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Everyone should take a solo trip…at least once!

Hey my loves! So because I just recently went away to South Beach, I did a survey on  www.instagram.com about solo travel!  I was so disappointed that a whopping 67% of you would NOT travel alone. Solo travel is like the best thing ever!

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I’ve made some wonderful friends traveling…that I still talk to today…

So I am here to give you some pros about traveling solo and tips on how to make your solo vacation a success!

Listen, I love a group vacation. But we all know if the vibe and dynamics are not there, group vacations can be ..hmmm…

TEDIOUS!  COSTLY! SOMETIMES, A WASTE OF TIME!

I’ll give you a couple of examples.  We used to take lots of family vacations together.  Ranging in age from 3 to 82.  One year we all went to Florida.  About 10-12 of us.  When it came to going out to eat, it never occurred to us to go out to eat with our respective family units and then meet up afterwards for whatever activity.

We basically spent more time deciding where we were going, then actually enjoying each other’s company.  And then many restaurants couldn’t handle our group, so we wasted a lot of time deciding and not doing.  

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Deciding on a meal….alone…

There’s also the group vacation you take with a group of girlfriends or guys.  Right? Who’s tired? Who didn’t bring enough to wear? Who is a picky eater? Who is counting pennies?  I mean the list is endless. 

And the reality is hanging out with your friends back home for a few hours is V E R Y different than spending an entire week on vacation together.  I’ve only had two vacations with friends that were MEMORABLE!  Out of many.

Hence, why I L O V E solo trips!  Here are my top 5 reasons why I like traveling alone: 

  1. You can do W H A T E V E R fancies you.  Eat when you want, sleep when you want, sightsee what and when you want.
  2. You can have the room all to yourself. And if you meet someone and want to bring them back – you MOST definitely can (hey, it happens!)
  3. You don’t have to share your clothes, swimsuits or toiletries or money! (We all have that one friend!)
  4. You don’t have to split the bill evenly even when you just had a salad or a drink.  LOL.
  5. You don’t have to do anything – you can lay on a beach, listening to your tunes, reading, meditating, napping, without having to engage in mindless chatter.  Silence can be golden at times, something we don’t enjoy enough of.solotravel3-e1529080428197.jpg

Here are 5 tips for making your solo trip a success:

  1. Before you leave do some research (ask friends, read blogs, etc.) about some things you should do while there or places to see.  Or just wing it and explore!
  2. Make sure you pack a book, magazine and journal – if you feel self conscious about being alone, these are always good props to have when dining solo or hanging on beach solo – makes you look occupied and/or important. LOL. You can always use the journal to write about the experiences you’re having.
  3. Don’t take drinks from strangers.  LOL, no but seriously, don’t.  This is how people go missing and get trafficked. I’m real serious.
  4. If you’re paranoid like me because you watch too many crime shows – DON’T walk around alone at night or through dark alleys.  Stay in well lit areas around lots of people.  I mean you wouldn’t walk through dark alleys at home, right?
  5. Trust your intuition when it comes to meeting people.  I hung out with some guys at the https://fontainebleau.com/  in Miami and their vibe was so chill and laid back versus the guy who approached me at the door.  He kept insisting and coming over inviting us to their bed (by the pool that is) and I was just like nahh! We’re good.  They could have been perfectly fine, but I wasn’t trying to find out otherwise.
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People watching is my favorite hobby when I travel solo.

Anyway, I think EVERYONE should take a solo trip or two in their lifetime.  It’s a great way to spend some time alone with yourself and get more comfortable in your skin. It’s a practice in being present.

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This was actually one of my best group vacations…but they left first…and I spent an entire day in my own company…it was wonderful!

There is nothing more grounding (I think) than spending a day alone at the beach or sitting at an outdoor cafe  – you are more in tuned with everything and everyone around you because you’re not distracted by friends and chatter.  Listen, I love my friends, but I also love my own company.  

So go ahead, book that solo trip ASAP! and then tell me all about it.

Thanks for stopping by! Happy Friday!

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♥LolaUncorked

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Live your best life….now…and let others live theirs!

