Monthly Archives

December 2019

2019: A Year in Review

By | RV Adventures, Travel | No Comments

Without a doubt this has been one of the craziest, busiest, most fun years of my life! We have had the absolute pleasure of getting to travel the country while also finishing medical school and starting my new job as an event planner! Talk about an insane but amazing opportunity! I wanted to take a moment and highlight a few of the amazing moments that have happened over 2019 during our trailer adventures!

Seattle/Oregon

Our first stop was Seattle, Washington! Which was without doubt the most beautiful state I had ever been to. To say I was in love at first sight is an understatement. The Pacific Northwest might host some of the most gorgeous views in the world. I spent every spare moment exploring and trying to enjoy every view imaginable. I’ve pulled together my top places to visit in Seattle for you below!

  • Mount Rainier National Park -If you are going to travel anywhere around Seattle, Mount Rainier is a must. It is a vast park full of beautiful waterfalls, lakes, and mountain views. I would highly recommend going to Mount Rainier in the summer when the snow is mostly gone and you can get to all areas of the park.
  • Snoqualmie Falls – The most gorgeous waterfall with the cutest hotel and restaurant overlooking the falls. Snoqualmie Falls is a completely free attraction and there are several vantage points to view it. This is a great choice for those who want a relaxing sightseeing day.
  • Olympic National Park – The thing I love about this park was that we were able to drive up to the most gorgeous view. So for those who don’t want to hike you can literally drive to see some of my favorite views in the state! Hurricane Ridge at the top of Olympic National Park was the best birthday view I could have asked for. It overlooked a range of mountains covered in snow, couple that with a cup of hot cocoa and you have yourself a perfect day!
  • Downtown Seattle – Below are my top picks for the next time you are in downtown Seattle.
    • The Space Needle is a true work of art in Seattle. 360 degree views of the city and surrounding mountains gives you an outstanding view worth the cost.
    • Pikes Place market is the iconic vendor market. Pikes Place hosts some amazing local cuisine, art and local flowers that you would need. It’s a must for anyone visiting the Seattle area.
    • A Mariners or a Seahawks game is definitely a must, such a fun experience and worth the money to get to see these sporting events.
    • Lastly, take a kayak ride along Lake Union. It is so much fun and gives you a unique perspective of the city.

Sugar Beach, St. Lucia

St. Lucia was a wonderful and gorgeous place to visit. So thankful for every moment that I spent there. Even though this was a work related trip and most of my time was spent working or making sure everyone had a smooth trip, I was still able to spend some time by myself enjoying the area. Below are my tips to visiting St. Lucia.

  • Work through an agency or a destination management company. It’s a small island, but it’s helpful to have someone to guide you along and also help with your safety. The biggest issue to keep in mind when traveling out of the country is to keep yourself safe at all times. Do everything you can do to keep yourself in safe situations and using a reliable destination company is a good way to keep that safety.
  • Choose a hotel with everything you will need. Make sure you choose a hotel that is on the beach, has restaurants and has good reviews. I highly recommend an all inclusive resort if you are on a budget as this is an island that has to import most of their materials. If you don’t choose an all inclusive resort, look up menu prices ahead of time so you can budget appropriately.
  • Plan excursions ahead of time and look up reviews and weather plans before booking. My favorite excursions are whale/dolphin watching, mud baths, and zip-lining. There are a ton of options available to you, just be sure to plan ahead and be ready for a weather change if need be. Be sure to look up the round trip distance from your hotel as well. Our resort, Sugar Beach, was just minutes away from all 3 of our excursions making it incredibly easy to get to and from.

Jacksonville, FL

Jacksonville is our core rotation spot for my husbands 4th year of medical school. This means that we spent two months here this year and will be spending three months there in 2020. Jacksonville is a widespread town so planning ahead is key because distance between attractions is further than you think. If you are planning to visit, here are a few spots in Jacksonville that I highly recommend.

