Deluxe Pet Carrier Medium – this bag is a favorite because it is strong and sturdy unlike the more fashionable bags I have purchased online. It can be closed up on 3/4 sides which is helpful for us because our dog tends to bark if he sees other dogs through the bag. For example… in a hotel lobby. Yeah, awkward and embarrassing. If he can’t see them, he’s fine and stays quiet- but he much prefers to stick his head out!
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The mesh on the front of the bag does not have a covering but we found that we can easily face the bag in the other direction, against a wall, or against us if holding him. A lot of bags I found have way more mesh so they just don’t work for us. The bag is approved for air travel, and looks fairly professional and doesn’t scream “pet carrier”. On a recent flight no one even knew I had a dog with me.

When we were living in upstate NY our poor puppy hated the cold. His feet would freeze and/or ice would get stuck in his paws and he would stop walking and fall over. I wish I was exaggerating but it was really heartbreaking to watch. Fashion Pet Lookin Good Arctic Fleece Boots saved the day.  Last winter the temperature was regularly below 15 for weeks during the day, and at night would drop to single digits. I purchased many, many, boots. These are actually really inexpensive yet worked the best. We have had to order a few pairs because they do not last long, but they were the easiest to pull on and off, and most comfortable for him to wear. He only weighs 14 pounds, so the boots with hard soles were too heavy and he had trouble walking in them. These are perfect!
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For smaller dogs I highly recommend these as they are soft fleece and will not restrict your dogs movement. They may only last a season but for our dogs comfort we felt they were the best option so I have to recommend them!

Another product for the cold that we love and helped keep his paws from getting too chapped was Musher’s Secret. Be careful to put it on right before heading out, when you are already by the door. It rubs off and your dog will slip on hardwood floors as well. It works great though!

When playing outside at night when off-leash we always put this light on him. Rechargeable Pet Collar. A lighted collar is a dog product that has come in very handy.

I have to include the Marsha Stewart Cuddler Pet Bed as it was his favorite! After washing it weekly, and my dog chewing on it, we finally had to retire this bed.
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I bought him a new one (different brand) but since he doesn’t love it, I am going to order another Martha Stewart Bed. The patterns are so cute- ours had little crabs, but I am linking one with bones because I can’t find the crab one anymore.

 

NYC Studio Living Tour

Taking a tour through a New York City apartment. A tiny apartment. Tiny living seems to be a theme in my life lately. I guess relocating to the east coast will do that to you. My studio apartment, or “the palace” as I affectionally refer to it, is one of my favorite places to be. Most people feel cramped in a small apartment and long to get out into the city, but my place is my quiet getaway from the hustle and bustle of new york city life. I love coming home, and feel relaxed when I walk through the door.

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Tiny House Living

I love my tiny house. I always wanted to live in one, and in 2013 my dream came true when a tiny home came on the market and I snatched it up. The trend with tiny homes seems to be that they are little free standing structures that resemble adorable cottages but smaller. My tiny home is actually old, very old. It is a historic trinity house, built at least 100 years ago, at a whopping 450 sq ft. The house is 3 stories, plus a basement. Each floor is one room and no hallways, the only doors are to the basement, and the bathroom. The layout is, basement (washer and dryer), 1st floor living room, 2nd floor kitchen and bathroom, 3rd floor bedroom. There are a full flight of stairs in the bedroom taking you up and out onto the flat room, but I have yet to put a proper deck up there so it is a working space yet.

One day I would love to make every space functional and install shelves and built ins, but for the time being it’s virtually clutter free and the furniture is smaller than standard, minus the queen size bed. I wanted quality pieces so buying furniture took a few tries. I initially ordered it from a furniture store, measured, paid, waited for delivery and then they couldn’t get it down the alleyway. While it could fit through the front door- I had forgotten to measure the alleyway to get to the front door…. so it had to go back to the store. As did the queen bed with storage underneath. So I found another bed, got a split box spring, but gave up on a regular sized sofa and headed to IKEA.

Now, I love IKEA. I have furnished many apartments solely by IKEA, but I never held onto anything very long to know whether or not it would hold up over time, and because of the price point I had assumed it wouldn’t. I am happy to report I was wrong! The IKEA sofa that is now in the house has been there for 3 years and is still very comfortable! Sure, it could maybe used a new slip cover, but it can definitely last another 2 years just fine. Maybe 5 years still feels short to some, but for the price I paid I think it was a good value. Plus, no other store made mini sized sofa’s to fit the space. Other purchases at IKEA were a coffee table and a narrow tv console that holds a flat screen tv since it sits in front of a staircase so it cannot hang on the wall.

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The kitchen has barely any room for furniture so the only thing on the 2nd floor is a vintage table with 2 chairs. The table can expand to seat 6, or at least to have more space. I do keep 2 folding chairs in the basement so if you really had to you can have a proper seating arrangement for 4.

The bedroom has a proper queen size bed, and a small dresser that I would like to replace soon. The bed was not my first choice, but the one I wanted did not fit up the stairs. I got the chandelier at Overstock and it was a steal! It made the biggest difference taking down the cheap ceiling fan that was up there and replacing it with this. The room still needs a rug and some shelving, but it works for now. The bedside table was a “as is” find at IKEA, the white doesn’t match perfectly and I really purchased it as a temporary piece before I found something I loved but 3 years later and it’s still there. All of the artwork in the house was either from a pile of random pieces not being used in my parents basement storage, IKEA as-is, or GoodWill. Once again, wanted to have stuff up so the house looked cozy, with the plan to trade up pieces as I came across things but I haven’t done that.

