“Scent” the Scentsy Way: A Scentsy Guest Post!

Happy New Year, to all of you out there reading along, today! I’m very excited to kick-off this year’s set of posts with a very special guest author – my sister, Hope! She is an independent consultant for a wonderful, direct-sales company you may or may not have heard of, Scentsy! She generously offered to share her expertise and knowledge of the company with all of you today, so be sure to read along and of course, if any questions/concerns happen to arise while reading, feel free to drop Hope or myself a note and we’ll be sure to respond asap!

  • Welcome to the “Scentfully-Amusing” World of Scentsy – Courtesy of Hope, Independent Scentsy Consultant:

Hi Everyone!  I am Hope, Melissa’s sister and I am here today to talk about a passion of mine, Scentsy.  I am an Independent Consultant with Scentsy.  You may be asking yourself, what is Scentsy exactly?

Who/What is Scentsy?

Scentsy is a direct selling company and international leader in home and personal fragrance, offering stylish, innovative and customizable products designed to Warm the Heart, Enliven the Senses and Inspire the Soul.  The Scentsy Diffuser instantly fills the air with world-class fragrant all-natural and essential oils, while Scentsy’s flagship product line of scented, wax Scentsy Bars heated in handcrafted warmers provides a safe, personalized alternative to traditional candles.

Scentsy is a perfect alternative to traditional candles because they are flameless and wickless.  You can literally touch the warmer or stick your fingers in the wax while it’s warming and you will NOT get burnt!  It’s the perfect solution if you live in a home with pets or children.

Our scents come in a wide variety of products such as: Wax Bars, Essential & Natural Oils, Car Bars, Travel Tins and more.  Each of our scents are categorized into collections: New Releases, Classics, Fall & Winter, Holiday, Corner Cafe, Romance, and Scentsy Man.

I’m going to feature some of our products today and talk a little bit about them.  First up is our:

Scentsy Laundry Products:

Clothing Conditioner (Enliven your laundry with captivating Scentsy fragrance while improving fabric softness and absorbency with our exclusive, hydrophilic (water-attracting) softener. Perfect for use on dry-wicking fabric.

Dryer Disk (One Dryer Disk infuses your clothes with scent for up to 15 loads! Pack of 2 Laundry Liquid (High-efficiency and ultra-concentrated, our laundry detergent leaves your clothes, towels and linens remarkably clean and infused with the perfect amount of Scentsy fragrance)

Washer Wiffs (Add a scoop of Washer Whiffs to your washer drum and enhance your clothing with Scentsy fragrance. For best results, use with Laundry Liquid).  Washer Wiffs are a FAVORITE in my home!  We use them all the time.  My favorite scent in our laundry products is Ocean.

Scentsy has a wide array of Kids products.

Scentsy Kid’s line:

Bath Smoothie (Kids will love to watch it magically transform into foam right out of the pump! And you’ll love how this sulfate-free hair and body wash gently cleans from head to toe, leaving nothing behind but smiles and kid-friendly fragrance)

Scentsy Buddy (Every limited-edition Scentsy Buddy features a zippered pouch to hold your favorite Scent Pak. Scentsy Buddies are available only while supplies last — that means a new Buddy to love when one sells out)

Buddy Clips (Clip-on, collectible and oh-so-cute, these fuzzy friends are filled with scented beads that deliver kid-friendly fragrance anytime, anywhere. Great for backpacks and bedrooms)

Kids Fragrances & Warmers

Scrubby Buddy (This playful, puppet-inspired bath toy and washcloth will make bath time a blast! Comes with your choice of Scentsy Bath Smoothie for a complete wash-and-play bath routine)

Kids Diffuers & Oils.

-Scentsy SideKicks: Scented with your favorite Scentsy scent and ideal for teething babies! Attachable to car seats, strollers and beyond, with pleasant scents, cuddly fabric, your baby will be delighted with this cozy character!

We can’t forget about Men!  Scentsy has men covered too!

