Passport for Your Palate-Grapefruit Vodka Soda

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My favorite go to spirit is vodka and while I usually keep it very simple with just some soda and lime, I do love to play around from time to time. This particular combination was inspired by my oldest daughter, Greta.  We were doing one of our almost weekly chats at the end of the work day. I believe that evening it happened to be National Tequila today.  I was like dang, I don’t have any tequila in the house, just my vodka. She herself had now become busy grabbing a stool and was making a search through the cabinet in the kitchen that house the liquor.  She immediately chimed in with what had become the most recent poolside libation this summer with her and my friends in Tennessee.

 

“Mom, we have been doing vodka, grapefruit juice, and club soda.”

I was like I actually have some grapefruit juice on hand that I’d grabbed for a recipe I can’t recall.  It turns out she never found any tequila that night either and we both ended up with this light refreshing drink perfectly suited for a hot summer night.

 

It turns out, I’ve discovered, that I am not the only one on my back balcony that enjoys this cocktail as it has attracted the hummingbirds.  I was quite startled the first time the buzz and blur came right into my face as I lifted the glass for a sip.  I am guessing it is the beautiful color of the drink that draws the bird as I can’t say it is super sweet.  Though I’ve included some variations you can try as well below.

 

Grapefruit Vodka Soda or aka a Greyhound

1 glass

 

1.5 ounce favorite vodka, give or take. My current go to is Broken Shed.

6-8 ounces ruby red grapefruit juice.  I am an OceanSpray fan.

1-2 ounces club soda.

Lime wedge, option garnish

 

Fill glass with ice.  Pour in vodka, then grapefruit juice, then top with club soda. I use a highball glass.  Usually a plastic one right now as this is something to take poolside.  Stir.  You could opt to shake in a mixer as well, but I keep it easy peasy when I am at home..

 

Variations

  • You can substitute gin for the vodka
  • Add salt to the rim and make it a Salty Dog (traditionally this would have gin instead of vodka)
  • Want to take some bitterness out of the grapefruit consider adding sugar to the rim or adding a touch of maple syrup to the mix. For me it has to be real Vermont Maple Syrup.
  • I made my own fun twist by using an ounce or two of Pad Thai Sauce in the mix.

 

Give my summer buzz a try. Let me know if the birds come by. Happy Sipping!


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslPassport for Your Palate-Grapefruit Vodka Soda
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Inkinspired-The Arrow Tattoo

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October again, and as it appears thanks to Facebook’s memories feature, it is the time of year I like to express my deepest passions via a new tattoo.

When asked, why a tattoo, I respond that I had always wanted one from my late teens on, but never knew exactly what to get. Then I went to Australia and my life began to evolve. Once on that path of change and personal development, all the passions within me came to the surface, quite literally, thus it became time for ink because the meaning had been found.

Most recently, if you have been following my social media pages, you will have seen that my dear and close friend and I made a day trip to New York City to get very meaningful tattoos placed inside our left wrists. These tattoos, had been in the plans for close to a year now.


While many of my tattoos and the plans for a few more in the future have been done in destination, we chose to meet here, in New York, for this. The two of us met a few years ago at a Book More Travel Workshop in North Carolina, hosted by the Global Travel Institute for Travel Entrepreneurs. I had already belonged to the program and my dear friend and now partner in crime Tracy was just joining. We discovered immediately we were kindred spirits. Before the conference was over, we had become besties.

We learned many things for propelling our business forward through our membership in GIFTE. One of the main concentrations or focus areas is mindset. Our fearless leader, Meredith Hill, founder and president of the company, teaches many things to keep our mind on the right entrepreneurial path.

One of those things involves the analogy of an arrow being pulled back. It has meaning on several levels.

One, is the arrow needs to be pulled back to have momentum. The further it is pulled back the further it will go. Another is to the comparison of contrast in your life. The more contrast you have, the more reward/good that exists on the other end. And, finally, the faith that you need and must have, blind faith, seeing and believing you will hit your target. That faith will create the forward momentum you need to reach your goals. As we say, READY, FIRE, AIM!

I and Tracy have been through a lot of contrast over these past few years. I have been in a constant state of change and evolution for at least the past 3 years as I created and opened the travel agency, divorced my husband, and then relocated from Tennessee to the northeast in New Jersey. Tracy too has had her own agency coming to birth, as she has dealt with the end of her marriage. We both resonated so strongly with the mindset conversations and analogies of the bow and arrow that we decided we would get arrows put inside our wrists to remind us and strengthen us to keep moving forward.

