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!

Key West: Where To Stay

There are so many options for accommodations in Key West. My recommendation, if you’re going to be there more than a day or two, is to do a vacation rental. Hotels are so expensive! Houses are more comfortable, about the same price and you’ll have a full kitchen which saves you on food costs. I’ve done vacation rentals in the Keys 4 times, and every time I’ve used Bone Island Vacation Rentals. Each stay was fantastic! They have several house options for all group sizes. This last time, we had ten people so we used the Seaport Suit which sleeps up to 12. (Take a closer look at it in my video) The house has three huge bedrooms with comfy king size beds. This makes for easy bunking with a friend, without having to spoon them all night to keep from falling off the bed.

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There’s a fourth bedroom that’s a bit smaller, but that just makes it cozy!

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The living room is huge! The pictures don’t do it justice. It’s got 2 couches and at least one is a foldout. The TV is great too, but c’mon… you’re in Key West! Don’t watch TV!

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I absolutely love the decor, perfect beach house feel. Other amenities include two bathrooms, hot tub, all stainless steal kitchen, a balcony that has a great view of Simonton and finally…

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A table in the hallway that’s perfect for a round of beer (or juice!) pong…

6X0A5149My interaction with the company has been nothing but positive. They have great specials in the off seasons and will give a decent discount for repeat customers. You should check them out!

Key West on the Cheap

I already posted about my favorite things to do in Key West. Now, for all the things that you can do on a budget…

1. See all the typical Key West landmarks.

The Southernmost Point. Get your picture taken with the famous monument, and grab a snow cone from the vendor that is always there on the street. Trust me, you’ll be hot enough to want one.

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Mile 0 of highway 1.

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The Sunset Celebration on Mallory Square.

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2. Shopping! Both window and otherwise.

There are plenty of touristy stores where you can find souvenirs and handy travel underwear..

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Or you can pop some tags in one of the many thrift stores…

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3. Go see the Key West Aquarium.

It’s tiny, but well worth the $15 entry fee. You can even get cheaper tickets if you pre-purchase them online.

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There’s a petting tank with stingrays and other ocean critters..

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You can feed some fish and see some pretty large sharks…

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4. Grab a cheap book for charity and do some reading in the sunshine.

On your way down the Keys, you’ll pass Baby’s Coffee…

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…stop in and grab a drink, I recommend the chai iced latte, but all the drinks are good..

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… then grab a book and give a donation. If you have any books with you that you’ve already finished, here is the perfect place to drop them so another traveler can enjoy them…

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… Then go sit by your hotel pool or the beach with your chai iced latte, read your book and work on your tan.

5. Play pool at the Green Parrot.

The Green Parrot isn’t right on Duval, which makes it more of a locals hangout. “Locals hangout” can also be translated too “full of strange Key¬† Westers who make for good entertainment via people watching.”

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I’d love to hear any other suggestions!

My 100th Post, Bucket Lists and Doctor Who

This my 100th post! Already! My goodness, how time flies. With this 100th post, I have a very exciting update, at least it’s exciting to me… I am going to the 50th Anniversary Celebration in London for Doctor Who! One of the nerdiest sentences I have ever written, but I am not ashamed! I don’t follow many TV shows, but I can’t get enough of Doctor Who. Maybe it’s because of the accents… Anyway, continuing on from my Bucket List Item #218 I have a few more quotes to add to my list. Here’s the Doctor Who edition…

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(New York City, near Lady Liberty)

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(New York City, Little Italy)

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(Switzerland, near Wengen)

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(Key West)

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(Key West)

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(Bradenton, Fl)

Whether you watch Doctor Who or not, those are some great quotes!

Top 5 Things to do in Key West

There is so much to do and see in Key West, and often with very little time, you don’t want to waste time and money while you’re there. Here are my top five touristy things that everyone who visits Key West should do…

1. Take a snorkel tour on the reef.

You can snorkel anywhere in the Keys, but you won’t beat the scenery on the reef. You’ll see so many types of plant and aquatic life. I have been a few times, but this last time was the best. I saw a nurse shark (not as scary as you’d think!), Barracuda (much scarier than the shark), Yellow Fin Tuna, Tarpon, Yellow Tail Snapper, Grouper, Blue Parrot Fish, Sheep’s head and so many more…

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It’s harder to find water that is more beautiful than what’s in the Key’s. When you’re passing along the south side of Key West, there’s a really well defined line dividing the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf. It’s pretty cool to see…

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Even cooler through one of the deck-hands expensive Costa sunglasses.. The tour costs around $45 per person, plus a tip for the staff. It’s the only thing on the list that is slightly costly, but it’s well worth the money.

