Candacetravels’ Year In Review…

This is a republish from a December 2015 post! Remember to stay tuned for more epic adventures to come!!! The first destination for 2016 will roll out later this week.

Greetings fellow travelers and friends. As this year comes to a close, I am reminded of what a spectacular travel year it’s been! Together we reviewed some amazing (travel) products, as well as visited some of the most beautiful destinations around the globe (to learn more see the links below and this past year’s previous posts.) We looked at everything from best Lenovo laptops to take, for business and leisure travelers, to some of the tastiest gluten-free snacks to pack in our tote bags. It’s been one incredible journey and I’m so grateful to have taken it with all of you!

Now that our suitcases are all packed and ready to go (again,) thanks to our “Best Items to Pack: 2015 Suitcase Series,” it’s now time to review some new and exciting places to go. Stay tuned for Candacetravels’ epic, “2016 Global Travel Diary- Expedition.” Together we will uncover some  “must see” places around the world! You didn’t think we were just going to review all of those incredible products for our suitcases for nothing did you? Of course not! We’re rounding them all up again and preparing for our upcoming destinations. So…get ready… because we are about to embark upon the adventure of a lifetime!!! Our first stop in January will include a southwestern, USA favorite. No, I’m not giving it away today, so you’ll just have to come back to find out more next month! 🙂

A HUGE thank you goes out to all of you for your support this year. It’s been my honor to serve as your travel guide and leisure expert. Let’s make 2016 a year to remember!!! Happy New Year and Happy Travels!!!

Review some of our favorite products and destinations for 2015 below!

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Sint Maarten

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Cannes, France

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Rome, Italy

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Pisa, Italy

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Florence, Italy

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Palma de Mallorca, Spain

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Isle of Capri, Italy

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Norwegian EPIC

For more info on some of these destinations, you can read about my experience at the links below:

http://upscalelivingmag.com/basking-grandeur-french-riviera/

http://globallivingmagazine.com/solace-by-sea-on-the-isle-of-capri/

http://upscalelivingmag.com/majestic-splendor-st-maarten/

http://globallivingmagazine.com/lenovo-yoga-3-pro/

The Liebster Award Part II

Greetings travel aficionados! I’m back once again… feeling grateful. I’m so thrilled to share with all of you that I was once again selected for the Liebster Award!

Many thanks goes out to the incredible Leslie, of The Bug That Bit Me travel blog for nominating me. She is an avid traveler and total “wander enthusiast,” like all of us. Her blog is packed with excitement, as she shares her remarkable travel experiences in such a way that it truly draws you in! Please be sure to check out her escapades across the globe- for some amazing adventures!!! Hats off to Leslie for a superb job!!!

Once again, the Liebster Award is a set of eleven questions given to upcoming bloggers by fellow bloggers. Each nominee then comes up with there own eleven questions and nominates five other bloggers, thus helping build an audience.

Here are my responses to Leslie’s 11 Questions:

1. How much time do you spend on blogging per week, including social media? It’s difficult to say. It really depends on my travel/work schedule each week, but I’d say roughly 5-10 hours on blog-related activity and all social sites combined.

2. Is there a destination you never go back to? Why? So far, I can’t say that there is really anywhere that I’d never go back to. I will find a way to still have a good time just about anywhere, especially if I’m with the right people. So…I’d probably go back everywhere.

3. Where have you encountered the nicest people on your travels? Give an example. In St. Maarten. I recently visited and would have to say, “They don’t call that island the friendly place for nothing.” The people were so warm and welcoming!! It was absolutely fantastic and I cannot wait to go back!

4. What’s one thing you’ve eaten while travelling that you still dream about? This is a tough question. My diet is somewhat limited, but I have thought alot about the cuisine on my Mediterranean, Norwegian Cruise last summer. I typically use some of my travel days/experiences for cheat days (80% of my diet is plant-based!) I even wrote about my dining experience on Global Living Magazine’s site!!! You can read more about my “epic” culinary adventure here!

5. Where do you live now? This is an interesting question! I want to respond, “Out of my suitcases literally,” because there is much truth in the statement….laughing, but I do split my time up between a few different US locations.  If you had to pick another place to live where would it be? It’s a tie between Italy and somewhere in the Caribbean. I’m a fan of not being tied down to just one location, so I could totally see this happening in the future. The more homes, the merrier! 🙂

6. Which aspect of blogging is your favourite? Crafting the content! Writing is therapeutic because it grants me the opportunity to share my thoughts, ideas and experiences with others- all around the world. It’s the best part about blogging to me! I love to write about my adventures and provide other useful information to my followers.

