Hi! I’m Gelli, and four months ago, I finally hung up my travel shoes. After all the wonderful adventures I’ve experienced because of this gypsy life, I chose to pause the ride and rekindle my love for routine.
It was November of 2016 when I started my career as a travel nurse. I totally fell in love with it. I met people from different upbringings, learned useful techniques from different nurses and absorbed hospital policies I never knew existed. Not only did it improve my nursing skills, it also allowed me to wander- I tasted sumptuous local food and explored cities of unique character and nature.
I went to Lufkin and met wonderful people. I met Pearl, Heilene, Ray, Jessica, Beth, Shaquioa, and the rest of Woodland Heights peeps. This was my first assignment and it felt surreal. I never expected it to be a breeze. Prior to this assignment, I expected the WORST. Believe me, I heard and read a lot of horror stories- staff hating you, getting the worst assignment, high loads, tough learning curve. I embraced change knowing all of these things. Fortunately, this hospital is far from those, this became my home away from home. The staff were very accommodating. I also met other travel nurses from other states. It was fun! It opened my eyes to a lot of opportunities. I even extended my assignment from the original three months to six months.
It was also during this assignment that I was able to taste Jollibee again, the famous Filipino food chain in Houston. We were able to go there thrice, I think, being only 2 hours away from Lufkin. And since my assignment city is only 3-4 hours from New Orleans, I was also able to experience the crowd in the very celebrated Mardi Gras. Not only that, I will never forget that time I went to an RV show. There was a seed of dream that was implanted in my heart- that someday, I will own a rig like the one I saw. Imagine having a house on wheels, OMG.
In those six months, I hopped from one adventure to another. Made my way to Kemah Boardwalk and Bourbon St. Visited WWII museum and science center. Did hikings and walked long trails. It was fun and exciting but I had to move on and find another location.
Virginia captured my heart next. I thought it was only first timer’s luck that I had a wonderful assignment in Lufkin. To my surprise, there are many other beautiful places and welcoming hospitals out there, and Centra in Lynchburg is definitely one of them. I met people whom I highly respect- Debra, Nicole, Sharon, Holley, Hannah, Anne and many others. Although I was not positioned in Cardiac Telemetry like I would want to, I enjoyed my time in Diabetic-Renal unit. It was there that I experienced having three low acuity patients in one shift. It was the most amazing shift, let me tell you. The quality of care is really there with the right nurse to patient ratio.
Aside from the fine working environment in the hospital, the majestic caverns in Luray are what stood out in my memory. Nature has its way of connecting to us, and those mineral formations truly spoke to me. Masterpieces aren’t made overnight. It is constant work and nonstop building and creating. I came to a realization that there is an amazing end piece in consistency.
I extended my stay in Virginia, too. It was an easy six months. Not because the patients are easy but because my coworkers are easy to work with. I can see why Brooke (one of the travellers) stayed and applied for a permanent position. Who wouldn’t? If only my apartment is close by. Or my boyfriend’s family lives there too. There are many pros in my list: The atmosphere isn’t toxic. There are many restaurants to try. The cost of living is just right.
Both of my travel assignments served me well. So why did I quit if the adventure was amazing?
I left to learn more. I am the type of person who gets bored easily with the same set of skills. I realized that it’s not the hospital or travel destination that would solve the issue. At the end of the day, it’s what satisfies me.
Travel nursing helped. Great paycheck was a bonus. But the added learning that I’m craving for didn’t go away. I realized I wanted to change something.
I knew at this time, changing my specialty altogether is what I needed.
After a series of hospital haunt and two interviews, I ended up in Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit. I know I won’t be able to travel again until I hit two years in this specialty. But I am enjoying my time in ICU like it was meant for me. I am learning so so much. There is no denying that I may get tired of this pace and setting someday. After all, it’s a permanent staff position.
But I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts.
I signed a two-year contract with a local hospital and got a sign-on bonus that sealed the deal for me. I honestly didn’t expect it but I’m thankful for it. My coworkers are nice, responsible, and welcoming. The unit is small because it’s highly specialized but it feels like family. The cases are interesting and the doctors are the best neurosurgeons and pulmonologists in the valley. I love that the company I’m working for values professional growth more than anything else. It’s also an extra point that we can choose our schedule to accommodate any extra job or advance education that we’re trying to get.
I quit travel nursing, and all I know is, it’s for the best reason.
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.“
Disclosure: This post has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PurinaMysteries #CollectiveBias
Believe it or not, the notion that cats love to sleep all day and not do anything is a myth. This may come as a surprise to you especially when you catch a glimpse of your cat sleeping soundly at the corner and occasionally stretching its legs. What would you give for a peaceful catnap like that, right? I know, I can totally relate! Everybody loves a good slumber just like the rest of our feline buddies.
But just like you, our furry friends need mental and physical stimulation in order to improve their wellbeing. And what is more fun and engaging than promoting playtime? Quality plays are important in their growth and health. Not only does it boost circulation throughout their body, it also lets them maintain their ideal weight.
There are many ways on how to introduce activities to your little companion but I’m here to tell you three important ways on how to easily develop playtime activities that your cats will love.
Treat your cats like how you would treat yourself.
First of all, it’s important to take note of what your pet likes to do, eat, and play with. Does your cat prefer chicken over turkey? Or does she eat less when you offer seafood-flavored products? What’s her reaction to catnip? Does it make her more active than her usual self? Or does it make her calm and sleepy?
Pumpkin is turning one this June, and I can’t wait for her birthday. The fact that I was able to take care of her from day one is such a miracle to me. At first, I had doubts whether I can be a responsible pet owner, but looking back, I wish I never doubted myself. You might think that having a one year old kitty is already enough to know everything about her. No! Not in the slightest. Why so? Because just days ago, I discovered that she doesn’t like yarn balls as toy. Guess what she prefers!? Paper! A crumpled paper!