You will see our arrows are slightly different.

Because our struggles and paths and personal meanings are different as well. For Tracy, I know the word TRUST was something she needs to remind herself of and her colors represent her agency branding. For me, I wanted something more traditional, native. I have the dots to symbolize the movement forward, the wave to show that it is not always a straight path to our goals, the leaves as feathers because of my draw and connection to nature. For me nature always heals and restores. But, the one thing, we both know is the best is coming and the reward for our efforts is in sight.
To discover the meaning behind my previous tattoos, check out my blogs, “Souvenirs to Last a Lifetime” and “Tattoos-The Meaning Behind the Ink”

updated 7/19/20


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslInkinspired-The Arrow Tattoo
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Don’t Leave Home Without It

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American Express owns this slogan, and with all due respect I wouldn’t think of infringing on their right to use it. This is not about credit cards though, but about what you need to take with you on an airplane to be the most comfortable and make your time pass quickly.

Flying on an airplane can give you the feeling of being a sardine, even if you are in Business or First Class. Preparing ahead for a flight is mandatory to have the best experience and once you have it down, you won’t be second guessing yourself about what to pack. Here are my three top absolutely necessary items to take on a flight; whether it is 1 hour or 5 hours or even 15 hours.

1. A Pashmina
For me, this is the Number One item on the Don’t Leave Home Without It List. About five years ago before traveling to China I realized I needed something to keep me warm on airplanes and motor coaches. My research led me to Pashmina and the hunt for the perfect one that would meet my needs for warmth and fashion accessory. A Pashmina is a scarf or shawl but not just any scarf or shawl. Pashminas are made from the finest grade of cashmere wool, from certain goats raised in the Himalayas. The wool is the world’s finest and provides the most luxurious warmth. A Pashmina Scarf is a luxury fashion statement, and can be added to a dress with spaghetti straps or over jeans. Versatility makes it essential for travel on planes, trains, and automobiles.

Airplanes can be very cold, an extra layer of warmth is usually required to stay comfortable. Blankets distributed on the plane are not only limited, but the cleanliness is questionable. Ick! Drape a pashmina over your shoulders and you will increase your warmth immediately, If my Pashmina could talk it would tell you of travel to China, Thailand, Hong Kong, London, Paris, New York, Las Vegas, Ft. Lauderdale, New Orleans, Napa, and more.

2. Something To Do
This Don’t Leave Home Without It item can be different for each travel. Some people enjoy doing a craft and others would rather read. Reading (and sleeping) are my preferred way to pass the time. The graphic represents my personal choice of an electronic device, such as a Kindle, Kindle Fire, Nook or even a tablet such as an ipad. It can help you avoid speaking to a boring seat mate (smile). The variety of topics it holds will not only keep you interested, but also lighten your load. Gone are the days when you take a vacation and have to pack a stack of books. They will even hold your magazine subscriptions. In a word, they are WONDERFUL! If you haven’t moved to the electronic reader, what are you waiting for? One argument I hear is that you can’t share the book with your friends and that is absolutely right. But, how many books have you carried with you and left on the ship, at the resort or hotel room because packing a book takes up room for those purchases you made during “Retail Therapy”.

3. Loose Fitting Shoes
The final Don’t Leave Home Without It is essential for comfort, especially if flying on long flights. Clogs are a great choice but my favorite shoes to fly in are Crocs, UGLY, yes, but so simple to take off and put on again. The TSA is slowly moving away from the requirement to remove your shoes, but it is still there at this time. TSA Pre-check is a new system that allows you to keep your shoes and jackets on and allows you to leave your 1 quart bag in your luggage. It’s a hit or miss system for everyone except the people who pay for the privilege of receiving TSA pre-check. This doesn’t even mean you will always receive it, sometimes you may have to go through the regular line at their whim. The bottom line is always be prepared to remove your shoes just in case.

If you have read to this point, the you receive a BONUS. One more essential for carry on bags.

4. Noise Cancelling Headphones
The BONUS Don’t Leave Home Without It not only reduces or eliminates cabin noise, it also gives better sound for the inflight movie or music when plugged into the airplane’s sound system. There are a variety of brands and range of prices to choose from. Google “Noise Cancelling Headphones” do your homework.

Now it’s your turn. What do you think is most important to have on a plane ride for COMFORT! Maybe you need to have a video game, chocolate chip cookies, earplugs or eye shades. Let us know your thoughts.


