Women at work: the good, the bad, and the really bad.

“Queen Bees”, “Mean girls”, the Mentor and the Great Workplace Overlook.

I should preface this post with what I say here might not be popular with you. It is not on trend. It might trigger you, it might affirm your experience(s), it might enrage you, it might inspire you. Why am I writing this? This is not an article to bash others. I hope it might help others. But mostly I am writing to close a chapter (hopefully) on what has been a very painful learning experience and to move forward with nothing but hope and joy. A huge part of how I have overcome some of this pain inflicted upon me was by forgiving others and forcing myself to wish others well. And also learning, learning, learning, and swearing I will never be mean, passive aggressive, jealous, selfish, and cut throat to other women in the workplace. This piece is a form of therapy for me.

Women Harassing Women

So what am I talking about here? I am talking about women who deliberately or subconsciously are mean to other women in the workplace. This can be obvious- like saying something mean to a woman, “you know when you wear that shirt men are only looking at your boobs”, or throwing a woman under the bus, for example, accusing a woman of having an affair with the boss to get her job. It can be giving a woman work over the weekend because you had to do it so she needs to do it. It can be giving a woman twice the amount of work as her male counterpart because he just can’t multi-task like she does.


I don’t want to put a label on women who are mean to other women in the workplace. People make choices. Life is dynamic. If you have been mean, you can stop, or you can try. You don’t have to fill that role. I am sure I am not perfect or guilt free here. I have made plenty of mistakes. But I can change, I strive to change, and I hope you read this and strive for change too.

A few years ago I was about to give a talk at a Tile IX conference but it was right smack in the beginning of the Me Too movement. So women harassing women, not sexually, just wasn’t on the agenda. But it happens. More than we talk about. More than we deal with. More than organizations and businesses write into policy, and definitely more than places of work address. But we need to talk about it. We need to address this problem.

Have you heard of these stories? Women Firing For Being Too Attractive Upheld. Lawsuit of the Day: Woman Claims She Was Fired for Being Too Attractive. How many of you women hear or have heard about women suing for being discriminated against for being attractive and then immediately judged the woman, or felt no sympathy for the woman, or thought, well that’s rare? Ask yourself why this is.

When we talk about gender based harassment, we generally are referring to men who harass women. Or when a person is discriminated against because of their gender by someone who is not of the same sex. I am going to give you examples because I am sure about 90% of women reading this will think this does not apply to them:

  1. A woman spreads a rumor about another woman in the workplace. I personally feel this is worse among women in the workplace then men. Women will create rumors and perpetuate gossip when they are insecure, threatened, and/or trying to manipulate a situation.

2. Age-ism. It isn’t all happening to the older women. Younger women or younger looking women are easy targets for older women (so are unmarried women but I digress). There is a “right of passage” mentality for younger women by older women. Rare (luckily) have I met a man in the workplace and then he acted surprised that I had an idea, or knowledge, or professional experience. However, the number of times a woman has commented on or resented me because I “didn’t know my place”, knew something they didn’t (heaven forbid), or assumed because I looked young or was young, I couldn’t contribute in a meaningful way, is way too many to count.

3. Looks. You are damned if you do or damned if you don’t. My friend jokes that I dress like a librarian. I do dress like a librarian but not so women won’t use my outfits against me like a weapon (even though apparently the librarian look can be dangerous- one time someone accused my boss of making me wear only skirts). I guess I generally like the librarian look. But some women feel they have to dress very conservative or else they will be at minimum, judged by other women. They shouldn’t have to. Do men scrutinize other men in the workplace as bad a women do? Does your female boss get away with commenting on when you do or don’t wear makeup in Zoom meetings? Let a man try that and see what happens. But women get away with it all the time. Why? How about when a female co-worker calls a male client who is nice to you your boyfriend? Do guys get this?

Yes, I am old enough to know this movie.

4. A woman gives the new girl a ton of work or busy work. The stuff she should do or is pointless but is now passing the buck. Why not? She had to do it. Why shouldn’t the new girl? Everyone has to go through it. Except, the guys aren’t going through this. It’s just the women.

5. The woman who knows what could make another woman’s work easier. Knowledge that can help the other woman and benefit the team. But no one helped her. So why should she help her female co-worker? How many times has someone complimented your outfit, dish, etc. and you told her where you got it? How to make it? If you are the kind of woman who doesn’t share, I don’t want to be your friend.

6. She is trying to break that glass ceiling. She has worked hard and struggled in this dog eats dog world. She doesn’t care how she gets there. She doesn’t care who she hurts. As long as she comes up on top. That new amazing woman in the workplace is a “triple threat”.

7. She walks around eyeballing skirt lengths and gossipy around the coffee pot. Have you seen her heels? This is an office, not a bar. She is just trying to bag the boss.

8. “He is only talking to you because he thinks you are cute”… She tries to devalue what you offer as a professional or an intelligent human being.

9. One upper. Yeah, that’s great but one time…..

10. Excluding a woman from lunches. Ganging up on a woman so she feels isolated and alone from others in the workplace. It’s like high school but in the work place.

Have you done this? Have you experienced this? If so we are talking about harassment. It is inappropriate, unprofessional, and damaging.

Non-Sexual Harassment Defined?

According to Sidney L. Gold & Associates, non-sexual harassment is, “prohibited conduct under Title VII of the federal 1964 Civil Rights Act. What constitutes non-sexual harassment are words, conduct, or actions that relate to race; age, over 40 years of age; gender; skin color; disability; ethnicity; and national origin.

These are their examples of non-sexual harassment in the workplace:

  • Racist comments, jokes, nicknames.
  • Derisive remarks about another’s religious beliefs or lack of them.
  • Inappropriate statement about another’s skin color or ethnicity.
  • Remarks or mocking about a co-worker’s disability.
  • Offensive statements, verbal or written, about ethnic, racial, or religious stereotypes.
  • Derogatory comments another’s age, especially an older person.

But where is the part about when a person is harassed based on their sex?

Generally, if this happens to a woman in the workplace, or anyone in the workplace, they are told to report the incident to human resources. Whether a company has a policy or not, the company then makes a choice to do something about it. My experience is, unfortunately, if it does not make waves for them, then they dismiss it. The individual has the opportunity to report the incident to the EEOC. But guess what, it is just that, a report. Unless a person has a ton of money to sue their employer, it just goes down the toilet.

So really it is up to the individual to stop this doing this, the manager or supervisor to intervene, and the employer to not only create a clear policy and process for dealing with non-sexual harassment, but also to enforce consequences for when a complaint is founded.

Why Does This Happen?

I would love for some psychologist to tell me there is a name for my theory that women who have been verbally, sexually, and/or physically abused can feel so low or unworthy than they also look for or see other women as unworthy and inferior, and treat them as such. Meanwhile, I will just say that an insecure woman is the most dangerous woman, in my humble opinion.

Also, women in the workplace are stereotyped. As much as women hate them, we sure do buy into them. How many screen writers have included the pretty secretary having an affair with the boss? Here is another famous stereotype of women in the workplace.

A lot of women evaluate other women based on their own experience or judge women by how they were judged and not by their work, competency or potential.

And what happens when we express our hurt or concern at these things? Maybe you were told by your Mom or your boss, well she is just jealous of you. Guess what? Their jealously should not be your problem. There is no room for it in the workplace.