7. Which aspect of blogging is your least favourite? I’d have to say the days that I suffer from writer’s block, or can’t get my ideas to flow properly. Those are the times that I wish I could just talk to everyone in person….to explain what I’m trying to write! LOL

8. Name one goal for your blog this year. It’s always to reach new territories. I think it’s so cool that I can be in the US (or wherever,) while someone else can be in some rather remote part of the world- and they actually take the time to read what I have to say. I’m always so honored by the addition of new readers from so many different countries. It’s humbling. My goal is always expansion.

9. What did you want to be when you were a child? I was always creative, so I enjoyed writing and drawing a great deal. However, as I grew, I took an interest in the medical field and assumed I’d go on to be a doctor at some point. Obviously, there was a change of plans. Although I must admit, I did enjoy my anatomy and biology classes in undergraduate school, but I’m much happier creating content now, than working at a hospital! 🙂

10. If you have pets, how do you manage them when travelling? I don’t currently have any pets.

11. Where do you draw inspiration from other than travelling? My faith in God, my family and my friends. They are the core of who I am!

Here are the rules for those nominated:

Things to do if you’re nominated for Liebster Award:

1. Accept the nomination and thank your nominator.

2. Answer the questions of the blogger who nominated you.

3. Nominate five new bloggers you think deserve attention.

4. Create 11 new questions and give them to your nominees.

5. Write an article about your nomination on your blog and link it back to the website of your nominator.

6. Please remember to tag your nominator again when you share your article on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, so she can read your Liebster Award blog post. 

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Here are my new 11 questions:

  1. Does your blog cater to a niche group of travelers? If so, why did you select that particular group?
  2. Do you offer contests or giveaways on your blog?
  3. How many different countries does your blog reach?
  4. Favorite destination and why?
  5. Favorite blog post and why?
  6. What is your goal for your blog this first half of the new year?
  7. Favorite travel activities?
  8. Do you prefer to travel alone or with a group? Benefits?
  9. Airplane, vehicle or train? Why>
  10. Budget or luxury travel?
  11. Island or Ice? Why?

Nominees Are: (Looking for 3 more nominees)

  1. Taylor Takes A Trip
  2.  There She Goes

 

Q & A – LIEBSTER AWARDS

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The Liebster Award consist of a set of eleven questions given to upcoming bloggers by fellow bloggers. Each nominee then comes up with their own eleven questions and nominates some more bloggers, thus helping build an audience.

 

 

 

 

 

Shout out to http://www.traveleira.com/ for nominating me!!! Thank you so much!

These are my answers:

  1. Travelling on Summer or Winter?
    1. Travel all year!!! I love warm weather, so I try to spend as much of my time as possible in hotter climates. Even though I’m a native of the Midwest in the US, I absolutely love tropical climates.
  2. The most special destination you have ever been in and why do you consider it like that.
    1. The Isle of Capri, Italy. It’s so picture perfect, that it’s difficult to explain. It’s so beautiful and stunning. I just LOVE it and can’t wait to go back. I even published a piece about my experience upon arrival on the island…after and long and challenging journey to get there! I recharged my weary batteries there. 🙂 For more about my time, visit, http://globallivingmagazine.com/solace-by-sea-on-the-isle-of-capri/
  3. Do you prefer city, beach or countryside?
    1. I’m a beach gal. I love the ocean and sand.
  4. What else do you enjoy besides blogging?
    1. I enjoy writing as a whole and do it in a number of capacities; freelance, travel writing for publications, PR, as well as business consulting.
  5. Have you ever got sick while traveling?
    1. Yes, once after a friend’s event while on the road. I got food poisoning and it was so not fun at all.
  6. Have you ever feared about something while traveling?
    1. Yes, about having items stolen. I was actually pick pocketed last summer in Rome. No fun being abroad minus a cell phone.
  7. When travelling, what is the first thing you do in order to save money?
    1. I research the areas extensively before my journey starts so I know how to plan my budget accordingly.
  8. Have you ever met with a fellow blogger while traveling?
    1. No, I haven’t but really want to!!!
  9. What do you think about “travel flings”?
    1. I haven’t ever given it much thought, but I’d suggest being cautious.
  10. Have you ever had a “travel fling” of your own?
    1. No
  11. Anything else you would like to add for your readers?
    1. Stay tuned for some epic adventures!!!!

