For New Year’s I explored the old town of Jefferson, Texas. Jefferson is in East Texas and sits close to the Louisiana border with a population of about 2,000 people. Jefferson dates back to the pre-civil war era and served as an important port for the confederacy during the civil war. The town is really small and the roads leading to it are fairly remote, passing through other aesthetic towns like Avinger and Pittsburg. Of all the remote towns I’ve explored in the past few years, Jefferson is definitely one of my favorites.
The first thing I noticed about Jefferson was it’s vintage vibe and out-of-Texas feel. Unlike the majority of the Texas towns I’ve visited, the town is encompassed by wooded areas and the houses are fairly spread out. In fact, Jefferson is built right along a Bayou and is in close proximity to Caddo Lake. The buildings, however, are what gives Jefferson it’s charm.
Jefferson General Store is an old fashion soda fountain and, it being New Years, it was closed, but it looked so cute. Signs hung on the side of the brick building indicated what it sold and an old fashioned, bright blue truck with ‘Jefferson’ painted on it was parked out front.
To add to the town’s charm there was an old fashioned gas station and a bridge going over a portion of the bayou. There were also a series of really cool alley ways between old buildings and sites holding historical significance. One of the coolest historical sites in Jefferson was the Excelsior House, a hotel at which Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, and Oscar Wilde once stayed. Right across the street there was also an old train car from the Union Pacific railroad.
The trip to Jefferson, as a whole, was really cool and I was able to get plenty of good pictures out of it so it was definitely worth it. Strong recommend if you’re ever in the area to drive through. It was also a great kick off to my 2019 adventures and I can’t wait for so many more!
5 Things to Keep in Mind in Order to Live your Best Life
For this week’s post I decided to share a few things that I personally have realized allow my life a greater sense of purpose and happiness. I hope these help you out 🙂 Also, as a quick heads up I am leaving on vacation this Sunday and will take many pictures so I can blog about it and that will be posted next Friday. Hope you’re summer has been great and now let’s get on to the article. Don’t forget to sparkle!
In the world we live in today it is easy to be afraid of things we don’t know much about. It’s only natural considering the regular precautions we practice in our everyday lives. This being said, it’s easy to get caught up in said worries and lose touch with what it truly means to get lost in the moment. We’ve all heard some form of the phrase ‘live as if you were to die tomorrow’ before and it’s time that we start obeying it. After all, we only live once: we must explore, eat, play, and achieve as if we only have one chance because sometimes we do.
In a world run by negativity we have to stay positive. There is always a chance of bad things happening but if we dwell on that chance, which is really only a number, we are preventing ourselves from enjoying life. Of course it’s ok to be negative every once in a while, a rant helps us release steam, after all, but at the end of the day we must learn to direct our energy towards learning and adapting because of our situations. Positivity truly is powerful and can make all the difference when it comes to living a happy and fulfilling life.
One very overlooked key to a fulfilled life is being passionate about something. There’s so much to find passion in in this world whether it be music, travel, art, dance, or even something like religion, volunteer work, or activism. Having a passion can both give you something to do and make life feel more meaningful. So, next time you get invited to do something strange, give it a shot. Who knows, it might be your new passion.
Sometimes it can feel like the hardest thing in the world to let something go, but it’s important that in the end we drop the rope and let the balloon fly away. Whether it’s knowing when t0 give up on a pointless argument, forgiving someone who doesn’t seem to deserve or want forgiveness, or letting go of stress or a toxic relationship, it is important that at times we evaluate our priorities and decide if something is truly worth our time or not. Through learning to let go we are allowing ourselves to grasp onto the things that are actually important.
After all, anything could happen.
Looking Back at 2017: Manchester, The Great American Eclipse, and More
2017 is finally coming down to the wire. A year ago I decided to write a review of 2016 and I ended the review with a hope that 2017 would be a better year. So, let’s look back at 2017 and remember the good times along with the bad and reflect on all the lessons we learned as people.
Americans started the year off with the inauguration of President Donald Trump on January 20th. Similarly, the French had their election this year starting in April and ending in May with the inauguration of Emmanuel Macron. Along with these were dozens of other elections, but the American and French particularly stood out due to the controversy around them.
This year there were also several brutal events such as the Manchester attack. On May 22, a young man detonated a homemade suicide bomb at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England killing 22 and injuring 59 others. Then, on October 1st, 58 people were shot dead in a shooting in Las Vegas and 26 additional people were killed in November at a church shooting in a small town near San Antonio, Texas. This being said, not all of this year’s horrors were man made. Starting in August, Hurricane Harvey devastated southern states such as Louisiana and Texas killing 77 people and destroying hundreds of thousands of homes. Then came Hurricane Irma killing 134 people in Florida and the islands south of it. Finally, Hurricane Maria hit multiple countries bordering the Atlantic ocean, most notably Puerto Rico, and directly killed 66 people but lead to the death of many more due to a lack of power, shelter, and resources, especially in island countries.
