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Antigua

Posted by Tory Jones on

I get asked all the time "whats it like down there?" My short answer is, "amazing, you need to go." But since you are here, I'll give you the unabridged version. At the moment I'm sitting in my room in Antigua. I can hardly hear myself think because the rain is coming down so intensely. The occasional lighting strike lights up the sky accompanied with deafening thunder. This is typical for the rainy season, although it usually does not last all day. Today it was an hour in the afternoon, then again right now mid evening. The climate is very similar to Hawaii, warm with humidity most of the time lending to a lush and tropical landscape.

The streets are cobble stone with thin raised sidewalks. I'm not sure I've ever seen a woman wearing heals, and if she did I'm sure a broken ankle would be next, heck I still occasionally trip with sandals. The city is a large grid with many corners appearing the same which makes getting turned around and backwards a possible occurrence. Once you've spent a little time in Antigua you'll find the grid to be pretty easy to navigate.

My favorite pastime in Antigua is walking down the streets. They are lined with tall colorful walls with viney flowers and greenery spilling over the tops. There are multitudes of ornate doors made of iron and wood. I love peeking inside these doors. More often then not you will get a glimpse of serene hidden courtyards and snapshots of daily life. It really is quite magical. You'll be walking down a busy cobblestone street, come through almost any set of doors into a magical land of flourishing flora and tropical life.

Colors are everywhere! The walls, people, vegetation, buses, food and everything in between all pop with vibrant life giving color. Nothing is over the top or too much. I wish we celebrated colors this way in the states. I think it would make daily life brighter and happier.

Eating is always on my mind, anywhere, ever and lucky for me the food here is spectacular. The fruit seems sweeter, the vegetables bigger, and the tortillas are to die for. My favorite thing to eat is pastries and hot chocolate. I'm not exaggerating when I say the hot chocolate here is the best I've ever had any place in the world. every afternoon I walk to buy pastries and a hot chocolate then sit in the central park to people watch. I like to imagine I'm a female, central American version of Hemingway haha.

I'll list my favorite spots to enjoy and hope you take my urging and just go!

Caoba Farms

 

Panza Verde

 

Sabe Rico

 

Cactus Tacos

 

Rainbow Cafe

 

Cafe Condessa

 

Fridas

 

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Food, water, and compliments.

Posted by Tory Jones on

Recently a complete stranger gave me such a great compliment that it made me smile for two days. Imagine that, a few kind words from someone actually made my days brighter. It's so simple, free, and easy. Yet, how common is it to actually pass out these words? It doesn't happen as often as it should and definitely not as much as unkind or meaningless words are dulled out. So, if I think something nice about another person, I've started telling them. From superficial and simple things like "you have beautiful eyes" or "great legs" to more meaningful thoughts like "you're such a loving parent" or "you have an amazing work ethic." Not only does it make the recipient feel seen or valued, but I guarantee you'll begin to feel better too. It's kinda weird but true. Being nice to someone or loving on them with a few simple words of affirmation is one of the easiest feel good things you can do. Chris Rock said "There are only three things women need in life: food, water, and compliments." I'm no scientist, but I can't disagree. So, next time you have a nice thought about someone, I encourage you to say it!

Peace, 

Tory

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Lets be neighbors

Posted by Tory Jones on

To realize there is someone in this world who loves us, just the way we are.

 

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Traveling with kids.......

Posted by Tory Jones on

I wouldn't call traveling with kids relaxing, but it is fun, kinda like parenthood. With four daughters and an international business I'm on the go quite a bit and always have at least one of them with me. Here is my number one piece of advice, which all other pieces kind of revolve around, care less! Yep, lower that bar, further, further, yeah right there. When I stopped caring what other people thought when I took my girls places (and in general) everything was much more enjoyable.

Know that people will be annoyed when your baby is crying on the flight, but try and remember that every sensible person realizes you don't want to be traveling with a crying kid either. Try and sooth your baby and don't worry about the grumpy person next to you.

When your on a trip pack light. This way, by the time kids are a few years old they can carry their own backpack. Don't worry about having a bunch of cute picture perfect outfits. They are kids. The most important thing is the experience of it all, not what clothes they are wearing. 

Don't stress about time. There are very few things in life you actually have to be on time for, for example, a flight. Although, I have to admit I've missed multiple planes and guess what? There's always another one. If you're worried about rushing to places with your kids, you'll miss out on the enjoyment of lingering moments and unexpected adventures. I like to keep plans very loose. Give yourself the freedom to be where you are and get to where you're going whenever you happen to.

On a practical note, I like to take a red-eye flights. My kids almost always sleep the whole flight. Its less stress to try and occupy them, and you can get sleep too.

Pay extra for a direct flight. I'm always looking for a good deal and I don't mind layovers when its just me, but when I have all my girls and especially if its an international flight, I really don't want to drag them through check ins and customs multiple times. Believe me, you'll have wished you paid the extra $100 per ticket for the direct flight.

Snacks, snacks and more snacks. I always have a bag full of food because being hungry is the number one reason my kids will loose their *hit!

If you're flying with a baby, use a baby carrier or sling ( I always carry my babies in a sling until they are about 2 or 3). Now you have two free arms to grab your bags or other kids. 

Do not, I repeat, do not take a bulky stroller or car seat with you! They are so cumbersum and make travel difficult, especially if you're going without another adult. You can get car seats from rental car companies for a very small fee. If you really think you need a stroller, grab a cheap umbrella stroller from a local store upon arrival and then give it to someone when you leave.

Whatever you think you need, you probably will only use a fraction of it. So, make it easier on yourself and I repeat pack light!

Hey, I'm not an expert with this stuff (isn't that what everyone says), I'm just one traveling mom giving her two cents to others.

XOXO

Tory

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Not having social media, the new trend

Posted by Tory Jones on

We aren't just sharing a few memories or highlights with the people we care about. We are integrating it in every aspect of of lives and sometimes it feels like an addictive drug.
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