Cheap Travel Tip

My mind works in mysterious ways. While eating breakfast this morning at 6am, thanks to the husband’s insanely early start for work this morning, my brain was turning over the wealth of options offered by our Courtyard by Marriott breakfast buffet. It could have been the lack of caffeine talking, but I made a pretty credible case to Chris about how you could actually get three meals and a couple snacks from the offerings on display.

I think we’ve all been there before. You know, traveling without a lot of money to spare. Trying to make every penny count. Luckily, Chris and I are doing well and are able to eat wherever we like, but, I’m always down to save some money and to share that knowledge with others!

photo of breakfast meal on plate

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Our breakfast buffet, free with our room, was composed of apples, bananas, hard boiled eggs, fresh fruit, 2 kinds of cheeses, toast, English muffins, pastry, oatmeal with cranberries, raisins, walnuts, and brown sugar, yogurt, peanut butter, jam, and butter, scrambled eggs, tortillas, shredded cheese, salsa, spinach, some kind of breakfast meat, egg whites, waffles, chocolate chips, shredded coconut, milk, juice, and cereal. There were to go plates for those that wanted to take breakfast up to their rooms. Easy peasy, right?!

Here are a couple sample menus for a full days worth of meals using your free hotel breakfast bar:

Day 1)

Breakfast – Scrambled Eggs, fresh fruit, toast, breakfast meat.

Lunch – Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich, yogurt, piece of fruit.

Dinner – Tortilla with breakfast meat, shredded cheese, spinach, salsa with a pastry for desert.

Snack – Make your own trail mix using the nuts, cranberries, chocolate chips, and raisins.

Day 2)

Breakfast – Oatmeal with nuts, brown sugar, milk, fresh fruit, toast.

Lunch – BLT, sort of, with bread, bacon, spinach, salsa, cheese, a hard boiled egg, piece of fruit.

Snack 1 – Yogurt.

Dinner – Frosted Flakes (2 boxes) with raisins added, milk, a piece of fruit.

Snack 2 – Pastry or DIY trail mix.

And there you have it, eating on the cheap while traveling. If you don’t mind eating the same things over and over, or if you’re really pressed for cash, you could do this indefinitely. Part of the fun for me though is eating out. Seeing what dishes the locals love. Eating fresh seafood in Florida or out in Seattle. I think you really get to know a place through the local culinary scene. It’s definitely worth saving those pennies to explore!

Choose happy! xoxo

Cyndi

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Kill it with words

That’s a funny title for a blog post huh? Well, it’s 4:19am and I’ve been up since 3am so you’ll have to cut me some slack. I’ve already reworked a friend’s resume, applied him for a job, and sent him all the necessary log in and information for said job. Normally doing stuff, makes me feel productive, and sleepy enough, to ya know, sleep. Not so this morning.

circumstances

There’s been a lot of change in my life in the last 8 months. Every night I pray for God to guide me down the right path. Tonight, while overthinking ALL THE THINGS, it occurred to me that this change might be him doing just that. Change is never easy but when you lose friends you have had since you were a kid, that you thought you’d have for a lifetime, it makes it hard to discern who’s being an asshole (probably all of us) and what is in our realm of control, and what God is actively moving out of your life, to make room for whatever is to come.

The way my brain works with anxiety is to overthink the shit out of things. Then, when I’ve exhausted that, or at least shelved it for a moment, I neeeeeeeeeed to talk about it. Unfortunately, when you find yourself pretty much friendless, or the “new normal” you have with them isn’t deep enough to confide in them the way you used to, your poor husband gets the brunt of that talking. My normal method is to vomit out exactly what I’m thinking and feeling, then circle it from every possible angle going from feeling mad and indignant to terrible and profoundly sad. I can find a way to blame myself for damn near anything.

In the last 8 months though, I’ve done a full stop on putting up with other people’s bullshit. I drew a line in the sand and said if you don’t make me a priority in your life, you are no longer going to be a priority in mine. I’m a hard person to love. I love big. HUGE. It’s too much for some people because it can be overbearing and they feel pressure and expectations to reciprocate in return. I have never expected tit for tat just you know I’m there for you and you’re there for me normal stuff. This last year, if you couldn’t commit to that, I axed you from my life. If me and my feelings were always the last you thought of, if you were disrespectful and hurtful, if I found myself feeling more bad then good, you was gone. Girl, bye. Sounds easy. In writing. In reality, you might as well take your heart out and tenderize it with Williams-Sonoma’s best, most expensive meat tenderizer.

old doors close

So, right now, I’m feeling a little down and a little lonely for true friends. Not friends that are only there when they need you and MIA when you need them. To deal with all those feels, I’m killing them with words.

