Here we go! Whole30 - DanaChirps

Whole30 compliant coffee - DanaChirps

Whole30 compliant coffee - DanaChirps

Today is Day 1 for my first ever round of Whole30! For 30 days there is absolutely NO: added sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, or dairy. ::cue panic music::

Nah, I'm actually really excited to do this. I've been wanting to try this diet for a while, but hadn't started due to the timing. It is a full 30 day commitment, and sort of an all-or-nothing mindset. My motivations for doing this are: 

  • To see if this helps improve my immune system. Ever since moving to NH, I've been sick or with some nasty cold easily 80% of the time. I had no health issues in Bermuda, and was only sick once in the four years I lived in South Florida. I do think the dry air and brutal cold weather is playing a role. But I see this as an opportunity to do more. 
  • I have randomly gained 4-5lbs. And it ain't muscle. So those need to go.
  • To learn to make more healthy and DELICIOUS recipes. It's cold here. Cooking is a fun and indoor hobby, why not? This is the reason that makes me most excited.

Throughout this dietary challenge, I'm participating in a really lively Whole30 Facebook group with other Whole30'ers. The person leading the charge is my dear friend from JMU (Go Dukes!), Jeanne! Jeanne has been at this Whole30 game for a good while, and is formally educated on the subject. She is an amazing resource, and has a blog of her own that is insanely helpful with breaking some of the harder concepts down. So if you have questions beyond the basics, I'd send you to her at this point since I am still learning. But the support in the Facebook group has been incredible, and is making it really social and fun. 

Have any of you ever done Whole30? I'd love to hear your experience! Or have any of you thought of doing it before - what's stopping you? 

 

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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.

New Year Resolutions - 2018 - Dana Chirps

New Year Resolutions 2018 Dana Chirps

New Year Resolutions 2018 Dana Chirps

What a year! Whew! I made it out alive, ha! SO much happened in 2017. Left my beloved sunshine state that I happily resided in for four years. Moved to and lived in Bermuda. Moved back to the states. Switched to (remote) contract work full-time. Traveled to Punta Cana, Chicago, and a few other spots. Saw JMU win the championship game in Frisco. Learned how to live and thrive on an island. Pedal biked all over said island. Singlehandedly increased Bermuda tourism by having so many friends and family come to visit me! Learned to embrace simplicity. Got to properly host Brett in Richmond. Had Nana join my parents and family over Christmas. Took tons of photos. Read some great books. Found secret beaches. Participated, experienced, and enjoyed the Bermudian national holidays. Befriended some of the best people I've ever met who are from all over the world. Cheered for Team USA at America's Cup. There's so much. Yes, of course there were times of intense stress and tears, but I can say that this year completely changed my life, who I am, and who I want to be.

That all being said... here's a recap of my last year's resolutions with my comments in bold followed by my resolutions for 2018!

My goals for 2017:

  1. Fitness - Ease into training programs, and be more diligent about injury prevention. I had two injuries this year - left knee and left hip... largely due to going balls to the wall. As much as I looooathe stillness - I'm afraid that yoga might need to happen more regularly regardless of whether or not I want to. At least I love yoga apparel, so I'm halfway there. I did a great job with this! No real injuries in 2017, and I listened to my body a whole lot more than I did in previous years. But I still haven't added yoga to my repertoire. 
  2. Diet - This year I'd like to focus on eating clean. My plan to accomplish this is to do more cooking and going out to eat less. Luckily now that I have a boyfriend, it's a lot more fun to cook. I don't enjoy cooking for myself - it's just a utilitarian task when it's just me. But I do enjoy cooking for someone who warmly appreciates my meals. This one was a little tricky to figure out in Bermuda since they didn't have all the same products that we have in America. Or some products would be at one store and others at another - which would be fine and dandy if we weren't pedal biking to get to places. Overall, I'd say we did pretty good, but the effort was inconsistent.
  3. Work - Find projects/work that allow me to feel empowered and fulfilled. Because Bermuda is very keen on hiring Bermudians, I had to source my own clients for remote marketing contract work. I was able to do so successfully. Some of my contracts and clients were better than others, but was very thankful to have my own full-time income while living in BDA. I do miss the scope of the projects that can be accomplished when working for a company as an employee, and the chaos that I seem to perform best in.
  4. Travel - I don't know where. I don't know when. I just know. And considering we're only two weeks into 2017 and I've already traveled to the Dallas area and Orlando... I think I'm on track. I did end up adding to this list with more trips, but I mostly focused on Bermuda. I am SO glad I did so. 
  5. Photography - Practice, practice, practice. I also ordered a couple of new gadgets that I need to learn. I took tons of photos this year, and am proud to have sold quite a few products with my images on them. 
  6. Embrace Simplicity - Buy less stuff. Don't do everything all the time. Just stop and BE more often. So this was somewhat forced in Bermuda. I brought only 3 suitcases... one for clothes, one for shoes, and one for products. I brought too much. I pedal biked to get to places. I hung out with friends at the beach. I went on walks almost daily. It was a beautiful way to live. 
  7. Relax More - This sort of ties into embracing simplicity. I'm a naturally high-octane person, but I think it would be beneficial for me to learn to make time to operate at a level 6 rather than a constant 10. This was also forced in Bermuda. City chaos and night life is substituted with days spent outside. It was a pretty amazing trade.
  8. Relationships -This effort is for all kinds of relationships I have. But I'd like to continue to work on being less reactive. I'm not totally sure, but I think it stems from thinking of worst case scenarios when something is unknown or unclear to me. Worst case scenarios are often sort of scoffed at, but my reality is that on more than one occasion the worst case scenario I imagined was actually the truth. Learning to separate past from present is a challenge, but it's one that I think I could benefit from. Slowly but surely this one has come a long way! 
  9. DanaChirps - I am really focusing on building the social presence - so if you're not already following me - click on the little grey social media icons on the top right hand corner, and subscribe to my email newsletter (homepage). Emails probably won't be launched until Q3. So I was a bit of an over-shooter with my email newsletter. But I grew in all areas of social media. 

Ok now for 2018 new year resolutions!

