New Year’s Resolution: Blog!

2017-new-years-resolution-be-more-awesome

Like a lot of people, I tend to set resolutions for the New Year. I usually do pretty well for the first couple months of the year and then begin to waver. It’s a struggle I go through every year. But not this year!

My New Year’s resolution for 2017: Begin to blog again!

My second New Year’s resolution for 2017: Don’t waver.

I definitely have been slacking. I went through an identity crisis with my blog this year. In 2017, I’m going back to the beginning and focusing on travel and the photography that comes along with it.

Thankfully, I will have an amazing trip to help me keep my resolution. I’ll be traveling back to Europe in 2017! I’ll be going on my very first Contiki tour. I can guarantee it won’t be my last. I’ll be publishing a new post with the details of my trip soon, but I’ll be visiting five new countries on this trip alone.

Not only will I share my trip with you, but I’ll share my experience with Contiki. The ups, the downs, the accommodations, the planned dinners and experiences. All of it will help fuel my blog for 2017. I’m excited to share all this with you.

Cheers to 2017 and Happy New Year!

Staci

Hotel Review: Parrot Key Resort

IMG_1674

Parrot Key Resort in Key West, Florida is an amazing hotel located 2.5 miles outside of Historic Old Key West. For people who want to experience both the nightlife and relaxing features of Key West, I recommend staying at Parrot Key. Here’s why.

The location

The hotel may be off the main road leading into Key West, but you would never know it. All the rooms are nestled in palm trees, shielding guests from the hustle and bustle. You’re also in walking distance of a few restaurants and a Walgreen’s. With a quick cab ride, you’re in the center of the action on Duval Street. Enjoy the bars, live music and restaurants that everyone talks about. At the end of the night, you can escape back to your quiet hotel room.

The amenities

Want to hang out by the pool? There are four pools to choose from. My friend and I had a pool to ourselves for basically five hours. That’s unheard of at a resort! We also had a couple rainy days when visiting, but we were still able to enjoy the day out on our porch. Each room has a porch and chairs. The poolside bar served breakfast until noon, which was awesome. And the food was delicious.

The room

I’ve stayed at a lot of hotels in my life. The beds at this hotel were unbelievably comfortable. Probably the most comfortable I’ve experienced at a hotel. We stayed in a standard two queen room and it was spacious. The bathroom was a good size, too. If you want a water view, you’ll pay a bit extra. But if you want an awesome view of the Gulf of Mexico, it’s worth it.

The final say

I really enjoyed this hotel and can’t wait to stay here again. The staff was wonderful and the price was decent. It’s the perfect place to relax in Key West! Here are some more pictures that show you the character of the hotel.

Read Off Balance. End of Story.

Photo Nov 15, 1 49 35 PM

I grew up loving the sport of gymnastics. I tried the sport, but figured out it really wasn’t for me. I was not born with that skill set. So I continue to show my love for the sport by watching it religiously.

Whenever the Olympics were (and are) happening, I eagerly wait for the women’s gymnastics events to take place. When they’re on I sit in front of the television, glued to my seat. My favorite team was the Magnificent Seven. This should be no surprise to anyone who grew up in the 1990’s and followed the sport. The entire team was remarkably talented.

But my favorite gymnast was Dominique Moceanu. This tiny gymnast packed so much power. At the age of 14, she was the youngest member of the American team and she kept her audience captivated. Along with her team, she went home with a gold medal from the Atlantic games.

However, not all was as perfect as it seemed to the outside world for this Olympian.

Moceanu’s book — Off Balance: A Memoir — is one of the many books I’ve read this year. As someone who followed the career of this gymnast, I was intrigued to see what she wrote about. I heard of some of the struggles she went through in her early career, but the book really gives you a picture of what she dealt with.

She gives you insight into not only her gymnastics career, but also her personal life. The pressure Moceanu felt from her family and the struggle with her father as she grew up is difficult to read. From the outside, you wouldn’t have known what she was going through until it was made public with her emancipation.

I highly recommend that you read Moceanu’s memoir, even if you didn’t grow up loving gymnastics. Her story of growth and perseverance is impactful.

If you want to know when she’s doing book signings, follow her on social media. I was fortunate enough to see she was at a signing two minutes down the road from me and I got to meet her, hence the picture above. She’s not only an awesome gymnast, but  more importantly, she’s an amazing human being from what I can tell.

Read her book. That is all.

Florida Keys, Here I Come!

Give me sand. Give me sunshine. Give me the beach.

I will be escaping the chilly Cleveland air to experience my first visit to the Florida Keys. And let me tell you, I cannot wait.

The part I’m looking forward to most, you ask? The road trip. I’ve heard that the drive through the Keys is one of the best parts of visiting the islands. Who wouldn’t want to stare at the ocean for hours and make pitstops at the local hangouts?

I’ll be starting in Key Largo and am really excited to visit John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. It’s known as one of the best places to snorkel. Don’t like to snorkel? I hear they have glass-bottom boats, too! There are so many options to experience the ocean, so there’s something for everyone.

After Key Largo, I’ll be making the trek down to Key West. Across the Seven Mile Bridge I go. (Jumping with joy!) Along the way, stops will be made in Marathon and Islamorada. To do what? I don’t know yet. But why not just stop and enjoy the view? That’s supposed to be the lifestyle of the Keys, right? Relaxation at its finest!

Share your suggestions on what I should do in the comments! It’s my first time visiting and am open to anything. Until then, I sit and wait for the day to come where my plane leaves the ground.