A little giggle for Flip-Flop Friday…

Gives new meaning to my mantra… “livin’ in flip-flops”!




Baby steps…consistent baby steps…

Yesterday I hosted my first ever “sponsor” table at a NEW networking event in Nashville.

The brain child of Barry Owen, founder and owner of Pareto Realty, LLC, the first annual Nashville Real Estate Consortium was born yesterday, May 5, 2011.

The theme of the event was “Leveraging Realtor & Local Business Relationships to Fortify Nashville, Tennessee’s Economy.” My business is travel…though I have been actively working with Realtors since 2002 as a Realtor myself and as an executive staff member for one of the largest and most productive offices in Nashville. So…I know a lot of Realtors.

My travel business has been languishing on the “back burner” as I decide who I am and what I want to do with the rest of my life. If you’ve been reading my blog…you know what I’m talking about…if not…the gist of it is…life happens, things change and it’s time for me to define a new path.

Travel is where I landed. I simple love to travel. It’s in my blood (I’m an Army brat – full fledged.) I love to meet new people and explore cultures around the world.

So…when the opportunity arose to participate in this new event, I jumped at it! I designed a slide-show of recent travel pictures and souveniers, including: Key West, Coastal Virginia, OBX NC, Park City, Utah, Logan Canyon, Utah, Panama City Beach, FL, Maui, HI, Italy and the Bahamas! There’s nothing like social proof, right!?

My goal was to use this opportunity to reconnect with “old” friends, make some new friends, expose people to my new business venture and have an open mind to learning in the process.

That goal was not only met – it was EXCEEDED! About 100 people attended, there were 35 topics to choose from to attend…and yes, sponsors were invited to attend the sessions…I attended 4 sessions and have identified several golden nuggets of new information that I’m applying to my business immediately. I connected with numerous people, some I’ve known for years, some I’ve interacted with on facebook for years and only just yesterday met in person and some that are brand new connections.

This was a wonderful way, ie. baby step, for me to get back out there in front of people, now as we all know…the fortune is in the follow up!!

Thank you Barry & Debbie Owen of Pareto Realty for this opportunity. Great job. Count me in for next year.

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When Monday is also re-entry day…

When Monday is also what I affectionately refer to as “re-entry” day…the day that I return to my “normal” life after a vacation…instead of Monday being a day of dread, it’s actually a day that makes me smile! I get to use this week to focus on creating the opportunity for MORE re-entry days in the future!! What could be better?

I’m so incredibly thankful and grateful for the opportunity to work a business that allows me the freedom to travel when and where I choose. This past weekend, my husband’s company participated in an annual event in Key West. The Key West Songwriters’ Festival. This is the second year I’ve been able to attend and I cringe to think of the years that I missed this because of the J.O.B. I had with end-of-month deadlines that forbade me to take any time off when the Festival was happening. I missed making many memories…let me correct that…I made memories alright…they are memories of stress, headaches, tension, isolation, frustration, etc.


These are the memories I’m making now!

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Living in flip-flops,


$49 Cruise – Really? Yes!

I’ve had many  people question me about the reality of the $49 cruise my family and I took to the Bahama’s a few weeks ago. Since there seems to be such disbelief, I decided to write a review and answer some questions.

Did we really pay $49 per person. YES! With port fees and taxes, the total came to about $180. We were on the Carnival Fascination and sailed out of Jacksonville, FL…I closely watched Southwest Airlines and purchased direct, non-stop flights from Nashville when they were on a super sale! Our ports of call were in the Bahamas, Freeport and Nassau.

I am a member of a discount travel club which purchases cruise cabins in bulk. We had about 300 people on the ship (15% of total guests)…hence the great price! The savings on this cruise alone paid for my membership fee!

Instead of paying the suggested $30 per person transfer fee…a big bus taking you and your luggage from the airport to the pier…we took a cab for $30 each way, for all 4 of us. Saved 50% on getting to and from the ship. I called ahead and verified the typical cab fare…I would suggest doing the same before you bail on the suggested transfer option.

I opted for us to stay in an interior cabins. At the time of booking for a nominal additional $50 per person you could upgrade to a porthole window and for a bit more you could have a balcony. I wanted the full $49 experience, so we stayed in the interior. I have to say…I was worried about feeling claustrophic and was I pleasantly suprised! We were only in our rooms to sleep or change clothes…I never missed the window! The ship had a webcam we could access on the tv – so it was like a virtual window…showing us what it was like outside. The twin beds can be arranged into a king for couples or into separate twins for room-mates. Honestly…I never missed the window!

Service on the ship was absolutely incredible! Everywhere you went there was someone available to wait on you. And with a SMILE!! I spent time getting to know our support staff, from cabin stewards, to waiters in the dining room, to the dining room Maitre D, to the manicurist and masseuse…yes…my husband spoiled us with some extras!

Everyone…absolutely everyone that worked on the ship that I came into contact with…did their job happily, with a smile, with a true heart for service…I honestly felt it was all about ME having the best possible experience with them that I could. They got to know my name and I knew theirs. Imagine if we all approached our businesses with such a heart for service. It would be game changing.

The activities on the ship were plentiful! You could participate…or not. It was your choice. No pressure. Comedy shows. PG and R rated were incredibly funny and entertaining. 2 different comic’s with distinctly different styles. Games to participate in or just watch. My daughter and I went to the Love Game – kinda like the newlywed game but with couples at different stages of marriage. We also went to a towel folding class to learn how to make the cute animals you find on your bed every evening. There was a main show of singing and dancing – great talent! Disco, piano bar, casino, kids area, pools, hot tubs, slides, mini-golf, art gallery and more! There was a huge party on the Lido Deck the night we sailed out of Nassau and headed back to the US. Live music. FOOD.