Men’s Groom Products:

– Cream Shave Soap

– Refreshing Face Balm

– Shampoo Shave & Shower Bar

– Nourishing Skin Conditioner

Scentsy Skin products:

– Fine Fragrance Roller

– Velvet Hand Cream

– Whipped Body Souffle

– Moisturizing Body Bar

 I love our Cleaning products!  I use our Counter Clean in By the Sea scent everyday in my kitchen.  It keeps the counters smelling and looking beautiful!

Scentsy Cleaning Products:

Counter Clean (This all-purpose spray forms a clear barrier on sealed surfaces that repels dirt and gets stronger with regular use)

Hand Soap and Kitchen Soap

Scentsy Fresh (Absorbs odors and fills the air with beautiful scent. Mist on hard-to-wash surfaces like carpets, furniture and curtains — anywhere you want to experience long-lasting Scentsy fragrance).

Scentsy Home Products:



Accessories (include stands and light bulbs).

Scents: As the heart of the Scentsy company and product line, scents are vast, distinct, and there is always something new to enjoy! There is truly a scent/form of scent for everyone, whether you enjoy warm, bakery-like aromas, floral, spicy, fruity, etc, the possibilities are endless!

Wax Bars

Essential Oils:

Scentsy On-the-Go Car Bar: Take your favorite Scentsy scent with you on your car adventures with the Scentsy Car Bar!

Scent Paks:

Travel Tins:

Scent Circles:

Scentsy releases an exclusive Warmer or Buddy and a new fragrance each month that typically lasts for 30 to 60 days! These products are available at 10% off during their featured months. The fragrance is available as a Scentsy Bar, Room Spray and Scent Circle.  I invite you to take advantage of this special offer! 


  • January Warmer of the Month: Stargaze (No two warmers are alike!  Your warmer will be one of a kind.  It is on backorder due to popularity so if you are interested, it must be ordered directly through me).
  • The Scent of the Month: Black Current Bubbly (Champagne bubbles stir black currant, sweet orange and vanilla sugar).  Our newest buddy is Sweetie Pie!  She is perfect for Valentine’s Day and is $30.

Additional January Deals of the Month

  • Own your very own Scentsy business for only $49!  What a steal!  The kit comes with everything you need to start your business off on the right foot PLUS, I will personally advise you every step of the way!
  • Throughout the month of January, we are offering DOUBLE Hostess Rewards for parties!  So if you would love a diffuser at half-price, all you need is to host a party of $200 or more and you can get your diffuser half-price!  Parties can be in person or virtual!  Book with me today!
  • Scentsy has brought back scents from the past only for the month of January!  Bring Back my Bar scents are 1 bar for $5, 3 bars for $14, 5 bars for $25 or all 25 bars for $105!  One of my favorite scents which I use for our laundry products, Ocean has been brought back as a bar!

So you are probably wondering how can you place an order?

How to Order Scentsy Items:

  • You may order directly on my site here ___________ under Melissa’s Blog Party. Or, if you prefer: click under Open Parties, Melissa’s blog party on http://HopeG.scentsy.us   If you order, you just may receive something special as a thank you!  Please feel free to comment or send a message if you have any questions!  I’d be so happy to help you!

Words Sitting Beside Us

This post is bound to be more or less all over the place, so I apologize for the mess of words it may very well result in. Lately, I’ve been contemplating countless hours about the words some us don’t, won’t or feel we cannot say. They never really go away, even if they are no longer at the forefront of our minds. Or, they may appear or emerge in other ways, like a nervous tic, foot tapping, biting our lips or cheeks, and beyond. Sometimes, we ruminate about them, mulling over what could or will happen if these words and feelings are verbalized or written to someone or something. Therefore, many of us repress them, stuffing them deep inside of us, tucked away into an area that feels raw and unaddressed. It never leaves though; it sits and sits, and sometimes, when it becomes too much to bear, the words spill out in ways we never intended, or not in the way we hoped.

For me, the words I don’t say sit beside me each day. They follow me from place to place, like a piece of lint of dust that simply won’t disappear until it is properly addressed. Other times, when I HAVE spoken up, a sense of relief washes over me and I am amazed by how fulfilling and cleansing it was to finally release the emotions and words building inside of me. In some instances, I’ve been shocked to learn others have harbored nearly identical sentiments to me, wondering why I waited so long to speak the words I felt couldn’t. So many times, unnecessarily, I’ve walked around berating myself for feeling as I do, thinking as I do and for my inability to speak the truth, words that very well could set me free from emotional duress. The words I often choose to not speak sometimes become my shadow; I can always see or feel it lingering in the background and even when I focus all my efforts in ignoring it, it never ceases to escape.