This is my new set of eleven questions for the nominees:

  1. What motivated you to start blogging?
  2. What has been your experience in the industry thus far?
  3. What advice would you give to new and even seasoned travelers?
  4. What’s been your best travel experience yet?
  5. Would you pick snow or sand? Why?
  6. What other hobbies do you participate in?
  7. Do you prefer travelling solo or with others?
  8. Do you like land or water activities better?
  9. What must have travel items always stay in your suitcase?
  10. Do you prefer a backpack or a tote bag?
  11. Share something about your travel experience that others may benefit knowing!

My November Suitcase Series Pick- Is Immune System Strong

Salutations to you, my road warrior and high flying friends! We are back again, discussing my top pick for November. As usual, the eleventh month of this 2015 calendar year was a busy one for me. My thirty days were filled exciting travels, airport delays, new acquaintances and all sorts of other incredible adventures. To ensure I stay in as tip top condition as can be, it is imperative that I keep my system strong. So…today I’m sharing with you, one of my favorite cold, flu and seasonal sinus busters. It’s none other than, Echinacea & Goldenseal Combination Extract, by Nature’s Answer.  You can find it online or at your nearest health store.

Let’s jump right in and find out more about this amazing supplement below!

Echinacea & Goldenseal

Why I chose this herb for my November travels? Germs are everywhere so it’s important to have a good, solid herb to help combat all that you come up against. Additionally, climate changes can also be a major factor in keeping your immune system up to par. Goldenseal is a remarkable herb to help fight bacteria, viruses and fungi. The list of uses extends far beyond the allotted space I have to discuss. Coupled with Echinacea, which has similar properties and abilities, they make for a mighty combo. My preference is the liquid form, because it enters the bloodstream faster, or so I’m told. I’ll worn you- the taste is utterly unbearable at times, but if you drink it in a small glass of water quickly, I promise it’ll (the unpleasant taste) end soon.

It comes in a 1 fl oz. liquid dropper, is gluten- free, alcohol- free, is “super- concentrated,” and is a 1,000 mg, proprietary blend of echincacea purpurea aeriel parts extract, goldenseal root extract, echincacea angustifolia root extract and echincacea purpurea root extract. 

This is a super product to keep tucked in your suitcase. Consider it your germ-busting companion. I recommend picking some up before your next big adventure!

 

Natures-Answer-Echinacea-Goldenseal

 

Get “Nourished” This Season- October Suitcase Series Picks

Welcome back friends and fellow travelers, to the 2015 Suitcase Series! Up next are my October picks; Nourish Organic Skin Solve (Creme-to-oil all-over treatment,) Sweet Orange and Rose Hip scent and Nourish Organic Lavender Mint Deodorant Creme. Find out just how these two remarkable products helped me stay “nourished” during my last big trips.

Nourish On-the-Go

I used both of these products during my time on-board Norwegian Cruise line and was so pleased with them. They fit so well in my cozy cabin, considering I had a limited amount of space, so having smaller sized items worked out splendidly! As I venture out, I encounter so many different climate changes on the road, that I’ve learned that having the right beauty care products can make all the difference. Extensive travel can be brutal on the body at times! Thus, I look for quality items with the best possible ingredients to get me through my assignments away from home.

Nourish Organic Skin Solve

What I love most about this solve, is the smooth and oily texture. It dissolves easily  and aids in keeping my skin moisturized. It starts out as a creme, but quickly transforms into an “ultra-absorbent oil”  during each application. It’s USDA Certified Organic and is comprised of the following organic ingredients; Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, Sunflower Oil, Jojoba Oil, Cupuaca Butter, Rose Hips Oil, Beeswax, CoCoa Butter, Sweet Orange Essential Oil, Vitamin E, Pumpkin Seed Oil and Palmarosa Oil. It’s also important to note that the solve does include organic soy lecithin, for those who may have a soy allergy.  I’m traditionally not a fan of products with soy, but I really like how this solve makes my skin feel after each use.

The Nourish Organic Skin Solve comes in a standard 3.oz tube that’s perfect for carry-on as well as checked bags, and also has a soft and pleasant scent that smells as refreshing as it feels. Consider picking up a tube for the current fall and upcoming winter season, to help combat against dry and/or cracked skin as you’re on the move.

