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BAHAMAS TRAVEL GUIDE

Exploring the rocks (that you aren't supposed to climb on) outside of The Cove/The Reef Beach at Atlantis. The moment Joshua tol...

Friday, June 15, 2018

BAHAMAS TRAVEL GUIDE

Exploring the rocks (that you aren't supposed to climb on) outside of The Cove/The Reef Beach at Atlantis.

The moment Joshua told me that his mom wanted to take a family trip to The Bahamas, I instantly started looking up fun activities to do while we were there.  Sure, our resort in itself was going to be a blast, but who wants to stay at the same exact spot for 7 days straight.  After looking into different adventures, I landed on two things that I REALLY wanted to do during our vacation to The Bahamas; Visit the Swimming Pigs & Swim with the Nurse Sharks of Compass Cay.  I am so happy to say that I can now cross BOTH of those things off my Bucket List! 

Now that our vacation has come to an end and we are settled back in at home,  I figured it would be a good time to share our experiences and offer some travel tips/advice for traveling to The Bahamas! 


HOW WE GOT THERE
Flight #1 from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Atlanta, Georgia.

As far as traveling to the Bahamas goes,  we flew from Minneapolis to Nassau, Bahamas via Delta!  Unfortunately there were no direct flights available, so we had a layover in Atlanta, Georgia.  Once we arrived, we took a shuttle to Atlantis on Paradise Island.  


WHERE WE STAYED
The Courtyard in front of The Royal Tower at Atlantis.

Checking out the Koi Ponds outside of The Cove Tower at Atlantis.

We stayed at The Reef Hotel in Atlantis, which granted us access to all that Atlantis had to offer, with the exception on "Hotel Guest Only" Pools at the other towers!  We didn't so much mind not having access to the other Tower Pools, because we loved how quiet and secluded our specific tower was!  At the Reef, we stayed in the Two Bedroom Harbor View Suite.  This suite included a kitchen with cooking utensils, a common area, and two master bedrooms King Size beds! 


THINGS WE DID

Swimming Pigs of Staniel Cay.
Nurse Sharks of Compass Cay.
Walking on the Saddleback Sandbar of Saddleback Cay.
Feeding the Bahamian Rock Iguanas (or keeping all of the grapes to themselves).
VISITED THE NURSE SHARKS OF COMPASS CAY & PIGS OF STANIEL CAY 
Regardless what Island you stay on, find a way to visit the Exuma Islands and check out these two spots!  We stayed on Paradise Island (Nassau) & did a private charter (we had 15 people) via Bahama Boat Excursions!  They offer a couple different Excursion options, but we decided on the Full Excursion which offers tours of both Northern and Southern Exuma Cays!  Along this Excursion, we stopped at Allen's Cay to see and feed the endangered Bahamian Rock Iguanas and Saddleback Cay to see the Saddleback Sandbar.  Next we made a stop at Norman's Cay, it is known for its runway that was used by Pablo Escobar and also features a sunken airplane that was used to muggle Cocaine.  Then it was on to Compass Cay for a swim with the Nurse Sharks!  There are also Nurse Sharks in Highbourne Cay where you stop for lunch, but our guides informed us that you will have the best experience with the Nurse Sharks in Compass Cay!  After lunch we took a quick swing through Staniel Cay for a visit with the infamous Swimming Pigs!  This was the most exciting part of our trip for me!  I still regret not holding a little piglet, but we were running short on time and had to head back to Nassau!