Despite these tragedies, we rose to the occasion and helped. First responders saved over 122,000 people and 5,000 pets after and during Hurricane Harvey and over 300 volunteer organizations rose to help victims of the storm. Relatives and strangers alike found room in their hearts and homes all around the United States for Irma evacuees. After the Manchester bombing, One Love Manchester was held, a concert that ended up raising millions upon millions of dollars for the families of the attack victims.
Even apart from these acts of kindness we found hope. On August 21st, Americans all across the country looked up and we saw a beautiful anomaly: a complete solar eclipse. Almost everywhere in the country you could see it, whether it be complete or partial. We watched online and read about a child born blind and deaf given the gift of being able to hear and see her mother for the first time.
We found happiness. We binged shows like Stranger Things, Riverdale, and 13 Reason’s Why. We listened to music that spoke to us like ‘Sign of the Times’ by Harry Styles. We watched the new Star Wars and the countless other movies of the year. We learned to laugh and smile an come together as a world community.
And most of all, we fought with resilience. Women raised awareness and brought attention to sexual harassment, its victims, and its effects through the ‘Me Too’ campaign. The women’s marches also took place to make it known that women are deserving of their rights and tens of millions of women marched nation wide in the United States. Also, women in Saudi Arabia finally earned the right to drive in September of this year.
So, in conclusion, if you ask me whether I think this year has been better than last, I will gladly tell you that it has. There is still kindness and hope in this world and that is what strengthens us to do good. Yes, there is bad, but there will always be bad. After all, it is the bad that truly allows us to see the good.
Here’s to 2017
Blogmas Dec. 3, 2017: 25 Ways to Get Into the Holiday Spirit
Hey guys! I’m more than a little bit excited to say that I am going to be doing Blogmas this year on Sparklenews.com! I know that it is already the third, but I was really busy on the first and yesterday. That being said, from today up until Christmas I will be posting a new Christmas related article for you guys. Some posts will be random Christmas related articles and others will be blogs about what I did that was Christmas-y that day. So, make sure you are subscribed to the site so that you get notifications whenever a new article is posted and also, keep watch for an upcoming holiday giveaway and don’t forget to follow all of my social medias. Most of all, don’t forget to sparkle! Enjoy and Merry Christmas! 🙂
This year I decided to get super into the Christmas spirit in order to make the holiday season extra special. When brainstorming ideas on how exactly I could do this, I came up with the idea of doing something Christmas related every day starting on December first and going on up until Christmas. I got some of these ideas by looking up Christmas advent activity ideas and others were my own original ideas. Enjoy!
1. Make a gingerbread house village
2. Watch the Polar Express and drink hot chocolate
3. Attend a ballet performance of ‘The Nutcracker’
Hey guys! Sorry I haven’t posted in a while, but I’m getting back in the grove. That being said, from now on I am going to be posting normal articles on Sparkle Saturdays and Wednesdays and then I am going to be starting a new page on my site sometime this week called ‘thought of the day’. Because of school work, I am not able to write as many full articles, but I will do my best to post a ‘thought of the day’ at least twice a week where I will journal a quick response to one of your questions for me or write a quick reflection on something I thought of on that given day. As always, don’t forget to follow my social medias to get all the news that sparkles and don’t forget to sparkle! Now, onto today’s post!
In late July, I received a package filled with a very generous donation of a full pack of Matcha tea single sips and a sample packet from The Republic of Tea for a review.
So, I decided to try out one of the sample packets today. The first thing that I noticed was that the tea packets had instructions for a few different ways to prepare the tea: hot, cold, or as a hot matcha latte. Being me, I decided to make the matcha latte. It was very easy to prepare, all I had to do was make a cup of hot water and stir in the tea packet with a fork and then add milk. Also, the tea was a very pretty green color when prepared.
As for the taste, the Matcha tea tasted slightly like green tea only with a slightly more subtle taste. The milk also made it very creamy and nice. I would definitely recommend Matcha tea, especially The Republic of Tea’s Matcha tea, for people who drink green tea regularly or for those who like tea lattes. In addition to its taste, I read up on Matcha tea and found out that it has quite a few benefits as well. Not only is Matcha tea good for detox, but it also burns calories and boosts energy. Overall, I was really pleased with my first cup of Matcha tea. As for you guys, the full pack of Matcha single sips will be included in the much awaited giveaway that I will be doing soon.
