Paying it Forward - Blogger Style
Thank you to Vera Vise for nominating me for the Liebster Award. Amanda at Vera Vise was one of the first Disney blogging fanatics that I met during my first few weeks of travel blogging. I felt right at home on her Facebook community and loved reading all her Disney articles. My favorite article is Five Disney Hacks and I will certainly be using some of these “hacks” on my upcoming WDW vacation.
So, on to the award! The Liebster Award is a virtual blogging award aimed at discovering and highlighting new bloggers. In my opinion, the Liebster Award is a way for other bloggers to “pay it forward” by helping drive visibility to new blogs! In addition to being highlighted on Vera Vise’s blog, I also get an opportunity to brag about myself and then pay it forward to a few of my favorite bloggers.
About Travel Plus Family (and Me!)
My blog, Travel Plus Family, came to life in May 2017 with the mission to inspire families to travel together and love life! My blog articles provide vacation reviews, travel tips, family fun, recipes, and more! All articles have the same focus, to make life happier!
As suggested, to help my readers know me better, here are 5 random facts about myself:
- Nine days after graduating from college, I decided to move from Louisiana to Colorado. I didn’t know anyone and I didn’t have a car, a place to live, or a job! Thankfully, everything fell right into place. I’ve been in Colorado for 17 years now and I am so glad I took the risk!
- My husband and I have been married for 16 years! We dated for less than six months before we decided to take a leap of faith!
- I have a great “gut-check” and it has allowed me to take some risks (see above) and it has also saved my butt so many times!
- My core competency is being a helper to others. I love helping others find their full potential within Corporate America. I also love supporting other bloggers and helping them however I can.
- I believe a great vacation can reset people’s hearts and minds. Allowing oneself to disconnect and actually SEE the world around them can literally can the direction of a person’s life. Disney changed my life, you’ll read this below. But each time I visit the mountains, the forest, or the beach, I am reminded that any worries I have in life are small in comparison. It’s not saying that my worries don’t matter, it just helps put things into perspective. I am reminded that my time here is limited and I need to always make the most out of my time.
Questions from Vera Visa
Why did you decide to start blogging?
Years ago, I had a started a mom blog and I thoroughly enjoyed blogging. It spoke to my creative side, something I never used in my daily Corporate America grind. However, lots of life got in the way and I stopped blogging. I tried for years to revive my previous blog, but the niche no longer felt enough. So, I just stopped.
During my blogging sabbatical, when we took family vacations, I would always do a travel review on Facebook and many of my friends would comment that I needed a travel blog. I loved this idea, but kept it on the back burner until recently. Once I decided to blog again, pieces fell together beautifully. My blog’s name, Travel Plus Family, was not only available, but fit my desired scope. I found a free and amazing blogging course, many great blogging friends (like Vera Vise), several niche specific support systems (DisFanChat, Awesome Travel Bloggers, Mom Blog Tribe), and tons of fantastic blogging tools (Canva, Canva, Canva). Where were these items six years ago?! It’s only been five months since Travel Plus Family went live, but I am absolutely loving it and I have no intentions of ever stopping.
How has your blog evolved or changed since you began?
In five short months, my blog has evolved tons and I suspect it will continue to evolve as I develop my niche. I had initially wanted Travel Plus Family to be dual focused (travel and family), then I de-scoped and re-scoped. Now, I am right back where I started with a dual scope, but I’m really “feeling” it this time around.
What aspect of writing a Travel Blog do you most enjoy?
I love reminiscing about my vacation by writing about it days, weeks, and sometimes even months later. When I write, I am always taken back to those carefree and fabulous moments we had as a family while on vacation. This not only keeps those moments alive for me, but it also helps document them for me! Being a “helper” by nature, I always write with hope that my words and pictures will inspire someone to book a vacation or to spend more quality time with their family.
What aspect of writing a Travel Blog do you least enjoy?
Commonly with all other moms, my life is very full! I juggle being a mom, wife, full-time employee at a Fortune 500 company, and an “all-in” parent volunteer at my daughter’s school. Who signed-up to manage the classroom auction project? This girl. Finding the time to sit down in a quite place to work on my blog is the least enjoyable piece of blogging. There is always work to do on my blog and I have to pick and chose what my priorities are for that day (and I just want to do it all). I am still working on the perfect mom/wife/friend/employee/blogger balance!!
Since I know you love Disney, tell us about why you became passionate enough about Disney to write about it?
As a child, we vacationed at Disney World many times. They were happy memories for me; however, it was my Disneyland trip in 2014 that solidified my love for Disney. I always tell people that a great vacation can heal broken hearts and that is exactly what our trip in 2014 did for us. My story is messy, but, it is my truth….