Headed to the River Rapids at Aquaventure.
MADE A TRIP (OR TWO) TO AQUAVENTURE AT ATLANTIS
Of course not everyone stays at Atlantis while visiting the Bahamas.  There are many beautiful options, and I think if we ever went back, I would enjoy staying in the Exuma Islands, but if you're staying in Nassau/Paradise Island, or have the opportunity to take a day trip then I highly recommend it!  I will be the first to admit, that when I first saw the Mayan Temple at Aquaventure, I was a bit disappointed.  The commercials on TV make it seem much taller and a lot cooler, but once I got past the disappointment, it was actually a lot of fun!  I decided that we made the trip there so I had to try and get on as many of the rides that I could - starting with the River Rapids.  Let me start with this,  these are in no way a "lazy" river, in fact our family actually call this the "not so lazy" river!  It was a blast and the boys loved every minute of it, until the last day when they decided Braxton was all of a sudden "too small" to be on it.  Unfortunately on the last day the path from the River Rapids to the Tube Slides was closed, and we decided to just skip the long walk up to them.  I also took a ride down all three of the Mayan Temple slides; Joshua and I raced down the Challenger Slides & rode the Serpent Slide together.  The Serpent Slide was awesome because we could see all of the Sharks in the Lagoon of the Mayan Temple.  Lastly, you know I couldn't leave Atlantis without doing the famous Leap of Faith.  This slide is known for its 60ft nearly vertical drop down a clear acrylic tunnel into the Mayan Temple's Shark filled Lagoon!  My biggest suggestion on this is to KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN!  I closed mine because I didn't want to get water in them and I feel like I missed out on most of the experience, but either way it was an awesome experience!  If you have kids, they will definitely enjoy Splashers!  It is a Mayan Temple themed kids pool and water playground featuring three tube slides, a side-by-side slide, cargo nets and rope bridges for climbing, water cannons, and water fountains!  The boys played here for hours at a time and didn't want to leave.  I highly recommend bringing sandals for yourself and water shoes for your kiddos, the ground at Aquaventure gets VERY hot!



One of many beach days.

Playing in the high tide and getting swept away with the waves.

Collecting sea shells at the beach during high tide.
ENJOYED MANY BEACH DAYS
It sure is hard to skip out on a relaxing day at the beach, which is why we spent multiple days at the beach right outside of our hotel!  It was a great little spot to relax on the beach, make sand castles, hunt for sea shells, explore the rocks (which you technically aren't supposed to do, oops!) and snorkel!  I highly recommend taking at least one of your days in The Bahamas, and just laying out on the beach and enjoying the ocean! 



Swimming in this fun little spot Josh, his sister & I found while exploring around the Beach!

THINGS I WISH WE WOULD HAVE DONE

VISITED THE PINK SAND BEACH
Pink Sand Beach is located on Harbor Island and is considered on of the best beaches in The Bahamas Islands.  This beach is ACTUALLY pink due to microscopic coal insects, known as Foraminifera, that have a bright pink or red shell full of holes. They live on the underside of reefs, on the sea floors, beneath rocks and in caves. After the insect dies, waves crush the bodies and washes the remains ashore and mixes it in with the sand and bits of coral, making the color of the sand pink!  They say that the sand is always cool, so you can walk about freely with bare feet.

SNORKLED OVER THE SUNKEN PLANE AT NORMAN'S CAY
Unfortunately the currant was too strong, so we were unable to actually snorkel over the Sunken Plane, but we were able to drive by it.  I'm not 100% sure on when the best time would be to be able to snorkel over it, but its definitely worth looking into while on your vacation to The Bahamas.

VISITED RACHEL'S BUBBLE BATH IN COMPASS CAY
Due to lack of time, we were unable to make a swing through Rachel's Bubble Bath while we were in Compass Cay.   Rachel's Bubble Bath is a lagoon on the north end of the Island.  It borders Conch Cut, an “inlet” from Exuma Sound, and the southern boundary of the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. The lagoon is fed by water from the Sound breaking over a notch in the lava rocks, which often causes froth to form on the surface, hence, “Bubble Bath.  I actually saw this on a video from The Bucket List Family and knew it was something not only myself, but the boys love!  If we ever make it back to The Bahamas, this is one of the places I would like to go!



The boys enjoying the last Sunset in The Bahamas.