Instead of focusing on how my thoughts and words will be received, my goal for the impending year is to focus on speaking the truth in ways that are respectful, truthful, and accountable. I’ve found from past experiences that when we focus so much on how our feelings and words will be received by others, the words we do end up sharing are the furthest from what we intended and thereby, we are left feeling unheard and the pain/unspoken truths still sit beside us. Thoughts and sentiments can eat away at us, bit by bit until we reduced to silence or whispers. It pains me each day I see others doing to this to themselves, because I know, firsthand, how deeply painful it is. Ignoring or repressing it doesn’t make it disappear, or even numb it, despite what we might think. Those little jabs at our loved ones, self-defeating judgments of ourselves when we look in the mirror  and beyond – all of them, I truly believe, are the those unspoken thoughts and feelings rearing their vicious heads.

So, if I can say one thing as we make our way into the holidays and the New Year, it is to speak your truth. Speak it loud and speak it clear, because others can only hear you if you take the risk and remember, no matter how hard we may try, others opinions of us cannot be controlled by us. We have no power over someone’s thoughts of us, we only have power over how we present ourselves, the words we say and the choices we make. My hope is that you’ll make the choice to make your voice heard, speak the truth and speak it clear.

Sweet Sips with Joe: Fuel Your Day with Martinson Coffee!

Since childhood, coffee has always been much more to me than simply a hot or cold beverage. For me, coffee is symbolic of connecting to others, or in other words, comfort in a cup, during the best and worst of times. There is nothing better, in my opinion, than waking up or coming home to a warm mug of coffee, with that familiar and nostalgic nutty, creamy taste, accentuated with whatever you may choose, such as cream, sugar, and beyond. Coffee is not only a beverage, but one that is increasingly versatile, allowing for creativity.


One may indulge in the simplest of coffee, a pure, black roast, brewed freshly from whole beans, or a more “jazzed up” cup, with “latte art,” flavored syrups and more. It is a beverage that is more or a less a blank canvas, able to be crafted into anything and everything. Reflecting back on my childhood when coffee was nothing more than 1/4 cup full or less of actual coffee and the majority milk (back then when my mom feared it would stunt my growth – proven to be a myth, I believe), today coffee serves as my beverage of choice and also, a topic of interest. With my goal of one day owning a coffee shop, every opportunity to try a new coffee I can get is a chance to expand my coffee repertoire.


With that being said, I was absolutely delighted and enthused when I was approached by the friendly and welcoming team at Martinson Coffee (www.martinson-coffee.com), a company whose coffees I recently discovered and have come to love. Offering to send me a complete box of my favorite variety – Decaf Hazelnut Vanilla K-Cups, as well as the chance to try several new varieties in their Martinson Variety Pack of K-Cups, I eagerly accepted and awaited it’s impending arrival!


Within days, the box of k-cups was delivered and I was more than ready to indulge in a warm mug of their rich and satisfying coffees. Prior to diving in and sharing my review of the coffees, I felt it would be best to briefly share a history of Martinson Coffee, as it is filled with rich experiences and knowledge in the crafting of high-quality, “Rainforest-Alliance Certified” coffees.


Martinson Coffee History & Background: (via Martinson-Coffee.com)

  • Originally started by Joe Martinson (many tie the timeless phrase “A Cup of Joe,” to the influential coffee-lover, himself!), he arrived in New York City in the late 1800’s (roughly around 1898), where he selected coffee beans right from the docking ships. After choosing the beans, he then roasted them in his mother’s kitchen!
  • After roasting the beans, he began selling the whole roasted coffee beans from a pushcart and generated a large, dedicated following.
  • From the pushcart, he advanced to producing from a factory and sold coffee to businesses such as hotels and restaurants.
  • Each bag is stamped with, “It’s the Real Joe,” which proves all Martinson Coffee sold and produced is guaranteed to be filled with the highest quality, freshly-roasted coffee. Enjoy a cup and prepare to be warmed with not only a rich java taste, but the comforting aroma that is as heartwarming as it is nostalgic.
  • Feel confident (via Martinson-Coffee.com) knowing Martinson Coffee partners with the Rainforest-Alliance to assist in ensuring farmers can “develop and implement sustainable alternatives to environmental destruction and unethical labor practices.”


