It Glows Gold Once A Year

Mason Neck Park

“Mason Neck Park is located at 7301 High Point Road, Lorton VA 22079, just a stone’s throw away from Washington D.C.”

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Virginia Zoological Park (photo journal)

22366318_10214832339861888_6834313303789828946_n.jpg Gloomy, rainy weather didn’t stop us from heading out to the Virginia Zoo this weekend. As an animal rights advocate I tend to have a love-hate relationship when it comes to zoos and aquariums. But I can see both sides of the story and know that many zoos are not just out to make money off their acquired living breathing property, but also hope for educating the public on why preservation of these magnificent being is vital. I also know many zoos have visionaries that fight the rights of animals from this angle. Knowing and seeing too well the mass extinctions that are taking place within our animals species habitats as well as species decline due to poaching and other forms ofanimal enslavement and abuse uses.

So when I visit a zoo I usually view with skeptical concerned eyes. But I’m happy to say this zoo does a pretty amazing job with care for their animals and utilizing their position to educate the public and preserve the species that come to live here at the Virginia Zoo. All zoos have room for improvements and recently this zoo had one of their Red Pandas escape because of tree branches. Sadly that Panda was never found. And since then they seem to have implemented more measures for protection of animal and human alike.

22279529_10214839980732905_5163218267207142195_n.jpg My hope always is that those who take on the responsibility of wildlife do so with respect for the animal and their nature and to educate the public on the beauty they possess and that if we do not take care and heed, they may all one day be gone.

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Virginia Zoo

The Elephant In The Room 

Association Of Zoos & Aquariums

Where you been?

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The average is 8 for Americans. How do you match up? Put a 🏠where you’ve lived,  ✈where you’ve been and ⭐ where you plan to go, or go again! GET UP, GET OUT & LIVE! Even if you just explore your own hometown! You only get 1 chance to live your life, LIVE BIG!
 
Alabama
Alaska ⭐
Arizona
Arkansas
California 🏠 ⭐
Colorado ⭐
Connecticut
Delaware✈
Florida 🏠
Georgia ✈
Hawaii 
Idaho
Illinois ✈
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine ⭐
Maryland ✈
Massachusetts
Michigan ✈
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada ✈
New Hampshire
New Jersey ✈
New Mexico
New York ✈ ⭐
North Carolina✈
North Dakota
Ohio 🏠🤞🏽
Oklahoma
Oregon ⭐
Pennsylvania ✈
Puerto Rico
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee ✈
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia 🏠
Washington ⭐
Washington Dc ⭐
West Virginia
Wisconsin✈
Wyoming
Asia(India) (Thailand)
Africa
Europe ⭐
Mexico
Caribbean ⭐
Canada ✈ ⭐
Dominican Republic
U.S. Virgin Island ⭐
N.Marian Island
 

Beautiful Day!

Exceptionally laid back beautiful day 
 Amazing lunch and lattes
🛤 Cruisin around exploring 
🌊 Spending time @ my soul space…the ocean
 Candle & rock shopping

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I give this place ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Java Surf Cafe And Espresso Bar

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Hurricane Preparedness

So much is happening not only in the US with disasters, but all over the world. Hurricanes, Wild Fires, Floods, etc… I haven’t felt much like blogging with all that’s happening here in the states. This is just the very beginning of hurricane season and already Hurricane Harvey has left a wake of destruction and insurmountable loss. These lists were created for disasters here in the United States, but dangerous natural disasters happen all over the globe so I don’t think list items change too many things from country to country, other than of course, emergency response numbers, radio stations, etc…

As the Eastern coastline, Puerto Rico, Florida, and all the gorgeous islands hunker down, evacuate and prepare for Hurricane Irma’s arrival I just wanted to put this out there. And just a note to remember that things like tornado’s and tsunami’s give little to no warning. But you can be prepared for those natural disasters that do give warning. Please evacuate if you can and don’t leave your furbabies behind! Don’t be stubborn, if you can get inland, get inland.’

Be safe!

