New Blog Launch – A Huge Thank You to Everyone!

gutsygirlnewI’ve never been so focused and inspired to move towards a single life path as I am right now. Right now being the past 5 months that I’ve created Gutsy Girl Wellness. And everyone who knows me well understands that this is a crazy, impossible feat- after all, I was the girl who changed life dreams every few months for several years straight. I went through 5 majors in college!

But now I have a strange sense of calm. Even though most people around me don’t understand exactly what I’m trying to do with my life, I still know that I have to keep doing it. This path that I’m walking along feels right to my heart and intuition, so I can’t stop now.

But the day has finally come for this specific blog to end. It’s not a sad ending like it sounds, but a fresh, bright beginning. As of today, I’ve officially launched my new website with a slightly new name & focus- Gutsy Girl Living. I’ve found enough courage and inspiration to slowly take this to the next level, from hobby to business.

I want to thank all of you who’ve started reading Gutsy Girl Wellness since it was formed this summer. You’ve given me the support and confidence to keep writing and creating, week after week. It’s often hard to keep going in the beginning stages of a project. You get sad if you don’t receive any comments on a post, or if nobody is engaging the way you’d hope for them to. It’s easy to say that I’ve already learned a bazillion lessons in vulnerability and motivation.

But it’s truly been a great experience so far, and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store. I hope you’ll join me again over on my new & improved blog from now on! I have an awesome (and free!) digital workbook available for subscribers to the new website. Head on over! 🙂

So, cheers to new beginnings and opportunities! To celebrate, I’ll be posting over on Gutsy Girl Living for the next five days straight, including a giveaway post starting tomorrow. Now get your butt over there to learn more about my new blog and to win yourself a gift!

Check out my first official post on my new website: Blog Launch – Gutsy Girl Living is Now Here!

Sending you happiness,

xo Caylee

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Soul Sessions: How I Live On Purpose

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I’m sharing how I live on purpose in support of my friend Dr. Danielle Dowling and her new book The Soul Sessions, a 5-week guide to crafting greater joy and making big things happen. Get a wee, free sample here!

What does living a life of meaning mean to you? Paint us a picture.

To live meaningful lives, I believe we all need to be the architect of our own existence. What I mean by this is that we shouldn’t give our power away to other people for them to make big decisions for us. Society as a whole, colleagues, negative family members- they all have opinions on how we should live our lives. How what we’re doing is wrong or that we should change to be more like them.

Everyone has these different personal influences in their lives, and that’s okay. The point is to harness the power in yourself to live the version of life that you find to be meaningful, regardless of what others believe. Create a lifestyle upon the foundations of your own forms of purpose and happiness.

For me, a meaningful life would not involve a traditional job where I have to work for someone else and abide by their rules. If you can’t tell, I’m not fond of rules! In my version, I would get to help and inspire people with my own business while having the freedom to spend time traveling the world with my family. I’d want to take my future kids on month-long backpacking trips and go on language immersion vacations with them!

Quality time with my loved ones is so important to me, and I would never want a career that kept me from that. I would rather live in a tiny cottage full of love than have millions of dollars without any strong personal relationships. A life of meaning is all about figuring out what you value most and then prioritizing those aspects.

Do you have any rituals that help you return to your truest, most centered self?

I’m honestly obsessed with developing my passions and exploring the process of self-improvement. I continuously try to discover the hidden angles of my personality. Even when I’m 80 years old, I think I’ll still be trying to find the truest version myself. To me, it’s a fun hobby! I’m sure I’ll learn so much about my heart and soul throughout the future, but for now I stay centered by:

Meditating for ten minutes daily – Playing the ukulele – Doing yoga 2-3 times per week – Writing my heart out – Creating art – Laughing with my boyfriend – Traveling abroad – Dancing like it’s my air – Being in nature – Coming to terms with the fact that my true self is uninhibited and impulsive, for better or for worse, and accepting all that comes with those traits!

How do find the courage to jump into a new adventure?

