Q2 2022 Subscriber Spotlight – Travel the World Club

I’m very pleased to announce that the latest Subscriber Spotlight is Barry Till from Travel the World Club

This is the perfect blog for all of us travel fans out there.  He has a life mission of visiting every single country in the world – almost 200!  And with 72 countries already under his belt, he’s well on his way to achieving that goal!  This blog is where you can go to check his progress and get all the details (including tons of photographs!) on the places he’s already visited.

Barry Till from “Travel the World Club”

And… as a travel fan myself, I’m extremely jealous that he’s actually made the leap to quit his job for awhile so he could travel full-time.  This is actually my dream!  So I find Travel the World Club to be an inspirational blog for me.  Maybe one day I’ll be able to take the plunge and travel full-time too!  If Barry can do it, any of us can too, right?

One thing that sets him apart from other travel blogs out there, is the amount of information he shares regarding the local transportation situation in each place. For example, while most other travel bloggers focus on WHAT to do, he additionally focuses on HOW TO GET AROUND.  This is such a big deal when you are visiting somewhere for the first time!  Don’t miss out on all his advice about the local commute – such as local trains, boats, tuk-tuks, metros, self-driving, etc.  This could make the difference between a bust or a successful trip for you!

I’m also very impressed with how interactive his blog is.  There is a color-coded map that shows you visually where he’s already been, and tabs broken-down by continent so you can drill-down specifically to the area you are most interested in.

Some of his travels that have made me the most envious because I’m dying to go there one day, would be his visits to Egypt, Jordan, Iceland, Japan, and Vietnam.

Barry and Travel the World Club does have social media accounts too, so if you enjoy those other platforms you can find him below:

Twitter: @TrvTheWorldClub 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ttworldclub

So definitely check-out Barry and his travels on Travel the World Club.  It’s an entertaining blog even when you have no travel plans, but when you do have upcoming travel plans to prepare for, you’ll want to get some scoop here ahead-of-time. Go ahead and follow/subscribe/bookmark while you are at it too, so you’ll be able to easily refer back whenever you have a trip to plan.


P.S. If you are unfamiliar with my Subscriber Spotlight, it is a quarterly drawing of my email subscribers where the lucky winner will get a free promotional post.  Barry is the lucky winner for this quarter.  The next drawing will occur at the beginning of July 2022 (just a few more weeks away!).  Don’t hesitate to subscribe below to be included in the next drawing!

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7 Red Flags of Toxic Coworkers

I’ve definitely had my run-in with toxic coworkers, especially during my few years in a toxic workplace. Thank goodness I’m out of there! Some of my past issues I’ve described in these posts: HR Is Not On Your Side. But some red flags to watch out for when interacting with your coworkers…

  1. They gossip, especially when the gossip is not normal chatter or part of casual conversation. Conversation can be considered gossip if the content is negative and/or unsubstantiated, and if the subject would be embarrassed by it. This definitely is a red flag because it shows that they don’t respect personal boundaries and it shows a willingness to engage and perpetuate conflict.
  2. They have close relationships with company managers and leaders outside of the office. This by itself isn’t a bad thing. But when combined with 1 or more of the other red flags described here, this could be the most dangerous. Because this is an indication that this coworker also has the time/access to influence the decision-makers in the company.
  3. They are unethical with company resources. Because if they will treat the company that employs them unethically, then they will also treat their coworkers similarly. It reveals their character. Some things that my toxic coworker would do is that he would lie on his expense reports to receive more reimbursement than he spent. For example, he would lie and say that he was treating customers out to a nice dinner, in order to get reimbursed for a very expensive dinner that was beyond his per diem. So sometimes he would take a girl on an expensive dinner date (to fake impress her), then lie on his expense report that he was with a few customers instead in order to get paid back by the company for it.
  4. Their job performance is sub-par. One thing I’ve noticed is that high-performers are usually busy with performing their jobs well, and less busy with anything else in the workplace. So those workers that spend the majority of their time with toxic behaviors are usually behind the ball when it comes to high quality work – just, their time and attention hasn’t been on it.
  5. They disguise their mean-spiritedness with jokes and pranks. “I was only joking!” is their defense for crossing lines and being hurtful or bullying. When I was in the midst of being harassed at work, my harasser left this bear in my desk drawer. I knew exactly who did it and that the intent was to disturb me. The intent was also to access the contents of my desk, which was a violation. They never faced consequences for it because they claimed it was a joke.
Unwelcome Surprises at the Office
  1. They are negative and never celebrate other’s successes. These type of individuals only feel better about themselves when they can put someone else down. And if you are the target of their put-downs, it can be relentless. Their self-confidence feeds off it.
  2. They have a clique at work that follows their lead. And they may leverage this clique against you or even tease you with being a member by including you at first, only to punish you with exclusion later. This punishment will evolve into isolation and even mobbing later.