BUT there is room for everyone. Every woman. At every age. At every level.

What Can Be Done

You have a choice. You can either lift that woman up, or you can TRY to bring that woman down. If you are a woman being brought down, I am so, so, so sorry. It is not right. It is not fair. It is not nice. I am not going to tell you to get out and go find another job. Or tough it out. You should not have to. And we can’t just snap our fingers and land into a better job. Some of us stay because we need the benefits, or we care for someone else, whatever the reason. A woman should not be treated this way, ESPECIALLY by another woman.

Organizations and companies need to stop tokenism and make authentic and meaningful changes in the workplace. BTW workplace climate surveys are useless if 1. people don’t feel safe to voice their concerns or 2. management does nothing with the findings.


Men Don’t Ignore It


A lot of times men dismiss woman on woman hostility and harassment in the workplace because they just see it as a lot of “woman drama”. Knowing about it and doing nothing to stop it can make you not only liable , but more importantly, it can negatively affect your environment and team.

Stop comparing women in your workplace to your past experiences or other women. Instead look for their value, their strengths, and not their weaknesses. Instead show them through constructive feedback opportunities for growth, and only when you see how it can benefit THEM and the TEAM. This IS NOT ABOUT YOU.

Don’t repeat the cycle. By making women go through some horrible past experience of your own only perpetuates the wrong. It does not improve the person, the situation, culture, or society.

Stop judging and putting value on women the way you were were taught and showed. You hate being judged by your appearance and not your intelligence? Then stop yourself when you about to do the same to another woman. Try to look at each woman as their own person, with their own experiences, good and bad, and work to make at least your interaction with her better.

You know what makes women stronger? Building them up. Being their mentor. Including and engaging them. Giving them that knowledge to make their journey easier. Because you know what happens when you do? A happy employee, harmony in the workplace, more getting done, and better work. The smallest meanness or kind gesture can be leave the deepest wound or greatest memory. I want to note there is a difference in a woman who is intentionally and deliberately sabotaging another for her own personal benefit, versus one that maybe just does not realize how her comments and actions make you feel. The former has no place at work and this woman needs to be reported immediately. In the latter situation, try to speak with this person or their supervisor where applicable as a first start. Hopefully, this is all it takes.

Finally, to all the women I have worked with, but especially my younger women, I hope I have made your work life a little better. If I have wronged you, I am sorry. Thank you for allowing me to this space to share and check out some more reading below on the subject.

Call Me ‘Queen Bee’ Recognizing Title VII liability for female-to-female, non-sexualized harassment resulting from the Queen Bee Syndrome By Emily C. Wilson

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1LbG-W7hjyLrVMldt-j8q7Vq7nCo_F0Gt/view?usp=sharingQueen Bees, Wannabees and Afraid to Bees: No More ‘Best Enemies’ for Women in Management? Sharon Mavin. Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University, Northumberland Building, Northumberland Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8ST, UK
Email: Sharon.mavin@northumbria.ac.uk

The queen bee phenomenon: Why women leaders distance themselves from junior women
Belle Derks, Colette Van Laar, Naomi Ellemers Utrecht University, the Netherlands, University of Leuven, Belgium. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1avacuLBTIzMPMy2v3_CNp0AuDeD5IGj4/view?usp=sharing

Top reasons for distracted driving-it’s not what you think.

And the top Distracted Driving Apps to help with it.

As some of you know, I am kinda big on driving safety. When I started my Master of Public Health my main focus was on sexual and reproductive health but the world was asking me to look at another public health issue- driving safety. Notice I didn’t say road safety. Getting involved in driving safety was a direct result of what I was witnessing every day in my neighborhood. And it wasn’t the roads, it wasn’t the weather, it wasn’t the school’s transportation policy, it was human behavior. Today I continue to research on what drives people to engage in risky, careless or dangerous driving behavior and the best, evidence-based practices to stop it.

Some quick facts to give you context. Florida is ranked number 2 in the United States for pedestrian fatalities according to the Governors Highway Safety Association Report for 2019

Doris Saves Lives (FL)- Poster Winner. FLHB91 Wireless in a School Zone

Florida holds 7 of the top 20 metro American cities with the highest fatalities for pedestrians. The Tampa Bay Area is 4th in the nation!

Smart Growth America recently published their latest Dangerous By Design Report and the results aren’t good. Pedestrian fatalities are up, by a lot. While this report focuses on road design to increase safety, distracted driving behavior is one problem we can’t design our way out of.


Did you know Florida passed a hands-free law?

So if you knew nothing about these statistics in Florida but live here, I am sure you have had at least one near crash incident as a pedestrian, cyclist and/or driver.

We are all guilty of it…

Bottom line. If you have a smart phone and/or an intelligent, smart vehicle loaded with a gigantic dashboard, you have probably engaged in distracted driving at least once. It’s very easy to judge the person who is texting on their phone and the reason you couldn’t get through the green light. But based on what I am hearing, the reasons for distracted driving may sound pretty well, reasonable and common to you.

  • I only answer my phone when my child or husband/wife/girlfriend/mother are calling me.
  • I look to see who is calling or texting, and if it’s not from someone important, than I don’t answer or text back.
  • I only use my phone for the navigation app.
  • I only use my phone to change the song on my playlist.
  • I only check my phone when I am at the light.

Whatever the reason, on average it takes a person 5 seconds to look at their device.

But 5 seconds doesn’t seem so bad, right? Try it. Close your eyes for 5 seconds while sitting at home or work (desk job) and imagine not looking at the road for those 5 seconds.

Now would you want the person behind you or at the intersection light doing that while they are driving? No.

So far in my research, what I am hearing is that people, in general:

  1. Don’t see looking at their phones as dangerous. They only perceive danger when they text back while driving.
  2. People don’t think talking on their phone while driving is dangerous. Even though cognitively multi-tasking reduces a person’s ability to concentrate on one specific task
  3. Most don’t perceive their in vehicle screens, calls and navigation systems as high risk distracted driving behavior
  4. Justify taking calls and texts when they are from close family members, partners and work (even though the majority of their calls or texts are from these same people)
  5. AND……………………………mostly are using their phones while driving for………………………………music. That’s right. Changing a song, changing a podcast, putting on music. etc.

And my research isn’t the only research that shows this. Parnell et al, (2020) also found that the top technologies that drivers interacted with and initiated were:

  1. music
  2. navigation
  3. calls
  4. texts

The top notifications they engaged with were:

  1. calls
  2. texts
  3. navigation

Parnell, K., Rand, J. & Plant, K. (2020). A diary of distracted driving behaviors. Transportation Research Part F., 74, 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1016/j/trf.2020.08.003

So what can you do?

There are a lot of things you can do. First, and foremost. You need to make a commitment to yourself. Checking our phones constantly is so embedded in our culture and engrained in our brains that this is no easy feat. So I am giving you some tips below.

“Hey Baby. if you love me, let me drive safely so I can get back to you sooner.”

  1. Tell your loved ones not to call you or text you while they know you are driving. If it’s an emergency, they need to call you three times in a row, otherwise it can wait. If they love you, they won’t want to endanger you, which is exactly what it does.

2. Offer to help when someone is driving. My child is my designated music changer. He is also my navigator. I am teaching him skills at the same time and staying safe. If you are in the car with a friend, offer to text for them, or look up directions. This is a lot easier than telling someone you are uncomfortable with them driving distracted but also let’s them know its not acceptable behavior to you.

