Caravan Sonnet: October 2018

10/31/18

December Caravan Shop Celebration Giveaway: Thanksgiving Junk Journal

I was overwhelmed to experience a milestone in the shop this week! 300 sales! 

Y'ALL thank you so so much for all of your support of my shop over these years!! I wish I could express how much each sale from my shop has meant to me over these past years since I first opened my store. It truly is such a beautiful blessing to be able to create. Thank you so much!  

To celebrate I wanted to host a special giveaway of a unique Thanksgiving Junk Journal that I made for this occasion! 
One person will be randomly chosen to receive this special Thanksgiving Junk Journal! This "Happy Thanksgiving" junk journal features approximately 75 pages of vintage paper, washi tape, quality scrapbook paper, ephemera, vintage ephemera, and ribbons. This junk journal will create a treasured keepsake for a lifetime from this Thanksgiving season!

To Enter the Giveaway go HERE
*Follow decembercaravanmarket on Instagram
*Like the post (you can go directly to the post HERE!)
*Tag a friend in the comments. Each tag counts as a separate entry so be sure to tag each friend in a separate comment for more entries *smiles*)
Hurry! The giveaway closes tonight!!

Thank you again for ALL of your support of my shop! Each of you are truly a blessing to me!!

Taking Life Slow In Lancaster PA

Do all vacations have to be about sun and fun? Sometimes you have to break away from the norm and just take a holiday slow. Traveling doesn’t have to be stressful, you don’t need to make up a big checklist of all the things you want to see and do. Maybe that’s why taking life slow on  your travels will often mean heading out in the countryside. Shacking up in a local bed and breakfast you can rest easy in a bed that feels like home and regularly enjoy home cooked meals too. Lancaster PA is just such a town, where you would be the odd one out if you took things too seriously and rushed everywhere. Here, life is supposed to be taken at a leisurely pace. You’re surrounded by fields of corn and wheat, along with lakes and rivers. Here are some ways to relax in a place that begs you to drop all your worries.  
A calm walk 
 You would think that a small town of around 60,000 that is surrounded by countryside would have enough green already. Yet, the Lancaster Central Park has added yet more greenery and offers you some leisurely activities. There’s a skatepark that the locals use, and trails that you can calmly walk to take your mind off things in your life. If you would like something with a bit more verve, there’s also a swimming pool you can use. Education is never far as there’s an environmental center that teaches you how to be greener, cleaner and more efficient. This is quite important to the people of Lancaster as keeping the place clean is a top priority.

 Something to take home 
 Since you are in a rural town, there’s something you should look to take home with you to remind you of your adventure. What better item to take home than one you can eat? Go outlet shopping to the Good Food Outlet Store where you can buy Golden Barrel pancake mix, the Pennsylvania Dutch Shoo-Fly pie mix. There are syrups you can buy made from local produce such as raspberry, blueberry and honey flavors to choose from. Various oils for cooking and glazes for meat are also sold here. Some of the items you simply can’t get anywhere else so you might want to stock up on something you like. 

 Some time alone 
 When you’re taking it slow and just unwinding, you may not want to go out to eat. However here in Lancaster there are restaurants that give you your alone time. This means space and quiet, which exactly what John J Jeffries  offers you. Here you can chow down on some grass-fed beef dishes, a mixture of healthy salads with hard-boiled eggs and pesto, as well as late not coffee and wine to pass the evening. 

Lancaster is just one of those rural towns that begs with you to take life slow. Take a calming walk during the day to clear your mind and formulate your thoughts, buy some foods that will remind you of the town before eating in a local restaurant that respects your privacy at the table.

This may be a contributed post but all of the thoughts match the tone of my blog

10/30/18

16 Unexpected Items to Bring on Every Cruise

Today I wanted to share 16 unexpected but necessary things to bring on every cruise that you go on. While a lot of packing tips and lists can be found on the internet that include the usual items you would think to bring (clothes, camera, passport/documents/toiletries/etc) I wanted to share a few things that you might forget and are unexpected but are must pack items: 

(1) Over the Door Shoe Hanger
On my first cruise I didn't bring one of these and heard from lots of people that this is a must to bring. It is a great way to have dozens of small size compartments for a variety of different things and will help add extra storage to the small staterooms. 

