Tuesday, April 24, 2012

{Fly High Free Bird}

Once you start...
...the fun don't stop!

New York City, Boston, California, New Orleans...over the past several months I have been a busy little bee with much on my travel agenda. You know how I do. From weekend getaways to long-term trips, I savor the moments when I can step away from my desk and be in complete and utter wanderlust. Which is why I am beyond excited to share with you my next adventure: in less than a month, I will be flying away from the good 'ole US of A and visiting these fabulous places...

Prague // Czech Republic
What better way to start a EuroTrip than in Prague? I cannot wait to join my sister & other fellow backpackers in this lively city and have some fun!

Budapest // Hungary
I simply have to see this beautiful place for myself :)

Mont St. Michel // France
Thrilled to explore this fascinating medieval town...and somehow managed to reserve the last hotel room available during our stay!

Nice // France
Oh my darling, Southern France...I am all yours for a week...

(and staying in this fabulous apartment...)
Tell me I don't make awesome decisions! Bragging rights are well deserved here, don't you think?

London // England
Joining friends in celebration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee? Absolutely! I am looking forward to returning to this awesome city and ending my escapade among familiar streets and alongside familiar faces :)

So here's to life's next big adventure!
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It has been almost three years since my last European adventure and I am ready to strap on my backpack and have another go at it! I have no doubt that preparing for this trip will be on my mind over the next few weeks, but I am feeling quite confident that everything will work out as needed. After all, this is the kind of thing I live for...

"We wonder for distraction,
But we travel for fulfillment."
-Hilaire Belloc

Images courtesy of © 2012 Chateau de Victoria and Pinterest

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Monday, April 16, 2012

{Be Bright. Be Bold.}

What I'm wearing today...

Be Bright. Be Bold.

"If I'd observed all the rules, I'd never have got anywhere."
-Marilyn Monroe

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

{She Works Hard For The Money}

Let's Talk Dollar$ and $en$e...

It's been awhile since I've touched on the importance of money but (let's be honest) us ladies (and gents) sometimes need a little kick in the hinkeycheeks to re-evaluate our financial needs and goals...

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Since I was a little girl, I've had a decent understanding as to the value of money. It probably began with scrubbing my bathroom for a measly $5 as a kid...all for the sake of buying that newest beanie baby! Then there was the "family talk" when I was around 10 or so years old about compound interest and how it works. Oh, and that time in high school when I wanted my parents to buy me a car like everyone else's parents did? Yeah, that didn't happen. I got stuck with the clunker...but guess what? I learned to not only save my money, but also to think wisely about how I wanted to use and invest it. I bought my first car when I was 18 years old and was able to pay half of its total cost up front and manage monthly payments.

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Now, granted, I am no money-saving machine. I struggle with saving just like everyone else. Therefore, since becoming a professional, I have made it a point to put a certain allotment of money into my savings account every pay day; the more money I make, the more money goes into savings. Seems easy enough. But I also have made it a rule not to take money out of my savings account for anything other than emergencies or wise investments. This actually has helped a lot, because it forces me to maintain a minimal amount of money in my checking account and keep my spending at bay. Trust me, if you set ground rules for yourself and allow your savings to build you will be one happy individual!

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For some of you, this is not new information. You may already practice this habit (among others) as part of your savvy saving ways. Whatever helps you reach your financial goals, I'm on board! But for those of you trying to justify saving money or who are struggling to maintain money, here are a few great tips from Kiplinger:

{Pay yourself first}
Take care of your own financial needs so that no one else has to. Put yourself in the driver seat of your own monetary desires; being accountable and responsible are two very good qualities to have and maintain.

{Keep tabs on your credit}
Do you know your credit score? Do you monitor your credit report? This is something I have recently done in order to know where I stand in "credit land." Food for thought: think about using credit cards that you can get the most rewards from (cash back, frequent flyer miles, etc.) and constantly make sure to check your balances and pay your bills on time. The more money in your pocket, the bigger your smile.

{Build a solid emergency fund}
Always, always, always have an allotment of money set aside for emergencies. If you find yourself in a bind (this is life, and life can be a bitch), you will be very happy with yourself for having a "safety cushion" of money available when in need. Panick attacks can easily be avoided.

{It's okay to talk about money with your significant other}
Hell to the yes. I am all about this! For one, you need to know if you and your significant other are on the same page as far as financial needs are concerned. Money is a huge factor in many unhappy couples and, ultimately, failed relationships. It doesn't mean you have to necessarily "share" your money, but it does mean that you need to have an open and honest conversation about your financial goals and realistic spending habits. Don't make excuses.

