Overdue Book Update - Review - Dana Chirps

Here is a brief recap on some of the other books I've read in 2017 and 2018 (so far!)

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay - Book Review - Dana Chirps

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay - Book Review - Dana Chirps

3.5/5 stars

I was really excited to read "Bad Feminist" by Roxane Gay as I thought highly of her book, "Hunger." I liked "Bad Feminist," but I liked "Hunger" a lot more. In "Bad Feminist" each chapter is its own essay, and I think that made it harder for me to get on a roll with reading the book. However, just like her other pieces, I appreciated her literary brilliance. I am always left in awe of her writing. She is gifted! In this book she uses tons of pop culture references to address feminism. I'd recommend any female OR male to read this book. I actually think that men will find this book to be particularly fascinating. The nice thing about the essay format is that you can read a chapter sporadically, as they stand on their own. So if you have limited time, and this subject matter is interesting or important to you, I'd give it a go.

The Couple Next Door.jpg

5/5 stars.

Oh. My. Gosh. This book was sooooooo good! I had been reading a lot of books about social injustice (to conduct brand research for a client), so it was great to read something for pure entertainment. "The Couple Next Door" is an easy read, and the story has a bunch of twists and turns. Basically a baby is kidnapped, and it turns into this juicy mystery of who, how and why. But the best part is the very end. It was the kind of book you're so excited about that you tell everyone you know about it, in hopes that they read it so you have someone to freak out with. That being said, if you read it, please tell me so I can proceed to freak out with you! ;) 

Stranger In The House - Dana Chirps.jpg

4.5/5 stars.

I loved "The Couple Next Door" so much that I bought another book written by Shari Lapena. Like "The Couple Next Door," "Stranger in the House" was a can't-put-down type of book. I like how Lapena uses very few characters but is still able to build suspense and drama. "Stranger in the House," also had SUCH a twisted ending which I lovvvved. I definitely recommend this easy, entertaining read!

The Win Without Pitching - Dana Chirps

5/5 stars.

"The Win Without Pitching Manifesto" was recommended to me by my boss. It's a short 137 page read. I would recommend EVERY creative or marketing person that owns their own business/contractor/side hustler to read this book. Every sentence in this book could have been highlighted. However, the most impactful thing for me was reading about the concept of "The Difficult Business Decision" which is choosing your focus. "We are hired for our expertise and not our service," is the end result of positioning one's business. But it was one revelation after another.

Hillbilly Elegy - Dana Chirps

4/5 stars.

Hillbilly Elegy was written by a 30-something year old guy that graduated law school from the prestigious Yale University. But that wasn't the story. The story was about J.D. Vance's experience in upward mobility as a dirt-poor hillbilly kid from the Rust Belt city of Middletown, Ohio, and the Appalachian town of Jackson, Kentucky. His anecdotes were a mixture of eye-opening, amusing, and disturbing (because they were real). There were affairs. Drug addictions. Constant conflicts. Screaming. His story really highlights how difficult (and often unrealistic) it is for people who grow up in that environment to better their situation. Eye opening read.

 

 

 

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Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

"Between the World and Me" by Ta-Nehisi Coates - Book Review - Dana Chirps

"Between the World and Me" by Ta-Nehisi Coates - Book Review - Dana Chirps

"Between the World and Me" by Ta-Nehisi Coates - Book Review - Dana Chirps

"Between the World and Me" by Ta-Nehisi Coates was amongst the handful of books I purchased while doing brand research for a client of mine who focuses on social injustice. Coates wrote this book as a letter to his son, and details how race has played a part in America. He depicts both historical and recent events where innocent black lives were taken. Needless to say, it was very eye-opening. Below are some quotes that stuck out to me, along with my thoughts.