I knew that since she was four months old but crumpled paper over a commercialized yarn ball? You’ve got to be kidding me. It’s funny because I never really intended to buy that ball at Petsmart. BUT it was on sale! And it’s tempting to buy, I feel like it’s even calling my name! At least for next time, mumshie doesn’t need to spend a dime, lol.
Good thing Purina®‘s Party Mix is always there to save the day. It’s one treat that Pumpkin loves and won’t stop eating especially after a good walk. That’s how good and tasty it is! I particularly love their packaging because I can bring it anywhere we go without fear of it getting wet and the cap makes a perfect temporary bowl, too.
She enjoys it so much that she even posed for a photo sesh! I assure you, the playtime party will never be over with this treat.
2. Engage them in your activities. Your pet loves being with you!
And I mean DAILY activities. Whether you’re reading a book, doing groceries, binge-watching on your favorite episodes, even sleeping (this one counts of course!), your feline friend undoubtedly enjoys your company!
Pumpkin loves to be with me all the time. As soon as she hears my voice whenever I get home from work, I can already hear her meowing from her room. It’s such a delight to know that somebody’s waiting for me every day. It’s part of my day that I always look forward to. She just makes me feel loved and wanted which I definitely reciprocate with all my heart.
Included in the activities that we enjoy doing together is shopping! Just the other day, I brought her to Petsmart to buy her monthly supply of food and extra goodies. We bought Purina One, her all-time favorite daily food, Purina Tidy Cats, and some Friskies Party Mix. She met a lot of strangers, too! I’m sure she enjoyed all the his and hellos from them.
Her favorite aisle is the cat food aisle of course! We are currently in Lynchburg and the set up is a little bit different compared to McAllen’s. Here, the cat section is on the right corner. It’s pretty easy to find actually, since the big signs are obvious on top.
And if ever you get lost, your kitty companion can sniff the way! I swear, Pumpkin knows where the food section is!
3. Happy tummy equals happy life.
No matter how much treat you give, or the quantity of time you spend with your pet, everything comes down to one thing: quality food. I’m not saying you need to buy the most expensive one, all I’m saying is when you consider buying cat food, you should consider the brand that you can trust. And for me, I only trust Purina. It’s your average brand, yes. But it has proven itself worldwide and has been one of the most trusted brands ever since.
Pumpkin never had an issue with this brand and I’m really happy about it. No diarrhea, whatsoever. I’m a nurse by profession and I take into account all the nutrients that she is required to have. It’s vital to consider especially because she is in her growing years. Don’t forget that their energy depends on their intake.
In addition, I am very much aware that, like humans, our pets like variety when it comes to texture and taste of food. And it’s one of the major points of Purina products. They have tons of options when it comes to food and treats. Wait, did I mention they also have litters? All in one brand, right?
This post may sound like selling too much for a brand, but it’s not really about the brand, honestly.
It’s about how we give the love back to our pets. They just give too much, don’t you think?
All I’m saying is they deserve the best that they can have. And how can we give that? By knowing how to take care of them. And by being smart on how we deal with them on a daily basis. After all, everybody should be petsmart. 😉
Promotion for Petsmart shoppers like me:
If you spend $40 on Purina products from June 1-30, you can get a $10 gift card. All you need to do is register with your contact information and then upload receipt to the redemption site. You will then receive an email confirming registration that will also feature Purina promotional deals that will also link through the PETM.com. A physical $10 Petsmart gift card will be mailed to the you in 4-8 weeks to use for follow up visit. Sounds good?
If you have questions, let me know.
Do you have pets?
Let me know in the comments how you make them feel that they are loved!
I’m sure that if you’re reading this, at one point, you’ve encountered the same, quite infinitesimal problem that most instagram users once asked. Perhaps you have tons of stunning high definition photos stored in your PC or laptop that you wanted to upload on this popular social media platform but you just don’t feel like going through the whole process of transferring every photo from your big old gadget to your phone.
Bruuuhhh, I feel you! This was my silent wish before I found out this amazing hack! I’m not making this up. Try this amazing step-by-step guide and feel the magic right at your fingertips.
1. Go to your instagram profile.
It should look like this on your browser. I suggest using Google Chrome for this. Make sure you are logged in as well.
2. Using your keyboard, press CTRL+SHIFT+I if using PC or OPTION+COMMAND+I if using Mac.
In THAT order. Hold it until this comes up:
3. Click the phone-tablet icon beside the word ‘Elements’ located at the upper part of the new panel.
Right after you click it, your instagram profile will be shown like this:
And do you see that little familiar thing in the middle?
4. You can now upload your photos.
Just a heads up:
You can resize your photo and put a caption like the usual, but there’s one little glitch to this method: You can’t use Instagram filters. That’s because Instagram assumes that your photos from your PC or laptop are already awesome! Kidding aside, I think that’s a very minute detail compared to the huge difference this hack can make.
I know you’re going to try this, and while you’re at it, you can follow me on IG @omgelli Let’s be friends!
Do you find this helpful?
Let me know if you do!
It’s the second week of May and as you all know, I’m here in Lynchburg, Virginia for my second travel nursing assignment. It’s quite lengthy if I tell you everything that happened since my first day here, but I figured you can benefit from this post if I tell you stuff that surprised me from a Texan’s point of view. OK, before you react violently, I’m not from Texas originally, lol, but I’ve spent my last three years in Texas and even if I deny it, I’ve been accustomed to some of its ways and culture. Howdy y’all!
These little things that I observed are from my two weeks of stay, so I’m sure there’d be more to this list in the next months. But for now, here are five things in Lynchburg that surprised me.
1. Lynchburg has no HEB
I already expected the absence of Whataburger (oh snap, YES it is real!) but HEB? I honestly thought that it is America’s first choice when it comes to grocery shopping. Next to Walmart, of course. But really?! HEB is like TX’s go-to grocery store. So on our first week, Luis and I searched for an alternative and found out that Lynchburg has a community market. How cool is that? We haven’t been there yet, but we’re planning to go next time we do our grocery shopping. For this week’s groceries, we went to Kroger and applied for their membership. I know that we’re only staying for three months, but I couldn’t say no to the nice sales person who offered a discount. Kroger looks like HEB but with more organic options I think.
