The Engaged Life

What’s most important to me is that we love the qualities of each other that are foundational to our character and that make us who we are, no one else, but us. Making a connection with another person’s values is the strongest connection you can find.

Written to celebrate my one year engagement anniversary

Isaiah and Peta-Ann – insta: mixedwitlove

Being in a committed relationship is a world-win of emotions, feeling, thoughts and perspectives but ultimately such a comfortable and genuine place to rest your heart.

Since being engaged 1 year ago, I’ve started to look at our relationship as the beginning of an eternal union and have silently been analyzing our highs and our lows through the eyes of marriage. Being young and fully committed is a challenge when there aren’t many of my peers that are in the same category or even close to be – which is 100% fine – but having few people that share the same experiences, I am reluctant to share moments with them and opinions about the relationship because I know honestly that they just won’t understand in the same way. They don’t know what we have but I sometimes wish they could find it for themselves.

My partner and I are on a track, in step together down a path that leads us wherever God means it to go but what we know is that we’re extremely excited to be on it together. What’s most important to me is that we love the qualities of each other that are foundational to our character and that make us who we are, no one else, but us. Making a connection with another person’s values is the strongest connection you can find. This is because if you cannot put the similar amount of energy into the things that mean the most to you (like: family time, unique experiences, honesty, integrity, being present etc.) then you may catch yourself in a constant state of disagreement, now how can love live in that?

I say all this to say, 1 year into the engagement, or pre-marriage as I sometimes think, and almost 5 years together, we’re still figuring it out. We disagree and argue here and there but we know it’s as great as its always been. I’ll leave you with a piece of advice that helps me overcome those moments when my brain hits the gas petal and I start to overthink…no one knows what you’re going through but you, no one knows your relationship but you, stop trying to improve on what is already good and just enjoy your moment.

Thank you for reading this Urban Guide

All Things Music Festival: Coachella 2018

When your partying in sea of people all day, under the many layers of sunscreen you’ve applied, and the dehydration you may feel from it all, there are many reasons why the personal care should continue during your time at the music festival.

Summer 2018 is so close I can almost hear the Drake bangers on repeat. That means patios are coming out of hibernation, parties go later than ever, and festival season is upon us!

Attention my flower power gals and laser light gentlemen this urban guide will offer some tips and advice about #festivallife and how to get down with the get down. I recently attended Coachella 2018 so the bulk of my advice is coming from my experiences there.

Theme: Accomodations, Personal, During the Concert (Bring Cash), After the Concert

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Indio, Palm Desert

Accommodations

Engaging with the elements and the thousands of people around you is what makes music festivals so great. When preparing for a 3-day music festival you need to book your accommodations in advance – book a hotel, reserve a place on Airbnb, or pull out the old camping gear but arranging your sleeping space is key if you want to make it through the weekend.

When you find a place map the route by taxi, uber, or walking distance because travel time that is unexpected can cut into your dancing time. For our Coachella trip shuttle passes were included with our entrance wristbands.

Night 1 of the concert while coming home in the dark we got off at the wrong hotel! Remember: especially on the first night, talk to your driver and make sure you know how to get back and when to get off (or write it on your arm).

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Courtyard Marriott Palm Springs

Personal

You’ve probably spent weeks or even months preparing for the big event and you’ve put infinite amounts of time and money into self care techniques and rigorous gym regimes before even stepping foot on the festival grounds. When your partying in sea of people all day, under the many layers of sunscreen you’ve applied, and the dehydration you may feel from it all, there are many reasons why the personal care should continue during your time at the music festival.

I recommend packing some soap, some hand wipes, a spray bottle, and a bandana to help stay your freshest in the hot summer sun. The bandana will also serve to protect your nose and lungs from dirt that gets kicked up into the air as people walk (it’s a real thing, google Coachella Cough – I had it.)

For the clumsier bunch, having some band-aids and a pair of nail clippers in your pack may come in useful in case you get hurt. The nail clippers will double as small scissors if necessary.

Leave the non-essentials back at camp. No one wants to be carrying around a heavy bag of stuff while falling into a deep trance of the rhythm and base. Only bring with you the things you will need:

  • Photo IDs, wallet, bandana, phone/camera, water bottle/spray bottle, external charger etc.

During the Concert

This is your big moment. You may not be on the stage or behind the DJ’s booth but you are feeling like a star. Grab your dancing partner and dance like no ones watching.