You can strategize and think through all the details of a new adventure for months upon months, but you’ll probably still feel crazy anxious about starting it. Anything worth doing will make your palms sweat and your pulse quicken. So, as with most things in life, what it all comes down to is just doing it. If you’ve been pondering a new life adventure for some time, my cheat is to spend some money on it to get the ball rolling.

When I was going back-and-forth about teaching in Vietnam, I finally decided to just buy the plane ticket. I blocked all nervous thoughts out of my head as I put in my credit card information and then quickly hit “send.” The ticket was nonrefundable, so I knew there was no looking back! Instead of continuing to stall, now, the only option I had was to start planning and preparing for my move to Vietnam in a month. Continuing to be stuck in fear was not an option.

So just decide that it’s okay to not have the perfect plan ready or a 100% guarantee of how things will turn out. Choose a life of adventure, because taking the leap is all part of what makes life exciting. From my experience, you’ll never regret an adventure that feels intuitively aligned with your heart and soul.

What do you always say “yes” to?

I say yes to cuddling with my boyfriend, cocktails with funky names like “Mad Hatter” and “Moscow Mule,” and going on cross-country road trips. I say yes to leaving my worries at the door of the yoga studio and feeling my body get stronger and more flexible by the week. I say yes to dancing like an absolute crazy person to Michael Jackson and Journey. I say yes to any big, new adventure that comes my way. To coffee and conversations with friends. To working towards my dream career and making the bravest choices for myself. And I always say yes to living a life of purpose. 🙂

soulsessionsIn Danielle’s awesome guide, you’ll find out how to build greater self-confidence, create an inspiring social group, and focus in on your dreams and overall happiness. Check out the link for a free sample!

So tell me- how do you live on purpose? What do you consider a life of meaning? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Also, get excited for my new website launch in 11 days! I can’t wait! 😀

Have an amazing day,

xo Caylee

It’s My Birthday! And Other Happy Life Updates

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I’m officially 25 years old, you guys! The age when it finally sounds like I’m a real adult, although most people know that I never want to become a standard, boring, adult-y type person. Year 24 of my life was filled with a whiplash of changes and a bunch of exciting experiences that I never imagined I’d get to have just one year prior. This has been, simultaneously, one of the hardest years of my life, and the happiest year of my life. It has zoomed by in the blink of an eye in some moments and has seemed to fall into slow motion at other points. I’ve started to redevelop myself into the person I truly want to become, rather than faltering under the pressure of what other people want me to be. I’ve savored, I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve finally been proud of myself, and I am so excited to see what my 25th year has in store for me. But before we get to my hopes for the next 12 months, here are some defining moments of my past year.

Year Twenty-Four Recap:

1. I started a new chapter of my life by moving to Miami with Stefan last year, and I’ve explored so much of the town already! Art shows, concerts, parks, kayaking, beaches, salsa dancing, festivals, farmer’s markets, restaurants in every neighborhood- it’s been so much fun going on mini adventures with my boyfriend in our new city. Though Miami definitely isn’t the place I’d like to live in forever, it’s been such a great learning experience for me. Plus, being only an hour and a half away from my parents in Naples and getting to visit them every month has been a nice change of pace from my usual far-off locations.

2. I got the most interesting job experiences of my life so far through working in corporate events and travel planning. I never would’ve guessed that I’d get the chance to plan a conference in Costa Rica for Louis Vuitton, or that Audi would allow me to plan an entire travel itinerary for their executives in Manhattan, or that I’d get to be an event producer for an iHeartRadio concert on South Beach. I got to coordinate and attend stunning, dream events which I am so thankful for, but I also learned that it’s not the right career path for me. I had to do a lot of soul searching and had many rough days at work, but I’ve come out confident in where I want to go now. The experience of this year in events gave me so many new skills that I can’t wait to use throughout my future.