SUGGESTIONS FROM ONE TRAVELER TO ANOTHER
BE PREPARED TO SPEND A LOT OF MONEY
Unfortunately nobody warned us about how expensive the Bahamas can get!  We spent quite a bit more than we originally had planned to due to the high cost of food and beverages.  We flew via Delta to the Bahamas and spent $5,500 on plane tickets alone, this was for 5 people and was in First Class.  We could have saved roughly $350/ticket by riding in Main Cabin, but figured it was worth the extra money for Premium Boarding & by passing the line at Security via the Sky Priority Line!  Also be careful what days/times you fly, depending on the flight you take the prices can jump around up to $1,500 more!  On our hotel room, we spent $10,320 for 7 nights.  Again, this is something that you should check different dates, because the price does vary depending on the season!  The price of our hotel room did not include any food or additional activities aside from entrance into Aquaventure and The Reef Pool.  We opted to skip a dining plan, and instead visited a grocery store in Nassau to pick up some food to cook while we were there.  In the end this probably didn't save us all that much money as you have to charter a Taxi and they charge $1/minute you are in the grocery store.  The food at the hotel is very expensive though, so I am glad we didn't eat at the hotel restaurants every night.  Between the grocery store and eating at the hotel, we spent an additional roughly $3,000.

BRING SPF AND ALOE
I opted to packing my own SPF and Aloe, which I am thankful that I did!  The price of SPF and Aloe at our hotel was nearly double what I paid for it at Target in Minnesota!  We ran low on SPF and Aloe about half way through our trip, so we had to purchase more.  I underestimated how much we would actually need, but after our Excursion, we needed all of the Aloe we could get!  We were all burnt to a crisp in one way or another, and spent the entire next day hiding out in our hotel room.  Don't make the same rookie mistake that we did, make sure you are reapplying sunscreen and have Aloe handy!

DON'T VISIT DURING PEAK SEASON
Peak Season in The Bahamas is Mid-December to Mid-April.  This is the time when resort prices will be the highest and you can expect lots of other travelers.  We visited during late May/early June and still experienced high resort prices.  Writing this blog now in mid-June, the prices of the room we stayed in are closer to $550/night instead of the $1000/night that we paid.  Temperatures in The Bahamas are great year round, but between June 1st and November 30th it is considered "Rainy Season" and Hurricanes may be a factor to consider.

We had such an amazing time at Paradise Island in The Bahamas.  If we were to ever go back, I would definitely prefer we stay at one of the Exuma Cay Islands!  Atlantis was a great experience and we had a lot of fun, but I feel like it was a very touristy spot and I would like to get more of a true, island experience.  I recommend taking a trip to The Bahamas at some point in your life, because it is truly an amazing experience and such a beautiful place.  Stay tuned for upcoming videos from our trip on my Youtube Channel!

BAHAMAS VLOG - DAY 1, 2 & 3


The boys were not ready to come home.  Kane goes, "Daddy, I want to stay FOREVER!"
Have you ever been to The Bahamas?  
Where did you stay and what was your favorite part? 





EMAIL:: jordangahlerbusiness@gmail.com
SNAPCHAT:: jordanrenie



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Monday, March 19, 2018

BRIDESMAID PROPOSAL BOXES





After getting engaged, one of the first things I started thinking about planning wise, was how to ask my bridesmaids to be apart of the big day!  I had always liked the idea of doing a Bridesmaid Box, but wasn't huge on the different pre-made ones I had seen around on the internet.  I decided to put together my own boxes based on inspiration from Pinterest! 



SAMANTHA'S MAID OF HONOR BOX :


LINA'S BRIDESMAID BOX : 


EMILY'S BRIDESMAID BOX : 


KATE'S BRIDESMAID BOX :




ITEMS:

Granite Rose Custom Gift Boxes 

I chose these boxes from WhiteConfettiBox because they are the perfect size and the design instantly caught my eye!  This company has a variety of other designs as well.  The boxes are a 9" x 4" White Gloss Round Hat Box with a Custom 8" x 8" Label on the lid!  They can be filled with 2oz of White Crinkle Paper.  I removed about half of the fill from each box to get all of my items to fit best!  The box is $13 unfilled or $14 filled.


Granite Rose Custom Maid of Honor/Bridesmaid Card 

I decided on these cards from WhiteConfettiBox because they matched the box that I chose!  They are printed on one side leaving a blank back to include a little note if you'd like. (I definitely did)  There are a few different options as far as wording goes - "Will you be my..." or "Thank you for..."  & you can choose a white, pink or gold envelope!  These cards are $4.50.