  • Jacksonville Beach – I can say with 100% certainty that this beach is one of the best ones in the state. It hosts free parking, expansive beaches and clean family friendly areas to relax. The water and beach is exquisite making it a great place if you are looking for a relaxing beach.
  • St. Augustine – While not in the Jacksonville limits, just south of the city is the gorgeous town of St. Augustine. The Alligator Farm that takes in gators from all over gave my husband the biggest smile I’d ever seen on his face. He absolutely loved seeing all the various gators and getting to hold one. Without doubt so much fun to see him smile like that! For me, St. Augustine is worth the trip to experience the local shops and cuisine. St. George street is eclectic and full of unique shops for you to peruse.
  • Safe Harbor Seafood – If you are going to go anywhere in Jacksonville. This. Is. The. Place. I am not a big fan of seafood, but their shrimp nachos might be the best thing I’ve ever eaten. They are so so good and worth every penny! Be prepared to wait though as this restaurant always has a line out the door of people waiting to order. And for those who are big seafood fans, my husband as loved every item on the menu so far as everything is fresh and cooked to order.

Atlanta, GA

Atlanta was not a place that we went to together in the RV. This was a trip through my work, where we were able to get the unique experience of an on field tour and batting practice at the Atlanta Braves. The Atlanta Braves stadium and restaurant area is a wonder to be seen. They really made this a special area for anyone who is a baseball fan, especially a fan of the Braves. Between the huge screen outside the Omni for fans to view home and away games, a huge baseball hanging in the air, and baseball themed shops and restaurants surrounding the area. The Braves stadium is gorgeous and definitely worth a trip if you are going to Atlanta.

Pittsburgh, PA

Pittsburgh was an unexpected gem. I had no idea when we arrived in Pittsburgh just how much we would love it. We loved all the greenery, the nature and the old style feel of the city. Top that off with three major sporting teams, tons of lakes and rivers and a 5 hour drive to Indiana and we were sold. Pittsburgh really stole our hearts for so many reasons. The people that we had the pleasure of meeting we so kind and welcoming to us. Pittsburgh is a city that will welcome you if you come. A couple of my recommendations when you visit are below.

  • Pittsburgh Zoo – The Pittsburgh Zoo was incredible and so much fun to visit. It’s not the biggest zoo we’ve ever been to, but it host all the animals you would want to see and is fun for the whole family!
  • Grandview Avenue/Upper Platform – For the best view of Pittsburgh, head up to the Grandview Avenue and take in some amazing views! This would be a great spot with a cup of coffee in the morning and I highly recommend adding it to your list. There are also some gorgeous churches along the way to stop and look at!
  • Major League Game- Honestly, any of the sporting events would be a blast in Pittsburgh. Between the Pittsburgh Pirates, Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh Penguins, there is always something to experience in the city. While we were only able to make it to a pirates game, I can attest that the energy during these games is electric. It’s worth every penny and the views from the park are amazing!

Colorado Springs, CO

This was another one of my work events that ended up being such a blast! We were at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs and let me just tell you it is worth a trip! It was a phenomenal hotel with gorgeous suites and even better views. I didn’t get to go out and explore a lot of the Colorado Springs area, but the hotel we were at was so inclusive and beautiful you could stay here and never be bored. Between the view of the mountains, the spa, the extensive outdoor activities you can schedule, the bowling alley and the pool; you and your family will always have something to do. If it’s possible, try to get upgraded to one of their suites, they are so gorgeous and will make the trip that much better. *Also, they make all their chocolate in house, so be sure to grab some before you leave!

Washington, DC

Washington might be one of the most surprising areas for us to visit. There is so literally so much to do! Almost all the museums in the DC are free admission and there are a ton of outdoor monuments to view as well. I wrote an entire blog post with all my DC must see attractions. You can see that blog by clicking here. My biggest takeaway from our time in DC is remembering how important it is that we are all kind to one another. We may have our political differences, but we are all human and deserving of love, kindness and respect. When you visit DC just remember to treat everyone with kindness!

Fort Lauderdale & Boynton Beach, FL

South Florida is a totally different experience than Orlando or Jacksonville. The extent of tourists at the beach and the overcrowded neighborhoods and cities are a bit overwhelming. However, it also has amazing beaches, tons of things to do, and some great people as well. One of our favorite experiences was getting to see the Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood, which opened its new guitar hotel this year. An amazing site for those to see and if you get the opportunity it would be a great place to stay at. On a completely unrelated note: this year also hosted my favorite Halloween costume. Because we are living full time in a trailer, it seemed like the perfect time to dress up as Cousin Eddie from Christmas Vacation. I’ve never had so much fun with a costume. It just felt right!