Jan Scheyer-Personally Yours Travel by Jan, Your Travel Advisor in Greater Cincinnati.

I am Jan Scheyer and I am a connoisseur of history. Like a great author who can bring history to life through words, I do this through travel. I plan travel experiences for people who want to connect with the past and bring it to life. If you love history, let me help you plan travel experiences in a way that you’ll never forget. I will illuminate options you’ve never considered and plan every last detail so that you can have an experience that you’ve only dreamed (or read) about.


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Jan ScheyerDon’t Leave Home Without It
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Whatever Floats Your Boat-River Cruising vs. Ocean Cruising

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While most people have taken a cruise vacation, they are mostly familiar with the traditional and very popular mass market ocean cruises. However, river cruising is quickly gaining popularity and is becoming a hot trend in vacation travel. If you think you do not like cruising – or you’re ready for a different kind of cruise experience- read on and learn some of the basic differences between river and ocean cruising. See which one floats your boat!

SIZE/ PASSENGERS/CABINS
Ocean:
Mass market cruise lines carry anywhere from 2000 passengers to over 6,000 passengers. Multiple cabin categories and cabin sizes from small interior cabins (no window) to 2-story loft suites.
River: Luxury lines carry 90 to 140 passengers. Fairly small cabins – 140 square feet cabins with porthole windows to 200 square feet suites with full sit-out balconies.

DESTINATIONS
Ocean: Caribbean islands, Hawaiian islands, Alaska, the Mediterranean, Australia, South Pacific, Asia, South America, Antarctica…. just about anywhere in the world!
River: Mostly Europe – Inland cities and towns along rivers such as the Rhine and Danube – big cities such as Amsterdam, Vienna, Budapest to small villages such as Bergerac and St. Emillion in France; Southeast Asia, China, and India itineraries are also offered by several river cruise lines.

EXCURSIONS
Ocean: Wide range of excursions from dolphin swims, zip lining, snorkeling in the Caribbean to whale watching and salmon bakes and train rides in Alaska.
River: Small-scale walking tours with individual headsets that allow everyone to hear the local guides. Excursions focus on sightseeing, history, and culture of the area.

DINING
Ocean: Multiple dining venues; many types of cuisine; multiple seating times. You may or may not get to know your waitstaff depending on your dining preferences. Relaxed dress code. Room service.
River: One main dining room and one or two smaller venues. One seating time period for each meal. No room service. Seating is open seating. Table sizes vary, so you can sit with your own traveling companion at a table for two or with a group at a table for 10. Dress code is relaxed. Most people dress casual-dressy dinner attire. Wait staff is very attentive. Service is personable and genuine.

ENTERTAINMENT
Ocean: Night clubs, Broadway shows, variety shows, comedians, concerts, casinos, pubs.
River: pianist in lounge, local talent such including singers and classical musicians

AMENITIES
Ocean: Water slides, cigar bars, ice rinks, 4-D cinemas, rock climbing, zip-lining, bowling, full service spas.
River: Libraries, sundecks, small fitness centers, 24-hour coffee bars, free Wi-Fi. And not a kids’ play area in sight.

PRICE INCLUSIONS
Ocean: Cabin, meals in main dining areas and cafes and a few other venues, tap water, coffee, tea…and on-board entertainment.
River: All meals, beer, wine, soda, specialty coffees and teas, bottled water. Some lines include liquor, transfers, and gratuities. Also included on all river cruises are the daily sightseeing excursions in each port. AmaWaterways even has their own bicycles for guests to use in port.

SO, WHO MIGHT LIKE TO RIVER CRUISE?
Those who enjoy sightseeing, culture, art, history and unique experiences.

Those who been there, done that on ocean cruises and want a different type of experience.

Those who prefer a slower pace and calmer experience without the glitz, non-stop action found on many ocean cruises.

Those who enjoy a luxury, cultural experience without having to pack and unpack every couple of days as on an escorted bus tour.
Those who like phenomenal service and attention. With small group sizes, the river cruise staff are able to completely cater to the guests and truly aim to please. The staff become friends!

Those who enjoy meeting others and making friends. You can certainly keep to yourself, but when there are only 100 or so passengers on board, it is very easy to meet others and make new friends – should you want to! River cruising is especially wonderful for solo travelers!

WHAT ABOUT KIDS?
Generally river cruising appeals to an older clientele. There are no organized kids programs or night life for teens on most ships. However, starting in 206, Disney has partnered with Ama Waterways cruise line and is European river cruising vacations. This may be just the ticket for your family. With the Disney touch, the river cruising experience will be much more family friendly.

