How To Have A Fun Family Staycation

It’s summertime and it’s full on vacation season! Many families are vacationing all over the world but if you are like me (too busy) and didn’t plan ahead and have time off, you can still have fun even though every hotel and rental house is either triple the normal price because it’s now peak season or booked and have yourself a staycation playing in your own backyard. I have traveled a lot for work this year so I have had my travel bug satisfied so a staycation ended up being just what the doctor ordered! I realized that I have been vacationing all wrong by going to the same location every year and decided to switch things up in 2017. I deemed 2017 the year for new things on my first blog post of the year and so far I have done just that. Every year we go and visit family during our vacation time off and run and rip going from one person’s house to the next. We love our trips to DC & GA to visit family but we realized that they are fun but taxing! This year all of that changed with our staycation at home here in Tampa and it has been one of the most fun AND relaxing vacations we’ve had in a long time! It was awesome not to have to pack, unpack, drive far away, live out of a bag for a week or check into a hotel with 5 people in tow.  Here is how you can have a staycay, have fun in your own backyard, sleep in your own bed, not have to pack and save on traveling far away on your staycation:

Research fun local things to do & do them

I live in Florida so there are a plethora of fun things to do from amusement parks to the beautiful beaches but even if you don’t live in a vacation destination, you most likely have fun in your area so research whatever it is and plan a day of it. Most cities have museums, nice hotels and some level of fun within an hours drive of less from your home.  Do the things that you often don’t have enough time to enjoy because of work. Because I am always so busy with work, we don’t get a chance to visit amusement parks as much as we’d like so we planned a day of fun at Busch Gardens and a day at Adventure Island waterpark during what we coined #Staycation17 and both days were excited. The best part was coming home to our own beds and fridge!

 

Make time to relax

Many times when on vacation we tend to over schedule our vacations so much that we totally forget what vacations are intended for. In case you forgot, like I did, vacations are meant for breaks. Our bodies and minds need a break from time to time from doing so much so it’s important to take time to rest. During our staycation I scheduled time for fun and rest. I took naps in between outings and slept in late most days before starting out for our planned adventures. On the first day of our Staycay, we went to the beach and although that was enjoyable, it was relaxing because I sat and watched the beautiful turquoise water at Lido Key Beach and really released all of the tension in my body and mind. The beach is therapeutic to me so drifting into the warm water and laying out to dry under a cool breeze was so relaxing my entire body went limp. The best part of that was it was only a 45 minutes drive from my house and it was free!

Still enjoy vacation luxuries ( like eating out)

Just because you may be staying at home during your vacation doesn’t mean that you follow the same ole tired routines of cooking and cleaning! Heck no! It means cook when and if  you feel like it or not at all and go out to breakfast one day, lunch one day and dinner one day to get the full vacay effects! One morning my husband and I slept in late, got up and went to breakfast at First Watch for a very good breakfast alone. It was amazing to roll out of bed late and go out for a meal and not have to cook it or clean up the mess from it. We went out for lunch and dinner some days and pretty much left the stove O-F-F.  We pretty much treated our house like a hotel by cleaning it really well the week before the staycay began so that the house was already clean and we wouldn’t have to worry about cleaning during the staycay. We basically only used our house for sleeping during #Staycay17 lol.  Try it. The best part of our ‘housetel’ was it was not $300 a night like most places I tried to book for this week. It was FREE, well kinda, I still have to pay the rent and light bill.

Whether you stay or go away for your vacation, be sure to unplug a bit and refresh yourself. Don’t over do it, don’t wait until the last minute to plan it (lesson learned for me, planning next summer’s now) and don’t forget to try something new and enjoy the things in your own backyard.

 

The Shack

As a woman of faith currently in need of a spiritual lift, the timing of the movie “The Shack” starring Octavia Spencer and Sam Worthington couldn’t be released at a better time! Octavia is a phenomenal actor and I enjoy every movie she has starred in so this movie is a must see! Do you want to see it? Do you enjoy a good feel good movie as much as I do?

There is nothing like a good, spiritually uplifting movie and I am thrilled to see #TheShack for some uplifting and a relaxing day at the movies. See you at the movies!

 

In theaters, March 3rd!

theshack

Good Eating @ Vuelo Mexican Grill!