It’s important to be in the moment when you are mid-festival. There have been so many times when I have been focused on getting the perfect camera shot, or been way too serious about the plan for the day. While you’re at the concert try to just feel your surroundings and put yourself in perspective of where you are in the universe at every possible moment.

Keep a buddy system. If you’re going with a large group, or even a small group, it’s important that you stick together. Festival grounds can be very large and confusing if you don’t know where you are. Especially if your group is always on the move and it may be hard to find them.

Stay Hydrated. The sun and humidity is on another level. Elevated by the booming base from the amplifiers coming at you in every direction. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, you can bring a re-fillable canteen or water pouch to sip on and have mints/candy between meals.

Crowd Sourcing

“Excuse me, I’m just trying to get to my friends *points towards stage*

LOL, this works great, up to a point. Being in close proximity to a star icon on the stage is a rush that only true concert admirers can relate. That goes for being in a crowd and feeding off the rush that comes with it. Be nice! Everyone hates being in a big crowd for hours and feeling like somethings going to pop off right beside them. So the trick is to be nice to everyone and use manners.

Remember: Patience is key. Everyone is moving slowly. They are all in pain from standing for so long.

A big pet peeve of mine is when people squat on the ground for a long time while everyone else is standing and are upset when people step on them by accident….

Upset Mid Concert?

This happens a lot. I bet at least one time throughout the concert someone will be arguing. Look around and see it, hear it, but emotions and endorphins are high so friends, couples, siblings, cousins, are all going through the same thing. Just take a breath and maybe step away for a couple minutes. Stay focused on where you are and why it’s happening.

If you’re caught in the middle of people that are in conflict don’t feel pressure to pick a side, or make everyone happy again. Choose you, and enjoy your time while it’s yours.

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Must Have: Coachella Snowcone

Bring Cash

Credit cards are useful but nothing is more convenient than cash money. Carry it securely in your bag with your personal ID and use caution when taking money out to pay for something. Things can fall without notice (that’s almost how I lost my credit card while paying for merchandise).

ATM fees at festivals can be very high because vendors know party goers are in constant need to pay for things. Plus if you are overseas you may also have to battle the exchange rates and conversion fees issued by your bank.

Cash is festival King 💸.

After the Concert

The come up is real, and so is the come down!

Returning home at the end of a festival you’re still on a high from the lights and your senses are out of control. Schedule some down time to recoup and get enough sleep and nutrients to replenish all you lost. I suggest eating a clean and healthy meal because most likely you haven’t been eating properly all weekend. Vitamins always.

Share your memories with friends and family. Fun is meant to be shared and studies show reflecting back on your positive experiences may increase your overall quality of life.

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Iconic Ferris Wheel

That’s it for this seasons festival guide on making the most of your concert season. Remember: it’s not where you are but what you take with you as you go. If you have upcoming concerts or festivals this year Urban Guide to the Galaxy wishes you a safe and litt time.

Thanks for reading this Urban Guide.

♦︎♦︎♦︎

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Happy New Year from Urban Guide to the Galaxy! ~ Read to start the year with a bang

In true optimist form, this post will break down the advantages of future planning and provide simple tips on setting S.M.A.R.T Objectives with easy-to-follow tactics.

That’s a wrap on 2017. You will probably agree that 2017 has had its ups and downs.

For me, 2017 was a great year.  I graduated from university, started my diploma program, led a successful fundraiser event for charity, and got to enjoy cohabitation with my boyfriend. But just like the rest of us my year was full of struggles as well. Nonetheless, I am hopeful and optimistic of what the Galaxy has in store for me, always.

In true optimist form, this post will break down the advantages of future planning and provide simple tips on setting S.M.A.R.T Objectives with easy-to-follow tactics.

Keep reading to start your year with a bang


Advantages of Future Planning:

  • Looking forward at your life yields motivation and pride
  • Subconsciously involves the sense of community and oneness
  • Positive Mood, Motivation, Pride

Disadvantage Another advantage:

That feeling you get when you don’t achieve your goal and you feel bad about yourself and defeated but then you channel that passion and use it to make yourself a stronger person. No matter how long it takes.

Setting SMART Objectives:

S – Smart   M – Measurable   A – Attainable   R – Relevant   T – Timely

To set realistic goals, the criteria above should help craft detailed a plan to guide your new year.

