Category Archives: Lifestyle


Things your parents never told you. Life advice for young people.

So I set about doing this post specifically for a young lady who didn’t have the best guidance. Her lack of parental interest left this huge gap in her understanding of how the world worked. It then occurred to me that we only know as much as we are subjected to. My parents never invested in the stock market so I never understood it until I was older.

This goes for taking care of yourself, fixing things and generally navigating the world. So I wrote down some things that “I wish someone would have told me” and then I reached out to friends on Facebook and asked them what life advice they would have for a young person just starting out on their own. Then I copied the sentiments of a few of those inspirational quotes and here we are. This is the result.

Feel free to comment the thing you wish someone would have told you.

Personal Care:

  • Whatever skincare you do to your face do to your chest as well.
  • Never try waxing hair at home.
  • Never get your hair cut the day before a big event.
  • Better to be a little overdressed than a little underdressed. This goes for fashion and temperature.
  • Ladies, keep two tampons in your bag at all times – periods love surprises.
  • Losing weight will be twice as hard 10 years from now.
  • No one is going to notice your pimple and if they do, they don’t care.
  • Exercise. Being lazy ages you more quickly. Even if it’s a daily walk around the block or a bike ride.
  • Don’t start smoking.
  • Take care of your health!  Before you leave your parents insurance, schedule everything; physical, ladies exam, eye doctor and dentist. Prevention is the best way to protect your health.
  • If you find a shirt or jeans you absolutely love, go back to the store ASAP and buy another.
  • Drink lots of water and curb the sodas, you’ll feel way better.
  • The guy in the video is right. Everyone’s free to wear sunscreen.
  • Don’t wear shoes that hurt no matter how great they look.
  • Don’t eat just because you’re bored.
  • Sometimes the best makeup can be found at the drugstore, and sometimes expensive lipstick tastes terrible.
  • Don’t wear makeup to the beach, it will bake into your pores. Use SPF, tinted chapstick, a hair tie and some rocking sunglasses.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • If you’re invited to do something nice, wear a clean shirt, take a shower and run a comb through your hair. If you don’t you’re guaranteed to run into your ex or your crush.

Self Care:

  • There’s only one person who will travel this whole life with you, yourself. So be good. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Love who you are.
  • It’s hard, but know when to ask for help.
  • If you’re blocked on a decision, start writing down the elements in pros/cons fashion. Flip a coin, whatever you hope it will be in midair is what you should do.
  • Rushing into something usually ends up being a bad decision.
  • Find a place that makes you happy. Return as often as you can.
  • Be brave. Try the weird food, sing karaoke, ask out your crush.
  • Meditating isn’t for everyone but find that one practice where you can zone out.
  • A fulfilling hobby brings joy, try a few to see what suits you.
  • Keep your dreams in front of you. Start an inspiration board or a list of goals. Refer to it often.
  • Life isn’t fair. Get over your disappointment and keep marching forward. Life gets more fair when you stack the odds in your favor. Work hard towards what you desire. Hard work in itself is gratifying and makes you a better person.
  • Sometimes you have to make sacrifices for what you truly want. Make sure what you want is worth it.
  • Most people won’t ever be rich or famous. It’s OK to want to join that club but remember there are sacrifices that have to be made to get there and there are downsides to all things. Famous people can’t just go get dinner out, they’ll have no privacy.
  • Bullies are making up for their own inadequacies and they pick on you to feel better. There will always be bullies, learn to defend yourself physically and emotionally.
  • Take a break each day to just enjoy and be grateful. Spend a few minutes breathing in the smell of a bakery, ask to pet a dog, get your favorite chips. Find joy each day.
  • If you’re feeling vulnerable roll up like an armadillo. Take care of yourself. Nurture your wounds. But don’t stay there. Pretty soon you have to unroll and start moving forward in order to regain your strength.
  • Getting high and playing video games all day in your mom’s basement might seem cool but you’re burning daylight.
  • No one likes a downer. We all get sad. But if you are constantly negative and creating drama no one will want to be around you. Seek professional therapy.
  • Stay away from toxic people.
  • There will be people who don’t like you. That’s their problem not yours, unless you’ve wronged them. Then make it right if you can.
  • Look for the bad in things and you will find it.
  • No one’s perfect, everyone messes up, just try not to do it publicly.
  • Don’t take anyone’s shit. Take their advice, take their feedback, but no shit.
  • Treat yourself. But only occasionally or its not a treat.
  • Don’t be envious of another person’s life, you have no idea what they deal with.
  • We are not the sum of our missteps, our feeling of self worth comes from our ability to see our own strengths.
  • Operate with an attitude of gratitude. Many dream of what you take for granted.
  • Go out to eat/ to the museum by yourself. It’s empowering and allows you to go at your own pace.
  • Don’t let people tell you what to believe.
  • Don’t focus on Bob and Jane’s business. Life’s too short, focus on yourself!