  1. Fitness - I just need to get back into my routine groove. I was doing a good job for a while, and then the whirlwind of the move and interviews and transitional craziness took over. But now that Brett and I are moved in, game on. I am also going to try some local fitness spots... cycle studios, yoga (you read that right), etc. It will be a great way to meet people.
  2. Make NH my own - Brett is from here, so it's all "his." His hometown, his family (who all live nearby), his friends, his spots, etc. My goal is to make my own friends, and find my own spots. 
  3. Diet - Clean.it.up. Whole 30, here we come. I have a lot more on this coming, so I'll keep it at that for now.
  4. Work - Contract work has been a blessing, but I am switching gears and looking for a marketing position within a company. I miss being a part of a team, and the level of work that can only be accomplished with the resources and manpower that stems from working for a company. Added bonus: this will also help with goal number 2. Fingers crossed my next endeavor involves a bit of traveling, too.
  5. DanaChirps - Continue to write. Continue to photograph. Share more. 
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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.

Beers are on me, Patagonia - Marketing - Dana Chirps

Patagonia has taken a stance! - Dana Chirps

Patagonia has taken a stance! - Dana Chirps

The image above is the current homepage of Patagonia. This was in response to President Trump drastically rolling back protections on the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. We're talking two.million.acres.of.land. This is the largest rollback of federal land protection in the nation’s history. 

Although tempting, this post isn't to tell you how you should feel about the matter. Instead, I'd rather address something I find to be so refreshing and hard to come by these days: a company that lives and breathes its values and brand. 

Just last night during my 1am-I-can't-sleep-Twitter-scroll, I stumbled upon an excellent quote that was something to the effect of, "There is not a single marketing tactic or strategy that will correct a company whose brand promise doesn't match their brand delivery."

That statement is the absolute truth. As a business, you can't call yourself one thing, and be another. It is confusing and deceiving for the consumer. When clients ask me what my marketing approach is, I always tell them that I feel the best marketing is honest marketing. If you're marketing a mediocre product - own it. If you're marketing towards people who smell bad - own it. But especially if your marketing is heavily geared towards your company values - you must own it. And that is what Patagonia has done so brilliantly.

The speed of which they addressed this situation is also impressive, and it's as though they are saying, "no, it is not business as usual." Now the marketer in me is reluctant to direct you off my website, but in this case, it's well worth it. Take a look at Patagonia's current homepage. First, they grab the users attention with provocative copy that is best described as straight gangster, eliciting a three-second-damn from all who reads it. They took the most valuable piece of real estate on their money-making website, their homepage, to make sure their message was clearly delivered. They did this knowing that it will likely cost them money. Message received. 

From there, the user can either carry on to their regular shopping, or click to learn more. If the user chooses to learn more, they are presented with clear information, a list of allies, and most importantly (from a branding perspective) their statement on why they are fighting to protect the land. The why is what connects the values to the actions, or the promise to the deliverables. 

Calls to action (in the form of "take action" buttons) are dispersed throughout this landing page. And if the user clicks on one of those, there are simple instructions for the user to follow. Patagonia took as much "work" out of the equation as they possibly could have. 

From start to finish this initiative has been executed perfectly. I applaud them for boldly standing up for their values, and providing effective tools for others to do so as well. They put their money where their mouth is. It's like a modern day story of David and Goliath... and we all know who won that battle... 

 

 

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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.

Beach Bunny to Snow Bunny - Dana Chirps

Beach Bunny to Snow Bunny - Dana Chirps

Beach Bunny to Snow Bunny - Dana Chirps

Those of you who follow me on social media already heard this big announcement... Brett and I have moved to downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire! The past couple of months have been quite a whirlwind of events filled with ups, downs, interviews, stress, excitement, and pure chaos! Finally, things are settling down, whoo hoo!

When I moved to Bermuda, I did a FAQ post, that was really popular and helpful. I figured I'd do one for this move, too!

Why did you leave Bermuda!? Leaving Bermuda was bittersweet. What prompted the move was a phenomenal job opportunity for Brett. We always knew that living in Bermuda would be a short term adventure, and estimated that we'd be there 6-18 months. We clocked in just short of a year. We both feel like we maximized our time on that spectacular island, so we left feeling like "we did it." But make no mistake, we have every intention of going back to visit. It's a cheap and short direct flight from Logan which makes it pretty convenient (and realistic) to do so.  

What will you miss the most about Bermuda? I think the things I'll miss the most are the three things that I love the most about Bermuda: the natural beauty, the friendships I made, and the simplicity. Oh, and the grilled octopus

What won't you miss about Bermuda? The cost of damn groceries, that's for sure! Having to pedal bike everywhere - I enjoyed doing it sometimes, but having to depend on it is an exhausting lifestyle... especially when you are going grocery shopping! The anxiety of wondering if the taxi you scheduled is going to show. 

What does Brett do? He's a pilot.

What will you be doing? Since moving to Bermuda, I've been doing (remote) contract marketing work. I have been so fortunate in this respect, as it would have been very difficult (and unlikely) for me to get work in Bermuda since I'm not Bermudian (more on that here). Now that I'm back in the states, I'm applying for full-time marketing positions with companies that excite me. It's sort of a weird time of year for a marketer to get work as most companies are in budget season, and not spending a dime until Q1 of 2018, so I'm aiming to be gainfully employed by the end of February. In the meantime, I'll continue to stay busy contractually. 

You know it's cold there, right? This one makes me roll my eyes. Yes, it's been a while since I've done the whole winter thing... with almost a year in Bermuda, and 4 years in South Florida prior to that. Anywhere that isn't SoFlo is cold (to me). Essentially, any temp under 70, is cold (to me). So the way I look at it, is no matter where we live, it's going to be cold... and at least New England has other cultural aspects that make up for it. 

What are you nervous about? I wouldn't say I'm nervous, but I am extremely ready to work for a company again. I miss the scope of projects that simply can't be done by just myself. I thrive in chaos, and am eager to be in the middle of it again!

Brett grew up in this area. So everything is "his." His town, his condo, his friends, his family (all live in the area), etc. However, some of these things are also advantages. His friends for the most part have been extremely welcoming, and embracing - I am so appreciative for that, too. I look forward to being at a point where I'm invited to things - with or without Brett's attendance. ;) And overall, my independent spirit is still determined to make my own friends, and make this place my own. 

One thing that has been challenging to adapt to is the darkness. Essentially, in South Florida you get an extra hour of light, and what a difference it makes! Thankfully our condo is bright and airy. 

What excites you the most about Portsmouth, New Hampshire? We live in a condo in downtown Portsmouth. Portsmouth is funky, artsy, historic, and has phenomenal restaurants, and shops. We are 15 minutes from the beach, 10 minutes to Kittery (Lululemon outlet, take all my money!!!), 25 minutes to Newburyport, under an hour to Boston, and an hour to Portland... so there's a ton of areas to explore. New places to photograph, experience, and write about!