JUST REMEMBER:
Don’t wait till the last minute! With ocean cruising you may find a great deal if you wait till the last minute. That won’t be the case for river cruises. These ships are small and fill up very quickly! If you want to take a cruise next summer, put down a deposit now…or at least by January. If you wait too long, you may find your desired itinerary and ship already booked up.


Anjana Duff is the owner of Travel Connection, a boutique travel agency specializing in tropical escapes and worldly adventures.

She creates customized vacation packages for individuals and groups. With her expertise, clients can relax before the vacation even begins. They are able to focus on what is truly important – connecting with their favorite people in their favorite places.


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Anjana DuffWhatever Floats Your Boat-River Cruising vs. Ocean Cruising
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Tattoos-The Meaning Behind the Ink

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At the New Year’s Eve party this year the topic of tattoos came up. A good male friend of mine was like, “how many do you have now.” I said, “I have five.” He just shook his head saying he had gotten his second and was planning a third, but wasn’t going to be able to keep up with me. Now it is not an actual race, but when I started my tattoo journey a year ago, he was inspired to finally get his first tattoo because of the meaning. What do I mean by this?

Not all tattoos are mistakes done on an evening of heavy drinking where you stumble into a late night tattoo shop. While you will run into a few who did it by mistake or thought the picture of it was cool, you will find most people who adorn themselves in ink do so because there is deep felt meaning to that person and that person alone for what the ink or tattoo represents. Tattooing has been around for thousand of years with many of the early cultures using them as rites of passage and to recognize status in a tribe. Many cultural artists are still around doing the work of their ancestors, however, in most cases the methods have been brought up to the current century due to health standards and government laws.

I had always wanted a tattoo for years, but for most of my life I never got one because others said I shouldn’t. However, when I found something I was truly passionate for, it was almost like I couldn’t help myself from pulling that passion from within to the skin. Last year I did a blog called “Souvenirs That Last A Lifetime”. It goes into a description about my first tattoos and the meaning behind them. In October of 2015, I had the pleasure of taking my son to Australia and New Zealand and it was here that we shared a special bond by getting traditional Maori tattoos done in Rotorua.

We had them done by J.P., a Maori, at Whakarewarewa The Living Maori Village. The process began with an interview by J. P.. He then did a drawing based on the things he drew from our interview that were special and held meaning for us. Before he began the inking process he performed a traditional Maori blessing over each of us. I can’t even express in words the feelings that come over me when I am allowed to immerse myself in another’s culture. He gave me a print copy of what is etched upon my upper left arm. (seen below) A tattoo on the left generally will represent family. The swirls (as I call them) represent the people.

The meaning behind my tattoo…..

The main interlocking swirls located in the center of the tattoo represents my mother and father.

If you follow them to the upper right you will see to smaller swirls(hooks) interlocked. Those are my grandparents on each side. In addition you will see 3 individual swirls located on the upper end of the tattoo. These represent my niece and my two nephews.

If you follow the main center swirl down to the bottom, the longest swirl represents me. The single swirl just under my parents is my sister. Coming off of my long swirl you will see a swish with two curls and those represent my daughters, while the single one represents my son.

At the very bottom of the tattoo you will see a small swirl linked (overlapped) with my swirl. The small swirl represents a very special friend and our bond. The friend restored my hope and faith in the existence of good people and made me believe again. These are gifts I will be eternally grateful for.

The swirls are surrounded by other symbols FOR BLESSINGS AND PROTECTION
The ocean waves represent good HEALTH, VITALITY, and CLEANSING
The mountains represent paying RESPECT TO NATURE, the land of your births, and your travels
The >>>> represent ABUNDANCE, DIRECTION, FREEDOM, and TRAVEL
The ////\\\\//// weaving pattern represents close knit FAMILY and loved ones
The ))))) represent GOOD vibes, for only good things to come to my LIFE, HAPPINESS, LOVE, ABUNDANCE and FREEDOM.

My son’s tattoo photographed above has similar meaning. The swirls represent the important people in his life. Represented upon his shoulder are his dad, myself, his siblings, his cousins, his baseball coach, and his two closest baseball teammates. The other symbols will follow the descriptions listed above. It was a special afternoon we shared, not soon to be forgotten.

You see, for me, my tattoos are so much more than ink on my body. They have spent a long time in the waiting and making, and each has been done to represent my passions in life.