  • Never get into a relationship just because you’re lonely. You’re doing a disservice to them and you.
  • Keep two condoms in your wallet at all times. You never know. Oh and check the expiration date occasionally.
  • Stay away from people who suck the energy and joy out of you, no matter the relationship.
  • Surround yourself with the type of people you admire.
  • Negativity is contagious, avoid negative people as if they have a head cold.
  • Be extra nice to people that have difficult jobs.
  • If your friend is not there to defend themselves, that’s when you show what a true friend is by sticking up for them.
  • Just because they are an authority figure doesn’t mean they are right.
  • Be the one who reaches out. Extend invitations to spend time. People love to be thought of and asked to join.
  • Communication and transparency are they key to any good relationship.
  • Wave at toddlers who wave at you.
  • No ones too busy. If they aren’t texting you back, your conversation isn’t important to them. “Thought I replied” works once. No response is a response.
  • Putting an end to a relationship/friendship is difficult but you have to do what is best for you. Be clear about why you’re leaving. No one deserves silence.
  • If you see someone struggling with a task, ask if you can help.
  • Being thoughtful is one of the nicest things another person can be. So make that person you.
  • You can’t buy friends, and if you do they will leave when the money leaves.
  • Don’t let the ghosts of old relationships enter your new relationship. Every new partner deserves a clean slate and to not be measured against the previous partner.
  • Don’t change who you are to make someone like you. You’ll just end up resentful they don’t like the real you but you didn’t show them who that is.
  • Don’t fake orgasms, you’re only hurting your sex life.
  • Don’t leave a voicemail that just says “I need to talk to you” be specific so the recipient isn’t making up stories in their head.
  • If someone tells you they love you on the first or second date…. RUN.
  • Before you exchange vows, exchange credit scores and have a conversation about money and how you feel it should be spent because it’s the number one factor in divorce.


  • Not returning clothes that didn’t fit in time is a giant waste of money.
  • Don’t let a salesperson pressure you into spending more than you are comfortable with. This goes for the makeup counter, car dealerships, day spas and Bass Pro Shop.
  • Don’t buy an ill fitted item just because you love the brand. Never buy a too small item with the intention to fit in it one day.
  • Don’t put silly things on a credit card.
  • If you don’t understand personal finance, get a book about it. Mastering this will change your life.
  • Start adding to a retirement account as soon as it is made available to you. Even if it’s only a few dollars a week.
  • Unless you have a lot of big ticket items, having a yard sale isn’t worth it. Donate or list online.
  • The stuff you own won’t care for you when you’re sick, or cheer you up when you’re down. Stuff is a burden. It takes up space and doesn’t pay rent. Only keep the stuff you need and a few things you want.
  • It’s fine to play lotto occasionally for fun but don’t let the dream get in the way of practicality. Don’t spend too much hard-earned money on a pipe dream.
  • Invest your spending money where you spend your time. Good shoes, a good mattress, a good work chair. You get what you pay for with these type of things – get the best you can afford and don’t fall for brand names.
  • Care Credit allows you to visit certain doctors, dentists and vets and pay 0% interest on money borrowed over $200.
  • Don’t be dazzled by discounts on things you don’t need.
  • Sometimes credit card companies will lower your interest rate if you ask. Can’t hurt.
  • Check the “unit price” when shopping at the grocery store. Bigger packages don’t necessarily mean best value.
  • Impulsiveness will leave you broke.
  • Plot a budget. There are great free apps you can use to monitor your spending.
  • If you live like you’re poor you’ll stay rich, if you live like you’re rich you’ll stay poor.
  • If you’re tight on money don’t set up your bills to auto draft. Pay them individually and you can move things around. An overdraft fee is the dumbest way to lose money.


  • If you are not completely alone, don’t talk on speakerphone.
  • Don’t go to class or work or anywhere if you have the flu.
  • If you think someone’s hat is awesome, tell them. Everyone likes a genuine compliment, and it could make their day.
  • No one likes the person that is always late. Even if they love you they resent your tardiness and will quit inviting you to things.
  • Learn to politely decline any unwanted gifts, invitations, and overtures. Peer pressure doesn’t go away, it just changes tactics as adults.
  • No one has ever been upset at receiving a thank you note.
  • If someone else is buying, don’t order the most expensive thing on the menu.
  • Tip well. If you can’t afford to tip for great service you can’t afford to eat at restaurants.
  • Don’t try to get people to do free for you, what they do for a living. Pay them for their work.
  • Unless you are physically needful, move your butt out of a bench or bus seat for elderly folks and pregnant ladies.
  • Don’t put drinks on wood furniture without a coaster.


  • Don’t be on your phone when you’re driving. It’s dangerous and illegal and you’re gonna hurt yourself or others. Plus you are driving like crap.
  • If you get a flat tire, watch how to fix it instead of just standing by, you might need to know one day.
  • Spare tires are usually smaller, called donut tires. They are only good for a limited distance and at low speeds. They are meant to get you to the tire store and not much more. Don’t be booking down the interstate on a donut.
  • Never drive on a flat tire, you will bend the rim and now you’re talking big money. Pull over in the first safe space and call someone.
  • Junkyards usually have the same fancy parts your car needs for 1/8 the price of the auto parts store, including batteries.
  • Carry jumper cables and learn to use them. Also a safety kit and first aid kit.
  • If you live in cold weather keep your gas tank above 1/4 tank.
  • If it can be avoided don’t get a car from a ‘buy here, pay here’. Their interest rates are outrageous.
  • If you let your gas tank get low too often, you’ll be investing in a fuel pump soon.
  • Make sure you keep the right amount of air in your tires, it’s safer and will cost you less in gas.
  • Do not use “fix-a-flat” it doesn’t work half the time and if you have tire pressure sensors it will kill them and you will be looking at about 100 bucks or more to install a new one.
  • If you spin out into a snowbank you can’t get out of, dig out your tailpipe so your car doesn’t fill with carbon monoxide.
  • Keep old shingles in your trunk for winter in case you get stuck. Put them under your tires to get traction.
  • Change your oil. A well maintained car will last forever.