Martinson Coffee Product Line Up: (i.e. Bagged Coffees, Canned Coffees, Instant Coffees, Single-Serve K-Cup Coffees)

Bagged Coffee Varieties:


  • Martinson Joe’s Dark Bold Brew
  • Martinson Joe’s Donut Shop Brew
  • Martinson Joe’s Light Latin Brew
  • Martinson Joe’s Mild Decaf Brew
  • Martinson Joe’s Rich African Brew

Canned Coffee Varieties:


  • Breakfast Blend
  • Dark Roast
  • Supreme
  • Traditional
  • Traditional Decaf

Instant Coffee Varieties:


  • Regular
  • Decaf

Single-Serve K-Cup Coffee Varieties:


  • Winterfest
  • Variety Pack
  • Vanilla Velvet
  • Decaf Hazelnut Vanilla
  • Hazelnut Creme
  • Cup O’Cocoa
  • Breakfast Blend
  • Caramel Creme
  • Cayman Coconut
  • Colombian Decaf
  • Dark Roast
  • Donut Shop Blend
  • French Roast
  • House Blend
  • Irish Creme
  • Mint ‘n Mocha
  • Pumpkin Pie (seasonal)
  • Tiramisu Twist

Where to Buy: (Curious about where to purchase these creative coffees? Check out the listings below:)

  • Amazon (I first discovered Martinson Coffee K-cups via Amazon, where they offer a vast selection at decent prices!)
  • ShopRealCup.com (Here you’ll find the largest variety of Martinson Coffee blends, as their direct e-commerce platform!)
  • Select Grocery Store Chains (Check Martinson-Coffee.com, where you can enter your specific zip code in their store locator tool!)

My Review (Decaf Hazelnut Vanilla & Martinson Variety Pack K-Cups):

Decaf Hazelnut Vanilla K-Cups: Several months prior to receiving this shipment directly from Martinson Coffee, I discovered Decaf Hazelnut Vanilla K-Cups via Amazon one afternoon while searching for a flavored decaf k-cup pack. Feeling frustrated at the choices offered, when I stumbled upon this flavor, I was intrigued and opted to purchase a box, unsure of what to expect. As the k-cup brewed in my Keurig machine, I could instantly smell the pleasantly nutty, rich and creamy aroma filling my kitchen. The smell was so inviting, I could barely wait the seconds it took to brew a cup. The first sip allowed me to indulge a full-bodied rich, creamy flavor. The flavor of hazelnut was subtly accented by the smooth taste of vanilla. The hazelnut and vanilla complemented each other and neither overpowered the coffee-taste. The coffee held up well against the slight amount of powdered creamer I added and offered a deep russet color in the mug. Much to my delight, the coffee was not at all watered down and allowed for the pure taste of coffee to shine through. If you’re looking for a satisfying and rich decaf coffee, this is an excellent option and even if decaf isn’t your usual pick, give this try and feel confident knowing another option awaits you that is an alternative to caffeinated coffee.


Martinson Variety Pack K-Cups (Includes: Donut Shop blend, House Blend, Dark Roast, French Roast, Hazelnut Creme and Breakfast Blend):

