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Adios Miami, Hello Key Largo

This morning’s adventures began with a second trip to the Art Deco district of Miami. I felt like we had missed out on a lot of the buildings since it was so crowded and almost undriveable, so we set our sights on Ocean Drive yet again. It was definitely worth it to go back and see the architecture, however we definitely needed a tour guide. I’ve decided I need to make my way back to Miami someday and take on Miami with a local.

After Miami, we made the drive to the first island, Key Largo. I was more than excited to finally set foot on the Florida Keys. We spent only a couple of hours in Key Largo in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. The history behind the name was definitely impressive. John Pennekamp helped to preserve the coral reefs and start the state park itself. Seeing all the mangrove trees and walking the boardwalks was pretty cool. A kayaking tour through them would definitely had been worth it. Although, since we brought our own snorkel gear with us, we set out for cannon beach to check out some coral reefs. It was quite comical seeing my mom attempting to swim around, breathing through a snorkel. My mom is one of ode women who barely gets her feet wet and heaven forbid her hair.

As far as the actual coral reefs and things we saw I have to admit, it definitely wasn’t what I was expecting. Seeing the cannons from the shipwreck was neat and apparently there was an anchor out there as well, but there was an overwhelming about of people trying to see the same thing and they didn’t warn you about the sudden drop off right in the middle. I was not ready for it at all and it honestly just caused me to have overwhelming anxiety of open water and the idea of what’s down there I couldn’t even put my face in the water. This coming from an extremely experienced swimmer with years of practice. We didn’t see the bright colors I’ve seen in other snorkel excursions like St. Thomas, Dominica and St. kitts. That was a little disappointing it being a coral reef park, but we still had a great time.

After some well deserved time on the beach, we jumped back in the car and headed to Islamorada. The hotel we are staying in seems really nice so far. I’ll have to check in and see if I think that still after two nights stay. The channel it sits on is definitely cool and we’ve seen more wild life here than we did all day at the state park. There’s little jellyfish swimming around, lots of fish, mad pelicans just floating down the channel. Dinner at the Island Grill was excellent and we got to spend some time hanging on the back porch looking out over the lit up channel. Tomorrow is a big day with lots of adventures that hopefully won’t be held up by the storm that’s supposed to come through. Wish us luck!

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First stop, Miami

20140316-232029.jpgMy travels began this morning around 6:30, getting up to head to the airport for our flight to Miami. I had never been this far south in Florida, but I was so excited to leave the 20 degree weather at home and head for the sunshine state. My mom got a little uneasy on the plane, but overall we had a great flight to Miami. Seeing all the palm trees as soon as I landed was amazing and finally made this trip feel real. The Miami roadways were a bit confusing and caused a little tension among the two of us, but we made it to our hotel in Sunny Isles.

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After a trip to Publix for some snacks, we headed to the pool. I did not expect all the “elderly” with tans 5 shades darker than mine or the amount of energy they had. They were absolutely hilarious and were having a ball. I was slightly envious of their ability to dance and sing to the music, when I don’t feel like I had the energy to move from my lounge chair after my day of travel. They were great, all of them, whoever they are.

Our little glimpse of Miami from I-95 wasn’t enough for me, so we headed to South Beach. It was a little more of a trip than I anticipated. When booking our hotel, I thought I had booked it much closer to the city center, but it was quite the haul. We headed for the Art Deco district to check out some cool architecture and found ourselves in almost stand still traffic in the heart of South Beach. People told me it was extravagant in Miami, but I wasn’t ready quite ready for the throngs of people with barely there outfits. Some people were dressed to the nines in their South Beach best, while other wore barely their bikinis and speedos.

Amongst the people we did get to see some of the buildings, but I mostly noticed the high end stores and quarter of million dollar cars. I have a love for fine things, especially cars. The abundance of Maseratis, Bentleys, and even a Phantom made my mouth water. Although I don’t care for them very much, it was still really cool to see the Kardashian’s newest Dash store right on Collins. Our frustration with traffic and parking being $50 made us drive right through to about 65th street to a little Cuban restaurant called Sazon Cuban Cuisine name it was excellent. My Cuban club was a little different, but good however my moms shredded pork sandwich was delicious. It made me very jealous. We stopped in to Moises Venezuelan bakery for dessert and headed back to the car. We ended our night with a moonlight walk on the beach that was lit up by a very very bright moon. Tomorrow our adventure continues on the first island of the keys in Key Largo. Until then.

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Driving down Collins into the Art Deco district
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Cuban Club from Sazon
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Dash Miami

Frozen in Cleveland

This has been such a long Cleveland winter, one like I can’t remember. We’ve had so many cold days and snow on the ground for over a month. My mom, an elementary school teacher, has had 10 snow days and I have had 2 in the corporate world. This winter has been cold and snowy and somewhat miserable, but what I saw this weekend was by far one of the coolest winter things ever.