Orlando, FL

Orlando was our number one choice when we first started looking at residencies. It just had that perfect fit that we were looking for. The year-long nice weather was perfect for my husband and the parks and insane amount of things to do in Orlando would keep me busy during his long work days. And Orlando definitely lived up to its expectations. While being an incredibly busy city that is always filled with tourists, there are some of the cutest towns around for you to live in or visit. I have endless recommendations and places I want to visit in the future, but for now here are a few of my favorites.

  • Disney World – While Disney is ridiculously busy and expensive, it is still incredible the amount of magic that they bring to the park. The way the staff carry themselves is enough to give you the joy you experienced in your youth. You can check out my blog on Disney here.
  • Universal Studios – Without doubt my favorite place in Orlando. Perfect for anyone who wants to experience magic, adrenaline rushes and more adult oriented fun. The rides are much more of an adrenaline rush than those at Disney and their Harry Potter world is phenomenal. Even my husband who is not a Harry Potter fan was impressed with how realistic and how well they replicated those areas were. When you are there, be sure to grab a cup of butterbeer for me!
  • Winter Garden — Winter Garden is where we stayed in Orlando and it has the cutest little shops, Saturday business markets and restaurants to visit. It’s one of many towns that are incredibly charming and worth the drive.
  • Outside of the main parks, there are a ton of smaller amusement areas, helicopter rides, mini golf areas, and tons of activities to keep you entertained. The next time you go to Orlando, spend one day trying something you haven’t done before. I promise you will find something incredible!

Overall, 2019 was a year that will go down in history for us. I couldn’t be more thankful for all the adventures we got to take this year. And while it has been a hard year, with financial and mechanical issues, we got through it and I am so proud of how far we came. Life is never going to be perfect or go the way you envisioned. So embrace the opportunities given to you and enjoy every moment!

Let me know your favorite moment from 2019 in the comments below!

Surviving Christmas – 5 Tips to Handle the Holidays

By | Lifestyle | No Comments

Have you ever found the holidays a stressful time? Maybe found yourself dreading the holidays because of family issues, financial stresses or sadness? Or maybe your just overwhelmed by all the obligations that come with the holidays.

There is always something that is going to cause you stress through the holidays. The trick is having the tools to overcome them and handle them appropriately. And while no one knows the answer to every situation, there are definitely tools to help you through them. Below are my 5 tips and tricks to get you through the holidays!

1.) Go In With a Plan

Don’t go in without thinking through who will be there, how long you plan to be there, and what the schedule of events is. Family is important, but its also important to know your limits and what you can handle. If you know you can’t handle more than a few hours with family, then plan to only be there that amount of time and stick to it. You have no one that you have to please, trust me. You need to make sure that at the end of the holidays, you are sane and still happy.

2.) Have Calming Action Items/Thoughts

Have ways to stay calm during the holidays. There are two techniques that I have found work the best. One is when you are starting to feel overwhelmed, breathe in for 7 seconds and out for 7 seconds. It seems like a small action item, but it works better than you know. Another one that I am a huge fan of was a tip from Candace Cameron Bure. She said one of her best techniques is to STOP. Stop and evaluate why you are feeling what you are feeling. Stop and ask yourself if you are hungry or tired or if there is some other emotion causing your stress or anger. Whatever it may be when you stop and focus you will have the clarity to work through the issue.

3.) Watch What You Eat & Drink

It may seem redundant or even silly to mention watching what you eat and drink during the holidays. But I really believe it makes a difference. The times of my life where I have overindulged in ice cream, sweets and candies are the times where I feel the worst. What you feed yourself is how you will feel. So keeping yourself focused on not overindulging in food, wine or other items; and you will keep yourself healthy and calm. A calm body will help keep a calm mind and will get you through the holidays without feeling like you are falling apart.

4.) Be Kind

Be overtly, undeniably kind. Be kind even when you don’t want to be. Be kind even when it is the hardest option. You will never regret choosing kindness over anger. When you see a crossroads during the holidays, where you have the choice to be kind or to be hateful or spiteful. Choose kindness even if its not deserved. The thing about kindness is it doesn’t just help the person you are being kind too. It actually helps you out just as much. It changes your heart and soul a little bit at a time. Each act of kindness, no matter how small or hard it is at the time, is ever wasted.