I actually like Kroger even though it’s more expensive than HEB because of its quality ham. I know it’s a petty reason but we always buy ham for our sandwiches and I can assure you that I love their sweet ham. It’s nothing like the HEB brand. lol sorry! Anyway, the size of the establishment is almost the same as HEB so maybe we won’t miss the latter that much.
2. Roller coaster roads
YES, I know we are in the Hill City, but nobody briefed us about our route going to the hospital and that the drive every day would feel like we’re in an amusement park. I loved it at first but my gut doesn’t. I know we’re only feeling like this at first and it’d go away eventually, hopefully soon. I’m not complaining, though. It’s not that bad. On a different note, I commend the drainage system in the city because even if it rained many times last week, and even with those dips in major alleys, we never had an issue with flood build-up.
The only issue actually is the gas. I think the car consumes more fuel to go up and down, right? Or am I making this up? But it makes sense though, because of the force going up. But I don’t really know. Lol.
3. Erratic weather
I was totally expecting a cold weather! You can’t blame me, Lynchburg is in the mountain. And a week before our trip, I was looking at my phone’s Weather app in order to monitor the trend of temperature- it was ranging from 40s to 60s. Travelers could relate to this: weather is crucial for packing because jackets, boots, and coats take a lot of space. I was not disappointed that it’s not cold because I don’t like snow or anything under 50 degrees Fahrenheit. My DNA likes tropical weather, don’t get me wrong on this one. However, when packing is compromised with minute details like this, it’s a little frustrating. I should have brought more summer dresses! Lol.
Anyway, the weather has been amazing so far! There are little rain showers that we experienced but it didn’t really last that long. We were able to go to parks and nearby stores on our first week which is pretty cool because we didn’t expect to explore the place before our clinical duty starts. So the weather actually did us a favor. It’s somewhat erratic, but totally manageable.
4. Low cost of living
We’re in Virginia so I anticipated that our cost of living would dramatically increase. Thank God, it didn’t. I was amazed that we didn’t have to adjust our monthly expenses. It’s almost the same! We were even able to rent a three-bedroom house for only $1250/mo including all our utilities except our Wifi installation. Groceries cost the same; we usually allot $150/week, more or less. Gas doesn’t vary much throughout the country so I’m not really expecting that to change.
For a small city, the cost of living is well distributed- from housing to food. I can’t really tell if it’s actually balanced with their job opportunities and wage range. It’s hard to estimate on our part because our travel contract is only good for three months.
Oh speaking of housing, I want to share with you how we found this temporary home of ours. Initially, we were planning to stay in a hotel for two weeks like what we did in Lufkin. Then just scout around for an apartment that accepts short lease and is move-in ready and at the same time, pet-friendly. So we arrived here in Lynchburg Sunday morning, like around 8am; the check in time at our hotel was 3pm. So we had extra time to explore. But then we were so tired to even tour around. We ended up at Centra General’s parking lot after I was able to convince Luis to check out our workplace.
So while we’re at the parking lot and killing time, I browsed Craigslist for housing rentals and sublets nearby. And there we found Gwen’s post about this house. I called the number enlisted and he immediately responded. I told him we’ll see the place, and right there and then, we signed the contract and cancelled our hotel booking. Such a rush but this is totally one of those unexpected blessings. Not only did we save expenses for a costly hotel booking, we did settle in perfectly in no time!
5. Friendly neighborhood
We were so fortunate to be in our little neighborhood in Yancey Street. The people here greeted us with warm smiles and enthusiastic nods. We learned from the house’s owner that the place is homed by only one extended family that’s why everybody knows everybody. And they are very helpful, too!
Don’t judge me for this but on our first day, I thought I lost my little kitty, Pumpkin! I went all hysterical and did a pretty ugly cry for this. It’s because I opened the door going to the backyard and I didn’t realize that Pumpkin is just around lurking at the corner. You know how cats are. So when I couldn’t find her inside the house, I panicked and instantly thought that she ran outside. I then approached our friendly neighbors and told them about my missing furry companion. Without much introduction, they immediately helped us look for Pumpkin. All those trouble only to find out that Pumpkin was hiding under our bed. Geez! What a first day.
Let me just share with you some of the photos we took while we toured around. We haven’t really explored the place but since we’re so excited to be here, there you go:
So far, we’re liking it here.
Where are you planning to go this May?
Let me know in the comments!
I’m twenty five years old, and for 25 years, I’ve had rebonding six times, gone to salon more than fifty times, and used a straightening iron more times than I can remember how my natural hair looks like.
You see, I have an unexplained dislike for my curls. I can condemn the culture I grew up in for popularizing the distasteful “kulot ay salot” (curly is cursed) or I can unapologetically point my finger at the ugly society altogether for coercing everybody to fit in a mold of what normal should look like, or for teaching us to desire what we don’t have.
Since I grew up with a curly hair, it’s “common” to want a straight hair simply because it’s easier to manage. Having curls demands time, effort, and lots of patience. Braids and mainstream hairstyles need a lot of adjusting, gels, and hair wax to maintain our hair kept for the whole day. We can’t just wake up, take a photo, and caption it with #wokeuplikethis and not look like a bruha with a nest on our head. No, I’m not even exaggerating.
So you’ll know by now where all the hair change came from. Right now, my hair is a little over shoulder-length, naturally bouncing with curls, and I’m totally loving it. If you ask me 10 years ago if I’d love my hair today, I’m sure my answer would be different. It takes a lot of maturity to accept what you have, and to feel content with what you are given.
When I accepted the 30-day challenge by Hairstory, I thought I’ll regret abandoning shampoo and conditioner. With the type of hair that I have, it’s pretty scary to try a product meant to “restore” my natural crowning glory. There are doubts, sure. But I was more afraid of what I’d feel afterwards. What if I don’t like it? How would I write about it? What if even after all this time, I still hate my curls? It was a pretty rough decision for me- but then again, that’s why it’s called a “challenge.”