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslTattoos-The Meaning Behind the Ink
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How to Create More Happiness

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When you finally manage to steal a moment for yourself do you:

Get right to the enjoyment and fun, or…

Lay on the sofa waiting for something fun to come along and entertain you?

About 18 years ago I became a mom again, to the world’s most amazing, gorgeous and genius babies–my twins, Roque and Reyna. (I’m sure you feel the same way about your babies, human or otherwise.) Well, although they are amazing, gorgeous geniuses, caring for them was exhausting. They ate every other hour. For fun they decided to alternate their feeding hours so just as I got one baby fed and to bed the other was waking up to eat. I remember thinking, “If I could just get 4 hours of sleep in a row I’ll be set.” From time to time my mom would take them for the day to give me a break.

That was the perfect time for me to play, right? Not.

I had no idea what I wanted to do. I’d always clean, do the laundry, groceries and run the errands. Then I’d be home, exhausted half asleep on the sofa watching TV while they were gone. Now please understand, if I was super engaged in what I was doing and enjoying it, I wouldn’t say that was a crappie way to spend my time. However, the fact is I was completely disengaged and wouldn’t have recognized FUN if it tried to smother me as I slept.

It never occurred to me to do something I enjoy, something fulfilling. Granted I did enjoy having the chores done but that left me feeling sad and lonely with little energy to do more than sleep.

Fast forward to today and I can tell you with a clarity I did not have before, it’s CRITICAL to stay connected to what you like and enjoy. Otherwise, you’ll fall off the path to Joy-ville, and end up in Funky Town.

After my 2008 Breakdown I learned about self-worth and realized how abusive I was to myself. Nothing will teach you that faster than acquiring an autoimmune disease and becoming disabled. I disconnected from any sense of what felt good and fun.

When I started learning about mind, body and soul wellness, well-being, I realized I was ill-equipped to live a life of love, happiness and peace. No one ever talked about not working too hard, getting enough sleep, and taking a timeout when you needed it. It happens so fast and easily without you noticing.

It would take some time, but I finally figured out what I enjoyed. Before the 2008 Breakdown I couldn’t get there. I didn’t understand how our bodies are affected by living in a society where “busy-ness” is valued more than “effectiveness” and how this way of thinking has left 93% of the population feeling stressed out, guilty, and/or exhausted.

How to Use Time to Create Happiness
The first thing I had to do is be mindfully present. We hear about this concept of being present and in the moment but how often do we actually do it. To help keep grounded in the present focus on what you are doing and nothing else. Notice your bodily sensations, the thoughts running through you mind, and how you are emotionally feeling while being where you are.

Then create time for play. Play is art, books, cooking, movies, music, comedy, traveling, flirting and daydreaming. We tend to dismiss play for adults. Usually play is perceived as unproductive, petty or at its worse, a guilty pleasure. We are made to believe once we’ve transitioned to adult status it’s time for us to get serious. As a result, between personal and professional aspirations and obligations we leave no time for play.

Last, journal every day. Write about what you did and the things you accomplished. Notice how you felt and celebrate your wins. Before you know it, you will be completely tuned into what you do that fulfills you and brings you joy.

Be committed to never lose touch with your inner child. The one that loves to laugh at silly jokes and sing as loud as she can while dancing wildly to her favorite song.

Put It To Work: This week practice being mindfully present, create time for play and journal about your days. At the end of the week read what you wrote out. Start a list of things you enjoy doing. Things that make the time fly and make you feel passionate and energized when you do them. Keep this list on you and when you get a minute go do one of the things on your Play-List. I keep my Play-List on my phone.

Play Time is one of the Happitunities I talk about often. Play time is meant to be purposeless, voluntary, fun, and pleasurable. Give yourself permission to enjoy the healing and connectivity playing brings to a heart-centered, joyous lifestyle.


Carmen M. Perez, is the founder of www.EffortlessLivingOnline.com, a lifestyle e-magazine for entrepreneurs.

We help entrepreneurs understand they do not have to sacrifice their health, happiness or lifestyle to succeed. by sharing strategies to help them reclaim their time, calm the chaos and transform the way they experience their world. Sign up for your FREE content packed e-book, “Let’s get on with it! How to Survive Life’s Thriving Lessons” and receive her weekly advice on bringing order to chaos, busting through stress, and making the most of your time and living with passion, purpose, and play, visit www.EffortlessLivingOnline.com.


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Carmen PerezHow to Create More Happiness
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Tahitian Pearls

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“An irritating, tiny grain of sand cultivates layers of luminous, miraculous, one of a kind beauty just as life challenges cultivates and evolves each of our souls.”-unknown.