  • Don’t go bananas in the summer and crank your air conditioning too cold. It’ll freeze up.
  • If your A/C quits check the thermostat. The batteries might be dead.
  • If you have a regular stove with coils, you can remove the coils and pans and the top lifts up like a car hood to make cleaning easier.
  • If you have a septic tank, flush a pack of yeast down the toilet once a month.
  • If you’ve never made a fire in a fireplace, you need to open the flue.
  • Wash your lint trap, fabric softeners build up and make the dryer less effective.
  • Clean the ducts attached to your dryer to prevent fires.
  • The Magic eraser really is magic. But don’t use it on surfaces that scratch easily like car paint.
  • Use parchment paper when you can instead of aluminum foil. You’ll get no stick pizza, anything with cheese or baked goods and makes cleaning the pan super easy.


  • If there’s someone in your life who fixes stuff, cars, plumbing, motors, etc . Watch them and learn. Most people are happy to show off what they know to an eager onlooker. Hold the flashlight.
  • Never stop learning. It helps you to relate to the world and gives you a sense of being well-rounded.
  • Be a student to everyone. Each individual knows something you don’t. Let them tell you what it is.
  • Research what your dream job pays before you pick a school. Ask people with your ideal job how happy they are.
  • Study like you’re paying for the privilege because in college, you are.
  • Learn to do your own laundry.
  • Learn to cook, at least the basics. Food is something you will always need and doing it yourself is way cheaper than take out. You have YouTube with the greatest chefs in the world at your disposal and cookbooks are cheap at the thrift shop.
  • Always follow an opportunity to learn another language.
  • If college is your plan, investigate every grant, scholarship program, and work benefit option out there.


  • Turning your passion in to a career isn’t always a great idea. Being told how and when you should do what you love might ruin your love for it.
  • Be a mentor, some people don’t have the great environment you do and could use your expertise.
  • At work you may be invaluable but you are not irreplaceable. If you suck they will find a way to do without you.
  • Apply for the job even if you don’t have 100% of what they’re asking. You take yourself out of the running if you don’t try.
  • Don’t call in sick and have your friends post pictures of you boating on social media.
  • Don’t take the last cup of coffee in the break room without starting a new pot.
  • Don’t steal other people’s food.
  • Bosses notice when you do what is best for the company and not just yourself/your team.
  • If you go home crying regularly, quit that job.
  • Never quit a job without lining up another.
  • Every great professional has been fired at least once.
  • Never put up with harassment or abuse. Report it or leave.
  • Learn to delegate – you don’t have to do everything yourself.
  • Don’t be a kiss ass. No one but stupid bosses like a kiss ass.
  • Assume no malice. People don’t generally do things to make others lives more difficult, only theirs simpler.
  • When looking for a job, benefits are import. Health benefits, sick time, vacation, 401K and paid holidays are great additions to a job. Factor in the cost when negotiating a salary.

It’s all about you:

  • The city/religion/job where your parents found happiness may be the one that stifles you. Go explore.
  • Don’t stop doing something you enjoy just because someone else doesn’t find it cool.
  • Conversely, don’t get in to something just because someone you like is in to it. I mean try, but don’t buy the team jersey if you hate the game.
  • Don’t let laziness or fear snowball your problems. If you get a traffic ticket, fight it or pay it. If you don’t you could get your license suspended, then you can’t renew your title and if you’re caught, even more problems. Deal with the problem while it is still small.
  • If you mess up, fess up. I have found this is a good guiding principle for work, relationships and everything else.
  • Don’t get a dog unless you have the time, love and money to give it the best life for 15+ years. Basic vet visits can be hundreds of dollars a year.
  • Don’t yuk someone else’s yum.
  • Mastery over your weakness is one of the greatest accomplishments most of us will achieve.
  • Some things you just aren’t going to be good at no matter how hard you try. That’s OK no one gets it all.
  • Don’t let anyone tell you how to run your home, your marriage, or your parenting if you didn’t ask for advice (If you have read this far you’re asking me).
  • Break the rules but not the law. – Ross Ledehrman. Breaking the law has serious consequences. Taking your dog to the sidewalk cafe doesn’t. They’ll just ask you to leave if it’s a No Dog place.
  • If you don’t ask for it, you’ll never get it.
  • Jump at any chance to travel if you can afford it. Travel broadens the mind.
  • There is an unmatchable joy in giving back selflessly to others in need.
  • Luck is when preparation and opportunity meet – Oprah Winfrey.
  • There’s no such thing as over-prepared.
  • Other people’s expectations of you shouldn’t guide you. You guide you. But if you trust and respect a person, trust and respect their intention for you.
  • There’s a lot to be said for momentum when it comes to reaching goals. Sometimes there’s no helping a sidetrack, just get back on the main line as quickly as possible.
  • Do some crazy stuff when you’re young so you have something to talk about when you are older.
  • Don’t let anyone diss your taste in music.
  • What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly.
  • It’s scary to start over but sometimes it’s the only good option.
  • Ignoring problems does not make them go away, it just makes them worse.
  • Stop procrastinating, you’re just stealing time from your future over and over.
  • Most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year, but grossly underestimate what they can accomplish in ten.
  • Don’t wish your life away. “I can’t wait for graduation” “I’ll be so happy when I retire” “Is it Friday yet?” Make the most of the Mid-winter Tuesdays in your life.
  • Always have something to look forward to. If there’s nothing in your calendar – plan something.

