I'm headed south to the birthplace of pizza and the Italian Coast!
Just wanted to quickly say hello and show you all some pictures of my trip thus far. I absolutely love it here and am a bit sad about leaving! From our hotel staff to the locals to the waiters we befriended at some of our favourite restaurants - everyone has been WONDERFULLY HOSPITABLE!!!
I LOVE ITALY!!!
My girls and I have been able to truly rest as well on this vacation. We toured the first three days, even taking a day to travel to Florence (the city of my future summer home)! I did catch a terrible cold and was out for the count for a day - glad I was able to rest, my body seriously needed it.
TRAVEL TIP: When visiting another country, do your best to factor in days not only for touring and sightseeing but for resting as well - remember, YOU ARE ON VACATION!
We had 6 full days here in Rome and 2 half days. The first three we used for tours (see previous post for site) and the last three we were able to still sightsee but also be a bit lackadaisical with time; sleeping in late and staying out all night!
After a hearty breakfast this morning, we did some last minute souvenir shopping and now we are waiting for our train to take us to Napoli!
TRAVEL TIP: Souvenirs don't have to be expensive or cheesy. Search for something unique to the place you are traveling too. Your recipient will be UBER happy for the thought and uniqueness!
We found a gourmet Italian grocery store, where we were able to buy oils, chocolates, and wine for the same price as key-chains and magnets!!!
Alright loves - until next time!!! Enjoy the pictures and be sure to comment and let me know your thoughts/questions about travel!
Sidenote: Thank you for all your prayers - My girl's luggage was found and returned with all of it's contents!!!!
I'm writing this blog from Rome!!!!! What a trip this has been so far. I left the States on Monday afternoon arriving in Rome Tuesday early evening. The trip began with the fire alarm going off in the airport (that's always a comforting sign) to a 7 hour layover in Stockholm, Sweden - to a 3 hour delay at the Rome Airport because of lost luggage (which has yet to be found).
However, this trip - we have determined - is going to be a GREAT ONE!!!!! My friend whose luggage is lost is handling it like the pro that she is! A planner by profession, she has been on the phone with airports, banks, customer service personnel, etc. Me, along with my girl Rachael, we have faith and a praying mommas!! So with all of these forces combined, the luggage has to show up - but as they say in theatre - THE SHOW MUST GO ON!!!!
Because of her immaculate planning, everything big was already pre-paid for (ie: all hotels and tours) and THANK GOD for that! We had a three hour tour of the Colosseum, Roma Forum, & Palentine Hill. DOWNRIGHT AMAZING! To be immersed and surrounded in history that is thousands of years old is such an overwhelming feeling. And if you are anything like the nerd that I am - you can understand my joy by gaining so much knowledge. Our tour guide was great and informative.
TRAVEL TIP: When you travel and are looking for tours, check out www.viator.com
We booked all tours through this third party and have not been disappointed at all by this decision!!!! Definitely read reviews and do your research. I also advise booking tour in advance because if you are traveling during a heavy tourist season like we are now, the lines for major sights can get up to 4 hours long - not a great use of your time!! With our tour we were able to skip lines and walk right in. Plus it helps to have someone share with you the stories and history of the sights, rather than reading signs.
I won't keep you long - I have full day ahead of me. It's 11:30am here and I just had an amazing breakfast - Milanese Salami w/ fresh Parmeggiano, pineapples, grapes, sliced peaches, scrambled eggs and baked potatoes. Of course this was accompanied by mint tea and fresh orange juice. I think I'm ready to take a nap!!!!
We are going to do some shopping and take a tour of Vatican City today - I think the Pope & I have a lot to discuss about his beautiful city - lol!
I will be writing as much as I can throughout the trip, with helpful travel tips and such. See pictures below of my hotel at night and my girls & I at the Colosseum!
I wanted to take some time and write a more personal blog - on something that has been on my heart and mind for quite some time.
I recently had a meeting with a mentor (finally have one!) and I was just sharing with him that when it comes to my dream, my goal, my vision - currently I feel like I'm at a standstill - a crossroads and I don't know what to do!!!
Before talking with him I felt like:
I know what the dream is and I know what the end result is - but how do I build the bridge between the two. Yes, I went to college - got my degree - I have the work experience - but there is something missing. I put pen to paper, written as much of a business plan as I know how to, googled, researched, looked up, reached out, networked (or at least tried too) - and yet still - I haven't made enough progress (in my mind) in this journey of turning my dreams into a reality. And I'm screaming (figuratively & literally) - HELP!!!!!
I know that I have the support of my family and friends, and I have my faith - but I need more. I need direction- where do I find my network, who do I ask for assistance and actually receive it from - where are the tangible resources that can guide me, that know which way to point me in? I am not a lazy person - I want to do the work - I am willing to stay up all night, grind all day - I just need to know what's next.