My mom grew up in Boston, so I also have some family in New England which is really nice! 

The food (particularly, seafood) is some of the best in the country. 

Similar to South Florida, this area seems to be into active lifestyles, and fitness which is something I totally dig!

And although I'm moderately terrified, I can't wait to try skiing! Honestly, I'm more scared about disappointing Brett if I don't like it (it's his favorite thing to do), than I am about actually skiing. But I figure even if I hate skiing, we can always be sure to pick a place that has a bougie spa for me to indulge in instead!

Overall, 2018 is looking like it will be a year filled with celebrations, and new experiences. I'm pretty stoked. 

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.

"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.

Moving to another country? Here's what you need to know!

Tips for moving to another country - Dana Chirps

Tips for moving to another country - Dana Chirps

There are so.many.things to think about when you're moving to another country. Each country has their own set of rules, and way of doing things. You absolutely have to do your research. Below are some matters that you will want to have a plan for before making the jump and moving to another country. 

Health Insurance: When you travel internationally frequently, or are living internationally for a period of time you're going to want to be protected regardless of your actual location. Be sure to find a plan that suits your specific needs.

Drivers License: One thing I wish Brett and I understood better prior to coming to Bermuda was how to obtain our scooter license. In Bermuda it is a three step process, and none of the steps can happen on the same day. The steps were: physical, written exam, and then driving test. We also had to learn how to drive on the left side of the road, which took some practice. 

Medications: You may not be able to find the exact same medication in every country. This might not be a big deal for some, but for others, it could really be a serious problem. I recommend contacting your new pharmacy in advance to see what your options are, and then work with your provider in finding a solution if needed.

Work Permit: If you're planning on moving to another country and "figuring it out when you get there," you're in for a rude awakening. Bermuda is very passionate about hiring Bermudians... so when there is a new job opening on the island they have to post it for a certain amount of time to give Bermudians first dibs... if no Bermudians are qualified, only then can they make that position accessible to expats. I also wasn't allowed to volunteer because it could be taking away experience from a Bermudian. Thankfully, I went to Bermuda with (remote) work in place. 

It is tedious to do the research on these matters, but it is absolutely necessary! 

Like this article? Then check out the number one thing that living in Bermuda made me appreciate about the United States.  

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.

How to Lose a Follower in Ten Ways - Instagram - Marketing - Dana Chirps

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1. Steal content. I hate that this has even made the list. I've had people steal my content a few times. It is infuriating. Some people say that "imitation is a form of flattery," but I find it lazy and annoying. Like most content creators out there, I work really hard and spend a lot of time writing and photographing. So when someone just takes my work, it's offensive. Also, when you steal content, KNOW that the person who created it WILL find out. If you are really that desperate, talk to the person who created the content and ask for their permission - they might say no, but consider this the unwritten code of etiquette and decency. 

2. Only post selfies. You are far too interesting to only show the world that you have figured out camera angles. Show me your perspective - what you're seeing, where you are, who you've met, what you're eating. And that's not to say that if you're feeling like a million bucks that you don't take a photo to capture it, but it is to say that people are interested in a lot more than just what you look like.   

It makes me cringe that this book even exists. aim higher, folks.

It makes me cringe that this book even exists. aim higher, folks.

3. Post the same thing as everyone else. We could turn these staged photos into a drinking game. Every time you see that pic of a couple holding hands with the girl leading the guy, take a drink! Every time you see a girl casually floating on an inflatable duck or unicorn in a pool, take a drink! Except we'd all die of liver failure. 

4. Only post about your MLM. Look, I say this as an avid user of some of these products - this madness has got to stop. Oils, wraps, face creams, shakes, body wraps, supplements, nail stickers, candles, lip gloss, etc. I don't want to "join your journey," or be constantly sold to. Make no mistake, I am sincerely happy for your transformations. However, I followed you because of YOU, not for your "incredible business opportunity." I wish Instagram would create an algorithm to detect these posts, so users could have the option to filter. 

5. Use those frickin' frackin' ridiculous face filters. Use them in stories, but don't post pics of yourself with them. Unless you're 12(ish) and younger, then be the best koala bear you can be!

6. Play the Follow, Unfollow game. Lord have mercy. When I see the same person following and then unfollowing me repeatedly, I usually just end up blocking them. Folks, there is no short cut to a genuine following. You have to do the work. Try reaching out to people, and having genuine conversations about what they're posting about. Real engagement is how you earn a real follower.

7. Use auto-comments. I could literally post a photo of a giant turd, and there would be at least one auto-comment that says "Great pic!" Bots are also against Ig's policy, so I hope that Instagram continues to shut these accounts down.

Example of auto comments. this account sent me dozens of generic and rotating comments in 24 hours.

Example of auto comments. this account sent me dozens of generic and rotating comments in 24 hours.

8. Disrespect the environment, just for a photo. Don't litter because that's lazy, disrespectful, and unclassy. Don't take things that aren't yours. If there is a sign that says don't enter/cross/etc. - don't! Most people think it is a matter of safety (especially if it's a historic site), but often it is a matter of preservation. Don't take away these experiences from future generations.

9. Purchase photo likes and followers. This one shocks me. It's literally like purchasing spam. Nobody wants to follow a spammy account.

10. Participate in loops. This is one of the many tactics that people use to get phony followers. It pains me because you're not getting a quality following. In the longterm, you actually make it harder for yourself, because your rate of engagement decreases which is essentially the point. Not to mention, I don't feel like liking 10 random pages, commenting on your post, and tagging 37 friends to be entered in a raffle to win body lotion. 

Bad Marketing Example

Are you a marketer, or an aspiring marketer? If so, here is a book that I recommend you read!

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.

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.

My Top Three Reasons Why I Love Bermuda - Dana Chirps

Near Fort St. Catherine - Bermuda - Dana Chirps

Near Fort St. Catherine - Bermuda - Dana Chirps

Who would have thought that a teeny tiny island in the Middle of Nowhere, Atlantic would have made such a massive impact on me. I've been trying to peg down exactly why I love Bermuda, and what I think makes it such a special place. 