Disney World for Adults

Would you go to Disney World as a couple with no kids? Crazy? Fun? Disney World as adults is a completely different experience.

We went last month and had a great time. I have been to Disney 4 times now as an adult (3 trips were for work) unaccompanied by any rugrats. This last trip, was booked just for fun as we wanted a quick getaway over the holiday weekend (Presidents day and also Valentines day). We decided fairly last minute to meet up in Orlando.

While we had a really great time, there were a few things I would have done differently and can give you a few tips if you are considering a trip. The previous adult Disney trips I had been on were planned around conferences at Disney resorts, so I always just stayed at the hotel where the conference was held. This time we were picking our own place and we went with the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista.

Pros and cons of staying at Disney Resort. This will of course come down to personal preference, but as an adult, it’s really not necessary to stay at a Disney Resort if the prices are considerably lower elsewhere. The complimentary Disney shuttle from the airport is a big perk for families schlepping bags and kids but with Uber in Orlando you don’t even need to rent a car anymore as long as your hotel has a Disney Park shuttle (which most do).  If you are driving, you don’t even need the shuttle. Hotels I would recommend are the Waldorf Astoria, the Swan or Dolphin, and anything on the Disney Springs strip within walking distance of “Disney Springs” preferably (previously called Downtown Disney). I have not stayed at all the Disney Resorts but if I had to choose based on location my picks would be the hotels closest to Epcot.

My two favorite non Disney hotels are the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista and The Wyndham Lake Buena Vista. The Hilton has magic hours which can be worth it- but only if you check the calendar in advance and will actually be utilizing them. I have stayed at the Hilton and used the magic hours to stay at the Magic Kingdom until 3 am. Depends on how crazy you are feeling. Both the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista and the Hilton Orlando are walking distance from Disney Springs and have their own shuttles to the park. I think the Wyndham feels more like a resort than the Hilton which had more business travelers but both are really nice places to stay and the prices are usually reasonable. I like having the option to walk to Disney Springs to shop, stroll, and eat. The other hotels on that strip of hotel plaza blvd are really not walkable. The strip is long and the hotels are spaced very far apart. Disney is hot, you are walking in the parks all day, the last thing I want to do is walk more than 10 minutes to get to a restaurant. So I would only stay at those 2 as they are a very short walk (I am lazy, I promise they are not a far walk). In Disney Springs I love Goofy’s Candy Co., and Disney’s Days of Christmas. It can be hectic to shop at the Magic Kingdom, so I like to relax and pick up things at these shops on my last day before departing. This last time we were there I got an adorable ornament and they offer to customize it for you (extra fee) with the date, or your names. We were there on Valentine’s Day, so I got a Mickey and Minney Valentine ornament. I try to get an ornament on every trip we go on as I am fairly sentimental. The customized ones are a cute idea and I would love to get one every time. Disney Springs also has Fulton’s Crab House which is a favorite restaurant I like to eat at on the water. Speaking of restaurants, make reservations!

Ok so I really cannot emphasize this enough. Even though it seems tedious and type A, you must make dining reservations before your trip for your meals on days in the park. At the very least, dinner. I cannot stress, you do NOT want to eat at the counter service in the Magic Kingdom. There are lot of negative things I could write, but I will refrain, and just beg you, to make reservations at the restaurants. On our last trip, we didn’t, we thought we could wing it, no big deal, we’ll eat wherever. BAD MOVE.

It was hot, crowded, we were tired of standing, getting hangry, very hangry, and we could not find a restaurant to eat lunch. It was late lunch at this point because we woke up too late for a proper breakfast and we thought we could hold off and eat at the park. So we got ready, got coffee, took our time (on vacation!), and by the time we arrived at the Magic Kingdom- it was 2 pm. We had fast passes for 3, so we made our way over there, and then we are pushing 4 pm and no food! My boyfriend ended up putting his foot down on this food situation and got in line for hot dogs. After inhaling two of them, we went on more rides, and of course, he started to feel ill. By 6 pm I was eating mac and cheese and  fearing carb hangover. It was bad. Make reservations. Eat at Be Our Guest. You will not regret it. We didn’t eat a proper meal at all for the 10 hours we were in the Magic Kingdom. Dinner was spent standing through the electric parade sharing a turkey leg and dole whip. Needless to say we are just too old to eat like this and and felt sick when we finally made it back to the hotel at 1 am. It was very crowded (even in February) because of the holiday weekend. In hindsight, we should have made a reservation beforehand- even though it seemed hard to commit to a specific time and type of cuisine weeks before a trip. A benefit of being at disney as adults without kids is taking advantage of the nicer restaurants.

At Epcot, especially, make reservations at the restaurants.  For counter service we loved Tangierine Cafe in Morocco, and the pastries we had in France. When dinner rolled around we were almost out of luck. We went into a few places to see if we could sit down but they were booked for the night. Luckily we stumbled upon Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar- and it was perfect! From all the snacking we did, we wanted good food, but not a huge meal. We split a cheese and meat spread and did a wine tasting. I would definitely eat there again. After that we wandered out to watch the fireworks show from Japan before heading out for the night.

Since we were only here for the weekend we had flights out the next morning and we were very sad the trip was over so fast. I think 3 days is perfect for adults at Disney though, just enough time to get in and get out without overdosing on Mickey Mouse. We have already talked about going back and hitting up Universal  for the weekend. We also want to eat at a few restaurants not in the parks, especially Victoria & Albert’s.

Things I always forget at Disney-how much my feet hurt! I didn’t mess around this trip and wore sneakers. My feet were still killlllling me though. Make sure you have an extra pair of shoes to wear, don’t pack old sneakers. I was wishing I had my comfy Sketchers with me.