A 4 day weekend in NYC

I was 13 years old when I asked my mom if I could use my babysitting money for a subscription to New York Magazine. I put my hard earned cash into those little envelopes the magazine companies would send out with a free magazine hoping to entice you to fifty others. I checked the box for New York Magazine and eagerly awaited its arrival.

The pictures and the city splashed across its glossy pages were unlike anything I had ever seen growing up in rural Minnesota. I was enamored. Urban sprawl and lights and fashion. Everything was happening in New York. I naively began researching boarding schools hoping I could find one with cheap enough tuition for the middle class white girl from Minnesota. When that didn’t work out, I set my sights on Columbia University. Reality set in my senior year when I actually had to apply to colleges and none of my applications were sent Columbia or NYU’s way.

No, it wasn’t until much later at twenty-four years old when I was Skyping my good friend who had gone to college on Long Island and I decided I was just going to make this happen. I was going to see New York City with her as my tour guide since she still worked on the Island. We booked the tickets and the lodging, planned our daily itineraries, and off I went Memorial Day Weekend of 2016.

Stepping off the subway in Manhattan the first time after riding it from where we stayed in Queens will be forever engraved in my memory. It was like the pictures of the magazine jumping off the page and surrounding me. Bryant Park where they once held fashion week, the New York Public Library from the Day After Tomorrow, Fifth avenue’s designer stores where the wealthy shopped. It was all real. As were the busy, head down, scrambling to their next destinations New Yorkers and the awe-struck, staring at the buildings scraping the heavens tourists like myself. The character of the city took my breath away. The infamous buildings and streets used in so many movies and television shows. The expansiveness of it all; from a bird’s eye view the city spread out for miles upon miles. We attempted to conquer as much of it as we could in three and a half days with 90 degrees and some serious humidity.

For lodging – we had a great experience with our Airbnb in Queens. Definitely felt safe and it was cheap. For my night alone, I opted for a hotel I’d absolutely recommend and stay in again – the Archer Hotel just south of Midtown. Fantastic customer service from all the staff. Great roof top bar. Centrally located. Very clean. Especially awesome bartenders who were friendly and chatty with the party of one Washington girl despite how busy it was.

Before sharing my itinerary, I’ll note that I hadn’t seen my friends in YEARS, so a lot of our evenings were spent at our Airbnb catching up instead of out of the town. This weekend plan could definitely take advantage of more of the night life, and it could could even squeeze in more of the tourist staples – Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, etc. But for me personally, strolling the streets and taking the city in was often more than enough.

A Long Weekend in New York City

Day One

  • Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center
  • Brunch
  • Times Square
  • Afternoon Broadway play
  • Midtown exploring
  • St. Patrick’s Cathedral
  • Back to Woodside for the most epic pizza in Queens (I’ll have a whole post devoted to the food, don’t you worry)

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Day Two

  • Upper East Side
  • Central Park
  • Natural History Museum
  • Midtown for late lunch/dessert
  • Back into Central Park for a nap
  • Happy hour at a rooftop bar

 

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Day Three

  • Walking the highline
  • Greenwich Village exploring
  • 9/11 Memorial
  • Subway to Brooklyn
  • Exploring the Brooklyn Bridge park area
  • Walking the Brooklyn Bridge
  • Little Italy
  • Chinatown
  • Archer Hotel for check in / relaxation
  • Drinks and dinner solo at the Skyglass Rooftop Bar

 

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Day Four

  • Bryant Park
  • Upper West Side and Central Park
  • Brunch & a pickleback shot with a college friend + more exploring of the Upper West Side
  • Back to where it began with exploring the New York Public Library
  • Late afternoon flight -> Back to the hotel to grab my bags -> to Grand Central station via train to Jamica/JFK shuttle -> goodbye New York

 

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The perfect little weekend in NYC. A weekend I am too eager to recreate again soon. I did come to terms with the fact that although the city was amazing to visit, I actually don’t regret not living there. Conversations about rent, the job market, and congestion worse than the Seattle area pretty much sealed that deal.

A lovely place to visit, but I’ll keep it that way. Hopefully again and again and again.

