2019 Goals: Sharing My Progress and Failures

Did you know 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February?  It’s a bummer to hear that and though I personally don’t like making resolutions; I do love setting some goals for myself. Andrew and I both usually set couple goals every wedding anniversary, but this year we made a few goals together for 2019.

I personally think a lot of the reason resolutions “fail” or essentially people quit is because they are simply too hard on themselves and lack motivation. I thought it would be fun to share some of my personal and couple goals with you all, share what I am doing to stay on track, and share how I’ve already failed but am forgiving myself and pushing towards meeting them.

Couple Goals

Pay off 3 debts/Build savings

In December of 2018 Andrew and I began to take a look at all our debts vs. our income and kept in mind our future goals. We started by deciding on a set amount that we would save every check and exactly where that chunk would go every 4-weeks. I’m proud to say that we have stayed on track with this. We are 1.5 debts down with one having been paid off at the end of December and going strong. Additionally, we are focusing on building our savings. We have 4 types of savings currently, one which is a weekly thing, and the other three have been prioritized based on our current debt/income and term of our goals. Let me know if you guys would be interested in our story when it comes to our debts, our tough times, evaluating our finances, and how I budget/set goals for every month and quarter.

Fast Food 2-3x a month/No soda/Meal prepping

Okay so this was kind of a tough one for us to break out of. We began pushing towards this goal the last quarter of 2018, but weren’t too strict. We’ve been pushing to keep soda to a minimum. We have set a rule for ourselves that we are to only opt for soda if we are eating out. We have totally failed on this one, but are definitely not as bad as we were. Each time we want a soda outside of a dining out setting we just take a moment to ask, “do we really need this?” and that has helped us curve our impulse. As for fast food, I would say in 2018 we probably did fast food anywhere from 8-10 times a month and though our goal is 2-3 times (preferably just one), we are down to about 4-5 times so we are making progress for sure. Meal prepping has actually been our strongest out of this bunch. We have made it a point to remember to save left overs and take them to work and always grocery shop over the weekend so that we can meal prep on Sunday. We’ve also included making sure we have breakfast before work or take something to eat at the start of our day and have even eaten some of our meal preps over the weekend for lunch which saves us a lot of money. I think if we could master these three we will not only healthier physically, but financially as well.

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Personal Goals

Wake up at 5:30am

This has been something I worked on all of 2018 and it came with me into 2019 because I have not mastered it. I have my weeks where I feel like I am really getting used to it, but then fall off again due to inconsistent sleep schedules. If you don’t know I am mother of an almost 4 year old and have not mastered her sleep schedule. That’s another thing my husband and I are working on. However, I am optimistic and continue to leave my bedtime app scheduled to wake me up at that time. By the way, if you are not taking advantage of that portion of the app you should. One thing I have learned is that there is a sweet spot to waking up. For me it’s when I naturally awake about 10-20 minutes before my alarm goes off and instead of sleeping to that last minute I just start my day and I have found that I am ultimately successful and feel extremely refreshed during the day. I guess it’s that internal clock we have that knows when we’ve gotten exactly what we needed out of our rest. I’m pushing myself to give in and get up when that occurs.

Blog Focus

This one I can say I consider it a fail so far. When I wrote this goal I bulleted goals within it like, 2-4 blogs a month, 2 YouTube videos a month, IG at least 4-5 times a week, work with brands, etc. Other than IG, which I’m probably barely meeting, I have not kept up with either of these. It’s not that I don’t care, but I personally felt super exhausted from December. In case you did not know, I did Vlogmas, whew that was fun yet tough. Now I feel as though I have my second wind and am ready to push through and start meeting these goals. Simply writing this post is motivation. I have so many ideas I want to put on here and I’m in the process of organizing them all and setting a schedule and deadlines for myself. One thing I did for my last few posts was to schedule a published date and not change it before I even started to write. Knowing that you have half finished work that will go up at that time no matter what really pushes you to keep your schedule. Your work is a representation of you and there is no way I’m allowing half ass work go up on my behalf.

Guys, I hope you all enjoyed this read! Hopefully if you are one of the statistics that has failed/abandoned your resolutions/goals this year you will reconsider them, even if it’s just one of the few you set. Work hard to stick to it, but know it’s not the end of the world if you make a mistake. Small victories are always better than quitting.

 

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RENT @ The Public Theater

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Scene from”La Vie Bohème” | Photo Credit is Siggi Ragnar

If you know me personally then you know that I am a lover of theater. There is just something about everything unfolding on stage in that moment that excites me. Continue reading RENT @ The Public Theater

Lucky Stars a Tiny Luxury Home

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Hi y’all!

I have been meaning to get around to this entry because I had so many of you ask questions about the tiny home Andrew and I spent our anniversary at this year. As most of you know, school took over my life these past few months, but I’m done, passed with a B, and ready to share this place with you all!