  • Donut Shop Blend: Reminiscent of the type of coffee ordered in an actual donut or coffee shop, this variety was rich and flavorful, with a smooth taste and comforting aroma. A pleasant blend of coffee that offers a nostalgic taste recognized and loved.
  • House Blend: Similar in taste to the Donut Shop blend, it is flavorful and full-bodied, a bit stronger, but equally crafted with a pure java taste and a joy to wake up to in the morning.
  • Breakfast Blend: Packed with flavor, it is a subtle, lighter roast with a rich, inviting aroma and a familiar java taste, with hints of natural sweetness.
  • Hazelnut Creme: As my favorite of the variety pack, this flavor tasted vastly similar to the decaf hazelnut vanilla, without the hints of vanilla, but still packed with the inviting nuttiness of hazelnut. It is creamy with a fragrant, spiced aroma, as it brews, and the richness of java provides a satisfying and indulgent cup!
  • Dark Roast: Though dark roasts aren’t typically my favorite, I was a fan of this variety. With a stronger and deeper taste than it’s lighter counterparts, such as the breakfast blend, it offered a boost of energy and richness to start the day off with a kick.
  • French Roast: Relatively similar in flavor to the Dark Roast variety, the French Roast offered hints of spices and smokiness, dark and rich in flavor and a deep aroma that filled my kitchen as it brewed. It was flavorful and intense, definitely a rich coffee experience.


All in all, my coffee-tasting experience with Martinson Coffee was one I thoroughly enjoyed indulging in and plan to continue including them in daily coffee ritual. As a company vested in protecting and promoting the environment and offering customers a high-quality coffee, I’m enthused to patronize them and recognize the company as one dedicated to serving their customers.


Many, many thanks to the team at Martinson Coffee for their hospitality and this unique opportunity to sample their many, expertly-crafted/brewed coffees. It was a wonderful way to usher in the upcoming holiday season with numerous comforting “Cups of Joe!”









All the Treats, No Tricks

Tomorrow is a week exactly until Halloween. For me, it’s always been a hit or miss type of holiday. More times than I can probably recall, I’ve missed out on the holiday, or at least, ended up unable to fully celebrate or engage in any holiday-related festivities. The first instance I can remember happened in October 1998, at the age of 10. For about a week or at least several days prior to the actual occurrence, I’d been experiencing strange stomach discomfort. At first, my mom and I both assumed it must have been some type of intestinal gas, or something benign of that nature. Though, on or around the 28th of October, the discomfort increased to the point where I inherently knew it wasn’t simply a minor event.


It just so happened that particular evening, my parents were at a meeting at school, so they were unable to be easily reached. In the time before cell phones, without a pay phone, or landline phone, it was nearly impossible to reach them, until my mom called to check in on their way into the grocery store, stopping at a pay phone. Hearing the grave and frantic nature of my and my sister’s voices, our parents rushed home and quickly placed me inside the car and transported me to the ER. Within several hours, in the wee hours of the morning, my appendix was removed, as doctors feared it could soon rupture, given my blood work results and examination. It took me a bit longer than some to recover from the surgery and Halloween soon arrived, with me bed ridden. Early Halloween morning, a nurse entered my room with two stacks of cards, festively decorated. Some, she explained, were from a local elementary school who designed cards for pediatric hospital patients. Therefore, I was one of the recipients. The cards were filled with silly and fun sayings and mantras, colorfully decorated to brighten my spirits, which it did. The other stack of cards came from my 5th grade class at school. Needless to say, though I wasn’t trick-or-treating that year, I certainly felt loved and “treated.”

Several Halloweens following that year, I suffered from minor sniffles and colds, causing me to either skip out on trick-or-treating entirely, or at least shorten my Halloween adventures. Then, as a 20-year-old, I again found myself hospitalized on Halloween. Though at 20, I was certainly way past a typical trick-or-treating age, I still felt disappointed to again be unable to join in the festivities as so many of my fellow 20-year-old college students did. Without disclosing the nature of my hospitalization, it was a holiday within the unit of the hospital that again filled me with love and appreciation. My fellow hospital patients; some children, some teens, and some adults, both male and female, wrote cards to one another and distributed them; trick-or-treating of a different kind, again filled with all treats, as opposed to tricks. The cards were filled with what we liked or admired about one another.

At this point, you may be wondering what prompted this particular post, and to that inquiry, I respond with the outpouring of posts and articles I’ve seen on candy-free Halloweens, or displaying a teal pumpkin outside one’s home, indicating they are “allergy-free.” It’s a concept I’ve come to embrace and one that is a reminder of the candy-free Halloweens filled with inspiring cards and words, as opposed to sweet, edible treats. Though I’m not opposed to candy (I’m a true fan of many!), the candy-free concept is one I feel is a positive one; one where children and adults can both engage in and celebrate, no matter their financial state, because kind words are always free.