Here’s an example of a smart objective –

Example 1:

Starting January, increase frequency of visits to the gym from twice a month to five times per month to build physical strength and promote well-being.

The objective above has all the components of a S.M.A.R.T plan it is measurable by frequency, attainable because it is a realistic number, relevant because he/she would like to build strength and promote well-being, and timely because it has a starting month of January.

Example 2:

Reduce junk food consumption (i.e. candy bars) to once every two weeks starting February 2018 by monitoring sugar intake.

This objective is specifically focused on sugar consumption and reducing the amount of candy bar he/she has.

New Year, Same Galaxy


Now that you have read the format make some SMART objectives for yourself this new year and stay focused on the things you want to achieve.

Thanks for reading this Urban Guide. My hope is to continue to guide, inspire, and inform others like me who at times feel lost in the world and offer a sense of direction. There is more in store for this year and beyond.

2018
Happy New Year

Until Next Time,

P

Photo From Unsplash by: NordWood Themes

Travel Guide – Read some tips for a fun All-Inclusive Caribbean vacation

Life is about exploring, learning and living. Wherever you choose to go, we wish safe travels to all.

There’s nothing better than the thrill of going on a vacation. It could be the idea of going 35,000 feet in the air and arriving in a new country within 24 hours, but there’s much more to it. Keep reading, this post will take you on a journey of what to expect when you travel.

For me, choosing where to go can be a bit of a challenge. Everyone has different experiences and picking a travel destination can depend on your goals, what you’ve done, and when you’ll go next.

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From my trip to Runaway Bay, St Ann, Jamaica (2016)

If you’re a first-time traveler, I’d recommend an all-inclusive Caribbean vacation. From North-America you can be in the Caribbean anywhere between 4 to 6 hours by plane. Most packages that you get, include a bus ride to and from the airport to your resort.

Seven nights is just the right amount of time and includes all your necessities to have a great time in a foreign land. Included with all-you-can-eat buffets for each meal and snack bars in between, resorts also include limitless alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. If buffet isn’t your thing, many sit-down restaurants are available for all your dining pleasure. You basically have everything you need to live for a relaxing sandy vacation.

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Dining Pavillon taken on my trip to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic (2017)

Waking up to have bright turquoise water within your view, met with soft white sand and pools with live music is undoubtedly a treat. It’s truly a Caribbean party. Speaking of party, they also have nightly entertainment to keep the evening going and the drinks flowing.

Want more day activities? The resorts all sell extra packages called excursions that take you off your resort. To see some common Caribbean excursions, click here. This is the one of the few things that you pay for on this vacation. The prices may vary depending on where you are but are generally the same. Resorts offer personal tours of the local area with groups of people from your resort and others in the area.  The types of tours include: a jeep safari tour, fishing off the ocean, swimming with the dolphins, and so much more. These memories are often the best part of any vacation because it takes you off the resort and makes the trip more personal.

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Taken at Blue Hole, St Ann, Jamaica (2016)

There are many other types of travel that are not included in this article. I personally love this type of vacation because so many more memories can be made within their safe and highly rated facility. Also, being at the beach every day is ok with me. With this type of beach vacation, you can do what you like when you like, whether that be explore the town, go hiking on a nearby trail, or enjoy a cappuccino with the rising sun.

Life is about exploring, learning and living. Wherever you choose to go, we wish safe travels to all. Stay tuned for more Urban Guides.

Guest Blog: Overcome Procrastination

Devise smaller manageable tasks to ensure a more attainable vision. Learn to enjoy the process without wasting time fearing for the outcome.

Hey there, galaxy navigators!

My name is Renée. I run a lifestyle and wellness blog called In Control & Caffeinated, but today, I am excited to be steering you through the galaxy with my very own urban guide — Let’s kick procrastination to the curb, once and for all!

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None of us asked to be born and yet here we are, endowed with responsibilities to boot – Bizarre, right? “Be a productive member of society”, they say, and it’s more of an expectation than a suggestion. Pfft.
If I know one thing for sure, it’s that The Amanda Show was an early 2000’s Nickelodeon gem. I identified with a character called, “The Procrastinator”, a spoofy superhero whose catchphrase was, “EEE-VENTUALLY”. Revisit this sketch. It’s a classic. I’ll wait…

I knew that I tended to procrastinate, but I have since learned that procrastination is not a sign of a Netflix obsession, laziness or disinterest. Procrastination is rather a manifestation of perfectionism, and a means to avoid challenging feelings like frustration and rejection.