XOXO

 

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United States Hurricane Season

Busch Gardens 07/30/2017

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Yesterday was to be Round 1 – Day 07/21 of Shift Shop and it was to be a day of either rest or Shift Mobility. Instead I walked🚶🏽 alllllllllll day lol.  Close friends of ours were heading to Busch Gardens for the day and we hadn’t been there together since 2007 when the Griffon roller coaster🎢 ride first opened there.

It was a short travel to get to Busch Gardens, about an hour. We arrived at around noon and left after Celtic Fyre at about 9pm. It was a long day of walking, burning a whole lot of calories and having fabulous day with friends.

My hubby & I had so much fun even though we didn’t do many rides. Keith did a few of the coasters (If you are in to roller coasters, you’ll LOVE this park) with our friend Jason while me, Jason’s wife Wendy, their son and our friend Rachel (her hubby had to work 😞) and her two girls took the kids for their rides and fun adventures. We all met up after and went to the “More Pet Shenanigans Show”.  😸🐶🕊️🐔🐀🐷All their animals are rescues and they are treated really well. The show was realllllly cute and funny. The video below wasn’t the show we attended (this was posted last year) but all the animals seemed to be super happy and having fun. All the dogs were wagging their tails and looked loved.

 

 

 

The whole layout of Busch Gardens is really beautiful, with lots of places to stop and rest in the shade and get cool drinks. We did a meal package plan which was very reasonably priced for a theme park. And the food, although cafeteria style was delicious, with healthier options available. There are adventures and experiences for all ages and the park is kept clean (even the bathrooms).

After the More Pet Shenanigans Show, we all kind of went our separate ways. Jason and Wendy headed home and Rachel and the girls went over to have fun with the Sesame Street Show and fun play area. Keith and I went to see Britmania, a musical show about the British invasion of music into the U.S., it was a fun show especially if you are a fan of musicals and music. After that we grabbed some dinner in Canada since we had done lunch in England. The park is divided up by hamlets to be able to travel your way around the park. Each of the hamlets has their own shops with fare that would be from that hamlet. From baked goods, to jewelry.

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  • Banbury Cross (England)
  • Heatherdowns (Scotland)
  • Sesame Street Forest of Fun
  • Killarney (Ireland)
  • San Marco (Italy)
  • Festa Italia (Italy)
  • Rhinefeld (Rhineland Germany)
  • Land of the Dragons
  • Oktoberfest (Bavarian Germany)
  • Aquitaine (France)
  • New France (French Canada)

 

After dinner we headed to Celtic Fyre, which was the show we were most looking forward to seeing! If you like celtic song and dance, you would be mesmerized by their performance! It was Broadway level showmanship and artistry. We would go back just to see this show again! Below is a promo for the show.

 

 

We headed homeward bound after Celtic Fyre. I ended up burning about 1, 400 😯calories just walking around all day! So all in all it was a pretty ✨magical ✨day

 

 

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Point Pleasant NJ Family Vacation 2017

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Day 1 🌞🚙🌤️🍕

Thank you Mom, Dad, Tori and Barry for making this all happen!

We’ve been waiting for this kind of vacation a long time! And the family was waiting for this reunion for 12 years! That was the last time they were all together as a family. So this was super special. The ride there was beautiful. And you’ll hear that word thrown around a lot in this blog post 😄 So we drove from Virginia Beach to the Jersey Shore (Point Pleasant NJ/Beach) and we had great weather for the drive and very few stops. We were just excited to get there.

 

When we arrived, not everyone was there yet and wouldn’t be until Tuesday. We stayed at the Sand Pebble Motor Lodge in the Victorian. We were upstairs in a three bedroom suite (which was in itself two floors). We stayed with Keith’s parents, his brother Barry, sis-in-law Tori and their two littles (kids). The place was HUGE. His brother and fam was on the second floor of our suite, they had a massive bedroom with a king size bed, a huge bathroom with tub and a HUGE walk in closet that was actually used as the kids playroom, yeah it was that big. We think it may have originally been a small bedroom that they converted into a massive walk in closet. We were downstairs, where there were two bedrooms and a HUGE bathroom and kitchen. The living room was pretty big too. The kitchen was fully equipped and stocked with utensils, pots, pans, dishes, etc…. Keith’s big brother stayed downstairs in another suite (the steps in the first pic below show the entrance to their suite, we were on floor 2). Their suite was also roomy, a big two bedroom with large kitchen. 