My family and I were recently invited out to sample Vuelo Mexican Grill’s menu in Tampa in exchange for a blog post so let me tell you what excited my taste buds! All opinions are my own and if ain’t good, I won’t write about it.

  1. Pork Carnitas Mexican Scramble– Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner! This was a combination of pork carnitas, scrambled eggs and potatoes all scrambled together for a flavorful marriage of tastes. This dish was muy bueno!

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2. Bottomless Mimosas– Vuelo’s has brunch on the weekends from 11:30 am – 3 pm with a wide variety of Mexican brunch entrees ranging from Huevos Rancheros to Bacon & Egg Torta’s, both of which got the thumbs up ! Vuelo’s gets a gold star for the bottomless mimosas(which means unlimited just in case you didn’t know) as part of their brunch offerings. If you don’t want bottomless mimosas you can do bottomless bloody mary’s! What better way to enjoy good food and drinks than with great friends?!  Bottoms up!

mimosas

3.Chicken & Steak Fajitas– The fajitas were tender and delicious, served with all of the fixings of warm tortillas, beans, lettuce, cheese, sour cream and rice.

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Vuelo’s not only offers yummy eats but a nice atmosphere with neat decor throughout to give you a truly authentic experience.

 

Vuelo’s is located in New Tampa at 17641 Bruce B. Downs Blvd in Tampa, FL and is only a short distance from the 75 exit ramp for my local Tampa peeps who may want to go and check them out. Hey, do you want to go and check them out!? If so, leave a comment on this post and tell me what your favorite Mexican dish is and you will be entered for a chance to win a $25 gift card to Vuelo’s! The winner will be announced on 2.3.17!  Regardless of where you live, leave me a note to let me know you stopped by! Adios Amigos! 🙂

 

 

 

 

Halle-2017-jah

Happy! New! Year!  Can you tell that I am happy to see a new year?! 2016 was a rather strange year in a lot of people’s opinions from reasons ranging from death to politics. Everyone has a right to their own opinion on what kind of year it was for them personally. 2016 wasn’t all bad for me, as a matter of fact, I had a lot of good things happen! I launched my blog, my non-profit, Moms On a Mission, Inc. and met lots of wonderful new people and started to shift my mindset on being content living in a place that still seems to lack an important element of “home” to me.  Home is where the heart is and it feels like I left mine in Virginia,but that is a whole nother’ blog!

A new year is just so refreshing and feels like a big second chance to do what you weren’t able to do in the year past so for that I am very excited and optimistic for what 2017 holds! Here is what I am looking forward to in the new year:

  1. Officially launching Moms On a Mission, Inc and making a big impact in the Tampa Bay Community and beyond. M.O.M.’s core mission is to help working single mothers become more self-sufficient and financially literate. Stay tuned on how you can help. We are seeking board members and web designers if you know of anyone seeking to give to a worthy cause.
  2. Traveling! O-M-G , why have I been stuck in a rut traveling to the same ole places for the last 10 years!? That stops in 2017! My motto this year is “New Things and New Places“! I have made a list of cities that I’d like to visit, eat in and blog about and they include Chicago and New Orleans and I will be traveling to Chicago first in a few weeks so suggest somewhere really good for me to eat and something really awesome for me to see.
  3. A new home. I have lived in the same house for 10 years and I am ready for a change of scenery,not to mention, a tax deduction! HA! It’s time to put down roots somewhere and experience home ownership. I want to paint some walls, buy some new furniture and experience something new. I can’t wait for this moment although I have lots of great memories in my current home that we will always carry with us no matter what.
  4. Maintaining Balance. At times, in 2016 I took on too many things at once. I was working full time and trying to establish my non-profit and build a blog part-time. I felt they were important things to juggle but at times the events associated with the three became overwhelming to manage and I realize in 2017 I must strike the right balance between all that I have going on. I am a social butterfly so it’s hard for me to turn down fun invites but I may have to if my plate is too full. It’s important that we carve out some quiet time in the midst of our busy lives and not neglect our homes, families and other priorities in the process. My Google Calendar keeps me straight and my phone’s memo pad and office dry erase board help me list down important tasks, reminders and things that I need to complete.