5.) Find the Blessings

This is without doubt the most important tip. Find the blessings where you are. You may be missing a loved one, unable to be with loved ones, full of grief, sadness or loss. Or you may be exuberantly happy this holiday. Whatever the case may be, remember to find the blessings. This life will be full of ups and downs, but no matter what happens, there is always a blessing to be found. So look around you, find a blessing and hold on to that. And if you cannot find one, I will provide one for you. There is God out there who loves and adores you. And He is willing and ready to meet you right where you are.

You will survive this holiday season. Keep you head held high and count your blessings.

Happy Holidays! xoxo- Kayla

Goals for 2020 – Starting the decade off with a bang

By | Lifestyle | No Comments

Can you believe we are at the end of the decade? We are on the cusp of 2020 and as we start a new decade, we should think about what our goals are for ourselves. What we want out of our personal lives and careers. Because no one will set goals for us, its something we must choose to do ourselves.

My goals for 2020 are different than those in the past for a number of reasons. I want more than I did in the past and I’m far more confident that I can accomplish those goals. So to assist you in evaluating and creating your goals for 2020 I’ve listed the 3 things I did that really helped me clarify my goals for the year.

1.) Reflect On 2019

What went well in 2019? Where did you succeed and where did you fail? For me, I felt like we killed it when it came to school. We got through some serious financial burdens, we traveled most of the country for rotations, and celebrated 4 years of marriage. Where did I fail? I failed to pursue my goals with confidence. Instead, I gave into the belief that there was no way I could accomplish them and that others were too far ahead for me to catch up. What a lie this is! There is no set timeline for life. God created you in a uniquely beautiful way. Be proud of how far you have come and be proud of where you are going. It’s okay to start something now! Don’t hesitate on your dreams just because you are scared. Be honest with what happened in 2019, the more honest you are the clearer your 2020 goals will be.

2.) Dream Big

I think its easy to start second guessing yourself when you set your goals. Its easy to say, there is no way I will get there or I could never reach that goal. But that is just holding you back. Set lofty goals and then think through how to realistically achieve them. Dreaming big is the only way you are going to push yourself out of where you are. You have to believe that you can do and be more than you ever thought possible. Be confident when creating your goals and don’t sell yourself short.

3.) Clear Goals to Hit

Okay, I struggle hard with this one. I know what I want the end result to look like, but I have no idea how to get there. That is the true enemy of success. Not knowing how to get from point a to point z. So, take the next few weeks and really focus on creating tangible goals. Below is the pattern that I used to focus on my goals for the new year.

1.) A year long goal – Where you want to be exactly one year from today. This is where you can be big, broad and lofty in your goals.

2.) A six month goal – Where you need to be six months from now in order to accomplish your one year goals. This needs to be a tangible goal, something numerical that you can count to show that you are on your way to your year long goal.

3.) Month Goals – Set these goals as specific numerical goals. Numerical goals are easier to track, and you are able to keep yourself on pace throughout the month. These need to be realistic while also keeping in mind the end of year goal.

4.) Daily Goals – Set daily goals so you can keep yourself on pace for your long term goals. This is the hardest one. Create a routine and goals to hit each day. Create habits that will transfer into the accomplishment of your goals. Daily goals will lead to year long success!

After you have written down your goals, read through them again. Chances are you will reevaluate how to get to your final goal as you read them. Remember, its okay to adjust and make changes. Change is natural and a part of life. The key is to keep yourself moving forward toward your overall dreams and goals. There is nothing standing in your way except you and your belief that you can do it!

What are your goals for 2020? I’d love to hear so leave me a comment below!

When You Can’t Go Home For Christmas

By | Lifestyle | No Comments

Some years, you just can’t go home for Christmas. You may not have the finances, there may be a medical reason, or the timing just doesn’t line up. Maybe you are taking a vacation over the holidays so you won’t be able to head up to visit family. Whatever the reason may be, there are many people in this country who will not be around family during the holidays.

The last 3 years my husband and I have had a variety of Christmas’. Sometimes we are able to go home for the holidays, and sometimes we can’t. We’ve done all that we can to be with family, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out. So today, I want to focus on what to do when you can’t go home and how to make the most of it.