Gold Act Surprised Maid of Honor Proposal Card

I picked out this card from BubblyAndBash in addition to the matching Maid of Honor Card, because I knew that Sam would see the Maid of Honor Position coming!  She has been helping me with all things wedding related since the beginning - including putting together the Bridesmaid Boxes!  This card is available in Gold, Rose Gold & Silver and can be made for a Bridesmaid, Maid of Honor, Matron of Honor, Jr. Bridesmaid, Bridesman, Man of Honor or just left blank!  It was $3.75 and includes an envelope of many different color choices!


Glitter Champagne Bottles DIY

I personally made these glitter champagne bottles using Mini Champagne Bottles from the liquor store (Cooks Brute that come in a 4 pack for $6.99), Mod Podge Gloss (8oz for $4.47), Champagne Extra Fine Glitter (4oz for $9.52), Blush Extra Fine Glitter (4oz for $9.52), Gold Fine Glitter (2oz for $3.99) & a 1" Foam Brush (4 pack for $3.00).  

INSTRUCTIONS
- I started from the bottom and worked my way up the bottle - I brushed on a decent amount of Mod Podge in an uneven pattern.  If you'd like to have straight lines of glitter that is also easily achievable but I was going for a more blended look.  
- Next, over a box, I sprinkled the Blush glitter onto the Mod Podge and set it aside to dry.  
- 5 to 10 minutes later I repeated the same steps but with the Gold Glitter.  
- Another 5 to 10 minutes later I once again repeated the steps with the Champagne Glitter.  
- Let them dry overnight.  I would recommend doing some type of sealer over the top, because mine definitely shed glitter!


Heart Shaped Rose Bathbomb

 I chose this bath bomb from Lush because I am Bath Bomb Obsessed!  Who doesn't like to just relax in the tub with an amazing smelling bath bomb?  Unfortunately this one is no longer in stock on their website, but I did find a Pink Heart Shaped Rose Bathbomb instead of a White one, It is $6.95.  I also found a Rose Petal Steamer Tab that is $2.95


Maid of Honor / Bridesmaid Date Stemless Wine Glass DIY

My friend Sam actually helped me put together these Stemless Wine Glasses using her Circuit!  We used 15oz Stemless Wine Glasses (4 for $12.97), Gold Vinyl (10 12"x12" Sheets for $12.99) & then stuffed them with Soft Pink Tissue Paper (8 Sheets for $1.25).


Blush/White & Gold/White Striped Paper Straws

I had absolutely no reason behind choosing these straws other than that I thought they were cute!  The Blush/White Striped Paper Straws (25 Pack for $1.00) and Gold/White Striped Paper Straws (25 Pack for $1.00) looked perfect in the box!


Gold Knot Ring & Rose Quartz Heart

I chose this Gold Knot Ring because I thought they were gorgeous!  They are dainty, simple and a huge hit with my Bridesmaids!  They were $24.95 and are also perfect for when Joshua & I "Tie The Knot".  I chose the Rose Quartz Heart because it is thought to encourage unconditional love and restore trust and harmony in relationships.  It is thought to purify and open the heart to all levels to promote love, self-love, friendship, deep inner healing and feelings of peace.  I wanted all of my Bridesmaids to know how much they are loved.  These hearts were $3.33 each.










EMAIL:: jordangahlerbusiness@gmail.com
SNAPCHAT:: jordanrenie











 





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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

THE POWER OF POSITIVITY


Have you ever gotten into a slump?  Have you ever let one bad day turn your entire week negatively?  Maybe that week turned into a month, or maybe that month turned into a year.  We've all been there, it happens.  So maybe 2017 wasn’t your year - and that’s ok.  I’m not here to tell you that you’ll never have a bad day. It’s going to happen, bad days are inevitable. What I am here to tell you is that it’s ok to have a bad day, as long as you make sure not to let it impact you in the long haul.


