The Treehouse in Costa Rica!

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My Dad went through this strange phase a year ago where he wanted to be more adventurous.

My family loves to travel, I have been fortunate to travel since I can remember. However, our trips have never been exactly venturesome, due to the fact that they consisted of us getting around on a boat and having everything taken care for us (Royal Caribbean).

I love my parents, but they are getting to that point in time where they find everything to get on their nerves. They just want to lay on a beach and do absolutely nothing for the entire vacation. Which is understandable at their age.
Now why did my father – whom hates to do anything strenuous- decide to put a payment down on a treehouse in the middle of the rainforest? That is a question I still ask myself.

Well the time had come and the day after Christmas my sister, brother, mom and dad caught a five hour plane to San Jose, Costa Rica.

From San Jose we had to catch a tiny 10 person jet for an hour to a small town called Puerto Jimenez. The jet ride was scary but amazing, so many great views.

The treehouse was incredibly designed. It was four stories high- wrapped around a beautiful, large tree. It had three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a kitchen. Everything was wide open, except fortunately the bed rooms were screened in. There was no TV, and the wifi wasn’t working.
Our days consisted of being woken up by 20 titi monkeys at 6 am every morning (they would bounce around the trees right next to us!) Then we would wait for breakfast which our lovely caretakers made for us every morning….

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Then we would take a half hour walk to a very clean water river where many locals use the mud for facials and search for gold…

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Then most of the day we would just lay around and read.
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They also had a large garden growing nearby with lots of fruits and veggies growing. I picked up a cucumber everyday!

My dad did not want to drive into town because the roads were so dangerous. However, I also got to go zip lining and that was riveting. It looked terrifying, but it was liberating being able to do it. We were very high up in the rainforest going 60 mph.

One of the most exciting trips is when we decided to take a boat to the animal reserve. On the boat ride we saw a thirty foot whale shark, hundreds of dolphins, and the second most poisonous snake in the world!

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We then arrived to the reserve, apparently they filmed some of Jurassic Park there.. I am not surprised!

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I got to see monkeys, parrots, sloths and lots of birds. The woman that worked there was sweet.. I can not believe she lived there by herself.

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The scariest part of this whole trip was not the fact that everything went black at 5:45 pm every night, or how there were 8 bats living with us in the treehouse, or even how one night I was cleaning the dishes and a huge rainforest animal- called a kinkajou– jumped into the kitchen, stole my fruit and ran off. The scariest part of this trip were the roads. Here in NJ we got pretty nicely paved roads. Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica has the most terrifying roads I have ever been on. The road leading to the treehouse took us 20 minutes. It was completely made out of dirt and on the left side there was a huge trench you could not get out of, on the right side was a cliff. You fall off you die. We had to do this anytime we wanted to get to the treehouse, or get to the town. This made it very difficult to go anywhere. Even when we wanted to go to the beach it took an hour and a half on very bumpy roads and at times we were driving through rivers and going up cliffs!
It was worth it though…

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On this trip I was able to have bonding time with my family as well as eat healthy and read a lot. I really felt it was the perfect place to spend the New Years, right in the middle of nature. Every morning I woke up the beautiful jungle, and every night I would go to sleep terrified, but it was a great experience.

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Heres some extra pics if you guys are interested in what it looked like. I highly recommend taking the trip if you can. Heres some info on it if you would like!

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I hope you all are having a lovely week. And any Jersey/New York folk are staying safe in this crazy blizzard. It looks beautiful outside!

Soon I will be uploading me and Mikes 2 year anniversary trip to NYC!

xx Olivia

Loving Life

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How is everyones 2014 so far? I started off the New Year living in a tree house in the rainforest in Costa Rica..

Yes it was crazy. I have so many pictures I can not wait to share. It truly was a life-changing experience. I came back with complete positivity and a sense of peace. And that has been my resolution for 2014- to find a sense of peace within myself. 

Every year its the same resolutions…

  • work out everyday 
  • no soda
  • no cursing
  • read books etc…

I find that these resolutions honestly just stress me out. There is always this lingering pressure starting out the New Year. To the point where I am just like ugh I don’t even want to try anymore.

And yes they are important to incorporate into life.. but I find that the pressure is not beneficial to my life.

