Love, Kaycie

Better Together

CommunityKaycie Vanden TopComment

I am disappointed in America. Not because of who we elected for president, but because of how we are responding to the result. Before you read any further, this post is not a political rant. This post was thoroughly thought through and prayed over and that is the only reason I'm sharing it, because I'm not one to post senseless ramblings about anything, not even football. This is from my heart.

I want to be clear from the start of this post, I did vote for Donald Trump on November 8th to become President of the United States. It was my first time voting in a presidential election and I promise you that the decision to cast that vote for him did not come easy and it was not cast simply because I am registered as a Republican. However, I am not here to tell you why I voted for Donald Trump or why I did not vote for Hillary Clinton. Everyone has a right to vote for whichever candidate they please and I completely respect that. 

I do however want to outline for you some of the comments I received from people upon hearing that I voted/was voting for Mr. Trump:

"You don't have anything to worry about because you're white."

"Don't you respect yourself as a female?"

"So does that mean you're against Muslims, gays and blacks (etc)?"

"He's going to send me out of the country! Is that what you want?" 

"Come on Kaycie, you're not that much of an idiot to vote for him."

These comments towards me and my right to choose who I wanted to vote for were all made by those who fear that their race, religion, or sexual orientation is now under fire because of the results of this election. The very same people who feel alienated and attacked by Mr. Trump or his supporters are turning around and alienating and attacking those who voted for him. I am tired of those who call for tolerance being so unwilling to tolerate the opinions of those who disagree with them. 

My question is this: What good does any of this do? 

What good do the riots that are taking place as I write this do? What good is found in the picket signs and arguments? What good does it do to brag all over the internet because the candidate that you supported won or attacking those who didn't support the same candidate as you? What good does it do to throw Trump's victory in the face of Hillary supporters? How do things like #notmypresident do any good for our nation?

How is this helping us? 

The answer: it's not.

It's tearing us apart as a nation. WE ARE THE GREATEST NATION ON EARTH. It is an amazing privilege to live in this country with the rights and freedoms that we have! How is reacting this way to our new president elect going to make us "better together"? Or was that only valid if Mrs. Clinton clinched the oval office? 

The division and hatred in this country needs to come to an end. 

I do have respect for myself as a woman. I do not hate gays. I do not hate Muslims. I do not hate blacks. (HELLO, have you seen my handsome dark chocolate soon-to-be husband???) I choose to LOVE everyone because yes, love does trump hate. HATE GETS US NO WHERE, but perfect love casts out all fear. I choose to love because Jesus loves. He loves me and He loves every single person in this world no matter what their race, age, sexual orientation, religion, social class or political status. Jesus loves Hillary Clinton. Jesus loves Donald Trump. Jesus loves me. And Jesus loves you.

It's time to break down our dividing walls, America. It's time to make America great again by becoming better TOGETHER. Their campaign slogans fit so nicely together because a UNITED America, an America that lays down our torches and pitchforks and comes together as one nation, is the only America that will thrive once again. 

Whether you voted for Mr. Trump, Mrs. Clinton, or neither... it's time to accept the result of the election and move forward together, because at the end of the day, the votes are in and Donald Trump will be moving into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue come January. 

In the words of Mrs. Clinton herself, “I count my blessings every single day that I am an American and I still believe, as deeply as I ever have, that if we stand together and work together, with respect for our differences, strength for our convictions and love for this nation, our best days are still ahead of us. Because you know, I believe we are stronger together and we will go forward together."

Love, Kaycie

How to Visit Washington DC on a Budget

TravelKaycie Vanden TopComment

If you've read my blog for any amount of time, it's probably not a secret to you that Washington DC is my favorite city in America. It has so much history packed into it's city limits and it is all around gorgeous. My favorite times to visit are in the spring and fall, because that's when the weather is the mildest, although this year I want to go see it when the city is covered in snow! Anyway, whenever you decide to visit, here are some tips on how to do it on a budget! 

DC is already one of the most inexpensive places to visit, but I wanted to share some tips with you to make it even more affordable! 