I ended up choosing THIS ONE from Amazon and it worked perfectly for our trip! It is only $12.99 so it was pretty cheap and I have now used it on the Disney Cruise, the Royal Caribbean Cruise and also on our Viking River Cruise and plan to use it on all future cruises!

(2) White Noise Machine/Small Fan
For years I have been sleeping with fans and have loved the "white noise" that they provide as I am a very light sleeper. The walls on a cruise ship can be exceptionally thin (even more than a hotel room) and a small fan can be very helpful, especially if you are heading to bed and people are still wandering back in from a nighttime activity. These are also very cheap-and THIS ONE is a great size that easily fits into even a small carry on suitcase that can be used for other trips besides the cruise! You can find it HERE!

(3) Laundry Bags
Throw in a small (or large) laundry bag to make it easy to put in your dirty clothes at the end of the day. When you get home everything is already in the bag and can easily be cleaned. Another tip that I heard from a seasoned cruiser was to take three different laundry bags- one for whites, one for darks, and one for clothes that need to be cleaned. That way when she arrives home all she has to do is drop things off at the dry cleaners and through loads of laundry in the wash- brilliant! I personally love THIS set of laundry bags from Amazon. For less than $10 you receive 5 different bags and can separate things in a variety of ways making laundry when you return home incredibly easy. 

(4) Thermal Coffee Mug
For the coffee lovers out there this can be a great tip for a couple of reasons. First, many times room service is not offered on disembarkation days when people are hoping for coffee most. Second, this is an easy way to fill your mug up with coffee and take it anywhere on the ship without spilling things, especially in stormy weather. I love THIS ONE by Yeti in the seafoom green color (but there are tons of other colors to choose from!). You can find it HERE.

(5) Extra Hangers
Depending on who you are traveling with you might want to bring extra hangers. Many cruise ships will provide more if you request them, but if you are going on a long cruise or like to hang everything instead of using the drawers you might want to consider this tip!

(6)Power Strip
I shared this in my  "10 Must Pack Items for a New England and Canada Cruise", but this suggestion is universally helpful for anyone cruising. 

(7) Ginger
A lot of people use Dramamine (or the patch) for motion sickness on a cruise which is a wonderful option, but ginger can be a great natural resource to help with nausea. You can read more about ginger and its health benefits by clicking HERE. I have mentioned this in several posts but I swear by THIS ginger here. Also, if you are wanting to use dramamine- did you know that there is now a non-drowsy version made with ginger? You can find it HERE!

(8) A Picture of Your Luggage
I learned this tip from a couple that was sitting at our dinner table on my last cruise who make cruising a weekly event. The wife was explaining how her luggage was "lost" one time and couldn't be found on the cruise that they were on. She was trying to describe her luggage to the cruise staff but all of the bags that they presented her with (about 20!) weren't hers. Eventually (two days into the cruise!) her suitcase was found in staff quarters. From that point on she always takes a picture of her luggage on her phone and said that she can now easily show someone her luggage without trying to spend hours of precious cruise time explaining it! 

(9) Blank Cards
Y'all know how much I love letter writing and sending thank you cards to people and I highly suggest throwing a few cards into your luggage to have handy on the cruise. There are so many people that you can meet on a cruise and become friends with and so many people to thank. A handwritten, old fashioned card can always make a beautiful and long lasting impression! I love how pretty THESE Rifle Paper Co cards are!

(10) Towel Clip
If you have days on your cruise where you will be cruising only or simply want to spend some time outside laying out and enjoying the ocean breezes, you will want to bring a clip to hold your towel down. As the wind blows you don't want to be chasing the towel all over the ship (*smiles*) so bring a fastener to help hold down the towel. There are special clips for deck chairs that you can find in a variety of places but THESE from Amazon are amazing and are less than $7!! Click HERE!

(11) Your Favorite Snacks
Before we left on our last cruise, my best friend and I headed to one of my favorite stores and stocked up on some healthy (and gluten free for me) snacks to bring on board. While there is SO much food to be found on cruise ships, you might find this suggestion helpful, especially if you have food allergies like me and will want a snack. 

(12) Bungee Cords
Bungee Cords can be a wonderful resource to use in a variety of different ways. You can use the bungee cords to hold a balcony door open, secure your luggage, or even make a temporary clothes line to hang wet bathing suits! The options are endless but this will help you as you cruise! 