If you’ve been following me for a while now, you’d notice that I’m pretty obsessed on how I do my product reviews. It’s either I like it or not. And I always tell my sponsors about that, and every time, they’d tell me beforehand that I’d love their products. Maybe it’s to condition me as well that everything will turn out great. And true enough, my experience with Hairstory was nothing but extraordinary.
Say no to shampoo. New Wash is the new way to clean hair with aloe and essential oils – instead of detergent – to respect the natural moisture barrier. New Wash works on EVERY type of hair, and you’ll never need conditioner again to mask the damage that shampoo and detergent cause. Rediscover your hair, restore its vitality, and prepare to be amazed. –Hairstory
Not a shampoo? Not a conditioner?
I know it’s hard to fully grasp the idea. But let me tell you what I know. Let’s start with its cleansing properties. It claims to have Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice which cleanses pores and balances scalp pH. It also adds shine and softness, and surprisingly has anti-inflammatory properties. That means if you have dandruff or itchy scalp, this could be a great option to try. Another ingredient that I like are Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil and Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil. They both loosen and dissolve hardened sebum around the hair follicle that can cause hair loss. I don’t know if you experience hair fall frequently, but I do, and it’s one thing that I observed from using New Wash- less hair fall!
And they say, no conditioner, right? So how come my hair feels really soft afterwards? Let’s take a look at its conditioning properties as well. First of all, it has Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine that conditions without build-up; unlike commercialized conditioners, New Wash has this property to improve wet and dry combing and to provide static control. It doesn’t only help with moisture and shine, it also prevents hair damage. I’ve heard of Equisetum Hiemale extract before for its rich mineral content so I’m quite surprised to know that New Wash also contains this mineral. This helps to strengthen and condition the hair shaft; provides shine and elasticity; promotes circulation and rejuvenation with a soft, smooth, firming effect on skin.
In terms of packaging, it’s what minimalists have in mind when they think of presenting a product. New Wash is contained in a white box with bold and orange letters. I find it cool because they have their own way of making a statement in a world full of definitions and unnecessary details.
Scent. If you’re someone with a penchant for flowery scent, this is not your guy. I find it minty with a hint of eucalyptus and therapeutic oils more than anything. It’s relaxing and refreshing at the same time. The scent actually reminded me of the last time I went for hair spa. It kinda gives you that vibe.
HOW TO USE
- Expect a totally new experience:
- Thoroughly wet hair.
- Cover hair and scalp with New Wash.
- Be sure to use enough! Not enough = Not clean.
- Take a few minutes to massage it into hair and scalp to distribute evenly. (This is my favorite part because the scent is just relaxing. I really took the time to massage my scalp.)
- Make sure to rinse extremely well.
- For long hair, comb through before rinsing.
- Do NOT condition; you won’t need to
- Revel in your new, modern, amazing hair.
Let me just tell you that it’s not runny like other shampoo. It’s not slimy either. The texture is more like lotion but less sticky, if you know what I mean. It doesn’t bubble, too. And that is actually a good thing because you’re finally putting something that benefits you in the long run.
Do I like it? YES.
I’ll rate it 4 of 5. But the remaining 1 is mostly for the price. It costs $40 per 8oz, and I know it’s expensive for a consumable commodity.
After using it for 30 days, I feel like my hair is less greasy and more moisturized. I actually thought I can pull a bangs with this since my issue with it is getting pimples on my forehead. But then I got so satisfied with my hair right now that I can now go out without putting any hair products on. Just my bare hair- feeling more bold and amazing than everr.
This New Wash challenge is more of an eyeopening thing for me, to be honest. It’s not every day that you’d think about why we use stuff that we use, or act the way we act. If we knew decades ago that shampoo could be out of equation, do you think the way we treat our hair would be different? It’s not also every day that I get to assess my hairstyling choices and how they affect my hair in general. If you’re into embracing the natural “YOU,” I swear you’ll love this product like I do. At the end of the day, what matters is how you see yourself.
Whether you have a flat and thin hair or a curly-all-over-the-place tangles, or perhaps you’ve just recently dyed your strands in unicorn hues, whatever your hair story is, I’m telling you: your hair story is meant to be shared.
and see it for yourself!
Disclosure: This post contains sponsored links from FragranceMarket.us
I can’t believe that April is almost over. Where did time go? I know some of you have updated your spring wardrobe already. The rest? Maybe you are one of those who are still doing a massive clean up of their bedroom, or adding upgrades to their routine. I can totally relate; the season’s changing and we just can’t help but to tweak a little something.
So before you consider buying another *stuff* to complete your floral-inspired vibe, you may want to consider this online shop that I discovered! When Fragrance Market reached out to me to do a review of their newly launched online perfume platform, I was in too much anticipation. I have always been a fan of online shops- they just make everything so much easier! And what product attracts women’s attention aside from shoes and bags? Perfume, of course!
“…a woman not yet seen, but whose perfume accumulates on the horizon like a storm cloud.”
― Fernand Dumont
Fragrance Market also gave me a 2oz bottle of Rose Eau de Toilette spray for Women by Mercedes Benz to review. Honestly, I didn’t even know that Benz has a perfume line. But it has good reviews so I was like, sure, why not give it a try?
In order to get the free product, they gave me instructions on how to access their website which was pretty easy actually. Then I did the whole process of updating my online cart, checking out, all those stuff that you normally do when you buy online. It’s pretty convenient and fast. Props to their wide selections of perfume; I was thrilled! How do I know? Because they have my favorite brands like Versace, Coco Chanel, and Prada! I bet they have your favorite brands, too! I usually go to stores for these three because it’s a hassle to purchase on separate websites. Using Fragrance Market, I got my perfume within a week. And all this, with just a few taps on my laptop. Sweet!