Nourish Organic Deodorant Creme

This deodorant is so light and soft. It feels like butter when you roll it on and offers protection throughout the day. While it comes in a variety of scents, I had the pleasure of testing out the lavender mint. It’s like a cooling agent that won’t dry out the skin.  Most importantly, the Nourish Organic Deodorant Creme is aluminum free, which is a huge plus in my book!!!  Additionally, the deo includes the following organic ingredients; Corn Starch, Aloe Vera Juice, Alcohol Denat, Shea Butter, Saccharomyces Ferment, Acai Fruit Oil, Rice Bran Extract, Baking Soda, Xanthan Gum, Glycerin, Cupuacu Butter, Sweet Almond Oil, Coconut Oil, Fragrance and Vitamin E. For a more extensive list of ingredient names, please visit nourishorganic.com. I’d also like to note that this product too, includes soy lecithin, for those who have soy allergies or are non-soy product users.

This soothing Nourish Organic Creme comes in a  2oz. container that fits comfortably into any suitcase pocket or carry-on bag. Be sure to add to your list for any upcoming adventures.

For more information on these and other Nourish Organic line products, visit http://www.nourishorganic.com

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Nourish Organic Skin Solve, Sweet Orange and Rose Hip scent

(Creme-to-oil all-over treatment)

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Nourish Organic Skin Solve, Sweet Orange and Rose Hip scent 

(Creme-to-oil all-over treatment)

 and 

Nourish Organic Lavender Mint Deodorant Creme

In Cabin on the ship

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Nourish Organic Lavender Mint Deodorant Creme

VEGA Plant-Based Protein Powder and Shakes- September Suitcase Series Pick

Welcome back fellow travelers!!! Up next is my final Suitcase Series pick for the month of September. I’m sharing with you today, the oh-so-fantastic VEGA ONE, all-in-one nutritional shakes and VEGA SPORT, performance protein powders. These healthy, plant-based drinks are perfect for the avid and leisure traveler, so prepare to include them on your next trip-to-come’s checklist!

Why the VEGA line of plant-based, all-in-one nutritional shakes and protein powders made my 2015 Suitcase Series cut?

Answer-Because… they’re nutritious, delicious and simple to transport. Life on-the-move can be grueling, so when you find a product that aids in the support of your body’s maximum performance, it’s a keeper! Taste is another key factor in the all-in-one and protein shake journey. Let’s be honest, there are a number of them on the market that taste like chalk…or at least what I imagine chalk tastes like, but Not VEGA!!! The other obstacle is often finding items that come in travel sizes, otherwise you’re faced with having to measure and scoop from a large tub and transfer into some type of travel proof container. VEGA obviously took this into consideration when they created their products. They can be purchased in canister form or box, with single serve packs of 10-12, 1.2 or 1.5 oz packets, making it the perfect travel partner. They fit snugly inside just about any luggage pocket, so they won’t require too much space, leaving room for other necessities like… shoes or something:).  Additionally, the powder mixes well with the right liquid ratio and adds a fantastic punch to any fruit-filled breakfast. I especially enjoyed the French Vanilla flavor, while the mocha recovery certainly satisfied my chocolate, post-workout cravings. Over the course of my review, I created several smoothies, consisting of variations of almond or coconut milk, alongside a rainbow of fruit, such as strawberries, bananas, kiwi, blueberries, mango or pineapples, paired with kale or spinach and my VEGA ONE shake mix. It was a fantastic start to each of my days. I was equally as happy with the VEGA SPORT, which comes in three levels; prepare, sustain or recover. The Recover was definitely the best choice for me because of my hectic travel schedule. Many times, my ability to keep up my normal workout regime suffers. When this occurs, it forces me to cram in a month’s worth of gym sessions in shorter periods, leaving me with minimal time to recover in between workouts. VEGA SPORT is said to “improve strength, build and repair muscle, and reduce recover time between training.” Body Builders and healthy lifestyle advocates swoon over these products, and now I see just why. They provided an excellent boost to my system and supplied a mass amount of nutrients needed to maintain my diet, while on-the-move. This was a huge plus!

About VEGA ONE Nutritional Shakes

The VEGA shakes are made from “real, whole food ingredients.” They offer “20 grams in premium plant-based protein, 6 servings of greens, provide 50% of daily intake for food-based vitamins and minerals, 25% of the necessary fiber, 1.5 grams of Omega-3s, are full of antioxidants that protect against free radicals, include probiotics to promote healthy flora (1 billion CFU,) and the French Vanilla flavor for example, is only 160 calories. Not only do the shakes have a wealth of goodness, but they also taste amazing, too. Directions instruct users to mix with water, a non-dairy beverage or within a smoothie. I elected to use each of my single serve packets as part of my daily smoothie- over the span of a few weeks. I was fortunate enough to review the delicious VEGA ONE, French Vanilla and the VEGA SPORT (Recover,) Mocha flavors. VEGA ONE shakes also come in Chocolate, Natural, Berry and Vanilla Chai. This complete protein is a wholesome combination of pea, hemp, saviseed and micro-milled flax. The 6 servings of greens comprised in the shakes include kale, broccoli, Vega Chlorella and spirulina, as well as a mix of whole food fruits and other vegetables. It’s certified vegan, gluten-free and non-GMO.