Cooper's Island Nature Reserve - Bermuda - Dana Chirps

Cooper's Island Nature Reserve - Bermuda - Dana Chirps

  1. Natural Beauty. I think this one was sort of a no-brainer and expected. But I do think it is worth mentioning that I have had the privilege of visiting other gorgeous islands (St. Thomas, St. Martin, St. Croix, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Dominican Republic), and Bermuda still wins. The whole color scheme is brighter here. Blues are bluer, pinks are pinker. Vibrant tropical flowers that nonchalantly grow everywhere. The water is so dang blue that I continuously have to convince people I'm not filtering or editing the photos I show them. And then you see the pink sand, and it's like "Ok, Bermuda. You're just showing off now." ;)
  2. The people. I simply can't get over the caliber of person I've met and become friends with here. Most of my friends in Bermuda are other expats, and there is this unspoken and deep level of empathy of knowing what it is like to be the new person in a new country. Everyone is welcoming, and invites everyone to everything. Not to mention how fun it is to meet other people who are kind of like you in the sense that they picked up and moved to another country to live on a 20 square mile island. It's an adventurous bunch to say the least!  
  3. Simplicity. So this is something that can be adopted in the states, but it is SO much harder to do so. In the states, there are so many options, all of which are convenient. We run on consumerism, and don't blink an eye at all the things we encounter each day. However, in Bermuda, Brett and I have embraced simplicity. No TV, we pedal bike (not to be confused with "bike" which means "scooter" on the island) everywhere, and mostly spend our free time taking advantage of the island life. Our main grocery store is maybe 1000 square feet, and we purchase our meat from a guy right off the boat. Although nothing is "easy" to do, and you really have to plan your day around simple activities (because you have to allocate time to pedal bike to the store, hope they have everything you need, and pedal bike home).. the simplicity of it is refreshing.

Conversely, if you want to see what living in Bermuda has made me appreciate about the United States - check out this post!

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.

"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.

Wynwood - Miami - Dana Chirps

This is one of those posts I meant to do ages ago. Wynwood is an artsy section in Miami was just starting to come to life right as I moved to South Florida. It has evolved quite a bit over the last 4-5 years. It started of as a quiet but funky art scene that people would often describe as "kinda sketchy,"  that not a ton of people knew about or participated in. Every second Saturday the galleries open their doors, and tons of local artists, vendors and food trucks set up for the evening. "Second Saturdays" quickly picked up traction, and is a hustling and bustling atmosphere these days. I'd describe Wynwood now as a trendy but still an artsy area that attracts art lovers, hipsters, and foodies. It is also quite the "selfie destination." It's still a great time, and I'm happy for the gentrification of the area, but I do miss the ability to find parking with ease. Back in December, my brother and his girlfriend came to visit me while I was still living in South Florida, and I was so excited to show them this part of town. They dug it.

The photos above were taken in this section of Wynwood called "Wynwood Walls." Wynwood is most famously known for its incredible graffiti art, and "the walls" is a closed off area for people to walk around spectacularly painted walls, and into some really cool galleries.

The most popular galleries are the pop art galleries within the walls, especially Peter Tunney's. It's practically impossible to go into his gallery and not take a picture. His work (showcased above) is so energetic and catchy, I love it. 

It's also worth suggesting that when you go to Wynwood, be extra observant! There is art everywhere. I love the stamps on the sidewalks, like the one above. Pop into Panther Coffee for a cuppa joe. It's South Florida's most well known local coffee. Truthfully, I don't think it's the best coffee I've ever had, but it's still enjoyable, and a part of the Wynwood experience. I also recommend coming to Wynwood with an appetite - the restaurants are amazing. Wynwood Kitchen and Bar is an easy go-to with delectable tapas and unique cocktails. But in that part of town, I really like to just stumble into places and try them. Other places I like: Concrete Beach Brewery, and the outdoor garden inspired seating at Wynwood Diner.

Have you been to Wynwood? What are your favorite walls?

 

 

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.

Number One Thing that Living in Bermuda has Made Me Appreciate About The United States - Dana Chirps

I've been living in Bermuda since mid-March, and feel unbelievably blessed and privileged to get to experience something so extraordinary. It hasn't always been easy (despite what my Instagram depicts), and has been a massive adjustment coming from South Florida. But nevertheless, it's predominantly been an inspiring, thought-provoking, and delightful experience. Living on a teeny (20 square miles!) island has certainly made me acknowledge and appreciate certain things in America that I unintentionally took for granted. So I thought for this year's Independence Day, I'd share with you what I've learned to appreciate about The United States since moving to Bermuda. (Bermuda friends, there will be a post about what I love about Bermuda in comparison to the US coming up. I don't want you all to think I'm hating, I love this island. Every place has their pluses and minuses.)

The number one thing that living in Bermuda has made me appreciate about The United States is the size of the USA. I used to see it as a hinderance, and often wish states operated independently, as their own little countries - much like Europe. I am now undecided as far as that goes. But the biggest mental shift I've made since moving to BDA, is identifying the advantages of being from a massive country...

Cost of living. You can live, do, eat, and drink SO MUCH for relatively SO LITTLE in the US. Most of everything here in Bermuda is imported, so things like groceries are way more expensive. Cars, even old ones, are expensive. Renting is pricy due to the fact that the demand largely exceeds the supply. A gym membership (decent, no-frills type of gym) is about $200 per month. Thank heavens the beach is free. 

Education. Many locals here have to leave the island to get their college education. The wealthier families send their kids to boarding schools in the North East during grade school. I'm not saying the education is bad, I honestly haven't looked deeply into it. But I have noted that trend in conversations with local Bermudians and other expats.

Traveling. As Americans, we can travel into any and every state whenever we please. Each state has its own unique flair, and most people go their whole lives without seeing all 50 because the country is just so massive, and also due to time and money constraints. But the fact we have free access to every state is amazing. I think Americans (even myself at times) forget that our own country is so worthy of traveling. 

But it's not the actual size of the US that propels this, it's the amount of choices we have in America. More land, more people, more innovative and creative minds, more education, more businesses, more restaurants, more job opportunities, more everything. The fact we can choose from so many options of everything is INCREDIBLE. How blessed I was to be able to pick up and move to South Florida (for no other reason than I liked it), choose from a multitude of paths career-wise, and then successfully pursue the career of choice, eat delectable (and affordable) healthy food for lunch, go to a boutique gym with bells and whistles, and then choose from about 30 nearby places (no exaggeration) for a swanky dinner with cocktails... all while living comfortably (3 blocks from the beach), and still having enough to put aside like the responsible adult I attempt to be on occasion. Albeit unintentionally, I took this all for granted while living stateside. Obviously, I've since reflected and have found the vast variety of options in the US to be such an empowering, and invigorating thing to think about. It's truly a country where you can do anything, and how lucky I am to get to call this country home. 