  • "Somewhere out there beyond the firmament, past the asteroid belt, there were other worlds where children did not regularly fear for their bodies. I knew this because there was a large television resting in my living room. In the evenings I would sit before this television bearing witness to the dispatches from this other world. There were little white boys with complete collections of football cards, and their only want was a popular girlfriend  and their only worry was poison oak." Ugh, anybody else have a weakness for children? It pains me to think of any child not having a happy and relatively worry-free childhood. I cringe as I imagine a kid distinguishing the "haves" and the "have nots." It also goes to show how a child of another race or nationality can feel separation and/or isolation quite early on in their life. They're just kids.
  • "Hate gives identity. The nigger, the fag, the bitch illuminate the border, illuminate ostensibly what we are not, illuminate the Dream of being white, of being a Man. We name the hated strangers and thus are confirmed in the tribe." This quote still has my brain swirling. I honestly am not ready to address this quote, but I wanted to share it as it is powerful.
  • “Black is beautiful – which is to say that the black body is beautiful, that black hair must be guarded against the torture of processing and lye, that black skin must be guarded against bleach, that our noses and mouths must be protected against modern surgery. We are all our most beautiful bodies and so must never prostrate before barbarians, must never submit our original self, out one of one, to defiling and plunder.” I do think the world at large is learning to embrace more forms of beauty. I am SO glad, too. I would never want anyone to regard one type of beauty as being superior to another. There is plenty of room for all types.
  • "Black people love their children with a kind of obsession. You are all we have, and you come to us endangered. I think we would like to kill you ourselves before seeing you killed by the streets that America made." The second sentence in this quote is what really stuck out to me. This was a concept I had never really thought of before prior to reading the book. Can you fathom having a child, and knowing that child is endangered for no other reason than his or her race? What a horrible concept for any parent to have to wrap their heads around.
  • "You have been cast into a race in which the wind is always at your face and the hounds are always at your heels. And to varying degrees this is true of all life. The difference is that you do not have the privilege of living in ignorance of this essential fact." I don't think this quote needs much explaining, but I thought it was stated perfectly.

I feel as though this is the kind of book they should read in high schools. It's heavy, and it's uncomfortable - but that is kind of the point. It's the reality of so many people. I encourage anyone who wants to gain perspective on racial injustice to read this book. I'd give this book 3.75/5 stars. 

See what else I've read here and here.

Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

My Favorite Food and Drinks in Bermuda - Review - Dana Chirps

Ok, so let me be the first person to tell you that you don't go to Bermuda for the culinary experience. You go for the beaches, and natural beauty. However, I have acquired some favorite food and drinks on the island since moving there!

Swizzle at Beach House

Tropical Drinks - Rum Swizzle and Dark n' Stormy at Beach House - Bermuda

Tropical Drinks - Rum Swizzle and Dark n' Stormy at Beach House - Bermuda

The swizzle at Beach House is my favorite on the island - which are fighting words, but I am standing my ground on this one. I like that their recipe does not taste syrupy, or like you're drinking fruit concentrate over ice. It's refreshing, light, and is guaranteed to brighten your day. Bonus: Beach House overlooks the clear blue water of Achilles Bay. For food, I recommend sticking to sandwiches (avoid the salads, unless they bring back their nicoise salad). It’s worth mentioning that they have seasonal hours, so be sure to call. But when they’re open, it’s well worth the trip. 

Harvest Bowl at Devil’s Isle

Harvest Bowl - Devil's Isle - Hamilton, Bermuda

Harvest Bowl - Devil's Isle - Hamilton, Bermuda

Devil's Isle is smack dab in the middle of town. It has a trendy vibe, and a robust menu. I swear by the Harvest Bowl. You can customize your bowl with your preferred grain, protein, and dressing… they also give you the option of serving the salad warm or chilled. I order my bowl the way people order their Starbucks. My go-to customizations are: quinoa, grilled octopus (SO good), garlic dressing, added avocado (yes, I know it's extra) - served WARM so that the kale is nice and soft. It is also worth noting that this place has the best iced coffee on the island. And the truffle fries. Mother of God, they are good.

Anything at Coconut’s

Food with a view - Bermuda

Food with a view - Bermuda

You know when you meet a guy and he’s not a total hottie, but decent looking… but then his personality makes him the sexiest man on earth? That’s basically what lunch at Coconut’s is like. I’ve had lunch here several times, and each time it has been good. But the view is what makes this place downright sexy. You FEEL like you’re in Bermuda when you eat here.

Avocado “Egg Rolls” at White Horse

Avocado Rolls at White Horse - Bermuda

Avocado Rolls at White Horse - Bermuda

Calling all avo lovers! Stop what you’re doing right now, and go to White Horse in St. George’s and order these. They are much bigger than the egg rolls from a Chinese restaurant in America. These bad boys are served up with this soy-based dipping sauce that is unreeeeeal. This is the only place where I have ever ordered “another” of a food time. And ya know what? I ain’t sorry. Not one bit. 

Curried Fish Cake Sandwich at Bonefish

Curried fish cake sandwich - Bonefish - Bermuda

Curried fish cake sandwich - Bonefish - Bermuda

This is not to be confused with the “fish sandwich.” This fish cake is packed with curry flavor which I LOVE. Oddly, they pair this fish cake with fried banana… I don’t understand it either, but it WORKS. I inhaled this sandwich at Bonefish which is a casual spot in Dockyard. If you have room after your meal, you can meander around, and get a Bermuda rum cake (I like the swizzle flavor best).