“One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.”
― Tom Wolfe

 

The Inaugural Wildcard Wednesday

Considering I have been pretty much missing-in-action from W&W since our Costa Rica trip, I figured I’d kick things off with my first Wildcard post. I could jump into travels, fitness, or marriage but I want to take it slow. I’ll get into all the heavy stuff (like the 105 lb dead lift workout I did tonight!) in due time.

 

What have I been up to?

 

Obsessing over all things fall.

 

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Trying out my birthday kayaks for as long as the weather will allow.

 

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Forcing this boy to take annoyingly cute fall photos. This wasn’t one of them.

 

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Learning how to run in frigid temps again. Thanks for the stamina, Alaska.

 

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What am I loving this week?

 

For starters the new Halo Top flavors, especially S’mores and Oatmeal Cookie.  

This jam by Cobi.

My new Sam Edelman leather jacket from Nordstrom Rack that was like HALF the price it’s listed as here.

Thrillist for providing the ultimate list of the best margaritas in San Diego. We intend to divide and conquer on this list in two weeks. Give me all the spicy margs.

This movie blowing my damn mind and making me want to pay for my car/house/life in cash.

 

 

What am I hating this week?

 

The narcissist demagogue running for president. This one’s for you, ya ass hat.

The price of plane tickets for Thanksgiving weekend. The Mr. and I are attempting to meet up somewhere between Washington and where he’ll be training for month, but we’re trying not to spend our salaries on tickets. *sob* Any holiday airfare tips?

The double click unlock feature on the new iOS. Stahhhhppp.

 

 

What do I want to shout at the top of my lungs?

 

“Don’t cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.”

 

 

Happy Wednesday, y’all! Feel free to share anything you’re loving, hating, or wanting to shout into the void.

 Camille Mae (2)

Wanders & Words is back!

I’m baaaack. And this sweet, little space of mind has a whole new look. I have missed Wanders & Words so much. When I made the decision back in early September to start blogging consistently again I wanted to approach this right. I dropped my wordpress.com account, decided to host my website, and now I own it. From every font choice and color, to every inch of the layout – this baby is all mine.

 

What can you expect from this makeover?

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Well beyond just the aesthetic changes (I’m in love with the new logo Y’ALL), you can expect a few familiar posts:

Adventures: Where have I been? Where am I going next? What makes travel easier? How do I plan? Where do I find the cheapest flights? Why do I love airports? What airline/places are military friendly? Weekend trips. Day trips. 2 hour excursions. You name it.

Fitness: Over the past year I have been surfing, skiing, weightlifting, hiking, training for a half marathon, crushing said half marathon, kayaking, running random 5K’s and just exploring every facet of fitness (except spin classes because I tried one and it was horrible). I’d love to run another half, or pick up Crossfit again, or do one of those crazy spartan runs with fire – and share the struggles and triumphs here.

Food: New recipe? Meal prep plan? Margarita review? My experience eating my way through New York? I do warn you all that unlike previous versions of “Fitness & Food Fridays” this won’t all be healthy. The reality is – I love food. All food. Kale and donuts. Quinoa and prosecco. Chicken and chocolate chip cookie dough. I’m keeping it real this time around.

 

I’ll also be adding posts about:

Married/Military Life: Being married is such an important part of my life. When you couple our marriage with this job that deeply impacts our life decisions, these posts will delve into both aspects. How do I handle the constant questions about marrying young? How the move from Alaska to Washington was and what did it entail? As a military spouse, how does Alaska differ from Washington differ as a duty station? Why is being married literally the best thing ever?

Wildcard Words: What am I loving? What am I hating? Who do I want to vent about? *cough* Trump *cough*. What is making me smile? A song I can’t get out of my head. A current event I can’t believe. Instead of a flurry of random venting, I’m just going to condense it down into a wildcard post. Sort of like a get out of a jail free card. These will be all over the place. Sort of like my blog was before – just condensed into once every other week or so post.

 

What I won’t talk about:

My job: I’ve gone back and forth on this for a while, but I’ve concluded my current job is not a part of my life I want to share anymore. I enjoy and struggle with my career in marketing, and I’ve decided that this platform isn’t the place I want to vent or brag about it. My job is my job. This is for fun.

Book reviews/reads: This one makes me sad because I am SUCH an avid reader, but I wanted to channel my focus into a few main topics and my passion for reading didn’t make the cut. *sob* I have too many interests, I know. Feel free to ask me for a book suggestion ANY TIME. More than likely I’ll direct you to Looking for Alaska by John Green, Prep by Curtis Sittenfield, or The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Or obviously the entire Harry Potter series.