So these are the 7 red flags I personally experienced when I was still in a toxic workplace. Did any of you experience something like this? I’m sorry if so, because I know it feels terrible. How did it differ and what was similar?

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10 Tips to Overcome Fear of Flying

Fear of Flying

Do any of you experience a fear of flying? Believe it or not, but I’m so scared of flying and I’ve had to fly ALOT! I had started chatting with another mom a few days ago at my daughter’s school and I discovered that she was also scared.

She was telling me that she has a work-trip to Europe coming up and she was so scared of it that she had made a doctors appt to get some medication.

Shoot, I know exactly how she feels and I gave her all the advice I could. I figured I should share this advice with all of my friends here too, just in case it can be helpful.

1) Do not drink alcohol. I tried this several times before when I was scared of a flight and it only made my fear worse. It made me more anxious and put my thoughts in a MORE negative space.

2) Sit as close to the wings as possible. This spot on the plane will experience less turbulence. You’ll still feel it, but it will be noticeably less than the other parts of the plane.

3) When booking, pay attention to the route. Even if it is more expensive or the timings are inconvenient, try to book the direct flights. If direct cannot work for you, then check for the shortest routes possible so you spend less time in the air.

4) Also while booking, pay attention to the model aircraft. The larger aircraft usually provide smoother rides, so check the specific aircraft before you book your flight. Planes with 3 seats on each side of the aisle (or even larger, for international) will suite you best.

5) Watch the flight attendants. If you hit a rough patch during the flight – maybe some nerve-wracking turbulence – take a look at the flight attendants. Most of the time, you will see them carrying-on like normal, which is an indication that they are not worried and you should not be either. This can be reassuring when there is a fear of flying.

6) Distract yourself. This is the tip that works best for me. If you can focus on a book or a game or some writing that will take your mind off the actual flight, that should help you. I play Candy Crush while I fly and I’m able to obsess on it well enough that my flights are much more comfortable than they’d be without the game.

7) Educate yourself. Sometimes fear of flying stems from a fear of the unknown – from not understanding the science behind it. Start learning about the mechanics of flight, and the safety procedures involved, and the statistics of how safe air travel is. Such facts might help override some of the fear.

8) Take flying lessons. Sometimes fear of flying stems from the lack of control – your life is literally in someone else’s hands. Learning how to fly will help you put yourself in the pilot’s shoes, and see/feel things from their perspective – which is a perspective of control.

9) Fly with a child or someone even more scared of flying than you are. If you are accompanied by someone that needs you to stay calm enough to be able to comfort THEM, then you should be able to rise to the occasion. I’ve noticed this when I fly with my own daughter. I do not, under any circumstance, want her to see me scared. So I literally fake it until I make it. And it works.

10) Do it. Despite your fear, just do it. Continued exposure to this fear, and well as successfully getting through it, should help reinforce to you that flying is ok. Or at least, that it is tolerable.

So those were the tips I shared with the mom I was chatting with. I hope she does well on her upcoming flight. Do you all have a fear of flying? What do you do to get through it?

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More Life Updates

Hi everyone!