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Hi my loves!  I am back!  My quick little trip to Miami was fantastic!  I can’t say enough about South Beach.  There’s just something about that town. I know people are like “Oh God, bitches go to Miami and this is all they talk about for months!” Well for good reason I think!  

Has it changed over the course of my years visiting? Absolutely! But, I still love it.  I love that everything and anything goes in Miami. I was there for two nights and I have to say I made sure to enjoy every second of it. 

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Welcome to Miami….

I remember about 15 years ago, (Yes I am aging myself, but who gives a shit? Not I!!!), Miami was a lot more BOU-gee than today!  85% of the people down there were fit and beautiful and took lots of care in their appearance. 

Many locals got to mingle with international tourists and if you didn’t go with some kind of bank you weren’t going to have the same experience! (of course, guys this was MY experience, but I would love to hear about yours)

People were so put together and beautiful that people watching was a sort of soft porn.  Like really!  From the bartenders to the servers to the hosts at the restaurants to the random guy riding on a bike down Ocean Drive – they were all fit! 

Even the 77 year old I met like 15 years ago was dashing and debonair with his white hair and white suits!  Oh! and let’s not forget the COPS!  I think it must be a requirement that you’re fit and good looking to become a cop in South Beach.

Anyway, I am a people watcher so I loved watching all these beautiful people waking by – back and forth, back and forth.  They reminded me of the stingrays swimming back and forth, back and forth in Belize.  No lie!

Even though all the eye candy was fun back then, I love SOBE more now.  Why?  I love it because NOBODY!, I mean N O B O D Y seems to feel self conscious in Miami.  Nobody seems to have any hangups about their bodies or clothing or who they are with or going solo.   

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People watching…. Not really but I like this pic….LOL

It feels to me as if people of all genders, ages, races, and sizes go to SOBE and transform themselves.

Women and men strut around with such confidence in their wigs and heels, coverups and bright ass speedos,  young and old as if they didn’t have a care in the world.

Even better is the fact that nobody seems to judge.  I can sit in front of Mangos (MY FAVORITE PLACE!!!)  www.mangos.com/miami/ and just watch as the crowds walk by for hours.

SOBE is the place to go if you want to get lost for a few days.  If you want to disappear and just breathe.  Pretend to be someone else or just be yourself.  It doesn’t matter.  

I stayed at the Whitelaw Hotel www.whitelawhotel.com/‎.  It was my second time there.  Located on Collins and 8th.  A block from Wet Willies  (not a fan but Hey! Call A CAB!)  and the News Cafe – Gianni Versace’s breakfast spot and a couple blocks from Mangos (. whitelaw3

The hotel is cute and swanky.  They belong to the South Beach Group https://www.southbeachgroup.com/en/home/ and sponsor a free happy hour from 6-7pm everyday in all their hotels. I would definitely stay there again.

But anyway, Ocean Drive is not the only place to people watch.  You can do it all over SOBE, even on Collins Avenue where you can find any number of cute bars and restaurants with outdoor seating like the Bacon Bitch   https://www.baconbitch.com/   which sponsors a fine menu of bacon inspired dishes and asks you if you’re the Main Bitch? Side Bitch? Naked Bitch? Extra Bitch? and several other bitches?  

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Which bitch are you?

I’m Extraaaaaa…lol…Hey! Extra is what got us into the Fountainbleau pool party on Saturday.  As I dressed my daughter asked, “Mom, You’re wearing that to a pool?”  

I was like, “We are not going to a pool, we are going to the Fountainbleau!” and so I rolled up in there like the bou-gee chick I totally am NOT! but it got us a bed and some drinks and MORE importantly we met some pretty awesome guys who shared their bed and their bottles with us.  

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#bathrooomselfi @thefountainbleau

A smorgasbord of people from all walks of life intertwined with local SOBE-ers and Floridians just soaking up the sun, eating good food, and living their best life.

It’s a skip, hop and $250 (approx.) airplane ride away from the cold, dirty streets of NJ and it literally is like stepping into another world.

So if you haven’t been, please go check it out! And if you have let me know when you want to go back!  I’m in there.  

