S.

Saying “Oui, Oui” in Savannah

I am never ashamed and am open to admit that I am a total Francophile. I learned French in high school, chose to visit France instead of having a Sweet Sixteen when I was, well, fifteen, minored in French in college and then studied abroad for a semester to Lyon, France. Can you tell I am a little obsessed? 😉  So when I was away in Savannah and in my research stumbled upon little local “French” places, you knew I just had to visit. Read more

T.

The Skytop Lodge

Ah, weekend getaways. They are that perfect mini-vacation that helps us to get away from our ‘every day’ and puts in motion inspiration for new ideas and perspectives. It also can help us decompress and can make life a little more interesting, n’est-ce pas? 🙂

For our last little weekend away, we packed our bags and headed to the Skytop Lodge in Skytop, Pennsylvania. Open since 1928, it is part of the Historic Hotels of America and has beautiful views of the Pocono Mountains.

The drive up from NYC wasn’t bad at all, about 2.5 hours, and was very scenic around the 45-minute mark. When we arrived to the property, we pulled into the parking lot and walked into the main cabin, where we were greeted by the very friendly staff and checked in. It was tea time in the lobby (yay!) so we went to our room, put our bags down, and went back down for some tea.

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The weather was quite chilly, but there was no shortage of activities: from ice skating to skiing to hiking to ice fishing, there was plenty to do. While the resort had more kids around than we anticipated, it was nice to see so many families gathered together for some quality time and building of memories.

My husband and I explored the grounds a bit and walked alongside the main lake, only to see it completely frozen! We stood in awe as us city-folks don’t see this every day!

We made a reservation at The Windsor for dinner that evening. (Note: men need to wear a jacket, so make sure to bring one. But if not, the front desk will happily lend you one :)). While we waited for our reservation time to arrive, we waited around the very welcoming lobby and hung out by the fireplace.

Dinner was delicious and, after all was said and done, we retreated back to our room for some rest and relaxation!

While our room was so cute, we ended up moving to the cottage. If you are looking for a more “Poconos feel” with more privacy, I highly recommend the cottage!

While the weekend flew by, we did get to relax (which was our main priority) and enjoyed some of the resort’s amenities such as the gym, swimming pool area, and engaged in some of their scheduled activities. There was something to do every hour, it seemed, which was very thoughtful of the resort, I felt. Our favorite night-time activity was roasting marshmallows by a campfire under the big, beautiful sky. You could see SO many stars!

We made sure to take advantage of horseback riding that they had available, too, as I hadn’t been on one in a couple of years and grew somewhat intimidated by them. The last time I was on a horse it went a little awry, but I am happy to report that this go-around was just fine :). It was a wonderful way to end our weekend away. Brave point for me!

I want to thank the Skytop Lodge for a wonderful stay. Summer looks like it would be a BLAST there; I may have to check it out again then! Thanks for reading :).

xx,
Loren.

Outfit 1: Fleece Pullover, Vineyard Vines (old, see similar) | Bottoms, Ideology | Shoes, Nike (old, see similar) |
Outfit 2: Top, Vince Camuto (old, see similar) | Skirt, Shein | Shoes, Nine West |
Outfit 3: Shirt, Loft | Vest, (old, see similar) | Bottoms, True Religion |

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G.

GETTING OVER MY FEAR OF FLYING

If you haven’t already, I suggest reading my first post about this and how my fear developed, which can be found here.

Bringing Me Closer to Flying:
Now, I just need to start off by saying how proud I am of myself. If anyone who has a fear of flying and still gets on a plane and is reading this, you should be proud of yourself.  And for those that are not yet ready, but want to one day be ready, you are also included in this ‘proud’ category.

When I suddenly became afraid of flying, I didn’t know what to think. But what I did know was that one day I would go back to soaring in the air.

As I mentioned in my prior post about this, my grandfather passed away and I missed his funeral because it involved me traveling down to the Caribbean and I just couldn’t bring myself to fly. Ever since that day, I became pretty sad and beat myself up.  However, I knew that my family would all go down there after one year and have a special memorial ceremony for him and visit his tomb.  And for this, I knew I just had to go.

So within the year leading up, I did my homework and I learned that my personal fear of flying could be overcome with just two things: listening to yourself and confidence. Read more

E.

Enjoying the Ease, Painting a Memory at Port Jefferson, Long Island

Ah, ease.

I’ve been feeling a bit more appreciative and less anxious these past couple of days – and it feels amazing.  A lot of hard work has been (and is still) put in and the benefits have just been that much more rewarding.

Part of me staying at ease has been me trying to be around nature as much as I can (walking in parks, sitting outside in our little garden, etc.); it has a mysterious way of snapping me out of societal ‘pressures’ and bringing me back to the roots of ‘life’, making me really appreciate the air we breathe and the natural, non-obtrusive beauty this world beholds.  Living and working in NYC (or any other big city at that) makes ‘being one with nature’ a little more challenging.  Sadly, sometimes the next best thing to an escape that I can get to around here is standing next to a tree on the busy streets- and that’s if I can find one!  It becomes even more of a challenge considering we only get summer weather that all but a few weeks out here!

So in honor of inching a little closer to ‘nature’ and appreciating it with a much calmer mind, my husband and I set off for the day to Port Jefferson, Long Island.  It was actually half a day, but I was determined to use all of my senses and really live in the moment.

Now, I think the last time I was at Port Jefferson was about two or three years ago.  I can’t really even recall what I did out there because I took it for granted.

But that wasn’t going to happen this time.  I made sure to make my visit a memorable one and not let it be another blur, especially since I feel like I went out there with a ‘new pair of eyes’ and a, truly, ‘open mind’. Read more

F.

Fear of Flying: My Sudden, Unexpected Truth

End of July 4th week.

