Ash’s Guide To Biking On Sanibel Island, FL

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One of my favorite things to do, especially when I have friends in town or have a weekend off, is biking all around Sanibel to discover the cutest cafes, stores, and locations. Sanibel Island has a bike/ walking path that is partially shaded and the best perk is, IT IS NOT SHARED WITH THE ROAD. (much safer) Once you are on Sanibel Island, go about a mile down Periwinkle to Billy’s Rentals. It is in the middle of everything and not too far from the beach. It’s open 8:30am to 5pm everyday.

For the bike I get, it’s $12 for 4 hours, but here are the rates and options:

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Once you get your bike, here are my top 7 places you should bike to:

1. Sanibel Bean Coffee Shop

 

It’s located at 2240 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957 and it’s open from 7am to 2pm. It’s my favorite coffee shop in all SWFL. Not only is the atmosphere chill, it has the best coffee too. I always get the white chocolate mocha, but they have tons of specials or check out their menu before going. #sanibelbean

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2. Lighthouse Beach

The lighthouse beach is at the end of Periwinkle, so just bike until you hit the water. 112 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL and the beach opens at 8am. The Sanibel Island Light is also known as the Point Ybel Light and it’s one of the first lighthouses on the Florida’s Gulf coast, north of Key West. It’s such an enjoyable beach and the water is so different and pretty compared to FMB. You just park your bike at the bike racks and all the bikes have baskets so bring your beach gear along.

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3. Lighthouse Cafe

It’s right by the beach at 362 Periwinkle Way and it was such a great place for lunch. They are known for their breakfast and they serve it all day. They have a ton of specials at their restaurant and totally worth checking out their menu. They open at 7am to 3pm and then reopen for dinner at 5!

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4. J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge

1 Wildlife Dr., Sanibel, FL and it opens at 9 am. It’s a little bit of a trek from the beach and bike rental, but it’s totally worth it. This refuge is part of the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the US. It’s so serene and has a 4 mile path or 8 mile option, and you can ride your bike through it all. It costs $1 per person/bike to enter, so bring a few singles. It’s a great ethical way to interact with nature.

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5. Gene’s Books

The countless rooms filled with endless books– basically heaven. It’s located at 2365 Periwinkle Way, not too far from the bike rental. I’ve been to countless bookstores around the country, but this is my #1 favorite bookstore EVER! That should tell you how amazing it is. They open at 9am and you could easily spend hours there. So drag another book lover with you.

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6. Love Boat Ice Cream

It’s in the Jerry’s Shopping Center and is located at 1700 Periwinkle Way #9. It opens at 10 am. Homemade ice cream with every flavor you can imagine. I always get a chocolate shake or a banana split. For the ice cream lovers, this is for you! They also have a Fort Myers location, by FMB, which is the one I normally go to.

7. Sanibel Fresh

On the way to or from the beach, stop at Sanibel Fresh and get the Sangria. Such a yummy red Sangria! It’s located at 1020 Periwinkle Way and it’s a cute little cafe with outside seating and a health conscious menu. My mom and I loved it and shared a flatbread and potato salad, so I recommend those options. Check out their Facebook for reviews or their website: https://www.restaurantji.com/fl/sanibel/sanibel-fresh-/

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I hope you enjoyed my recommendations.

Comment any questions or your own recommendations for Sanibel Island. It’s a great day adventure, so grab your friends, family, or take yourself on a little getaway. Thank you for reading, my friends. #travelingwithash

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The Art of Letting Go in the New Year

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It’s an art, without a doubt— the art of releasing what is no longer serving your soul, letting go of what is toxic and draining. 

I am a hopeless romantic, and believe I’m destined for a beautiful, captivating love and I have yet to adore someone to the depth of my core like I desire and know awaits me. I make things bigger than they are because I believe this life is meant to be full and consuming and healing.

We don’t have to be who we’ve always been.

We can grow, become more of who we are really meant to be— the conscious being who desires to understand one’s essence. With that in mind, I look for the good in others and when someone is broken and their mind is off in wonderland, my heart swoons to their aid. I want to know their aches, their pain, their perceptions, their desires, their heart. 

I want to be a healer. I want them to be on the same level as I am, so we can be together. There’s only a few instances where this has happened for me because I’ve had the hardest time learning to let people go when they need to be set free.

I try to love them into loving me, and that can not happen. People are who they are and who they decide to be, and when they ask you to let them go, do it. 

There are billions of people in this world, but deep connections don’t happen everyday, and for me, I have created amazing friendship connections, but the love draw is almost non-existent at times. So I hold onto comfort for a moment, even when it no longer serves me and continuously gives me an assorted platter of disappointment.

That’s only because I had expectations, ones I knew they’d never meet. 