Practical things:

  • Always keep $5 hidden in your car, it has saved me multiple times at toll booths, gas stations and any place cash-only.
  • No one likes a mooch. Whether it’s borrowing tools or favors or a few dollars.
  • Never approach a horse from behind and never turn your back on a playful goat.
  • Don’t leave valuables in your car, it’s easy to smash a window.
  • The library is not just books. It has free DVD rentals, free wifi and sometimes classes and events.
  • Don’t pee on an electric fence.
  • Don’t feed bread to ducks. It’s bad for them. Feed them corn or halved grapes.
  • A large pizza is more pizza than 2 mediums. Choose wisely.
  • Don’t hang your damp shirts on wire hangers, in fact don’t use wire hangers they damage clothes.
  • Don’t try the frozen flagpole with your tongue like in the movie.
  • Practice spatial awareness. Not only will it keep you safer because you are alert but it will also ensure you aren’t blocking someone’s path.

Finally, get off your phone. There’s a whole world out there waiting to be conquered!
No seriously, this the end of the article. Put down your phone and go do something awesome.

How To Pack For A Cruise!

Click here for a printable PDF version!


  • Pants-Skirts
  • Shirts-Blouses
  • Belt
  • Dress Shoes
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Flippy-floppies
  • Socks
  • Workout clothes
  • Swimsuits (2 at least so one dries while the other in use)
  • Suit Coverup
  • Undies and bras
  • Formal Evening Wear for Captain’s Dinner night
  • Dinner Wear for formal dining room dinners
  • Sundresses
  • Shorts
  • Tops
  • T-shirts
  • Light sweater-Hoodie
  • Robe
  • Jammies
  • Hat/visor (wide brim sunhat recommended)


  • Hair ties/clips
  • Makeup
  • Hairbrush
  • Hairspray/Gel
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Soap
  • Razors-shave gel
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Floss
  • Curling or Flat Iron (After some debate they do allow these on the boat. Yay!)
  • Lotion
  • Face moisturizer (even if you don’t do this at home – trust me)
  • Sunscreen
  • Chapstick
  • Kleenex
  • Tweezers
  • Nail clippers/file/polish
  • Cologne
  • Q-tips
  • Tampons
  • Prescription Glasses
  • Contact Lenses/Solution
  • Medicine (aspirin, pepto, Lactaid, tums, bandaids, vitamins, eye drops)
  • Medical ID info
  • Birth Control Pills/Condoms
  • Prescription medicine and medical devices

Documents & Misc.

electrical plug

  • Cell phone & Charger
  • USB wall plug
  • Multi-plug for outlet (Like above. Usually there’s one outlet and many things to charge. Note: they can’t have surge protection or they will confiscate it from you. )
  • Sunglasses
  • Earbuds
  • Laptop/Tablet & Charger (I wouldn’t recommend this, you might be tempted to work and the wi-fi is really expensive out to sea)
  • Credit Cards-Debit Card
  • Money (Most ports of call take US cash)
  • I.D.-Drivers License
  • Passport
  • Birth Certificate if no passport
  • Itinerary
  • Tickets – boarding passes – confirmation #’s
  • Luggage Tags (Most ships print these with your other documents)
  • Keys
  • Jewelry
  • Watch
  • Purse – Wallet
  • Journal
  • Luggage Locks/keys
  • Safety pins-sewing kit
  • Ziploc bags (for waterproofing your phone and collecting shells)
  • Cigs, Lighter, E-Cigarette-Charger
  • Gum/Mints
  • A leisurely book or magazine
  • Your Hangover Cure

Don’t forget to…

  • Throw out stuff in the fridge that will be gross by the time you get back
  • Lock all doors and windows- set alarm
  • Lock your car
  • Have neighbor check the mail/feed animals
  • Go shopping for missing items-in travel sizes!!!
  • Put ID tags inside luggage in case your luggage tags fall off
  • Change $40 into small bills for street vendor purchases and tips
  • Put all nail files, scissors in checked luggage if flying
  • Send email to important people (I’ll be out of the country…)
  • Get a ride to the port
  • Call mom – give her your itinerary, she worries you know
  • Pay bills that will come due while you’re gone
  • Put all “necessities” in the carry-on, you may not get your bags delivered for hours
  • Double check all reservations – you need ID, ticket and boarding pass
  • Get to the port early – plan to spend time parking whether on-site or off-site
  • Bring goodies for theme nights