So, this Halloween, if you’re feeling pressured to perfect your Halloween candy bowls or party preparations, just remember, sometimes a caring word, thought, card, or acknowledgment can be so much sweeter than the most decadent of candies and/or foods.

Happy Halloween!

Closure by Inquiry

Just over five years ago, I was 23 and employed full-time in a profession I loved, which more or less fell into my lap one day.  One moment, I was unemployed, desperately searching for a career, unaware if my degree would prove fruitful and the next instant, I was helping to impact people’s lives on a daily basis. Battling self-esteem issues the majority of my life, I was still highly critical of myself, but slowly managing to combat these emotions in a more constructive way as time progressed.

Longing for a romantic relationship of some kind, or at least someone to date, I met a guy who intrigued me, but also sent perplexing thoughts through my mind. He was three years my senior, working in a high-level position and for one reason or another, captivated me. Still to this day, I never quite understood what it was about him that stirred such emotions within me. That being said, I was enthralled with him from day one, yet we never could seem to figure each other out. We were never “together” per se and much of our communication was conducted via text message. He and I lived a distance from each other (the suburbs for me, him – the city). Though I had a car, I was desperately fearful of city-driving, hailing from the suburbs my entire life. As an anxious person, driving in the city, or even the mere thought of driving in the city, frightened me beyond words. My fear of driving in the city erroneously translated to him as me not wanting to see him and rather than explain myself, I suppose I allowed him to believe it.

Time passed and he moved away years later, back to his hometown thousands of miles and states away. No words were exchanged, but for years, I still thought of him and wondered if he followed suit. At some points, we would exchange text messages, but never made concrete plans to see each other again, or travel to one another. Still, in the back of my mind, I always wondered what could have been or what it could or may lead to. Perhaps it is the romantic in me, or quite possibly, I read too many novels, but the idea of us somehow “finding each other” after all these years, left me swirling with contentment and contemplation.

Then, roughly two days ago, my fate was more or less sealed when it came to him. Knowing he was living in the midst of the Hurricane currently plaguing portions of the US and outside areas, I fretted and contemplated texting him. My inability to text him at the first thought was my fear of him being in a relationship and not responding to me, or at my worst fear, him exchanging a hurtful message to me. Still, I couldn’t live with me not inquiring after him to learn if he was safe or not. Summoning the minuscule amounts of courage left within me, I bravely tapped out a message to him, reading none another than, “Hey, how have you been?” To me, it was innocent, but friendly, a friend simply inquiring after another friend. There were no romantic implications in that, or so I believed.

A short amount of time later, his number was swiftly deleted from my phone, tears began to fill my eyes and the ruminating and disparaging remarks directed towards me filled my head. “How foolish I felt. How stupid I was, how grossly ashamed I was. I was undeserving, ugly, to be ignored and forgotten of. How idiotic I was to have thought I could have meant something to someone like him.” This disparaging inward monologue transpired within my mind for much of the evening. Instructed to delete his phone number, because he was “dating the woman he intends to marry,” I was filled with shock and an inability to initially comprehend all I read. Sure, I can understand if he is with someone else, it is his right and prerogative, but to have sent me such a hurtful message as that, to me, is unacceptable and not to mention, undeserving. What did I do to deserve such a message, I asked myself? All I merely asked him was how he was. I struggled to come to this conclusion, but when I ultimately did, I decided I was proud of myself for who I am. I’m proud that I was a big enough person to ask after him, because I was concerned about his wellbeing as a person who I believed was living in the storm zone. There was nothing romantic about my inquiry. Therefore, it is him who should be regretful. Him, who should feel guilty because of the language he used and the harsh tone of his words. It is not me to be reprimanded or who should feel ashamed, I’m proud that I am caring, I’m proud that I am brave and I’m also proud that I took the time to speak my truth through this blog post, because if it happened to me, it’s happened to others, as well. So, whenever you feel the urge to berate yourself because of someone else’s words toward you,  remember that the way someone behaves or speaks to you is not a reflection of you, but a reflection of them, as a person.

I’m glad I learned now, rather than later; it is the closure I needed and in the wise words of someone I know, “Beauty is what you feel inside, not what you see the mirror.”