3. Some amazing vacations have been had! In May, Stefan and I traveled to Costa Rica for 10 days, which may have been the most perfect trip of my entire existence. Except for Stefan feeling like his organs were disintegrating during our last two days- but other than that, paradise! Not only was it gorgeous, but it allowed me to clear my mind and refocus on what I truly find important. This summer, I also went on a three road trip up the East Coast stopping to visit friends and family in Washington DC, New York City, Ithaca, Boston, Charlottesville, and Raleigh. Even as I write this, Stefan and I are still on the road. We’ve been living at a hotel in Atlanta for the past month while Stefan works on engineering the new Atlanta Falcons stadium. I can’t wait to be home in my own bed! So unsettled…but I guess that’s what Year 24 is all about, right?

4. It’s been a year of crazy important personal development. I was pretty depressed when I first moved to Miami, but I was able to turn the year around by focusing on trying to find my passions and experience new things. I learned how to play ukulele, got really great at cooking healthy meals, and dedicated much more time to practicing yoga. But what’s most exciting is that I found my dream job that I’m going to pursue, and I started this blog, which I love to write in! Gutsy Girl Wellness has given me an outlet to creatively express all of my thoughts about life, travel, and health, and I’ve never been happier. I adore writing- getting to speak to you all through my words has already been the most amazing experience. I’m only two months into blogging though, so I hope you stick around for a while!

What’s Planned for Year Twenty-Five:

1. I’m taking a major leap towards jump-starting my career in the wellness industry! I applied to a nine month coaching training program last month, and after plenty of essays and a phone interview, I was accepted! That means I’ll be flying out to California in January for our welcome retreat, and I am beyond excited and nervous about what’s to come. This is the dream job I’ve been speaking of. I’ve been thinking about a career path in coaching for years, but I’m finally going to do it now! In addition to this big step, I’ll also be working on writing my first book and altering my blog to make it even better. So exhilarating. So scary.

2. More travel, of course! For my coach training program, I’ll be going to the Napa Valley area of California for several days. Stefan is planning on meeting me there and then we’ll road trip down the coast. We’re going to explore San Francisco, Carmel and lots of other little towns going south, LA, and finally San Diego before flying home to Florida. I’ve actually never been to California, and I have a feeling I’m going to love it. Besides the trip out West, I hope to travel back to Germany for the first time since studying abroad there in high school. I want to bring my mom this time, and show her the town I lived in and get to see my host family again. It’s been far too long. I miss Germany!

3. By the end of this upcoming year, I hope that Stefan and I will have decided on a city/ town to make our home for a long while. Though traveling is clearly one of my favorite activities, I also crave finding my place where I can become a true part of the community and put down some roots. It’s been too many years of me hopping from place to place and never having the time to build a strong enough connections to people. This will be the deciding year, so who knows where we’ll move in Year 26!

4. This will be a year for even more personal development. I’ll be participating in a five-week intuitive painting workshop, called Bloom True, starting next month. I love to create art, but I’m always so scared that I’ll make a mistake that I rarely pick up a pencil or paintbrush. I’m hoping this course will push me beyond those boundaries so that I can create some beautiful pieces. I’ll also be continuing with Beachbody workouts! Right now, Stefan and I are starting our second week of Piyo (Pilates and yoga combination) and participating in a challenge that teaches you new yoga inversions everyday. Doing headstands and handstands was way past my comfort zone just a few weeks ago, but I’m loving learning how to do inversions! Maybe thoughts of doing a Yoga Teacher Training are in the works…

Looking back over this list, Year 24 seemed to be a time of planting seeds for my future. It was twelve months of planning and figuring out what I wanted. It was my prep year. So that means Year 25, to keep going with the gardening metaphor, will be my year of growing into my goals and expanding my skills. Year 26 will hopefully provide some financial harvest. 😉

So if I could pick one word to meditate on and focus myself towards for the whole rest of this next year, it would be “courageous.” I want to push myself to be brave enough to follow through fully in all of my coming challenges and to become the best version of myself possible. I feel in my heart and intuition that this is going to be a big year for me- I’m not sure how yet, but I’ll have to work hard to make it happen! Thank you so much for stopping by and checking out my yearly life update! 🙂

Have a beautiful September 12th,

xo Caylee

The Gutsy Girl Road Trip Awards

Another startlingly fast year has passed, and another wonderful road trip is almost over. It’s been great seeing old friends and getting to connect with family from all over the East Coast again. I was lucky to be joined by my boyfriend during one leg of the trip from Washington, DC to Long Island, NY and by my Dad from Long Island to Upstate New York. Blog post about that coming soon!