To those who might be at that point - I say: keep doing exactly what you are doing - because it's coming. The person who is going to help you in this part of your journey is there, or on his/her way - just keep putting yourself out there. Don't be discouraged by the lack or rejection - don't get deterred by the naysayers or your current situation - keep going!
For me personally, for my dream, I had reached a point where I was like: I know hospitality - I know service - but when it comes to business operations & financials, I'm lost. So what now?! I need this - I can't have a proposal without showing some kind of money but where do I begin? And for almost 6 months, I did everything, from attending a financial class to reaching out to contacts, family, and friends and I got NOTHING! Not to say I was always given the cold shoulder, but whatever the reason: no time, no clue, no support - I had to keep trying. And today - 7/12 - 5 months later, I got the direction and help I needed!
I'm not sure who this is for - and yes we always hear that we need to just keep going and never give up - but it's so true. And if you are like me, even when you decide to settle for a bit or give up - that dream comes right back and pushes you, nudges you constantly till you start to work on it again.
I am an earnest believer that EVERYONE has a dream - has something that they were put on this earth to do - that only they can do! I also believe that my dream will help others accomplish theirs and vice versa! Whatever it is - whatever your purpose - whatever your passion - whatever it is that you eat, breathe, and live - just don't EVER LET IT GO!!!!
I don't believe in New Year's Resolutions - rather I have words that God gives me at the beginning of every year that determine how I make decisions and live for the year. For 2013 - it was "happiness" - and I did EVERYTHING that made me happy for the entire year - and as I blogged about previously, it was THE BEST YEAR EVER!
For 2014 my words are "Get it done!" My blog was born this year and my lifelong dream is on it's way to becoming a reality. I have never encountered more opposition to making it happen but I have never had more opportunities either!!!! Everyday, I tell myself: GET IT DONE DESTINEE!!! Eliminate giving up as an option - remove it from the equation - I cannot do anything but get it done.
I hope this helps - I want to see my entire circle doing AMAZING THINGS - achieving your every dream and goal - and I plan to be right there with you!
Dream & Achieve!
Hugs & Love
Life has just been moving at the speed of light - and I have been trying to keep up!
So I will just share my life over the past few weeks in pictures....
I'm always trying to enjoy life to the fullest - if you have any ideas, suggestions, events, plans - please share them!!!!
In homage to one of my all time favorite televisions shows when I was a child, I want to talk about a favorite past time of mine - reading!
I find great joy in opening a brand new book and delving into the words. And yes, I love TANGIBLE books, not e-books; for some weird reason, I never feel like I really own a book that I can't physically turn the pages too.
Anyway, I wanted to share with you a few books, I have read and will be reading this year, along with some of my favorite authors.
I love to read (did I mention that already?!) and really have no qualms or restrictions on genre. As long as it is enlightening and the writing is good, I am one satisfied customer.
This book right here!!!!!
Malcolm Gladwell is truly one of my favorite authors - every book I have read by him - I have not only read more than once, but I have had a pen, highlighter, and paper nearby - because you learn something new every single time!!!
As with all of his books, Mr. Gladwell counters the way we "normally" look at something/someone and changes your perception and perspective through real-life encounters, statistics, and common sense!
If you are going through any type of hardship, life-changing event, etc. - I highly suggest you pick up this book. If you feel like things in your life are too big for you to conquer - like they are a Goliath and your are too small, weak, unprepared, untrained - like David - THINK AGAIN!!!!
This is NOT a motivational - you can do it - book. Rather this is a book that says, re-examine yourself, identify the strength in your supposed weakness and do what you gotta do!
After you thank me for this great summer read, pick up some of Malcolm Gladwell's other books - personal favorites of mine are: Tipping Point & Outliers!!!
*Thanks to my friend Leslie for putting me on to this great author*
Next, we have outrageous humor!!!
All I can truly say is this book has to be the FUNNIEST book I have ever read!
The style of writing and the true yet exaggerated false stories as told by, The Blogess, will have you looking like a crazy person on the train (like me) when you just randomly burst out in laughter!!!
If you are looking for a quick, easy-to read, hilarious, semi non-fiction book this summer - THIS IS IT!!!!
I can honestly say no more than - YOU WILL NOT BE DISSAPOINTED!
*My co-worker Jess shared this book with me - I knew we became friends for a reason!*
Now I will preface this by saying that I absolutely LOVE children. And I feel that every child has in them the ability to read exceptionally well and understand what they are reading.
On that note, I love reading children's books that inspire young boys and girls with lasting life principles, such as boldness, honesty, faith, respect, pride, and love.
This book, Kai - A mission for her Village, does all that and more for young girls!!! A quick yet powerful read (coming from a 27 year old), I highly suggest obtaining the entire series from this author for your children. And if you don't have children, you know one - so give it as a gift. What better gift to give a young mind than education!!!