xoxo,

Cyndi

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Patience

pa·tience
/ˈpāSHəns/
noun
1.
the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.
“you can find bargains if you have the patience to sift through the dross”
synonyms: forbearancetolerancerestraintself-restraintresignationstoicism,    fortitudesufferanceenduranceMore

That’s the definition of patience according to Google. I’ve always known that I’m not a patient person. I hypothesize there are very few Type A, ESTJ’s, with Generalized Anxiety Disorder that are also patient people. It’s not how we’re naturally wired.

patience

I’m used to doing what I want when I want. That sounds selfish, but it’s really not. It’s just basic. Some examples: I’m used to cleaning when I see the need. I’m used to going to the store to grab something if I need it for a recipe. I’m used to driving myself. I’m used to leaving my house without my new version of trains, planes, and automobiles (i.e. office chair, crutches, wheelchair). Now, in this post break life, I have to ask Chris or someone else to do these things. It’s so frustrating. The first week was definitely the hardest because I was still trying to be the general and maintain control.

Post break, I’m accepting that the floors are not as clean as I would like, the cat pans are stinky (my cat pans are rarely ever stinky), our room looks like a tornado hit it, and I haven’t properly fixed my hair in 9 days. I catch myself getting really angry and I realize that “this”, whatever it is, has no real impact on the future, and isn’t worth getting upset over. This broken leg has been a crushing reality check for me. You read all of these quotes. People tell you not to worry because you can’t control everything. You see them, and you hear them, but you don’t live them until something drastic happens.

brown wooden floor

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I’m not saying I’ve miraculously turned into this altruistic patient person because of my accident. Definitely not. But, I am absolutely more capable of letting “it” go in the moment. I’m more capable of identifying what’s a 5 minute problem and what’s a 5 year problem. And, I’m kinder. To myself and my circle. I’m grateful things aren’t worse and I’m grateful for all the help and care I’ve received. It’s too bad that it literally took an act of God to get me to slow down a bit. I hope it doesn’t take something as drastic for you to make a change in your life.

xoxo,

 

Cyndi

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90° or Something

How many of you have suffered a major broken bone? Lots? Well, I never have… that is, until last week. I was walking up a drive-way of one of my clients to walk her precious little wiener dog when I found the only remaining patch of ice in all of MD. In the blink of an eye, I was face down, stomach firmly rooted to that patch of ice. I felt the snap.

ambulance architecture building business

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Now, I’m pretty level headed in a crisis but I’ve never hurt myself this badly. J was with me, thank God. I don’t know what I would have done without her. I looked back at my foot to find that it was rotated 90°. First off, I screamed. Twice. Then I told Jamie to call 911. Then I watched her chase Lily, a little Cavalier King Charles and Pekingese mix I watch with my pet sitting business, around the yard. And then my client let Mable, aforementioned wiener dog out to meet up with Lily. Mable licked my face as I laid their panicking. The dogs gave me something to focus on. I got Ms. R to call them into the house. And bless her heart, she brought me out a pillow to lay my head on. It was a dramatic 10 minutes.

I immediately called Chris, and of course he didn’t answer. I knew he was in a meeting with his boss, who I happen to know and have his number, so I called him. Apparently, I was very calm, cool, and collected. I told him what was up, or rather down I suppose. And then the ambulance arrived. They were fantastic. They splinted my leg, loaded me in the bus, and then we were off.

You know it’s a situation when EVERY SINGLE PERSON you pass in hospital is staring at you. Plus, there was no waiting. 0 amount of waiting. I met a lot of people. I made a real effort to remember their names and to call them by them. I’m a type A girl with Generalized Anxiety (GAD). I combat the irrational anxiety I get in serious situations by controlling what I can.

brown and white bear plush toy

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I won’t bore you with the rest of the details but over the next 20 hours, I had a very nice ER doctor try to put my ankle back in place with no anesthesia, which was a miserable failure, but luckily, he had an orthopedic physician assistant as a friend that stepped in. After receiving the Michael Jackson drug, propofol, I was off to sleepy land and he slipped my ankle back in place. Chris called our primary care doctor for a recommendation on the surgeons available and we were super happy with their recommendation. Along with the dislocation, I had broken my fibula in 2 places. Luckily, I was able to have the dislocation tightened up in surgery which pulled the fibular back into alignment with minimal hardware left in my leg.

I spent an interesting night in hospital which involved a screaming migraine, 2 bouts of vomiting, 1 bout of peeing myself while vomiting and making the night nurse really huffy, a bedside potty (mortifying), and finally a discharge the next morning. All in all, I was in for under 20 hours.