Let me start by saying both this home and the owner are truly gems! Becky, the owner, keeps a tidy home, is kind, inviting, and helpful. We had an amazing time saying at her famous little home. Yes, it is famous! Both from the DIY Network TV show Tiny Luxury and Texas history. Sam Houston himself granted the first owners this plot of land (originally 160 acres). Becky is also the 4th single woman to own this land! Inspiring to say the least. She was the kindest and invited us to chat on our last evening. She shared about herself, history of Boerne, and even some plans she has in mind for the tiny home and maybe even some future additions to her lot.

Now that you know a little more about the origins of this home and land, let’s get into how gorgeous and surprising spacious this tiny is. With a footprint of 200 sqft located in Boerne, TX no space goes unused here. If it’s a must have on your list then there is probably a way you can make it happen. The layout of this home was perfect and never felt cramped, although I did bump my head a couple of times, haha. That’s mostly because I’m a clumsy person. I loved the rustic charm that flowed throughout and the kitchen/living space were definitely my favorite areas of it. The bed was extremely comfy and I adored the windows that let in so much natural light.

One interesting part of the place is the outdoor shower. Though I was so tempted to use it, the hill country is cold in the morning and I could not get myself to do it. Maybe on our next stay 🙂 However, I think the coolest thing we experienced was sitting up at the loft at night, opening the sky light, and peeping out to watch the moon rise. It was a first and such an amazing thing to say we have now done.

This home can sleep up to 4 adults comfortably, but in all honesty this is the perfect time to take advantage of the quiet of the hill country and spend quality time with your special someone. As soon as I found this place on Airbnb, I knew we had to stay here. We have a thing for staying in unique accommodations and after spending our last anniversary in Marfa I knew we had to go small town again. The location is absolutely perfect in my opinion and only a short drive to the Hill Country Mile. 

Andrew and I ended up feeling under the weather and there was honestly no better way we could’ve spent our time. Seriously, it’s like time slowed down and we just enjoyed the quiet that comes with the beautiful Texas hill country. We are absolutely looking forward to staying here again and getting to know Boerne a lot more on our next trip.

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*This post was a partnership with Lucky Stars Tiny Luxury. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

It’s Beginning to Sound a Lot Like Christmas

Hi y’all!

Now that it’s December 1st, I think it’s okay to assume we are all in the Christmas spirit, even though I have been since last week 🙂  I’ve been listening to so many good albums and playlists on Spotify while at work and I wanted to share them with you! If you follow me on Instagram (and if you don’t, what are you waiting for) then you know I absolutely love me some jazzy Christmas tunes. Honestly, my taste in music is so diverse that I think you can find something you’ll love on my list. Plus, it’s mostly various renditions of Christmas classics and everyone loves Christmas music, right? Let’s go ahead and get straight to the list, guys!

  1. Jazz at Christmas: As previously mentioned, I just love jazzy Christmas music and with that being said this playlist had to be first on my list. There is just something about the way it makes me feel. It truly gets me feeling the Christmas spirit ❤ This playlist has all your favorites/big names like, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, and Count Basie. One of my faves on this playlist is ‘Christmas In New Orleans’ by Louis Armstrong. He just paints such a beautiful picture of the city and atmosphere. Gosh, I love New Orleans!
  2. Christmas CoffeehouseThis playlist just starts off right with ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ sung by Daniela Andrade. Never heard of her before this, but she has a beautiful voice and the song sounds a little more folk like. It’s a nice change. A great duet on here is ‘What are you doing New Years Eve’ by Johnnyswim. I can only imagine their entire Christmas album is great. I think these would be great morning tunes to enjoy with your coffee. It’s a lot more chill, but still all about the holidays.
  3. French Christmas SongsAlright, so I don’t speak nor understand French, but I love listening to french music. I usually go with a French Coffeehouse playlists. When it comes to this one you can basically make out what song they are singing based on the melody. One of my favorite French artists is Carla Bruni, made famous (at least for me) by (500) Days of Summer, and she is on this playlist. I love this one because it shows how universal music truly is. Doesn’t matter the language, music is music and it can move you, or in this case, get you in the holiday spirit!

Moving on to Christmas albums. There are a ton out there. Pretty much anyone who is anyone participates in singing these songs we all love with their own spin. Here we go!