3. Make a commitment to not use your cell phone while driving. This could be as simple as putting your purse in the trunk, your phone in the glove compartment, setting a playlist or podcast for the exact drive time of our journey, or setting your smart phone to Driving Focus. Using one of these apps or techniques below before you start the engine can potentially save your life and someone else’s and greatly reduced your susceptibility of being involved in a minor or serious vehicle crash.

4. Talk to people. Let your teenagers know that music, GPS and talking with all their friends in their car is just as dangerous as texting while driving. Tell your work that if you don’t pick up immediately it’s because you needed to pull over first. Ask your girlfriend not to get upset if you don’t text back immediately. Culture is hard to change but you could be the start of something that will start a rippling effect.

Keep reading below for smart phone applications that are recommended from various sites, but also I have started a list of features that can be used.

5 Driving Safe Apps according to Germania Insurance

  1. OneTap. Blocks calls and texts. Sends automatic message AND parents with teens can monitor the app with theirs.
  2. EverDrive. Rewards you and promotes friendly competition for the doing the right thing. Good app to share with friends to help with “social norming”.
  3. AT&T DriveMode. Above 15 mps it silences calls and texts. Not ideal if someone is actually going the speed in a school zone of 15 or less. Have to be a customer for the app to respond to incoming calls and texts. Good for parents of teenagers on an AT&T family plan.
  4. DriveMode. Different from the others. Helps the driver respond to a phone’s functions in less time by offering voice activated commands for navigation, texting, etc. as well as large buttons.
  5. Do Not Disturb Feature. This is one I have been using for a while. A lot of people do not know that there are ways to enable it, without missing important messages and calls, as well as a one-time setting change for just when you are driving. Of course, this isn’t much help when it comes to playlists and navigation systems on your phone while driving.

Here are others not mentioned in the above. ** means it was mentioned two or more times across multiple articles.

Farm Bureau Financial Services.

  • DriveMode**
  • EverDrive. This one is unique in that it also tracks braking, acceleration, speed, cornering and cell phone use. A little safe competition.
  • LifeSaver.** You can get weekly reports for employees and family members. Free. Android and ios.
  • TrueMotion Family.
  • TextDrive. Specific to all you Android users. Free.

American Safety Council

  • AT&T’s DriveMode**
  • Drive.Safe.ly**
  • Sprint’s Drive First
  • Sprint’s Safely Go
  • Text No More
  • Canary

Other mentions.

  • DriveSafel.ly.** Not free. Voice freehand.
  • Sprint’s Safely Go. Ability to lock app on a minor’s phone.
  • Text No More. Get free coupons and its free. Instead of automatically detecting when you are driving, you set driving time for blocking incoming calls and texts. If you have a hands free device, you can still receive incoming calls.
  • Canary**. This app will actually alert you if your teenager is texting while driving and preset speed limit.
  • DriveSafe**. Android. Emergency mode turns off blocking if call comes in 3 times in a row from the same person.
  • HUM. Helps you track the driver location, speed, acceleration and vehicle health.

Technology or featureWhere it can be usedCreator or ManufacturerHow to Use
CarPlayVehicleApplePhone apps and services are transferred to vehicle screen.
Do Not Disturb (Under Focus)iPhone; anytime it is engaged;Apple- iPhoneSilences alerts and notifications, has to be manually turned on/off, unless set during “Focus Time”
Driving (Under Focus)iPhone, With CarPlay, With Bluetooth, While drivingApple- iPhoneAutomatically silences call and notifications when phone senses driving, can set auto reply message to select people, no one, or all people, can select specific people whose calls and notifications are allowed while engaged, can be activated when CarPlay is engaged, manually, or when car Bluetooth is engaged.
Flight Mode/Airplane ModeiPhone Blocks calls and texts messages when engaged.
Siri Dictate iPhone  Voice activated, “Hey Siri” and she looks things up and answers back for you.
BluetoothHeadphones, Vehicle, Phone, Radio Wireless- pairs with the vehicle sound/stereo system can be used without screen- connects through a charger cable in the vehicle if the vehicle does not have wireless.
Ask Siri/ Siri DictateiPhoneiPhoneSettings (siri & Search)- “Hey Siri”, Announcing notifications

Am I missing a great app or suggestion to help yourself or another? Let me know in the comments! You could potentially save a life. And please share! Research is no good if it does not get into the hands of those who need it. Drive safe everyone!

10 Day California road trip cont…Lassen Volcanic National Park!

More and more people are heading out to explore America’s national parks because of being cooped up in the house with the COVID-19 pandemic, to reduce their exposure by being outside, to avoid crowds and tight spaces while traveling, and for a new found appreciation of the ability to explore! If any of these reasons sounds like a driver for your trip, you are in the right place! Road tripping is one of the more economical and COVID-19 safe ways to travel, but I have noticed in the past year, its also getting harder. I am picking up where I left off on the 10 Day California road trip with Lassen Volcanic park. North of Lake Tahoe and Yosemite, it is less visited but still amazing. We actually visited Lassen before South Lake Tahoe on our way south of the east side of California. Keep reading to see our budget friendly and not so early planning of trip of Yosemite, and more!

Day 4 (24th July): Drove to Lassen Volcanic National Park (4-5 hours from Eureka).

We traveled through the Shasta-Trinity National Forest (route 299) and stopped along the road for a stretch and breathtaking views of the river. Shasta is a beautiful area, that in parts, has been badly damaged by fires. Be sure to stop to appreciate the beautiful river and the large pine cones. A great way to stretch the legs. In general, I want to spend more time in northern California, and next time Mt. Shasta and Burney Falls will be on the must-do list, with more time in Lassen.

I should mention that if you are camping like we did, there is a big Walmart along the way to load up on supplies and food. Warning- this is serious outdoors. Once you get near and into the major national parks, clothing, grocery, and supply stores are few or non-existent. And what you do find can be expensive. Speaking of expensive. Gasoline in California. If you are not from CA, you need to create a separate budget for gas and double whatever you normally pay for petrol.

Somewhere along Rte. 299.
King Creek Falls Trail

Upon driving into Lassen Volcanic Park a bald Eagle flew right in front of us. It was majestic and the perfect beginning to an amazing American treasure. We headed in from the Manzanita Entrance and drove south before reaching our first and only “substantial” hike in Lassen- the King Creek Falls trail. There are 5 main areas of Lassen with levels of difficulty ranging from 1-4, so plenty to do and see, and something for everyone. We stuck to the Southwest area as we drove south out of the park for South Lake Tahoe.


Somewhere on the King Creek Falls trail we missed the path to the falls and ended up by ourselves high up in the mountains. Not that I am complaining. Fairly early on in the trail, I found one of my top 3 spots of our ten day trip. It was a valley with a small creek. It was beautiful and serene. Maybe 2 or 3 people when we came upon it and no one there upon our return. At least no person. There was a humongous, grizzly bear drinking from the creek bed. When we saw him or her, we were high up, so we could view the bear quietly from a safe spot. Make no doubt about it thought, there are bears! And you do not want to be near one. Stay away from the bears. You are not supposed to, but definitely do NOT take your dog on a trail.