A colleague and I went down to the river in Rocky River to see it all frozen over and it was unbelievably cool. The ice had all broken up in chunks and compacted into one area under the bridge and it was a remarkable sight. Some of the ice was at least 8 inches think In spots. A couple that was at the bridge said they had been there the day before and said the ice was one complete sheet all smooth just 12 hours before. I’ve never seen anything like that in the 22 years I’ve lived in Cleveland.

I like many others am very ready for the winter to be over with and to move onto some warm spring weather!

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The river and all the ice chunks clumped together

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Life after college-too suburban and mundane

Life after graduation has definitely been less than spectacular. Yes having money again is great and I have an amazing job with amazing people doing exactly what I want to do, but my life beyond that has been less than I had expected. Since I was 8 I was going to move out to California and live my dream in the warm weather and sunshine. After college I would just pick up and move out there, stay on my aunt’s couch until I got a job and got on my feet a little. The opportunities as a marketer seemed endless in California. In reality after college, I was thousands of dollars in debt with no experience and not one company that would take a second look at my résumé with an Ohio address. It was unbelievably hard to get someone to look at my résumé in Cleveland let alone in San Diego or Los Angeles. So my result was moving back in with my parents after graduation with no job and to continue sending out my résumés anywhere I could. My life has done a complete 360 degree turn from how my life was in college. Always surrounded by friends with little money, high ambitions and dreams. Now I feel like I’m living the life of a suburban housewife constantly dreaming I had a different life. My parents keep wanting me to stay at home for a couple of years and pay of my loans and save up, but I’m not ready to give up on a dream.

Talking to a friend who is moving out to Denver soon made me realize I really shouldn’t give up on my dream yet. I’m only 22 years old with a good job and career ahead of me, a somewhat supportive family, and good friends so why not move away? It’s scary thinking of going to a random city not knowing anyone and having to make new friends. Yes, I’ll miss having my family close by, friends I can count on, and the city that I know and love (as much as I’ve hated it this winter). But what I have to remember is the things I will be leaving behind, a few failed relationships and broken hearts, burned bridges with old friends, the cold weather and the mundane suburban life I’ve been living for the past 9 months. I need out and I’m still going to get myself out west. After my one year work anniversary I’m going to start looking for jobs out in California. I’m meant for something more and I’m determined to find it.

Love & Fitzgerald

 

I took this photo about a year ago in Long Boat Key and just found this quote and felt it was very fitting. I often find myself in a relationship or in the process of starting a relationship when it may not be what I need. I believe that society tells us that our ultimate goal is to marry and to reproduce and if you don’t then there must be something wront with you. Since my recent break up with my boyfriend I have decided that my main focus needs to be on myself. I need to be happy with who I am and most importantly happy being alone. As my exes move on and possibly into new relationships it doesn’t mean that I need to be in one as well. I would hope that they are just as content in whatever they are doing as I am at getting to know myself as a single person again. Rushing into another relationship isn’t the answer after a recent break up, but to be able to heal ourselves and be content with ourselves. Afterall, we are the person we will live with the longest.

Independent, Confident, and Able to Overcome

When I was young traveling was something exciting to be able to literally wake up somewhere new. My parents did all the driving and carried me everywhere while I slept since I am the youngest of four. There are many trips I remember falling asleep in the back of the car or on the plane and waking up in a new place starting a new vacation in a new place. I grew up in a very fortunate family to have traveled to over 10 different Caribbean islands, the west coast, Canada and almost half the US. I would say as a child I was pretty accustomed to travel. We didn’t always fly, but we did go to a lot of different places. It was always my parents who did the navigating and decision-making and basically everything. The last time I traveled I visited Southern California with my cousins for a week, my favorite place on earth. That was the last time I traveled “semi” on my own, before my anxiety disorder developed.

Sophomore year of college I went through possibly one of the hardest years of my life. The internal struggle that I went through was beyond anything I could ever describe. That’s coming from a few other internal struggles, like a fairly severe case of bulimia in high school. My anxiety disorder had me to the point that I could barely leave my dorm when an attack happened, I couldn’t eat a thing, I dropped almost 30 pounds extremely fast, and my thoughts were ruling my life. I’ve overcome a lot of things when it comes to my anxiety disorder, such as my panic attacks. I can control them better and know what to do when the come on.

My point in talking about travel and my anxiety disorder is that I traveled to Virginia completely by myself this past weekend and to someone else that may be trivial, but to me that’s a huge accomplishment. I flew by myself, got a rental car, stayed in the hotel, worked all alone and even ate all by myself and I was fine. It was exciting again to travel and be on an airplane again and I did it all by myself. I did have a small panic attack on my way back to Ohio, but nothing like it was. Being able to do this trip on my own means more than anyone could probably ever understand because not many could understand what I went through that This trip to me was the first steps to me growing independent again. Growing out of my disorder and into a person again. A young, confident, intelligent, adventurous woman year.

Beautiful Virginia Landscape
Beautiful Virginia Landscape