Lastly, because I have kept you waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too long - we have two books that I have recently purchased but not yet read.
The first, Gone Girl, came highly recommend by my BFF and the NY Times (not a bad combo). I have heard that you won't want to put the book down once you have started - so I'm saving it for a lazy weekend on the beach (or a bench in the park under trees, or in my bed surrounded by air condition - since I don't like the sun and/or heat - lol).
Secondly, Words from a Wanderer by Alexandra Elle, is a compilation of poems and notes that I'm excited to delve into. I heard one poem shared on web series called "First" by Issa Rae (highly suggest you check it out) and I loved it! You just never know where you will find inspiration!
So as I bid you adieu, I will leave you with this:
Find a pastime/hobby and enjoy the heck out of it!
Once you figure out what it is that you love, trust me, you will find others who share the same love and that's when things really start happening!
Reading is a gateway to everything - whether it be poems, novels, comics, fiction, non-fiction, paperback or hardcover - you can't go wrong with a GREAT BOOK!!!!
But you don't have to take my word for it.......
Take a look - It's in a book!!!
Tootles lovies - HAPPY READING!
Time to sit back and unwind.....
As the Memorial Weekend approaches, I am excited for all of the travel and food that will make up the next three months of this awesome season...
There are a few blogs that I LOVE to read and peruse that inspire me to travel the world, eat glorious food, and be incandescently happy on a 24/7 basis. I want to share them with you in hopes that you become inspired to LIVE LIFE to it's absolute fullest this summer - starting with this weekend!!!!!!
These are just three but there are soooo many more!!!
Start discovering your own destiny this summer through the things you love!!!!
Travel & Food just happen to be my things - I am spending this opening weekend of summer in the Poconos with some great friends; road trip, great company, and BARBEQUE'S!!!!! (i'm such a fat kid - lol!!!)
And I have one trip planned for each month of the summer:
June: Atlantic City
August: TBD (maybe Philly)
So lovies, may your weekend be filled with nothing but great food, good music, and LOVE - but most importantly may you be surrounded with happiness, whatever that is to you!!!
Hugs & Love,
I LOVE CARS! They make me happy. Four wheels provide you status, infinite possibilities (as long as you have gas), and most importantly FREEDOM.
I love cars so much so that I rent cars quite often - just about every weekend. Over the past two and a half years, I have averaged 4 rentals a month (counting weekday rentals as well). I have driven them all: small, large, white, black, hatchback to luxury. and they ALL tell a unique story......
No story as drastic as this past weekends. I was fortunate enough to rent a brand new 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible and it was a thing of true beauty!!!!! Outside of driving in torrential rains on Friday night (#jesusbeaboat was my prayer) - the weather for the rest of the weekend was BEAUTIFUL and the top was down the whole weekend!!!!
As the night was coming to an end on Saturday, 4 blocks from my house, sitting at a green light waiting patiently for traffic to move....... BAM!!!!!
Someone in a white commercial van SLAMMED into the back of my car - MY BRAND NEW CHEVROLET CAMARO WITH THE TOP DOWN!!!! (do you feel my pain?) After getting over the shock of being in my first car accident ever (almost 7 years of having my license), and making sure my passengers (dad and lil bro) were ok - the tears flowed. We were pushed from one side of the intersection to the other, with no damage to anyone (thank the Lord Jesus).
I want to insert here how awesome God is, because there were two things that were done for and during this rental that proved how awesome God is.
First: Basic insurance is automatically included with your rental, however you can add additional coverage, which normally I ALWAYS decline - however, my brother suggested getting it for this car and we did - can you scream: THANK YOU JESUS!!!!
Secondly, we were coming from running errands with a trunkful of groceries, target bags, etc. With one stop left for the day, my dad suggested unloading my trunk before going to our last stop - I didn't want to - but we did - and boy am I glad - our trunk was hit badly in the accident and whose to say, we would have been able to unload after.....
I say this all to say, despite having a terrible two hours on Saturday night and few spoiled plans - there was still plenty of happiness in this situation. NO ONE WAS HURT!!!! I had a brand new rental, enjoyed driving it, and looked good in it (I'm a bit vain when it comes to cars). I went out on Friday night with friends, spent all day Saturday with my two favorite men, and lived it up in Brooklyn with my little brother until it was time to return the car. The car was still drivable after the accident and the drop top was not injured!!!!!!
Someone told me on Friday - nothing but positive vibes are allowed when I talk to him - and that mantra was my theme for the weekend - nothing, not even a car accident can destroy my destiny!!!!!
I have included pictures of some of my favorite rentals below. Don't be jealous - start renting and enjoying a new version of freedom today. Btw, most of the rentals, I have either gotten at steep discounted prices or FREE! Hertz takes care of me #goldfivestarstatus!