My apologies for my posts being so choppy! I’m a bit unorganized these days. I honestly THRIVE on consistency and that has not been my life lately. But, I figured I’d update everyone on what’s been going on…

  1. Summer trip to Guyana is on hold! Remember my previous post where I said that my dad was taking us to Kaieteur Falls in the Amazon rainforest, as one of his bucket list items. Well, it’s been postponed since it is the rainy season there until August and they won’t fly visitors to the falls in the rain. And I’m totally ok with that. So we’re going to try to schedule this for fall break or spring break when it is more likely to be clear for flying! 🙂
  2. I know I complain about my corporate job here ALOT. When I post about it at all, it’s usually a complaint or my fantasy about leaving it. Well… I do have a positive to share. The health insurance has been great! My daughter has probably had 80+ doctor visits since last June, plus a surgery, plus a bunch of tests, and plus an ER visit. And my company-provided health insurance has taken care of practically all of it. I can’t believe how good it’s been. Especially since I know that the majority of people don’t have such a positive experience when it comes to health insurance. So I am extremely appreciative and I am very thankful.

    I probably won’t be fantasizing anymore about leaving my job anytime soon. I need to embrace it right now. And hang on to it for as long as I can.
  3. My daughter is still dizzy. She’s been dizzy without relief or a break from it since March. All her local specialists have practically given up at this point. They don’t have anything else for us to try. So I’ve been reaching out to specialists nationally to help us. The best lead I have, is that my daughter probably has a condition known as dysautonomia. So I’ve been reaching out to those specialists specifically. My first hurdle is that most of them deal with adults only – no children. So now it’s even more impossible to find someone to help.

The Mayo Clinic has pediatric specialists for this, and I’ve been trying to get her an appointment there, but they won’t book us. They say that they are completely booked for the next 12 weeks, and they don’t book anything out beyond that, and they don’t have a waitlist. They basically told me to call back everyday in case there is a cancellation.

University of Texas has pediatric specialists for this, and their soonest availability is SEPTEMBER. Of course I booked September, but seriously! It is NOT ok for my daughter to just stay dizzy until September. Not acceptable. Like, why is the system setup to do this to people who are suffering?!

I also found professional medical research online about this condition. And holy cow, this is the best thing I’ve found. It is very detailed with case studies, possible treatments and their effectiveness, possible root causes, etc. Everything that I can do that doesn’t require a prescription (and there are several prescriptions unfortunately), I’m going to try at home. I’m going to be her doctor. Lol, I’m doctor Pepper. (An old joke now I know, but still worth the placement).

There was one medical research paper I found with the case study of an 11 year old girl and the similarities to my daughter are pretty darn close. I reached out to that doctor’s University and we have a phone appointment with that doctor on FRIDAY!!! He’s out of state, so he wanted to talk to us over the phone first before we make a trip there. I’m so nervous about this phone call. I don’t want to be disappointed even more than I’ve already been.

So, that’s all my news everyone! I guess if there’s a morale to this story, it’s to be persistent. I probably experienced 500 dead leads before I got to this single good one. At least, I hope it’s a good one. It’s really the only hope I have right now.

In Other Life News…

Hi everyone! I know that I’ve been complaining alot about health issues lately, but this specific post will have nothing to do about that!

I made some progress on my $1000 Unclutter Challenge that I previously posted about. I’ve been uncluttering my house like crazy and I had a garage sale last weekend and I made $220! Not bad. I still have a long way to go to complete this challenge successfully, and I’m running out of months! But I’m still working on it.

I am a bit upset though. The purpose of the garage sale was to get rid of stuff. Unfortunately, while I was at home with my garage sale, my husband and daughter went out and visited other peoples’ garage sales. My town actually hosts an annual large-scale garage sale so there were a bunch of households participating on the same day. And of course, they came home with $75 worth of other people’s stuff and brought it all into my home. *sigh* I can’t win.

Anyhow, I did get the husband to agree to get rid of the treadmill that doesn’t work! Woo! And… I found someone that wants it, knowing full-well that it doesn’t work but they want to try to fix it up. They’ll get it for free, since it’s unknown if it will actually work again. So it won’t count as $$$ towards my challenge, BUT, I’m still happy about it because it’s leaving my house!

