SLIDER

7 Things To Do at Franklin Mountains State Park in El Paso, Texas

Friday, August 10, 2018

I'm a tiny speck amongst the majestically carved Franklin Mountains & the vast Chihuahuan Desert landscape that surround me. I wipe a bead of sweat from my brow. It's barely 8 a.m. but the sun is no joke. I pull the brim of my El Paso hat down to cover as much of my face as possible. 


I'm exploring Franklin Mountains State Park as a familiarization tour guest of Visit El Paso. I look at the other travel influencers, journalists, bloggers, & writers. Everyone is taking photos. I put my phone on a wooden post, set a self-timer for 3, 2, 1. I smile. "Cheese!" I say to myself. I look at the picture.


It's glorious. Mother Earth is photogenic in that way. If you're a nature lover, hiking fan, or desert enthusiast, add Franklin Mountains State Park to your El Paso, Texas To Do List. There's so much you can do!


1. Nature Watching

The state park has a diverse ecosystem of birds, reptiles, coyotes, squirrels & maybe a mule deer or perhaps you'll spot a mountain lion.

2. Rock Climbing

Go on a rock climbing adventure! Bring your own equipment & climb at the designated area in McKelligon Canyon or at Sneed’s Cory in the Tom Mays Unit.

3. Camping

Stay at one of 14 tent campsites or 5 RV sites. Campsites don't have water or electricity. Click here to find out more about Franklin Mountains State Park camping & RV options.

4. Dining

Ok, there aren't any restaurants but you can still enjoy a meal on the mountain. Find picnic benches & shade so you can take in the view while you eat. It's such a good view. I loved eating my breakfast & watched the desert come to life in the morning.

5. Hiking

The hiking trails at Franklin Mountains State Park are intense. You could spend a lot of time exploring the 100 miles of trails on almost 27,000 acres. Bring water, cell phone, good shoes, & a hiking buddy.

6. History

Native American tribes made the area their home for thousands of years. Find their deep mortar pits for grinding seeds. If you're really lucky, you might spot their colorful pictographs & etched petroglyphs on boulders & rock walls. 

7. Events

Franklin Mountains has an active events pages which you can check out here.


Clear your mind & spend time with nature at Franklin Mountains State Park in El Paso, Texas. Start off with a peaceful brunch on the mountain then camp overnight after a long day of exploring the trails. The entrance fee for adults is $5. Children 12 years & under are free. What are you waiting for? :]


Which activity sounds the most fun to you? :]

My 13-Year Vegetarian Anniversary + The Future of Plant-Based Omega-3 & Protein

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

This post is sponsored by iWi but the content & opinions expressed here are my own.


At the age of 15, I decided to go vegetarian. 

Being vegetarian means I don't eat meat, poultry, or fish. No chicken nuggets. No hamburgers. No fish fillets. Well, not in the standard sense of the word, at least. It's a privilege to have access to plant-based protein options that provide alternatives to some of the meals I had when I ate meat. It might be a privilege for me, but it's becoming a worldwide necessity.

Did you know the global population should reach 9.1 billion people by 2050? That means producing 70% more food for an additional 2 billion people while simultaneously combating poverty & hunger, according to The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Those are hard numbers to look at.

Will there be enough land, water, & genetic diversity to meet demands? That's where innovative brands who want to change the world come to play. iWi is an algae-based nutrition company interested in building a sustainable & scalable way to feed the world. Just what the earth needs!


They grow algae for iWi Omega-3 Supplements in deserts using non-arable land, brackish water (salt water), & the sun as their main source of energy. It's exciting to have products like this available on the market. The times are changing &, to be honest, should continue to change!

When I turned vegetarian 13 years ago, there were hardly any vegetarian options available in grocery stores & restaurants. I'm happy to see a change in the landscape as brands like iWi produce green Omega-3 & protein while supporting & developing local & rural communities. Now I can have a convenient vegetarian/vegan source of Omega-3!


I'm particularly excited for the future of iWi as they delve into protein powder, protein snacks, protein bars, drinks, & alternative meats & fish over the next few years. Keep your eye out for iWi. Let me know if you'd like me to delve deeper into my favorite vegetarian protein options!

Use promo code 15IWILIFEO for 15% off your order. Head over to Amazon to shop iWi. It’s better for you & better for our beautiful planet.

* Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by iWi. As always, all opinions are 100% mine aka Carmen's. Learn more about my disclosure. :]

How to Set Effective Personal & Business Goals So You Actually Get Things Done

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Instead of sitting, waiting, & wishing for things to happen, establish clear goals & create actionable tasks to complete them. There's no time to wait. NOW IS THE TIME. Follow these tips to make the most of your goals.

Take it from me, someone who CONSTANTLY gets off track. These strategies increased my overall productivity compared to the month before. 