I’m home now and this experience is teaching me something new every. single. day. I am humbled by how quickly I went from mobile independent person to uh not. I have to rely on my mom, Chris, and J to help me with even the simplest things. I’m so grateful for their help but I have mixed emotions about this ordeal so far. It’s just… big and hard to deal with. But, all of that is another post for another day. For now, I’m going to count my blessings. I have people that love me, and are helping me, I’m healing, and I’m keenly aware of how much worse this could have been. I’m embracing this 90° turn life has thrown my way.

xoxo,

Cyndi

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Catch-up!

silver macbook pro

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Lots to catch-up on here at the blog. I need to set a goal to write here more often. Like 3 times a week. That’s doable right?

So, no Paris in February, maybe not “broken up with” Brandy, February was balls.

Paris. Paris has been rescheduled to September. We weren’t entirely sure that the government wasn’t going to shut down again the day after we left, plus, there were lots of protests going on. The protests I could have handled because I worked in downtown Seattle like a block from the courthouse. There. was. always. a. protest. However, I have very little patience for getting stuck in an airport. Or customs. Haaaaaate customs.

I had a very bad mental health day in February. Technically, it was a bad mental health month. Brandy just so happened to text me to ask if I was doing ok. I was like, “Are we friends? Do we check in on each other anymore?” And that led to a whole chain of text messages and because it was a terrible mental health day, I caved an asked her to visit. So, nothing is really resolved but they are coming to visit. Advice?

active activity adventure backpack

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All of that, led to February being totally balls. I’m super looking forward to March. I already feel like it’s going to be a great month. I’m going to make it a great month!! Tonight, husband and I are going to a cookbook book club meeting where there is food from a cookbook sold by this store. I love to cook and am looking forward to creating some new dishes!

I promise to start writing more so until the next time…

xoxoxo,

Cyndi

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Friendship: I’m breaking up with you

 

two smiling women sitting on wooden bench

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This past year was a rough go for me and my friendships. In fact, I broke up with two of my friends. My two very best friends. Two of my longest friends. We’ll call them Brandy and Janet.

I could go into great depth about Brandy and Janet but I’m going to give you the TL:DR version. Brandy has always been selfish. It’s a product of her upbringing. She has a hard time accepting love, help, kindness, etc… from others because she’s always looking for what they want in return. And in my case, that’s nothing. I have big heart and when I love, I love big. And Brandy also has a hard time admitting when she’s wrong. And apparently listening to me and respecting me are just toooooo much to ask.

Janet is going through a major life change. I discovered that her soon to be ex, who has hated me since the dawn of time, wasn’t exactly always responsible for her not showing up to, and participating in, our friendship like she let on. In fact, according to Janet, I should expect more disappointment in the future since I don’t have him to blame. What. The Actual. Fuck? Also, Chris and my family are my #1 priority in life. I consider my friends family. Where are friends on her priority list you ask? 4th. They are 4th. Aside from lying to me for over 15 years about things big and small, we apparently do not have the same priorities and I have been caring about her way more than she’s ever cared about me.

After much, and I mean much, soul searching and heart ache that involved hundreds of dollars of therapy, lots of tears, and conversation after conversation that probably melted Chris’s poor ears with their patheticness, I am done. With them. Normally, when I’m done with someone, I’m just done. Removed from all social media. Anyone associated with them removed from all social media. No calls, e-mails, or texts. Done. Not so this time. Brandy and Janet have kids. Kids I’ve fallen endlessly and hopelessly in love with. This whole experience has been like a divorce. Negotiating when I’m dropping off Christmas gifts. Debating birthday parties. And the missing.

The. Missing. I miss Brandy and Janet. I miss them like I’m missing an appendage at times. But the kiddos? I miss them like oxygen. I try not to think about them because I literally feel it in my lungs. Even now, conjuring their little faces as I write this brings tears streaming down my face. This is totally uncharted territory. How do you break up with friends that treat you like shit but not their children? No for real. If you know, hit me up.

I have learned some hard truths through this process.

  1. I am not an easy person. Not to be with. Not to be friends with. Not to love. I have high standards. I want people to treat me the way I treat them.
  2. I have a very giving heart. Helping other people, fixing problems, buying gifts, all of that is my love language. I get so much joy out of helping others and seeing them happy.
  3. Not everyone gives as much as they get. In fact, they come to expect, and then take for granted, what you give and then get annoyed with you when you stop or when you need some of the same in turn. They actually see nothing wrong with not reciprocating.
  4. Every single friend I have has told me that I expect too much. I don’t believe that anymore. They just need to set their bars higher. I let my friendships with Brandy and Janet operate on their terms for so long, that I forgot about me and what I needed and wanted from the relationships.
  5. Sometimes you can love someone so much but that doesn’t mean they’re any good for you. You have to release them. It means breaking your own heart. And then, while still reeling, trying to put it back together… while blindfolded… in the dark. So basically, it’s impossible, but you have to try because you’ve got to find a new normal.

