Wednesday, July 26, 2017

the cost of visiting Florida's national parks

If you're a regular reader around here, then you may have noticed how much we love the national park system. And it's our goal to visit all 59 of America's national parks. This will probably take us a decade, but is a fun adventurous goal to have.
Lately, we've started visiting all the parks within a state at once, like hiking through Utah's Mighty Five in Seven Days or Wandering Washington. So it should come as no surprise that we visited all 3 of Florida's parks within as many days. One thing I noticed compared to other national park visits is that we had to do a ton of research with trying to sort out our options for each park. Florida's national parks are unique and don't have as much hiking emphasis as others, so it can get costly with paying for activities in each park. I thought I'd share our budget friendly cost breakdown for visiting each national park. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

a camper's guide to dry tortugas national park

With our trip through the sunshine state, we visited all 3 of Florida's national parks. We spotted alligators in the everglades and went boating in biscyane, but by far our favorite was our visit to Dry Tortugas National Park.
This national park is actually an island off the coast of Florida that just so happens to be surrounded by the world's 3rd largest coral barrier reef. Even though the island is closer to Cuba than it is to the US, it used to serve as a major line of defense in the 1800's so it's chalked full of history. 

Dry Tortugas is one of the least visited national parks. This isn't because it's not worth visiting. Trust me, it is. But the only way to access the park is by boat or by seaplane. Add in the fact that the island has no electricity, no internet, no fresh water---most people only visit as a day trip. But Tom and I pride ourselves on not being most people. And a night of dry camping on a secluded island sounded like paradise to us. We spent our time laying out on the beach and searching the fort for hidden treasures. So I thought it would be a fun idea to share what we learned. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

every point counts

I'm doing all the things this week with grad school. I have so many projects due (crown & bridge preps + denture set-ups) and an exam that I will definitely be cramming for tonight as I haven't even started studying. Yet, I'm taking the time to write this quick post because I wanted to acknowledge hitting a big milestone with dental school. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

a week of wear: florida edition

I'm normally stuck in scrubs all day every day. While I kind of hate it, one thing it's taught me is that clothes are meant to have a function, not just be pretty. So with packing for our recent trip to Florida, I made sure to not only consider the cuteness factor, but also what would function best.
I literally packed based around what activities we were doing each day. And I was much happier with the outcome, so I thought it'd be fun to share a vacation edition of a week of wear

Sunday, July 9, 2017

day trip diaries: key west

The Florida Keys and Key West in particular have been on our radar for years, so I'm glad to say that we finally made it happen. 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Boston Broadway :: WICKED!

Boston Broadway Belated Birthday
Say that 5X fast
One of the best parts about Tom being in Boston is that, well it's Boston. And being so close to New York-"the home of broadway", means that we've gone from never having seen a broadway show to having seen 4 together (The Lion King, The Book of Mormon, Chicago, Aladdin) and now lucky #5 with Wicked!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

a frantic fourth

I hope everyone had a fun and safe fourth of July. Ours was completely unexpected and totally frantic. We had a bit of a scare with our pup and ended up at the emergency vet until 3AM rolling into the 4th. Not the best way to kick things off. And we wound up going back to the vet during the day too. We're just so fortunate that we found someone to take care of our furbaby during the holiday.  But this definitely put a damper on our plans and we ended up cancelling things so that we could keep an eye on our PJ pup ( I think he's out of the woods now) and catch up on some much needed sleep for ourselves. So this fourth of july was more of a reminder that things can't and won't always work out the way you planned. But at the end of it all, we're just thankful things weren't worse. FYI the fireworks pic above is from last year's fireworks show in Boston that we caught right after spending the holiday weekend camping in Vermont

Monday, July 3, 2017

camping in the keys

We've been camping all over the country, but never on a beach. And I can't imagine a better place to have had our first experience with beach camping then in the Florida Keys. Even a resort hotel couldn't offer this beach front view! 
Snorkeling by day and sandy beach camping by night = PARADISE