My important words for 2014 are

  • Gratitude
  • Peace
  • Love

Because without these three things how is a happy life achieved? 

For gratitude I decided to keep a gratitude journal. Every night, or the nights I can, I write down everything I am grateful for that happened that day. It has been going very well!

For peace I decided to turn off the news. No more CNN, USA Today, etc. Although current events can be important, I was constantly checking the news all day everyday purely out of boredom. And I just kept getting hit with more and more bad news. It really started to drag me down in 2013, and give me a pessimistic outlook. So far I have been detoxing from news I actually have a much brighter outlook on life I have to say. I plan on volunteering my time to give back to the community as well.

For love I decided to start giving more loving attention to my family and friends. I felt this past year I really just blew people off for my own personal time. Now everyday I try to talk to friends I barely contact and I have conversations with every family member. I am trying to be a lot more loving and less judgmental. 

 

Resolutions can be hard to keep so my motto is just to take it day-by-day. I know there will be plenty of times this year where I find it difficult to stick to these three words, but there is always tomorrow. Don’t let yourself get stressed because it will all work out, especially if there is gratitude involved! And most importantly treat yourself well.  

I hope everyone is having a wonderful, safe January. 

xx Olivia 

 

Graduation week!

I have finally graduated from high school. I can not even explain how happy this makes me. I realize one of the easiest parts of my life is over (haha) but I’m just so ready to move on and try something new! My high school experience taught me a lot:

1.)Dont judge others, you do not know what they’re going through

2.) How much my generation is obsessed with themselves and materialism

3.) How surprisingly kind some can be

4.) How to handle much rejection and not let it affect me

5.) Spirituality

6.) Do not care what others think of you

7.)Over-thinking will kill you

8.) Health is so so so important

9.) I appreciate who I am

10.) I can do anything I want in my life as long as I work hard.

So I was thinking lately, I really want to work harder I do. But why can’t I? My mind is always foggy, I’m always so tired. I am about to start my new life and I want to start on an excellent note. Recently I keep finding, seeing, or hearing things about juice detoxes. I know how good it would be for me to do it, I am just nervous I’ll fail and be extremely disappointed. I also…. love… food. A lot. Fortunately I am not over weight by any means, but I do have several immune related health problems. And I know changing my diet will help me with everything. Quiet honestly I think its inevitable and I should just go out and buy a juicer now. My sister is even willing to join in with me! Maybe Ill try it out and post how its going everyday, and include pictures.

I feel like my diet has also affected me emotionally, and its been taken out on others :/

I hope you’re all doing well. Summer is here and I am so happy for that and thankful!!

The Shift

I hope everyone  had a wonderful Monday.

I had a very calm one. However, today I started letting the anxiety of college come over me. That feeling where you believe that life is  slowly closing in on you… ever have that? I have been having it daily due to the fact that college auditions are coming up. And I have some very important decisions to make. It is very frightening. But I still remember that life is bigger than that. You can not worry your life away..

One thing I know that always gets me back on track with positivity is the wisdom of Dr. Wayne Dyer.I happened to stumble upon his teachings from a friend who was giving me advice on meditation and new age thinking. Dyer is a self-help author and motivational speaker. I really learned a lot from his segment and was particularly drawn to his speech of “I Am”. Being able to tell yourself, “I am capable of accomplishing things”. You have to believe in yourself. His suggestion is to “run through as large an inventory as you can of the things that you would like to define your life. Then make the shift in your imagination from an I am not or I am hoping to become to I am. You want what follows I am to be congruent with your highest self, which is God.”

I love reading his blog because it helps remind me everyday not to take life too seriously. We have the ability to choose who we are.

And I close the night with some of his quotes:

  • “How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.”
  • “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.”
  • “With everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose.”
  • “You are not stuck where you are unless you decide to be.”

p.s. check out his film!

December is here!

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Can we bring on the snow please? I have been waiting! The count down to Christmas has arrived and I can not wait for the festivities to begin!

I found some fantastic recipes that will put everyone in the holiday spirit!

First off my favorite parts about winter:

  • Ice skating
  • Hot Chocolate
  • Snuggling by the fireplace
  • Delicious food
  • Family time!
  • Christmas music!
  • Shopping
  • Big sweaters
  • The snow!
  • New York City
  • Christmas Trees
  • Carols
  • Santa
  • Reindeers..

