Sunday, June 29, 2014

From the Rooftops of Casco Viejo

Skyline of Casco Viejo and Panama City

Tantalo Casco Viejo Panama City

Overlooking Panama City Panama
 The rooftops of Casco Viejo Panama

Travelling Casco Viejo Panama

The setting: Rooftop of Tantalo, Panama City. 

I have the most perfect view overlooking the crumbling facades of the somehow still charming neighbourhood of Casco Viejo. The skyscrapers of downtown Panama City stretch in front of me, their lights starting to burn brightly as dusk falls. I have a glass of red wine in hand that was served cold, surprisingly yet happily. I'm one of those rare ones who actually prefers my red wine not to be room temperature. 

Funky and contemporary jazz music plays from the speaker to my left, making it difficult to eavesdrop on the group of single women to my right who are sharing stories of travels and lost loves. When you travel by yourself, people watching and eavesdropping become common past times, at least for meThe ladies seem like an interesting bunch who haven't known each other for long, but I'm way too shy to ask if I can join them. I don't mind being alone though. I'm enjoying a quiet night to myself and the opportunity to write in my travel journal anyway. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Observations of a Chronic People Watcher

Hi everyone! If you're reading this post through your email or Bloglovin, hop on over to the blog today to see The Lifestyle Project 2.0. Thanks so much to Tracy for illustrating my new header and to Erin for redesigning the site! And, as always, thank you to my readers for keeping up with The Lifestyle Project and helping it grow. There are a ton of blogs out there and it means so much to me that you take the time to read mine.

Since I've been in the States this summer I've spent a lot of time in coffee shops.  

In fact, I'm currently writing this post from a coffee shop in town. Sometimes I need a kick in the pants to get away from my oh-too-comfortable bed turned desk and working from outside of the house makes me feel like I need to be extra-productive to justify the $4.23 I just spent on a chai vanilla latte.

Today though I've forgotten my earbuds which, unfortunately, are the key to staying focused. 

Normally when it gets too loud and distracting I just pop in some music and retreat back into writing world. (It's always much too easy for me to get distracted from writing world. Do I get easily distracted from Netflix world? Or pizza binge world? Of course not. But writing world? Always.) 

After battling to stay on task for the last half hour, I figure why not just give in as this post is practically writing itself. And thus I bring to you...

Observations of a Chronic People Watcher
Overlooking Puerto Cortes Beach in Honduras
  • I've got two young student types chatting to my left and way over-sharing considering how loud they're speaking. What is it with girls and always touching/twirling their hair? It's not necessarily even a flirting thing... at least not all the time. But considering these girls just switched to talking about their lesbian experiences in college I might've spoken too soon.
  • Regardless of age, it seems like there's always room for friendship drama. Why is that? I like to think it's something I've grown out of, especially since I'm not in school anymore. Dramatic friendship breakups are entirely unnecessary. Especially when they're done in public. 
  • I hate that my generation is literally attached to their phones. I think it's so rude when you specifically make time for a coffee date and the other person is answering the phone or texting throughout your conversation. Drives me nuts, even when it's not happening to me! 
  • Despite being in public, people like to sneak in nose and wedgie picks. We can seeeee you! 
  • Children know how to play no matter where they are. At the coffee shop with their mom, running through the park square, kicking around the front yard.. these are all fair grounds for the settings of their next adventure. I think as we grow older we forget how to do this. It's pretty inspiring to see how kids can create magical worlds regardless of what's going on around them.
  • People who are unaware that they're being watched make for great photography subjects.
  • I love watching people who realize they've gone past where they meant to and instead of just turning around and walking back in the direction where they came from, they pull out their phones and pretend to respond to a text. Okay so 30 seconds have passed and that's totally enough time for it to be socially acceptable to turn back around now, right? In the spirit of full disclosure, I'm totally guilty of this.
People watching in Belize
Burns Ave. in San Ignacio, Belize has ton of street cafes that are perfect for people watching
Coffee shops, park benches, and my personal favourite, outdoor patios, are the best places for people watching. Do you like to people watch too? What observations have you noticed?