Saturday, July 1, 2017

spring clothing budget update

It's been a couple of months since my last clothing budget update. I became so accustomed to not buying clothes during my spending freeze that it changed my perception of when and why I am buying. But when the warmer weather came, I had to stock my closet. So here's a combination of all of my spring purchases from May and June. 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

life lately :: jubilant june

jubilant = (adj.) feeling or expressing great happiness and triumph
If May was full of Mayhem, then June was it's exact opposite. A month full of lots of small wins turning into big victories. And really how could June not be good when it represents that official transition from spring into summer?
life lately jubilant june

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

alligators in the everglades

Everglades National Park is well known for hosting a unique range of animals: alligators, crocodiles, even jaguars. So my hopes were high with expecting to see lots of wildlife. We only had the morning to spend in the Everglades as we had afternoon plans in Biscayne National Park, so I was the most impatient thing ever with searching for wildlife.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

boating biscayne

Lucky for us that within 3 days time, we managed to visit all 3 of Florida's national parks. And Biscayne National Park is one of those hard to access ones solely for the fact that it's a protected coral reef with 95% of the park being underwater. 
There are so many unique options for exploring the park, but we ultimately decided on doing a boat tour with sightseeing and island hoping all around Biscayne Bay. Crystal blue waters and sandy beaches, it was a no brainer. 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

older & wiser

I love birthdays, I always have. 
The idea that every person has a special day-all their own. Over the years, I've been so focused on the fun of celebrating birthdays that I hadn't really noticed how much older I was actually getting. But I recent marked my 28th birthday and for some reason, this one felt like a milestone. It was the first time in a long time that I've really reflected on the decisions I've made these last 28 years and how they'll impact my future. But more than ever, I felt my age this year. I had grand plans to visit Martha's Vineyard, but ultimately decided against it and decided to relax and catch up on sleep in lieu of going on some grand adventure. I have this contest fear of missing out, but in this case catching up on self-care was so much more important. It feels like I've completely shifted my focus of where I want my future to go and what what I hold most important as I gotten older. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

a day in the life of a dental student: spring break

Dental school is year-round, which always makes me jealous of my med school friends. As such, it makes the few breaks that we are given so precious. This year, I did my spring break just right with mixing in a short southern road trip (Tennessee & Kentucky) with relaxing and still being productive and getting lots of work done. Before summer officially begins tomorrow, I thought it'd be a perfect time to share a rare glimpse of a relaxing day in the life of a dental student

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

mountain zip-lining


Every trip needs an incredible adventure to go along with it, one stand out experience that sticks with you forever. While everything we did during our camping trip was amazing, zip-lining through the Blue Ridge Mountains was easily the highlight. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

the struggle is real

300 
That's the number of African Americans that will become dentists in the Untied States this year...in the whole entire country, just 300. And let's not talk about how many of those are women. It's an impossibly small number, but it's not lost upon me. I've chosen to join a profession that historically tried to keep people like me out of their profession and organizations long after so many others had integrated. Now in 2017, I've had to deal with dentists telling me they don't want to work with me, classmates insulting me, and patients refusing treatment from me. It's unbelievable how much people chose to judge my competence by my blackness. So when I say the struggle is real, I mean it. Because it's not my personal struggle I'm referring to, but a systematic one against so many. But I can't be angry or upset about my struggle, it does no good. Instead, I keep pushing, keep fighting, keep working towards my goal. 