In 2013, we were expecting our second child via IVF, another girl. The entire IVF process had not gone as smoothly as it did the first time around and I was placed on lots of hormones to help keep the pregnancy. From my first pregnancy, we already knew I was likely to have a 9-month long puke fest – but what was not expected, was how dramatic my morning sickness was made due to the extra hormones. In desperation, I tried to stay out of the hospital, but after three days of puking to pure exhaustion, I was admitted to the hospital and didn’t leave for 14 days. I was then on home health for another 3 weeks. Even with an IV drip and medication, I felt constantly nauseous and dizzy. My best analogy for this feeling is to imagine yourself drunk with food poisoning on a boat with dead fish on a very rough sea. Yup, barf city. My condition had a name, Hyperemesis Gravidarum, or HG for short. Turns out, I likely had a mild version of this during my first pregnancy.
Around week 18, I could function again. I still puked many times per day, but it was a dramatic improvement. However, as soon as I started to feel better, we started getting negative ultrasound results. These just keep getting worse and worse as the weeks went on. At 27 weeks, we lost the pregnancy. Let me be clear, especially to any other moms with HG reading this, our loss was completely unrelated to HG or the treatment for HG. Unfortunately, our baby had a trisomy, the fertility clinic only prolonged the inevitable.
For the months following, I could only manage going through the motions of life. I gave everything I had to my daughter and then suffered in silence the rest of the time. To my discovery, many people love to take advantage of a strong woman at her weakness moments. I learned a lot about people during this time of my life.
I know what you are thinking…. this is supposed to be a travel and family blog about happiness and this is a question about Disney. Trust me, I’m getting there. I believe that you can’t really appreciate happiness unless you have gone long dark days without it. So, let me continue….
Through a lot of counseling, soul searching, and learning to lean on my husband, I made it through the fog at the beginning of 2014. It was at that time, we decided to embrace the fact that we were a fabulous party of three and needed to make each day we had together count! First on the agenda, a Disneyland vacation!
Many people might not understand how a Disneyland vacation could jump start my family’s happiness again. But then again, maybe people sadly don’t allow themselves to get lost in the magic of moments like my husband and I now do. For Disneyland’s part, they seemingly sought out to create these moments for us. At the Disneyland Hotel, Goofy magically appeared in the hotel lobby for a solo dance with our 3-year-old daughter. As we were walking down Main Street, dancing to the music, bubbles seemed to appear out of thin air. The Monorail conductor selected our daughter to ride in the “nose” of the monorail. We held hands during the firework show like a sappy romantic commercial. And then we all cuddled together as the Disneyland Hotel’s headboard “sang” us to sleep. Disneyland’s magical moments brought us back together as a happy family unit and healed our broken hearts. I cried many tears on this trip, but for the first time in many months, they were tears of joy. How could one not love Disney after this experience?
My Blog Nominees
Ok, whew. Now that you guys know a lot more about me, it is time for me to nominate some of my favorite bloggers so you can tell me your deepest, darkest secrets (I’m kidding).
- Love Laugh Caribbean: Michele was the first blogging friend I made and I adore her enthusiasm for teaching her children to appreciate the world and different cultures through travel. Visit her blog to read about her family’s love and laughter through their Caribbean travels and beyond!
- Minivan Adventures: I met April just a few months ago and she has been an amazing blogging support and inspiration. She reads. She writes. She travels. She explores. And enjoys all the little moments with her loved ones. Join them for their fun adventures!
- Hiking in My Flip Flops: Kiersten is a fellow Colorado transplant! I love following her family’s adventures through the state I love and to many other destinations. Visit her blog to read about her family adventures, food, and much more!
- Henry and Andrew’s Guide: Emily and I connected recently. Her blog details life with her family of 4 plus dog (Chippy) who all live in San Francisco. They love to travel and love to eat. Sometimes combining the two! Visit their blog to read about their experiences aimed to help you with your own travels!
- Two Worlds Treasures: Umiko of Two Worlds Treasures loves to travel with her family whenever there is an opportunity! They love to explore their ties to Indonesia, Pennsylvania, and Texas. And of course, they explore all the places in between. Her blog has opened my eyes to the beauty of Indonesia. Join them on their family adventures as they find life’s little treasures!
Questions for Nominees
1. As a blogger, what do you hope your reader will gain from a visit to your blog?
2. What is your favorite quote? How does it have significance to your life?
3. Name the top 3 blog posts you have written (please provide links) and tell us why they are your favorite.
4. How did you pick your blog’s name?
5. How has blogging changed your life?
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