NOT PHOTOGRAPHED, BUT WORTH MENTIONING:

Artmel’s Fish Sandwich

Seriously, don’t even waste your breath in trying to convince me that there is a better fish sandwich on the island. I don’t have any photographic evidence of this sandwich because I ate it too fast. This Bermudian classic is exactly what you need when you’re craving fried food, are hungover, sober, hungry, or just feel like eating. 

Nachos at Swizzle Inn (near Grotto Bay)

I know everyone likes to hype the swizzle there, but I think the real highlight are Swizzle Inn's BBQ chicken nachos. Worth. every. calorie. They are not photogenic. In fact, they look like a messy volcano of all things good and unhealthy. So you should order them. And probably some swizzle, too.

The Sammy Roll at Beluga Bar

For those who know me, know that sushi basically takes up 68% of my personal food pyramid. The Sammy Roll is the best sushi roll on that 20(ish) square mile island, and one of the best rolls I've ever had, ever. I don't want to spoil it, and tell you why (they intentionally keep what makes this roll special off the description on their menu, too!). So you'll have to go into town (this joint is inside of the mall) and try it yourself! 

Savory Kernels

I don’t even eat popcorn. In fact, I have some pretty adverse reactions when I eat the stuff. But I will pay that price for their rosemary garlic flavored popcorn EVERY TIME. The ketchup flavor is also yummy. If you like a little spice, try the jalapeno cheddar. 

Visiting Bermuda? See what my first visitor had to say, and recommended!

2 Comments

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

"Hunger" by Roxane Gay - Review - Dana Chirps

Hunger Review Dana Chirps.jpg

I heard of "Hunger," by Roxane Gay because I saw someone that I work with post about how great she thought the book was on Instagram. It's not the typical book I would have chosen, but I was looking for materials to assist in the demographic and brand research for one of the companies I do copywriting for, and this fit the bill. So when I was state-side I went to Barnes & Noble, and purchased it. Many of my thoughts about this book cannot be addressed without discussing the plot. It certainly won't ruin the experience of reading it yourself if you know the plot prior, but in case you want to be totally surprised - stop reading this post now! :)

"Hunger" was the kind of book where after you read it, you're like, omgsh, I need to talk to someone. Before I get into the grit of this post, I want to acknowledge how brave I think Roxane Gay was to bare her soul so vulnerably. Truly. It takes tremendous guts to share such personal experiences and address the challenging topics she did so in her book. Equally as impressive was the manner through which she did. She is a brilliant writer.

The plot (again, STOP reading if you want to be totally surprised): Roxane led a fairly normal and happy life until she was 12. One day the boy she had a crush on led her into the woods, where they met up with his friends. They proceeded to gang rape her. She kept this trauma as a secret for a very long time. Her way of coping was eating. She wanted to make herself as undesirable as possible, so that she could feel safe. “I ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe. I buried the girl I had been because she ran into all kinds of trouble. I tried to erase every memory of her, but she is still there, somewhere. . . . I was trapped in my body, one I made but barely recognized or understood but of my own making. I was miserable, but I was safe.” She ended up at 6'3 and at her heaviest was 577 pounds. She goes into great detail about her life at such a large size.

There is so much of me that feels so sympathetic towards her. No person should ever be disrespected and violated in that manner, certainly not a child. It was heartbreaking to think a little girl was holding this secret in for years because of the shame and guilt. 

One of the most thought-provoking concepts Gay addresses was being labeled as "victim" versus "survivor." Gay prefers to use "victim," as a way to not lessen the severity of the trauma she experienced. Given how cavalier rape culture has become, I think she's made a strategically bold decision. This ideology had never crossed my mind before reading this book. With my two-time bout with cancer, I always took claim to the "survivor" label, and I do intend to keep it. I simply feel more empowered with that terminology. But I think every individual has the right to choose with term they identify with, and every scenario is unique.

"Hunger" also made me feel like I needed to take pauses and be more compassionate for other people. Generally, I feel as though I do a fairly good job at doing so, but this was a powerful reminder that people may appear one way on the outside, and be suffering on the inside. Gay gave several day-to-day struggles that obese people face. I was particularly bothered by the fact that there are doctors' offices that do not have proper equipment for obese people (for example, scales that don't support an obese person's weight). If there is ONE place that should be set up for all shapes and sizes, it's the doctors' office. 