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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Date Night in Guatemala

Antigua, Guatemala

Sometimes when the scenery is as exotic as this, it makes more sense not to get dolled up for date night. Have you ever tried walking on cobblestones in the dark while wearing heels? Sprained ankle waiting to happen. I almost full out face-planted several times in the streets of Antigua because of the uneven sidewalks, but I digress…

Back to the exploring scenery thing.

Date night while travelling in Central America consisted of workout clothes, sweaty hair in a bun, and no makeup. On this particular night in Antigua it also consisted of our last hike together, a troupe of clowns, sushi, and sangria.

My husband for some reason always wants to work out together so we decided to walk through those picturesque cobblestone streets then hike up to Cerro de la Cruz (Hill of the Cross) which overlooks the city. We saved up our appetite to splurge on sushi afterwards, which we figured was totally worth it as it was M’s last night in Central America

Cerro de la Cruz, Guatemala
The middle of the woods is always an appropriate time to strike a pose, right?
Antigua and its volcanoes
Overlooking the city of Antigua
Top of the hill
I love his freckles
Be a girl who travels: Guatemala

So about those clowns…

When we were getting ready to walk back down the hill we noticed a bus full of clowns had arrived. What the heck were 20+ grown ass adults in costumes, wigs, and facepaint doing at the top of this hill and why hadn’t I seen them on the way up? AND WHERE WERE THE CHILDREN? There were no kids around! Naturally I had to go find out what was what.

I greeted one of the clowns and he started speaking to me in Spanish. Realizing he mistook me for a local (I mean, look at that tan) I replied, “I’m from Canada, and I must ask, what is up with all of these clown costumes?” 

The look of confusion that quickly crossed his face was something I’d started getting used to when we left Honduras. It dissipated quickly though, and he called two friends over to tell me about how they were Patch Adams volunteer clowns. How unexpected! They were on a trip to Guatemala to visit children’s hospitals and orphanages. 

“Jean Pierre! There’s a Canadian here, you have to come meet her!” the first clown called out (for some reason he thought we would know each other). 

Patch Adams clowns

Sadly M wanted nothing to do with the clowns and went roaming with the camera elsewhere, so I have no photographic proof of being surrounded by a group of them hugging and kissing me. It somehow started because of the French-Canadians tradition of bisous (kissing twice on the cheeks) and kind of went from there. The only picture I snapped of them was from when I first noticed the group hanging about.

All in all it was an out-of-the-box date night and a memory that’s pretty sweet to look back upon. You never know what to expect when travelling, right?

Linking up with A Compass Rose.

PS: The Lifestyle Project is going through a redesign this week and there are a few kinks here and there. Don't worry, we're working on it!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Monday Morning Confess Sesh


Due to some very sweet comments on last month's confession post, I've decided to come back for round two. In no particular order, I confess:
  • Last week I binge read The Fault in Our Stars. I totally got sucked into the hype and borrowed my sister-in-law's copy. The book absolutely lives up to its reputation and had me completely wrapped up in the story!  In fact, if this were not a confessions post, I wouldn't admit that I had to stop reading on three separate occasions because I was crying so hard the words on the page were swimming in front of me. Have you seen the movie yet? What did you think?
  • I've been watching House Hunters and Property Brothers wayyy too much, especially for someone that doesn't have close to enough money to buy a property of her own. Also, on PB, do the buyers not know what show they're on? How are they always surprised that the first house is way over budget? And why do they always doubt what a paint job, new counters, and new floors can do?
  • I've gained back any weight I lost in Central America and more. Why do I love to eat all the things I should not be eating?
  • I really hate sticker decals on the back windshields of minivans and SUVs (if you have these I'm probably about to offend you). Look at what you're driving – obviously you have a family. Duh. But thanks for spelling it out that you’re married with three kids, two dogs, a cat, and (gasp!) enjoy playing soccer. Never would’ve guessed
  • I drink probably more than my fair share of wine. This is especially due to the fact that we received a coupon for $100 off a case (that’s 12 bottles!) and now there’s always wine on tap
  • I was absolutely baffled the first time I saw a drive-thru with suction tubes at the bank! What the wha? We don’t have this in Canada. Apparently you just put your documents in there and it gets sucked up to the teller inside the building
via
  • I’m terrified every time an automatic toilet flushes itself. It scares the shit out of me would be the appropriate expression. Why can't those things wait an extra 30 seconds?
  • I found a tick that was trying to burrow its way into my stomach this morning! So gross! They seem to be everywhere in TN
  • I told my friends I would rather skip out of movie night than watch a horror film and this is the reaction I got:

Confessions are only fun when they go both ways! Now I want to hear from you. Share your Monday morning confessions with me in the comments below.

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Our Travel Wedding Rings Part II

Travel wedding rings from The-Lifestyle-Project.com
Click here for a refresher of Part I: To Ring or Not to Ring

Before we left for Central America, my husband and I decided we were going to leave our wedding rings at home and pick up some cute and locally made bands on the road. He'd already lost his first wedding band on our honeymoon in Jamaica and we weren't looking to repeat that mistake again!

We tucked away our gold and diamonds once we arrived in the States and continued to Honduras bare-fingered. We spent a whole month in Utila and since it was such a small island there weren't many artisans with rings to choose from, especially unique pieces.

I was hoping to pick up rings towards the beginning of our trip as I like the idea of wearing jewellery to acknowledge we're married. Call it the romantic or sentimentalist in me, but I think wearing wedding bands is a sweet and subtle way of saying you're spoken for, saying, “Yes I'm married!!!” without bringing it up all the time or screaming it in anyone's face like my excessive exclamation points suggest. A ring on that conspicuous fourth finger is definitely something people notice, even if they don't comment. Also, considering how travellers are some of the best at partying and all that comes with it, I have to be honest that didn't hate the idea of people knowing we're together and it's serious, so yes you can stop hitting on my husband now thankyouverymuch.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

What I'm Wearing: White BCBG in Paris

White BCBG day dress

white dress casual summer

White dress ruffled neckline

White BCBG dress country casual summer
BCBG dress / Caribbean Joe sandals via Sears

A little while ago we decided to take a spontaneous day trip to Paris in pursuit of the world's biggest fish fry. Sadly I'm referring to Paris, Tennessee and not Paris, France, but still... good food is good food! 

It was one of those days where nothing was planned. Though we knew the general direction of where Paris is, once we got into town we had to stop and ask for directions to "this fish fry thing that we heard about." The beauty of small towns is that (most) people are super friendly and were able to give us perfect directions to a local fair where the fish fry was taking place. What they neglected to tell us was that the event didn't start until the next day! It was likely the first time in my life I'd been early for anything. 

Worlds biggest fish fry

In the end, we left without being able to satisfy M's fish craving that he's been chasing since Guatemala. Instead we ate greasy and fattening delicious handmade burgers and milkshakes at this ma and pa joint then drove to an elk and bison reserve in Kentucky because why not. 

The reserve was surprisingly beautiful so we took a bunch of pictures of ourselves with my tripod and remote and sometimes I turned the camera on the animals too. We had a frighteningly fun encounter with this beast when he decided to cross the road two feet from our car, which made us realize he was way bigger than our car. I popped out of the sunroof to capture a shot as I figured it was less of a risk compared to sticking my head out of the window and M had his foot poised on the pedal in case we needed to gun it. 

Big hairy bison

All in all, I'm loving my time here in the States and all the randomness that comes from it! Have you ever driven for hours in pursuit of food? I know I'm not the only one...

Linking up with Style Elixir / Walking in Memphis in High Heels / A Compass Rose / Because Shanna Said So / Get Your Pretty On / The Pleated Poppy

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