Hello!

This is a special welcome to everyone being referred over from Domestic Imperfection and everyone that I just met at the World Travel Market, here in London (Still can’t believe I’m here!). Actually, HELLO if you’re coming to this site by any other means too. I love visitors! For all the Newbies, here is a quick rundown on Two Thumbs…

Have you ever heard someone who just had something exciting happen, like winning concert tickets, say, “Who has two thumbs and just won tickets to the concert this Saturday?” Then they probably point at themselves and say “this girl!” or “I did!” Well that’s what I was thinking when I was starting this blog. “Hey, I’m a blogger now.” That’s it. There wasn’t a ton of thought that went into the name, but now I think it’s perfect. This site is a little bit of everything: photography, travel, DIY projects… So to me, It’s about the things you can accomplish when you get up off the couch, away from the TV and make experiences happen. Ten months ago, I was saying, “Who has two thumbs and just started a blog?” and in less than a year it turned into, “Who has Two Thumbs and is in London with a press pass to the World Travel Market and also had two projects featured (my telephone table and panel wall) on one of her favorite DIY websites?” This girl!

Anyway, first official day of WTM tomorrow and many other exciting things in the works, so you’ll be hearing from me again soon. For live updates, follow me on Twitter and Instagram @CorneliaJoy. In the mean time, take a look around and let me know what you think!

Travel Throwback Thursday: Hoover Dam

November 2013, I went to Las Vegas with a friend for her 25th birthday. We rented a car for one of the days that we were there and drove out to the Hoover Dam. It was definitely worth the trip! The desert was beautiful and the weather was perfect. If you’ve got some extra time, you should make the drive!

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You should also (carefully) try this…

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It feels like you’re riding with the top down and going 70 MPH..

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Anyway, hope everyone is having a good week!

Photographing the Terrible Twos

I recently did a maternity photo shoot for a friend and discovered (for the second time) how difficult it is to get a two year old to cooperate for pictures. Here are a few things that I learned that helped make the whole process run a little more smoothly.

1. Prioritize.

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They are over posing for pictures pretty quickly. If there are any cute ideas that you were really wanting to try, get them out of the way immediately or they probably won’t happen.

2. Aperture.

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See this picture ^^^ ? It looks like the little guy is happy and laughing, but he’s actually screaming… and this was only about 10 minutes into the shoot. Oh, boy. Use aperture and focus to hide that grumpy face.

3. Improvise!

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Try taking pictures while they’re doing something they enjoy. You might end up with a little boy riding around on a 4-wheeler in 90% of the pictures, but at least he’ll be smiling.

4. Wardrobe!

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One of the benefits to photographing a two year old, is that they are almost always adorable, even just walking across the yard. You can take plenty of cute candid shots that look great. If that two year old is wearing a shirt that says something like, “Big Brother.” Bam. That makes it part of a pregnancy shoot.

5. Patience.

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Take breaks and alternate between poses with the whole family and ones that just have the parents or mom. This way, the youngin’ can run around a little bit.

So, that’s what I learned last weekend. It was an adventure. If you want to see the rest of the photos, check out my Facebook page!

Non-Beach, Beach Sunsets

While I love watching the sunset ( or sunrise ) on the regular beach like every other person…

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…there are some great places around the Bradenton/Anna Maria area that have some pretty spectacular alternatives, and they’re pet friendly too! Skip the crowds and watch the clouds change colors with views that stretch all the way from Anna Maria to St. Pete and the Skyway Bridge.

First there is De Soto National Memorial Park. I go here all the time with Keen…

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There are often other dogs running around, so he gets a little social time (Not that he really cares for it. He’s kind of a snob.) It’s much safer than the causeway, because you are nowhere near any roads, just the bay! Plus there’s a lovely boardwalk…

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And plenty of places to catch a beautiful sunset..

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Best sunset watching spot in De Soto goes to the built up embankment near the visitors center. There are several benches so you can comfortably watch the show….

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The major perk that this park has over the others: History. There are several monuments, a visitors center and events/reenactments, from various time periods, held here all year.

Next up is Robinson Preserve. Robinson is surprisingly large. You wouldn’t think there was enough space in Northwest Bradenton for a park this big, but apparently there is since it totals 637 acres. You can rent kayaks or a canoe and there are extensive running and biking trails…

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Boardwalks…

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… and some of the best birdwatching in Bradenton. I’ve seen everything from Spoonbills to Bald Eagles…

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Best spot to watch the sunset in Robinson goes to the watch tower…

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Robinsons best perk is it’s size. You can spend hours walking and not cover the same trail twice.

Lastly, is a tiny park on Anna Maria called “Leffis Key.” I’ve lived in this area my entire life, but I didn’t know this place existed until I signed up for a beach cleaning group. This park is definitely the smallest of the three, but still has a boardwalk…

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and great bird watching…

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(I know it’s just a pigeon, but I still love that picture)

What really makes this place special is the hill in the center of the park. By Florida standards it could almost be a mountain..

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From this spot, and a second peak on the same hill, you can get a 360 degree panoramic view of the best sunsets and sunrises that Florida has to offer. Definitely the best spot in the park.

6X0A5331This park is easy to miss, so what little Leffis Key holds over the others, is privacy. You will almost always be the only one taking advantage of the views that the hill baby Florida mountain provides.

I couldn’t pick a favorite, because they all have their perks, so you should really just check them all out. Let me know what you think!

2013 International Coastal Cleanup Day (sort of)

Apparently, September 21th was 2013’s International Coastal Cleanup Day. I missed that memo, so I say International Coastal Cleanup Day is whatever day you want it to be. Be a rebel, do what you want.