This book was such a battle between Roxane and her body, and it reinforced the fact that our (American) culture is obsessed with weight, especially females. What we say shows it, what we eat (or not eat) shows it, what we wear shows it, advertisements show it... good grief, I could go on and on with so many more examples. But the discussion around weight is rampant. Although it is completely unrealistic, what if those conversations were all flipped into dialogue discussing happiness, health, and contribution to the world? It would certainly be a different world, and perhaps could even lead to a decreased obesity epidemic.  

Gay's book was a sharp reminder that weight-centric issues that most people have often have nothing to do with weight. Generally, it's a symptom of a bigger battle, a battle that is often internalized and private, that the outward world knows nothing about. If nothing else, I think everyone can afford to exude a bit more compassion, myself included. 

Overall, I'd give this book 4.5/5 stars. 

 

Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

"Big Magic" - A Book Every Creative Should Read - Review - Dana Chirps

Big Magic Review DanaChirps

I recently finished reading the book, "Big Magic," by Elizabeth Gilbert. I bought the book impulsively at an airport to cure my layover boredom. The brightly colored cover caught my attention, and gave me the impression that it wasn't too heavy, which was my intent. I had heard of the author before as Gilbert has also written "Eat Pray Love," which I have not read but am familiar with its success. 

It was as though divine intervention occurred in that Hudson bookstore. "Big Magic" is a book that every creative (or aspiring creative) should read. Like Gilbert, my choice poison is writing. But I would encourage anyone with a creative soul to read this book. You know who you are.

One of the concepts I loved most about her book was how she presented ideas. "Ideas spend eternity swirling around us, searching for available and willing human partners... When an idea thinks it has found somebody - say, you - who might be able to bring it into the world, the idea will pay you a visit. It will try to get your attention. Mostly, you will not notice. This is likely because you're so consumed by your own dramas, anxieties, distractions, insecurities, and duties that you aren't receptive to inspiration... The idea will try to wave you down (perhaps for a few moments; perhaps for a few months; perhaps even for a few years), but when it finally realizes that you're oblivious to its message, it will move on to someone else."

This concept removes both the ego in having an idea, since an idea is its own force (not "yours"), and also alleviates some of the pressure that many creatives face. It also ignites a fair sense of urgency to act upon those ideas.

Here are some other sentences I underlined and doodled around in "Big Magic" (all written by Gilbert unless otherwise noted):

  • He didn't quit his day job to follow his dream; he just folded his dream into his everyday life.
  • If inspiration is allowed to unexpectedly enter you, it is also allowed to unexpectedly exit you.
  • Well, yes, it probably has been done. Most things have already been done - but they have not yet been done by you.
  • If it's authentic enough, believe me - it will feel original.
  • "It ain't what they call you; it's what you answer to." - W. C. Fields
  • Creativity wants to flip the mundane world upside down and turn it inside out, and that's exactly what a trickster does best.
  • I believe it is our privilege as humans to keep making things for as long as we live.
  • Sometimes I think that the difference between a tormented creative life and a tranquil creative life is nothing more than the differences between the word awful and the word interesting.
  • And any motion whatsoever beats inertia, because inspiration will always be drawn to motion.
  • The outcome cannot matter.

To be honest, that sentence (bolded above) I jotted down from "Big Magic," struck a nerve. I started writing and blogging in high school, well before the term "blog" existed. Why? Because I simply loved to write, and that still holds true. I live to create. My passion for blogging began long before the monetization of blogs became a thing. Sure, I have my portfolio on here that showcases some of my work which has led to multiple contracts/jobs (i.e. paid work), that I am so grateful for. But even if that weren’t, and would never be the case, I'd still have a blog and continue to write. Writing is the path I've chosen. Or, if I'm truly embracing what Gilbert explains in her book - it chose me.

It pains me to hear people say they want to start a blog "to make money," or something to that effect. I still choose to be encouraging in those conversations, because who knows, maybe starting a blog will be the launching pad for falling in love with writing? Unlikely, especially once they learn how much work and time is involved in running a blog, and the many moving parts that go with it. But I still try to be encouraging, there are enough naysayers in the world. However, I think that in order to be successful in the longterm with anything creative, there must be unrelenting passion. Gilbert used this Richard Ford quote in her book, and I think it's on the money... "However, I will say this. If you happen to discover, after a few years away from writing, that you have found nothing that takes its place in your life - nothing that fascinates you, or moves you, or inspires you to the same degree that writing once did... well, then, sir, I'm afraid you will have no choice but to persevere."

Here's another excellent book recommendation.