Because living your best life doesn’t require a lot.  Only requires the thing that you love or moves you or gives you joy -anything from sleeping a weekend away watching Netflix and drinking wine, or doing having a self care day, or reading a favorite book for hours. Or visiting distant places.

Living your best life is one in which you get joy from the little and big things and you take care to not deprive others from living theirs. So tell me how are you living your best life?

liveyourbestlife

 

LolaUncorked♥

 

 

 

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Un”Belize”able!!!

 

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I can’t believe I made it to Belize.  There’s nothing better than vocalizing and visualizing and it coming true.  Belize has definitely been in my bucket list – not for long! But that’s the point. Make a list, do it and check it off!  That’s what I did.

This trip was A M A Z I N G!!!!

I purchased a Groupon for my trip to Belize with separate airfare.  And let me give you a little heads up about trips on Groupon (in case you don’t already know).  I love Groupon, HOWEVER, read the fine print or call the destination before purchasing.  I DID NOT! and so even though the Groupon was a great deal, there were a few hidden fees and additional costs that we did not find out about until we were locked into the Groupon.

The package included accommodations for two nights and ziplining (and equipment)  at the Bocawina Rainforest Resort and two nights at Tobacco Caye (pronounced key).  Tobacco Caye is home to the second largest barrier reef- second to of course Australia so we also had access to snorkeling equipment as well as paddle boarding (bucket list item √)!!!  Transportation from Dandriga to Bocawina and back to Dandriga for our ride to Tobacco Caye was also included.  That’s it!  Everything else was out of pocket!

Let me tell you what those costs were. We had to pay for transportation from airport to the town of Dandriga (which FYI was about a three hour ride in some serious August heat in a what resembled a beat-up school bus… no lie! lol).  This ride was $20 (all these fees are in US dollars and per person).  Belize has the Belizean dollar which is basically US money, but you get 2 for 1 which is nice).  You  could also fly in a prop airplane for about $90.  No thanks!  We chose the bus.  There is a 20 minute boat ride from Dandriga to Tobacco Caye.  FYI, this is a dingy with a motor attached, expect nothing else.  Which consequently got stuck about 5 minutes out from the island and we had to wait to be towed in.  Only ME!  This ride cost $10-15.  Food was not included at either location.  Bocawina had a very nice restaurant and the cost of food is comparable to a nice restaurant here.

 

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I loved this sign in the restaurant.

 

At Tobacco Caye we were required to purchase a meal plan which included breakfast, lunch and dinner served in the dining hall of the main cabin.  This was at a cost of about $36 per day and is paid upon check in.  This was something I didn’t like as I don’t necessarily eat three meals a day on vacation, but whatever.  There was also a tourist fee paid upon entrance to both Bocawina and Tobacco Caye.  All in all we paid an additional $200 in extra costs not including our airfare which averaged about $440 roundtrip.  On the flip side, the cost of food in the local town of Dandriga was very inexpensive.  Their local beer Belikin was about $2, not bad as you stroll through the town in 90 degree weather.  We went in August, it was HOT, which I love, some of you may not and may want to research cooler time to visit.

Both Tobacco Caye and Bocawina are heaven on earth.  Considering we were in a dense rainforest and no air conditioning in our cabin (just ceiling fans) surprisingly we didn’t encounter too many bug bites.

Anyway, I got a chance to zipline in Bocawina . OMG I thought I was going to die!!!!  I still can’t believe I did it, and I would be scared to do it again, but wouldn’t hesitate!  What a thrill zipping through those tree tops.  Bocawina has the longest zipline in Belize! It’s also home to like 200 different species of birds.  The only thing I would have liked was a pool or hot tub on site, but our cabana was perfect.  High ceilings, ceiling fan and a beautiful veranda with a hammock.  We took a hookah (of course), liquor, playing cards, snacks, so our two nights there were perfect!

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The entryway to our accommodations at Bocawina…

Our second night we hung out at the restaurant bar and our bartender let us sample different proofs of their Old Master Rum, let’s just say I remember very little of that night.  I did pick up some bottles of Belize Rum to bring home, that was more to my liking.  Didn’t burn a whole in my esophagus!  Leaving was bittersweet.  The staff at the resort were amazing including, Wilson, our driver/ziplining guide/drinking partner/ everything else he did there.  Wilson spoke 7 languages!!!! sorry the teacher in me loves that!