Happy Independence Day! And a sincere thank you to our military (and their families) who serve our country. We would be nothing without you.

 

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.

A Must Do in Bermuda - Blue Sky Bermuda - Bermuda - Dana Chirps

Must Do In Bermuda - Dana Chirps - All of that green area is the golf course at tuckers point

Must Do In Bermuda - Dana Chirps - All of that green area is the golf course at tuckers point

I woke up yesterday to an incredible surprise. Brett brought me coffee in bed - a thoughtful gesture that never gets old (even if it's done partly out of survival, hehe). As I'm midway through my giant cuppa-joe, he says, "ok, go get ready, you're going flying." I was excited, and confused. And I'm not totally sure what I said after that (caffeine hadn't quite hit the system yet), but I was STOKED. I soon learned that I was getting to see Bermuda from the sky via Blue Sky Flights Bermuda! 

What was particularly awesome was the fact that the pilot of this endeavor is one of my friends - Heather! But even if it had been the kind of person you avoid eye contact with at Walmart, I'd still say it's worth it... but I'm REALLY GLAD IT WASN'T... especially since Heather is like a Bermuda encyclopedia, and a ton of fun. 

Heather runs this shop flying a small plane (Cessna Skyhawk 172). It's much like climbing into a teeny car. She was in the drivers seat, a professional photographer was in "shotgun," and I was in the backseat. That little plane gets in the air so quickly! 

She took us all around the east end of the island. The views. Sweet Lord Jesus, the views. The water is so clear, you can easily see coral, shipwrecks, the works. It was so interesting to see my neck of the woods from above - I enjoyed spotting familiar landmarks like the Unfinished Church in St. George's, Fort St. Catherine's, and a ton of other locales I frequent. We also saw the America's Cup J Class Regatta, which includes some of the most famous yachts in the world. Only ten of these boats were built, and just three of the originals are still functioning today.

Everything looked SO vibrant and lively from the sky. The pink sand looked pinker, the blue water bluer... just the colors in general... well, see for yourself... 

This experience has made me appreciate this island on a whole new level. I'm particularly awestruck over the beauty, and how enriching this country that is merely 20 square miles truly is. 

Blue Sky Flights I think best serves three types of people:

  1. Professional photographers (or avid enthusiasts). You must make a point to do this. Bring your gear, and make it happen. But be sure to secure shotgun seating. All of my shots were "reach arounds" because I was in the backseat, and I was pointing the camera without being able to see. I obviously still got some great pictures, but I would have loved the ability to shoot more strategically.
  2. Locals. To see this island from the sky gives you a whole new perspective and appreciation of your home. 
  3. Tourists. It's such a unique experience, and Heather knows this island inside and out and will give you insight you can't get anywhere else (believe me, I've tried them all).

Let me know if you end up going! I'd like to do it again, and go see other parts of the island.

 

8 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.

America's Cup - Bermuda - Dana Chirps

What a weekend! Brett and I had been looking forward to America's Cup since before we moved to Bermuda. In all honesty, I didn't really know much about America's Cup, and therefor had no clue what to expect. However, I did know it was potentially a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and that the entire country of Bermuda has been enthusiastically preparing and building excitement for the event for quite some time - there was no way I was going to miss out on that action! So the other week we secured the opening ceremony tickets for Friday, and Grandstand tickets for Saturday.

On Wednesday, Brett's pilot-friend, Kieran, and his girlfriend Samantha, booked last minute tickets to join us from Philly! We were both stoked they could come! They got here early afternoon on Friday. Shortly after they arrived, there was an announcement that the opening ceremony was canceled and rescheduled for Saturday due to weather. So the four of us spent that windy day exploring the nearby beaches at Cooper's Island. It was crazy - one of the beaches that Brett and I go to all the time was filled with man-o-war jellyfish washed up on shore, likely due to the weather. Then we trekked through the rain into Hamilton where we got dinner and went out for drinks (Devil's Isle, Pickled Onion, Hog and Penny). We hit the jackpot with live music at the last two places. The band at The Pickled Onion was particularly fantastic - I was loving their Pit Bull covers (mad me think of Soflo). We all knew we had a full day ahead so we were fairly tame, and got back at a reasonable hour. 

Out in Hamilton, Bermuda - Dana Chirps

Out in Hamilton, Bermuda - Dana Chirps

The weather on Saturday was (thankfully) Bermudaful and sunny! We got up early, took a taxi, and then a ferry to get to Dockyard, where AC is being held. We weren't sure how organized America's Cup was going to be, given that such a teeny island was hosting this month-long competition. But we were all incredibly impressed. The whole thing went off without a hitch with the exception that the ferry back which was delayed with no announcement by an easy 15 minutes - but that was not a big deal at all.

The event itself was a blast. The main area dubbed "the village" boasted a variety of vendors and tents: food, drinks, swag/apparel, a really solid kids play area (smart thinking on their part!), and tents where you could learn more about sailing. There were also different tents you could pay more for (VIP) that offered different things. Getting the Grandstand tickets essentially meant that we had seats with a great view. I'm glad we got those tickets since we were there for the whole day. It was nice to sporadically sit in the shade and catch the breeze that came with those seats. But if I were only going there for a few hours, I probably would just get the general village pass. 

The racing itself was what blew my mind the most. Watching these boats maneuver in the water was 1000x more fun than I ever could have imagined. The first race was USA vs. France, and we smoked them, but it was still fun to watch (I mean, who doesn't love watching the French lose?). The race between the US and New Zealand was TIGHT and extremely intense - Brett and I were losing our minds with excitement. The US prevailed, and ended up winning, and we whooped and hollered with American pride. Brett and I apparently ended up catching the attention of the cameraman... 

America's Cup - Dana Chirps

America's Cup - Dana Chirps

After the last race Wyclef Jean performed. He did a fantastic job, and somehow connected with an extremely broad audience. He was appropriate enough for the kids, edgy enough for the teens, and nostalgic enough for anyone who grew up listening to him or the songs he covered. 