I remember that time last year very well.  I was in San Francisco with my husband watching the fireworks near the Golden Gate Bridge after driving up from San Diego and exploring all of what California had to offer.  It was the first time seeing the west coast and, inevitably, falling in love with it.  Before that, in May, we flew to the Bahamas for the weekend.  In February, we decided to spend some time in Boston and, prior to that, we went to México for our honeymoon.  I’ve flown to France numerous amounts of times (I’ve even lived there for a semester in college), traveled to other countries such as England, Spain, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Canada (just to name a few).  I took plane rides quite often in my lifetime and felt very fortunate.  I was like a little kid who couldn’t wait to see what was next, was super excited about it all, and day-dreamed about where the next adventure would take me.

Yes, I was quite the travel bug.  I always loved going out to experience new cultures and learn about what makes other countries special and unique (languages, especially, are what intrigue me the most!).

Enter the honest truth.  That trip to California (July 2013) was the last time I got on a plane.  One week after coming back home to NYC, I had my giant panic attack.  I no longer wanted to leave.  I didn’t want to go anywhere far.  I wanted to stay home.  I became afraid.  And just like that, in an instant, I had a fear of flying.  How could it be that someone who loved the smell of airports, the rush of taking off, the excitement of some turbulence, and the eagerness to land and explore new territory was now so afraid of flying?

In November of last year, for my milestone birthday, I wanted to travel but was so afraid.  For my one-year wedding anniversary I wanted to get away, but terror struck again.  And, sadly, a few days after my birthday, my grandfather passed away…in another country (may he rest in peace).

When we heard the news that evening, everyone in my family gathered together, purchased plane tickets, and boarded a plane to the Caribbean the next day.  Everyone left.  That is, everyone but me.  I loved my grandfather so much and wanted to see him one last time, but I just couldn’t get on a plane.  I was afraid of panicking, not having enough oxygen, fearing another terrible attack, and passing out.  If I was all the way up in the air and needed medical assistance, it would take a while to land and seek help.  It was better for me to stay grounded and have an ambulance take me to the nearest hospital ASAP (if I needed it).  I debated with myself: “Loren, you can do this, it’s your grandfather, just suck it up” or “Loren, you are not ready yet, you don’t know how to control your anxiety, you will just make things worse.”  In the end, I didn’t end up going.  And until this day it brings me to tears to think about how something like a fear can stop me from very important moments in life.  Another one on my list: my cousin is currently pregnant and is expecting her first baby girl down in Florida.  I want to go visit her so bad, but I am afraid of getting on that plane.  And while I would want to beat myself up, I don’t.  Because it’s OK to listen to your body and your mind.  It’s about knowing that balance between knowing what you want to do and what you have to do.  And for me, I had to stay.  I had to continue on my slow moving road to recovery.

There have also been so many times that I have randomly broken down and just cried.  I cry because I want to feel my toes in the sand.  I want to go zip lining in Costa Rica.  I want to go on a Safari in South Africa. I want to travel to New Orleans and eat amazing food.  I want to be with family when they need me the most.  I want to be present at very important moments, be it sad or happy.  But I’m being held back.  By my own self.

I know that the fear of flying is common. In fact, there’s a great percentage of Americans that cannot deal with it.  But, it was once something I loved to do.  I’ve always had a passion for it.  And it’s something I want to continue doing.  I know not many people may care for it, and that’s OK.  It’s not for everyone.  But, if it’s causing me to breakdown and cry, then it’s saying something.  Something BIG, something LOUD, and something CLEAR.  It’s something I love to do.  And I still love it.  From afar.

I made that trip to Washington, D.C. last month and broke down in the car sobbing because it was a big step for me.  This big panic attack last summer made me afraid to travel.  Afraid to leave NYC.  Even afraid to leave my apartment.  But because this is something so important to me, I am determined to work on getting back to where I was mentally in the past.  No, I will get there and be even better.  I think my next step may be an even longer car ride (more than 4 hours).  Maybe go to Canada.  I’ve always wanted to visit Montréal.  And then, maybe I’ll continue to build courage and allow myself to finally fly.  It’s all about baby steps, right?

FYI, I’ve been told that there are pills I can take while on a plane to calm myself down or knock myself straight to sleep.  Personally, I don’t want that because I feel like it’s a temporary relief for something that will always remain alive until you confront it.  I’m on a journey to be brave.  I am on a journey to confront myself, find myself, and love myself. My true self.  Naturally.

I can’t believe that I look at planes like someone back in the 1600’s would; how does that heavy thing fly?  Where are the aliens?  It may be funny to hear, but it’s such a truth.  And it’s such a sudden truth because I would have never imagined myself to be like this.  But, I think it’s all about educating yourself.  Asking questions and finding out the answers.  If you do, there is no room for speculation.  You will not stress out about it.  All will be understandable.  I’m getting there, slowly but surely.  I have to stop crying about wanting to fly and just work on my confidence, and maybe, one day, I’ll fly again.  I’m determined.

oneday

When I look up at the skies, I compare myself back to last summer. I do feel stronger than I was back then, but I know I’m not ready.  Not just yet.  But, when the day comes that I do fly (which I will definitely share on here, and obviously continue sharing my journey to get back on it), I know I will cry.  But they will be happy tears.  Ah, I am excited for that day.  But for now, I know what I have to do.  I have to wait.  Before I take it to the skies and fly, I have to take it by ground.  Isn’t it funny, though, how something happens all of a sudden?  Never would I have imagined this; however, I do believe that everything happens for a reason.

I used to be the little travel bug that could.  I’m currently the little travel bug that can’t.  But know that, one day, I’m the little travel bug that will.

Loren.

ps: If you have any tips or advice on how you successfully travel via air, I would love to hear them!  Please share in the comment box below :).