Don’t forget to check back on Wednesday for a new fall related article and don’t forget to check my page ‘Thought of the Day’ which will be released soon! Don’t forget to sparkle!
Hey guys, my road trip blog series is finally at its end! Also, I have a giveaway coming up in the next month and so far it has tea, makeup, candies, and other products included. To get updates on that, Subscribe to my website using the form to the right or down below on mobile devices. And, as usual, don’t forget to follow all of my social medias and don’t forget to sparkle!
Day 4: Saratoga, Wyoming
On day four we were supposed to leave to Jackson, Wyoming so that we could stay there and explore Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park, but I ended up needing a small medical procedure, so we stayed in Saratoga. First thing that morning we called the local medical clinic and then we walked out to go get breakfast from a local shop in town. On the way I got some great pictures of the center of town.
We ended up getting breakfast at this really cute bakeshop on the street called Sweet Marie’s Bakeshop. I got a breakfast burrito and green tea latte and I must say it was delicious. If any of my tea loving readers find themselves in Saratoga, make sure you get a green tea latte from Sweet Marie’s. I dare say it was the best green tea latte I have ever had. Also, the shop was decorated very cutely and the owner left out cupcake papers and markers so that people could decorate them so that she could hang them on the wall.
After breakfast, we drove around the outskirts of town and I finally got some pictures of the pronghorn antelopes that we had seen in New Mexico and then hadn’t seen again until we hit the highlands of Wyoming. I even got a picture of a mother with its baby.
After the ride we headed to the clinic and I got a mini surgery. Although it was a bit painful, afterwards I felt a lot better. The staff at the clinic were incredibly nice and professional and I will forever be thankful for them being able to help me out. From there we went out to get ice cream from an ice cream parlor right next door to our hotel. I got birthday cake ice cream because I wanted to try a weirder flavor and it was actually really good. My sister got cinnamon and it was also delicious.
I basically needed to recover for the rest of the day so I didn’t do much, but it was a good day anyway. I watched Mean Girls and downloaded my pictures from my trip. We ended up booking another night at the Wolf hotel because it was really nice.
Day 5: Saratoga, Wyoming
We still weren’t able to leave Saratoga on day five because I needed to check back in with the doctors, but I have to say that Saratoga was really growing on me. That morning we went to Lollypops, the ice cream parlor we had visited the previous night, for breakfast. I had a Belgian waffle and an iced tea and they were both delicious. Afterwards we decided to explore the Saratoga Museum which was right next door to the clinic. For being a small town, it had a very nice museum!
Later that day we went to the Grand Encampment Museum which was in the small old mining town of Grand Encampment. The museum was fairly big and had a really cool set of old buildings they had moved out back from their original locations including old homes and businesses. We got a guided tour and were able to go into the buildings where the museum had set them up to look like how they would have during their time. It was really interesting because every building had some sort of story to go with it. For instance, there was a boarding house where somebody could pay a quarter and sleep in a bed with a ton of strangers for the night. There was also a beautiful old home which was built by one man to please his wife Ella who he had kidnapped and brought up to Wyoming after she said she didn’t want to go with him. Because it was a tour, I didn’t take a ton of pictures but I got a few.
On the night of day 5, the Wolf was fully booked so we ended up switching hotels to the Riviera which ended up being very nice too.
Day 6: Somewhere in Nebraska
The next morning, we packed up our stuff, dropped off some baked goods and a card to the medical clinic, and started to head home. On the way back down through Wyoming we stopped in Medicine Bow National Forest to take pictures.
It was actually really cool because the whole way down from Saratoga to Cheyenne there was a bike race going on. Also, on the way out of Wyoming we passed through the smallest town in America and tied as the smallest town in the world: Buford.
From Wyoming we decided to drive back down through Nebraska and Kansas and both were relatively flat states and slightly boring. We ended up staying in a hotel in the middle of nowhere in Nebraska that night.
Day 7: Home
On the morning of day seven we found this really cool place called Pioneer Village which was this really big museum. The main building was full of old cars and planes that date back to the early 1800s which was really cool. Out back behind the building there were a lot of old buildings including a church, a livery, an appliance store, and a train station which were placed in a circle to create a cute village. It was really cool to walk through everything and picture what life would have been like back in the 1800s and on into the 1900s.
After exploring the Pioneer Village we continued our trek home. Not far from the museum, we passed a farm where there must have been hundreds of cows packed together in small pens with nothing but troughs of food to eat. It was really sad to see because we had seen so many farms where cows had nice large pastures t0 graze on and then there were these cows who had nothing to do but eat. Anyway, the rest of the ride was pretty unimpressive; the landscape was very flat and there was lots of corn. The same goes for Kansas. Either way, we ended up making it home that night. I really enjoyed the road trip, even if it was cut short, and I highly suggest that you guys take it if you ever find yourselves in the area!