If I thought with my heart on this, I’d forgive and move on and we’d still be friends. But at some point, you have to look at a persons pattern of behavior. And if they continuously show you what is, and isn’t, important to them, you should believe them. We spend way too much time trying to change people. For better or worse, you just have to let them be who they’re going to be.

I’m past the break-up I suppose. I’ve stopped with all social media and only contact them about the kids. And just a note, the social media wipe out, that’s to save my sanity. It’s not to be a petty twit. I just can’t handle seeing their happy faces, the birthdays, get-togethers, etc… and know that I’ve missed out. For me, it makes things more bearable. I hate having written that because it makes me feel so ick and vulnerable, but it’s the truth.

What should you do if you’re breaking up with a friend?

  1. Find a therapist. Most Employee Assistant Programs (EAP) will cover a few sessions for free. Therapy helps you work through your own thoughts with an outside party. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a decent therapist that can give you some valuable insights into what you’re telling them and some resources.
  2. Use any and all resources available to you. For this process, I tried meditation and read a lot about being judgmental as suggested by my therapist. Google your situation. There are a lot of people that have gone through the same thing.
  3. Work really hard to try to put yourself in the other persons shoes. Try to see the situation objectively.
  4. Cut yourself some slack. Cry if you need to. Reevaluate.

I’ll leave you with a couple quotes that were quite a help for me. I hope you find the peace you’re searching for too!

xo,

Cyndi

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Paris in February

We are going to Paris next month!! I’ve been once, but Chris has never been before. I love to see a new city through his eyes. Our friend Jamie is also coming along. Y’all, she’s never been out of the country! I cannot wait to see this beautiful city through the eyes of these babes.

chris cyndi travel

My partner in crime, I mean travel.

I wanted to talk a little bit about my planning process. Planning trips is as much a part of the fun for me as the trip itself. It really is. I love researching and seeing all the opportunities for new adventures. And listen, you can never do it all. Never. Not in one trip or 100,000 trips. And that is ok! I also really enjoy local culture, clothing, shoes, and interests. Safety is always a top priority so researching what to wear so as not to stand out as a tourist is something I always take time to do. Plus, I’m a woman that loves fashion. What can I say?!

I start with the big things everyone wants to see. Then, and this is important, I self test and I ask my travel companions to think about if those things are something they really want to see, or if they have FOMO because other people think we need to see them. Once that’s done, I list the days of the trip and start an itinerary. If traveling somewhere with a time difference and jet lag is a concern, you want to plan for that. For Paris, we will take an overnight flight and arrive at approximately 11am on a Friday. I will plan an outdoor activity, most likely a walking tour of some kind, and an early dinner. No naps for us. We want to acclimate as quickly and as easily as possible to maximize our time in the City of Lights!

An itinerary is important for me. I am a planner. I don’t jam pack my schedule because you have to leave time for real, authentic experiences that crop up and can’t be planned for. But, I need to know the gist of when I’m going to hit my must see sites. I like to sort all of the logistical details beforehand. The last thing I want to do on vacation is think like a project manager and consume my precious time with not fun things like figuring out bus/ train schedules. I try to take care of as much of that as possible before my feet ever land in the country I’m visiting.

For my travel experiences, I like to have bit of the popular mixed with a bit of the off the beaten path, with a heavy sprinkle of experiences over museums, sites, or places. What’s that mean, experiences? We’re going to Versailles this trip. Instead of hopping on the train and going on a self tour, we’re going to book a bike tour. Specifically, a bike tour that will take us to a market, Marché Notre-Dame, where we’ll buy lunch items to enjoy on the lawns of the beautiful gardens at Versailles. We’ll be able to pick up freshly roasted chicken, delicious and aromatic cheese, wine, fresh fruit, pastries, and anything else that strikes our fancy, all while rubbing elbows with locals. Now that is an experience!

donuts and bagel display

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You’re probably wondering where I learn about the places I’ll be visiting. Google. Yep. It’s true. I Google everything. If I find a resource I really like, I book mark it for later and return to it over and over again. Also, for European travel, there is no better resource then Rick Steves Travel Forum and Website. He is a wealth of information and his travel forum is a great place to ask real people for their thoughts, opinions, and ideas. I also like to pull up a blank document and note (copy/paste) anything I find interesting. I can always go back to that list and see if there’s a must do that’s cropped up on there. When my itinerary starts to take shape, I can also find other interesting things to plug in throughout our trip.

That’s a bit about my process. When I get back from the trip, I’ll post my itinerary with comments on our personal experiences. If you have an upcoming trip, don’t hesitate to contact me. I love to talk travel and am happy to help you have a trip of a lifetime!

xo,

Cyndi

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