2 Comments

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

All That It Seams - Winter Accessories Review - Dana Chirps

December in South Florida. People flock from their northern abodes to sunny Soflo to escape the winter wrath of Mother Nature. Now that I've lived here for almost 4 years, my body has totally adjusted to the tropical climate. This means I've become one of the people that I used to playfully poke fun at for wearing Uggs and other standard (#basic) winter apparel during those blistering (sarcasm font) 60-something degree days! You can easily tell if someone has been in South Florida for a while based on what they're wearing during the winter months --- shorts, tees, and flops means they must be a snowbird or vacationer, but if you're in scarves, boots, hats, and gloves --- you've lived in South Florida for at least 2 years. 

Now just because I'm a tropical sun goddess, doesn't mean I don't enjoy the winter! I happen to love it as long as I'm dressed for it. Here in Soflo, it's less about the bulky winter coats, and more about those cozy accessories. Recently, through social media I stumbled upon All That It Seams. All That It Seams is run by this kickass girl named Caitlin who handcrafts some seriously cute knit accessories while keeping durability and functionality in mind. But the icing on the cake is that All That It Seams donates 10% of their profits to no-kill animal shelters. UM, TAKE ALL MY MONEY. Anybody who knows me knows that I lovvvve animals, especially dogs. Talk about guilt-free shopping! Caitlin (who is awesome btw) sent me two really cute items to try out and write about. Here's the scoop:

Let’s start with the gloves which are cleverly named “Texters Best Friend.” I hate hate hate hate hate not being able to do simple tasks that regular gloves make it difficult to do - turning a doorknob, posting on Instagram, reapplying makeup, etc. These open-ended gloves keep your hands super warm, but still give you the flexibility of being able to do your day to day things. I also like that the bottom of the gloves have a cuffed look. My favorite way to wear them is layered on top of a long sleeved shirt.

Pro Tip: You can type in these puppies. So if you happen to work in one of those freezing cold corporate offices, consider these gloves your saving grace... not that I've ever done this. ;)

Next up is the knit headband dubbed “The Butterly Wings.” Ladies, if you were blessed with a big brain (this is my way of saying huge head - my fellow Polish friends - I’m looking at you!), this is a GREAT piece. This stretchy knit is a cute way to keep your ears warm. I also have to point out the shade of white that was selected is flattering for all skin tones, and although it might sound cheesy, it just seems to really bring out the sparkle in everyone's eyes. Basically, this is the ultimate accessory for your winter selfies.

Butterfly Wings Headband - Dana Chirps

Ladies, and gents shopping for ladies, here is the link to All That It Seams

2 Comments

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

I've Tried All The Products On Your Facebook Feed - Dana Chirps

Everyone has got something to sell these days. And with social media - everyone's got a place to sell it. Personally, I don't mind people doing this - to an extent. When I find that people go overboard for my threshold, I simply unfollow them (thanks, Facebook!). No harm done. But I have to say... I've never welcomed these types of salesy posts more than I have recently given the influx of political commentary. I'd much rather look at before and afters pics than listen to typically nice and friendly people stoop at disgusting levels when professing their political allegiance in a futile attempt to get someone on the opposing side to change their mind or make them feel stupid for what they believe in. 

Oops. I totally derailed from the actual topic of this post. Anyways. I have tried several of the products that are commonly sold on Facebook, and thought it would be fun to share my experience with you. Please note: It is kind of scary to post before and after pics, so if you could kindly, um, be nice(ish?) or at least tactful, that'd be great. 

Let's start with Beachbody's 21 Day Fix/Shakeology. It's a diet and workout plan that consists of eating clean (portions emphasized), having one shake per day, and a 30 minute workout. I LOVE this system. It has worked great for me and I've been doing it for over a year. It's proven to be sustainable, and the workouts are perfect for when I'm on the road traveling. I also enjoy my daily shake, and let me emphasize the word enjoy. I glug that chocolate delight down every single morning as my breakfast. I've also noticed since making these changes I've gotten sick/colds way less. Below are snapshots of my results. The picture on the left was about 15 pounds ago on this 5'9 body. And before anyone says "You were never fat to begin with!" let me be the first to acknowledge that that is correct. But I (like most people) had some fat to lose, could afford to get (and wanted) more muscle definition, wasn't consistently eating healthy and working out, and just felt gross. I'm actually quite shocked at how much better I feel, especially given the fact that I was never overweight. I feel awesome, I'm more confident than I've ever been, annnnnd I can actually do pushups - something I couldn't do a year ago. The middle pictures are progress pictures, and the last one (USA bikini) is where I'm at, and what I work to maintain. And to keep things real, I want you to know that all four photos were taken pre-breakfast! ;) These days I try to keep it at 80/20 - 80% of the time on the plan, 20% for pizza and Netflix.

pink bikini - before photo; blue bikini - after two rounds of 21 day fix; pink/black bikini - several rounds of a mixture of 21 day fix and 21 day fix extreme; american flag bikini - what i work to maintain (still doing the mix of workouts plus any other random fun active thing i can)!