I spy with my big brown eyes a big, brown bear! Do you?
Zooming In. Notice I didn’t say a closer view.

One exceptional reason to visit Lassen Volcanic National Park over Yosemite (if you have to choose), is the thermal activity. Now we have spent a lot of time in New Zealand visiting thermal parks (top choice is Wai-O-Tapu) so seeing bubbling mud pots and steam vents was not a top priority, however, if you have not had to the chance to see something like this before, then you need to check out this park. Lassen is unique in that you get all 4 types of volcanos- a shield, composite, cinder cone, and a plug dome. Lassen Peak is itself a plug dome. If you haven’t caught on, Lassen is a great park to learn and teach a lot about landscapes, geo-thermal activity and diverse ecosystems. I am sure you are all also wondering right now, are these volcanos about to blow? The last explosion was in 1921. No one knows for sure when the next big one will hit, but science has paved the way for a more ample warning system. You might also be wondering if its dangerous? No doubt about it, if you stray, jump or fall off a boardwalk or trail, you may end up severely injured or killed by boiling acidic water. Like I said with the Grand Canyon, do not take your child if they are unruly and undisciplined. If they are a kid that tries to run away from you in a parking lot, darting in front of vehicles, this is a no go.

If you are a geothermal junkie, then you need to check out Bumpass Hell Trail.

One thing my son who has spent most of his childhood in Florida appreciated, was the snow! Patches of ice and snow were still to be found even in July, though you could comfortably hike in shorts and a t-shirt.

Lake Helen-named after the first white woman to make the summit at Lassen (I am guessing as oppose to Native American, American Indian or Indigenous native), has beautiful blue and aqua colors. Apparently it gets is color from a mineral but I can’t seem to find out which one. If I had to guess- limestone? Points to whomever can tell me which mineral and the history behind the name.

The drive from Lassen to South Lake Tahoe was 3 hours. However, it felt longer. And was pitch black as we entered into the winding entrance of South Lake Tahoe. Next time we camp and explore more.

I hope you enjoyed this blog and learned a little more about different options in California and Lassen Volcanic Park. Please feel free to leave your comments, especially with insider tips for our next trip here. Thank you! Coming up next…Yosemite!

8 day Greece trip continued…Naxos!

Once we arrived in the morning from Milos on the ferry, we met our AirBnB contact who took us to our stay and arranged a car for us. This was a bit of a whirlwind and maybe not the smoothest of transactions but it actually worked out pretty well and was cheap. Once settled in we threw on our bathing suits and went straight out to find a good beach. Our first stop was Aliko or Alyko beach.

This beach is great. Clean and less packed. No restaurants or hoards of tourists here. A small grocery store nearby. Clear, clean water. Perfect for relaxing and exploring.

On our way down we did not ride along the coast because we were eager to get in the water, however, we drove up along the coast to get back to the main town center where we were staying. Our next stop was Mikri Vigla. At first glance this beach may seem crowded, and I would say most of the beaches going north on the west coast were a bit busy BUT if you walk over the rocks on the north of the beach you will find a beautiful cove! A small little beach and a shallow pool to swim in. It was beautiful. Take a look. This was my favorite beach spot on Naxos.

The cove and beach.

After these two great stops and the sun setting we headed into Hora (main town of Naxos) to clean up and have dinner. Our first night we checked out a busy tourist restaurant along the docks. It wasn’t that great so I won’t elaborate.

Near Filoti, On the way to Mt. Zas

Day 2- The Mountains of Naxos.

the only part of the climb that had “steps”.

One of the main reasons I wanted to venture to Naxos was because of it’s diverse terrain. We got up early and headed to Mt. Zeus/ Zas. The drive along the way is great. It was a cool, misty morning and on your way you can stop at one of the beautiful cafes in Filoti or Halki. We needed to be back in Hora early to get COVID-19 tests done so we didn’t stop but came back later (at the local hospital for cheap- you can book an appointment in advance). Make time to stop at all the little churches and structures along the way. Especially stop if they are open because most likely they won’t be on the way back.

There is a strip of road to park at the entrance of the Mt Zas climb. It is narrow and you need to park on the road (no parking lot), so also getting there early is a plus as you can park closer to the entrance. At the entrance you have access to water and can see where a car went off the cliff (so it does happen). I am pretty fit and this climb was not too strenuous or long BUT it is very rocky and has some steep steps (leg lifts not actual steps). In the beginning of the hike there was a path but there isn’t really a clear path either. I wouldn’t take my Mom or little ones on this hike but I still loved it. It was probably my favorite thing we did in Naxos.

I absolutely loved the Billy goats on the mountainside. All I kept thinking of was the story of the Billy Boat Gruff.

How many goats can you see in this picture?

After the COVID-19 test, we headed to Agios Georgios Beach. We actually didn’t mean to stop here on our way down the coast but it looked beautiful and quiet so we stopped. I really liked this spot and wanted to try the wind surfing but I couldn’t get anyone to join me so we just snorkeled. When you snorkel, I recommend going further out. It isn’t deep. On my way back to the beach, I got hit in the head by a windsurfer board. Now, I had on a large, hard snorkel mask so it protected my head but it gave me a fright and could have been bad.

After this beach we kept going south to Orkos and Plaka Beach. A lot of sand chairs and restaurants in this area. A bit crowded but again if you are looking to sit in a chair with a cocktail in hand this is great. Lots of kids around and plenty of fun to be had. On Plaka Beach there was a bit of nudity. FYI if you have virgin eyes or want your kids to have them. Always an eye opened for a teenage son. I didn’t take any pictures but enjoyed the hot sand. Water was a bit choppy.

Day 3- Naxos

Our final day before we flew back to Athens in the evening was filled with small stops around Naxos and some last minute shopping in Hora. We never found the Tower of Ayia but we did manage to find the Kouros of Flerio/ Fluoros. Faragi Kouros, I think? At least one of them. And the quarry.

We kept walking for a while but we never came upon an aqueduct or spring. There is an ancient site that if you are into archaeology, you will appreciate. We are talking 500 years BC old. The only thing is the signs were a bit faded so it was hard to read them but it can’t be helped in that sun. We saw these beautiful yellow butterflies whose wings looked to be flying backwards. The locusts or cicadas were serenading us. There is a shady path to the kouros. I really liked it there.

The olive branch

On our way back to Hora, we drove to Halki or Chalkeio (also known as Tragea btw) and had some amazing baklava. The church was closed 😦

Caffe Greco

After we grabbed some gifts we visited the Tower of Sanoudos and the Kastro. The view at the top and the restaurant looked fine but it was too hot for us to sit outside and stay. We viewed the Temple of Apollo from afar as it was crowded and also hot. We thought about going at dusk but there were just many people and not great circumstances during a pandemic. I really liked Hora. It has great little shops and narrow, windy, alley ways to get lost in and explore. There was a lot more to see and do (and taste) just in Hora alone so we would definitely go back. It makes me sad to see so many things that we ended up missing but we did do a lot.

We flew back to Athens on Olympic Air that evening and it ended up being a bit of a nightmare. Still I would go back to Naxos in a heartbeat. There is so much more to do and see and as the biggest island in the Cyclades, you can’t go wrong with Naxos. It offers everything- tramping/hiking, beaches, food and history. I hope y’all get a chance to go and keep checking back for the next adventure! Thanks for reading!