As I sit here reflecting, drawing my hand along my throat,  I am drawn back to my time in Tahiti and the little orbs that hang from my silver chain. They were a gift I bought myself in December 2014 while in the Islands of French Polynesia. My particular pearls were bought at the Tahiti Pearl Market in Vaitape. I remember the day well. We began the day with a shark and sting ray excursion. As we were finishing our day out on the ocean and lagoon of Bora Bora, a storm moved in. Here the 10 of us were on a small boat and the captain had us sit steadily facing the shore as we waited for the storm to pass. We entertained ourselves with various camp songs and could not resist singing the theme from “Gilligan’s Island”. Once we made it back to the resort, it was a quick change to catch our ferry to the mainland to have some lunch and shopping in Vaitape. We were caught in another downpour and waited it out in the restaurant before venturing to the stores. Black pearls are really a must purchase you see and we were on a mission that day to come home with some.

The black pearl is known as the Tahitian Pearl.

This organic gem is formed from the black lip oyster and primarily earns the name Tahitian Pearl because they are mostly cultivated around the islands of French Polynesian. The pearls actually aren’t true black; they’re charcoal, and they also can be found as silver or dark green. At the Tahiti Pearl Market you had the option to purchase a piece already made or could design your own. I opted to make my own design so that it would be one of a kind. The pearls range in size, shape, color and luster. The price ranges too, depending on the size, color, and luster you choose for your setting.

Looking at the boxes and boxes of pearls it was so hard to decide, but fun at the same time.

It was like having a bag of marbles, but on smaller scale. I finally chose a charcoal, green, and white to place on an “S”-shaped pendant I had picked out. The amazing part is they actually assembled and crafted your design while you waited. You could watch the French Polynesian woman behind the glass. I truly must say the French Polynesians are some of the most friendly people you will ever meet in your travels. After about 30 minutes my creation was complete with certificate of authenticity. I was so excited to collect my treasure and return to the shuttle with my friends. Almost all 10 of us had something either made or purchased throughout that afternoon. It is truly a treasure I will cherish for a lifetime.

updated July 19. 2020


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslTahitian Pearls
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Are You Suffering From Adulthood?

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Are you suffering from adulthood?

One way to know for sure is by asking yourself when was the last time you felt amazing and how long that feeling last?

Are you happy with your answer?
If not, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, as we get further and further along in our life journey we get distracted by this and that…and now is the time to end all of that.

Life is not something you survive, or suffer through. Life is your time to thrive. Take in all that your amazing life has to offer.

Play Time is one of the Happitunities ~ The best investment of time in yourself, your connections and your creativity, or as we refer to them at Effortless Living, Me Time, We Time and Play Time. These are collectively referred to as “Happitunities.” Studies have proven the best investment of your time for your health, prosperity and happiness, is the time you spend enjoying Happitunities.

Adults aren’t supposed to play!
At some point we learned adults aren’t supposed to enjoy play time. As a result we make ourselves too busy and decide there are more important things to do. It turns out, there are few things more important to your well-being than play. A study led by Alan Krueger, a Princeton researcher, found we are happiest when we are at play.

The Key to Happiness
It’s time to tear down the walls we’ve built being the person we are told to be, so we can be the person we know deep inside we really are. In a social environment where only 7% of the population have achieved well-being in their lives, society has told us play time is a luxury we cannot afford. It’s time to flip the switch. Play time is a destination that is all about the journey –the actual experience makes us happier people. By allowing guilt free, purposeless Play Time into our lives we are better able to connect on a meaningful level with ourselves and others.

When is there time for play?

It’s always play time. Bring joy and enthusiasm to everything you do. I write this knowing full well how difficult it is, but it’s a must to make more of your everyday. If you find bringing joy and enthusiasm to your everyday, the schedule more Play Time.

It really is that simple. Focus on tasks each day that matter and make a real impact on your workload. When you need a break plan one. Don’t get caught up in busy-ness that fills your time, but doesn’t help your productivity.
What does Play Time do for us?

Play Time connects you with who you really are and the things you enjoy and fulfill you. This is where happiness comes from, that feeling of fulfillment. Researchers say the more we absorb ourselves in the joy of what we are doing the happier we are.

Play Time helps align us with our deepest needs and be in the present moment. Your ability to enjoy Play Time is directly linked to a positive mood and a happier life because it buffers the effects of stress on your immune system and amplifies your vitality.