Food was everywhere. Constantly available. Do NOT attempt a diet while on a cruise. We ate in the dining room every night and were treated to steak, salmon, mahi mahi, crab cakes, prime rib, lobster, shrimp and the most decadent desserts! There was no limit to the amount of food they would bring you…our waiter commented on a guy at another table eating 10 lobster tails!

We had a private cocktail party for our group after a group photo on the main staircase. FREE wine, beer, soft drinks, fruit punch for the duration of the party. DJ, dancing, birthday recognitions (it was my birthday the day before we sailed)…fun, fun, fun!

There are many opportunities on a cruise to spend money, so come with your spending budget in mind. You could cruise and not spend much extra at all. The food, water, tea, coffee was all included and readily available. Tips were added to the bill automatically though you did have the opportunity to change the amount if you felt so inclined. Bottom line, you’ll get information about opportunities from your cruise line once you have booked your ticket. Set your budget and your mindset and then have FUN!!

We did massages, enjoyed some fruity drinks with tiny umbrellas in them and an excursion to the Atlantis on Paradise Island to slide through the shark tank and we contributed a tiny bit to the casino. We had fun with friends, met some great new friends, had quality time alone as a family and as individuals.

It was a great get-away for us and the best $49 I believe we’ve ever spent! I’d love to have you join us…or have the ability to take your own dream vacations. Call me. Email me. Facebook me….just raise your hand and I’ll let you know how you too can travel, save money, have fun and build relationships!

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PS – It was WONDERFUL to wear flip-flops in January!!!





Back into the light…7 days of darkness is enough!

I’m back!

Last Thursday, my family and I went “dark” electronically.

It was a choice we made during our vacation. We were on a cruise to the Bahama’s and while we had the option of “sea” connectivity, we weighed the “going dark” option vs the fees for the international connectivity and chose to go “dark”.

The point of a vacation is to rest, relax, recuperate and reconnect – right?

Well….what better way to accomplish those 4 R’s than by not being electronically leashed?

We had an AMAZING vacation! I’m working on a review for my next blog…stay tuned! It’s taken me a while this week to get back into the swing of things…and I’m back!



What are you looking forward to this year?

What are you looking forward to this year?

I’m looking forward to:

  • quality time with my family
  • several family vacations – starting with a cruise to the Bahama’s!
  • generating an additional stream of income
  • supporting Rich in his business endeavors
  • de-cluttering
  • yoga
  • meditation
  • simplifying
  • attending a women’s retreat
  • flip-flops!

How about you? What are YOU looking forward to? Tell me below – I can’t wait to hear!!

Remember – we only live once – make it count. Live with passion!



Flip-flop Friday:Gratitude Style

Today is the kind of day I wince about…ok…I do more than wince…I complain loudly… when I realize fall is leaving, summer is well behind and winter is fast approaching.

Cold. Grey. Cloudy. Absolutely NO sun or blue sky visible.

I decided to put on my pink Maui cap (instead of the black cap I’ve been wearing) when I bundled up in layers to take Angel on our morning walk. As I walked I’d let my eyes notice the pink brim of the hat and remember what it feels like to be in Maui.

Warm. Sunny. Blue skies. Blue water. Sound of the surf hitting the shoreline. Feel of the sand between my toes. Smell of the perfumed air. Beautiful flowers. Palm trees. White clouds. Happy people. Drinks with little umbrella’s in them. “Pollock-ini Lookout” (a spot my family has claimed and everyone takes a picture there when we visit). Happy times. Fun memories.

My mood lifted as I walked and purposefully filled my mind and soul with these feelings of gratitude for the memories. I choose to remember that even though the sun is not visible here today…it IS shining above the clouds. It IS present. I WILL feel it’s warmth on my skin again and soon I WILL free my toes from these stifling shoes, back into flip-flops where they belong!

Always maintain a kind of summer, even in the middle of winter. ~Henry David Thoreau



Happy November! Travel Question Answered…

Happy November!

A new day….a new week…a new month! All things begin again! 

Yesterday I completed week 1 of the P90X program – it is kicking my tail!! The workouts are really hard, however, I’m learning to pace myself and just to keep moving, even if I can’t do what the people on the video are doing. Managing my food is even harder from the standpoint of using lots of mental energy! I trust that part will get easier with time. It’s all about planning. 

So it is on to week 2! My motivation is strong…gotta look good for the BAHAMA’s!!

I’m very excited about the $49 CRUISE we are going on in January…the timing is PERFECT!!! When it’s cold and gloomy in TN – we are going to have the awesome experience of cruising to the Bahamas!! Can’t get much better than that!!

Love working on my to-do list….Passport…research shore excursions…etc!! Again…planning!! 

I’ve had quite a few friends ask about how we “found” a $49 cruise…and how they can partake as well…it was offered as part of the awesome Travel Club that we joined. The cruise sold out in less than an hour…they are working on putting another very affordable cruise together and you’ve got to be able to move quickly!

YOU can join our club too – watch this quick video for details! Click HERE.

Call me or message me after you’ve watched it…I will sweeten the pot for a short time only! We’ve got to talk for the details!! 

Come cruise with me!!

….I’ll be the one in flip-flops!  

Jan Orga

You Only Live Once – Live with Passion! 

twitter: @spiritofyolo