8 Day Greece continued…Milos!


Day 1-Athens/Milos

We took an early evening flight out of Athens. We decided to fly because it was much quicker. I don’t think the flight was even 45 minutes from take off to landing. HOWEVER…………………We flew Olympic Air. The boarding of the plane took a while so we landed late. We managed to get our rental car and checked into our AirBnB before dark but it was a late dinner and night after all. Our Airbnb host suggested a a few restaurants, including O! Hamos! but we couldn’t find it (I know it sounds silly but I guess it wasn’t lit up?) so we ended up having dinner at mikros Apoplous. It was so late we weren’t able to get a table by the water but that’s okay, our kitten company was across the main road. We had an amazing array of appetizers including Bruschetta with Stingray and Baked Feta sticks with Jam.

We had a solid two days to play in Milos. If I could do it again in a short period of time, I would have added one more day. to visit Kleftiko, which has to be accessed by boat. We thought about taking a charter boat tour out but it would have been a full day affair. However, if I could come back longer or often, I would come back annually with the family and stay in Pollonia. It just seems like a great place to make memories.

Sarakiniko Beach

As you can tell by now, I liked Milos. There is some sightseeing to be done but this was the island part of the trip, and I am going to call DAY 1- Rocky Beach Day. We visited 3 beaches. The first one, the most popular beach, was Sarakiniko Beach. This is the moon beach and it was has something for everyone. There is a sandy beach where little ones could ease it it. On the other side the rock cliff jumping for the adventurous. For solid swimmers you can go out and swim around the rocks in the cool, clear, deep blue. I didn’t see a lot of fish but I also didn’t see sharks. This may sound ridiculous but I live in Florida where there are plenty of sharks and the water is warm. If you generally don’t swim out in the deep, the water is mostly calm when you go out but stay clear of the rocks where you can get banged up. I think this was my favorite beach in Milos but not my favorite chill beach. It was beautiful.

Two levels for cliff jumpers. The only thing tricky about this is getting back on land.
In the middle is where the beach resides and on the other side of the rock on the left is where you can jump the cliffs. Plenty of moon walking to be had on the right.


I read that Papafragas was badly littered so I opted for this Mandrakia. When we came in we stopped to our left to check out Tourkothalassa beach which from afar looked gorgeous but turns out was littered. Mandrakia, Μανδράκια is the town on your right. Cute little fishing town. Medusa, the restaurant here, is supposed to be really good, but we didn’t stop here long enough to eat. We did take a quick dip in the water below where I could of swore there was some warm spring spots and checked out the small church before heading off. I didn’t really see a place where people were swimming so we made our own.


Our final beach for the day was Firopotamos Φυροπόταμος. This is a great spot to walk in and swim. The water is calm. Not as clear near the shore but beautiful out in the deep. We took the opportunity to swim far out to the left near a hole in the rock. It was a shrine/cave of sorts. The sand was rocky but not unbearable with some towels. There are a few trees but it does feel up quickly so take an umbrella if you want to stay out of the sun. In the small fishing “town” a lot of people were taking the opportunity to get their professional photos in. There’s a jumping spot off a high dock. The Church of Agios Nikolaos is here. It’s a beautiful church from the outside. It was closed when we were there though. And of course a neat treat here is a temple door but I apologize, I don’t remember its name. Finally, make sure your vehicle has decent power and tires to get up the parking lot hill. All of the cars I witnessed, including our own, had to start back to gain momentum to get up the hill when leaving.

After a clean up we took a drive up to Polonia/Pollonia and had dinner by the water at Enalion. My favorite main dish on Milos and maybe my favorite main in Greece was here. It was the Octopus. It was my one Octopus try in Greece and it did not disappoint. But it wasn’t the only good thing there. The fried goats cheese and the variety of local goats cheese were also fantastic. The squid was good too but everyone agreed my dish was the best 🙂

Day 2- Milos continued….

On day 2 we were eager to find a sandy spot to just swim and soak in the sun. Our first stop was just that- Agia Kiriaki Beach. It was blazing hot and the sun was burning our feet. There is not much shade which is fine because I needed an excuse to rent a sandbag under a umbrella! Best 12Euro of the trip spent. To the left of the chairs and sand chairs is a bar. But have plenty of cash because both are cash only. We could stayed here all day. Most relaxing beach by far. Great for the young and older. And when you are ready to eat head over to Thalassopetra restaurant and tavern. Their signature salad with anchovies is amazing, especially that homemade dressing.

Paleo Hori

Paleo Hori is your volcanic beach. The rocks on this beach are amazing. Such a variety of volcanic rock with a stunning sulfuric backdrop. Grab your boogie boards and closed water shoes. The water is more choppy and those pebbles can be painful. If you go down a little further you can find some beautiful spots without having to pay for a chair but if you want to be served yummy drinks under an umbrella, this is the place to do it. Just not cheap.

Final meal we went back to mikros Apoplous because O! Hamos! was too crowded and we just wanted to eat. This time we got a nice spot by the water. Two of us had the seafood linguini and Mousaka respectively. Ours was very good but I think their appetizers/starters are better than their mains. I only tasted the mousaka but I think it was the best of the mains. My son wanted to try the sea urchin linguini. He was okay with it. It’s an acquired taste, I think.

The next morning we were up early to catch a ferry to Naxos. At the time, we were hearing reports of massive COVID-19 outbreaks in Mykonos. I didn’t think to check whether our ferry stopped at Mykonos on our way to Naxos but it did. Thankfully, I don’t know who this guy was, but one of the ferry employees walked around the whole ferry ride and ensured people were wearing their masks. And he would stand by them and wait until they put their mask on. Barely anyone was on the ferry when we left but it was packed by the time we got off. The ferry itself was a lot more comfortable than the plane. I will say though that when we arrived in Naxos, the line of people waiting to board in the blazing sun was crazy. It looked miserable.

Check back soon to read more about Naxos, Greece’s largest island in the Cyclades, and a great one!

8 Day Trip- Greece!

I went to Greece for a a few days back when I was 19 but I like to say it didn’t count. My best friend and I went to Corfu while backpacking around Europe and the Pink Palace was a real life replica of what happened to Pinocchio’s friends who turned into donkeys. Anywho…. I have always LOVED mythology and western civilization history. 7th grade was my first real step into the ancient world. When you get older there are few things you truly remember and Greek day at Mahaffey Middle School in Ft. Campbell, KY was one of them. We brought in Greek food and wore togas. Later we got to visit the Parthenon in Nashville, TN and I stood in complete awe of the Athena replica. So when my son learned about mythology in 6th grade, I was so excited. When we were trying to decide on where to go for a vacation pre-COVID he said Greece. He loves snorkeling and he loves clear water. But it was so expensive to fly. So when Greece opened up and flights were cheap, we snapped up the opportunity to go. This time I wanted to see the real Greece and all its historical glory. Athens was a must. Finally, I was going to see the ancient Acropolis. And to boot, a pescatarians food dream come true. Of course, we couldn’t go to Greece without exploring some of the islands. Because of the pandemic I really wanted to steer clear of busy, touristy islands. I looked for more off the beaten path islands with limited time. I REALLY want to see the mountain north of Athens and Crete but we just couldn’t do it all. So we have an excuse to go back! Keeping reading to see what we saw and how we managed in 8 days (during a pandemic mind you)- Athens and 2 islands- Milos and Naxos. Efharisto!