So yeah, that was my road trip blog finale! Prepare for upcoming back to school posts and, of course, a giveaway! I have posts scheduled for the next few weeks so be sure to subscribe to Sparklenews.com and check back every Tuesday and Friday to see those. Don’t forget to Sparkle!
Hey guys! I’m back after a week of inactivity. I have been really busy with summer reading and homework but I’m really sorry. That being said, from now on I am writing my posts ahead of time and scheduling their posting, so you can bet on the fact that there will be a new post every Tuesday and Friday for sure! So, you should definitely subscribe using the form on the side bar. For other news, I am happy to announce that I am going to be holding a giveaway here on Sparklenews.com! More information will be coming up in future articles and on my social medias so make sure to follow those and check back weekly for updates. Also, I would like to thank you all for the recent incline in views I’ve been having, I really appreciate it. Finally, don’t forget to read road trip blogs day one and two if you haven’t already! And, without further adieu, here it is: Road Trip Blog Day Three.
Day 3: Saratoga, Wyoming
On the morning of day three, we packed up and then headed out to a Target near the hotel where I ended up buying my new camera! I set up my camera in the car on the way to seven falls at the edge of Colorado Springs. Seven falls is this really cool nature place where you hike up about a mile to see the falls. Overall it was a pretty hike: there were wild flowers on both sides of the path, a small stream to the right with birds playing in it, and steep mountains of rock sloping up on either side. Sadly, although I had brought my camera with me, it ended up that it could only hold three photos without an SD card, so I needed to use my phone camera. When we got to the top of the trail there was a large rock with the falls. It was pretty, but to be honest the falls weren’t as large as I had expected. Despite this, it wasn’t disappointing considering how nice the walk had been. We took the elevator to the top of a lookout point where you could see the falls beautifully. We had actually gotten lucky with our timing because the lookout point had been closed all morning because there was a couple getting married on it and the ceremony had just ended by the time we got to the end of the trail.
Seven falls ended up taking a lot longer than we had expected, so we left for Saratoga a bit late but it was definitely worth it. So, after seven falls we went back to Target to get my camera an SD card and then headed towards Saratoga. The drive from Colorado to Wyoming was gorgeous although once we got on top of the mountains in Wyoming it was fairly flat. We did get to see more of the Pronghorn Antelopes like the ones we had seen in New Mexico though which was cool. Also, in Wyoming we came across this really pretty town with a population of 270 called Centennial and I had to stop for pictures.
I really love these pictures just because they look so unrealistic. The town was such a speck compared to the barren plains on top of the mountains in Wyoming and it looked so pretty against the mountainous backdrop. By the time we had gotten to Centennial we were only a few hours from Saratoga. From there it felt a lot longer though because we had reached Medicine Bow National Forest which is huge. To make matters worse, as it got dark it began to rain really hard and the roads curved a lot. After awhile the rain stopped and we made it to Saratoga. Saratoga has a population of 1,600 and is this really cool old town. The hotel we stayed in was built back in the 1800s and called the Hotel Wolf.
That night we ate at the Hotel Wolf Restaurant which made really good real steak hamburgers. Also, I must add that the hotel was really cool. The room was decorated very nicely and to match the old fashion utilities and atmosphere of the hotel. Despite it being old, the hotel was also very clean and well kept. The only downside was that there was no AC, but we were able to open the windows to get cool air. Overall, day three was very fun.
So yeah, that was Road Trip Blog Day Three! I hope you all enjoyed and keep watch for Road Trip Blog Days Four and Five which come out on Friday! Then, the Road Trip Blog Finale will be posted next Tuesday. Thank you for reading!
While you’re here, here are a few of my recent articles you should check out:
Hi guys, I am so happy with all the extra traffic I have been getting on my website recently! As you may or may not know, I posted Day One of my road trip blog on Thursday so if you haven’t already, go check that out now. For those of you who have read it already, here is day two of my road trip blog! Enjoy and don’t forget to Sparkle! (and don’t forget to follow all of my social medias either)
Day 2: Colorado Springs, Colorado
The morning of the second day was pretty calm. We took our time to get ready and get things packed up before heading downstairs to eat breakfast. I had received a map of Amarillo with all of the tourist attractions on it the night before and circled the ones I had already implemented in my road trip binder along with ones I thought were interesting so it was easy to know where we were headed. The first place we stopped was the RV museum. Unfortunately, when we got there we discovered that it was closed on Sundays. So, after that we headed off to the well known landmark Cadillac Ranch. For those of you who don’t know, Cadillac Ranch is ten vintage Cadillacs stuck in the ground in middle of a corn field off the side of a highway. As a man had told us on the way in, Cadillac Ranch is basically America’s Stone Hedge. We brought sharpies to sign the Cadillacs with, as is custom, just to find that they were soaking wet with spray paint. Luckily, there was a family who was leaving and giving away their spray cans. I signed the first Cadillac from the left twice and than my whole family signed one of the others. Honestly, the experience was so strangely satisfying. Especially considering there were so many people. People were coming and going CONSTANTLY.