Over my weeks on the road, I’ve loved experiencing beautiful mountain vistas, driving through crumbling ghost towns, feeling the sand between my toes, and exploring some of the coolest towns in America. Now deemed my Gutsy Girl Road Trip Awards, here are several moments and places that stood out most to me during my adventure.

Favorite Atmosphere to Grab a Drink with Girl Friends:
Ambar Washington, DC [Eastern Market]

Two DC friends and I stumbled across this charming bar & restaurant as we walked through the neighborhood of Eastern Market. If you’re into adorable row homes and visiting a quieter side of Washington DC, check out this area that boasts a bustling market and tasty restaurants, like Ambar, which serves Balkan cuisine with a modern twist. It’s like any trendy restaurant when you first walk in, but go up the stairs and you’ll find a cute, rooftop oasis to enjoy appetizers and drinks with the girls. My friends and I shared a few tasty small plates, and I had a delicious margarita- you can pick from original or spicy mango. How about both? Try Ambar at Happy Hour like we did for some unheard of specials in the DC area. I promise you- $4 cocktails and appetizers. How is that even possible?!

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Most Exciting Purchase:
Millennium Broadway Hotel in Times Square – New York, NY [Manhattan]

When my boyfriend, Stefan, and I decided to stay in Manhattan for the night, I was expecting our hotel room to be the most expensive purchase of my entire road trip. I was so wrong about that! Through Hotwire, we ended up scoring a room for $146, all inclusive. Amazing! Though that still may seem pricey to some, you won’t find a decent hotel for much less than that in the city. But I haven’t gotten to the best part yet. I was under the impression that $146 would get us a dingy room facing rooftop air-conditioning units. So wrong. Stefan and I were placed on the 33rd floor with a corner room facing the Chrysler building on one window-wall and Times Square on the other. One block from all the action! It was stunning, and we had a blast that evening.

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Best Area to Find Funky Treasures:
The beaches of Great Peconic Bay – North Fork, Long Island, NY

If you’re a lover of the beach and finding interesting treasures, visit the areas around Great Peconic Bay where there’s a smattering of quaint towns around the bay and its smaller inlets on the North Fork of Long Island. Take to the beaches and you’ll find everything from sea creatures to beautiful rounded stones to antique sea glass that’s finally floated up onto the beach after several decades. The picture below documents some of the goodies that Stefan and I came across after just one hour of walking around searching the sand. I can’t wait to turn the sea glass and little stones into a pretty display back home!

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Prettiest Secret Place:
Conservatory Garden in Central Park – New York, NY [Manhattan]

Okay, I’ll admit that the Conservatory Garden isn’t actually a secret. It’s right in Central Park! But you’d never know it. There’s only one entrance to it through a gate on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, so the garden is pretty easy to miss. If you’re a flower-loving visitor to NYC, or a resident who needs some quiet time, this is the place to go. I was there at 10:30 AM on a Wednesday, and there was only a tiny handful of people in all the acres of botanical beauty. You’ll find a giant Wisteria pergola with views of the fountain, tree-covered walkways out of a fairy tale, and my favorite space- an expansive flower garden. I loved relaxing around all of the bursting wildflowers and the waterlilies in the pond. It was such a stunning, peaceful place that you’d never know you’re in the middle of New York City.