  • Day 1 Arrival and Athens
  • Day 2 Athens all day
  • Day 3 Athens morning and early evening flight out to Milos
  • Day 4 Milos – Rock beaches and north of the island
  • Day 5 Milos- Sandy beaches
  • Day 6 Early morning ferry ride to Naxos and Naxos west coast beaches
  • Day 7 Naxos all day- Mt Zas (Mt. Zeus) and beach
  • Day 8 City center Naxos/Flight to Athens
  • Day 9 Flew out.

Athens- DAY 1

We arrived around 10am and hit the town around 12:30pm. First we stopped for lunch at Glykys. We loved it there. It’s outside, its tucked away in a quiet spot. And they had a bunch of yummy food. Our first visit included briam. Amazing. Then we headed to Anafiotika. This is probably my favorite place in Athens. It’s tucked away, quiet, and an enclave of flowers, little doors, and open windows to homes. You feel like you’ve been transported to a small village in Greece. There are cats everywhere. And there is man who plays a traditional Bouzouki to the cats. From Anafiotika, we walked towards Hadrian’s Arc. The main road from the center to the Arc is extremely busy. Be very careful, even at the crosswalks. Cars and scooters run the lights. The lights are quick. Right beside the Arc is the Temple of Zeus. The entrance to the actual site is Leof Vasilissis Olgas. It was here that I bought the 3 day pass and I think it’s a good deal. Unfortunately, the majority of the temple is covered in scaffolding and it’s mostly wide open to the blaring sun. We enjoyed it but if I was limited on time, I might just walk by this one and not pay to go in. But it is included in the 3 day pass.

Next we walked the National Garden. Now gardens are my favorite so if you want a really nice place to relax and enjoy much needed shade, this is beautiful place to go. There is a little pond with turtles in it.

We ran out of time since we started mid day but if we had started earlier I would go ahead and visit the Panathenaic Stadium which is on the other side of the National Garden. But again, you have to cross a very busy road, Ardittou.

Athens- DAY 2

Below is our exact walk from place to place. Everything we saw was on the way to the next stop. The breakdown of each place is below it.

Syntagma Square & Monument of the Unknown Soldier-Cathedral Church of Athens-Church of the Virgin Mary Gorgoepekoos and Saint Eleutherius (12th c.)- Hadrian’s Library- Monastariki Flea Market-Ancient Agora of Athens (Temple of Hephaestus/Odeon of Agrippa/Stoa of Attalos)- the Roman Forum of Athens- Greek Orthodox Church Pammegiston Taxiarchon and Panagias Grigorousas.

Heading out our first stop was the changing of the guard at Syntagma Square. It is slow and continual so you can’t miss it. As I’ve said a lot in Athens, get out early as the sun beats down hard and there is no shade. From here we walked to Cathedral Church of Athens. It was beautiful but the real gem is right next door, the Church of the Virgin Mary, a Byzantine church, with a mix of pagan and Christian symbols. Please, cover your shoulders, I know it’s hot but it takes nothing to carry a light scarf or cardigan. I carried mine in a camera bag.

Hadrian’s Library It was neat. No shade whatsoever. No seats. You could probably walk around the site if you didn’t want to pay. However, if you do pay, you can have a closer look at the Tetraconch Church, believed to be the oldest Christian Church in Athens.

At the entrance of the Monastariki Flea market are the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary – Panagia Pantanassa and the Tzisdarakis Mosque. Both were closed or we didn’t see the entrance. We bought cherries in the market outside the metro station. I didn’t really see anything I wanted to buy. It was a little packed so we stayed outside of the shops.

Ancient Agora. Probably my second favorite stop in Athens. Believe it or not, I think I liked it more than the Acropolis. It is spread out with different points of interests, some shade, more intact structure and a great museum which is included in the price and has seating and bathrooms. The museum, or Stoa Attalos, was outside but covered. It had some of the best marble sculpture I have ever seen. A stoa is a covered walkway and in this example, once was a marketplace. From there we visited the The Church of the Holy Apostles (Άγιοι Απόστολοι Σολάκη), a 10th century Byzantine church. It was open. Masks required btw in all churches. It’s a beautiful church and the Arabic looking tiles outside are very beautiful. From here we walked to the Temple of Hephaestus. Much more intact and almost as majestic as the Parthenon. A stunner. You absolutely must check this out along with the Stoa Attalos when you visit Ancient Agora. There are lots of things to see here, including the Odeon of Agrippa, a 15BC open theatre donated to Athens by Marcus Agrippa.

The Roman Forum’s most cool relic is the Tower of the Winds, a meteorological tower, thought to have been built around 50BC. Similar to Hadrian’s Library in layout and lack of shade. But you can see inside the Tower. Let your imagination build the walls and columns as they would have been. It’s not every day you get a chance to stand in archaeological sites from 1st century AD.

Athens- DAY 3

We saved the best for last. I think. The Acropolis is amazing. We really enjoyed visiting inside it. But I also enjoyed walking beneath it. I enjoyed glancing at it while eating. I enjoyed it it in silence at night under the moon. It’s just majestic. Yes, a visit is a must. But make sure you savor it. Take time to take it in, despite the crowds.

The main things you can see inside the Acropolis and while ascending the steps include:

  • the Theatre of Dionysus (on your way up). Ancient theatre.
  • the Propylaea. The first big thing you actually enter in. The main gate to the Acropolis. It really sets the stage.
  • the Temple of Athena Nike. This is the little temple on your right as you enter the Propylaea.
  • the Erechtheion. This is my favorite structure on the Acropolis. It’s on your left and includes the beautiful women holding up the frieze called caryatids. There are actually two more structures here. Make sure you see the olive tree to the right of the it. The legend goes that Athena planted the olive tree as her gift to the city after winning a competition against Poseidon.
  • the Parthenon (on your right). I swear there is one section of the frieze that looks like a rock was used to prop up a section of the gable or roof from falling (see pic below). Side note: It was very nice to see the frieze from the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. I have seen another section inside the British Museum in London. Sometimes I wish I had Bill and Ted’s phone booth to jet back in time and get a glimpse of what it would have been like. This was one of those occasions. But I’m not a fan of sacrificing animals so in this case my imagination was fine.
Is that a fallen horse holding up the roof?
  • Odeon Herodes Atticus (on your way down). This is not as ancient and when we were there it was being set up for a performance so it’s still in use today. Imagine performing here! Goals for out budding performers!

When you can’t take anymore wind, sun and neck craning, there is a little spot where you can purchase some orange juice or frozen drinks and snacks at the bottom. If you aren’t completely tuckered out, there is a great rock/overlook of the city called Areopagus Hill. It is not flat but it does have stairs. But if I was back there, which hopefully I will be, I would hit this at sunset, right after dinner. From the picture below, this was taken during the Greek fires in outskirts of the city center.

Needing a cool off, we next headed to the Acropolis Museum. To avoid the lines, purchase your tickets on your phone. There is a sign beside the queue with a QR code that will take you to the website. You still need to get your tickets printed out once you are inside but the line is less long and there is air conditioning inside.