  1. She & Him: Alright, I couldn’t choose just one, but seriously why should I! haha. Both their ‘A Very She & Him Christmas‘ and ‘She & Him Christmas Party‘ have all the popular classics, plus some I had never heard. I’m already a fan of this band, it’s very indie-ish, so if that’s your jam you’ll love it. Honestly though, Zooey’s voice is so unique and beautiful. They have fun renditions of ‘Run Run Rudolph’ and ‘Mele Kalikimaka’, which make me think of some of my favorite Christmas movies. These albums are a must for me every year!
  2. An Oscar Peterson ChristmasThis artist was recommended by a co-worker. He’s a jazz enthusiast and when he learned my Christmas jazz obsession he offered his faves. I’m so glad he gave me this one! This instrumental album is so fun and cheery, and incorporates unique instrumental sounds. ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ is the best on here. It has the nice soft snare and cymbal going on with great piano solo pieces. Love! Guys, I wish I knew how to play piano. Still a life goal of mine.

Here’s a bonus because I found it as I was writing and linking this blog, Christmas Jazz Coffeehouse.

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I can’t deny my love for this season and it’s music. Out of them all, I think ‘Let it Snow’ has to be my favorite! If only we could get some snow here in San Antonio now, haha. Do you have a favorite Christmas tune? Be sure to share with me!

I hope you guys take me up on these suggestions and check them out. If you do, please be sure to let me know which one you loved in the comments!

P.S. I’m going to attempt Vlogmas this year, so if you want to follow along check out my channel and subscribe! 🙂

Happy Holidays!

Zoo Boo!

Hi Guys!

As promised I wanted to share more about our experience at the San Antonio ZOO BOO! and give some tips. Since we had our daughter we have gone to Zoo Boo 2 of the 3 years. The first year she was about 10 months and this year she is 3. What a major difference their age makes. Since I went at completely different times I really gained insight on the best times to go, I think. I also did a vlog on our day there so if you’re not a reader feel free to scroll down and watch the video 🙂

#1 When to go!

The first year we did Zoo Boo we went on a weekday after work. Everyone had the same idea. The line was extremely long, not even kidding, we probably waited at least 35-45 minutes to buy our tickets and get in. Parking was so difficult to find so my family and I were spread out all over the area. This year we  went on a Saturday afternoon and though you’d think it would be insane it really wasn’t. Our wait time to get in was about 10 minutes, if that. Parking was pretty full, but we easily found a decent spot. I would definitely say when we went in the evening the first year it was far more crowded than a Saturday. Due to the price I’d suggest really trying to get the most for your money, so if you do not go to the zoo often you should make a day of it rather than just going for an hour or two to trick or treat. It was nice because we were able to see the animals in the daylight which was a lot easier than trying to find the animals in the dark. The only you really have to put up with is the heat. I’d also say go before Halloween not on it. You spend money, time, or both on those costumes so get some wears in!IMG_6391

#2 Free Activities

Yes for free activities! Aside from checking out all the animals and exhibits there are free things for you and your kiddos to do. That includes petting zoo, hay maze and playground, a costume contest, a play put on by the Magik Theatre, and of course trick or treating! From what we came across these were additional things to do that did not cost extra. This is why I think you can make Zoo Boo a full day thing. These things are spread out throughout the zoo and there are schedules available everywhere. Olive loved brushing the goats, leading the way in the maze, and she took part in the costume contest. Which by the way they have several, I think 2 or 3 throughout the day. It’s a great way to show off that homemade costume or just encourage your little to be brave and get up on the stage. Olive has come out of her shell so much so it was so stinkin cute to see her in the contest.IMG_4706

#3 Paid Activities

If you’ve been to the San Antonio Zoo you’ll still find your favorite paid activities like feeding the birds at Lory Landing or the giraffes, the carousel, and face painting. In addition, you’ll find a small pumpkin patch where you can pick one out and decorate it for about $7 and there is a photo op in a hay-globe for a fee. Olive wanted her face painted which we were happy to do, but thought how long will it really last with this heat and humidity. Thankfully they offer free touch ups all day so I think it’s really worth your money if your littles want one. One of my favorite things I noticed this year from our last was that the Mold-O-Rama’s now take credit card. If you’re from San Antonio you probably collected one of these every time you went! I was very excited about this, haha. They even added Halloween molds for the season!IMG_4709

#4 Avoiding the Crowds

So one I will say is that the event and areas within it can get pretty crowded. As I mentioned above we loved that we went and made this a full day event rather than getting there for only the trick or treating which is very busy. Check out the outdoor animals first. I know it’s hot, humid, or both but it’s far more enjoyable because you are not constantly bumping into people in the smaller spaces like the aquarium, bird exhibits, or reptile room. We focused on the outdoor animals and just as the trick or treating started (4-6pm) we went indoors to cool down and check out everything else without the floods of people. The photo below was taken at the entrance with the famous lion statues and the Zoo Boo sign. It’s very popular and most people try to snag the perfect photo when they make their way in, but I advise you to wait. We were able to not only get a photo without a ton of other kids/families in our photo, but the statue was also not blistering hot because we took our photo right about 5:30pm as we were leaving the zoo. IMG_6428

#5 What to bring or do before hand!