So, again, I am very happy for a new year and another opportunity to complete my goals and find happiness in doing the things that I love. What are you excited about? I would love to hear what your goals are for the upcoming year!  Hit me up!

The big 40!

 

I am officially “grown” or so I thought! I turned 40 on 9/13/16 and I am not quite sure I have completely absorbed the fact that I am no longer in my 30’s but I am trying to look at the brighter side. I’m alive! I made it this far and I still feel like I am in my 30’s! Nothing broke or stopped working when the clock struck midnight so whew, so far, so good. Every time someone calls me old, I am going to remember that some people didn’t make it to 40 and be grateful! That is how I will cope with reaching this milestone. It is a good way to knock the fright and edge off of “getting old”,at least I think it is.

I lost 3 close family members to cancer in the last 5 years, all at relatively young ages. The youngest, my little cousin Sharniese Reynolds, that I once babysat, was only 25 years old! My aunt Debbie Reynolds, the best, sweetest, Aunt EVER died in 2014 at 52! Those are both really young ages. None of us knows when our time on earth is up but through their deaths, I have learned to look at life differently. I don’t care what milestone I reach from now on, I will not complain.

There is a certain element of youthfulness when you’re “thirty-something” that I am not sure is as prevalent in the “forties”. Well, I didn’t think so until I ran into a colleague in the office the other day who is 60.  As I approached her in the hallway, I said proudly ” I turned 40 last week” as if that was going to give me a new ranking or level of respect, you know, my “grown” card. She looked at me and said”  Oh, you are still a baby!”  I was so confused, although happy that she still considered me to be a “youngin”. I said “Oh my goodness, you mean to tell me that I am still not grown”?! She said “Child, naw!”.

I don’t know when some will consider me officially “grown” but I am looking forward to the 40 ride!  In my 20’s, I made tons of mistakes and was so clueless on so many levels. Clueless about how to be a wife, mother, responsible adult and totally financially illiterate. In my 30’s, I made a lot less mistakes but some pretty profound ones in my career. I learned that pride comes before the fall. If you don’t know what that means I urge you to ask someone and try to find out. The biggest lesson I learned in my 30’s is to remain humble in all things. No matter what title or level you obtain professionally, remain humble, treat people with respect no matter what and assume the BEST about people.

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This is 40!
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40 is in the mirror!

40, I hope you are a much less bumpy ride. I hope you take me to new places and to new experiences that grow me in every area. I hope that I enjoy everyday with you, in both good and bad times simply because it is a blessing to be alive! I hope to continue to be comfortable in my skin, even more so than I was in my late 30’s. It took me to reach my 30’s to finally start to be comfortable being my authentic self, not worrying about impressing anyone else or living up to their standards. I hope you make me more confident and remind me to always be true to myself, no matter how uncomfortable my truth may be for someone else.  My younger years have prepared me for this moment and I stand ready to march forward with gratitude and joy for what is to come.  40, let’s ride!

 

My First Blog!

Tashia’s Taste Begins 14192758_1690582614595607_7619344569794447542_n
Hi! I am Tashia, people that know me intimately call me just “Tashia”! My full name is pronounced “Natasha” and I am not quite sure why my mother spelled it with an “i” in it, but hey, it makes me a little, teeny bit more unique amongst millions of Tasha’s, so I will take it.

In case you’re wondering who I am, let me just tell you a few things about me. I’m a mother of 3, a wife, an IT professional with one of the Big 4 auditing firms, an entrepreneur that just started a non-profit to aid single mothers and last but not least, AN AVID FOOD LOVER!

Through my passion for food and LOVE for fabulous things and places, Tashia’s Taste’s was born and my mission is to bring awareness, encourage and inspire people to simply try new things. People have always liked my taste in food and I love sharing yummy eats with friends and getting their feedback. As long as I can remember, I have LOVED to “taste” things and have been complimented on my tastes in general, so the name “Tashia’s Taste” was fitting. I will admit that I don’t always look at food labels and am by no means going to deny myself certain deliciousness but as I embark on a journey to eat healthier foods, I hope to encourage others, especially people of color to join me in paying closer attention to sodium, sugar content and the ingredients of the food we eat. My ultimate hope is to encourage all people to live, think and EAT outside of the box!