  • I generally change 3 times a day. Pj’s to shorts and tee, to swimsuit, to dinner wear back to PJs. Yes, bring that crazy print shirt, now’s the time for these type of things.
  • I listed shampoo and soap because I can’t use any old brand, that will be in the room as will a blow dryer.
  • Make sure you don’t pack your ID and boarding pass in your checked luggage.
  • You may not be able to get into your room right away, don’t carry on too much.
  • Your bags won’t arrive at your room right away, don’t leave necessities in them.
  • You are allowed to bring one regular sized bottle of wine per person, it must be in your carry-on. Get screw top so you don’t need an opener.
  • If you don’t drink you can usually bring a 12 pack of your favorite soda instead.
  • If you get tipsy on 2 drinks or don’t drink, don’t get the drink package, Otherwise, get the drink package! Drink package allows you to grab bottled water at the bar. Bring a few back to the room so you don’t drink the expensive mini-bar offerings in desperation. Also sink water kind of ick to brush your teeth with.
  • Room service is free and it’s nice to have a coffee and some fruit before you go battle the crowds at breakfast. Put your request outside your door before you go to bed.
  • Make your room number your phone lock screen.
  • Every day your room attendant will leave a brochure of ship activities for you. Be sure to read it so you don’t miss out on Bingo or an amazing theater show. Last trip my roomie paid for the whole cruise by winning Bingo.

Click here for a printable PDF version!

How To Host A Mongolian BBQ

So every year my lovely and talented friend Tasha throws a Mongolian BBQ for her boyfriend Mike on his birthday. The party is always a hit and every year it gets bigger and bigger. Let me preface this instruction with the notion that this party takes a lot of prep! I only help dice and slice and my hands still smell like garlic. But the result is always amazing. You can base the amount of food you prep depending on the number of party goers. I would suggest starting small, a dozen or so people and work your way up to Tasha and Mike’s level of 50-100. Here’s what you’ll need:


  • An outdoor wok or a grill with a flat tray to grill up your food
  • A meat slicer – otherwise you’ll be doing it all by hand
  • Disposable bowls for raw ingredients
  • Bowls for finished product
  • Clothespins for identifying whose bowl is whose
  • Utensils for cooking and eating including chopsticks for fun


Sauces:  Make as many as you can for diverse tastes. Garlic water is always the biggest hit so make plenty. Add boiling water or chicken broth to ingredients to bring out the most flavor and let cool. Water is what makes the food cook quickly and evenly. So be sure to have plenty of flavored water on hand. Here are some of the ones Tasha offered.

  • Garlic Water
  • Garlic Lemon
  • Sweet and Sour
  • Hoisin Wasabi
  • Mushroom and Eggplant
  • Ginger and Black Pepper
  • Hot Pepper
  • Soy Sauce
  • Sugar water

Meats and Noodles: Slicing can be done days in advance and frozen until the day of the party. Soba noodles can be cooked the night before and left in a drizzle of sesame oil to keep them from sticking together.

  • Sliced Beef
  • Slice Chicken
  • Sliced Pork
  • Large Shrimp
  • Diced Tofu
  • Soba Noodles

Vegetables: Be sure to dice in similar sizes so that the food cooks evenly. Include anything you would enjoy in a stir fry type meal. Some of these can done the day before but most are best when done the day of the party.

  • Bok Choy
  • Napa Cabbage
  • Red Cabbage
  • Carrot
  • Green Beans
  • Mushrooms
  • Water Chestnuts
  • Celery
  • Pea Pods
  • Peppers
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Onions
  • Scallions
  • Green peas
  • Baby Corn
  • Pineapple
  • Bamboo Shoots
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Sesame seeds
  • Peanuts

Guest Prep: Making signs with instructions is the easiest way to let guests know how the process works. We got inventive with our list:


Be sure your wok or grill is nice and hot before you begin. Here in Florida, the chef gets pretty warm in the outdoor kitchen so be sure to keep the cold beverages coming. It’s best to have 2 chefs so one can cover for the other so everyone can enjoy the party. It also helps to have a sous chef of sorts to help keep bowls in the order they were turned in.

Bowls cook really quickly. Add oil to the wok before adding a bowl. Constantly stir to get an even cook on all pieces. Be sure to cook chicken and pork thoroughly. Beware of any guests with allergies. We couldn’t do shrimp or pineapple for this reason. Be sure to clean your wok with water occasionally to get out old pieces of food that may burn and effect future bowls. Also clean after your friend who likes things spicy has theirs done. You don’t want a 5 year old getting residual heat in their bowl.

A constant stream of bowls will be coming in so it’s best to have the prep chef not be the same as the chef that cooks the bowls. Because, well… exhaustion. Be sure to have a pitcher of plain water on hand for guests who didn’t add enough liquid to their bowl. Bowl should be filled to the brim with water after meats and veggies are added.

And this is me, a happy girl with a bowl of Mongolian! Enjoy your Mongolian Barbeque!



How Not To Be “That Guy” When Invited On a Friend’s Boat

Hey! You’ve been invited to go boating with your friends! Folks with boats know people will start coming out of the woodwork the moment they buy a boat and are usually more than happy to have some others along. But there are a few rules you need to follow in order to get invited back.  Keep in mind, boats aren’t cheap to buy or maintain. Also marine gas ain’t cheap either and someone will be cleaning up a house full of tracked in lake mud after your adventure. They’re spending time and money to take you out so don’t act like some D-bag at a frat party.

Here’s a couple of rules to ensure you’ll receive future invites. (Note: When I say guy, I mean guys and girls, I’m from Michigan it’s what we do.)