We arrived around dinner time and so we just had pizza and enjoyed time with family. After dinner we took a walk down to the boardwalk (which was open till midnight) to walk around and get some desert.

 

 

Day 2 ☀️⛱👙🌊 🚂

Sunshine and blue skies! Time to hit the beach!!! The beach was nice. When staying at the Sand Pebble you can get a discount for tickets to Jenkinson’s Beach. Now this was something I had never heard of, people owning parts of the beach and you paying to get on their beach. Here is VB we don’t have that. We either have public beaches or private beaches that you can only access if you are staying someplace on that beach. 

The beach ended up being $2 a day per person after the lodge discount. Not bad I suppose. It pays for having a clean beach, and lifeguards everywhere. You feel pretty safe at this beach. It was beautiful!!

We went our own way for a bit and ended up at a cozy diner, Beach Diner and had a quick dinner while watching the trains go by. 

Afterwards we headed back down to the boardwalk for the kids to all ride rides (lots of good ones for the kids), play carny games and get desert at the The Black Anchor Coffee House, which was delicious!!!!

 

Day 3 🌤️📷🥗

Most of this day was just very family oriented. We took family photo’s and just spent time reconnecting and connecting. The day before Aunt Kate (Keith’s Mom’s sister) and her hubby Uncle Mike also came down and joined us and took family photo’s for us. 

 

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Aunt Kate & Uncle Mike

We all went out to dinner at Frankie’s. I had a salad and was disappointed they didn’t even have bread sticks let alone bread. But my salad was good! And everyone just enjoyed spending time with each other. After all, for some it had been 12 years since they last saw each other. Keith (my hubby) had not seen his oldest brother Scott in 12 years! Scott and Nauko’s oldest was just a baby boy when he last saw them. And I had never met them. They live all the way in Washington State. So this really was a special time for all of us!

 

Day 4 🌥️📷🐸🦉🐧🐢🐠🐡🦐🐍🌦️⛈️

Jenkinson’s Aquarium was how we spent most of the day. It was a pretty laid back day with a few raindrops. And the start of some thunderstorms. It was a good day for an indoor experience. 

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To be honest, I really thought the aquarium was just going to be a roadside afterthought kind of place. I was even worried I would see mistreatment,neglect or bad conditions here. But it was the complete opposite. They were cleaning all the time, the animals looked happy and well fed. And happily I found this place to be very conscientious about animal welfare and sustainability. They had displays everywhere for conservation, animal protection, rescue, preservation and keeping the waterways clean of debris. I was pretty impressed with this little aquarium. They care a lot about their residents and the animal world. 

ps….their seal, Luseal wasn’t always alone here. Luseal is a rescue and so was the other resident seal. Sadly Luseal’s companion passed away recently. From what they said they are hoping to be able to take in another rescued seal.

 

Day 5 ⛈️☔💦🥙🚂

Rain, thunder, lightening, downpours! But it was still a pretty awesome day. We hung around the house for a while and hung out with family and then met with one of Keith’s old friends and her hubby for dinner. We had met once before and have been Facebook friends, but I haven’t seen her since Keith and I first got together! She even got married since then and moved out of Jersey to PA and then back to Jersey. So it was time to catch up! Unfortunately for whatever reason, we completely forgot to snap any pictures. But it was a fun evening playing catch up at Beach Diner with good friends we don’t get to see often enough!

And we did make tentative plans to get together some time during the holidays! And next time, we will take pictures!!

 

Day 6 Headed Home….☀️😢🌊⛴

All good things I suppose have an ending, or at least a, till next time. And we’ve already decided there will be a next time. We have solo trip plans and plans that involve group vacations back to Point Pleasant. We also determined that we can’t let so much time go by with us not seeing the littles. Keith is godfather to the two littlest niece and nephew and since they are in New Jersey and us in Virginia, we decided we need to start meeting at some half way points, even if only for weekends here and there so we can all see each other. Time slips away and we may ourselves eventually move further away so we have to find the time and take the time to spend with family while we can!

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Look close, there be a dolphin swimming! We saw dolphin pods and I saw a whale!!