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Most Picturesque Town:
The streets of Old Town – Alexandria, VA

Old Town Alexandria feels so American that it’s actually hard to describe. The hilly, cobblestone streets, history-drenched row homes, and flags flapping proudly in the river breeze just oozes pure Americana. Check out the waterfront area and King Street of Old Town next time you’re in the Washington DC area, and you’ll find plenty of restaurants and boutiques to keep you going as you admire all of the charming, colonial buildings.

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Tastiest Food & Greatest Value:
Sake Bar Hagi in the Times Square area – New York, NY [Manhattan]

This place might be my new favorite restaurant in the entire world. I know that’s a bold statement to make, but everything about the experience was fantastic. It took Stefan and I a while to find the entrance, which was part of the adventure, because there’s no sign for Saki Bar Hagi- just a random stairwell leading you down off the street. Imagine a restaurant with no sign in the Times Square area! It’s pretty clear that they don’t want loads of tourist crowds in their restaurant. And they don’t need them- the place was packed with people eating authentic Japanese food, shoulder to shoulder with strangers. I loved the bustling intimacy of the restaurant, but I enjoyed the food even more. Stefan and I shared five small plates, the best being Tofu Dengaku. Now, Stefan and I aren’t vegetarian or huge tofu lovers, but we both couldn’t stop eating this dish! So delicious. The best part is that the meal was crazy inexpensive. Stefan got a huge 30 oz. beer for just $8. I don’t even know how that’s possible in New York City.

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Most Amazing Lifestyle:
Basking in the outdoors and enjoying local food – Aquebogue, NY

If you follow a similar road trip route that I took, you will have eaten your way up the East Coast and walked your butt off around New York City and the Washington DC area. Now what do you need to finish off the trip right? A beautiful and relaxing stop in nature. You might be surprised that I’m recommending a town on Long Island, which most people falsely assume is overcrowded and ugly. The North Fork, where you’ll find Aquebogue, is actually filled with wineries, rolling farmland, and stunning views of the water. You’ll get to eat loads of fresh seafood and vegetables from local stands, but the best part really is the pace of living. At my family reunion here, the huge group of us gathered outside on picnic tables to enjoy all of our meals in the dappled sunlight. Stefan and I got to walk along the empty beach and explore tiny coastal towns. The peaceful setting was very rejuvenating after a fun, but exhausting road trip up North. I would recommend traveling to the North Fork of Long Island to everyone!

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So there you have it! I took hundreds of pictures and visited dozens of amazing places that I, unfortunately, don’t have the space to write about. What a shame that I have to leave so much out! I hope that my Gutsy Girl Road Trip Awards has inspired you to visit even a few of these locations and restaurants. I truly had an amazing trip and can’t wait for my next one!

Have you been to any of these destinations? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Have a great week,

xo Caylee

Reasons to Fall Madly in Love With Georgia

When it comes to states in America, Georgia usually gets a bad rap. Many people either think it’s a smog-filled, traffic jammed wasteland or a place filled with tough, country cops and tractor-driving hillbillies. While there is a sliver of truth to these points, Georgia is truly a gem of a state that’s a mix of laid back, southern charm and trendy swagger.

During this road trip stop, I visited much of the Atlanta metro area – specifically the regions of Buckhead, Virginia Highlands, Serenbe, Conyers, and downtown Atlanta. My boyfriend, Stefan, was also in town for business, and as I walked around with a smile on my face, he remarked that I look so happy in Georgia. One of my favorite things about this state is that people actually say “good morning” to me as I walk by, where I might just get a suspicious glance thrown my way in Miami. I guess it’s the little things that impress me in life, guys!

Maybe I hold Georgia so close to my heart because it’s been a second home to me for my whole life. Some of my family lives in Atlanta, so we would visit at least twice per year as I grew up – and of course, I had to go to University of Georgia. Best decision ever. The more I come here, the more new, charming things I find to appreciate. This time was no different. Inspired by photos I took on my first road trip stop, here are some of the reasons I can’t help but fall in love over and over again:

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1. There are huge, leafy trees everywhere. This makes the hilly city streets look so incredibly lush and beautiful.