1. Metro/Bikeshare

Taking the metro is my favorite way to get into DC. Driving is a pain because of traffic and parking can get really pricy. Also, depending on what time of the year you go, parking could be pretty much non-existent. You can add money to individual metro passes, or choose an all day pass for $14.50. With the all day pass, you can ride the metro as many times as you want, to wherever you want. Asa and I used to use the day passes all the time until we got official metro cards. 

Once you're in the city, you can use Capital Bikeshare! You can ride bikes through the city with this program and it makes it much easier to get around! The bikes cost $8 for a day membership, and the first half hour of every ride is free! THIS IS KEY, you must dock your bike at a docking station every half hour or else you start getting charged. So if you can remember to dock your bike every half hour, this is a super cheap way to see DC! 

2. Smithsonian Museums

The Smithsonian Museums are all free! They are incredibly interesting to visit and contain so much history! My favorites are the American History Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the Air and Space Museum! I also like the National Archives, which are free as well. The next museum I want to visit is the Holocaust Museum. There are other museums in DC, such as the International Spy Museum, that are not free. Be careful when you're planning which museums to visit that you're going to one of the Smithsonian ones. Also, the Smithsonian Institution has the National Zoo, which is also free but a little outside of the city. 

3. Monuments

Since all of the monuments in DC are outside, they are all free to visit! That means you can go visit Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King Jr, and more for free! Also the Washington Monument, World War II Memorial, and Arlington Cemetery (other than parking) are all free! You can spend a day or more seeing all of these places and not pay a penny. 

4. Food Trucks

Whenever we're visiting DC, we eat at food trucks for at least one meal. They can be found all around the National Mall and it's much cheaper to eat at these than in a restaurant. Food Truck meals average between $7-$12 where as restaurant meals average between $12-$17! Plus food trucks are always more fun! :) 

5. Stay Outside of the City

If you're going to be staying in DC for more than one day, which I recommend, you're going to find hotels for much cheaper outside of the city! Hotels in the city are super pricy and if you're trying to stick to a budget, you're better off staying outside the city and riding the metro in. Some areas to look for hotels are Greenbelt, MD, College Park, MD, Rockville, MD, Arlington, VA, or Alexandria, VA. 

These are my best tips to help you visit Washington DC on a budget!

Have you ever been to DC? What tips would you add to this list? 

 

 

Why I Fly with Jetblue

TravelKaycie Vanden TopComment

I wasn't planning to write this post as I was sitting at my gate for a Jetblue flight home, but I guess that's fitting right? I've been flying with Jetblue for a year and a half now, and I don't have any intention to fly with another airline if Jetblue is an option. (I'm very patiently waiting for them to expand to the midwest airports!) There are so many reasons why I am a repeat Jetblue passenger and I wanted to share some of them with you!

As I said, I've been flying with Jetblue for a year and a half now. The first time I took a Jetblue flight was in January 2015 and I haven't looked back since except to use up a Southwest gift card I had. I've flown the route from Bradley International Airport in Hartford, CT to Reagan National Airport in Washington D.C. (and vice versa) countless times and Jetblue makes it so easy and affordable. 

1. Customer Service

Jetblue's customer service surpasses expectations. Starting from their ticketing agents, to the gate agents, to the flight attendants, and even the pilots... they all greet you with a smile and do whatever they can to make sure you are comfortable and taken care of. They truly make you feel as though they are there to help you, and that is something I've never experienced on another airline. Also, if your flight gets cancelled for a mechanical issue or something that is the airline's fault (so not if it's weather related), they will do their very best to get you on the next possible flight and they will give you a credit to use on future travel. They are so good to their travelers. 

2. Affordability

The most I've ever paid for a round trip flight from Bradley to Reagan is $126 and that's the only time I've ever paid over $100 round trip. The lowest I've paid was $59 round trip. I LOVE that. I love that they help make it so easy to get to Washington DC to see my fiancé. I've seen one way flights for later this summer for $39 one way. THAT IS CRAZY PEOPLE. Now, I know most of you won't fly from Connecticut to DC as much as I do, but they also have cheap-o flights to Florida, South Carolina, Boston, and they also fly internationally to a number of locations in the Caribbean. They run sales all the time and if you know the right window to book (about 4-6 weeks in advance for domestic flights) then you are golden.