Unique points that I like:
Fragrance Market has “last minute suggestions” bar when you click checkout. I consider this a bonus point because not all online shops have that feature. I tend to be swayed by those, unfortunately. It’s like my pocket is saying ‘no more’ but my heart screams ‘yes please!’ They also have new arrivals every day! Too much for feeding the customers new meat, right? But the shopaholic always celebrates.
Since it’s a new website, there’s something that needs some acknowledging just like other startups out there. Their pop ups for discount deals are kinda annoying, so it’s a little bump in the road to those who are using their mobile phones to shop. But aside from that, I don’t really see a major downside.
Just my two (s)cents
Sorry, I can’t resist the pun! Lol. So I received this package in a medium-sized box; the perfume was delicately secured in a shiny silver wrap crowned with a blue ribbon. The presentation effortlessly added to my excitement as I unwrapped it. I love how they make it special with personal touch. It makes as a perfect gift, too, don’t you think? I mean, who doesn’t love perfume anyway?
To be honest, at first spray, I didn’t like it. It smells like sweet lemon if that makes sense. But then when I wore it throughout the day, I was actually impressed by its long lasting fragrance. I noticed that its light and fresh rose scent doesn’t change much on the skin. I sense mostly rose and citrusy notes. I think it’s modest and good for everyday scent, but I would say it lacks some nuances – something to make it more of an experience.
Composition of the new edition for women MERCEDES BENZ ROSE contains a cocktail of black currant and lemon, splashed by rose petals and magnolia in the heart. The floral heart is enriched by elemi shades and creamy rosewood, along with cedar, amber and white musk, lingering in the trail. Women’s flacon repeats the form of the original and is embellished with pink color of glass.
But overall, I think it’s fairly priced. I’m going to give Mercedes a chance on this one since they’re still building their perfume line. I read somewhere that they have cologne for men, too, which makes perfect sense because their clients are mostly men.
Fragrance Market is offering 10% off for orders over $65 when you apply the code 10OFFBEST upon checkout. Wait a sec, there’s more! Right now, on their online shop, they’re offering 25% OFF as their Mothers’ Day highlight. To avail that promo, use MOM25 upon checkout.
I don’t know about you but I get pretty excited when there’s an amazing deal like this. Shop wisely, though. With these jaw-dropping offers, it’s hard to control the impulse to buy things we don’t really need. And while perfume is just another “want,” buying yourself something that makes you feel good is highly encouraged especially to hardworking people like you!
Enjoy shopping, everyone!
Whenever I think of Lufkin, I think of short trails with lush green grass, lakes with cute bridges, and unbelievably great food! If you want to know Lufkin’s best local restaurants, I got the perfect list! These five picks are a must-try if ever you go to this small city in Deep East Texas.
Let me just acknowledge the fact that the ambience inside gives you that 1960s vibe which most restaurants in Texas have. It’s cosy and it feels so spacious with their open concept.
Nested in the middle of the Piney Woods of East Texas, this Clear Springs location occupies what once was the first refrigerated warehouse West of the Mississippi River. Located next to a busy rail yard, this warehouse was ideal for getting food and supplies to people all over Texas and the United States. Stop in and see history on the walls and enjoy the Best Fried Catfish in Texas as voted by Texas Highways Magazine. (source)
One thing in their menu that just pops out is their “World Famous Onion Rings.” It costs $5.95 for small, and $8.95 for Texas size. Since it’s only me and Luis, we ordered small, which I think is a great choice because we were almost full even before we got to the main course. We are a fan of onion rings, and Clear Springs’ is one of the BEST that we’ve tasted! It is full of flavor and has the right amount of spices. You can hear the crunch from every bite!
For the main course, I ordered a seafood combo of (2) for $14.45. They also have a choice of (3) for $18.45 if ever you have the appetite for three different kinds. I got fried catfish and fried oysters. This meal is served with french fries, cole slaw, Pinto beans and hushpuppies. I love that their catfish is cooked to perfection; I didn’t taste the “muddy” feel that it gives off sometimes. It didn’t smell fishy at all, and their tartar sauce is perfect with it. Its fried oyster is also surprisingly good! It is so soft inside that it’s almost melting in my mouth. Paired with lemon and tartar dip, their oysters just take the spotlight. For the price, the serving size is not going to disappoint you. I’m not a fan of their cole slaw and beans, or maybe it just tastes bland to me.
Luis, on the other hand, ordered chicken fried chicken (Cowboy size) for $12.95. It’s chicken breast coated with special seasonings then topped with cream gravy. It is also served with a choice of two sides and Texas Toast. He chose beans and fries for the sides. He adores chicken. Everything chicken, actually. So when I asked if he likes it, I already know his answer.
Their staff are also accommodating and very friendly. Waiting time is more or less thirty minutes which we actually didn’t mind because we’ve heard a lot of good things about this place prior going here. I’m giving this 4 stars out of 5 because I love everything about this place! However, it is 30 minutes away from Lufkin and that is a hassle if we want to go there more often.
2. Ray’s Drive In Cafe
Where do locals get their burgers? Definitely here! We are food slaves of Whataburger. Our home is filled with Whataburger ketchups and condiments, and we’re not even kidding. However when in Lufkin, Ray’s Drive In Cafe just takes the VIP seat. Their burgers are the best we’ve tasted in TX! We’ve been to Houston, San Antonio, and all the way south, but nothing like their old-fashioned Ray’s Special!
Sorry for the messy photos. Honestly, we were hypnotized by the greasy scent of the meat that I forgot to take a photo before indulging! My lipstick even stained the bun, do you see it? lol! This is Chili hamburger by the way, which is good, but their Ray Special Burger is the best! It costs $5.00 when I ordered it the next time we went and I didn’t bother to take a photo. It’s THAT good you just want to eat it right there and then! No wonder it is their all-time bestseller.
Another thing they are famous for is their milkshake and ice cream floats! I don’t have enough tummy room for a milkshake so I just ordered a root beer float as my drink for $2.85. And OMG! I was surprised!