Ironically, I have rewritten the first part of this post over 10 times and am still not happy with it. If you are anything like me, fear of failure or not meeting your own expectations gets in the way of productivity all too often. While you are certainly being told by others to “be a productive member of society”, more often than not, your voice is the loudest of them all.

Being a perfectionist means you are a high-aiming visionary. Overcoming procrastination then, is a matter of dialling your perfectionism back and leveraging those good qualities to develop strategies toward a “healthy pursuit of excellence”.

Stop, Start, Continue: 

Stop:

Equating self worth with your performance:

The term “off day” is here to remind us that a little failure every now and then is no reflection of our character, but is actually quite normal. Work hard, strive for attainable excellence and be proud!

Waiting for the perfect moment:

Something is always holding you back from just diving in; the time never feels entirely right, and it never will. Choose to dive in and to enjoy the process, because you are totally capable.

Start:

Understanding the root of your procrastination:

I’m officially calling you out on avoiding your feelings. Feeling all the feels builds resilience; let it happen. Remember that you are your toughest critic; take it easy on yourself by setting yourself up for success (check out my previous post to learn how to do this).

Prioritizing your tasks and optimizing your time:

Devise smaller manageable tasks to ensure a more attainable vision. Learn to enjoy the process (consider employing the pomodoro technique) without wasting time fearing for the outcome.

Continue:

Striving high (but not too high)!

Dial it back like three notches. No need to settle for satisfactory, but in the wise words of Hannah Montana, “nobody’s perfect”.

Generating copious, imaginative ideas. You are a visionary!

It’s what you do best so keep those ideas flowing. Just be sure to back them up with manageable tasks so that you don’t drown in your own creative brilliance.

Be patient. As with any new undertaking, these techniques will take practice, but bringing them to mind is the first step.

Now, pour yourself a cup of coffee, and take control!

Another One Fights The Dust – Stay germ-free this season with tips on how to keep it clean

Fall is in the air. Summer waves goodbye as we head into harvest season. This post will discuss the easy way to keep it clean this season and avoid a nasty cold.

Fall is in the air. Summer waves goodbye as we head into harvest season. Shoes start to get dirty, and floors are now tracked with stains from the outdoors. This post will discuss the easy way to keep it clean this season and avoid a nasty cold.

Maintaining an orderly room or office allows friends and colleagues to see you are an organized and considerate person. Darwin’s research supports the theory that those with a cleanlier appearance are more likely to find partners during mating season.

Yes, that means what you think it does. Stay clean my friends.

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Natural Products

There are many common household items you can use to keep your place looking orderly and germ free.  Here’s a list of common, environmentally friendly products which can be used alone or in combination.

  • Baking Soda – cleans, deodorizes, softens water, scours
  • Soap – unscented soap found in liquid form, powders or bars are biodegradable and will clean just about anything
  • Lemon Juice – one of the strongest food-acids, effective against most household bacteria
  • White Vinegar – cuts grease, removes mildew, odors, some stains and wax build-up
  • Cornstarch – can be used to clean windows, polish furniture, and shampoo carpets and rugs.

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Traditional Products

There are many multi-purpose cleaners on shelves that do a fine job cleaning up harsh messes. Unlike natural products, ingredients found in traditional cleaning products can be very harmful and contain many toxins. The following toxic offenders are found in some traditional cleaners:

  • Phthalates – found in air fresheners, dish soap, and even toilet paper creates the fragrance of some products. It is a known endocrine disrupter. A better alternative is the fragrance-free option, or a product with natural essential oils
  • Sodium Hydroxide – found in oven cleaners and drain-cleaning products this chemical also known as lye, is extremely corrosive: If it touches your skin or gets in your eyes, it can cause severe burns. A better alternative is baking soda and vinegar.

I hope you can see the value in cleaning with natural products, it’s cleaner for your health and better for the environment. To round out germ-free tips this season, here are 3 of the dirtiest places we forget to clean.

  • Light switches – Light switches are the most touched areas in our home and collect a lot of germs! Those freshly washed hands get contaminated the second you turn off the light behind you.
  • Floor Vents – Clean them by removing them and hand washing in your sink with dish soap, or you can even pop it in the dishwasher.
  • Inside Cabinet Doors – Make it a habit to wipe the handles, tops and insides of the cabinet doors.

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more Urban Guides