Hello, friends from near and far! We’re in the heat of summer here in Florida, melting like popsicles in between dips in the 90 degree pool. It feels like an oven when you open the door, but the flowers in the backyard are blooming bigger and brighter than ever, we’re churning out tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers from our little garden and having lots of impromptu pool parties and BBQs. When I have the time to stop and look around at a pool deck full of friends enjoying themselves, I remember to be grateful for the hot days, the cold days, the highs and the lows. Life is nothing if not a roller coaster, and the past 90 days were just additional confirmation of that.
A slower than usual Q1 lead to a busy Q2 and now a jam-packed Q3 and Q4 in the works. Can you love and hate being busy at the same time? Of course right when I’m ready to enjoy the lazy days of summer, work picks up like crazy and I’m out of town every other week. This freelance life sure is unpredictable, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Stow your tray tables and fasten your seatbelts, we’re ready for Reflections from the Road | Vol. 39.
THE JET SISTERS | WILLIAMSBURG
Rachel and I are so proud to share THE JET SISTERS: WILLIAMSBURG with you! Williamsburg had a dash of everything we love – roller coasters, beautiful scenery, yummy food, Hamilton lore and costumes. If you haven’t watched yet, we’d love your support on this labor of love.
- Catch The Jet Sisters: Williamsburg episode
- Everyone’s favorite, the bloopers!
- Read all about our Weekend in Williamsburg Itinerary
If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you know we just wrapped filming on the next episode, too. THE JET SISTERS: FINGER LAKES is coming your way in July. YAY!
I was so honored to be one of the keynote speakers for this year’s Women in Travel Summit (WITS) in Portland, Maine. Along with Jada Yuan of The New York Times 52 Places series, Carol Cain, my fellow PR/blogging hybrid, and my best gal Alexandra Baackes of Alex in Wanderland, we jumped right into answering the main question, “Is ‘Influencer’ a Bad Word?” I’d just published my Content Creator Code post entitled “Influencers are the Worst, Am I Right?” so you betcha it was a lively discussion filled with girl power and heartfelt moments.
After the keynote, I spent the rest of my time eating Maine lobster and connecting with as many speakers and attendees as I could. There was a lot of love in that Holiday Inn, let me tell you!
FAMILY VACATION IN THE FLORIDA KEYS
I’m not kidding when I tell you we had the best family trip to the Florida Keys! We did everything, ate all the fresh seafood and really pushed ourselves to experience all that we could in our week in the islands. Now, we’re obsessed with Robbie’s Marina and Stock Island in Key West and planning a return visit as soon as we can get away.
LA LA LA LAUREN GETS MARRIED
Rick and I spent the most fun weekend catching up with friends in Ft. Worth for Lauren and Andrew’s beautiful wedding. We explored the famous Stockyards, ate all the BBQ and reconnected with the gals who made living in NYC such a wonderful adventure.
Rae worked with Club Adventures on a campaign in Jordan, and yes, I was jealous every single day. When I visited Jordan in 2012, I was there for a consulting project with the tourism board. I barely got to explore, so Rae’s trip had me wishing for a return visit. Next time there’s a chance to visit Jordan, I’m going back!
WHEN SORROWS LIKE SEA BILLOWS ROLL
One of the sweetest gals I met in all my time as a blogger passed away unexpectedly in May, and I’ve been trying to come to terms with it ever since. Rachel Jones of Hippie in Heels was such a ray of sunshine, one of those rare people who you felt close to even if you didn’t know her all that well. The whole situation breaks my heart for the people who loved her, her fiancé, her rescued pups, her friends and her family. It’s not supposed to be this way. It doesn’t make sense. It’s not fair. It’s not right. And no matter how many times a tragedy like this happens, it just doesn’t get any easier.
SOCIAL MEDIA FAILS
It feels silly to fuss about social media when there are so many lower lows, but here we are. My Instagram just flat out imploded in June. For several weeks smack in the middle of my travel campaigns, no one could see my content, Instagram and Facebook would not connect (although they were already connected) and I really began to question why I’m on social media in the first place. If the networks aren’t going to show my content to the folks who want to see it (99k+ followers on Instagram and 1,000 people see it?! What even is that?), then why do I bother creating content to put there? I get that Facebook and Instagram need to make money so by charging for visibility, they keep their lights on. And that’s great for huge corporations with gigantic advertising budgets. But small business owners and content creators can’t spend 10 million a year on ads, so we get pushed out of the newsfeed.