Join and become a gold member!!!
Hint: Renting from an airport gives you a better selection of cars and considerably lower prices
This weekend we took the time to honor very special people - MOTHERS!
I might be a bit bias - but my momma is the BESTEST in the entire world and I love no other person in the world like her (even though I am a huge daddy's girl). I wanted to do something for her this weekend, more than dinner and flowers but still keep the budget reasonable and a few weeks ago, in my daily search for hotels (I told you I love them) - I came across the Hyatt Regency in Greenwich, CT. This palatial like hotel had an amazing pre-paid deal for $85/night - BOOKED! and then I rented a car using accumulated gold points - FREE!
If you are like me, you have more than one "mom" in your life - and my godmother, whom I absolutely adore, joined us for the weekend. So for, less than $200, the three of us had a very relaxing weekend, doing nothing but eating, sleeping, looking at the gorgeous homes of Greenwich, and watching HGTV! SCORE!!! (see pics below)
I share this to say - happiness is not always about doing things for you - but moreso, about doing things for others. Of course my mom deserves a 3 week vacation on a yacht, with a butler and a private jet on standby - but until then, a weekend away in a small town with her best friend and daughter was just as GREAT!
For the same price, I would have spent on one Broadway ticket, or two sports tickets, or a new pair of shoes (or two) - I got a deluxe double room with full breakfast buffet and parking for 3 people. Happiness doesn't have to be expensive either!!!
Here are some site that you can check out (that I love) for awesome hotel prices and car rentals!!!
www.jetsetter.com (amazing flash sales on luxury hotels)
-I highly suggest becoming a Gold Member with Hertz - it's FREE! And most importantly, with every rental you rack up points towards free rentals.
I hope you all had a SMARVELOUS weekend, and to all the mother's out there - I APPRECIATE YOU!!!!!
My mom has been instrumental in helping me shape and discover my destiny - it's only right to say THANK YOU!!!
See you next week!
I ask myself this all the time......
I have known since I was four years old, exactly what I wanted to do with my life - and I had this idea that since I knew what I wanted, knew where I was going, and knew how I was going to get there - I WAS SET!
I'd go to college, get a job in my industry, gain a few years of experience, and then branch out on my own - starting my own business, garnering success within 2-5 years and retiring by 30! Along the way, I would have met my prince charming, swept him of his feet with my charm, beauty, and success - we would have dated, married, and traveled the world together before settling down to reproduce. Again, all this before I was thirty - because in my mind - I want to (and still do) be a stay at home mom for my children.
Reality of My Life:
I'm 27 - single, living at home with my parents, working in an industry that I did NOT go to school for. Yes, I did attend college and then I graduated 2 months before the economy dropped.
Unemployed - Intern - Full time Employee - Back to unemployed - Potential Graduate School student (accepted but didn't attend) - Back to Full-Time Employee (and now writing a blog)
My journey has been NOTHING like what I dreamed or planned.
BUT I WOULDN'T CHANGE IT FOR ANYTHING IN THE WORLD
Because I'm happy! (in my best Pharell voice)
Something's that I discovered in the past two years:
-It's ok to not have the answers but have so many questions
-It's ok to not have an elaborate plan on how to get to my journey's end
-It's ok to take life one day at a time
In the past two years, I have realized that more than anything in the world, I just want to be happy! So, I took a year (2013) and did everything that I LOVE to do!
I traveled (nationally and internationally) - I went to concerts - I rented cars ( I LOVE CARS!) - and I ATE ( I LOVE FOOD!) - and most importantly, I surrounded myself with FAMILY & FRIENDS!!! See pics below!
The happiest year of my life! And at the end of 2013, I realized my destiny is not to be the "Uber Successful Boniface" rather it's to live and enjoy life on a daily basis and along the way accomplish my goals and live out my dreams.
We all have these dreams that turn into goals and give us a sense of purpose. and those are GREAT. They are needed. I'm a planner by nature - I set deadlines, and dates. I have Plan A so meticulously set that there is rarely ever a need for Plan B.
BUT life has shown me that it can seriously BOTCH any Plan you have - no matter how detailed you are.
So rather than stressing and losing your sense of purpose for what may seem like a missed deadline, or lost opportunity, or forgotten dream - know that the deadline CAN BE pushed back - the opportunity WILL present itself again, and the dream is NEVER forgotten.
In the meantime - LIVE LIFE! And make new discoveries and dreams along the way.
Trust, I will still be the owner of a vast Hospitality Conglomerate but until then, I will incorporate my love for hospitality and service in my daily life on the level I'm at now - and my next step is this blog!
This blog will show you (and me) how to discover happiness EVERYDAY!! In both the small and the big, there is so much to enjoy in life on a daily basis - and my heart is so happy that we are going on this ride!
So here's to our journey .....discovering our destiny's together.
See ya next Sunday!