linking up for Show&Tell Tuesday 

Monday, June 12, 2017

memorial day in the mountains

This past memorial day weekend was made perfect by the fact that I got to spend it with my little sister; just the two of us. It was a waterfall chasing, s'mores making, bear encountering, mountain zip-lining, hiking, camping kind of weekend.
pisgah national forest Asheville
We headed to Asheville, which is a true gem of a mountain town in North Carolina,  located right along the famous Blue Ridge Parkway. And since it's only a few hours from my parents home, it was the perfect place for us to head for the weekend. We split our time exploring Pisgah National Forest, Chimney Rock State Park, and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
pisgah national forest Asheville
It was actually Jada's first time camping and I blame that on me. We have more than a decade between our ages. When I was little, I complained every single moment of every single camping trip. I hated it! Ironically, it's now one of my favorite things to do and I can't get enough of it. But with Jada being even more girly than me, my parents pretty much assumed Jada would hate camping too and never took her. But she loved it and was a real trooper too because we camped through one of the worst storms I've ever encountered and had some pretty close calls with black bears right outside of our tent every single night.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Mayhem in May

May was full of so much work and chaos, really just pure mayhem, as evidenced by the fact that I'm just now writing about it. We're getting pretty far into June, so I questioned whether or not I should even bother to write a recap for May, but if ever a month needed a moment to step back and digest it all, it would be this one.
 This past month was a bit of an adjustment period with getting used to treating patients all day. While it's incredibly rewarding, it's also beyond stressful and exhausting. As a result, some things in my personal life suffered a bit...ahem this little blog. I even cancelled a trip, which you guys know is so unlike me, but I was really just too busy to take a break, even a much needed one. But in spite of how busy I was, May was a really good month and deserves to have all those small moments highlighted. I will remember it most for my transition into the dental clinic, but I want to remember it also for the small things too. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

springtime in the desert

This time last year, we were off on the most epic trip through the desert. I’d never been to the desert and aside from a few cacti, I expected it to be pretty desolate. But as it turns out springtime in the desert is just as beautiful as it is anywhere else. More so even because it's so unexpected. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

a week of wear: vol 2

It's been so long since I shared Volume 1, but I've recently had some major schedule changes that impact how I'm getting dressed each day. I'm now in clinic with patients 3 days a week and then I spend the 4th day doing lab work, which means I'm wearing scrubs 4/5 days of the week. That leaves me with one day of the week where we have the morning off, then an exam plus lecture in the afternoon. So this is my one day to wear real clothes.
But to be honest, I normally spend the morning studying and taking the time to get dressed (as opposed to tossing on scrubs) seems like time wasted. Thankfully, I have this little space to remind me that making an effort with self-care and taking time to put myself together every once in a while is NOT a waste. So here's a mix of new and old clothes that I've been pairing together for some recent outfits for dental school. 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

packing for florida

There's always lots of prep work going on behind the scenes for any trip that I take. On my recent trip through Florida, one thing that I didn't want to underestimate was the packing. Aside from doing lots of outfit planning, we had all of our beach gear and camping supplies to think about. Literally stuffed the SUV we had to the brim. 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

europe by numbers

I wanted to do one last share from my Europe trip with my little sister because I found myself making lots of lists during long flights and train rides with no internet and a sleeping sister. I thought it would be fun to list off some of the things I kept track of to help pass the time. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

hola barcelona

The last stop on my Europe trip with my little sister was Spain. This county was a first for us both and we ended up ringing in the new year here. I couldn't have asked for a better place or a better way to kick off 2017. 
We visited the famed Park Guell, which was designed by Gaudi to be an outdoor utopian city. Spain is covered with the unique architecture of Gaudi, which was so fun to spot and visit, especially La Sagrada Familia, a church that is taken 100 years to build (it's still not finished).
 Starting the day at Park Guell with the sunrise, my favorite time of of day

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

April so Far

Saturday, April 22, 2017

florida bound!