1. WRITE IT DOWN

What good is a goal if you can't even remember it? Write your goals somewhere so you can see it. Type them in the notes section of your phone. Write it down on paper. Looking at your list serves as a constant reminder to strive for your goals.

2. BE SPECIFIC

Simply saying "I want to blog more" doesn't amount to much. How often do you want to blog? For how long? On which days? Where? What were you doing before? Vagueness is not your friend. The small details make a difference. A better & more specific goal is: "I want to publish one blog per week for the next 4 weeks. I can commit to writing, editing, & photographing my post on Saturday mornings since that's my only free time."



3. SHARE YOUR GOALS

What pushes you more (or is more embarrassing) than having a friend ask, "Did you ever finish that thing you were working on?" or "I thought you were going to give up watching so much Netflix." Sharing your goals might be the shove in the right direction. If you feel unmotivated, your friend asking "Whatever happened to...?" could be just what you need to keep going. So tell your friends & family! Share it on your blog or on social media. You could also hire me as your coach. :]

4. DON'T GIVE UP

Whatever your goals are, don't give up if it doesn't happen or work out right away. Sometimes life gets in the way. Distractions happen, but don't let it completely derail you. Don't be discouraged if it doesn't instantly work out. Keep at it! I was blogging for 4 years before I earned even one cent!!

5. DO IT

Don't just say you're going to do something, do it. Don't procrastinate. You want to workout more or write more? Well, get up off your butt & head to the gym or go on a walk or start typing on your laptop, even if you have nothing to say. Actions speak louder than words, so let your actions do the talking.

1 Year Self-Employment Update: Life as a Blogger, Influencer, Entrepreneur

Monday, July 02, 2018

Holy spicy guacamole.

I quit my job one year ago.


A lot happened. I chronicled all the details in my 8-month update with a word of encouragement - I talked about my travels, my brand campaigns & sponsorships, & all those juicy details. But it's been a few months since then.

I ended up spending my one year self-employment anniversary in El Paso, Texas as part of a press trip! 



It's crazy to think I gave my two weeks notice & quit my corporate job one year ago!! I recall that nerve-wracking day. How could I forget? I left the office for the last time feeling scared, excited, hopeful. 

I had no idea what it would be like to be on my own as a blogger, influencer, & budding entrepreneur. Ups & downs. Highs & lows. Successes & failures. A bit of everything, really.

One year later, I’m walking around downtown El Paso, Texas for a familiarization tour with Visit El Paso. We had breakfast on a mountain at Franklin Mountains State Park, then I fed a state park AJ the giraffe. We hopped over to La Union, New Mexico for wine at La Viña Winery. It's all a part of the job. It's part of the ever-changing landscape of being a writer, a lifestyle blogger, a content creator, a travel influencer, an inspirer. 

Expect to see an El Paso travel guide in the upcoming weeks!


My El Paso, Texas press trip inspired my career even further. It reinforced the reason why I quit corporate America in the first place. Dare to follow your dreams, but more importantly, don’t forget to put in the work. In the day-to-day, it’s practically impossible to see your progress but you must believe, have strength, & faith & continue putting in the effort. 

Dream on.
Work hard.
Live harder.

After weeks of struggling with self-doubt, I empowered myself to take action & LAUNCH.

I launched the July Blogger & Influencer Challenge as a way to cover some of the information in my private coaching but make it affordable & accessible to more people. Every weekday in July each registrant receives coaching content straight to their inbox geared for badass bloggers & influencers looking to increase their social media reach, following, opportunities, & income.


Need some help making progress on your blog or social media platform? Want guidance on how to get more views, followers, opportunities? Struggling to understand the online world or how to find readers/clients? Fill out my FREE Discovery Questionnaire if you're interested to find out about more coaching & how I can help you.

Stay up-to-date on my travels & blogging adventures on Instagram & Instagram Stories.

So tell me: are you new around here? What kind of blog posts do you want to see? How can I HELP you? :]

A Mini Guide to Tijuana's Breweries, Craft Beer, & Tasting Rooms

Monday, June 18, 2018

San Diego's craft beer scene began in the 1990s, expanding from a handful of breweries to 125+ (& growing). With the #SDBeer scene well established, grab your passport & let's head to Tijuana, Baja California for a delicious array of beer at an affordable price. 


Cheers from Tres Fuegos Cervecería!

Watch out for the growing craft beer scene in Tijuana, a border city in Mexico, just south of San Diego. Craft beers range in price, but cost around $4 on average, a bargain to the $7+ craft beers of San Diego. I checked out a few local breweries during my Tijuana travels. Here are my findings!

The flight board from Donkey Punch Brewing Co.

Donkey Punch Brewing Co.

Located on Paseo de los Héroes, Donkey Punch offers a good range of beers like blonde ale, imperial stout, or coffee porter. They have a flight board in the shape of a donkey ear - pretty cool!