 

Why the refresh?

I am so different than when I started this blog. My goals, dreams, hobbies, passions, job, writing style, personality etc etc etc. A new look felt necessary if I was going to keep writing and using this as an outlet. This blog has never been to profit or to journal. It’s sharing my life. It’s my art. It’s an archive of things I’ve done and see. It’s providing others with an opportunity to relate or agree (maybe even disagree) or to get ideas or inspiration for their own lives. It’s for conversation, for reference, for fun. It’s for me and it’s for you. I’m excited for this and I appreciate the 1, 10, or 100 people who may pass by and read any of these words.

“So what do we do? Anything. Something. So long as we just don’t sit there. If we screw it up, start over. Try something else. If we wait until we’ve satisfied all the uncertainties, it may be too late.” – Lee Iacocca

 

 

Tuesday evening quotes

I stumbled across an old quote I had saved that spoke to me more today than at any other point in my life –

Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs.
-Farrah Gray

Now I’m drinking Rose for dinner, staying up past my bedtime, and dwelling on these words. As an adult I have found it is so easy to become jaded and lose interest in things that I once felt a deep passion for. Writing is a perfect example of this. At 10 I was convinced I’d be a novelist. At 20 I was convinced I’d be a journalist. At 25 (two weeks people) I write emails and scopes of work for clients and their projects.

Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for my job and thankful my words are used in any way at all. But what a cop out – to quit writing as even a hobby because I feel so exhausted and burnt out from the writing in my current career. My last blogging entry (mid-April?) is about as evident of this as a I can explain.

I am always urging my husband to follow his dreams. I want him to do what makes him happy. Currently that’s a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army, but if he ever feels that isn’t for him, I always want him to feel supported to quit and find something else.

Why don’t I extend the same kindness to myself?

Again, I am thankful and content with my current position for now. Executing national email and direct mail pieces for my clients is fulfilling in a way that I had never experienced before, but I see words like the above and can’t help but feel my potential is so much greater. My passion is so much different. My drive and determination is getting lost in the hours and demands of others.

I once had a boss who told me he saw so much potential in me, he could see me running my own business one day. I felt my pride in my work ethic and commitment to do well surge. It was one of the greatest compliments I had ever received.

I have tendency to thrive on routine and safety. To find solace in the comfortable and in doing what I’m excellent at and nothing else. Not just good, mind you. If I’m not excellent – I usually just quit.

But what a thrill I think – to pursue a passion so deeply and fearlessly that failure is not an option. That doing poorly at first or for awhile is not only expected, but embraced. To stop quietly obeying the directions of others and live your life by your own rules.

“Mediocrity will never do. You are capable of something better.”
― Gordon B. Hinckley

I am capable of something better. I have a big enough head thanks to good parents and studious grades throughout my adolescence that I know I am destined for bigger, better things.

But at what point do I live my words instead of just writing them down?

My 25th birthday seems as good of a time as any. A quarter of a century old has brought me wisdom (or a reality check) in a way I am endlessly thankful for.

We have just one life. Just one.

 

 

 

3 years

3 years

I have always written about things that move me. Things that I’m passionate about. Things that have affected me deeply. It’s why I write about travel, about books, about my family, about fitness, and most of all, it’s why I write about love. I love writing about love.

Nothing has brought me more joy and emotion that loving someone and being loved.

Today I get to officially celebrate 3 years of pure joy and raw, emotional love.

I won’t offer advice or insight today. Our story is our own. From the smiles to the tears, to the nights spent cuddled next to each other and those spent thousands of miles apart. For over six years we’ve been figuring it all out together and for three years today, we’ve been figuring it out as a married couple.

I am insanely proud of our marriage. We were kids when we were dating, kids when we got married, and according to both sets of our parents, we’re still kids now (Disclaimer: we’re both the babies of the family so we’ll be affectionately referred to as the kids until the end of time). For being “children” though, we sure do a hell of a good job at being husband and wife. We love deeply, communicate well, respect always, plan wisely, spend within our means, and grow closer through each trial.

My favorite part of all? We always say yes. To adventure, to new opportunities, to each other, to growth, and to love.