Rodan + Fields. Once I started seeing RF posts on my feed, I reached out to a friend who I knew sold the stuff. I'm fortunate in the respect that I don't (yet) have major issues with my skin, and have good habits: guzzling water, wear SPF everyday, and 10+ years of using moisturizers/creams. But the before and afters photos I saw inspired me to investigate further for my Crow's feet that I no doubt have accumulated from smiling. I signed up as a preferred customer because that would ultimately save me money, and bought the eye cream and the peptide powder. It was expensive, and I felt guilty for spending $80 on eye cream. And then I damn near fainted when I saw how teeny that eye cream container was - it was a true "wtf moment." But that container is misleading - it's been over 5 months, and I still am on the same container!!! I put a dab of cream on in the morning under my makeup, and then again before bed. My after pic was taken a couple months ago, and my results have only continued to improve. I will definitely continue to use this eye cream! The powder peptides were just "ok" for me... but my skin has never looked great with loose powders (have tried Bare Minerals and similar products), so I won't be reordering that.

Somewhere between 4 and 6 weeks in between, and I did my best to use same lighting/positioning/time of day. I was rocking a small smile in each photo.

Advocare: Spark. I recently decided to try Advocare's energy product, Spark. Look, sometimes a girl just needs a boost, especially after an intense work day (which I tend to have quite frequently). I had tried Beachbody's version, but I disliked the flavor (lemon). So I reached out to one of my bestest of friends who is an Advo rep. What I loved about Spark was that I get a subtle jolt of energy, and get to choose from a TON of flavors... my favorites are lime, grape, and blue raspberry. It's a fantastic alternative to traditional preworkouts which made me feel like every cell in my body was tingling, that my organs were about to implode, and as though I was going to hulk smash everything in my path. Spark is not something I need/want everyday, but I'm glad I have it when I want it! I also like it because although I drink a ton of water, it's nice to change the routine up with something flavorful.

From a full system standpoint, I preferred sticking with Beachbody as I loved the results it's given me. Don't fix it if ain't broke, ya know? Therefor, I have never done the full Advocare program and can't speak to that. But one thing that I see that will likely prevent me from trying the full system that Advo offers is that their programs encourage having to consume such a variety of supplements - pills, powders, bars, shakes - it just seems like a lot to sustain for me personally. I also prefer a regiment that equally emphasizes diet and fitness - and I don't see any social media posts about workouts provided by Advo. In summary: Spark on occasion, full caboodle unlikely.

LuLaRoe Sweet baby Jesus, I never thought wildly patterned leggings would ever take off at this level! And now LLR offers a variety of products - tops, dresses, skirts, and probably tons more than I am aware of. With the aforementioned weight loss, I needed to source some new shops that sold skirts that flattered and fit my lanky frame, but were also long enough to be appropriate for work. When my mom showed me that LLR offered patterns that were less cartoony and more my style, I said "ok" and let my sweet mom buy me a skirt. I got an XS - in other brands I normally wear a small or maybe a medium. So know their skirts run a little big, and have a lot of stretch. I LOVE the skirt my mom got me, and get massive amounts of compliments when I wear it. Put the pattern aside, and just given the texture of the fabric, I feel as though it comes off as a little more business casual/cute-casual versus business attire. I don't know if I'd have a full closet full of these skirts (I like classic pieces for work), but when I'm looking for something more fun that I can wear to work on Fridays, or out and about, LLR all the way. PS - If any LLR sellers read this and have any Christmas mouse leggings/tops, let me know - tackier the better!

No, I didn't wear the converse with the outfit.

So there you have it, folks! Pardon the low quality phone pics, but I intentionally wanted to make this post a little more raw and real.

 

 

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Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

My Favorite Fitness Gadgets - Dana Chirps

It's no secret I love being active. The aesthetic reward is great, and working out does wonders for my mentality. Those endorphins are no joke! Over the past few months I've purchased some fitness related gadgets and services that I think are awesome. 

Note: This is not a sponsored post. 

1) Fitbit Charge HR - So I probably spent about a month reading up on different fitness trackers. I debated between this gadget, and an option by Polar that offered the same features, and is waterproofed. But I elected the Fitbit ChargeHR for a couple of different reasons.