The VEGA SPORT is an “alkaline-forming protein blend, featuring 5,000 mg of BCAAs” and is a performance enhancer, created to help us “recharge and repair,” thus cutting down recovery time in between training. This line is the 1st “all-natural, plant-based performance enhancement system specifically developed to help athletes perform at their best-before, during and after training and competition.” It’s also dairy, soy and gluten-free and contains no artificial sweeteners, flavors or colors.

I’ve not had the opportunity to sample the entire line of VEGA products, but I’m so pleased with my introduction, that I can’t wait to try some additional items. I can only imagine how tasty they must be. I can already imagine drinking that Vanilla Chai in the near future…. yum yum. Stay tuned for more reviews to come, and for more information on where to snag these and other VEGA goodies, visit http://www.myvega.com. Travel healthy!

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VEGA ONE, French Vanilla All-in-One Nutritional Shake

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VEGA SPORT, Mocha (Recover) Performance Protein Dietary Supplement and VEGA Sports Bottle

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VEGA Box of 12, single serve 1.2 oz VEGA SPORT packets and Box of 10, single serve 1.5 oz VEGA ONE packets

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Nutrition Information on the back of the VEGA ONE, French Vanilla, All-in-one Nutritional Shake

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A VEGA SPORT, single serve pack inside the inner pocket of my travel bag before departure. There is room to fit up to 4 single serve packets in this one pocket, while the rest fit nicely inside my large roller bag pocket.

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VEGA ONE, French Vanilla, All-in-one Container and Single Serve Packet

The “Genius” Bag That Every Business Traveler and Entrepreneur Should Have

My suitcase series continues. My first September pick is a fantastic edition to our 2015 travel list. Find out more about this incredible product below!

How many times have we all rummaged through our laptop bags and carriers in search of earbuds or some other vital travel necessity during a trip? If you’re anything like me, then I’m sure you replied, “Often.” Have you ever wondered what life on- the- move would be like if you had a carry-all that was specifically designed to accommodate all of your travel essentials? Well… I have discovered the solution for you.  The answer is “Genius Pack.”  I first became acquainted with this remarkable luggage this past July, and have felt no compunction over our meeting since. It’s a well thought out line that is not only “genius,” but as their tag line boasts, is “Extremely Functional Luggage,” too.

For the past 6 weeks, I’ve had the satisfaction of carrying the Genius Pack Entrepreneur bag. It’s their standard, business carry- all bag that is perfect for  the local professional, just as much as it is for the staunch road warrior. At first appearance, you might compare this bag to a typical laptop bag, but it far surpasses any normal standards. For starters, it’s incredibly durable, and comes with water-proof protective coated zippers, a wide removable/adjustable padded shoulder strap and neoprene comfort-grip handles. It has ample interior padding and a specific compartment for just about every “thing” that one could imagine. There’s not only space for a laptop (up to 17”x4”x12”,) but also a dedicated section for a tablet. Additionally, there’s designated space labeled for each of the following; pens, business cards, headphones (earbuds,) the genius portable charging station, a pocket for a cell phone, room for the genius micro travel umbrella, or a comparable sized pop out one, an additional exterior front zip pocket and a back velcro- close pocket that runs the length of the bag. There is even a compartment for eyeglasses. Yes, eyeglasses! The Entrepreneur also comes with battery pack and speaker integration. This multifarious pack is indubitably the most considerate ever of the business professional and traveler’s needs.

Throughout my last assignment I was able to stay organized, locating every item I transported with simplicity. I didn’t have to go on a treasure hunt for an ink pen or business card, and could easily access my sunglasses once the sun set. It was an absolute dream. The Genius Pack team, whose luggage line rightfully lives up to its name, thought of it all- and this entrepreneur couldn’t be more satisfied. The Entrepreneur Genius Pack comes in two colors; Black and Ltd Edition Charcoal, it’s moderately priced and also comes with a 5 year warranty. This ultra functional bag can also be purchased in a leather version, for a more elegant look. For more information, visit www.geniuspack.com

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Genius Pack Entrepreneur bag- padded shoulder strap

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Entrepreneur bag compartments

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Water-proof protective coated zippers on the Entrepreneur bag

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The “Entrepreneur” Genius Pack