(13) Duct Tape
I have heard from several seasoned cruisers that they live and swear by using duct tape on the cruise so throw it in your suitcase! 

(14) Ear Plugs/Eye Masks
I am a huge believer in eye masks, but recently I have been using ear plugs when I travel. Even if you don't completely block the noise from your cruise mates on the ship, it can help dim it and this can help you sleep better! I love THESE ear plugs and THIS eye mask!

(15) Deck of Cards (or Dutch Blitz!)
Sometimes, even on a cruise there are periods of waiting or "down time" and having a deck of cards for when you are traveling to the cruise, or hanging out in line waiting to embark on the ship or disembark at the end of the cruise can be a fun way to connect with others and pass the time. While a regular deck of cards is wonderful, consider throwing in a card game like "Dutch Blitz" which is fun and a little unique! (You can purchase Dutch Blitz cards on Amazon HERE!) 

(16) Clothes Steamer
This is a suggestion that I learned from a fellow cruise mate on my last cruise after I waited for hours for laundry services to come and pick up some clothing that I needed ironed. They kept saying that they would be there "in a minute" and low and behold, almost 2 hours later they still had not come. The simple and easy solution to this would have been a clothes steamer that would help take out the wrinkles (just like a regular iron, which a lot of cruise lines do not allow you to bring on board). I have found THIS ONE to be great and pretty inexpensive!

What are your unexpected but must pack items to bring on a cruise? I would love to hear your suggestions!

Looking for additional cruising tips? You can find more on my travel page (by clicking HERE!) or click on some of the links below! 

3 Important Documents to Bring on Every Cruise   
Viking River Cruises: Answers to Your Most Frequently Asked Questions   
River Cruising vs. Ocean Cruising: 23 Key Differences to Know
5 Things People Forget to Bring on Their First European River Cruise   
7 Things to Take With You While In Port      
                              6 Tips to Plan Your Perfect Cruise                                           
                                10 Things People Forget to Bring on Their First Cruise                                             
10 Things to Do Before You Leave on Your Caribbean Cruise 
                                             Top 13 Must Pack Items for a Caribbean Cruise                                                  

Wonderful Travel Ideas for Couples Looking for Romance

Travel is such a great pastime, and, as a couple, this is one of the best ways of making sure you strengthen your bond and get closer as a couple. There are a lot of excellent ideas that you can keep in mind when it comes to improving your travel experiences as a couple, and it is important to make sure you think carefully about how to enjoy more romantic travel experiences.

As a couple, travel is one of the greatest ways of getting out and seeing the world and sharing in new adventures and experiences together. There are plenty of great chances for enjoying and indulging when it comes to the right sort of romantic getaway, and it may not necessarily be what you think. These are some of the best suggestions for travel ideas if you are a couple looking for a romantic getaway today.

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Safari Trip
You might be surprised by how much romance can be found in an intimate safari experience. As a couple, you could choose to take a private safari trip and take in some of the stunning sights and sounds of the African plains. Seeing some majestic creatures in the natural habitat, and taking snaps of beautiful surroundings beneath a golden Sun is enough to make you think of the Lion King music swirling in the background.

Take a City Break
Make sure you do as much as possible to enjoy a city break together - this is one of the best ways to have a romantic trip. Choosing somewhere like Rome for a stunning city break is one of the best ways of spending a long weekend. The Eternal City has such rich culture and history, not to mention amazing food, and the beauty of the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain.

Hire a Yacht
Make sure you hire a yacht together, and you can have a more opulent and luxurious experience. This is a great way of getting away together as a couple, and having some quality time. It will cost quite a lot, but a yacht charter in the South of France is certainly something to aim for and the perfect way of getting the right degree of romance back into your relationship today.
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Be Adventurers
Being adventurous and taking adventures you might not ordinarily have taken is very important. You have to make sure you think about what you can do to improve the way you are doing things together. You should make sure you think about the different ways of having active and adventurous holidays. For instance, you might like to climb a mountain together. The phrase - darling, let’s be adventurers springs to mind. By being adventurers, you can get closer together as a couple.

There are loads of wonderful and diverse travel ideas that you can choose from, and it is important to make sure you make the most of this. If you can use the ideas on this post as a starting point, you will be able to have some pretty amazing times together as a couple. It is so important that you do as much as you can to have a memorable and unforgettable travel adventure today.