Timeless Summer

Isn’t it hard to believe sometimes that we’re already deep in the midst of the Summer season? Whether you consider the unofficial start of summer as Memorial Day, or the actual start on June 20-21st, Summer is in full-swing. When I was younger and in school, I lived for summer. All year, I would anticipate its arrival, eager to spend the days milling around the house, catching up on movies and TV shows, spending endless amount of time outside, taking walks with friends, shopping at the mall, attending concerts, and of course, traveling somewhere new on family vacation.

Summer quote

Growing up, I was fortunate enough to be able to often choose or help decide on a locale for the family vacation. Since childhood, I’ve loved traveling and being able to visit somewhere new and unfamiliar. Traveling is often where I gain some of my best inspiration and serves as a catalyst for hopes of the future. Though I don’t presently travel nearly as much as I would like to these days, it’s always a joy to me to be able to reflect back on some of my most memorable vacations and summers:

  • Disney World – It’s not hard to understand why Disney World is often at the top of my list when I think back on favorite vacations. I’ll never forget the first time my family and I visited Disney World. I was young, a newly-minted 4-year-old having turned 4 at the beginning of May. It was July of 1992 and not only was it my first visit to Disney World, but it was also my very first plane ride. Having battled through numerous ear infections as a baby and young child, I had tubes in my ears at the time and as a result, ended up at the urgent care clinic once we landed, for yet another ear infection. However, I didn’t let the infection derail our vacation. Upon arriving at the hotel, we quickly unloaded our belongings and finally made our way to the Magic Kingdom. From first glance at Cinderella Castle, I was in complete awe. I recall standing directly in front of the castle transfixed and unable to move. There it was, right before me. Though, given the young child I was, at the time, I couldn’t understand or make sense as to why I wasn’t able to go inside. So for a brief time, I stood there sobbing to my mom, asking why I wasn’t allowed to go inside and though I can’t recall exactly what she said to me, before I knew it, I was happily running along with my sister, Hope, enjoying the rides and park. The next day, it was the character breakfast at the Grand Floridian Hotel. How incredible it was to enjoy a meal with my favorite characters. From the Mickey Mouse Belgian Waffles to posing for photos with Pluto and friends, it’s one experience I’ll never forget. As I grew older, I visited Disney World with my family several other times, including twice with Hope, for Spring Break. The most recent visit, though not so recent anymore, given it was in May 2009, I rode my first upside-down roller coaster – the Rockin’ Roller Coaster. Though I was fearful, it’s one moment in my life where I faced my fears headfirst and never regretted it.
  • The Bahamas – In the summer after 7th grade, my family and I visited the Bahamas. First, we flew into Florida, then transferred onto the smallest plane I’ve ever seen or flew on, onto the island of the Bahamas. We were greeted by a small airport, humidity and an environment I’d never encountered before. From the soda that tasted strangely different, opposite sides of the road we drove on, and the first dilapidated hotel we were supposed to stay in, I wasn’t at all sure at first if I actually wanted to be there. Though, my impressions quickly shifted as we changed our hotel reservations upon seeing one of the newest hotels on the island – Our Lucaya (the name is now changed, but upon it first opening, it was called this). It was a sprawling and beautiful resort, complete with several restaurants, a dance club and various pools and spas. My family and I were in complete awe at the sight of it. As we made ourselves comfortable, Hope and I were eager to visit both the pool and dance club. Though we were very young at the time, we made our way to the dance club and ended up learning the dance – “The Casper Slide,” prior to it even arriving in the United States! Despite enduring one of the worst sunburns I’ve ever received, our Bahamian vacation was one of the best; from bargaining at the straw markets, to dancing at the night clubs, and lounging by the pool, it was the true epitome of a relaxing escape.
  • Arizona/Las Vegas/New Mexico – What an incredible adventure this trip was! Looking back, perhaps this was one of the last times I truly felt carefree and energetic in my life. When we made this trip, I was roughly 16 at the time. I felt comfortable and secure in my life, eager to explore and discover a new climate and area of the United States. Having sang the song “Route 66” numerous times that year in my choir class, I was excited to finally see it up close on this very trip. When the trip first started, we arrived in Phoenix, Arizona at the height of one of the hottest weeks of the year. The town was desolate given it was the middle of the afternoon and the peak of the heat. We quickly learned to take shelter during this time and emerge only when the heat had decreased. Though it was more of a dry heat versus the humid heat we were used to, it was still barely bearable. The environment, however was beautiful. Vibrant sunshine, turquoise, handmade jewelry adorned many of the stores and the store windows, and a desert-like atmosphere. It was unlike anything I’d ever personally encountered and it was breathtaking. One evening, we quickly learned it was monsoon season and ended up spending a large amount of time in the hotel restaurant, chatting and joking around with the restaurant employees. Days later, we hopped into the rental car and made our way to Las Vegas. Much of the trip to Vegas was a whirlwind since at the time, my sister and I were only teenagers and couldn’t do much and we quickly made our way to New Mexico, for the last leg of our trip. It was there when we finally encountered the infamous Route 66. Seeing the sign for the road was surreal in itself, but the best part was being able to encounter a new climate and destination. Our brief time there included some of the best Mexican cuisine I’ve ever enjoyed and a pleasant feeling of the summer warmth in the evening, free of humidity.