I made that choice to hold onto something that I created in my head, one sided, and through writing and communicating, I’ve learned that I create walls and barriers to keep people out who want to adore me and I for a long time took on the mission of wanting energies who didn’t want me because I couldn’t accept it.

I was vulnerable and felt unwanted, but someone who doesn’t love themselves can’t love you. My mind was becoming toxic to me and through these experiences I’ve learned, there is no question if I’m good enough— I am and always will be, but God knows those souls weren’t right with mine and this life isn’t a race.  

When I started trusting in myself and my gut, I truly learned how to be genuine in my release. To look myself in the mirror, and smile, knowing I’m being true to my heart and my vision.

Nothing beautiful in this life is forced, prodded, and skewed. When you’re free of the burdens, you see clearly without resentment or questions, knowing you’re serving your soul now. Happiness comes dancing across your chest when you don’t simmer in the hurt and questions— you can fly free when you let go of what is holding you down. 

Hidden Gem in Fort Myers: Artisan Eatery

IMG_1471.JPGAfter boxing yesterday, my mom and I wanted to try something new for lunch. We wanted to be healthy, but we were also ready to devour some delicious food.

So we remembered someone recommended Artisan Eatery and we loved it. It’s a locally owned cafe that serves great food all day, plus the freshly baked cakes are out of this world.

It’s right off the expressway on Daniels, by Dunkin Donuts and Fancy’s. You can’t miss it.

I loved the quaint atmosphere and the welcoming staff. I had a hard time picking what to order, but I decided on chili with cornbread and one of their specials, the short rib grilled cheese. I was not disappointed and I can’t wait to go back. My mouth is watering looking at these pictures. Personally, I really like sit down cafes where you order your food at the counter and don’t have to be waited on, so this was exactly what I look for in cafes.

Oh last, but not least, before we left, we had to get a slice of cake. They have this chocolate cake with whopper filling and carrot cake that I have to try next time I go, but I loved the banana cake I got with cream cheese frosting. I might have to swing in again after posting this.

SO GOOD!

I highly recommend going to Artisan Eatery and following along their journey on IG : Artisan Eatery

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#restaurants #fortmyers #placestoeat

Travel Guide: Puerto Rico & Wedding Recap….

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I’ve been to a lot of beautiful places like Punta Cana, Cancun, Playa del Carmen, St. Marteen, St. Kitts, and all over the Florida Keys. I’ve seen countless sunsets and played in the sand of many beaches, but nothing was as beautiful as Isabel, Puerto Rico. My mom got married this past weekend there and the photos don’t even do it justice.  

The happiness and care free vibes of the locals were contagious, and it was a blissful time. We stayed at Villa Montaña Beach Resort and had an amazing trip. Instead of staying in a single house or at a hotel/condo style, we had our own individual villas. We were all next to one another, but still had our space to recoup and relax.

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Trip Advisor Review of VMBR

We were only there for a weekend and my 22nd, but we spent the two days laying out by the water, swimming in the pools, walking the beach, and devouring delicious food at the restaurant, The Eclipse. It had the cutest boho vibe, and amazing service. They even hooked us up with a bonfire to end my 22nd with s’mores.

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Now to get to the good stuff….

THE WEDDING!

All I have to say, with the ease of the wedding and the guidance of Ashley Wright for putting on the most beautiful ceremony at sunset, a destination wedding is the way to go. So I’ve put together a few of my favorite photos from the day because a picture says a thousand words and I love all the love in these shots….

 

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From drinking Carlos’s coconut water to splashing in the water at the end, everything was perfect. We are all over the moon happy for Mom and Mark!

#destinationwedding #weddinginspiration

 

 

A Wedding Unfolds in Puerto Rico

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There is love in the air— flowing all around us, captivating our long weekend with appreciation and joy. The beauty of Puerto Rico, especially at where we are staying (blog post to come) illuminates the kindness and admiration in the hearts of my mom and soon to be husband. With wedding festivities on the cusp of the day, we are reminded that love is gentle and it’s kind, but you can’t deny it’s also trying and moving. It pushes you to be a better you, and along the way the true depth of love shines above all else and moves mountains to be.

And that’s the thing about love, it’s about just being. 

Being you.

Being enough.

Being loved for all that you are. 

I talk about this all the time— there are billions of people in this world and somehow these two souls found each other to adore, to build a forever with, and to love unconditionally. They found the one their soul needed and wanted, even if they were unaware of it at the time. Flaws and all, there is love to be shared. After five years, it was inevitable that they were hooked on one another for the long haul. The way Mark looks at my mom is as though she was the one who put the stars in the sky and could walk on water. He looks at her the way Nicholas Sparks writes in his romance novels, the way we all dream of being loved.

My mom and Mark taught me the importance of valuing myself and trusting that someone, someday will love my entire essence as they love one another, but my worth is not defined by someone else’s ability or inability to see all I have to offer the world.