Once the concert was over, we made our way back to St. George's via ferry and grabbed a late dinner at The Wharf. We were all pretty beat from a long day filled with racing, cheering, and drinking in the hot sun. We pretty much collapsed into bed the moment we got back home.

Kieran and Samantha had a great time with us, and we loved having them! I loved having a gal pal to hang with, and it was nice to talk to another chick who dates a pilot. We're already talking about what we want to do the next time they come to visit, especially since we didn't have enough time to show them the beaches on South Shore. I've already begun to campaign for them to bring their pug, Chief, next time too. ;)  

Saturday was definitely one of the best days we've had since moving here. Start to finish, it was an incredible experience and everyone was set to have an amazing time. I am so grateful to have gotten to experience such an exciting event, in this beautiful country. Between the intense outdoor sport + fun nautical-inspired apparel + champagne tents + live music...  I'm pretty sure sailing gained its newest and most enthusiastic fan this weekend. 

Watching America's Cup - Dana Chirps

Watching America's Cup - Dana Chirps

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.

Happy Bermuda Day! - Bermuda -Dana Chirps

Bermuda - Blue Water and Blue Kayak - Dana Chirps

Bermuda - Blue Water and Blue Kayak - Dana Chirps

Happy Bermuda Day! This holiday was first celebrated on May 24, 1902, where essentially all the British colonies celebrated the Queen's birthday. As the colonies became independent, this day evolved into celebrating their own national identity and heritage. Over the recent(ish) years, Bermuda has treated this holiday as the start of summer. It's celebrated with a half marathon that finishes with a parade featuring Gombey dancers and other paradey-things. If it's warm enough, Bermudians will take their inaugural and ceremonious (but not really) dip in the ocean.

It is so crazy to think I've been living in Bermuda for a little over two months now. Adjusting to island life has been quite the experience. It's challenging, exciting, frustrating, and blissful - and sometimes I feel all of those emotions all at once. I definitely underestimated a lot of things prior to moving here, specifically navigating the island (logistically speaking), as well as how quiet Bermuda really is. On the flipside, I also underestimated how incredibly captivating the natural beauty is here. It's slap-you-in-the-face-kind-of-pretty. I have also been blown away by how friendly and welcoming people have been, especially other expats. 

The city life (Hamilton) is not so city like. The nightlife "in town" (local catch phrase for Hamilton) is pretty calm. There's people popping in and out of the restaurants and bars on Front Street, but that's mostly it. The last bus leaves at 11:45pm from Hamilton, so I haven't done any super-late nights in town, but I wouldn't anticipate the wee hours of the morning would be that much different. Everything in general closes very early in this country. But there are some seasonal festivities that are starting to kick into gear now that it's warmer outside which I'm excited for.

Logistically speaking, I've been getting a better handle on getting from Point A to Point B using my pedal bike, bus, and two feet. Most of the time I don't mind the physicality. Brett recently convinced me to get an entry level road bike which I'm warming up to (still getting used to riding in "hunchback" position and all that). But there are occasional days that I just want to have a good hair day,  and wear some heels, which pedaling in the island sun while wearing a helmet inhibits. There are also parts of the island that just aren't feasible to get to without a scooter or car, but for the most part I can figure it out. It's been an eye-opening experience to learn how much I value convenience as far as transportation goes. 

My social life is starting to grow, which is wonderful! I work from home, and live in a pretty secluded section of the island. When I first got here I was pretty lonely, especially when Brett left and was away for 30+ days working in another time zone. But ever since Good Friday, my social life has been on the uptick. I take kickboxing class every Wednesday night with a lot of the people that I met at the Good Friday Fest. It is an absolute blast, and without question the highlight of my work week. Every weekend (usually Saturdays since practically nothing is open on Sundays) I make a point to go to town, and usually grab lunch with a friend that I've met through Brett's office who has introduced me to other lovely new friends. I've also met and befriended a lot of people that work at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences aka "BIOS." I love that my new friends here are from all over the world - that was something I really appreciated in South Florida and am glad to experience in Bermuda, too. I'm constantly amazed at how inviting and warm everyone has been. I feel so fortunate, and thankful.

This weekend is the start to America's Cup, which is going to make for a very exciting month! More to come on that, but for now Happy Bermuda Day to all of my Bermuda friends, and to those who are following this adventure. 

 

 

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.

Visiting Bermuda? See what my first visitor said about her trip! - Dana Chirps

I recently had my first visitor, my friend Laura! I met her last spring while traveling through Hungary, Austria, and Czech Republic. Leading up to her arrival, I was bound and determined to figure out as much as I could about the island so I could be a proper host. It was a good motivator to get out and explore on my own, especially after Brett left for his 30 day rotation. For this post, I figured instead of a standard blog format, that I would do a Q&A with Laura!

But before I get to that here is a quick rundown of what we did in a span of 4 nights/5 days: Biked to St. George's, ate at Wahoo's in St. George's, Clearwater Beach, Cooper's Island Nature Reserve, Biked to and across then causeway, found Blue Hole, Crystal and Fantasy Caves, Swizzle Inn, Explored and had lunch in Hamilton, Fort St. Catherine's, Gates Fort, Tobacco Bay, Dockyard, Rode the ferry, Rented scooters and zipped around the whole island, Elbow Beach, South Shore Beaches, Horseshoe Bay, The Unfinished Church... and a few dark n' stormies in between! We accomplished an insane amount, especially considering the lack of car. It was a grind, and I'm pretty sure neither of us would have had it any other way! Anyways, here's the Q&A!

Why did you choose to visit Bermuda?

A friend of mine, Dana, who I met while traveling through Eastern Europe last year, moved to Bermuda and I went to visit her. This was a great opportunity for me to explore a new part of the world I had never been to before. 

Was there anything you did to prepare for this trip that you'd recommend for other people to do?

  • Dana and I were great travel partners in Eastern Europe and have a similar travel approach to a new place - explore as much as possible, which sometimes means exploring until we drop! So, because I knew pedal biking was a main method for transportation in Bermuda, and that we both liked to explore, I joined a spin studio for a month ahead and took several classes. This worked great for me because my body was used to biking by the time I went and it made it so much easier to cover ground on the island (and boy did we cover ground!) 
  • Joining a spin studio may be a bit much for most Bermuda visitors, so if you know you are going to be doing a lot of hiking or biking or walking, getting a few more steps in the weeks leading up to the trip will help condition your body and make it easier to adjust to the activity levels. 
  • I also did some basic searches on things to do in Bermuda so I knew ahead of time what my must do's were. This helped because you can't always do it all.