  1. The app is fantastic, and does a good job at breaking down the different metrics and displaying them in easy-to-interpret graphs. This is important because the metrics and stats are basically your report card for your fitness. Fitbit made it really easy for a user to stay on top of their own metrics. It even measures how well you're sleeping, and allows for you to keep track of your diet and water intake. The charts and graphs make it simple for you to identify progress, and see where you need to up the anty.
  2. The social component of Fitbit! This feature is genius, and is what sealed the deal for me! Essentially what it does is it allows for you to search for your friends that also have Fitbits (they don't have to have the same model as you) and then it ranks you amongst your Fitbit friends so you can see who has the most steps!  You can also do fun things like create and participate in challenges with your Fitbit buddies. 

I also think it is worth noting that I chose the ChargeHR and not another model for these reasons:

  1. The fact it calculates your heart rate. This helps me gage my intensity in my workouts. 
  2. There are no text notifications on this device. I feel like I'm over-connected as it is, and I don't want to tempt myself with another "thing". My workouts are MY time. 
  3. I did consider the schnazzy Blaze, but with the desire to not have the ability to allow for texts to show up is what made me choose otherwise. I also felt like the ChargeHR looked and felt more durable, and being rough'n'tough with my hobbies and activities, it was important to have something that could handle a beating.

Really, the only downfall to the ChargeHR is that is NOT waterproof. It is water-resistant, and can handle the occasional splash, but it is not meant to be submerged, which brings me to my next favorite fitness item...

2) Waterfi - So most of you all know I live in South Florida, and am quite the water bunny. That being said, my first Fitbit lasted all of 1 week before it took a fatal dunk in the Atlantic. I just couldn't remember to take it off each time I went swimming or showered. So when I went for Fitbit Round 2, I looked into different waterproofing services. I ended up giving Waterfi a shot, and I am SO glad I did. Their customer service department was incredibly friendly, and answered quite a few questions I had quickly. Basically the way it works is that you can either order a product directly from them, or you can ship them a product to waterproof and send back to you - I did the latter. I'm happy to report that my new Fitbit has been submerged in water repeatedly, and is doing just fine! The only thing you lose in utilizing this service is the ability for your Fitbit to correctly calculate the number of floors climbed. But that was a metric I didn't really care much about, and didn't find motivating to begin with, so I don't mind not having it.  

3) Fitbit Aria - The Aria is the scale that Fitbit offers. Before I go a sentence further, I would like to declare that I think that weight is mostly a bullshit measure of fitness. I get that it can give you a gage of health of sorts, but it's such a small piece of that story. Now you're probably wondering why I bought it. The reason is because the Aria also calculates your percentage of body fat, BMI, and lean mass! That's what I'm talking about! But seriously, I like that this scale offers more meaningful measurements, and integrates seamlessly with my Fitbit app.

The stats from the Aria automatically sync to the app. Rest assured, if you're having a horrible fat day and you want to delete the evidence from the app, you totally can. I also appreciate the fact that you can name your scale. On day one, I gave went with something cute and dubbed her "Scaley." She has since been renamed, and is now called "Lying Wench." 

2 Comments

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Other Books of 2015

"The Goldfinch"

I would rank this book 4/5. Although it's far from a snooze, it's also not a constant page turner - it's just not that kind of story. The plot begins with a 13 year old boy named Theo surviving a terrorist attack, but his mother wasn't as lucky. From there the book navigates through Theo's less-than-picture-perfect-life as he meets with people through the attack, connects with his scummy father, steals drugs, etc. I didn't know what to expect when I got this book, but I didn't expect the story I got. But I really enjoyed the book, and could see this being turned into a great movie (if it hasn't already). 

The Night Circus"

Ugh. 1.5/5. I felt like I had to read about 380 pages for anything to happen. The end of the book was clever and that's the only reason I give it anything. So if you can muscle through reading 380 pages of descriptive literature (no action), you might like it. But I was underwhelmed and felt relieved to have finished it.  

"The Book Thief

5/5. Loved this book! It takes place during the Holocaust (my favorite time period to read about as far as historical fiction goes). I don't want to give anything away, but I appreciated the style of how this book was written. It's an easy read, and a little dark - as most books covering that period are. But I highly recommend it!

Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

"Orr, My Story" Review

"Orr, My Story" is an autobiography written by Bobby Orr himself. It took some teeth-pulling to get this low profile, extremely humble "hockey great" to agree to writing this... but I'm extremely glad that someone got him to do so as the stories are nothing short of amazing.