We grew closer to family who are in Washington State too and we may even move there one day soon, who knows. It’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to live and Keith’s job could potentially come up with a transfer there.  But either way we have to make it happen that we see each other more. Kids need family bonds and although it’s hard when people are so transient now and tend to live in other states, or even countries, to make the effort to remember that kids needs to know family.

We all had a quick lunch together back at Frankie’s and then a quick run back down to the boardwalk for us to grab this massive apple (we had at the beginning of the trip, soooo good!) and some taffy, as well as a new wall hanging for our ocean(esq) living room!

It was especially nice for Keith, Scott and Barry’s parents to see us all, and see us all together. Time keeps moving and before you know it, 12 years have gone by.  I think we all learned a valuable lesson while having a beautiful and memorable family vacation!

💙Till next we meet….

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From the Depths of the Ocean, ‘Mermaid Tears’, An Ode to the Sea: An additional Sunday Blog Share

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From the Depths of the Ocean, ‘Mermaid Tears’, An Ode to the Sea

Midsummers Night Eve has passed and we are at the height of summer and as the weather improves, my thoughts turn to the sea and all its wonders. Living as I do on the edge of the Atlantic, the sea has been a constant presence in my life.

The sea for all our advances in technology is still very much a mysterious place like no other. The world beneath the waves is utterly unlike that of those who live on land. It can be terrifying, overwhelming and deadly but it is also achingly beautiful, healing and magical. Continue Reading Here: THE GUARDIANS OF GAIA

Sandcastle Making Links

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We are like children building a sand castle. We embellish it with beautiful shells, bits of driftwood, and pieces of colored glass. The castle is ours, off limits to others. We’re willing to attack if others threaten to hurt it. Yet despite all our attachment, we know that the tide will inevitably come in and sweep the sand castle away. The trick is to enjoy it fully but without clinging, and when the time comes, let it dissolve back into the sea. ~ Pema Chodron

Head To The Beach

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Spring is in the air and soon local pools will be open and warm enough weather for beach trips. The ocean or just the water in a pool or lake can have amazing effects on your mood and anxiety levels. Going for a swim or floating on a raft, even just catching some rays on the beach or poolside can melt stress away and leave you refreshed and ready to tackle the world again. Do yourself a favor and take mini vacations to your local pool, lake, even a river. Or better yet find a beach and leave the world behind for day or two….

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Boosts creativity

Being in a blue space makes you more creative, because it allows your brain to become relaxed, so you are more likely to drift off and imagine possibilities that when under everyday stress is difficult.

Stress melts away

Dangle your toes in the water, float above the waves or going for a swim. The ocean is filled with negative ions that are known to help relieve stress and boost your mood.

*Negative ions enhance our mood, stimulate our senses, improve appetite and sexual drive, provide relief from hay fever, sinusitis, bronchial asthma, allergies, migraines, even post operative pain and burns. Negative ions stimulate the reticuloendothelial system which is a group of defense cells in our bodies which marshal our resistance to disease. Negative ions promote alpha brain waves and increased brain wave amplitude which results in a higher awareness level. The body is better able to absorb oxygen into the blood cells, oxidize serotonin and filter airborne contaminants.Some scientists believe that the positive ions given off by the many appliances we use on a regular basis can leave us feeling angry, cranky, and overworked. Naturally occurring negative ions counteract all of this.

 

It reduces depression

The sound of the waves can put your mind into a relaxed or even meditative state similar to white or pink noise, only prettier sounding. This reduces anxiety and depression and will relax and improve your state of mind. Even the sound of the gulls flying above and the buzz of happy activity on the beach can lend itself to an uplifted mood. And what about the scent of ocean mist mixed with the scents of coconut oils from people who are using suntan lotions and sunscreens. It can be intoxicating.

Your perspective is changed for the better

Being in and around nature is so soothing. And even when it’s energized by surfing or parasailing it brings a peacefulness to the soul.  It reminds us that there are things bigger on this planet than a rush hour traffic, the girl at work that irks you or the bills sitting on the table.

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Fodor’s Travel

80° By The Sea Discover Your Best Vacation Spots

*Prana View Australia