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Instagram Inspiration Friday: Airports

Instagram Inspiration Friday: Airports | CosmosMariners.com


I took a bit of a blogging break this week, and it has felt amazing. Other than a day or two here and there, I haven't taken a week off of blogging since my second kid was born back in November 2016.

So, what did I do with the time away? I spent a long weekend at Walt Disney World with my kiddos and my mom: it was surface-of-the-sun hot, but we still had a blast. When we got home, I was exhausted (because of the whole theme park with two children thing), so I've gone to bed early, played with my preschooler, held my baby, and basically remembered what being a non-blogger feels like.

And I started to map out our upcoming Puerto Rico trip. I've bought our airline tickets, so you know it's on now.

Redefining the Family Road Trip Experience: A Review of the Mifold Booster Seat

Redefining the Family Road Trip Experience: A Review of the Mifold Booster Seat | CosmosMariners.com


I was provided a mifold for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own. 

As a firm believer that travel should include the entire family, I'm always on the lookout for newer, better, and more efficient products that make family travel possible.

One of the most annoying things that I've had to navigate while traveling with two kids is the car seat. I want to keep my kids safe first and foremost, but that still doesn't stop me from cursing furiously in my head every time I have to contort myself in unnatural positions to remove my kids' car seats when we need to transfer them for travel.

Even when you get to check a car seat for free, the process of hauling a massive booster or car seat through the airport to the check-in counter is anything but fun.

Plus, when you're out sightseeing in New York or London or Paris, and you want to catch a taxi or Uber to your next location, you either have to haul your booster seat around with you (typically not feasible since they're so large) or pray you don't get in an accident and strap your small child into the backseat of a taxi without a booster seat at all (no thanks).

How to Give Your Old Travel Cameras New Life: A Review of KEH.com

How to Give Your Old Cameras New Life: A Review of KEH.com | CosmosMariners.com

This post is sponsored by KEH.com. As always, all opinions are my own. This post does contain affiliate links; if you choose to purchase through one of the links below, I will receive a small commission at no additional charge to you.

I’m one of those people who is obsessed with taking pictures when I’m traveling (and when I’m home and at family gatherings and…well, you get the idea). For me, photos of my adventures in London or that boat ride we took in the Bahamas are the perfect souvenir.

It should come as no surprise that I’m a little picky with the camera that I use when traveling. I was always a point and shoot kid until one of my friends in college bought a Nikon D80, and I discovered what possibilities awaited me with a higher end camera.

The Best of the West: The Ultimate 1.5 Week Road Trip Itinerary from Las Vegas to Denver

The Best of the West: The Ultimate 1.5 Week Road Trip Itinerary from Las Vegas to Denver | CosmosMariners.com


As a child, I traveled often with my parents: we did the typical trips to Walt Disney World, but we also went snorkeling in Key Largo, took a road trip along California's Highway 1, and explored Canada's Prince Edward Island. One thing that we always talked about doing was a road trip to the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and other national parks out west.

Things happen, my sister and I grew up, and we never did make the trek out west like we said we would. I still wanted to go badly, but somehow domestic travel always fell by the wayside as I ventured to England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Germany, the Bahamas, and beyond.

The desire to head out West again came up earlier this year when my husband, Landon, and I were brainstorming where we wanted to go on our major trips. Since he has a set number of vacation days, I try to work our family vacations around his schedule so he can join us on as many adventures as possible.

Instagram Inspiration Friday: Cruises

Instagram Inspiration Friday: Cruises | CosmosMariners.com


Love them or hate them, cruises are BIG right now in the travel industry. In 2016, approximately 22.9 million people went on a cruise, and that number is expected to be nearly 24 million in 2017.(1)

Although it's not the only way I like to travel, I have been on half a dozen cruises so far and really enjoyed all of them. (Check out my list of what you probably didn't think to bring on your cruise.)

If you haven't been on one yet, summer's a great time to start planning one for the fall or winter, as you can get some great deals on them if you can travel during school months!

This week's Instagram Inspiration Friday is all about those ships: see if you can resist booking your own cruise after viewing these awesome pictures!

Monthly Goals: July 2017

Monthly Goals: July 2017 | CosmosMariners.com

The year is half over. In some ways, I'm really, really happy with what the blog has done: I've had my best months EVER since January, and I've started bringing in a sort-of steady (but small) income.

On the other hand, I feel like my blog is growing so slowly, and my growth is anything but linear. Some months have traffic that make me feel as if I'm really going somewhere, while others have me scrambling to investigate the minutia of my Google Analytics account. Maddeningly, I do the exact same thing writing and promoting every month, so I feel helpless when the numbers start to dip. Boo to seasonality!

At least, June was a fun month around here. I took my kids to Durham, North Carolina, for a few days--it had been years since I'd been last, and we had such a good time rediscovering the city.

What to Do at Great Wolf Lodge with a Preschooler

What to Do at Great Wolf Lodge with a Preschooler | CosmosMariners.com

Disclaimer: I worked with the Great Wolf Lodge in Charlotte/ Concord, North Carolina, in order to produce this post. As always, all opinions are my own. 