The list is never ending! What are your favorite parts of December?

A Beautiful Quote

So Much Happiness

It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness.
With sadness there is something to rub against,
a wound to tend with lotion and cloth.
When the world falls in around you, you have pieces to pick up,
something to hold in your hands, like ticket stubs or change.

But happiness floats.
It doesn’t need you to hold it down.
It doesn’t need anything.
Happiness lands on the roof of the next house, singing,
and disappears when it wants to.
You are happy either way.
Even the fact that you once lived in a peaceful tree house
and now live over a quarry of noise and dust
cannot make you unhappy.
Everything has a life of its own,
it too could wake up filled with possibilities
of coffee cake and ripe peaches,
and love even the floor which needs to be swept,
the soiled linens and scratched records…..

Since there is no place large enough
to contain so much happiness,
you shrug, you raise your hands, and it flows out of you
into everything you touch. You are not responsible.
You take no credit, as the night sky takes no credit
for the moon, but continues to hold it, and share it,
and in that way, be known.

~ Naomi Shihab Nye

 

I found this quote from my favorite blog, Happiness Is… by Shannon Eileen. You’ll find me posting a lot about her on here I am sure. This quote is one of the most beautiful things written in my eyes. What is greater than happiness? Love? Love is happiness. 

Embarrassingly enough, I had absolutely no idea who Naomi Shihab Nye is, so I took the time to look her up… And I found that she is a “wandering poet”, novelist and songwriter. She has won quite the amount of awards in her day. 

I find my happiness with peace: when I am doing what I love with whom I love, and when the people around me are content. It’s difficult for me to find peace at home when I have my parents constantly trying to convince me that summer reading is the most important thing on this planet. Like I said previously in my Zen Habits post, we really really do not like to be told what to do. Constantly. All the time. It wont get done.

By the way I wanted to mention that the author of the Zen Habits post, Joshua Becker, tweeted at me! I am really glad that this got out to people and maybe it will help them understand their teens more! But anyway.. 

I wanted to share this with you guys because I really believe we can read this and it will remind us of a time of pure happiness. If you are feeling down read this post and imagine it in your mind. Block out the part thats saying “this is stupid.” Really try to find the peace in your mind.

I’d also like to mention that I have the Kik app for my iphone. If anyone is in dire need to talk I am available: oliviamullen1

I hope you are all having great last days of summer. The weather has been beautiful here. Also I’d like to mention my concert went great! It started out pouring rain and then the sun came out! 

Love and Happiness.

 

Zen Habits

I follow a famous thought-provoking blog called zen habits. They just recently came out with a guest post by Joshua Becker from the blog Becoming Minimalist. This piece was about raising minimalist teenagers. From reading this post I found that four years ago he sold basically everything he had. He was tired “to be living paycheck to paycheck.”  He makes some great points about the challenges we face in a growing materialistic world. One example is that as teens we value acceptance and have the need to conform with our peers. So many girls I know would go out and spend enormous amounts of money on clothes they don’t really want, but need so they could “fit in”. I think this grew out of most girls around Sophomore year of High School because us teens wanted to be more original and choose clothing that really describes who we are. In some ways I think its different for boys though. I still see guys wearing the usual “skateboard attire”, to fit in with there friends.

He proposes that parents give the teens some helpful tips. I thought i’d share them with you….

  • Model Simplicity
  • Encourage Idealism
  • Volunteer as a family
  • Watch less television
  • Make teens pay for expensive things themselves
  • Provide an ally
  • Discourage Entitlement
  • Travel to less developed countries
  • Teach that what matters most is not what you have, but who you are

These are some great tips that he’s left for parents. I think that all of these will help regular teens out. However, in my case (and many other teens) I am not one to be told what to do. Watch less television? When my parents tell me this it makes me want to watch more television. I think as teenagers we are confused because we are almost adults and have many more responsibilities. We feel that its okay to make our own decisions, however I do respect my parents guiding hands. I do love the tip about making teens pay for themselves. Thats truly a great point; paying for things ourselves means we learn to work for what we want. And that could relate to many things: getting a good grade, getting a great job, learning to do something new.

Although teens don’t like to be controlled, I think this blogger makes some great points.