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Loving this man has been the biggest, most empowering, fulfilling thing I have ever done.

I am a better person (and a better feminist) for understanding the sacrifice and selflessness of unconditionally loving another.

Cheers to three amazing years. There is no one on earth I’d rather adventure with than you, my love.

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“I knew I did from that first moment we met. It was… Not love at first sight exactly, but – familiarity. Like: oh, hello, it’s you. It’s going to be you.”
– Mhairi McFarlane

 

 

Pura Vida – Costa Rica Pt. 3

Pura Vida – Costa Rica Pt. 3

I read the travel writing compilation of Don George before I left on this trip. His book, “The Way of Wanderlust” struck a yearning in my heart for places I’d never considered visiting until he wrote about them. From hiking Kilimanjaro to relaxing in the Cook Islands to exploring hidden temples in Cambodia. George’s words have a way of making one feel as if you’re right there with him, and upon snapping out of the trance, an intense urge to buy a plane ticket immediately.

Reflecting on Costa Rica, I wish I could describe this country as perfectly and poetically through the written word. Unfortunately I feel my favorite memory from the trip has to be accompanied by pictures to tell the story accurately. Maybe one day I’ll be a great travel writer, or maybe I’ll always need the pictures…


 

It was hot. Nine in the morning and the sun was already beating down with such ferocity I knew my cheap straw sunhat and sunscreen applied over an hour ago were doing little to protect my skin. We had also been trudging along the beach for the past fifteen minutes, so sweat had began to form at every crease of my body. I glanced up to Michael, about 10 feet in front of me, diligently marching towards our final destination, surfboard in tow. He’d insisted on grabbing it before we entered the park, so I had little sympathy for his struggle as he shifted it between arms every couple of minutes.

Looking past him, I could see the end our of trek. The Whale’s Tail in Parque Nacional Marino Bellana. At low tide Playa Hermosa and Playa Uvita, two beaches along Costa Rica’s southwestern coast, joined to form the infamous Whale’s Tail. From the moment I saw the aerial view on one of the many travel blogs I poured over prior to our trip, I knew I had to see it for myself.

I wiped my forehead and adjusted the backpack on my shoulders. Many around us were making the same trek to the end of the Whale’s Tail, but some had plopped down right on the narrow stretch of beach for a break. I envied them. They didn’t have a husband on a mission. I picked up my pace and briefly wondered how many Pina Coladas I was walking off.

After five or so minutes, the soft, wet sand began to be sprinkled with rocks and I looked up from watching my feet to see we’d reached the end. The rocky, tide-pool filled end of the whale’s tail. Michael had come to a stop and as I tried to maneuver around rocks to reach him I understood why. Our flip flops were no match for the jagged, soaked terrain. We’d planned to walk to the very end so he could surf and I could sun bathe, but there was at least 500 ft to go and no chance we’d make it unscathed.

“So much for that,” he said begrudgingly and I sighed in agreement. “Well, I saw some bigger waves back where we entered in the park. Let’s just go back there. Closer to food and drinks. Maybe you can find some shade.” I grimaced thinking of the walk back, but knew my face was already beat red. Without another word he turned around and walked away. A bubble of anger rose up in my throat. I was disappointed enough by our anti-climatic whale’s tale adventure, but his disinterest in anything but surfing was beginning to piss me off. I stubbornly contemplated sitting down right there among the tide pools to take in the turquoise ocean crashing into the black rocks of the tail’s end all by myself. I glanced back to see how far he’d made it and instead, I saw the view.

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The stretch of beach that led us out to the tail had already begun to disappear back to the ocean. But each time the waves retreated, the jungle, mountains, and marshmallow clouds before me reflected in the wet sand. To describe it as simply “stunning” would be a travesty. Frozen in place and humbled by the earth, it hit me.

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Walking out on the Whale’s Tail to stare at the ocean wasn’t the point. One could stare at the ocean from any position on shore. Travelers walked out on the Whale’s Tail to look back. They walk out into the ocean to see the land from a different perspective.

I stood for a few moments longer before Michael called to me. He pointed up at the mountains with a delighted expression. I smiled in spite of my annoyance just moments before. Sharing this with him, with the person I love more than any other, was so much more important than being bitter he rather surf than meditate. I jogged to catch up with him – a feat considering the sun only blazed more fiercely as we approached mid-day.