What were your trip highlights?

  • The BEACHES were by far my favorite part of the island. The colors of blue are simply amazing and the sand is unbelievably soft. 
  • One of my favorite spots to enjoy the beaches were on Cooper's Island. It was walking distance from Dana's house and had alcove after alcove of beaches, most of which were empty and had amazing views. For over an hour on the first full day I laid on a beach which I had all to myself and listened to the soft crash of the waves. It was amazing. 
  • Another highlight was the Crystal Caves and Fantasy Caves, my preferred being the Crystal. The natural beauty of the crystal formations is remarkable and it was fun to hear about the story behind the caves.  

Did anything surprise you during your trip?

  • The brilliance of the colors of the water surprised me, it almost at times looked like the water was being illuminated from below. My cab driver from the airport told me that it's a lot of work every morning to dye the waters and make them so blue. ;) 
  • How friendly the locals were and how proud they were of their island. This was evident in the conversations we had with cab drivers, cashiers, locals on the bus and everywhere in between. 

Any advice or lessons learned for future visitors of Bermuda?

Bermuda is small but it's not the easiest island to get around. To have the most access to all parts of the island with flexibility, the best transportation is your own 2 feet or 2 wheels (either pedal bike or scooter). This can be physically demanding. Our days ranged from 26,000 steps with lots of walking/biking/exploring to an easier day of 3,000 steps and laying on the beach and getting around by scooter. 

Also, if you are relying on public transportation knowing the schedule is key. One day we thought we could just "zip" out to Dockyard on the ferry but when we got to the Hamilton station, we realized we had just missed a ferry and the next one would be 1.5 hours later! And if we waited for that one, it would be the same ferry that was the last one to return back. So, we instead took an hour bus ride out to the Dockyard and had just enough time to explore the area before catching the last ferry back. So, if your days or activities revolve around public transportation - make sure to check the schedules! 

On the same thread, it's important to know the hours of operation for places you are visiting. Many things close early at night (5 or 6), and may not open until 10am. Several places are closed on Sundays, and some places have seasonal hours. We also found that several websites were out of date, so trusting the online information was not always dependable. 

What's the number one thing you'd tell people who were coming to visit Bermuda to do? 

I think one of the biggest draws to Bermuda is the beaches and the water, so my number one recommendation is to spend time at the beach! And explore as many beaches as you can, because they all offer something unique and beautiful. 

On your next trip, what do you want to do? 

This was something Dana and I discussed, since of course I will be back!  There are three things that I think I would like to do on my next trip:

  1. Snorkeling or Scuba Diving - there are so many great spots around the island that you can pretty much pick anywhere and see something. 
  2. Dockyard - I would want to go back here and spend more time meandering through the shops and enjoying the scenery. Given our bus/ferry situation, we were a bit limited on time here. 
  3. BEACHES - you can't get enough of these, I think I would try to explore other parts of the island we didn't before and find new private beaches to enjoy 
Laura and I in Fantasy Cave - Bermuda - Dana Chirps

Laura and I in Fantasy Cave - Bermuda - Dana Chirps

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.

Better Than Good - Dana Chirps

Happy Easter! I've always loved the cheerful nature of this holiday. 

So I've lived in Bermuda for just a little over a month now. Brett left April 3rd for his rotation (and will be gone for about 30 days), so I've been on my own since then. I wouldn't say I've been "homesick," but I have really missed having a thriving social life. This city-people-culture-chaos-loving girl coming from South Florida, now living in a secluded section of an island with no transportation has been enduring a bit of a culture shock. And with my partner in crime (Brett) gone, I was beginning to feel lonely and isolated. When you're feeling like that, it amplifies anything remotely negative. All too quickly I was relating to Tom Hanks in the movie "Castaway," only I didn't have a Wilson.

TomHanksWilsonCastaway - Dana Chirps

But God and the universe works in wonderful ways at times. It's like it knew I was in need of human connection. Brett's coworker reached out to me to tell me about this Good Friday event happening up the road from me. All I had to hear was that there were going to be other humans present to be sold on attending myself. So after I wrapped up work for the day, I walked a little over a mile to the end of the gokart race (because that's what they do). There was a massive crowd, all in good spirits. I was delighted to see so many people, even if I didn't know a single soul. After the race, the crowd broke out into a parade of sorts. Drummers and Gombey dancers came out of seemingly nowhere. Everyone (including myself) followed them until we ended up at this field where there was music, booze and food vendors, and kite flying. Kite flying is a big thing to do on Easter weekend - kites were being flown all over the island. But I have to say the Gombey dancers were my favorite, especially the kids. They were GETTIN' IT. I loved seeing children in the crowd bravely jump in and start dancing with the performers! It was so fun to watch.

At the Good Friday Festival (I'm not even sure if that's what it's called, or if there was even a name for it), I brought my Nikon to keep myself entertained, and talked to anyone who intentionally (or unintentionally) made eye contact with me. I finally ended up meeting a few folks who looked to be around my age. Most of them work as oceanographers (how cool is that?!). It was a mix of friendly expats and Bermudians, I was stoked. I grabbed the phone number of one of the girls I was chatting with and hope to take a workout class taught by one of the guys in that group later this week with her. I also bumped into Brett's coworker there, who introduced me to a few other people. It was a good time!

Then on Saturday (yesterday) I got up and biked to the bus stop, where I took a bus "into town," which means the city of Hamilton. It was my first bus ride in Bermuda, and it was a lot easier than I expected, and quite a scenic ride. I got to Hamilton in about 30 minutes (I'm told normally it takes 45), and met up with a girl named Heather that Brett introduced me to that is also a pilot, but for a different company. We went to a fun coffee shop, and a couple of her girlfriends joined us. It was such a blast! The conversations were hilarious, and it felt so good to hang out with a bunch of gal pals! From there, Heather and I met up with one of her other friends for a late lunch at this fantastic cafe. After lunch we walked around a bit, and then Heather had to head home. I walked around on my own for a little while, and got some groceries since there was a store near the bus stop, and commuted back to my part of the island via bus then bike. It was a wonderful day. As I told Heather, it was the first time I actually felt optimistic versus convincing myself to be optimistic with regards to having a social life on this beautiful island.

Ahhh, this weekend was a good one. Better than good.  

 

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.

Bermuda Cheat Sheet - Dana Chirps

Here's a list of some quick facts that are quite handy to know about Bermuda.