This is NOT root beer float, it’s a whole ice cream with root beer in it. They are very generous with their ice cream, I just couldn’t handle the good vibes this cup gave me! And the ice cream tastes like a vanilla “dirty” or “street” ice cream in PH, but this one’s a better version. I totally love it!
Their staff is ok, seems a little off when we first got there. I don’t know why, they are just not those extra friendly people which I don’t mind at all because I was only there for the food. I rate this 5 stars of 5 because of its proximity to our location, fast service, and their outdoor space. It’s pretty amazing to look at especially at night.
OK, when we got here, I didn’t know that we would have a great and amazing dinner. Yes, we googled it and read some reviews, but since it’s a pasta house, I didn’t really expect much. After all, what’s with pasta other than pasta and sauce, right? I thought, there’d be nothing extraordinary. I didn’t bring my camera, my phone’s battery was at 15%. Luis and I just wanted to eat, basically.
And I regretted not bringing my camera with me! The atmosphere inside is incredible! Their staff wore colorful aprons, and greeted us with warm smiles. Their stairs inside, right after you enter the front door, is antique and appears elegantly unique. Their wall decor, lightings, and the whole atmosphere is just perfect! I can still recall it in my memory! Too bad no photos to prove it, but you definitely should go here! The outside look was such a tease, there was a stunning surprise inside!
I ordered chicken marsala. It consists of chicken medallions, mushrooms and green onions in a rich Marsala wine sauce. It is also served with fettuccine. I can definitely taste the sweet and tangy wine sauce. The aroma is tempting, like a glass of old wine, but with a fruity appeal to it. The chicken is tender and perfect with every bite. You can taste every ingredient and I’ve never tried any pasta like this. It’s full of palatable flavor that is just right in your tongue. It’s not overpowering, it’s perfectly rich! The sauce is not like other wine sauce that I tried. I let Luis try it even though he doesn’t like mushrooms, and he gave his thumbs up!
On the other hand, Luis tried their homemade spaghetti and meatballs. OK, this one, I tried it, too! I am not a fan of sour spaghetti but this tastes like a tomato freshly picked from a farm. I don’t know, it just satisfies your palate in a way that’s hydrating and flavorful. Their meatballs are pure goodness of meat! It may appear simple, but the sauce is just savory!
Before I forget, our appetizer was crab cake. I didn’t give justice to this one but it was plated perfectly. The sauce around it is well-seasoned and has a sharp kick in your tongue, more like gingery and vinegary. It’s served with lemon butter sauce and remoulade dressing. One of the best crab cakes I’ve had in my entire life!
I rate this 5 of 5 because Auntie Pasta’s is one hell of experience for me! I love cooking pasta and this place gave me a lot of inspiration to level up my pasta game. The place was perfect, location is somewhat far from Lufkin city area, but definitely worth it! The price, however, is a little expensive. We spent almost $40.00 excluding the tip. But is it worth it? YES. Are we going back? ABSOLUTELY!
4. Stringer’s Lufkin Bar-B-Q
First of all, this is not the best brisket I’ve ever tasted. (Sorry!) But you should take note that this place has been in Lufkin for 66 YEARS. Legendary, right!? It blew me away, too. This place is not only historical, it also means that this place had served several generations and even then, was able to manage keeping up with changing time.
When you browse their menu, you can see the words: “Juicy, fall off the bone tender, mouth watering, seasoned just right, cooked over open fire pork ribs.” And they are right for the most part. I ordered a brisket plate which costs $12.00, I’m not really sure. But it is around that price range. I like the smokiness and tenderness of the meat. However, it’s not the only one that caught my attention. Their beans are extraordinary! It’s a must-try for the sides! I know others won’t love the sweetness of it but that’s what makes it stand out. I finished the whole thing and didn’t even have to ask for a to-go box! Also, the pickles are fresh and crunchy and cleanses your palate just right.
Another local favorite is their fried rolls.
Immediately after we ordered, these golden rolls hit our plates. They are buttery and soft like a cotton inside. They come with little packets of honey which we tried and boy, it was good! I thought I’m eating a dessert already. The texture is donutty but has more resistance when you chew it. It’s pretty heavy for a starter so we set some aside for after our main order. But we had a hard time, though, because you just can’t help but take another piece.
I’ll give this place a 4 of 5 because I think this place has way more potential than how it is performing right now. The staff are friendly and the vibe inside is homey. Most orders are to-go, and I think it’s because of their old tables and chairs. They should get an upgrade/renovation soon, or not, since it’s an iconic place. Well, as long as the tummy is happy!
“Always fresh, always friendly, the Dolli’s Diner way!”
We found ourselves eating brunch in this cute cafe near University area in Nacogdoches while we’re strolling around. I thought it’d be the usual American diner, but lo and behold, this 1950s style diner stunned us with their fresh selections of sandwiches. The fun vibe in this place is prominent. Colorful walls and memorabilia added character to the place.
Their serving is HUGE; I wasn’t able to eat it all. I even asked for help as Luis tried to finish mine. I got Tex-Mex burger with green chili, avocado, and pepper jack cheese. It is a hand-pattied fresh ground beef on a toasted bun. Served with lettuce, onion, pickle and my choice of fries or onion rings. For $9.00, it’s a fair deal.
Luis ordered his usual bacon cheeseburger which consists of bacon & cheddar, swiss, american, or pepperjack cheese. It’s priced at $9.00 as well.
I personally love this place for its relaxed and friendly atmosphere. It’s a casual place that offers you that home cooked food you always crave for. You can also build your own burger with (3) toppings of your choice for only $10.00. It also comes with homemade chili sauce for an extra $2.00.
I am giving this place a 4 of 5 because while the food is great, their sweet tea is not my type. I don’t know if it’s the way it’s sweetened or just the general taste of it. But overall, this place should be included in your list!
So there you go! Your five best local restaurants in Lufkin.