Off we were to our island paradise!  We had to take a bus to the dock for our trip to Tobacco Caye.  After getting stuck in the ocean and me having visions of sharks circling us, we were rescued and tugged in to the island.  Belize was hit by Hurricane Irma back in 2017. Irma wreaked havoc on this little island, so it leaves a lot to be desired as you pull up.  Our accommodations were at the Tobacco Caye (clearly) Lodge).  This island is a mix of tourists (us), the staff who run the facilities, and some locals that live there.  We were placed in a one room hut facing the ocean with a door in back which led to a cute little porch.  The running water in the hut is provided from a tank that collects rain water.  There is a fan in the room.  Again no air conditioner, but honestly being so close to the ocean, the breeze that flowed was more than enough for me. I know it sounds bareboned and if you’re used to luxurious accomodations, then this is not the place to stay at.  If you’re looking for an organic experience connecting with your surroundings – then this is it!!! Go for it! I can be a little bougee on vacation, but I really loved this place.

The island is so small you can literally walk from end to end in less than 10 minutes.  The water is so clear and in some parts so shallow you can walk out 50 feet and water is still knee level.  Of course that’s only if you don’t mind dodging the stingrays (that I thought were manatees) that swim back and forth, back and forth all day.  Literally!  I have a whole new respect for the ocean and its inhabitants.  At the Caye you can pay the locals to go and dive for fresh lobster for about $20US which is then cooked for you in the dining hall.

Overall, two thumbs up for my trip to Belize.  Definitely would like to go back and visit the city and do some nightlife.  This vacation was chill.  Loved every second of it and would go back in heartbeat.

♥LolaUncorked

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2018: The Start of New Beginnings

2018: The Start of New Beginnings

I am not quite sure why I wanted to start this blog…except for three things….

  1. I’ve always wanted to be a writer and though I’ve had little to no formal training, I’ve written a lot of stuff…now it’s time to put it out there…
  2. As I inch excitedly towards 50, I’ve reached a point in my life where it is IMPERATIVE that I find my truth…I need to find my space in this world and I need to find my purpose…it is a matter of life and death….dramatic, but no seriously. Something has been pulling at me for quite some time and it is time to answer that call.
  3. And lastly, #3 I’ve been on a spiritual journey for the last 20 something years…and I don’t feel I am any closer today than I was then…but that’s me being hard on myself because we are our worst critics.   And though I don’t knock the journey… I started to think that if I started to blog it …I WOULD SOMEHOW BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR IT… by all of you… and so here goes…

          Can I just say this blogging business is not easy!!! I started back in October and am still trying to figure it out.  Purchased books, researched blogs, read a lot of them, hired someone to help me with the layout and all.  What I’ve learned is you need to be consistent with it.  If I stayed away from it for more than a couple of days, when I revisited, it felt like the first time.  

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This me attempting to have my photos taken for this blog….AWKWARD… PC|Geralogy.com

        I googled the top bloggers of 2017 and one of the lists I found gave me the following information: Out of the top bloggers considered by that site – 59 were women, 6 were men, 57 were Caucasian and 2 of color.  Insert eyebrow raised here.  Where are all the Latino bloggers?  Where are all the Latino lifestyle bloggers?  Where are all the Latino lifestyle bloggers for women over 40 (nearing 50)?  Don’t get me wrong.  I follow a few fashion bloggers and I absolutely adore them, but at my age, fashion is not a top priority.  I am more interested in personal growth, health, travel, and being inspired.

     So I guess this is where I come in – because that is what I will be writing about.  I’ll share some of my favorite personal growth authors, articles, musings; even some of the stuff I’ve written. I want to share with you places I have visited and places in my bucket list.  You’ll see lots of pictures and funny stories about my adventures with Max.  You’ll even read some endless streams of consciousness about a little of bit of everything because goodness knows I have a lot of thoughts about a lot of things.  

     My hope is that I can inspire some of you to start on your own blogging journey and be inspired by all of you to keep on keeping on!

      Let the journey begin!

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♥LolaUncorked