The museum itself had an excellent collection of ancient Greek antiquities. I loved being able to see below us ancient ruins. We were literally walking above an archaeological site. My favorites inside were the caryatids, again. No pictures inside. If you can, take a break and lunch at the Acropolis Museum restaurant. Small portions but very tasty and an excellent view. I really liked his place.

Where we stayed: Plaka- Nikis Street and Falirou Street (great, cheap food all around).

Some places we we ate: Glykys; The Greco’s Project, Acropolis Museum Restaurant; Svoura Cafe, Φουρνος Χριστίνα (bakery with homemade ice cream cones and so much more!

Helpful tips:

This is my biggest learning lesson in Greece. Get the Greek name of each place, site or street you are visiting. It is hard to identify the name of a street or road if you don’t speak or read Greek. A lot of travel books list the names of places in English. And some taxi drivers and most signs are not posted in English.

Get to know Hadrian. Roman Emperor, who had a love of Greek civilization, and had a lasting impression of Athens to this day.

The bus or metro are the cheapest and fairly easiest ways to travel into the city from the airport. Everyone was wearing a mask on the bus or metro. The bus on the way into the city was hot. The 2nd time it wasn’t. When you step out of the arrival doors turn right and the bus ticket booth is down on the right. You can tell the attendant where you want to go. There are plenty of buses heading to Syntagma (last stop). I think it was around 6Euro one way.

All of the main sites in Athens are pretty close so we didn’t use transportation around town.

Start early when it’s more cool and less tourists, but don’t be afraid to go out at night for a stroll around some of the sites. The outside of many sites and overlooks at dusk are beautiful.

When it says don’t put paper down the toilet, it means toilet paper. With this said, maybe carry a trash bag with you.

Marble, marble everywhere. So it is slick even with tennis shoes. And most streets and sidewalks are not flat. I slipped so many times. And I have really good balance. Just be careful. We were there in the heat wave and didn’t experience rain once. But I can only imagine how slick it is when it rains.

There is so much more to Athens so make time and make plans! Enjoy and coming soon Naxos and Milos!

Camping at Westgate River Ranch Resort and Rodeo

So this isn’t my normal type of camping. When I camp, in Florida especially, it usually involves a spring, a tent, a campfire, etc. in a state or national park. This was a little something “extra”. My camping buddy asked me if I wanted to try @westgateranch in Lake Wales, Florida. I checked out the website and discovered here was where one goes “glamping”. Y’all they got fancy teepees and double wide wagons to rent. Not such a fancy pants, I wasn’t sure it was my thing but then I checked out the activities and decided to give it a whirl. Glad I did!

Things to Note

The tent on the platform option does not seem any better than bringing your own tent. The tent size was not bigger than mine. If you really want electricity than this is an option. The water pump at the site was at the entrance so everybody could use, whether you brought your own tent or rented one of theirs. And let’s be honest, the party was in the open field. So many kids running around, riding their bikes, making friends, climbing trees. This is what it’s all about!

Try to camp during the week. We got there on on Thursday and the field where we could choose a spot was wide open and we found a beautiful location right under a perfect climbing tree. There are no designated camping spots so you can pick wherever you want in the field, but this also means people can camp as close to you as they want or can. On Friday night, the field was a totally different place! It was packed!! If you get there early, you can grab a spot with a picnic table.

There were spots to build a campfire. When I read the camp site description, it did not say there was a fire pit but we found one. It also did not say we couldn’t bring in our own firewood. We ended up purchasing their firewood because we didn’t think it was an option but if we do it again, we will bring in our own. There firewood bushels were around $10. That’s a lot in my opinion.

The lines are long. The wait is long. I don’t know if they have cut their staff in half because of COVID-19 but the wait to check in took forever. Then we had to wait longer so someone in a golf cart could escort us to a giant field. Big waste of time. The line/wait at the General Store was long. One person on the cash register, and they were also taking food orders. I understand you want to distance people and space them out at check in but it beats the purpose if they are standing in line for long periods of time. Especially if people aren’t wearing a mask (no surprise here but not everyone (guests) wore a mask.

Be at each activity you sign up for at least 15 minutes in advance. They make you check in (and there are lines again).

Bring your own soap for the bathrooms. The bathroom near the campsite (also beside the general store and skeet and shoot range) were almost always out of soap. Thankfully, someone always left some soap behind. Thank goodness. You would think that during a pandemic this would be top priority but I guess not.

The rodeo starts at 7:30pm on Saturday’s only. They say be there at 6:30pm. We purchased tickets in advance and found seats easily once we got in but again, we had to stand in line for 30 minutes until the gate opened and it was packed. Buy your tickets in advance, but don’t necessarily feel like you need to be there at 6:30pm, unless you like standing in lines, during a pandemic, around people with no mask. I will note, one of the doorman walked around and asked people to put there masks back on. This made me happy. I also noticed that people brought in there own food and drinks, FYI.

Everything cost money. And it cost a lot. Book everything in advance. We couldn’t purchase rodeo tickets until we checked in but for everything else, book online and book early.

Things We Did

The Rodeo! What can I say. I had fun! It’s very all American so if you have friends who aren’t American and want to show them a very American tourist show. It’s great. There is just something majestic about the horses galloping at a fast speed with riders bumping up and down. I don’t know if it’s because I am Taurus but I love counting the seconds riders can hang on until a bull bucks em off! It was good clean fun, music bumping to put you in the mood, and some friendly competition between riders. I have been to other rodeos and in the past I have felt uncomfortable at the way calves were handled but not at this place. The price for an adult was $25.01 with tax. Kids were $15.00 (5-12).

Airboat Ride.

Adults 13+ were $30.00. Kids (2-12) were $20. I did an airboat ride in the Everglades and this one was better. We didn’t see a lot of critters but in my experience you don’t because you are going so fast. Our driver took us up close to an area with baby gators and we got stuck. I have to say it was a lot of fun and a mini adventure because a pontoon boat had to come and pull us out. We loved it. And it gave our driver an opportunity to tell us about the waterways and the abundance of gators!

The Petting Zoo.

It was cute. There was not a lot of animals but there were some and it was nice. If you want to feed the animals, have quarters only for the bubble gum style food dispenser. The had baby kangaroos. My son said maybe they are rescues. Hmmm. I’m not a big fan of that. And I don’t need to see kangaroos at a farm in America.

How cute are these calf’s teeth?

Horseback Riding.

It was $48.15 with tax/per person for an adult and a 12 year to ride. It was nice. Wear sunblock while you wait for everyone to get saddled up. If they don’t offer, ask about getting a helmet. They had younger people running the counter and to me, this seems obvious for inexperienced riders but I guess I am biased as public health practitioner. I did see a horse decide to lay down mid trail with a woman still on. She was okay but here leg was a little trapped there for a bit. Kinda pricey for the ride but hey, it’s not something you get to do every day.

Meet Katie.

Swamp Buggy Rides

Adults 13+ were $30.00. Kids (2-12) were $20. So much fun. Cold! But fun. It wasn’t very swampy but it’s been dry lately. We went through some pretty big puddles and met some cows along the unbeaten patch. See video below. You might want to mute me gushing over the cows and calves running.

We loved it.

The Pool.

There is a pool and a hot tub. The pool was heated. The hot tub was hot. I read about there being a pool in the resort but it was not marked on the map or listed as an amenity in the flyer they gave me. But we found it behind the apartment or hotel looking rooms. It’s not a fancy pool but it does the trick. I was just so happy it was warm and towels were provided.