I’ve always believed that in order for you to know a place, you should try their local food. And we did! Not only did we savor Lufkin’s culture, these dishes also made me understand the authentic Lufkin living which transcends to their laid-back vibe with bold and classic kick.
Did you like this list?
Which one appealed to you the most?
Let me know in the comments!
Right now, I’m on my last week of my first ever travel nursing assignment. It’s been a crazy ride for our career and this blog, I must say. Everything seemed to happen so fast that I missed tracking some important events in this journey. But for now, I’m going to share with you the things we considered when extending our contract.
November of last year when Luis and I finally took the leap of faith and ventured into this journey that is travel nursing. Many wonderful things happened since. Fast forward to this day and five months after, here we are: finally leaving Lufkin and moving on to our next destination. But aren’t you supposed to only have 13 weeks? I know, I get that question a lot.
Travel assignments usually last for 8-13 weeks. The contract depends on patient load, season, and overall need of the hospital.
Initially, we signed up for a thirteen-week assignment. And we loved it! I couldn’t explain this more but everything about workload and work environment are amazing.
Why did we stay?
After our 13 weeks, we received an email saying that we are eligible to extend. To be able to qualify for an extension, travel nurses should be able to pass according to the facility’s standards. Some staff are generally asked about our performance, work ethics, and how we carry ourselves. Are we knowledgable enough? Are we competent enough? Do we follow hospital policy? Do we break house rules? Are we good with our patients? Do we communicate well with staff?
Those were just sample questions that I heard from staff and management. To keep it short, it basically assesses whether the hospital wants to keep us or not. So being able to receive the extension offer, we are really elated! It’s our first assignment so we didn’t really expect much.
Here are the reasons we extended aka the pros of extending our travel nursing assignment:
1. No need for adjustment
We already know the different policies of the hospital. Where to get stuff. Who to call for this. How their equipment work. How people coordinate with other staff. Everything seems to be easy peasy when you familiarize yourself with these little bumps while working.
2. Higher paycheck, same expenses
When we accepted the extension offer, we tried to negotiate. If they wanted us real bad, they should be able to give us what we want. We were able to agree with $100 increase per week. It’s not much compared to what other travel nurses are requiring when they ask for a deal, but it’s already enough for us. From $1,400+ take home (tax already excluded) per week, we’re able to earn $1,500/wk.
3. More time to explore the place
Lufkin is a small city but is strategically located between Houston and Louisiana. There is not much to see in Lufkin, honestly. However, it is only two hours away from Houston so we were able to go in that amazing city whenever we like.
I even got the chance to experience Rodeo Houston!
And even watch THE Alicia Keys!
It is truly one for the books! Five months in this place but it is still too short to try their incredible and amazing local restaurants! I promise to make a post about it. They are just so good!
4. Getting to know people on a deeper level
During our whole stay, we got the chance to befriend some of the coolest and friendliest people on earth. We’re really happy that our coworkers in Woodland Heights are accommodating and simply amazing! More time staying means more time to be with these awesome people.
5. No need to pack. Again.
The only hassle of traveling often is the whole preparation thing. I just hate packing.
Packing sheet! lol ok. It’s meant to be a pun because I don’t swear. It’s a breeze not to load all your stuff at the back of the car and squeeze them to bits just to fit everything we have. We’re still new at this and no matter how many pinterest boards I make to keep me organized, it just takes so much time. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
All is well, right? But…
Why do we need to go?
No matter how many pros I include in this list, extending a contract has its fair share of consequences as well. The gypsy in us is going to agree with these cons:
1. Homesickness will eventually kick in.
Travel is a great way to explore the world and find yourself. But being away from home for too long doesn’t do you good also. You miss events, family gatherings, and the feeling of being in your comfort zone. Luis told me that this is one thing that he’d never outgrow and I totally get it. If I’m given the chance to be with my family, sign me up! Good thing we were able to have our two-week off after our thirteen weeks assignment. Our recruiter is the best. We super love her! #TeamKelly
2. Limits in professional growth
One of the many reasons I signed up for travel nursing is discovering more of my potential. With different sets of people/coworkers, I learn more techniques and nursing interventions that enable me to become a better nurse. If I stay in one place, I’m afraid I’d miss out on that chance to improve my skills and knowledge.
There is no wrong being comfortable in your work space, however, when you see yourself starting to become complacent, it’s asking for danger. Nursing is not the profession for “routine work.” Nothing is ever a routine. And when it feels like it does, that means you’re doing something wrong or something that doesn’t contribute to your patient care. When you see yourself doing the same thing over and over, and you feel like it’s “getting old,” it’s the gypsy soul saying, “it’s time to move.”
4. Workplace politics
When you start working in a new facility, you don’t know anybody. You don’t know whose team is late or early at work. You don’t know who’s the most hated nurse or the most strict nurse leader, or basically the center of every gossip. But when you stay longer than you should, believe me, you’re gonna play favorites eventually, and you wouldn’t want that. Peace of mind while at work is my jive. Taking care of sick people is already stressful. Spare me from negativities!
5. More destinations
When you extend a contract, that means that’s another contract in another place that you didn’t apply for. And while everything is doing great in Lufkin, I just feel like there is so much more in the US that I want to explore! When I first got here, I didn’t even know where Lufkin is. I didn’t have any idea how much good vibes this place would bring me. And I know there are more places like this that I need to discover! So we hopped on to our next destination— VIRGINIA!
I am so excited to go there and I’m already pinning locations that we are planning to visit. Follow me on Pinterest to see these boards!
To travel nurses reading this, what are your thoughts on extending a contract?
Also, let me know your pet peeves when packing.
I badly need to avoid those for our next road trip.
Disclosure: This post contains sponsored links from Book Of The Month.
"The door to another world is just a book away."
It's 3am again. You stretch your arms and wiggle your toes while refocusing your blurry gaze. Your fingers fighting the urge to turn another page. You said you're going to stop after four chapters. But here you are - debating whether it is an option to close the door of the world you created in your head or just open your senses to the truth that is work day.