We walked in sync back to the main beach together, silently sharing our awe of this place we had the privilege of visiting. Just before we veered right to settle into our palm tree hangout, I saw it. The very point where the beaches met. The very tree from which the whale tail grew each morning and disappeared each afternoon at high tide. My head must have been down on the walk out to have missed it, so focused on the destination I’d forgotten to enjoy the journey. Or, I had simply needed a new perspective.

I snapped the picture. Michael yelled back to say he could see the perfect spot up ahead. I turned away from the edge of the world and find that weeks later, it is forever seared in my memory.

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Thank you for the memories, Uvita. Pura Vida.

“Now more than ever do I realize that I will never be content with a sedentary life, that I will always be haunted by thoughts of a sun-drenched elsewhere.”

Isabelle Eberhardt, The Nomad: The Diaries of Isabelle Eberhardt

Camille Mae (2)

 

 

Pura Vida – Costa Rica Pt. 2

Pura Vida – Costa Rica Pt. 2

I am probably in the minority when I say I did not visit a foreign country until I was 23 years old, and my first was Canada. A lovely, diverse country I’m sure but fairly anti-climatic when in search of experiencing a new culture. I grew up in Minnesota after all. We both hold our vowels equally long and wear parkas 9 months of the year.

Costa Rica was my first true foreign experience.

 

– Hardly anyone spoke English. M thankfully speaks Spanish pretty well and was able to act as a translator for us, but I wish I’d brushed up a bit as I was hopeless.

– Driving was unlike anything I’d ever seen, with cars and motorcycles weaving in and out of traffic with little regard for the bicyclists and walkers on the sides. Speed limit signs seemed to be a suggestion and it appeared to be a game of how close you could get to the on coming traffic when trying to pass. I was more scared while riding in our shuttle from Uvita to San Jose than I was at any other point in the trip (even when walking through an area notorious for poisonous snakes).

– They don’t automatically serve water with your meals and nearly every server acted confused when we asked for “agua” with our alcoholic beverages.

– Despite Costa Rica being the third world* we saw just as much wealth and “middle class” homes as we did shanty tin roof set ups. I admit we only saw the Puntarenas, San Jose, and Arenal areas but there was less poverty that I’d imagined.

– Tipping isn’t the norm, so the few people we chose to tip practically hugged us with gratitude.

– “Browsing” a store does not happen in Costa Rica. Every store we visited had personal shoppers that asked you what you needed and sought to help you find it quickly. If we would politely decline their help, the person would proceed to follow us around the store and if we quietly spoke to each other about something like a hat – our friend would pipe it in with the price or that they had it in another color. I had a feeling this has more to do with theft then anything…

– Everyone seemed #BLESSED to live there. We didn’t run into one cranky Costa Rican. The guides, drivers, and hosts we asked about living there spoke of Costa Rica as if it was the best place in the world. They had no intention of leaving and seemed humbled to call it home. The beauty of the country and the positivity of its citizens makes it easy to see why Costa Rica is the happiest country in the world.

*I feel it’s important to comment on referring to Costa Rica as the third world. I was aware before I went that it was a less developed country, but I actually didn’t do significant research on how developed it was or wasn’t until after I returned. Costa Rica has a growing economy, a great healthcare system, clean water, the lowest homicide rate of any other Latin American country, and a successful democratic republic government. But, it also has one of the highest poverty levels in the world and has a lot of work to do with infrastructure. Calling it the “third world” still seems outdated and inaccurate. It’s a less developed country, but its economy is growing and tourism helps.

It was difficult driving by tin roof establishments that span a city block to arrive at our luxurious hotel situated on a cliff side overlooking the ocean. But that hotel employed ALL native Costa Ricans from the hosts, servers, cooks, masseuses, maids, grounds keepers, etc. Just as we try to buy and eat local in the United States, we did the same while in Uvita. Everything I read online predicted the country thriving in years to come.

Overall, for my first taste of culture shock I am humbled and thankful I got to experience it in this beautiful, joyous country. Below you’ll find a few moments I captured on camera when I realized I wasn’t in Kansas anymore…

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Costa Rica Pt. 3 will be all the pretty views. I promise.