You can’t settle in this life, there are billions of people awaiting your presence. It’s okay to love big because one day, it won’t go to the waste side. 

Love is at the center of all my interactions and my friends and family cant attest to how often I tell them ‘I love you SO much’. It’s a powerful lesson to love unconditionally without expectations or demands or reservations— let it flow openly and be enough to keep you afloat. 

As I sit here on my villa’s porch and write while watching the waves crash, I reminisce on my mom’s love story. I’ve watched hers and Mark’s love blossom over the years, an undeniable pull to one another, one that couldn’t be avoided if they tried. They are a force to be reckoned with, spit fires with adventurous souls. They bring out the best in one another, even if mom can’t navigate. It’s about having fun and enjoying this life together, and that’s what they are doing. 

This life is precious and short, and watching my mom and my soon to be stepdad love one another through trials and twists and turns, I’ve learned that you shouldn’t waste another minute with space between you and the one you love.

If you love someone, be vulnerable, give your love freely and accept them for who they are and who they will be. Nothing stays the same— this world is not stagnant, so grow together and make the conscious decision to be present and love into the depth of your core. 

So thank you Mom and Mark for showing me what a beautiful love looks like and I cheers to you a lifetime of happiness and loving adventures. 

With Love: The Reflection You Asked For

With Love: The Reflection You Asked For

I am human.

I am flawed, imperfect, and ultimately vulnerable.

The other day, you commented on my blog hurtful and mean accusations and considerations about your perception of me. You labeled me a bad person, but you did so anonymously without a way to answer back thoughtfully. 

So here is my response:

When I post on social media and connect through social channels, I choose bits and pieces to highlight, but my blog is something I hold near and dear to my heart. I pour my spirit into my words. I am aware that I have hurt people in the past and I have been hurt in return, but the reality is, love and appreciation for life are at the center of my decisions. I value myself, I value my soul and practice self-love. This life is very short filled with uncertainty and it’s fair share of goodbyes and quite frankly, there is no room for hatred in my life and I do not owe anyone an explanation for what I deem right. 

My heart radiates with love and because of that, I have such beautiful connections in my life. I have friends and family who know my essence, my heart, my love and they understand me in ways you did not. I apologize that not everyone can see the true me, that sometimes the surface is all you get, but I get to choose and that does not make me a bad person. It’s all about your perception.   

I am allowed to make decisions that value my wishes and needs and I do have considerations for others, but I refuse to tear off pieces of myself to appease anyone else.

It’s not that I voice my actions or feelings to justify my doings. I do so to let others know they are not alone— sometimes we need to cut toxic people out, sometimes we need to escape, sometimes we need to be alone, sometimes words are not needed and that’s OKAY.

I have always struggled with goodbyes and sometimes I feel as though saying nothing at all is easier— that doesn’t mean it’s right. I’m flawed, but conscious of my desire to change to be more transparent. 

You have absolutely no idea what is going on in someone else’s head. You have no idea the internal struggles someone has, and I’m sure you are fighting your own demons, gracefully I hope. I don’t write for self-justification– I write to feel, share, connect, understand, learn, grow. I am a work in progress, who is learning and evolving from experiences and new connections. This is a life blog! I am living and LEARNING. I take responsibility for the lessons I’ve learned the hard way  as I do not consider them mistakes. I am exactly where I’m meant to be. Some things aren’t that deep and others are, and sometimes people aren’t on the same page. 

If I’ve hurt you, tell me. If I’ve offended you, tell me. If I’ve left you wondering, tell me. I am not a mind reader, and have a million and ten things on my plate and on my mind that sometimes things slip through the cracks. I am sorry that our connect may have slipped through the cracks. 

So here’s what I suggest— 

  • if you have a problem with someone or don’t like/agree with what they are saying, unfriend, block, delete them. It’s okay to move on. 
  • if you have a problem with someone or don’t like/agree with what they are saying, message them…… VOICE your concerns, voice your perception. Be human— nobody’s perfect. 

We were created to communicate, to connect, but that’s impossible when it’s through an anonymous outlet. My messages are always open. 

With love, 

Ash 

BAHAMAS TRAVEL ADVENTURE

 

 

We traveled to the Hyatt Grand Baha Mar in Nassau, Bahamas  for the weekend and had an amazing time. My mom and I played in a slots tournament on Friday night and Saturday during the day (yes, that’s a thing, and no it’s not easy and we did not win). I would come back here again without a doubt, and I haven’t been to Atlantis, but my mom and stepdad raved about Baha Mar over Atlantis. If you ever do go to the Bahamas, you have to go to Carmine’s for dinner– best Italian food ever and it’s fun because it’s family style!

 

Enjoy my first ever travel vlog and let me know what you think in the comments or on my Instagram 🙂