5 Tricks to Slow Down Time on Vacation

I want to talk about something. Something along the lines of self care. Today’s topic will be how to slow down time on vacation.

Sounds tricky, right? How often do you get so excited while packing, arrive at your destination, have the time of your life, and have to start packing up way too early? All too often, am I right?

Hang with me here.

I want to encourage you to think about your next vacation and how you can slow it down, enjoy the sights, and take in your experience. Vacation can be a time of self-reflection and relaxation. A chance to reset from the daily grind of work or school. A time to put yourself first and to check in with yourself: How are you feeling? has your mind been racing? Has work been stressing you out? You get the gist.

Here are five tips to slowing down time on vacation:

Bring a book

This is so important. I like to bring two: one fiction and one non-fiction/self help. I love getting lost in a good story while I’m sitting by the ocean, not to mention it’s the most soothing place to focus and smash a few chapters. Reading provides a chance to escape reality and let the worries melt away.
If you’re into self-help books, this brings you the opportunity to self-reflect. There are no distractions when you sit down with a good book on the beach (well, besides someone handing you a beer) and this provides a great chance to check in with yourself. Take a moment to reset, and find a book that will help bring you peace of mind. It’s important that we do this every so often or it becomes harder to track our feelings.

Wake up early & grab a cup of coffee with a view

THIS. Omg. This. You need to get up early (at least two of the days, c’mon I know you have it in you). Spend some solo time with a cup of coffee – or tea, I’m not here to judge. Once you do it, simply be alone with yourself. I promise it’s not as intimidating as it sounds. By waking up early, you are quite literally creating more time for yourself on vacation. Proud of you.

Grab your chair and sit near the waves

Next up, I’ma need you to grab your beach chair and sit close enough so that the ocean washes up over your toes. This, of course, applies to those at the beach. Or idk, maybe you are hiking and pass a creek or lazy river. Put your toes in the water. Slow down, listen, pay attention to the feeling of cool water on your toes. This gives you another chance to slow time down a little and practice some mindfulness. Focus on feelings: sights, sounds, smells, sensations.

Don’t ignore your family (actually sit and chat with them, catch up, have real conversations instead of walking by)

I’m guilty of walking past my mom or dad, even my brother and just saying “Morning,” and walking away without having any real conversation. I challenge you to relish the time you have with family on vacation, because my guess is you don’t see them that often! A lot of us work 9-5 for five days a week, and live hours, if not thousands of miles, from our family. Take this time and relish in it. How often do you get to spend a set amount of time together? Use this time to catch up and check in on one another; I’m sure you’ll feel fulfilled by the end of your trip.

Take a walk or go for a bike ride

This is so important! Get yourself some exercise. Again, I’m going to bring this back to mindfulness. If you create the opportunity to walk/bike and clear your mind, you can focus on actual feelings in your body. Think: sights, sounds, smells, sensations. Not to mention, biking for a couple miles will tire you and the minutes literally tick by slowly when all you want to do is stop. Lmao.

Remember: any act of mindfulness will help time slow down. Life doesn’t need to feel rushed 24/7. Check in with yourself. Ask the following:

  • How am I feeling?
  • Have I experienced stress/anxiety lately?
  • What comes to mind when I think of lingering stress? Follow-up: how can I rid of said stress?

All of this being said, I hope it helps you maintain a sense of balance in your mind. When we are not rushing through our thoughts and feelings, we don’t rush through life. Thus, creating more time and slowing time down.

Thank you for hanging out with me today! Lmk any and all thoughts you have below.

Honeymoonin’ in Ocho Rios, Jamaica @ Sandals Resort

“Wah gwaan!”

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Yes that’s right I now speak Patwa. Well… I speak two words which translate to, “What’s going on” but I like to think I got the hang of the lingo.*

If you’re interested in my YouTube vlog on this trip, find it here!

Patwa is still English, but with a Jamaican dialect. Natives will tell you it’s a lazier and faster way of speaking LMAO. Kind of matches their pace of life, which mimics the phrase they preach over and over again, “You’re on Jamaican (or island) time.” Meaning there are no deadlines and there is no rushing to make a dinner reservation. While you are on vacation, or just in Jamaica in general it seems, forget your worries and let time slow itself down. The conversations we had and the experiences we led seemed to take place in their own little world, a world void of crowded subway cars as you rush to work and talking over people to get your point across.

What I am trying to say is… time moved a little bit slower in Ocho Rios Jamaica, and for that I am grateful.

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Okay now into the juicy stuff – FOOD, BOOZE, ENTERTAINMENT. Jamaica doesn’t lack in any of these departments and you’ll quickly fall in love with “Jerk” everything.