Though this is only a sampling of the summer trips/vacations I’ve enjoyed, they are often the ones that stick out most to me. There is a whole world out there I’d love to someday see, but until then, it’s always fun to reflect on pleasant pastimes, especially in the midst of Summer. Wherever you happen to be this Summer season, I hope you’re enjoying yourself and taking in each moment.

Traveling quote

Life in the Air

The other night, more or less out of sheer boredom, I was mindlessly shuffling through the TV channels, looking to see if I could spot any new, intriguing TV shows worthy of setting the DVR for. After combing through several of my go-to channels, including ABC, NBC, CBS, Freeform (formerly ABC Family), Food Network, Hallmark Channel, etc, I stumbled upon Travel Channel. In years past, Travel Channel was filled with TV shows that were both as exciting as they were intriguing. Past favorites included: Food Paradise, Disney World specials, as well as other travel-related series. However, in recent years, I started to distance myself from the channel, as I found it was often filled with reruns.

Much to my surprise, while scrolling through TV shows on the Travel Channel, an innovative TV show title caught my eye: Hello Goodbye. The title alone led me to click onto the description and from there forward, the two 30-minute episodes set to air Monday evening at both 11pm and 11:30pm were set to record, so that I would be able to watch it a more convenient time. Last night, as a prelude to winding down for bed, I decided to take a chance and watch the episodes I recorded. After completing both premiere episodes, I was pleasantly surprised to the point where I am still contemplating it today. The overall concept and the stories that unraveled during the episode were unique, some heartwarming and others simply shocking.

Travel Channel

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the new program, it is a docu-series hosted by Curt Menefee, who wanders through some of the United States’ largest airports (i.e. Chicago’s O’Hare airport is one of them) with a video camera in hand, interviewing numerous travelers, asking them where they are headed and what they are up to next on their journeys. Some of their responses were beyond what I would expect, but were fascinating to hear and watch. Some were meeting family members for the first time in over 45 years, others were bringing their family members to the country for the first time, some were even meeting people for the first time in person after forming relationships/friendships online. One couple even became engaged on the episode, after first meeting in high school and reconnecting 20 years later at their high school reunion!

Hello Goodbye                Hello Goodbye photo

It’s a coincidence a TV show like this is now airing, having said to my mom many times over the year how truly incredible airports are, filled with such stories, insight, and possibilities. Airports connect us from one place to the other, thousands of miles away. There are countless people filling airports each day, each with their own agendas, their own histories, and are en route to continue their stories. The show was filled with such anticipation in knowing this, unaware of who we would meet next. It led me to wonder about my own life; how an airport could lead me to somewhere or someone. There are many places I’d love to visit, someday, some close, some far, but new to me, all the same. The show was a captivating one and provides me with possibility in knowing truly anything is possible if we have the courage and bravery to pursue it.

Travel Quote

If you haven’t yet seen Hello Goodbye, I encourage you to take a look, perhaps you’ll end up being as inspired or intrigued as I was.

Journey Quote