1.) Find a way to do traditions on your own, or invent a new tradition.

This is the one that I have been working on the most this year. We don’t really have any traditions just the two of us, because the last 3 Christmas’s have been all over the place. So this year, I am hoping to implement a few Christmas traditions. My thoughts right now are below, but please leave me a comment on your favorite tradition!

  • Christmas Eve Box – Complete with popcorn, your favorite candy, and matching pjs.
  • Christmas Eve Movie Night – Pick a movie and bring your Christmas Eve Box so you can get in the holiday spirit.
  • Christmas Morning – Monkey Bread breakfast
  • Christmas Morning – Movie Morning opening gifts and eating breakfast

Whether it is you and your partner, you and a friend, or just you; create a tradition that makes you happy and puts you into the holiday spirit. Christmas is all about what you make of it, so embrace the fun!

2.) Get out of the house.

Christmas can just feel longer when you are spending it alone. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by thoughts of not being with loved ones and seeing pictures of family gathered together. My suggestion is to put down your phone, turn off the TV and get out of the house. Go for a walk, go to the local park, anything to get your mind off those thoughts. Spending some time resetting and enjoying the outdoors will put things into perspective and brighten your mood.

3.) Be a misfit at a coworker or friends Christmas

Don’t be embarrassed to go to someone else’s Christmas. It’s okay to accept someones offer to go to their house for the holidays. I can tell you with 100% certainty that I am extremely uncomfortable and awkward going to someone else’s house for the holidays. I can’t help but feel like the uninvited misfit no one wants there. But that is not true! They are trying to be kind and make sure you aren’t alone during the holidays. So push through the awkwardness and be thankful! It may be weird at first, but you will be thankful for it later!

Remember, its okay to be a little sad on Christmas. It’s okay to not be near family or to be alone during the holidays. Just pick yourself back up and remind yourself that you are smart, beautiful and full of confidence. Make this holiday one to remember, its all up to you and your mindset!

What are your holiday plans? Let me know below!

Confident Women: Beating the Game

By | Lifestyle | No Comments

When’s the last time you found yourself subconsciously comparing yourself to someone around you? I bet it was not long ago. I bet that you didn’t even realize it was happening until it started putting you in a bad mood. I bet you got mad at yourself for yet again comparing yourself to those around you.

This is a tough one. Regardless of your age, your gender, your career goals, your personal goals, we compare. We compare and we compare far more than we realize. Everyone knows that we compare ourselves to each other and we are constantly told that it is unacceptable to compare. So how do we beat the comparison game? How do we overcome the comparison?

Start by Building Yourself Up

Start building up your own confidence. Every morning tell yourself these 5 things:

  • I am incredibly smart
  • I am beautiful
  • I am worthy of love and respect
  • I am capable of achieving anything I set my mind too
  • I am confident

When you build up your confidence and start telling yourself that you are worthy of more than you give yourself credit for, you will find yourself walking without the need to compare. This doesn’t happen overnight and most likely you won’t even see the change. What will happen is that you start to see yourself being happier and walking with your head held high. Those are the signs of an confident person who doesn’t need to compare.

Make an Effort To Build Up Others

Build up those around you. And I don’t just mean when you feel like it or when its convenient to you. Make a conscious effort to be a light in someone else’s life. Go out of your way to do something that is selfless. What I’ve found is when I step outside my own bubble, I am able to put things into perspective. Once things are in perspective I realize how petty my comparisons have been.

  • Give a genuine compliment to someone you’ve compared yourself to in the past.
  • Help someone who is less fortunate than yourself
  • Volunteer at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter
  • Write a note building up a friend, family member or coworker
  • Bring a meal over to a family who could use some help

Whatever you do, try to do it out of love. Do it out of a place of selflessness. The more you help those around you, the less you will focus on your own problems. It’s one of the unique things about mankind, the more we give the more we gain in return.

Find People To Look Up To

A tried and proven way to build your confidence is to find people to look up to. Find those who have developed confidence and start learning about their methods. How they overcame insecurities, how they grew into a more confident person. Having someone to look up to and be a mentor will help you develop your confidence. There is no shame in looking and seeking help.

You are a bright, wonderful, intelligent woman. Be strong, be confident and be kind. You’ve got this!

Also, follow my blog with Bloglovin!