We stayed at a Sandals resort in Ocho Rios, Jamaica for 9 nights as part of our honeymoon. We didn’t want to do a darn thing. I wanted to sit, relax, read a book (which I hardly even did lol), and just be… MARRIED! Sandals made all our dreams come true.

You are greeted with a romantic heart-shaped towel with rose petals in the middle, cheesy but sweet. A bottle of champagne and white wine chilled in the fridge along with a fully-stocked bar. Do you have the chills yet? Since the resort is all-inclusive, you can order as many drinks and food items as your heart desires.

img_20181106_184423.jpgRoom service at 9:00 pm after a long day of flights? Done. Breakfast buffet for an early rise at 7:30 am? YES PLEASE. Endless drinks on the beach and swim-up pools. I could probably stand in one location and see two bars either direction. You probably have goosebumps from how L U S H that sounds. Because I do just writing this.

We booked a couples massage at their Red Lane Spa – our first ever – and it was
AH-MAZING to say the least. 90 minutes of pure relaxation and stress melting from the body. All those wedding dilemmas and stressful decisions faded to nothing and the masseuses did. their. thing. And they did it well.One of my FAVORITE experiences – tho it is an additional $200 from what you pay for the resort *ouch* – is the private candlelight dinner for you and your honey. Listen, it’s your mf honeymoon, go on wit ya bad self. You will not regret it. I ordered surf n’ turf and the hubbs got steak and it was one of our favorite meals there. It was incredibly romantic having a private dinner and you get to choose one of several locations they can host them. Book this once you check in!

Another place to splurge, even just for a day is the BEACH CABANA. Not the ones by the pool, hit up those beach ones Oceanside. It will accompany a personal butler, 15 min neck/back massage, lunch brought to you, and endless shade for those of you with Irish skin like mine (catch what I’m saying). This is SOOOOO worth it for the experience and privacy you get on the beach with top-notch service from 10 am until 5 or 6 pm – I can’t remember exactly when it ends (island time, remember?)

If I had to choose my top three favorite restaurants on the resort, I’d say you must eat at Kimonos (hibachi grill), Le Gourmand (fancy French restaurant), and the private candlelight dinner. These are my top three choices for food. If you don’t want to spend the additional $$$ to do #3, which I can’t blame you, then I’d slide Kelly’s (seafood on the pier) or Sky Terrace (balance of all taste buds) into that third slot.

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Breakfast: Sky Terrace has a phenomenal buffet and I am still dreaming of their bacon ends and jerk sausage. Le Gourmand featured a scrumptious banana caramel French toast when I was there and it was so good I ate it twice during my trip.*Order a mimosa or two every morning for added fun.

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Sandals Ochi has 11 bars for unlimited service of all the beer, wine, and liquor you can handle. The bartenders are incredibly nice and will make pretty much anything. You can even order shots! HELLO – save the calories lmao. But be careful. They are a fun bunch and it can get rowdy quickly.
My recommended drinks: Miami Vice with rum on top, Dirty Banana, and the Hummingbird. If you’re a wuss with shots, ask for something fruity.

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Before you leave, plan at least one late night (if you’re grandparents like us and want to go to bed at 9 pm) and head to the speakeasy on the hillside. You need a passcode to get in but any staff member will tell you. And trust me, you will make friends with the staff, they are the nicest people I’ve ever met. After the Rabbit Hole, head over to the beach bar on the beachside that sits under the Italian restaurant. This place bumps hard after hours with all the jams you 20 somethings like to groove to.

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I think I have cover most (not all b/c I’d need a blog post: part 2) of my favorite things about Sandals Ocho Rios. We already want to go back and writing this has solidified my thoughts of it being the best vacation spot ever. It was a treat living a week in paradise and an honor to meet such sweet and caring people. It is definitely not goodbye, but a ‘see you later’ type place.Until next time, Ocho Rios.

Xoxo,
KS Lovesred lips isolated in white
I love to meet new people!
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Tropical Vibes Bridal Shower

“They brought the tropics and beach theme to Philadelphia!”

My Maid of Honor and bridesmaids did an incredible job with my bridal shower – BOY DID THEY EVER. We’re talking mimosa bar, pineapples as centerpieces, a Polaroid camera station, and it doesn’t end there.

Will you be throwing a bridal shower soon or in the near future? Do you and the bride have a love for all things T R O P I C A L? My MOH has the hookup.