We ended up starting our day about 1 or 2 in the afternoon. We made it a point to feed ourselves before going in because eating inside any zoo or theme park can add up very quick. I would advise that you pack some snacks, especially for your kiddos. We of course didn’t pack anything, we are sometimes so unprepared haha. I saw many parents handing their children zip lock bags of cheerios, grapes, and chips. Oh and one last thing, if you have a stroller bring it. Even with Olive being a 3 year old it was so useful, especially when she decided to take a nap. Toddlers are heavy y’all! Plus if you bring your own you save on the cost of renting a stroller at the zoo.

Alright, now that all the tips are out of the way what’s this going to cost you. Well for a family of 3 (with a paid child admission) we spent about $53 to get in. Since we didn’t eat a full meal there and just snacked I would say we spent at least about $30 and then $10-$15 on the face painting.

The San Antonio Zoo Boo is a must because it’s just all around a good time and can be an all day event. Don’t forget to check out my Zoo Boo Vlog on my YouTube channel.

One Lap Around The Sun

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Did you know last month qtravelers made its first lap around the sun? Well, I can’t either. Guys, I’ve come to the one year mark of my blog and this fun adventure I set out on. I’ll be honest, I had a lot of momentum the first few months, but LIFE guys, it just takes over sometimes.

I will say I’ve had an amazing time looking back on my memories by sharing our adventures from the last few year with y’all. Aside from that though, I love that I came to the realization that my blog could truly be whatever I want it to be. For me, traveling through life seems very appropriate. I shared on a previous Instagram post that I was feeling bummed since we hadn’t traveled much since I started my “travel blog” and it was getting me down. And after some alone time with myself, my ideas and thoughts, and reviewing my content I was noticing I had created this box for myself that was not necessary at all. Who the heck said I could not write about anything else but travel. Apparently I did for a bit, but thank goodness I freed myself from that!

Like I said before, blogging has been a ton of fun and I’m so happy I just went for it. I’d encourage anyone who wants to do it to JUST START. It’s such a great way to share what you know best, create personal memories for yourself, and meet a lot of wonderful people. Still nervous? Well, I thought I’d share some insight to blogging with y’all based on my first year doing it.

First off know that it will take effort and commitment on a weekly, if not, daily basis. Depending on what you want to provide your audience and what your long term goals might be it’s going to take time and commitment. I think people misconstrue what blogging is like and it’s not just taking photos and jotting things down. Nope, you have to know what you want to give out to the world, what sort of value will you bring to people, and then tailor how you do it based on your following. I am still learning this today!

Secondly, you’ll need to break out of your shell…if you want to see more growth. This goes for online and in person. When it comes to your online presence you have to be present, otherwise it’s like you are not there. Engage with people who comment on your photos/blogs/videos and more importantly engage with accounts you follow. This not only helps you meet new people, but it helps you get noticed! As for in person, when possible go to mixers and events and actually talk and introduce yourself to people. You never know who you can meet and what opportunities can present themselves.

Lastly, don’t feel pressured! Don’t feel like you have to write about a specific topic because it’s hot right now. Don’t feel like you have to post a photo if you’re not proud of it or don’t have anything genuine to say. Don’t do giveaways if you’re not ready to. Don’t take sponsorships you don’t fully believe in. Don’t be afraid to try something new. And if you feel like you need a social media detox, take it! The world will not end because you choose not to post a photo on IG and neither will your blog. You will gain the best engagement, community, sponsorships, friendships and other experiences when you are feeling like YOU! So always remember that. 🙂

I hope what I have learned will help someone who is thinking about picking blogging up. There are definitely more tips one can give, but I thought I’d keep it short and sweet today.

Special thanks for my hubs and baby girl who are always so supportive. Whether it’s helping photograph me, being okay with me vlogging our days, and giving me some alone time to put it all together. I love you two ❤

Thank you to everyone and all the new friends I’ve made for all your support during this past year! I appreciate your kindness, open arms, and feedback. You’ve made this experience even greater than I could have imagined and I’m so excited about the new direction qtravelers will be taking.

If you’re new here, I hope you stick around! Check out my bio to learn more about me and don’t forget to read back to my past blogs.

Keep up with me by following on Instagram and Youtube! Let’s chat, be friends, a live our best lives ❤

XO- Rebecca-Lynn

 

An Open Letter To My Daughter

It’s the final day of World Breastfeeding Week and this year it has caused me to have mixed emotions.

For those of you who do not know, I have now been breastfeeding my daughter for 3+ years. What the heck! Where did time go? I feel like it wasn’t long ago that she latched for the first time and now we are far beyond our goal of 1 year.

Since this may be my last year celebrating as a nursing mom I thought I’d share our experience and what I have learned along the way.

Continue reading An Open Letter To My Daughter