  • Bermuda is a 21 square mile island that is east of North Carolina - meaning, it is NOT in the Caribbean. It has a subtropical climate, so it's not quite as hot as South Florida. Today is 70 and perfectly sunny. Though, 70 here feels warmer than it did in the US. 
  • Bermuda is owned by the British, which makes the Bermudian accents pretty rad. This also means people drive on the left side of the road which was terrifying at first. But I've (mostly) gotten the hang of that.
  • The island is broken up into 9 parishes. I live in St. George's, which is known for it's teeny historical town.
  • The only source of fresh water in Bermuda is rainfall, which is collected on roofs and stored in tanks. That is why the roofs look the way they do here with the cascading lines.
  • The currency here is the Bermudian dollar, but every place I've been to takes US dollars. 1:1.
  • Gosling's is the local Bermudian rum. Bacardi also has HQ here.
  • Dark 'n' Stormy = Gosling's rum with Barritt's ginger beer. Barritt's ginger beer (in my opinion) tastes sweeter, and has less of that ginger-bite.
  • Swizzle is the Bermudian rum punch that people can get at the infamous Swizzle Inn, as well as other restaurants... or, if you're daring, you can create your own variation in your own kitchen.
  • Wahoo is the fish of choice here.
  • Wahoo on toasted raison bread with slaw is the local "fish sandwich."
  • America's Cup is taking place in Bermuda this year in May and June - prices are going to be crazy.
  • 0% unemployment - they are very big on hiring their own, and nearly impossible to get work here without a proper work permit.
  • We are 1 hour ahead of east coast time.
  • No corporate income tax, insanely high consumption tax. 
  • People honk to say "hello!"
  • Most people use scooters to zip around the island. 
  • Cost of living is batshit insane here. Goods are easily double (if not more) than what they are back home. 
  • Everybody knows everybody. In a way it forces people to police themselves a bit more, since word travels extremely fast on this little island. 
  • You greet everyone you come across with "Good morning/afternoon/day/evening/etc." I love that this is the norm here. It feels so human.
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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.

Punta Cana and Melia Caribe Tropical Resort - Dana Chirps

melia caribe tropical punta cana - gorgeous beachside massage tables - dana chirps - adventure blogger

So I had a very exciting opportunity to do some event marketing in Punta Cana, which is one of the major cities in the Dominican Republic. Essentially I was hired to handle details, and make sure everyone had a good time, all while positively representing the company that hired me. What I love about working events is the hustle. Everything happens so fast which I think is fun! There's also an element of unpredictability that event marketing brings that keeps me on my toes, and enjoy immensely. 

Ready for work! - event marketing - dana chirps - adventure blogger

This booking involved a lot of firsts. It was my first out-of-country booking, the first time I've been to the Dominican, and the first time I've stayed at an all-inclusive resort. We stayed at the Melia Caribe Tropical in Punta Cana. But before I share my opinions on the overall experience, I want to make it clear that I am unbelievably thankful to have had the opportunity to travel some place new, do work I enjoy, and get paid to do it.

My thoughts are a little scattered, so I figured list format was easiest. Here's my feedback:

  • I thought the $10 (cash only) tourist fee at the airport was a weird way to welcome people to the country. It wasn't a huge deal or anything, but it just sort of felt like I was tipping a country before receiving service, and not something I've encountered before. Strategically, I wonder if it would benefit the DR more to ask for donations on the way into and out of the country instead.
  • It was nice to check into a resort and not "have" to pull out a credit card. However, even though tips were not expected or required, both myself and the group I was with quickly learned that you could get significantly better service when you tipped. This is was particularly critical when I was on the clock and needed to be at certain places at certain times. (Special kudos to Hector and Juan Pablo who busted their tails for our group!)
  • We were in the VIP section of the resort called "The Level." I thought the private check in was a great experience. They brought me to a private area and sat down with me at a table and checked me in (no line!), made sure I had a sense of where everything was, and placed a cute wooden bracelet on me to indicate that I was VIP. I thought the wooden bracelets were a nice touch - way better than those disposable wristbands! 
  • Being a Level member allowed access to Level-only restaurants, and it's own pool, which was awesome. It also offered aromatherapy and a pillow menu for your room - but the process to take advantage of these room services was unclear, even when we asked for clarification. So we unfortunately didn't get to try those out. But it sounded like a neat concept. Level members also had golf cart transportation provided, which was extremely helpful!
  • I thought that for a resort as large as Melia Tropical Caribe was, that it was refreshingly easy to find your way around. There was tons of signage. They also had people posted outside throughout the whole resort in case you needed assistance with anything.

Hmmm, wonder which way i went... - melia caribe tropical punta cana - dana chirps - adventure blogger

  • The pools were fantastic, huge, and beautiful. I found two of them, but there very well could have been more! The resort was that big.
  • The outdoor yoga area was beautiful. I didn't participate, but I saw several people taking a class. There was also a paddle board workout class that I would have loved to have tried but the weather and timing didn't work out. Although it was a little small, the gym was nice, and got the job done. I appreciated that the gym provided towels, water bottles, and fruit, too!
  • The beach was lovely. Light blue water, grainy white sand. It reminded me of Fort Lauderdale Beach, but with more sand. The water was warm, and bath-like. 
  • There were peacocks everywhere, which I lovvvvved! I wish I had gotten a good photo of one, but they were all pretty camera shy.
  • The food was just "ok." This aspect of the experience was honestly a little disappointing, but everyone had a great sense of humor about it. There were a few jokes about some of the culinary "surprises." But I will say that the ambiance and decor was pretty cool at each place I went to. My favorite was The Gabi, pictured below.
  • I liked my room a lot! My favorite parts had to be the 4 person jacuzzi that was open to the bedroom, and the outdoor seating. It was a bit damp feeling inside the room due to the insane humidity outside (it's a villa style resort, so each room opens to the outside). But that didn't really bother me.

The Dominican Republic was a place that I'm glad I got to see and experience, but I don't necessary have a strong pull to go back on my own time/dime. But if I were to go back, I'd probably want to try a different resort just so I could have something to compare this experience to. I also would try to allow for some more time to explore some areas outside of the resort. It's also worth mentioning that if you are learning Spanish, this is a wonderful place to practice speaking it. Everyone I spoke to in (minor and basic) Spanish seemed to appreciate that I tried. La práctica hace la perfección! (Practice makes perfect!)

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.