“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.”
Anita Desai

Til next time,

Camille Mae (2)

Pura Vida – Costa Rica Pt. 1

Pura Vida – Costa Rica Pt. 1

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Paradise is a place on earth. I found it here.

Uvita, Puntarenas, Costa Rica.

We had talked and talked about taking our honeymoon for years. Before we were even married, I fantasized about the dreamy, tropical vacation I wanted to take with the mister. Unfortunately finances and the reality of starting a life together set in after we said “I do”. Living in Alaska, establishing my career, and making sure we had enough plates to eat off of trumped a plane ticket to the Carribean. Making our honeymoon a reality was put on pause.

After the first year, we thought maybe we could squeeze it in. I had earned vacation time. We had all necessary furniture. We’d even saved a bit of money. But plane tickets from Alaska were a nightmare and the impending move we’d have to make within the following year kept creeping up on us as we put it off. Once we knew we had a giant move to Washington to save for and the potential unemployment I’d be facing, it was put on hold our second year of marriage as well.

Then we moved. I found a job within 6 weeks. We made overdue trips to see respective families. We saved a bit more. We looked up destinations with the airline we could get the best discount with (Alaska Airlines is everything and I will rave about them until the end of time), and we found Costa Rica.

A Central American country tucked farther south than the Carribean with limitless adventure. The Mr. isn’t a fan of lying on a beach and tanning for a week straight. He likes to do things. And frankly, I do now too. We did research. I mapped it out and planned our time and activities. We booked the tickets. We booked the hotels. We made it happen.

It seems silly, right? Everyone takes a honeymoon. But we were kids when we got married. 21 and 20 years old. People our age who get married drive 2 hours to cabin in the woods for a weekend, but we knew we wanted to do this right. We worked our asses off to save for this trip. We saved so much that we have leftovers for our next adventure.

Travel is pointless to some people. It’s trivial to others who do it often. But travel is everything to me. It invigorates me. It brings me joy beyond measure. We made this happen. We took our “belated honeymoon”. A 3 year anniversary gift. A tropical vacation. Whatever you want to call it.

My favorite moment was the first morning we arrived. Drinking Costa Rican coffee on the deck of our villa overlooking the jungle and ocean. It was barely 7 am. The sound of waves crashing against the beach was audible from where we sat and the sound of jungle around us was alive and brimming with birds and animals alike. In my fraying college t-shirt and shorts, sunscreen already freshly applied I turned to Michael and said, “We’re here. We made this happen.”

He grabbed my hand, gave it squeeze, and smiled. “We did.”

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“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
Augustine of Hippo

Camille Mae (2)

 

 

Politics & Pancakes

Politics & Pancakes

 

I was raised on pancakes and politics.

Weekend mornings were for a fat stack of buttermilk pancakes covered in peanut butter and dripping with organic maple syrup, followed by (or even during) a lively discussion about government officials and political beliefs.

You probably think I’m kidding?

In the third grade (2000) at 9 years old, I saw Al Gore and George Bush battling it out on the television while my teacher was simultaneously teaching us about presidents in class. I asked my parents who they were rooting for. They sat me down and explained why they supported Al Gore and that voting for president was a personal decision everyone makes on their own. Our class held a mock election and I voted for Al Gore. He won in our classroom and lost in real life, and from that point my interest in politics blossomed.

Under 18, politics fascinated me. Taking a stance and researching why I believed what I believed was a passionate hobby of mine. I got into heated debates on more than one occasion in social studies and health class. Just ask some of my former classmates.

Over 18, politics fueled me. In college I joined advocacy groups, interned at the state Capitol, and shouted my beliefs from the roof top.

As a 24 year old, the fear of a bad president or congress motivates me to act now more than ever. The reality of what could happen if the wrong person takes office encourages me to speak up; to say something to anyone who might be toeing the line between candidates.

My right and every woman’s right in this country to choose medical procedures we deem necessary, to receive equal pay, or to have a baby and be paid for the time we take all rests in the next president holding office for 4 to 8 years. My husband and all our soldiers being thrown into unnecessary wars by a reactive, instead of thoughtful decision maker all rests in our next president. As a middle class citizen who takes public transportation, relies on Tricare for my medical benefits, and believes the right thing to do is help the poor – I care deeply about who takes office and upholds these things. 

Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are the scariest candidates for president I’ve seen in all the years I’ve followed presidential races. Their extreme beliefs and outright hatred for certain groups of people is appalling. What appalls me even more is the amount of people rallying behind them, so focused on their selves and their own beliefs and financial situations – they can’t even emphasize with people who believe anything different or would suffer from these candidate’s extreme tax codes.

I could rant for days when it comes to these two candidates, but I’ll leave you with one last thought instead. When I vote, I do think about myself and my family first. But I also think about our nation as a whole. I think about whether this candidate’s beliefs will help or hurt our nation’s children, our soldiers, our minorities, our women, our poverty stricken citizens, and ALL of our families.

I won’t tell you who to vote for. I still believe with every ounce of my being that it’s a personal choice. But do your research. I mean really, really do your research. Maybe over pancakes on a Sunday morning.

Politics are stressing me out lately, so I think I’ll focus on pancakes for the rest of the morning. Here’s a nice photo of pancakes I scarfed down in between writing this post in case they’re stressing you out too.

You can find the scrumptious recipe here.

((These aren’t buttermilk because my metabolism has slowed since childhood, but pancakes with gooey peanut butter and sticky, sweet syrup all the same))

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“If by a “Liberal” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people-their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights and their civil liberties-someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal”, then I’m proud to say I’m a “Liberal.”

– John F. Kennedy

Camille Mae (2)

 

Travel Tuesday: NOLA & Mobile, AL

Travel Tuesday: NOLA & Mobile, AL

I’m a bit behind with travel posts (and every other type of post) but in an effort to catch up I’m sharing our trip to New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama today. In case you’re interested in where else I went in 2015, feel free to check out this slightly incomplete list:

My husband’s family is from Mobile, Alabama. It had been about two years since we ventured down to the deep south and we figured Christmas was as perfect a time as any since both of us were holding steady jobs and flights were quite reasonable from Washington. PLUS after an incredibly rainy start to the Washington winter, we were stoked for warm weather and sunshine.

Naturally it rained the entire week.

But on the plus side, it was in the 70’s most of the time!

The week was filled with lots of family and food (& libations). My favorite combination. As much as I want to travel the world, I do adore family. My family. His family. It’s always fun to be with family [for a regulated amount of time].

We flew into NOLA and we were able to convince my in-laws to spend one night with us hitting up Bourbon Street. I loved it. The energy of the city on a random Saturday in December was unlike anything I’d ever seen. We had delicious Cajun food and fun drinks New Orleans is known for (Daiquiris for days!).  It was a bummer we didn’t have more time in this Southern city as I would have loved to experience more of the city’s history beyond the infamous French Quarter. Luckily, we’ll probably find ourselves in New Orleans again.

 

Probably my favorite photo/find of our night in New Orleans was this cheeky lady.

We gave her $6, just in case.

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Overall,  I had an incredible night. I don’t think anyone comes away from this city disappointed. New Orleans lives up to all the hype and more. The little gem of a photo below was snapped by my sister-in-law as we finished up bar hopping at our hotel’s bar.

Also, I highly recommend the The Saint Hotel if you’re staying in New Orleans. Feel free to check out my Trip Advisor review here.

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The sunglasses I was forced to wear like I was Cyclops along with my inability to eat basically anything the following day was 100% worth it. Stop shaking your head mom & dad. 

After about 20 hours in NOLA, we road tripped over to Mobile, Alabama. Cute nephews, warm weather, and Christmas celebrations took up the next few days!

And food. So. Much. Good. Food.

My husband’s dad and brother organized an AMAZING crawfish boil. Crab, shrimp, corn on the cob, potatoes, and crawdads! I literally didn’t eat one potato or corn cob because I wanted to make room for all the shellfish…

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Of course we also made a pit stop at Raising Cane’s for lunch one day because when in Rome the Gulf Coast.

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After 8 days, we were ready to get back to our chilly Washington and “us” time. That’s my favorite part about visiting family. No – not leaving. The feeling where you are content from your time spent together, and simultaneously ready to return to your own life.

Although I am still missing this view…

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Thankful for a bonus family I enjoy and who allow us to have somewhere unique and warm to visit.

“Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.”
― George Burns

Have a happy Tuesday, friends!

xo,

Camille Mae (2)

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