Border Psycho Brewery

Try the Imperial Psycho Ale or La Perversa (double IPA). Better yet, order a flight. Take a peek at their tap handles while you're at it. Spoiler alert: they're dildos.  

Insurgente has an eye for design & packaging.  I tried Cervecería Insurgente while visiting Festival Plaza in Rosarito, Mexico. The La Lupulosa is an American-style IPA with 7.3% ABV (alcohol by volume). 

A recently revamped Pasaje Rodríguez

Mamut Brewery Co.

Don't miss Mamut Brewery Co. inside Pasaje Rodríguez, an arts & culture alleyway. Pasaje Rodríguez used to be an arcade for tourists in the 1950s but relaunched in 2010. Mamut offers India Pale Ales, stout, amber, & more.

A look at Teorema/Lúdica Co. Tasting Room

Teorema/Lúdica Co. Tasting Room

This sleek tasting room allows you to sip inside or people-watch Avenida Revolución from the patio. I loved the minimalist look & convenient location to downtown Tijuana.

Tres Fuegos Cervecería

Browse the murals & art throughout the brewery, then grab a table near the balcony. They usually have three house-brewed beers, with the rest being guest. We stopped by for a pint one night but they invited me back to taste some of their vegetarian cuisine options.  A yummy bonus!

Vibra Tap Room

Stop by Vibra if you enjoy unique flavors like the Hu La La... (peanut butter cinnamon milk porter) or Aloha (fruit beer with tangerine & peach), among others. Grab your beer & head to the second story balcony to enjoy the view/sunset/nightlife.



By the time you're done reading this, another brewery popped up in Tijuana, Mexico! Tijuana's craft beer scene continues to grow, so what are you waiting for? Pack your passport & get hopped up on North Baja California's breweries & taprooms. See you there. Cheers! ¡Salud!

When in Tijuana, make sure to stop by Playas de Tijuana, Mexico.

How to Survive a Family Vacation as an Adult

Monday, May 28, 2018

This post is sponsored by Perrier® Carbonated Mineral Water but the content & opinions expressed here are my own.


Family vacations are just peachy when you're a kid, but surviving a family vacation as an adult is something else entirely. When you're young you can fall asleep in the stroller & get shuttled around to the next destination by your parents. As an adult, sorry buddy, but Mom & Dad won't be rolling you around in an adult-sized stroller anytime soon. When you're a kid on a family vacation, you can spend time with your cool aunt. When you're the adult on a family vacation, you are the cool aunt! Here are my tips on how to survive your next family vacation as an adult.


1. Schedule time to yourself 

It's vital that you allow yourself time to be alone on the trip. That might be an hour each day of your three-day-weekend getaway to the woods or that could be an entire day to yourself on the month-long family voyage. You set the rules. While the family went out for Sunday brunch, I stayed in our ocean view rental, popped open a Peach Perrier, & blasted music on my laptop. It felt nice to breathe in the salty ocean air, feel the warmth of the sun on my skin, & be by myself. I drink Perrier because it surprises my tastebuds & inspires the unexpected & my family has been drinking carbonated mineral water since before I can remember.


2. Do a Snack Run Immediately

Grab snacks with the entire crew (harder task) or make a couple people buy some supplies at the nearest store (easier task). Having some water & food is always a good option. There's nothing worse than 12 people coming back to the rental after a long night out with absolutely no food or water. We had a supply of bread, peanut butter, jelly, bananas, & oranges to curb any hangry moments. 


3. Bring games

Card games. Board games. This is the 21st Century so you can even download game apps to your phone. After a couple days of bickering, nothing beats the hilarity that ensues after a game of family poker. Try it. We played games until 1 a.m. & laughed the entire time. Games can help cut the tension, allow people to get to know each other, or simply facilitate good old fashioned family bonding time.  


4. Keep your perspective

If your family is pestering you about your career or relationship or life choices, remember that this family vacation is a small blip in life, a small moment in time, & you never know when the next trip is. My last vacation with cousins was 11 years ago. We were kids then. Now we're grown-ups. Some of us are married, some have kids, some moved across the globe. Things change. This family vacation is a tiny part of your life, enjoy the details.

Enter to win a year’s worth of Perrier flavors! Perrier’s new Peach flavored carbonated mineral water is a sparkling fusion of air & water. Add zest to your morning or serve as afternoon refresher, or enjoy it while your family is out to brunch like I did. Here's hoping you'll survive your next family vacation. :]

* Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Perrier® Carbonated Mineral Water. As always, all opinions are 100% mine aka Carmen's. Learn more about my disclosure. :]

ARCHIVES

© Carmen Varner // Lifestyle Blogger & Social Media + Blogging Coach • Theme by Maira G.