Tuesday, August 21, 2018


Last week I woke up at 2am with a headache. No, let me rephrase, a MASSIVE HEADACHE. So I quickly sent my day-job manager (yes - I work) an email letting him know that I wouldn't be in that day. "Issa Sick Day" was the subject of the message. I laid back down, trying to get back to sleep. But my head was pounding and my mind just wouldn't turn off.

I just kept thinking about all of the things that I needed to do: cancel that flight to Madrid, pay my property taxes, get that proposal done, check on my son's financial aid, blah, blah, blah. UUUGGGHHHH. Getting back to sleep wasn't going to be easy. But eventually, around 5am, sleep came.

I slept until almost 9am! I got out of bed feeling refreshed and grabbed my computer. Cancelled the flight to Madrid because I couldn't make it work (read my blog about sitting down). Logged onto the city's website and paid my property taxes (priorities). Went to the FASFA website and gave them my income info to complete my son's financial aid package (don't ask). Went through my Hotmail account (that Junk folder had over 300 emails) and responded to some emails in the 2 Girls & a Bikini account (and it had over 300 emails!).

I also unpacked a suitcase that had held some clothes that I had washed but never put away (don't judge), cleaned my room/bathroom, and by 1pm I was feeling SUPER accomplished. So what do you think I did? I called up some friends who I know work from home or have flexible schedules and guess what? Sick Day = Beach Day!

Yep, I grabbed my daughter and met another friend at another friend's house and we headed to Miller Beach in Gary, Indiana. Gotta pause for a funny story: we drove 45 mins outside of Chicago (for obvious reasons), pulled up to the parking structure, and there stand's a co-worker's daughter in the parking booth! I couldn't do anything but LAUGH....I said "hello" to her, we chatted, I gave her the $7 parking fee and then I whispered "I was not here". LBVS

Anyway, if you live in the area and you have not been to Miller Beach, you should definitely check it out. Miller Beach borders Lake Michigan to the north, Porter County to the east, and is largely surrounded by protected lands, including the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (got that from Wikipedia). The beach is clean and you can see your feet in the water - so it's kinda clear. There were not too many people there (well, it was a Wednesday) and you could walk out pretty far into the water before it drops off to being deep; making it great for kids (but PLEASE keep an eye on your babies near/in the water).

We had a great afternoon. We laughed, we ordered pizza, we listened to music, and of course we took selfies!
By the end of the day, I had forgotten all about the massive headache that woke me up at 2am that morning. I had forgotten about all of the things that were keeping me awake. I needed a reset and I certainly got one. All I remembered was the amazing time I had with family and friends. 

On a beach - of course!

2 Girls & a Bikini

Friday, August 10, 2018

Havana - Oh Na Na

Let me be completely transparent and honest - because I don't want anyone to regret purchasing a flight to Havana.  I love Havana. I've been there twice and will probably go there many more times and will eventually begin to explore cities outside of Havana.  Everyone I know who has been to Havana (and other areas in Cuba) love it. 

But it's NOT for everyone.

There is poverty. There is limited internet connection. It is still a communist country. There are no fast food restaurants. Sometimes it smells.  The buildings are old and crumbling. The cars are old and the smell of gasoline is strong. Most individuals don't speak English.

You will be frustrated.  You might wait a long time for your food and/or drinks.  You might get lost.  You might not be able to figure out the currency conversion.  You will get asked to pay for that picture with the old woman smoking a cigar.  You will have to maintain the same "street smarts" about you that you have no matter where you go.

BUT, u will be wow'd at the vibrancy of the city. At the friendliness of everyone u meet. The music will engulf you and you will want to dance - day and night. You will learn the history of Cuba and you might fall in love with it's story. 
The heartbeat of Havana is unlike anywhere I've been. I woke up everyday excited about what I would experience that day because I didn't know what to expect.

I never felt unsafe. I never felt unwelcome. I ate and drank well. I laughed. I danced. I explored. I talked to locals about their experiences.  About their history.  I talked to them about their economy.  About how they feed their kids on the monthly supplement they receive from the Cuban government.  

I cried.  I cried for the people of Cuba and their fight for independence because I realized that it's very similar to my fight.

No, Cuba is not for everyone.  It's for those travelers who want to be stretched and taken out of their comfort zone.  For those who are seeking an experience unlike any other.  For those who want to experience a culture unlike their own. 

If you have questions about Cuba, let me know.  I have a lot of friends who have been to Havana and a few friends who have traveled around the country.  I even have a friend who is transitioning to a full time life in Havana!  So If I don't know the answer, I will get it.

Click HERE to see pics from my 2016 trip.

Happy Travels Everyone!