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There are several benefits to volunteering, like awesome free t-shirts or catching a glorious sunrise.

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Apart from the gorgeous scenery, I got exercise that didn’t make me feel like I was exercising. Isn’t that the best kind?

I also recommend keeping a list of what you find. We kept a sheet that totaled all of our haul and seeing everything we picked up was really satisfying.

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If you don’t have an official sheet, just make your own! Instagram, Facebook or Tweet a picture of it and maybe it’ll give others the motivation to get out and do some cleanup too. Anyone done any volunteering lately? I’d love to hear about it!

More Quote-zies

It’s been a hectic few weeks. This month I’ve had my birthday, almost finished 2 more classes (Only 2 more to go!), gained 180 new followers (a new record!) and tried do as much prep as possible for my trip next month. There are a lot of exciting things in the works for the next few months, some I’ve already mentioned and some are secret! Oh, the suspense!! For now though, I leave you with some more quotes. Stay tuned! 🙂

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Switzerland 2007

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Anna Maria Island 2011

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Palma Sola Park 2011

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Switzerland 1987

As always, I’d love to read some of your favorite quotes in the comments below!

World Travel Market Preparations: Business Cards

Only a little over a month remains until the London 2013 World Travel Market. I have my press pass, the hostel is booked, plane tickets are purchased and now I have my business cards! I used moo.com, and it was really such a great experience. I used the “Great Escapes” Template. I loved the color scheme and layout on the front, and on the back, you can choose 5 of your own photos that will alternate on the cards…

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*There isn’t actually a blank space under “Two Thumbs Travels”, I just figured the internet isn’t the best place to display my personal cell phone.

You can use the photos on the back as a mini photography portoflio, like I did with the New York and Key West Photos, or have photos of yourself to make them remember you, like the skydiving and paddle-boarding shots…. or you can have a picture of your cat, just because you can…

Anyway, the cards are made really well. They’re not flimsy and cheap feeling, like cards I had previously purchased from a large office supply retail chain. I also love the matte finish and rounded corners, but there are many other options also. Plus, they come in a really cute little black box so you can carry them around and not get them damaged or lost.

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The shipping was incredibly fast too. I ordered them on September 15th and the confirmation said they would arrive by September 25th. This is why I was fairly surprised when they came in the mail only 5 days after I placed the order and 5 days before they were due to arrive.

I wanted the cards to look professional, but stand out with a little humor (Cat Lady) and I couldn’t be happier with the results. I highly recommend moo.com for not only business cards, but all kinds of promotional materials. Go check out their website!

For live updates on all upcoming events (World Travel Market, Doctor Who 50th Celebration, Cats), don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, Vine and Instagram @CorneliaJoy.

Side notes: I would like to point out that I know the scratches on my desk are terrible and I will be refurbishing and posting about it as soon as time allows. Also, I will only have 8 weeks of class left for my B.A.S. after the WTM, but it would be a huge waste of money hassle to make these and then have to order new ones 8 weeks later, so I decided to include it on there already. I hope that doesn’t offend anyone!

Bicycle Commuting For A Month

That’s right! 31 whole days of only using my bicycle for the daily commute to work. In other words, 22.2 miles round trip, or a little over 500 miles in total. Not only did I get in my exercise, but I saved money on gas and I got to be outside to watch the beautiful sunrise every morning. Here are a few tips that I’d suggest if you want to try to ditch your car, like I did.

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1. Go to bed! When the alarm goes off in the morning, that’s where the biggest struggle always is. You might have every intention of getting up in the morning, when it’s the night before, but you’ll think of every excuse possible to justify not getting out of bed when the time comes. Take away the excuse of, “I didn’t get enough sleep last night.” It’s one less argument you’ll have with yourself the next morning.

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2. Be mindful of the weather! I don’t just mean the rain either. Cycling in the rain is nothing compared to pedaling home with a headwind! Seriously, it’s amazingly irritating. The weather variations we have in Florida are just really hot, hot and raining. All of which call for shorts and a t-shirt. Too much wind, on the other hand, calls for leaving the bicycle at home and driving yourself to work. When the going gets tough, the Tough get going. Whether or not it is windy dictates whether or not the Tough take the car or a bicycle.

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3. Before you try cycling to work, drive your route and make sure it’s safe for the entirety of your journey. Bike paths haven’t always been on the forefront of all city-planners minds. You don’t want to get halfway to your destination and discover you can either ride your bike in the street dodging semis or on the grass dodging potholes.

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4. If you’re going to use headphones, which I do, don’t use ear-buds or anything noise cancelling. If you’re listening to music or an e-book to pass the time, you definitely still always want to know what’s going on around you. Pay attention. Pay attention. Pay attention.

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5. Give yourself plenty of time, especially in the morning. You don’t want to start your day full of stress about being on time, or arrive to work covered in sweat because you were pedaling like a crazy person. Get up early enough so you can take your time, enjoy the morning, stop to take some pictures and still have time to cool off and settle in once you get to work.

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If I can go a month without taking my car to work, I can run a marathon, right? Time to start training!

Now park your car, get out the bicycle and start building those leg muscles!

Throwback Thursday Travel Edition: Climbing the Männlichen

I love looking through old pictures, and my last trip to Switzerland will always be one of my favorites. We were staying in a small town called Wengen, “perfect” or “picturesque” doesn’t even begin to describe it. I know climbing the Männlichen doesn’t exactly make me a mountaineer, but we did it… and it was beautiful…

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So many cows… and I had to visit with all of them…

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The Eiger North Face… Aka what the North face traveling gear is named after…

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Sigh… Is it time to go back yet?