Studies show Play Time in the office increases performance and sparks creativity.

Put It To Work: Look at your agenda and schedule Play Time, either on your own or with a partner or two. Remember make this purposeless and fun. Laying in bed while checking your emails is not going to do it. Act goofy, let the big belly laughs rip. Go down a slide, fly a kite, or catch a Frisbee, whatever you decide to do do enjoy it. This is your life and you are in control of the joy you experience.


Carmen M. Perez, is the founder of www.EffortlessLivingOnline.com, a lifestyle e-magazine for entrepreneurs.

We help entrepreneurs understand they do not have to sacrifice their health, happiness or lifestyle to succeed. by sharing strategies to help them reclaim their time, calm the chaos and transform the way they experience their world. Sign up for your FREE content packed e-book, “Let’s get on with it! How to Survive Life’s Thriving Lessons” and receive her weekly advice on bringing order to chaos, busting through stress, and making the most of your time and living with passion, purpose, and play, visit www.EffortlessLivingOnline.com.


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Carmen PerezAre You Suffering From Adulthood?
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Souvenirs that Last a Lifetime

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Are you a collector?

Most people have collections or souvenirs of some sort. I come from a family of collectors. I have gathered various collections over the years of my traveling. Some I have inherited from my family and others I have started on my own. I have a collection of elephants and tea cups that are on display in my home that came from my great grandmother. In my younger years I had a book of stamps. I was particularly fond of the ones from foreign countries. As I got older, my tastes changed and I switched to collecting spoons. I still purchase a spoon from each destination I visit as a memento. My husband and I began a collection of beer glasses and steins during our marriage which he still adds to on a regular basis. Our children have followed suit and they each have their favorite souvenir. Our eldest collects shot glasses, the middle collects key chains, and the youngest snow globes when we vacation.

This year I began a new type of souvenir, tattoos;

they not only remind me of where I’ve been, but are an expression of my passion and love for travel. Travel for me, is more than visiting a place and having a good time. I have truly been affected by the places I’ve been. When I travel, I am like a snake, shedding a layer of myself and growing with each new destination experience.

I have always wanted a tattoo, but it wasn’t until my second visit to Australia that I was so profoundly affected that I came back and began getting the artwork on my body. The first tattoo I received was an outline of the country of Australia, located on the inside of my right wrist. Always I have been in love with this country, as long as I can remember, and it is the passion that I have for this beautiful place that led me to open my travel agency Boomerang Escapes. The map outline itself was copied by my tattoo artist from the name badge that I wore during my #amazingaussieadventure sponsored by Travel2, a supplier of Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific vacation packages. It truly inspires me as I glance at it during my work day.

I received my second tattoo on the same day as the first. It too represents my love for Australia, but also the passion for my business. I showed the artist my business logo, which is comprised of two koalas on a branch, and adapted it to a tattoo for my lower back right hip. For me, it provides reinforcement and drive to make my business a success. In addition, I get to see my favorite animal in the mirror.


My third tattoo, came only a short couple of months later. It is a dragon fly located on my left big toe. I chose the dragon fly first because whenever I go out to my backyard to lay out at the pool they gather around me and settle often on my toes as I sit soaking up the sun. They are such a beauty to watch. The second reason is what the dragonfly symbolizes:
Maturity and Depth of Character
Power and Poise
Defeat of Self-Created Illusions
Focuses on Living in the Moment
The Opening of One’s Eyes
These are all characteristics that I seek to practice and embody in my own life and work. I find travel to be a powerful tool for achieving these states and the tattoo on my toe a reminder of the direction I am heading.

My fourth tattoo came with my last trip. This tattoo was more than getting a tattoo, but to actually have it be part of my trip experience. We were made aware that it was possible at several of the resort locations in French Polynesia that we would be visiting that we could have a tattoo artist meet with us in the resort’s spa. I decided to wait until my last island experience on Taha’a to arrange to have an artist from Rangiroa come over to the spa. It was such a special experience as the artist asked what I wanted and why I wanted it. He then created a one of kind tattoo to represent something personal for me. I ended up with four flowers that encompass the French Polynesia triangle. Within the tattoo is a the Tiare for Tahiti, one for Rangiroa and one for Taha’a with a final flower that brings all the islands together. In addition there are other symbols, such as triangles to represent shark’s teeth for protection.

You may have noticed I did not say my last tattoo. I have plans to collect at least 3 more souvenir tattoos to complete the areas of the South Pacific that I specialize in, Cook Islands, Fiji and New Zealand.