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2. You’ll see street-after-street of charming, craftsman-style houses with beautiful gardens just a block away from boutiques and restaurants. I want a place this cute! In Atlanta, explore a neighborhood called Virginia Highlands where, based on what I’ve visited so far, go to a casual tapas bar called Noche and a gift shop called Dakota J’s. The best thing to do here is just walk down the streets looking at all of the adorable homes!

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3. Georgia has basically every landscape a person could want. Rolling farmland? Check. Beach-lined coast on the Atlantic? Check. Mountain vistas? Check. Rivers, lakes, waterfalls? Well, of course.

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4. This state has ladies doing amazing stuff! Ashley, the super knowledgeable farm manager at Serenbe, got her first experience on a farm only four years ago. Before that, she’d graduated from college with a degree in business! Ashley came to Serenbe Farms as in intern, as she was interested in learning how to grow her own food, and she ended up enjoying farming so much that she’s been doing it ever since. I love when people find their passions.

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5. Georgia has tons of farmers markets and farm-to-table restaurants which fosters a tight sense of community. Most of the town of Serenbe gathers at the farmers market every Saturday to chat and buy their weekly vegetables. I think it’s a great concept to have a community focused on wellness and sustainability for families to raise their children in. Athens, Georgia also has a great farmers market & local food community that I enjoyed participating in while in college.

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6. It’s so easy to live a healthy lifestyle in Georgia! After exploring Serenbe and all of its boutiques, Stefan and I went on a walking tour of the beautiful Serenbe Farms. They sell 60% of their vegetables to local residents who have signed up for the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Every week the residents will get a big box of a wide assortment of vegetables that have been harvested. It’s a great way to get healthy, fresh foods and to try out new recipes every week. I did a CSA with a farm in Athens for a couple of years and loved it!

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7. This state has so many awesome restaurants and cafes that it’s crazy. Don’t even get me started on all of the bars and microbreweries. And if you ever decide to visit Serenbe, which I would recommend as a relaxing Saturday trip, you must get all of these pastries. They are the best. Ever.

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8. Georgia is where all of the cool kids go. Creative and laid back entrepreneurial types thrive here – just like this awesome little girl. Stefan and I saw a Top Chef shopping at the farmers market as we ate our breakfast. It’s obviously the place to be.

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9. Georgia Aquarium. Biggest in the world. Whale sharks. Beluga whales. Enough said!

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10. Want a place with a bunch of fascinating history and cultures to learn about? Georgia. For instance, I visited the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers where Trappist monks make money for the monastery through a variety of projects that are sold to the public. This includes: honey from beekeeping, homemade pasta and fruit preserves, and homemade fudge. The most interesting thing that the monks do, in my opinion, is sell bonsai trees that they’ve trimmed and taken care of for many years. Some of the most beautiful bonsai trees in their garden are being sold for several thousand dollars! It’s an amazing sight to see.

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11. Georgia is home to the best milkshake in the entire world. Drive all the way from whatever state you’re in to the OK Cafe in Buckhead, Atlanta and order a peanut butter milkshake. Right now! You will never regret it, unless you’re allergic to peanuts.

There you have it! I hope you can tell how passionate I am about this state. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to visit Athens this time around, which I could rave manically about, but I’ll save that for a later date. So have you ever gotten to know Georgia on a deeper level? What do you love about it? Let us know in the comments below. Also, please share this post on Facebook or Twitter if you love Georgia just as much as I do. 🙂 Next stop on my road trip: the Raleigh/ Durham area of North Carolina. Stay tuned!

Have a wonderful day,
xo Caylee

How I Deal with Struggles on my Road Trip

It’s finally arrived. Today marks the first major leg of my road trip – about 8 hours from Naples, Florida to Atlanta, Georgia. Due to my time constraints with packing and getting on the road on time, I’ll write a smaller post today about a common string of questions I get when doing a road trip:

Don’t you get so tired that you almost fall asleep at the wheel? Doesn’t it kill your body to sit for that long? Are you crazy?! Yes, yes, and definitely yes.