1) Food – Don’t be the guy that brings one bag of pretzel rods for a full day of boating. Eventually you will get hungry (especially after a few beverages) and when you do you will have to depend on the kindness of others to be fed properly. Mainly because they don’t want your drunk ass passing out due to lack of proper nutrition or falling off the boat. Consider bringing a sub sandwich, chopped fruit, veggies, chips or some other easy to transport food. Be gracious when someone does offer you their food and don’t just take for granted that the host/hostess is supposed to feed you unless this was specifically implied.

2) Drinks – Always bring twice what you can drink. Boating is a communal affair and you may have to share a couple beers. (Because there’s always the person who came completely empty handed or underestimated their ability to consume beverages on a hot day). Also don’t show up with just drinks, put them in a cooler and cover them with ice. Unless you’re bringing Fireball, we’ll make room in our cooler for that. And drink a water every now and again. Proper hydration will ensure that you don’t get too intoxicated and be “That Guy.”

3) Guests – Did you tell the captain you were bringing a friend/dog/child on their boat? Bringing tag-alongs without notice is a big no-no. Maybe that extra will overcrowd the boat, or pee on the carpet (I mean the dog not the friend) and some situations just aren’t kid friendly. Besides, now you are personally responsible for the care and feeding of your guest. You’re going to have to share your warm 6 pack and pretzel rods between 2 people now. Always check with your host/hostess before dragging along a sidekick. Yes, even you, beloved friend.

4) Smoking – Always ask before lighting up on someone’s boat. Once again these are expensive machines, and just because they’re open air doesn’t mean it’s ok. Owners always fear that some drunk may put a burn hole in the seat. Be considerate and ask first and NEVER throw your butts in the water.

5) Littering – Speaking of throwing things in the water. Absolutely nothing goes into the water that is not seaweed. Orange rinds, peanut shells, and such are no big deal but be mindful of your beer caps, cigarette butts, wrappers and cans. Litter is destructive and disgusting. In fact if you find a piece of trash in the water, pick it up and put it in a trash bin. Don’t be a piggy.

6) Be Prepared – Be sure you’ve brought all you need for fun in the sun. This includes sunscreen, sunglasses, chapstick, and a towel along with your food and drinks. Trust your friends when they say you need sunscreen or a water.

7) The Captain – OK here’s the deal: The captain is in charge of the boat. (The captain may not always be the one in the drivers seat) If he/she says it’s time to go, it’s time to go. If they ask you to move, sit down or shut up, do it. As fun and relaxing as boating is, it is the captains job to ensure the safety of all the people on their boat and they are liable for you. Also, the captain chooses the music or appoints a DJ, end of story.

8) Safety – If you feel a “Hold my beer and watch this” moment coming up, just say no. Do not push anyone out of a moving boat or jump out of a moving boat. Do not hang out by the motor of a running boat. Don’t try a double back flip off the platform. Don’t sit on the rails at high speeds. In other words don’t be dumb.

9) Passenger Etiquette – Respect the boat! Don’t step on seats, only hard surfaces if possible. Leave coolers on the floor. Don’t bring any glass on board.  Respect equipment including paddle boards and floats. Don’t play with any buttons or switches. Don’t try to start the boat while the captain is away. Don’t try to “help” unless the captain asks you to. A friend also mentioned that you should use spray sunscreen BEFORE getting on the boat. Sunscreen spray makes seats sticky and hard to clean. The lotion kind is better for your skin and the environment anyway.

10) Don’t be late – Nothing is more tiresome than sitting with a boat full of people waiting on that one person who didn’t plan ahead. We could be out having fun, but no we’re still at the dock because you just texted “On My Way!” from inside the beer store. Have some respect for your friends and get there when you are supposed to.

11) Disembarking – Don’t stand up until the boat is fully secure. Make sure you grab everything you brought with you on the boat. Make sure all trash has been cleared and put it in a proper place at the house. Ask for help if you need it. And ask the Captain if they need help wiping down the boat!

Oh and if you get invited out regularly, offer to chip in for gas. A gas station gift card is the easy way to make this happen. That’s it for now friends! Please let me know if you think of something else I can add!


(Update: Geez Louise on toast! Thanks everyone for sharing, this has been amazing! P.S. Y’all are a riot and I spend most of my time on pontoons and ski boats in lovely Orlando, FL)

(Update 2: Just a reminder that this content is copyrighted and cutting and pasting it to your forum or page without credit is not cool, please use the share buttons, thanks. )

34 Awesome Things To Do In Orlando This Weekend

So recently I had a friend in from out of town and he asked me, “Well what’s to do around here besides Disney & Universal?” Are you kidding me? There’s so much to do it’s hard to make a choice. From restaurants to shopping, there’s a ton of things hip and happening around here!

Let’s start by eliminating any large theme parks, golf courses, chain restaurants and major shopping meccas or we’ll be here forever. So want something fun and funky to do? Here’s my list.


Weekends Downtown– You ready to get your party on? Then head downtown on a Friday or Saturday night for people watching and some adult beverages. Beware it is a crowded younger scene at Wall Street Plaza but feel free to go to Tanqueray’s Bar which has, since 1984 been serving up live bands and a smoke filled old bank vault every night. 

(Update: Marriott Traveler did a great video to give you and idea of what Downtown nightlife is like )

Harry P. Leu Gardens – Is botany your thing? Because Leu Gardens is a gorgeously landscaped 50 acre park perfect for a romantic stroll. Don’t miss Date Night Movie where you and your date watch a movie under the stars. Blankets and picnic baskets welcome. 