I’ll start at the beginning – the first thing you see walking into the backyard (tysm to my future mother-in-law for lending her home for this Image result for heart emoji ) is the MIMOSA BAR. Who doesn’t love a good boozy & brunchy bridal shower? Answer: nobody. So get your drank on and don’t forget some sort of alcohol.

AND THEN – all things white! (obvi). The white balloons, “bride” letters, and table linen made for a nice crisp white background, with the pineapple centerpieces and black and white photos standing out as accents.

Can we talk about the Polaroid station? This was ADORABLE. The photos were printed within seconds and make for a great keepsake for your mama, mother-in-law, aunt, cousins, friends – EVERYONE basically. An affordable option is to definitely include print-outs of the couple. They’re fun to walk around looking at and can be conversation starters!

After that – games! All women come to the bridal shower expecting to play some sort of trivia proving they know the bride or the groom better than anyone else. Bring on the competition as you’ll have some relatives ready to compete.

A super special thank you goes out to my Maid of Honor, bridesmaids, mother-in-law, and my own mamma for all that went into this gorgeous day. I will never forget it and it was incredible to be surrounded by so much love – and have all of my favorite people in one location.

Want to throw a tropical-themed bridal shower? Here were my favorite parts:

  • pineapple centerpieces (which everyone can take home – YUM)
  • MIMOSA BAR – because, well… alcohol
  • GAMES for everyone to show how much they know the bride/couple
  • the Polaroid station! easy and quick keepsake to take home so you remember the shower!

Xoxo,
KS Loves red lips isolated in white

I love to meet new people!
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Wanderlust Wednesday: Sneaky Freaky Bake Shop

“Bringing a Topsail edition blog post your way, fam!”

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This is our favorite coffee shop at the beach in Topsail, North Carolina – and for good reason. Well, technically it’s located in Sneads Ferry, but that’s only a 10 minute drive from our beach house so I’m going to consider it Topsail.

ANYWAYS.

Sneaky Freaky Bake Shop has everything, and at a great price. My dad orders hot coffee, I’m an iced coffee fanatic, and we’ve probably tried one of every pastry.

I can’t remember my favorite barista’s name, but I want to shout out the woman behind the counter from June 20th-24th in the mornings, because she made me a bomb-ass iced coffee every single day. And yes, we went every single morning. I mean really, what’s a beach trip without morning coffee runs with your dad?

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This coffee shop has a really cozy feel on the inside, with big open windows and a spacious room filled with modern seating. Anytime we’ve visited, there is not much of a crowd, but I could see the large space being able to accommodate a morning rush of caffeine-craved customers.

If you’re at the Topsail shore and looking for a quick pastry/coffee stop, definitely check out the Sneaky Freaky Bake Shop. They are open Tuesday-Saturday from 7:00 am – 7:00 pm, and are closed on Sundays and Mondays (bummer, I know). But if you wait it out until Tuesday morning rolls around, I promise it’s worth it!

Has anyone else ever been to Topsail? Please let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear of other places to visit/sites to see.

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Xoxo,
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Vacationing on North Topsail Island

“I ate way too much and took too many naps – I have no regrets.”

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This year’s family vacation took place on Topsail Island in North Carolina for the second year in a row. I’m ready to share pictures of the waves, seafood, drinks, and as much as I can to persuade anyone to give this peaceful island a go.

I feel like I blinked and my vacation was over and I teleported back to Pennsylvania and woke up like, “I thought I was still in Topsail?!” Image result for cry face emoji

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This is a stunning island for anyone looking for a peaceful getaway. We stayed in North Topsail, where the beach is relaxing and the sounds are quiet. A small distance away is Surf City and Sneads Ferry, where you can find coffee shops, bakeries, restaurants, fishing piers, and souvenir shops. It’s the perfect mix of serenity and activities.

We indulged in so much seafood and drinks that I gained six pounds (and no, that’s not an exaggeration – I weighed myself this morning). But this was to no surprise, considering I ordered fried seafood and island drinks the first three nights #noregrets

And that’s not where the indulging ended…

Also not sorry.

This was an amazing trip and it was so nice to get away from the rush of work life and disconnect for a week. Could I have stayed longer? Certainly! Who couldn’t? But it’s back to reality for this girl. The work grind is what pays for the nice trips, ya dig?

Before I sign off, anyone have any idea what this is in the picture below???

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Fish… stingray… pregnant sea snail?! The mystery will live on.

Let me know if you’ve ever been to the shore in North Carolina. I know my East Coasters are well aware of how beautiful OBX and other beaches are in that area, but I’m curious if anyone has visited Topsail Island or anywhere nearby.

Until next time my beautiful people xo

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