My only problem is that the treadmill is upstairs and it’s stupid-heavy, and our staircase is a weird angle and nobody really knows how to move the treadmill downstairs so it can be picked-up. We’ve been stumped by this for about 2 weeks now. I might not be able to get rid of it after all. 🙁

So anyway, that’s my other news for right now. Too bad I don’t have anything more interesting to share with you. What have you all been up to? 🙂

Health Updates

So my daughter’s current dizzy spell episode has been ongoing since March 28. That’s an terribly long time to be dizzy.

I asked her yesterday how she was feeling, and she replied “I feel normal”.

I got my hopes up that she was finally feeling better and I excitedly asked “Yay, so you’re no longer dizzy?!”

Her response: “My normal IS dizzy.”


That just broke my heart. It’s not right. She’s just a kid.

I don’t know what to do. She’s been powering-through pretty well. She’s been going to school and playing with friends occasionally and even had her birthday party. So she’s persevering ok. But I still don’t want her suffering with no relief.

I’ve taken her to her cardiologist and her ENT in the last few weeks and they don’t have anything new for us to try anymore for relief. And then I can’t even get a phone call back from her neurologist, so I guess I’m hunting around for a new neurologist now too.

I feel very let-down by the doctors we’ve tried. And I’m not saying this against any person specifically, because they’ve all been very nice to us and I believe they care personally. But I think the medical establishment is to blame with how they’ve setup their practices and systems.

I feel like the system only takes care of people that need a prescription or an expensive test. Anything that involves more investigative care, falls out of scope and they don’t have the time for that.

My daughter falls outside of that scope and I’m now finding it impossible to find someone to help her. She needs an investigative team of doctors. But the specialists don’t talk to each other! I have to tell her cardiologist what the ENT and neurologist have told me. I have to tell her ENT what her cardiologist and neurologist have told me. I have to tell her neurologist what her ENT and cardiologist have told me.

This system is not working. It is failing my daughter. I need to find her real help.

I feel like I am her doctor now. Doctor Pepper. And Google and Facebook groups for people suffering from dizziness is my medical degree. I’m going to fix this myself. For her.

In good news, her foot is finally feeling better now that she’s been walking and playing around without any support and the pain is very minimal. I’m scared to say that her surgery was a success because I don’t want to jinx anything but I have hope now that’s the case! So we’re going to try to ramp up her physical activity.

Good old fashioned exercise is definitely at the top of my personal treatment plan for her. We’ll give it a try.

Wish us luck!

Fun Glow in the Dark Party for Kids

So my daughter had her glow in the dark party a couple weekends ago!

It went off just fine. She had 9 friends show up, and as far as I could tell, everyone had a good time. There was a lot of screaming, but no tears so I guess that’s a positive!

We spent a ton of time decorating for it and I think it turned out very nicely! The most difficult thing was clearing out an entire ROOM for this. We had to move a couple couches and a TV stand and a TV etc… and then we had to move everything back afterwards.

Glow in the Dark Party / Image Source: Pepper V.
Glow in the Dark Party / Image Source: Pepper V.

We also prepared all the gift bags too, which were basically light-up tumblers stuffed with treats.

But anyway, I just wanted to let you all know that the party turned out great!

I’m sorry I was awol this past week but I was cleaning up afterwards (and there was ALOT to cleanup). I’m starting this week back to my normal routine so I’m looking forward to getting caught up here. I miss you all!

Glow in the Dark Party Decorations – Shopping Links

[Disclosure: the following links are affiliate links where I may earn a commission on any resulting purchase, at no additional cost to you.]

Glow in the Dark Party Gift Bags – Shopping Links

[Disclosure: the following links are affiliate links where I may earn a commission on any resulting purchase, at no additional cost to you.]

So I hope this all gives you good ideas and some inspirations for hosting your own party! I hope everyone has a great time! 🙂

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