Road trips are my favorite way to travel, as I talked about in my last post, but I’m not here to tell you that they’re never challenging. Without a doubt, every single day, I’ll have to stop for a coffee or two along the way and take a break at several rest stops to stretch my legs and walk around. Each night before I go to bed, I’ll do a brief yoga sequence to stretch out my neck, back, wrists, and legs – spots that get impossibly painful after days in a car. It also helps to relax my mind by reading or meditating nightly, because, as we all know, driving can have its majorly stressful moments. I should know – on a road trip with my Dad several years ago we flipped our SUV multiple times in a heavy rain storm!

But, in my opinion, the most difficult aspect about road trips is the mental exhaustion that comes on without warning. My body might be completely alert and wanting to drive, but my brain will spontaneously decide that it wants to go into hibernation mode.  Even though I’ve been trying to avoid coffee in my life recently, it must be a staple on my East Coast drive. Besides that, my only hope to keep driving while tired is to listen to some awesome music or my books on tape. Great music has an uncanny way of waking me up as I sing along like a diva, and I get so sucked in to listening to audiobooks that the time flies by. Below are my two choices that’ll be on repeat during the entire trip. Because, let’s be honest, audiobooks are way too expensive to buy more than one!

Music to Listen to: MAGIC CITY HIPPIES – ROBBY HUNTER BAND

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Find the album here: https://soundcloud.com/robbyhunterband/sets/magic-city-hippies-1

Robby Hunter Band is a group of guys I know back in Miami, and they are CRAZY GOOD. This album actually released last year, but I’m still loving it as much as ever. They have some of the most fun and sultry songs you could ever imagine – perfect for summer. Check them out for yourself above!

 

Audiobook to Listen to: THE POWER OF NOW – ECKHART TOLLE

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The Power of Now is a huge book in the field of spirituality and self-improvement, and I feel super behind that I haven’t read it yet! Tolle doesn’t preach any particular religion, but instead, guides people to live in the now in order to find our true happiness. That’s as much as I can say at this point, but I’m excited to absorb myself into it along my 3-week journey.

Well, there you go! Do you have any methods that keep your mind or body feeling in tip-top shape while you drive long distances? If so, please let us know in the comments below. Any experienced road tripper will tell you that traveling by car definitely isn’t easy, but you’ll see some of the most beautiful sights of your life along the way. So relax, and enjoy the ride! Talk to you soon from my first big destination – Atlanta!

Have a beautiful day,

Xo Caylee

Living Costa Rica’s “Pura Vida” Lifestyle


If you’ve ever traveled to Costa Rica before, I’m willing to bet that someone said the phrase “Pura Vida” to you at least five times daily. These words were coined during the 1950’s through a movie but weren’t common in the country until the 1970’s. Now, it’s a way of life for Ticos and surfers alike, and the quickest way to describe their amazing lifestyle in the tropics. Translation into English literally means “pure life” – it’s an expression that I’ve had the urge to live by ever since I visited the little gem of a country.

To many foreigners, “Pura Vida” is symbolic of a leisurely lifestyle full of friendliness and a disregard for time. For Costa Ricans, the phrase can mean a whole lot more – or a whole lot less. Some rattle it off as a casual greeting like how we might say, “Have a good day” or “Goodbye” in the United States. When “Pura Vida” is used to its depth of meaning, Costa Ricas have described it to me as:

 

Appreciating what you have. Enjoying life slowly. Building a strong sense of community. Being good spirited.

 

I believe to my core that all of those things are important for embodying my idea of the good life. For me, it is all about quality over quantity. I want deeper friendships rather than more friendships and greater spiritual wealth versus material wealth. I crave meaningful experiences that enliven my heart – maybe that’s why I like to travel so much. Just loving the simple moments in life is what I want to focus on.