We're off to Florida today and I couldn't be more pleased. With starting clinic this month, treating patients has been my top priority. And it feels like things have gotten a little off balance with managing my personal life. So I'm looking forward to enjoying a much needed week off from dental school. Per usual, I'm making the best of a little time off with a vacation. We've been putting this Florida trip off for so long because it's a pricey one, but are finally doing it and will be crossing several big adventures off the bucket list, including visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (total potterhead here). After Orlando, it's off to Miami and then onward to enjoy the Florida Keys. Looking forward to a relaxing, but adventure packed week. Feel free to follow along on instagram
florida bound

Sunday, April 16, 2017

monastery on a mountain

Happy Easter! 
 Since I'm spending my easter weekend locked away studying at my desk, I thought it would be a good time to finally share this European Adventure. I've been on a virtual tour though Europe this weekend with posts from France, Italy, and now Spain. And if you're a regular around here, it will come as no surprise that I managed to find a mountain top to visit while in Europe.  
Part of the reason I've always loved hiking is because it's a transcendent experience for me, the top of a mountain has always been where I feel closest to HIM. So imagine my surprise and genuine gratitude when we stumbled upon Montserrat in Spain, most known for being home of the "black madonna" and linked to the "holy grail". I can't think of a better time to share this experience than Easter Sunday, so here goes...

Friday, April 14, 2017

ciao cinque terre

After landing in Milan, Cinque Terre was our first official stop on our European Adventure. And I was immediately kicking myself for not having gotten here sooner. Because this wasn't my first trip to Italy, nor was it my second. It was my third and I have no idea what took me so long. But thankfully, it was my little sisters first trip to Italy, and Europe in general which gave me a whole new perspective with seeing this place through her eyes. 
I actually was a little worried that it wouldn't be the picturesque place I dreamed because we were visiting during winter,  just a few days after Christmas actually. But the fact that it was Christmas actually made Cinque Terre more magical as all the towns were lit up with festive holiday lights and nativity scenes. 
Cinque Teerre = 5 lands
It's made up of 5 villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Cornelia, Manaroloa, and Riomagggiore. While Vernazza is probably the most well known town (that view!), I think that you can't visit one without seeing the others. The villages are small enough that you can easily do them all in a single day, especially if you go by train that passes through each of the towns.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

a charming town in France

If you took a survey asking people where they would most like to visit in Europe, the majority would say France, particularly Paris. And I was the same way, until I was actually there that is. While I have fond memories of Paris....climbing the stairs of the Eiffel Tower, visiting Mona Lisa at the Louvre, touring Versailles, I decided Paris and France in general were not for me.
st paul du vance
The people and my interactions there made me never want to step foot into France again. So when my Europe trip with my sister rolled around, I was not exactly happy that our itinerary included several stops through France. But when we visited the charming little town of St. Paul du Vance, this place has completely changed my mind. France is redeemed in my eyes and I can now completely understand why it is the most visited country in Europe.
st paul du vance
the gorgeous town on a hilltop coming into view in the early morning light 

Saturday, April 8, 2017

march moments

We're getting a bit into April, so if you can't tell, 
I'm a little behind with my blogging. I even thought about skipping my March monthly recap. But March was the best month I've had in a long time. And I would be remise if I didn't take the time to document it. 
life lately march

Friday, April 7, 2017

that's one mammoth cave!

Crossing another national park off our list thanks to a recent Southern Road Trip. After visiting Nashville in Tennessee, we headed through Kentucky and had to make a stop at Mammoth Cave National Park...the longest cave system in the world. 
Each national park visit gets more and more unique and this one involved lots of tight spaces and spelunking. Good thing we're not claustrophobic! We hiked both above ground and underground, but the obvious highlight was touring through the caves. 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

end of spending freeze

After having not bought any clothes for 3 months, I finally broke my spending freeze in a really big way. In March, all the winter gear was on sale so I took advantage of that to stock my closet with this very pricey item on discount of course. Also, picked up a few fun things that will work for the Spring weather. 

Full Length Coat Original $289 + 40% off + $17 in rewards = $156
Seeing as I spend half my year in Boston, I've been wanting a full length coat for a while now, but didn't want to spend a ton. I finally found just what I was looking for and at the right price too. Coats like this stick around for years and was definitely worth investing in.