The Archery.

$10/per person. It was good way to practice your skills and kill some time. No instruction or instructors so maybe watch a YouTube Video beforehand it you didn’t go to 4H camp as a kid. I don’t think I saw mini or small bows for little ones but I could be wrong about that.

Things we didn’t do.

Rent a golf cart.

Visit the saloon.

Participate in the Adventure Center. Each activity in the Adventure Center cost money. For example, the Mechanical Bull costs $9/per person. But we didn’t go because of the money, It was because the kids just got too busy running around or riding their bikes and making friends. Also, the adventure Center didn’t open until 4pm. I wanted to play putt putt but we just didn’t get to it.

The Drive In Movie. Alert. It’s only for people in golf carts. The parking lot for the drive in only allows for golf carts. They don’t mention this. Bit disappointing. The Drive In Movie is free and on Friday nights.

Craft Shack. Or whatever it was called. It was closed.

Skeet and Shoot. Seemed hard and it was expensive. The age minimum is 13 so we missed it. Give it a go if you want to though.

We definitely had fun. I wouldn’t say it was the safest for a COVID-19 free get-away despite being outdoors, but it was close. We would do it again and I don’t think you need to have the glamping experience to get the best out of it. Matter of fact, you might have more fun amongst the tent campers. But definitely have some cash put aside for all the activities. Happy Camping!

Florida Department of Transportation Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Survey

The Florida DOT is conducting a safety survey related to Pedestrian and Bicycle activity.  We are assisting FDOT by sharing this information as widely as possible.  Please take a few minutes, if possible, to participate in the survey.  The survey is 25 questions long and parts of it will test you about your knowledge of traffic laws, it will not reveal to you if you answered correctly or not though.  The purpose is to determine how well the public knows the traffic safety laws.  The survey is anonymous.

Here is a link to the survey: 


Sergio Gomez


MC Squared, Inc.

5808-A Breckenridge Parkway

Tampa, Florida 33610

Choice to Change

Mindset and the power of the Big, Beautiful Brain

Whether you are looking to eat more healthy, dig out of depression, do better in school or improve organizational behavior-it’s all change! Very few people are 100% content or happy with themselves and their circumstances. Personally, I am always on a path to improve- whether its my own character flaws or a public health problem. So how do we change? How do we change THAT one thing about ourselves (or multiple things)? How do we change our child’s behavior to chores? How do we change a drug addict’s choice? I am on this journey to explore these topics from a psychological perspective and also as a Christian. You mean science and faith complementing each other? I believe it is happening.

Now I have learned in the first “real days” of e-learning that I need to be paying better attention to my child’s e-learning, as he was missing some things. And as I am diving into this topic of change and mind set, I overhear a TED talk my son’s teacher assigned him titled, “

The Power of belief — mindset and success” by Eduardo Briceno.

Serendipitous? I think this is a great example of synchronicity.

Synchronicity Meaning: Message from the Universe | Synchronicity, What is  synchronicity, Meant to be

In this video he talks about the “Fixed Mindset vs. the “Growth Mindset”. This idea of a “Growth Mindset” was first brought to my attention by Carol Dweck. For all my friends who are peeved by Millennials who can’t finish a day’s work should read this book.

But I digress. Dr. Briceno states if we are to fill our potential we need to change our mindset. The key to do this is to realize We CAN change.

So step 1: Accept that you CAN change.

Now I am currently reading “Switch on the Brain” by Dr. Caroline Leaf. Like Dr. Briceno, she too states that the brain is malleable. Not fixed.

A large flaw within our thinking and society is that we need to be born with natural gifts and abilities in order to obtain or perform. I know myself as a parent, have told my child numerous times, that God has given him the natural ability for music. Now the problem with this is, when my son plays something incorrectly, he gets really frustrated with himself, and instead of working through the problem, he wants to quit for the day. Some of us may feel like we can’t pick up a new hobby because we weren’t given the opportunity to learn at a young age. For example, a language. We are told time and time again that the brain is best able to learn a language at a young age. That once we get older, it is hard for the brain to learn and remember a language.

This is so wrong.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 12:2

In Dr. Leaf’s book, she works with patients and clients who have had severe brain injury and/or learning disabilities. How many stories have you heard of someone being told they will never walk again but yet they somehow defy the odds and baffle the doctors? This isn’t battling the odds. It’s that big, beautiful brain that continues to function in an amazing way. Now if you are a Christian or religious, you might think this is a miracle? Well, if we look at what the bible tells us, really it’s just how God designed us and the power he bestows on us through him.

2. Understand it’s a process.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Hebrews 12:1

Isn’t life a process? Aren’t we always trying to figure it out? We are constantly growing. And growth is beneficial and scientific. This is important to understand for many reasons. If you or someone “falls off the bandwagon” they may not get back on the bandwagon if they don’t understand that growth is a process. Which is why if you are in AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) its a lifetime commitment, where if you take a drink, you can come back. If you are on a diet and eat a bag of cookies on Sunday, no one should tell you that you can’t get back on that diet on Monday. Many health campaigns have learned that in order for people to kick bad habits, we need to recognize failure and give people non-judgmental agency to try again, and again, and again.

Every Try Counts Campaign | FDA

Fall backs are an important part of the growth process and without them we do not grow. And God tells us this too.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

2 Corinthians 12:9

So what does a Growth mindset vs. a Fixed Mindset look like in practice. Here are some examples:

Growth Mindset

“Wow, you can really see that you studied and worked hard to get that score”.

“Its shows you have been practicing your 3-pointers on the court.”

“If I start jogging and add 1/4 mile each week, I can build endurance, work on my breathing and increase my distance.”

“I was not a good communicator in my last marriage but I am going to ask my fiance to hold me accountable to a weekly date night where we talk about anything we need to.”

Fixed Mindset

“Wow, you must be so good at math with a score like that.”

“You must get your basketball skills from your Dad.”

“I just don’t have an athletic build and won’t ever be called a runner”.

If I messed up this marriage, who says I won’t mess up another.”

3. Make a deliberate intention to develop your abilities to change.

What does this look like?

  • Make feedback process related.
  • Listen for your fixed mindset. Listen for toxic thoughts. Negative thoughts.
  • Consciously change it. Talk back to it.

Dr. Leaf says to “catch those thoughts”. As Missy Misdemeanor Elliott says,

Dr. Caroline Leaf’s book provides a 21-Day Brain Detox Plan. As I continue to read this book and work through my own 21-Day Brain Detox, I will continue to share my own personal insights and its application in my life and work. I want to reiterate that this is a process. For me. For you. Whatever journey you are on. And each of us are on a journey. Whether we are religious/spiritual or atheist. Whether we feel perfect or flawed. And all good things come with time and practice. But know that you have it in you.

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

2 Timothy 1:7

Final thought for my public health campaigners and social changers out there. How can we use this knowledge for positive, impactful social and behavioral change? For me, it reinforces the idea that SHAMING and GUILTING to not work. Knowing that Growth-Changing mindset is a key for change, how can we incorporate these into health campaigns? Providing actionable steps? Feedback loops? Positive reinforcement? How does this challenge us with reward and incentive products in a health campaign? Are growth-process campaigns better for specific target audiences? I would love to hear your thoughts below.

Thanks for reading!

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