 

Both times that I’ve been to Costa Rica, I found it very easy to live in the present and enjoy every little thing that came my way – or at least feel it to its depth of emotion. When my boyfriend, Stefan, and I arrived at our first stop on the trip, I pulled open the doors to our cabina and sitting majestically, right in front of us, was Arenal Volcano. Tropical birds were chirping all around in the lush, green trees, and the setting sun was hitting Arenal dramatically. Everything was so fresh and quiet and beautiful. I cried. I’m not a crier, guys – this place just buries itself into my core, every time.

 

Since we can’t all go and live in Costa Rica right now (a shame, I know), figuring out how to live the “Pura Vida” lifestyle back home is key. So have you ever been to Costa Rica? What are your thoughts on the “Pura Vida” lifestyle? What does a “good life” consist of for you? Please share, and let me know your experiences in the comments below! This is a topic I love, so I’m sure we’ll talk more about it soon. 🙂

 

Have a beautiful day,

 

xo Caylee

 

The Gutsy Girl’s Summer Bucket List

Grab a pencil and paper, guys. It’s not too late to start making an awesome summer bucket list.

In my eyes, all fleeting things in existence deserve a bucket list to be made for them. They seem to create a sense of urgency in the way that we only have a set amount of time to finish something meaningful to us. A bucket list allows us to remember our goals more easily and gives a sense of achievement when we can mark our pen through each item.

There has been a bucket list for all occasions – One for all of the new things I wanted to try before college graduation a few years ago, one for what I hope to accomplish before I turn 30 years-old, one for all of the big ticket experiences I want to have before I die… And one for awesome activities to do this summer.

Since summer is already half-way over, I’m gonna have to move quickly to cross everything off of my list! For the record, I’ve never once completed all of the items on any of my dozens of bucket lists, but I have a special feeling about this summer. It’s going to be a crossing-off-my-bucket-list-bonanza! Want to join me? Here we goooooo!

 

  • Go to a local farmer’s market & learn some of the vendors’ stories. Getting to know where your food comes from can be such an interesting experience, and the farmers are often very passionate about what they do.
  • Learn something new & document your progress publicly. I would like to learn a new song, by heart, on my ukulele and then upload it onto the blog.
  • Plan a picnic at the park with someone meaningful in your life. Bring a supply of food you know they will love, and enjoy a few hours lounging outside together.
  • Try out a new type of yoga or fitness class that is outside of your comfort zone. Krav Maga? Kundalini yoga? A Bollywood dance fitness workout? Do it!
  • Make a new friend in your industry. Try to partner up on a small project, do a guest blog post swap, or interview each other for new business insights.
  • Finish 3 great books & write reviews to share with others who you think could benefit from reading them too.
  • Do something absolutely crazy – live with passion and purpose. Fall in love. Try an improv class. Start the amazing thing you’ve been too afraid to fail at. Be vulnerable and let your genuine, imperfect self be seen. Go whitewater rafting. Take a road trip. Just do something brave. Yes, please.
  • See a play or live show that is outside of what you’d normally enjoy. You might just discover something new to love!
  • Go on a nature hike & and make a mandala with all of the outdoor goodies you find along the way (twigs, flowers, rocks, leaves, etc).
  • Paint a canvas using just your intuition. Don’t plan it out and draw a picture with pencil beforehand – just create, wildly in the moment.

The Challenge:

So if you’re with me in trying to cross off this summer bucket list, let’s make a whole social media event out of it! Your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to cross off as many of these list items as you can before September 1st. Use this blog as a jumping off point for inspiration! Write posts about your experience completing the bucket list challenges, and link back to this blog and let me know you’re participating. At the beginning of September, I’ll do a blog roll featuring your links and the awesome bucket list items you’ve achieved this summer. Also, if you’re a Twitter or Instagram fan, take this step below to feature our Gutsy Girl themed pictures together:

Think about it… We have a limited number of beautiful, bursting-with-life summers to enjoy in our time here on Earth. Be gutsy, and make this summer a passionate one. 🙂

Have a wonderful weekend,

xo Caylee