2. Mallory Square

From costly to free! Mallory Square has a sunset celebration that happens every evening. The Square is right at the end of Duval Street and very easy to find. Just look for the crowd of people with random jugglers, tightrope walkers and acrobats popping up throughout them…

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“Look, Mom, I’m a lamppost.”

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The cat show is great, but also bizarre. You should also see Dr. Juice’s tumbling show. He’s been performing on Mallory since I’ve been going, which is well over a decade now. The tightrope walker is also a permanent fixture on Mallory. The rest of the performers rotate pretty regularly but they are all very good. It’s also a good place to buy souvenirs, with several artists selling locally made goods. The best conch fritters in Key West are sold there too, so order half a dozen and don’t forget a side of spicy mustard!

3. Paddle Boarding

Despite being an island, Key West only has one tiny beach. The beach itself isn’t particularly exciting, but Sunset Water Sports has a booth where you can rent all kinds of things like paddle boards, kayaks, mini sailboat things and beach chairs. The paddle boards are only $22 an hour and they’re so much fun! It’s hard at first, but once you get the hang out it, it’s pretty easy.

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Until your mother “accidentally” pushes you off…

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3. The Cuban Chugs Exhibit

I already wrote a post about it, but I think it’s worth mentioning twice. It’s really eye-opening to the hardships that other people are dealt and made me really thankful to live in the country that I do.

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5. Get some good Cuban food!

There are so many delicious places to eat in the Keys, especially Cuban places! Being only 90 miles from Cuban, I’d say it’s pretty close to the real thing. Sandy’s Cafe is one of my favorite places, but there are plenty of options and trying them all out is the best part…

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So there you have it. Those are my top five! Beyond that, the jet ski tours are a lot of fun and the ghost walks have a lot of interesting history. Really, you can do anything while you’re there and it will be great. You’re in Key West which is better than where you’d be if you weren’t on vacation!

“Cuban Chugs”

In the Key West Botanical Gardens, there’s an “exhibit” with a bunch of “Cuban Chugs.” I say “exhibit” because it doesn’t really look like an actually display of anything, more like a bunch of old boat parts sitting in a yard. It turned out to be one of the most interesting things that I’ve seen in Key West. A “Chug” is a term for the vessels used by refugees leaving Cuba.

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It’s hard to believe that some people are so desperate to leave their country that they’d risk their lives crossing 90 miles of open water in one of these things, just to get to America.

The motor below is actually¬† built from regular boat motor parts and the engine from a lawnmower, cleverly welded together…

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Many of the boats were just tarps and wood scraps that had been filled with some type of foam insulation…

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This boat actually used a tree branch as support for one of the seats. Not lumber, but a tree branch…

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Imagine sitting on this thing for an extended period of time…

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You don’t even have to pay the entrance fee for the gardens to see this exhibit (although I do recommend going into the gardens themselves), so there’s no reason you should miss out on this fascinating display…

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Take your dog to the Keys they said..

It will be fun they said…

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My parents have taken our dog, Keen, to the Keys several times and it really is a lot of fun having him there. So much fun in fact that I decided to go with them on their next trip. Instead of us all cramming in one room or spending a ton of money on an extra hotel room, we decided to look for a rental house or condo. It started off so well! We found plenty of houses that accepted pets and had really good prices. I e-mailed my favorites so that I could verify availability and book. Easy, right? Not. At. All. There are so many restrictions on dogs! I had no idea it would be so complicated!

Our first choice wouldn’t allow huskies because of the insurance. I work in insurance and I know how the insurance companies can be, so it was hard to argue that one. No problem because I had several back-ups! Then the next place wouldn’t accept dogs that were over 25 lbs, then another place had a 30lb limit. After that it was no fluffy dogs. UGH! I finally found one place that was all the way out on Cudjoe Key, which is about 23mi from Key West, that was available and didn’t hold grudges against 50lb, fluffy puppies.

That was just too far, so after spending a few days feeling like a hamster running in a wheel, we finally ended back at the original plan. They’re going to stay at the same hotel that they always use and I’m going to book a place for myself. All that effort for nothing! So for anyone out there that’s wondering, if you’re traveling with a dog that’s larger or hairier than a chihuahua, it might be hard to find a place to stay, apart from the large hotel chains. You should also be prepared to pay extra pet fees, regardless of your dog breed.

If anyone has any recommendations or alternative options, I would love to hear them!