This may be a contributed post but all of the thoughts match the tone of my blog

10/29/18

Scenic Seward Highway Drive (Turnagain Arm Drive) // Alaska

Happy Monday friends! I hope you had a wonderful weekend! Today I am excited to share with y'all one of a few final posts from our amazing road trip throughout Alaska that we did last summer! 

It is honestly hard for me to believe that this series of posts is coming to an end next week as this trip was such an amazing and beautiful experience that it has been so delightful to recap and share about on the blog! As I finish up the posts from our time I hope that it has been an inspiration and an encouragement to dream, plan, and take a trip to this area of the world! Later next week I have a very fun and special announcement so stay tuned later on next week as I conclude these Alaska Road Trip posts!
Today I am excited to share pictures from our drive along the beautiful Seward Highway that we did as we drove back from our Winner Creek Trail Hike that we did in Girdwood to Anchorage. We had driven this exact road to get down to the Kenai Peninsula (from the Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge to the Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge in Cooper Landing) just a few days before this but due to the fact that it was extremely rainy and overcast we didn't take as many pictures going to Kenai Peninsula as we did on the way back. 
Now it probably sounds silly to share that really tiny fact, but I am sharing it because I wanted to point out that no matter which way you travel on the Seward Highway you could pull off and stop to take pictures. So if you are traveling there and you find that you don't have the time you wish you had or the weather you were hoping for, then on the opposite trip you would still be able to stop and take pictures. *smiles*
I had wondered about this on the trip down, and decided that I was just going to commit the beauty (rain and fog and all) to my memory, thinking that there wouldn't be an opportunity on the way back to snap pictures but there was. So I definitely wanted to share that with y'all as I know that when you don't live in an area and you are not familiar with it, you can wonder about these things like I did. 

The drive on the Seward Highway (specifically from Anchorage to Kenai Peninsula- so the Turnagain Arm Drive) begins with an absolutely breathtaking start. I feel like these pictures don't even do it justice - the absolute raw beauty that we experienced and saw as we drove. 
I read before the trip that this was "arguably one of the most beautiful stretches of highway in America" and I would definitely agree with this. With the mountain peaks, the shorelines, and the colors, this drive was absolutely stunning.
Every turn just brought a beautiful view and many times I just gasped at the beauty as I drove around another bend. This was truly an amazing drive that I can't recommend enough!
Thank you so much for stopping by and reading about this beautiful place today! Happy Monday friends! I hope y'all have a wonderful day and start to the week!

PS- If you are curious about the specific details of the road trip that we took throughout Alaska or if you are planning a similar road trip (or just want to see and dream about visiting the beauty!) I hope the information below is helpful. You can read all of the posts from the trip by clicking on the links below:

Anchorage: // Anchorage Travel Guide//

Chugach Mountains (Alaska 1-South Drive): // Scenic Seward Highway Drive (Turnagain Arm Drive)//

Chugach Mountains: // Eklutna Lake//

Cooper Landing (Kenai Peninsula): // Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge Nature Trail//



Girdwood: // Winner Creek Trail //

10/28/18

"12 Things to Do: For Yourself, a Loved One, a Spouse, The Parents, The Children & The Caretakers Dealing with Chronic Health Conditions During the Holiday Season" E-Book

I am so excited to share that my new E-book, "12 Things to Do: For Yourself, a Loved One, a Spouse, The Parents, The Children & The Caretakers Dealing with Chronic Health Conditions During the Holiday Season" will release Sunday, November 18th! 

This book is the 2nd book in the Chronic Grace E-Book Series (the first, 12 Things to Pray, released this past Spring) and is for those a heart and desire to practically meet those struggling through the confusing and difficult road of a chronic health condition. Often people want to do something, but feel at a loss, especially during the holiday season. While this book doesn’t address every idea of what to do and is not a "formula", it is a good "jumping off point" for those wanting to do things for themselves or those whom you love that struggle with chronic health issues & their loved ones this season.

"12 Things to Do: For Yourself, a Loved One, a Spouse, The Parents, The Children & The Caretakers Dealing with Chronic Health Conditions During the Holiday Season" will be available for purchase on Amazon on Sunday the 18th!