{You have financial options for everything}
Save. Invest. Pay off your debt. Build up your 401(k) plan. You have options and ways to become educated in all of these realms; the decisions you make now affect your future in a way that I can only begin to touch on. You are currently living in a time where the economic crisis is real, influential and, in many scenarios, devastating to people's lives. You have no excuse for not thinking ahead. Get on it!

{Personal finance is empowering}
We want the best of the best. We are impulse buyers. We want it, and we want it now. You know, that's all great in a world made up of rainbows and unicorns, but we need to face reality. How much do you spend in a month? How much do you save? How much do you owe? Do you want to buy a house one day? Support a family? Being in control of your money is nothing short of an amazing feeling. I love it. I love finding deals for everything from shopping to traveling to wining & dining. Having a bigger picture in mind of what you want will help you save your money and make wiser financial decisions.

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It is never too late to start making better decisions. Saving money doesn't mean you need to miss out on enjoying life or indulging in all it has to offer. It just means that you may need to start thinking twice about certain things. Don't be afraid to call yourself out. Do I really need [said item] right now? Could I get [this] at a cheaper price? As a female, I have to understand that women tend to live longer, earn less, and take breaks from the workforce for reasons such as caring for children. I've said it before, but women (especially) need to understand the importance of being in control of their finances; do not depend on anyone but yourself to get you where you need to go. Educate yourself, ask others for advice, seek out wisdom and stay informed. We want a lot, but we have to be willing to work save for it.

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Money does not buy happiness, but it can help make dreams a reality and impossibilities possible. Write down those things which you would accomplish, own or partake in if you had the means to do so. Then create a timeline and game plan for how you will achieve those desires and make them a reality. I encourage you to take small (or big) steps toward financial freedom...for it is only you who can take the blame for not being where you want to be.

Images via Pinterest

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

{100 Things Left To Do Before I Die}

Today, I am loving...

Big Dreams
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There are a lot of things I have seen, done and enjoyed in my 24 years. I am fortunate to have had so many adventures thus far...but that doesn't mean there isn't more I want to do! So I decided to create a bucket list, which is something I have never done before. I am going to keep this list handy and mark things off as I complete them. By posting my goals (and eventually turning this list into a tab on my blog), I am using you (the reader) as a witness to my impending adventures and want you to keep me accountable for making my dreams a reality. Ready, set, go!


1. Become legally ordained

2. Take a bikram yoga class

Bikram Yoga 60 day challenge emilymrockcamp

3. Ask out a complete stranger

4. Visit Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

5. Watch both a sunrise and sunset in the same day

6. Witness the Aurora Borealis

Northern lights in Alaska

7. Knock down a wall with a sledgehammer

8. Shoot a gun

Fire a gun at a shooting range

9. Spend Thanksgiving Day volunteering at a soup kitchen

10. Learn how to bake my own bread

Easy to make homeade bread.

11. Go parasailing

12. Volunteer at an animal shelter

As animal lovers, it's hard to go to an animal shelter without wanting to adopt every single animal in there! Unfortunately, that's not feasible...

13. Buy a road bike

14. Take a nap in a hammock

hammock nap. love.

15. Adopt an animal of my own

16. Go skinny dipping

skinny dipping

17. Try out white water rafting

18. Build a house with Habitat for Humanity

Habitat For Humanity

19. Knit a scarf

20. Write my memoirs

Journal writing prompts {trying to get better at journaling}

21. Bury a time capsule

22. Have a date night at the opera

Old opera house...

23. Go horseback riding on the beach

24. Send a message in a bottle

7. Send a message in a bottle.

25. Spend the day saying “YES” to everything

26. Take a helicopter ride

10 minute helicopter ride for a bird's eye view if the 12 Apostles.

27. Ride a Camel 

28. Hike a volcano

Spectacular lava flows near Mauna Loa, and the volcano Kilauea.

29. Read an entire (lengthy) book in one day

30. Participate in a protest

Be a part of a Protest

31. Visit the Wailing Wall

32. Soak in a natural hot spring

m & i stayed at these hot springs in mt. princeton, co while on a roadtrip. there was something magical about sitting in a natural hot spring during a gentle snow fall.

33. Be someone’s mentor

34. Master and successfully perform a magic trick

Magic trick.