ZoomAir at the Sanford Zoo – Get ready to zoom through the trees at fast speeds! Your Zoom Air adventure starts with a short lesson on zip lining then you’re free to go exploring through the trees. Much like that rickety bridge in that Indiana Jones movie, you make your way through rope and cable bridges and zipline across to other bridges. Not for those scared of heights.  P.S. While you’re in Sanford, stop by the quaint downtown for boutiques, antique shopping and great food. 

Road Trip: Clermont – Must see attractions just west of Orlando include the Citrus Tower, a mid-century observation tower with a charming Old Florida gift shop.  Right next door is the Presidents Hall of Fame and gift shop for those into memorabilia and artifacts from all of the U.S. Presidents.  A few miles down the road is the Lakeridge Winery. Complimentary winery tours and wine tastings are offered seven days a week. For the best time don’t miss the ‘I Love Lucy-esque’ Annual Harvest Grape Stomp in August. 

East End Market – Feed your inner foodie and head to East End Market for some specialty food, furniture and flowers from a variety of vendors. If you’re a nut for cheese like I am, head to La Femme du Fromage for artisan cheeses.

Park Avenue in Winter Park – The abundance of shops and restaurants on Park Avenue is rivaled only by the excellent people watching. Park Avenue’s a mix of well-dressed wine sippers, college kids and families. At the center of it all is the park for which it is named surrounded by great architecture and grandiose homes. Not to miss, the Annual Winter Park Arts Festival in March each year with a Florida artist showcase in October. 

Winter Park Farmers Market – Every Saturday Winter Park Farmers Market is open for business. Tons of fresh veggies, plants and gourmet food are available. Stop by the cheese shop, the smoothie booth and Florida orange juice booth for sure.


Little Vietnam – In the middle of the quirky and delightful Mills 50 district of Downtown Orlando is Little Vietnam. This area is an assortment of unique shops and restaurants and the best Asian Food markets around. If you love Boba tea, Banh-mi or Pho, this is the place to be. My pick? Nha Trang Subs for Banh-mi, a Vietnamese style sub sandwich. 

The Milk District – Named for the unmistakeable presence of a large milk factory in the center of it, the Milk District features a lot of great places to drink and play. Since 1958 Sportstown Billiards has been a great place to shoot pool, get a craft beer and smoke a cig. And don’t forget Tasty Tuesdays Food Truck round up. If you’re out that way during the day do not miss a stop at Pom Pom’s Teahouse & Sandwicheria or Jimmy Kimmel’s favorite, Beefy King (you do yourself a dis-service if you do not get tater tots with your beef sammich.)

Orlando Museum of ArtThe Orlando Museum of Art features a variety of artistic collections and traveling exhibitions from around the world. With 10 or more galleries on display at all times plus great events and art programs, consider an annual pass. Admission is only $10 for adults for the day.

Ripley’s Believe it or Not – Quaintly called the odditorium, Ripley’s Believe It or Not is a museum of the weirdest collection of oddities on the globe. The Orlando odditorium features shrunken heads, an authentic vampire killing kit, a shooting gallery, and a wild spinning vortex tunnel.

Sleuth’s Mystery Dinner Shows – In the mood for a good whodunnit? Sleuth’s features a live action mystery play right before your eyes. Ticket includes the show, meal and adult beverages as the characters play out a mystery. The crowd then guesses who they think the murderer is in the cast. A lot of fun and laughs are to be had during the performance. Multiple shows are available to see throughout the month.

Orlando Shakespeare Theater – In the mood for a theatrical production? Orlando Shakespeare Theater features two theaters which show unique stage shows for adults and children too. 

Aloma Cinema Grill – A pitcher of Beer and fries during a movie? Sign me up. Aloma Cinema Grill shows the latest releases in a cool comfortable table seating atmosphere. Dinner and a movie all in one place!

City Walk – While technically a part of the Universal Theme Park universe City Walk is a world in and of itself. Stop by Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville for a frosty margarita, or enjoy the nightlife at multiple bars. There’s also great shops and restaurants to enjoy all without the price of a ticket. Parking is normally $16 and free after 6PM.

Disney Springs – Another offshoot of a popular theme park is Disney Springs, formerly known as Downtown Disney which is always bustling with shops, restaurants and great venues like Cirque du Soleil, House of Blues, and Planet Hollywood. Be sure to visit the Lego Store, Ghirardelli’s for your free chocolate sample and the Harley Davidson shop. Again, no park tickets needed to enjoy some Mickey.
(Note: Right now they are under construction and the place is packed and parking will give you heartburn)

Pointe Orlando – In the heart of International Drive is Pointe Orlando a bustling center with food, shopping and entertainment. Take the little ones to WonderWorks to enjoy an afternoon of fun and games. (Yes it’s that crazy upside down building) Adults can enjoy the Improv comedy club or grab a cocktail at the upscale Blue Martini or a drag show at the Funky Monkey. Fancy lads and ladies in a kilt? Head to The Pub for authentic British Isles atmosphere. This place has more awesome restaurants than I can list. While you’re in the area stop by the Orlando Eye a 400 foot tall giant Ferris wheel and enjoy breathtaking views of all of Orlando.

lake eola

Lake Eola – Downtown Orlando’s heart is Lake Eola. With a one mile walking trail around the lake, it is great for taking in the Lake Eola wildlife. Those big swans in the center? They’re paddle boats that you can rent and enjoy the lake ON the lake. Be sure to check out all of the crazy sculpture as you go. Eola Sunday Market is a great farmers market with multiple booths and variety of food, plants and flowers. And on other days Relax Grill is a perfect spot to grab some grub and watch people go by with a lake view. 