Why am I telling you this?  Because, I have a bad habit of getting into slumps.  I have a bad habit of letting one or two bad days impact my month.  Sometimes I even let that rough month turn into a couple of months.  I end up losing focus on the things I love ; working out, eating healthy, appointments, working, writing, etc.  I personally feel like when I stopped focusing on the things I love, that it just pushed me further and further into that slump.

Over the course of the last six months or so, I lost focus on the things that I enjoyed doing.  I quit working out, I quit eating healthy options, I neglected my planner, I put my business on the back burner and I quit blogging.  I told myself that it could wait, that I could pick it back up tomorrow or that I just needed a day to relax.  I let that one day turn into a week, that week turn into a month and ultimately that month went flying by and it had been half of a year.  I quit doing the things that I enjoyed and through that lost myself.  I regained that 15 pounds I lost and then some.  I let all of the hard work I put into my business go and I'm right back to square one.  I left my planner untouched from the beginning of November until just last night, January 2nd.  I let go of myself.

Now, the first thing I will tell you is that changing your mindset to get out of that slump isn't easy.  Making the decision to stick in that slump is easy, getting out of it is a lot of work.  You have to want to get back on track, and you have to force yourself there.  For the last couple moths I have been full of excuses.  "Just after I get done planning and celebrating Braxton's birthday."  "Lets just get through Thanksgiving, I'll get back to it December 1st."  "Ok, January 1st is my day, new year new me."  Guess what.  None of it mattered.  January 1st flew by and here we are, just a few days later.  I didn't come into 2018 with a plan to change, I didn't set a New Years resolution and I surely didn't set any goals.  I didn't have the desire to.  

I woke up today, January 3rd, and I just felt different.  I don't know what it was, but I woke up in a good mood and I felt motivated.  On December 30th, I activated a new gym membership.  I decided to go with a gym that a few of my friends go to, in hopes that it would get me back on track by going to different classes with them.  I wrote my first real blog, not just photos with some quick words, on January 1st.  I hadn't written a true heart felt blog like that since 11/26/16.  I would write some fun blogs, but nothing that required me to sit down and really think, to get all of my feelings out there.  I think getting behind the keyboard again really inspired me to get back to doing the things I love, the things that drive me.  Last night, January 2nd, I opened my planner again and planned out my week. I filled it with fun stickers, little inspiring notes and a to-do list of things that I wanted to get done.  It wasn't until I woke up this morning that I truly felt I was getting back on track.  These few small steps towards getting what I loved to do back into my life weren't a big enough impact on their own.  I think that the combination of all of them is what put my drive and motivation back into my life.  I woke up today, and I started Thriving once again.  Something I hadn't done often or consistently over that last couple months.  I reached for my products just like I had every day before I got off track - without hesitation and without even thinking about it.

The biggest change in your life needs to be in your mindset.  The two lines that used to ALWAYS come out of my mouth were "Positive mindset = Positive outcomes" and "Rome wasn't built in a day."  You can ask anyone of my friends, and I GUARANTEE that they will agree with this.  These are two phrases I have lived by over the last two and a half years.  You can't expect change overnight, it is something you will need to work at just a little bit each and every day.  If you sit around and think about all the negative things in your life, then that doesn't leave room for the positives.  If you only think about the negatives, then you will in turn continue bringing negative vibes into your life.  If you leave out the negatives and only focus on the positives in your life, it opens the doors for more positivity to come flowing into your life.  Surround yourself with happy, positive people - not the Negative Nelly's of the world.  Wake up every day and write a small list of 
"I AM's."  I AM strong.  I AM determined to succeed.  I AM happy.  I AM positive.  I AM beautiful.  Remind yourself about the things you love about yourself, eventually its going to become second nature to you.  Make a vision board, and fill it with goals, things you want to accomplish over the next year.  Put that vision board somewhere you will see it every day, to remember to stay focused on those goals.

I know that this message might not be for everyone, but I truly hope that at least one person reading this feels inspired to take back control of their life.  I hope that one person reading this feels a little spark within them that reignites their passion and drive towards success and happiness.  If this blog helps just one person reading this, I will feel complete and like my job has been done.

EMAIL:: jordangahlerbusiness@gmail.com
SNAPCHAT:: jordanrenie

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