35. Create my own signature fragrance

36. Ride on a motorcycle

Ride on the back of a motorcycle with a hot guy

37. Learn how to belly dance

38. Walk part of the Great Wall of China

Great Wall of China

39. Ride on a tandem bike

40. Go fishing


41. Partake in an African safari

42. Plant a vegetable garden

Would like a fence around the vegetable garden eventually to keep critters out, also wanted to show you a new amazing weight loss product sponsored by Pinterest! It worked for me and I didnt even change my diet! I lost like 16 pounds. Here is where I got it from cutsix.com

43. Race a car on a race track

44.  Explore a rainforest

I wanted to show you how I have already lost 24 pounds from a new natural weight loss product and want others to benefit aswell.  -   Coolest thing I've ever done: ziplining through the canopy in the Costa Rican rainforest / Monteverde, Costa Rica  #fitness #weight #fat #health #beauty

45. Try all the flavors at Baskin Robbins

46. Ride an elephant

one day i will ride an elephant...in thailand.

47. Go to Munich for Oktoberfest

48. Be a part of the Dia de Los Muertos festival

Dia de los muertos

49. Get married

50. Swim with dolphins

Swim with dolphins :)

51. Be in the audience on one of my favorite talk shows

52. Visit the Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef

53. Learn Origami

54. Pay for the car behind me at the toll booth

Philip Gendreau, Toll Booth

55. Make a career out of something I love

56. Take a self-defense class

Take a self defense class.

57. Complete an entire coloring book in one sitting

58. Become a mother

A mother and her child

59. Make a quilt

60. Sign over a full paycheck to a charity

We are an independent #charity.  We support UK communities and enable people to give information anonymously about crime.  We are not part of the police.

61. Go to an airport and buy a ticket for the next available flight to…anywhere

62. Get stung by a bee

White Tailed Bumble Bee

63. Learn how to develop film in a black room

64. Participate in a flash mob

flash mob

65. Go to a high school reunion for a high school I did not actually attend

66. Steal a road sign

Gandalf Road Sign, New Zealand

67. Save someone’s life

68. Buy a house

I want a house with a porch. Who wants to buy this house for me?

69. Take a vow of silence for one day

70. Create a photo on canvas

Make Your Own Canvas Print by abeautifulmess #Canvas_Print #DIY #abeautifulmess

71. Put change in someone’s expired parking meter

72. Visit Tokyo


73. Write my own will

74. Learn to (fearlessly) ice skate

...ice skate at Central Park on my 33rd birthday.

75. Eat Moroccan food

76. Go skydiving

Go skydiving!

77. Sit on a jury

78. Forgive those that have hurt me most...and myself

This is probably the best definition of forgiveness i've ever heard.

79. Write a fan letter to Elton John

80. See the Taj Mahal

I wanted to show you how I have already lost 24 pounds from a new natural weight loss product and want others to benefit aswell.  -   Taj Mahal, India  #fitness #weight #fat #health #beauty

81. Learn how to bartend

82. Get a tattoo

tattoo feather, also wanted to show you a new amazing weight loss product sponsored by Pinterest! It worked for me and I didnt even change my diet! I lost like 16 pounds. Here is where I got it from cutsix.com

83. Sit in a split

84. Eat fried green tomatoes

Fried green tomatoes - #earthbalance

85. Go on a cross-country road trip

86. Experience Rio Carnival

Rio de Janeiro, Carnival

87. Help make someone's dream come true

88. Swing on a trapeze

Flying Trapeze for Two

89. Make my own pasta noodles

90. Learn how to throw a boomerang properly

06/03 Vice Presidential candidate Henry A. Wallace throws a boomerang in a field in January 1940. Wallace, who was vice president during FDR' second term and served as the secretary of both Commerce and Agriculture, was relatively famous for his prowess with the boomerang, and could occasionally be seen in the early morning near the Lincoln Memorial in the 1940s, hurling the curved, lethal-looking pieces of wood and catching them as they returned.

91. Spend a whole day out in my pajamas

92. Go golfing

Go golfing in Vancouver.

93. Meet my sponsor child, Hirusha

94. Learn to play the harmonica

at midnight on a saturday, i was learning how to play the harmonica.

95. Visit the Grand Ole Opry

96. Partake in a couples dancing lesson

Dancing couples

97. Go bungee jumping

98. Ride a mechanical bull

TRY to ride a mechanical bull

99. Visit Victoria Falls

100. Fall in love, for the last time...

Super cute! Engagement photo inspiration

Why do I want to do these things?
Because I now know that it isn't death I'm afraid of...
...I'm afraid of not living a full life the way I see fit.

Images via Pinterest