Just recently I did a webinar on New Zealand and found that I can take care of this when I visit Roturua on New Zealand’s North Island. Similar to Tahiti, you can meet with an artist and discuss your design and what meaning it has for you. However, for those of you not quite ready to take home a permanent souvenir on your skin, you may have your tattoo design done on fabric. Your unique design and cultural artwork could then be framed and become an original piece for your wall at home. No matter what you collect or bring home for a souvenir it is bound to have lasting memories of an experience your heart treasures.


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslSouvenirs that Last a Lifetime
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Strategies to Be More Mindful

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Do you want to change something in your life but constantly get derailed onto other people’s paths?

Mindful living is the constant awareness in the present moment on purpose without judgment to achieve an understanding who we are and how we relate to the world.

I remember when I first learned this. It sounded so simple. I thought no big deal, I could do this. I wish I could say I found it easy. What I found was my mind was all over the place. I spent half of every hour bringing myself to the present moment. I’d be reading but thinking about the grocery list. I’d be grocery shopping thinking about the bills I have to get paid. I’d be walking down the hall at work to a meeting, thinking about what I have to get done after my meeting, and interrupt that thought with a judgment on someone’s outfit.

To get there I had to start doing things differently. Eventually I got the hang of it and getting there was well worth it. I found that as I practiced mindful living, the art of being aware in the present moment on purpose without judgment, an intense sense of relief and peace came over me. At first the feeling would only last for a short while, but years later I am happy to say I can sustain this sense for most the day. When I deviate the from the practice, I can tell immediately and shift my thoughts.

12 Strategies To Be More Mindful – These will help you stay attentive, balanced and calm:

1. Breathe. Your breath is incredibly powerful and the foundation of mindfulness. How you’re breathing reflects how you’re feeling, physically and mentally.
2. Create. Integrate creativity into your day and the way you do things. I love to cook and will often create a new recipes. Mindfulness really boosts your creative flow.
3.Disconnect. Set rules for use of digital devices. I stopped beginning and ending my day by checking emails. I also put my phone away when I’m with loved ones and eating.

4. Dream. Give yourself some time to just sit and wander from time to time. I know it seems this would not be mindful living. There have been studies that indicate the more mindful we live the better our dreams.
5. Eat well. Pay attention to what you put in your body. Make the best decision you can to nourish yourself. If you don’t enjoy something, don’t eat it.
6. Experiment. Try new things willingly and often. There’s nothing like totally being in the moment during a new experience. I got to zip line about a year ago and I was overwhelmed with such an intense feeling of joy and peace hanging above the Black Falls in Jamaica. I felt blessed to be in the presence of wild beauty.
7. Feel. Own your feelings and give yourself permission to feel them. This isn’t about stuffing your feelings so you can be happy all of the time. Remember not to judge yourself and resist how you feel.
8. Focus. Integrate mindfulness throughout your day by deliberately focusing on what you are doing. Studies show those who do this are 27% more productive.
9. Laugh. Finding a way to laugh at your problems can improve the way you deal with them.
10. Limitations. Limit the television you watch, the social media you chat on and on-line games you play. Too much of any of these has show to increase depression and insomnia.
11. Meditate. Meditation is not about having no thoughts, it’s about emptying your mind of thoughts.
12. Walk. Take walks to clear your mind, change your lens or perspective of a situation as a result your awareness is amplified.

During my talks I always dig deep into mindfulness. During one of the darkest times in my life, this mindfulness is what got me through. I firmly believe mindfulness is where anyone who wants to change anything in their life should start.

Question: How to do say mindful about your path, your goals, or your dreams?

Put It To Work: Practice mindfulness for a week. Notice how this transforms the way you experience everything. Morning walks or rides in the car, not looking back or forward, just being in that moment, with the momentum carrying you from one step to the next while you enjoy mindful living. Tell me what if feels like to life from that place.


Carmen M. Perez, is the founder of www.EffortlessLivingOnline.com, a lifestyle e-magazine for entrepreneurs.

We help entrepreneurs understand they do not have to sacrifice their health, happiness or lifestyle to succeed. by sharing strategies to help them reclaim their time, calm the chaos and transform the way they experience their world. Sign up for your FREE content packed e-book, “Let’s get on with it! How to Survive Life’s Thriving Lessons” and receive her weekly advice on bringing order to chaos, busting through stress, and making the most of your time and living with passion, purpose, and play, visit www.EffortlessLivingOnline.com.


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Carmen PerezStrategies to Be More Mindful
read more