You drag your feet to the kitchen and aim for a cup of coffee. The aroma of fresh brew intensifies your inner villain.
Am I ready to face reality? You asked.
But it's not your work or school or any piled up chore that you are worried about. Those are for ordinary people. You are not ordinary, you tell yourself. You are afraid to see the words - the end. You don't want to, but you know you need to.
Here is the character you loved for a week or two and probably admire for the rest of your life. The place you familiarized with and imagined to explore. Here is the bad guy who made you understand why bad guys do what they do and why bad guys exist in all of us. Here are the questions that opened more bafflement and wonder, and here are the answers hiding between cynical phrases and sarcastic punctuation marks.
You go back to your pillow and fight the urge to finally know what ends it all. You reach for the book resting on your coffee-stained sheet.
Ok. You sighed.
You flip the page and the sound of it already breaks your heart. After falling in love with thoughts and new experiences, you realize that the author screwed you over. You just know that you'll never look at these personified paper people the same way. Whoever filled the characters' shoes, whatever their jobs are, however intolerable their attitude is, you know every detail gave you something valuable in the physical world.
In your make-believe story, the lesson is greater than tragedy. And THIS makes you ready. This makes you equipped with life lessons minus the cost of actually living each circumstance. Why is it always tragic anyway?
You console yourself and say, "Because it ends."
Book hangover is a real thing.
One week after your last adventure, you browse Netflix but skip every show. Each time, you think nothing is capable of replacing that story that blew your mind away. You associate the characters with sales crew you greet at department stores. You find yourself casually using protagonist's remarkable phrases and sentences in real-life conversations.
Your friend notices your lack of enthusiasm to listen to their gossips. You convince them otherwise by staring at their forehead and constantly nodding even though you can barely hear anything. The world is on mute, and you're okay. For now.
You compensate your loss with short reads - news and magazine articles related to the book and brief tweets from the author who wrote the book. You silently wish for a sequel or a surprise prequel, and honestly, anything that can prolong the idea of the story in your entity. You crave for the familiar feeling of being involved with the mysteries of every chapter.
This cycle goes on and on until you see somebody holding the very same book. You thought you moved on, but no, this is just the start of the trick. You approached the person and said, "Please tell me you're done reading."
You already imagine talking to him for hours. You visualize how he'd react when you spill a fanfiction you hypothesize to be true. You just know he'd drop his jaw and reread those pages you memorized by heart. And before you know it -
"Nah, I'm just bringing this to a friend."
Your world tears apart and you freeze. How can people carry the world in their hands and not be curious about it? All you wanted is to share your feelings and boxed emotions that book gave you. And before you know it, you're rereading the same book. You just can't let go.
Your sister sees you with the same book and drops a very unwanted comment.
"You read like a turtle."
Some days you just shrug it off but other times, you find yourself in word war against your tribe. It's not easy to be in a household where reading the same book for the nth time is just pretentious. They don't understand. You sighed.
Nobody understands you like a book lover does.
OK, truth time. You end up with this:
You read the same book. The book challenge you've been wanting to achieve for 2017 is a failure. 300 books before 30? Impossible. You meet someone who read a book you're unfamiliar with and you cringe at the thought of being ignorant to their world. You develop a serious case of FOMO: Fear of missing out. ON BOOKS. The very thing you're addicted of having. And you wonder how, HOW ON EARTH, CAN OTHERS achieve that?
What if I tell you that the search for your next read doesn't have to mean days of waiting for your go-to bookstore to update their shelves? What if I tell you that there is a way to ease your hangover by having a book line up, crafted according to your taste, and waiting for you right at your doorstep? And what if I tell you that there is a BIG COMMUNITY of readers out there that reads what you read AND hosts discussions about theories after theories and insights after insights of pages you keep going back to over and over?
That's what Book Of The Month club does for you. I wrote about them last month and I'm still talking about them. WHY? Because I am a fan! Here is my post last March if you want to know more about them.
So how does it work?
I know you won’t sign up right away if you don’t know how it works. Because you are smart like that.
Three simple phrases: Awesome books. Better reading. Every month.
What you need to know:
- You get one book every month from 5 GREAT selections of BOTM judges. You can choose which book to get. If ever you get curious who the judges are, THEY are professionals in their field. Some are news writers, celebrities, hosts, editors, YOU REALLY NEED TO CHECK OUT THEIR WEBSITE because they are all awesomeeee!
- If you want to add a book, you pay additional $9.99. Due to their great selections, I bet you’ll pay for more. Don’t worry. It’s FREE SHIPPING.
- If ever you don’t feel like buying one from their great selections, you can skip any month. No hassle of unsubscribing. Because they know you’ll go back for more.
- Say you come across a book that your friend will love, YOU CAN OPT TO GIVE IT AS A GIFT! No stress of wrapping it because they’re gonna make sure it will be delivered in a special way, just like how you’d want it to be.
- PLUS you get an exclusive review from one of their judges. What if you receive a review from a news anchor that you love or a writer that you’re dying to see? What a BONUS right?! And it makes a great bookmark, too!
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!
Right now, on my instagram account, there is a giveaway going on!
And I can't wait for you to join as well!
Hello, hello, sweet people! 📚CALLING ALL BOOK LOVERS OUT THERE ✨ Here is the giveaway you've all been waiting for! 3-month book subscription c/o BOTM. Here's what you need to do: ✔️Double tap this photo ✔️Follow @bookofthemonthclub and @omgelli ✔️Bonus point if you put in the comments the name of the last BOOK you read 📚 What are you getting? ✔️Subscription package includes 1 hardcover book of your choice each month (3 months = 3 books) ✔️Free shipping ✔️Exclusive bookmarks from their panel of judges (author, newscaster, celebrity, etc.) Giveaway ends April 20. Good luck, guys!!! #ad #sponsored #bookofthemonth #giveaway
Best of luck, guys!