Readers will gain insight to Orr's classy, down to earth personality very quickly. In fact, one of the first things he addresses is the infamous picture from the 1970 cup game - you know the one - where he is diving in front of the opposing goal in celebration of having just scored the Stanley Cup winning goal against St. Louis. He said, "Perhaps the better representation would have been to capture the moment a few seconds after my leap - when my teammates piled on me and the rest of the Bruins poured over the boards to join in and celebrate the victory. It wasn't really just my goal, and it wasn't just my celebration, either. There was a mob on the ice, guys in Bruins black and gold, but also the coaches and trainers. The Garden was roaring. It wasn't just one happy guy, flying through the air by himself. But for whatever reason, there was always that famous photo, plucking that one moment out of time." For someone as freakishly talented as Orr, his modest approach and "we" orientedness just makes you respect him more.

Another thing I loved about this book was that it was filled with these anecdotes about the players he played with and against like Eddie Johnston (B's goalie), and Yvan Cournoyer (Montreal). This book goes several levels beyond just the X's and O's, and encapsulates this sport  and the culture within it so accurately.

Orr's depiction of his life playing hockey was what I expected it to be - insightful and interesting. But one of the parts of the book I most appreciated was how Orr addressed the problems with the sport as it is right now head-on... everything from the pressure that psycho parents put on kids, to defending the need to keep fighting in pro-level hockey (and out of minor leagues). In my opinion, his recommendations and observations were spot on.

Overall, I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves hockey that has at least fundamental knowledge of the sport. And since there are so many stories within the story, it's a book you can easily read a few times and pick up different tidbits.

1 Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Hair Treatments

Living in south Florida has a ton of perks, but like anyplace, there are a couple of downfalls.

For example, if you move to south Florida, you can kiss your good hair days goodbye.

Recently, I've tried a couple products to turn my cray-cray-sandy-frizzy-strands into the smooth, shiny blonde locks I'm used to having.

First, I tried apple cider vinegar. Yes, like the kind you get at the grocery store. My boss (who at one point had a cosmetology license) was actually the one that suggested trying ACV. I couldn't tell if she was screwing with me, but I decided to give it a shot anyways.

I filled a spray bottle with half of ACV, and half water. After I did my regular hair routine (shampoo and conditioner) in the shower, and while my hair was still wet, I doused my hair with the spray. Then I let it air dry. It did smell like vinegar, but beauty is pain. After it dried, my hair felt really clean, as though any remaining residue from products was stripped down.  It also looked a tiny bit more shiny.  Would I do it again? Yes, as a way to better clean my hair. But I would only do this on a day where I was planning on staying in, because of the smell and air drying elements to this process.

And then today, I tried this stuff:

I had purchased a sample packet from Ulta a little while ago, and finally gave it a shot today. The instructions recommended that after your shower, you comb a liberal amount of the masque into your hair and leave it in for 7 minutes. Naturally, I left it in for over an hour as I wanted to achieve maximum results. ;)

First of all, this stuff smells amazing. While I washed it out, I could already tell it had smoothed and softened my hair. As I let my hair air dry, I felt like I was witnessing a miracle... my hair feels SO soft, is frizz free, and looks as good as it can possibly look without having blown it dry. And I can't get over how amazing it smells. Completely obsessed. I would recommend this to anyone trying to smooth/soften/increase shine/etc. with their hair. 5/5 stars.

2 Comments

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Smelly So Good

I'm a major smell person - I love perfumes, candles, soaps, etc. A couple months ago, I was in Ulta with my friend Brandy (who is also a product junkie like myself); and we were sniffing every single godforsaken a couple of perfumes, and I across "Miss Dior."

It was love at first sniff.

So when Christmas came, and I opened a box of this Natalie Portman endorsed perfume, I was absolutely delighted to add this to my not-so-little collection of amazing smelling things.

Miss Dior Perfume
Miss Dior Perfume

And props to Dior - their packaging is so pretty, and feminine! Nordstrom's description of the scent was "Italian mandarin essence, Egyptian jasmine absolute, Indonesian patchouli essence."

Look, I have no idea what "patchouli" is, but it smells damn good. Personally, I think it's the perfect "going on a date" perfume. The likeable scent sticks solidly for a good 4-5 hours, and it goes on light so that it's not overpowering a room.

Men - I know it's a little early, but if you have a lady in your life that wears perfume - this would make an awesome Valentine's gift! Ulta doesn't seem to have it on their site at this moment, but Nordstrom does. And if she doesn't like the smell of patchouli, then dump her.

Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.