3. Trueblue Points

I am so in love with Jetblue's loyalty program called Trueblue. Can I just tell you this? I have gotten three, THREE, round trip flights for virtually FREE through their loyalty program. In fact, this vacation that I'm ending right now, I paid a total of $11.20 for my flights roundtrip because I used my Trueblue points. You earn Trueblue points when you purchase tickets, purchase their upgraded seats, or fly frequently with them. I earned 7,000 bonus points last year just because I flew with them seven times in twelve months. They also have a survey program that you can sign up for and you can earn points by taking surveys. IT'S SO EASY and so worth it. 

4. Space

Jetblue's famous claim is to have the most legroom in coach and they are not lying when they say that. They do have "even more space" seats for an upgraded price with are AMAZING (I got upgraded to them when my flight was cancelled once) and they are worth the money if you have it to spend. However, if you don't want to drop the extra $25-$40 on the upgraded seats, their regular seats have MORE than enough legroom and space. Now let's be honest, I am not a small gal and something I love about Jetblue is that I am actually comfortable in their seats. When I used up that Southwest gift card I mentioned before, I couldn't believe how incredibly small and uncomfortable their seats were. You will not have that problem on Jetblue, no matter which seat you purchase. By the way, you can choose your seats when you book your flight and change them up until you check in, which I also love.  

5. Snacks

I don't know why other airlines stopped giving you snacks on flights, but Jetblue still does. Even on the super short flight from Hartford to Washington DC they come around with snacks and drinks. This is important to me, and I'm sure it is to a lot of other people as well. 

BONUS:

They have wifi on most of their planes. You can't beat that. 


Those are my reasons that I fly with Jetblue whenever possible! They are a truly amazing airline and I hope that if you ever fly with them, you enjoy your experience as much as I have. 

What about you? Have you ever flown with Jetblue? Did you like it? 

July Goals

PersonalKaycie Vanden TopComment

I know that we're only five days into July but I already feel somewhat behind this month. It's most likely because I've been on vacation since the start of the month, so my brain hasn't been thinking about non-vacation type things. Anyway, I woke up today with a good bit of motivation to be productive so I decided to set some goals for the month for myself and for my blog/social media! 

PERSONAL GOALS

1. Read - I would like to finish my book I started a couple weeks ago and read at least one more book before this month comes to a close! I've had a bit of trouble finding the motivation to read over the last few weeks, but I hope to get that back soon! 

2. Go to the Gym - I would like to get back into working out this month. I'm going to try to go to the gym 3-4 times a week and also I really need to get back into my weight watchers routine. It's been a rough month with eating healthy. 

3. Save Money - I'm not good at saving money. I never have been. It's something I know that I need to change. My family and I are starting Financial Peace with Dave Ramsey soon and I am really excited for it. Plus, one of our other managers at my job will be on vacation for most of the month, so I'll be getting a lot of hours and have some extra money past my bills to put away into savings. 

BLOG/SOCIAL MEDIA GOALS

1. Be Consistent - This is on my goals every month because I'm just not good at it. However, I already have a blog schedule done for the month and I feel really excited about where this blog is going to go! 

2. 500 Pageviews - I'd like to get at least 500 page views on my blog this month. If I pass that, awesome! I have to work hard and be better at promoting my posts if I want to do this. I am excited! 

3. 800 Instagram Followers - This hopefully won't be too hard to accomplish! I have 777 followers at the moment, so I only need 23 more wonderful people to follow me to accomplish this. I've been realizing a lot lately how huge social media is in our culture today and how it truly is a tool that can be used to touch people's lives! If you're interested in following me on Instagram, click here. :) 

Those are my goals for the month of July! I am truly hoping to accomplish all of them, both personally and for my blog! 

What about you? What goals do you have this month?