Rae and I have been focusing our efforts on the most impactful social networks for a while now, prioritizing the ones that work best for us. Unfortunately it seems Instagram is on the chopping block for now. If you do like what we do, make sure to let Instagram, Facebook and Twitter know by commenting and liking as often as possible. That’s how the algorithm knows we are worth following – so thank you for your support!
THE ENNEAGRAM IS A GAME CHANGER
I’ve been slowly learning about the Enneagram since last year, but it’s really come to the forefront of my awareness in the past 90 days. In researching for my post on Best Vacations for every Enneagram Type, I really did a deep dive on what makes people tick, particularly those closest to me. The world’s foremost Enneagram expert, Ian Morgan Cron, featured my post on his Typology podcast, and I’ve been living for Annie F. Downs’ summer podcast series on the Enneagram types. Listening to the Enneagram 3 podcast was like listening to myself speak, and was a weird relief to feel so known and seen. If this interests you at all, I encourage you to take the IEQ9 test!
AIRBNB IS AWESOME
We had such a rough start with the rental home we bought late last year and its first tenant (boy, do I have stories for you from his eventful 6-week stay), I questioned the wisdom of such an investment. When the original plan went to hell in a hand basket, Rick and I decided to give Airbnb a try. And you know what? It’s been so much better welcoming new guests every week and telling them about my city than dealing with one jerky tenant for a year at a time.
I love being an innkeeper and welcoming folks with fresh baked cookies and treats when they arrive. I also love that I don’t have to be present all the time, so I don’t have to change my travel schedule at all. It’s been such a win for us and a huge show of God’s provision when things seemed pretty bleak. If you ever come to Jacksonville and need a place to stay, we’ve got you covered!
Y’ALL REALLY LIKE INSIDE BASEBALL
We’ve had a phenomenal 90 days of travel adventures, but it’s been a busy season for writing about influencer marketing, too. It amazes me that there are a lot of folks getting paid handsomely to be experts in this field, but they wouldn’t know an influencer program from a hole in the ground. I’ve been covering industry issues quite a bit in Q2, so take a look if that sort of thing blows your skirt up.
- Influencer’s are the worst, am I right?
- 17 Essential Commandments of Influencer Marketing
- Influencer Marketing: Does Anyone Know What They’re Doing?
- Introducing: The Travel Content Creator Code
We’re In the News!
We can make our plans but God determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9
AUGUST BLOGGER BOOTCAMP
I am putting the final touches on my Blogger Bootcamp itinerary and it’s going to be lit. And by lit, I mean full of information, hands-on feedback and photo ops. This experience is for bloggers and influencers who are serious about being professionals, getting paid for content creation and learning best practices to partner with brands. Wanna join us at the historic Jekyll Club on the Georgia coast? There are a couple spaces left to join a wonderful group of folks already signed up. Learn more here.
If you can’t make it to Jekyll Island, I have started offering one-on-one coaching sessions!
ALBERTA GIRLS’ TRIP
Next week I’m flying to one of my favorite places to visit in July – Canada! I’ll be exploring Edmonton and Calgary with two of my favorite bloggers, so keep an eye out on social. Coming at you with all the poutine!
SUMMER WEIGHT LOSS CHALLENGE
Rachel and I decided it’s time to lose some of those winter pounds that are now summer pounds, so we roped Rick, Hodgie and a couple friends in for a fitness and weight loss competition. Because if you can’t get healthy for yourself, a solid dose of sibling rivalry should do the trick.
It’s a $50 buy-in, and whoever loses the largest percentage of weight by Aug. 30 takes the pot. We’re 2 weeks in and my skinny brother who’s never been on a diet in his entire life is winning… he probably drank one less Capri Sun and ate only half his daily bag of Skittles and lost 6 pounds. It also doesn’t help that Rae and I were away for a week filming The Jet Sisters in the delicious Finger Lakes. We will catch up, Hodgie, and beat you, and take all the money, and probably spend it on food.
In the next 90 days, we’ve got a few longer trips planned to Alberta and to speak at TBEX in Montana, plus several Florida projects we’re super excited to tell you about when we can. We’ll have Blogger Bootcamp in August, Rae, Hodgie and Rick’s birthdays, my official 13 year anniversary of blogging and we’re hoping to make a big announcement about an upcoming adventure YOU can join.