After Cadillac Ranch, we headed back towards the center of town to explore the Route 66 Historic District. I have to say I was slightly disappointed with it because it was kind of sketchy and the image I had found on Route 66’s website didn’t turn out to be around the area. It was still really cool to see though. For our final thing to do in Amarillo, we went to the Palo Duro Canyon. Note that the pictures I took there aren’t nearly as good as the ones from before it because the camera I was using was dead and I needed to use my phone camera.
When I was planning the road trip I didn’t included Palo Duro canyon in the plans because I hadn’t seen it online, but I must say it was amazingly beautiful and I am so happy that we went. The best part was that we were able to go all the way down to the bottom of the canyon where there was a trading post. Also, in the gift shop there was a hallway made into a mini museum telling the history of the canyon and about the Native Americans that used to live there. I definitely recommend visiting it if you haven’t already. After Palo Duro canyon, we were on the road again. We passed through New Mexico on the way to Colorado and I got to see a lot of really cool rock structures and Pronghorn Antelopes. Because we spent so much time in the canyon, we got to Colorado Springs pretty late but the hotel was nice.
Thanks for reading guys! Road Trip Blog Day Three will be coming out on Tuesday so keep watch for that!
While you’re here, here are a few of my recent articles that you should check out:
Hey guys! I know that I posted my road trip blog for day one already, and I promise that I’ll post day two on Friday, but I thought that this would be an interesting and informative article to break up the series with. We all know that feeling where you get a great deal… and then our purchased item breaks the next day. To avoid instances like this, we sometimes have to ask ourselves which is more important: quality or price? So, let’s ask ourselves this one important question. Also, don’t forget to follow all of my social medias and don’t forget to sparkle!
Personally, and I’m sure most of you would agree with me, quality matters a lot more to me than price. This is because of a few simple reasons. For one thing, with good quality products, even if they are slightly more pricey, you feel like you actually got your money’s worth. In addition, you feel more satisfied with your buy because even though you spent more than you would have hoped, you did get a great product. Think of it in the sense that a more expensive item will last longer saving you the price of needing to buy replacements that would be necessary if you bought a worse quality product. Of course I don’t always buy the more expensive item, we all like a good deal once in a while, but I find that higher quality items usually make me happier. Also, yes of course there are cheap yet good quality items, but for the most part the higher the price the better the quality.
So, now that we have decided that quality is more important, a new question arises; what exactly makes a product good quality? The most important factor of a quality product is material. For instance, leather is a much higher quality material than many other options: especially when it comes to accessories including purses, bags, shoes, and jackets. Leather is very durable making leather items far less likely to rip and allowing them to stay nice for a very long time. Also, leather is water resistant, so if you’re clumsy like me you don’t have to worry about spilling water all over your new bag or jacket and wrecking it. You can simply look at leather or even smell it and realize that it is a great quality material. Plus, who doesn’t like the looks of leather? If you are interested in knowing more about leather and its benefits and why it is used for accessories, click here to check out an interesting post about it from Mahi Leather. Overall, it’s pretty clear that leather is a great material and that material is what dictates whether an item is high quality or not.
Basically, the point that I am trying to get at is that sometimes we need to overlook the price of an item and pay more attention to how long it will last and how well made it is. Even if it is a little more expensive, if it is a good item it will make you happy with your choice. Also, most importantly, remember that it is okay to treat yourself to something special every once in a while too.
I have been traveling since I was born. In country and out, I have traveled by basically any method: Train, plane, bus, car, you name it. With these years of traveling come years of packing experience. So, I decided to share some of my wisdom with you guys to hopefully help you all out the next time you need to pack for vacation. Also, as a quick side note, I will be going on a road trip next Saturday and will be blogging daily so keep an eye out for those posts! Also, to stay informed on everything I’m doing and get the extra scoop, don’t forget to follow my social medias which are on the side bar or down below if you are using a mobile device. Feel free to share your vacation pictures with me using #newsthatsparkles! And now, let’s get packing!