Ivanhoe Village – Known affectionately by locals as Ivanhoe Row, Ivanhoe Village is a unique bit of Downtown Orlando. Put on a pair of comfy shoes so you can hit up great places like the Lake Ivanhoe circuit workout, The Hammered Lamb for gyros, White Wolf Cafe for brunch or Gargi’s Lakeside for fine Italian food. Cool shops like Boom Art, Rock N Roll Heaven, and tons of antique shops round out the fun. 

Black Hammock Adventures – You haven’t done Florida until you’ve been on an airboat ride. Relax and do some bird watching and gator spotting as you zoom along on a high powered boat. Black Hammock has airboat rides, a tiki bar and a restaurant. So fill up the gas tank and head over to Oveido, just northeast of Orlando.

Old Town – The highlight of Old Town is their weekly car cruises which feature great old cars making their way up and down the main drag. There’s also a carnival, dozens of unique shops, restaurants and live music. 

(Update: Old Town is getting a facelift!)

Fun Spot America – It’s HUGE! hollers the spokesman on TV for this fun place to spend the day and play. Fun Spot has multi-level go carts, thrill rides, roller coasters and arcade games.  Tickets are just $39.95, a deal considering what you pay elsewhere. 

Enzian Theater – Film buffs take note! The Enzian believes film is life and features throwback films and independent features and is the only not-for-profit cinema in the US. Eden’s Bar, the on-site watering hole features daily specials and a full bar. The Enzian is also the home of the Florida Film Festival, a yearly event in April. 

Theater Downtown – An all volunteer production takes place at Theater Downtown throughout the week. With edgy, odd and humorous shows to meet your theatrical needs, Theater Downtown is a great place to see classics and unique shows alike. 

Cornell Fine Arts Museum – Located on the campus of Rollins College, Cornell Fine Arts Museum features an Old Masters collection along with other artworks throughout the ages.(They have a Bourgereau, my favorite painter) The nearby Alfond Inn also features a contemporary collection. 

CityArts Factory – A up close and personal collection of art is featured at this downtown venue. Art is available for purchase. CityArts Factory has free admission Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m

Celebration Town Center – So nestled among Disney property is the picturesque town of Celebration. At the heart of the town is Celebration Town Center, a great place to eat, shop and walk around. Some have said that the atmosphere is a throwback to a more simple time in history where beautiful homes are surrounded by white picket fences and the local ice cream shop is the place to be. The eerie perfection of your surroundings will quickly fade as you find yourself shopping, eating and enjoying the picturesque area. Oh, and don’t miss Octoberfest at Celebration!

wekiva(Photo Credit: Devin Esterbrook)

Wekiva Island – If being outdoors is your thing you MUST visit Wekiva Island. Camping, hiking, canoeing and swimming are a great way to beat the summer heat here in Orlando and Wekiva has it all. The crystal clear cool spring fed water is as refreshing as it sounds. You can rent paddleboards, canoes, and kayaks and there are on site bathrooms, outdoor bar, volleyball court and more.

Morse Museum – The Morse Museum is home to a beautiful collection of the works of Louis Comfort Tiffany, renowned glass maker, potter and jeweler. The museum also features other works by well known artists. Do a double and head to the Mennello Museum of American Art for Free Family Day on the Second Sunday of each month.

Day Trip: Mt. Dora – Looking to get away for the day and go shopping? Then Mount Dora is the place for you. This historic village is a great place to eat, shop and wander. Be sure not to miss the Rusty Anchor 1 Hour Sunset Cruise or the summer concert series at the historic Lakeside Inn

Skydive Space Center – Ready to jump out of a perfectly good airplane? Great! Head over to Skydive Space Center! Your tandem jump will be over the gorgeous Space Coast which includes views of the Atlantic coast and Kennedy Space Station. Don’t forget to pull the cord!

The Great Escape Room – Are you smart? Crafty? Good at deduction? The Great Escape Room will test your skills to see if you can figure out how to break free before your time is up! Part scavenger hunt, part puzzle this Sherlock Holmes themed brainy activity will have you and your friends puzzling and puzzling until your puzzler is sore. 

Orlando Science Center & Crosby Observatory – The Orlando Science Center is the perfect place for the science geeks in all of us. There are multiple interactive and educational exhibits for folks of all ages. T-Rex towers over visitors in the Dino Lounge and other exhibit halls. Located inside OSC is the Crosby Observatory. Fun things to do include looking through the 10-inch lens of the telescope to see deep sky objects including planets, moons and galaxies. Right now on exhibit is Mummies of The World… creepy!

Orlando City Soccer – We finally have a soccer team! While the new stadium is being built you can catch Orlando City Soccer at the Citrus Bowl. Go put on a purple shirt and join the rowdy fun. Single tickets start at $35.00. Go Lions!