Who wouldn't love to splash and play in a massive water park for a few days? The answer, I decided, was probably no one (or, at least, no one I wanted to hang out with), so I knew that I had to head up to the Great Wolf Lodge in Charlotte/Concord, North Carolina, for some watery fun.

Calling All Paleontologists! 10 Places to Find Fossils in Colorado

Calling All Paleontologists: 10 Places to Find Fossils in Colorado | CosmosMariners.com

When I was in the 2nd grade, my teacher introduced a dinosaur unit, and I fell in love. I soon checked out every book on dinosaurs in the small school library, and I determined my favorite dinosaur (protoceratops, if you were wondering). Just over 2 decades later, and I'm still fascinated by the giant creatures that once called our planet home.

While we were on our recent road trip from Nevada to Colorado, I realized that we'd be heading straight into some of the best dinosaur territory that the U.S. had to offer. My inner 2nd grader rejoiced and immediately started researching.

What I found are all perfect activities for the entire family, so buy those plane tickets, start searching Colorado cabin rentals, and get ready for some dino-mite fun! Here's where to find fossils while you're in Colorado.

6 Kid-Friendly Spots in Durham, North Carolina

6 Kid-Friendly Spots in Durham, North Carolina | CosmosMariners.com



Summer time is the time for family vacations. As soon as the temperatures start to warm up, I get antsy for our next adventure. In between our 1 or 2 big trips each year, we like taking shorter trips within the Southeast: my husband and I are big believers in exploring the beautiful region we call home, so when I had the chance to visit Durham, North Carolina, with my two kids, I loaded up the car and headed up I-95.

Over 2 days, we hopped, ran, ate, and explored our way through as many of the kid-friendly spots in and around Durham that we could squeeze into our packed schedule. Here are our favorite picks for your next family trip to the fun, eclectic, and unique Bull City!

Hot Springs, History, and Family Fun in Glenwood Springs, Colorado: A 2 Day Itinerary

Hot Springs, History, and Family Fun in Glenwood Springs, Colorado: A 2 Day Itinerary | CosmosMariners.com

As we made our way across Colorado from Grand Junction to Denver, we stopped for a a quick exploration of Glenwood Springs. At first glance from I-70, Glenwood Springs is a small, unassuming little town, but once you get off of the interstate and make your way into the historic district, you'll quickly fall in love.

If you've got two days, here's what you need to do to explore the history of this incredible Colorado town. And, best of all, the itinerary is completely family friendly, so pack up the kids, too!

The Plane Accessory Every Traveling Family Needs: 1st Class Kid Travel Pillow | A Review

The Plane Accessory Every Traveling Family Needs: 1st Class Kid Travel Pillow | A Review from CosmosMariners.com

I really love traveling with my kids. Seeing the world has been a passion of mine since I was tiny human, and I certainly wasn't going to change or stop that because I had kids of my own. 99% of the time, going out into the great big world with them is a pleasure: I get to create memories with them in new places, and see familiar spots in a fresh way through their eyes.

But. (and there is always a but.)

There's that 1% of our time together that makes me want to pull my hair out. These moments usually occur when we're all tired, hungry, and uncomfortable, and just want to be back in our comfy beds at home. Typically, the grumpiness is solved with a solid meal and a good night's rest, and we go back to having fun.

5 Awesome Things to Do in Cienfuegos, Cuba

5 Awesome Things to Do in Cienfuegos, Cuba | CosmosMariners.com

Right now, Cuba is the place to go among travel bloggers. I cannot tell you how many people were posting about their plans to head to the Caribbean as soon as the travel restrictions from the U.S. were lightened. After seeing all of the photos of colorful streets and historic buildings, it was easy to see what about Cuba had captured the imagination of so many of my fellow travel lovers.

If you're planning your own trip to Cuba, head outside of the cities on most itineraries. Located between Havana and Trinidad, Cienfuegos is the perfect stopover during your visit to Cuba. This little coastal town might look small, but it's in fact the perfect size for some Cuban culture and adventure.

Instagram Inspiration Friday: Palm Trees

Instagram Inspiration Friday: Palm Trees | CosmosMariners.com

I have failed my poor Instagram series. It was originally meant to be a weekly series, but in practice, that might be too much Instagram inspiration (if such a thing is possible). It then was going to be a bi-weekly thing, but here we are in June, a solid 6 weeks behind the last installment. April and May were just crazy, and the series was collateral damage.

So, today, I'm resuscitating the series using my rusty lifeguarding skills circa 2004 (when I was the leanest, meanest lifeguard at the neighborhood pool person who signed up for lifeguarding classes because I thought it would be a better summer job than working at the Gap). Bring me some band-aids, stat!

With no further ado (or weird lifeguarding references), here are the lovely photos I've been saving for two months on Instagram. This week's theme? Palm trees! (Picked solely because I'm obsessed with tropical places.)