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Outdoorsy Diva’s 2nd Blogaversary Giveaway

blogaversary

It’s Party Time! Do you know what today is? It’s the 2nd Blogaversary of OutdoorsyDiva.com!  Can you believe it? I know I can’t.  It really doesn’t seem like 2 whole years since I sat here at this same laptop and began a wordsmith journey that has literally changed and transformed lives, including my own.

I started this blog on one very simple premise.  Wait for it — I was bored. My boyfriend and I were on a break. I was determined to keep myself busy and I wanted to find other women who were into the things I had recently gotten into, like kayaking and traveling.  When I was searching for things to do during that time, the club and day parties had lost their appeal for me.  I had really started to enjoy traveling to lesser known destinations, discovering the joys of getting off the beaten path, spending time outdoors, and kayaking while in my relationship.  I didn’t want to stop doing those things just because I couldn’t do them with him. .

As I looked for information and groups that did adventurous activities, I realized something. None of those people looked anything at all like me. None of their lives even remotely resembled my life. They didn’t resonate with me. The outdoor industry most certainly has an archetype and I was so not it.

And so I was reluctant to join any of the meet-up groups I came across. I didn’t think I belonged. I was too overweight, too much of a novice, and too ethnic to feel like I would fit in with them. So I decided I would do the activities I wanted to do with my son or by myself and I would start to write about those experiences as a way of showing a different side to what the “outdoorsy woman” looks like. She can be not in perfect shape (like me). She can still be a diva (like me). She can be black (like me). She can rock a fro (like I used..I’m a loc’d chick now). She can be a career woman in her 30s (like me). She can be a mom..even a single parent (like me). She can also not know what the hell she’s doing but still enjoy herself (totally me).

Ironically the very first post I shared was about a kayaking trip I had gone on with my son and the ex boyfriend.  However, what made that trip so significant is that it was the first time I had gotten up the courage to kayak solo instead of tandem. Prior to that I was more than happy to paddle tandem with the boyfriend doing 95% of the work. It nearly killed me and it wasn’t an easy trip but I completed it.   I thought this was the perfect first post to share because I felt such a sense of personal pride and accomplishment.  Sept, 18, 2013 with publishing of “The Ten Mile Mile”,  Kayaks, Canoes, and Shoes: Misadventures of an Outdoorsy Diva was born into the interwebs with that very first post.

weedon island kayaking

Serenity at Weedon Island

I chuckle now at the pureness of the post.  It has only ever had 9 views before today and considering that no one even knew about my little old blog back then, I’m actually proud of that.  It doesn’t have any fancy SEO or fancy pictures. However it is still one of the best post I’ve ever written.

At first I didn’t even want people to know who I was as a blogger. I wanted to write as this Outdoorsy Diva persona without intertwining it with my real life.  That seems like such a crazy concept looking back now.  After a few months of researching and learning more, I learned that people want to connect with an actual person.   And I also realized that it would be way more difficult to connect with these other outdoorsy misfits like me if I wasn’t willing to put myself completely out there and let them see the real me.  From there things just happened. I can’t explain it. Even though I reconciled with my boyfriend shortly after starting the blog, I wasn’t going to stop my mission. I started to have dreams and visions about what I wanted the blog to become and I truly feel like God gave me this whole new vision laid out in front of me and all I had to do was go forward and do it.

It has been the best thing to ever happen in my life. In celebration of today, I hope you will indulge my nostalgia as I look back at the biggest accomplishments in the short history of OutdoorsyDiva.com.

  • Outdoorsy Diva Logo was officially adopted
  • Attended my first blogger convention! Bloggy con is small but impactful and it completely changed my life and opened my eyes to seeing my blog as a viable business opportunity.  Sending them lots of love! I couldn’t make the trip this year but hopefully I can return next year.
  • Last year I officially became a business owner and launched the media company E.L. Washington Media, LLC (named in honor of my grandmother) to do business for my blog and my brand.
  • In 2 years the site has been viewed 33, 412 times.  from 100 + countries around the world.
  • I launched the Outdoorsy Diva Adventure Lifestyle store and the Outdoorsy Diva T-shirt Line!
  • I was listed as the #10 instagram account for black wanderlusters by Blavity!
  • I became a McDonald’s insider.
  • I have partnered with 20 brands/companies
  • Hosted a local event in partnership with African American Nature and Parks Experience
  • The Outdoorsy Diva and Friends Facebook group was formed! I am most proud of this one because it brought my vision full circle. It’s a community of amazing people who in some way form or fashion are like me.  We are all diverse in race and ethnicity, some parents and some not, some married and some single.  We are a modge podge and it’s wonderful because we all want the same thing and that is to live our lives adventurously.  We have had several outings this year and I’m looking forward to what’s to come for the community. In fact we are celebrating with a kayak trip tomorrow!
  • I traveled solo internationally for the first time.  I list this as an accomplishment of the blog because I think even my own mantra that adventure is a lifestyle has pushed me to live the adventurous life that I want.

It’s been a fantastic ride. It’s still fun so I’m going to keep it going.  If it ever gets to the point that it’s not fun then I won’t type another word. However, if you know anything about me then you know fun is my middle name so I don’t think that will happen. There are some big things in the works that I can’t share just yet but I can’t wait until things are official and I can tell you all what’s next!

My Thank You Notes

  • First and foremost I genuinely truly appreciate each and every one of you.  Whether you have read my blog once or you are a regular reader, you are so important to me. I hope that when you visit you are inspired, enlightened, and entertained.  Thank you for being on this crazy journey with me. If you haven’t subscribed yet, I hope you do today!  I’m ramping up some very cool things and if you are not a subscriber you just might miss out on your blessing!
  • My friend Nikida who blogs at ThemeparkHipster.com was my first encounter with what it meant to be a blogger. I loved what she was doing and she convinced me that I should give it a try.  She had been a great source of fun time and inspiration during my break up and she thought it would be cathartic for me to write about what I was doing.  So publicly thank you so much Nikida for nudging me to try this blogger thing.
  • I also have to thank the wonderful crew at Tampa Bay Bloggers.  Joining that network has opened so many doors and taught me so much.
  • My BLM Girls!  BLM is the awesome network I discovered this year called Bloggers Like Me!  This group inspires me, pushes me to be better and I have learned so much information and met so many awesome bloggers willing to jump in and offere their expertise.  They have also been instrumental in helping me turn my blog into a biz.   Thank you ladies!

What’s a party without presents?  Here are my presents for you, my loyal readers!  Lots of giveaways going on!

If you purchase 2 items in the T-shirt store between Sept. 18 and Sept. 22nd shipping is FREE!  Use the code 2SHIPPING.

Enter the giveaway for a chance to win one of 3 thank you prizes.

McDonald’s Arch Card Giveaway

Westchase Golf Gift Certificate Giveaway 

Outdoorsy Diva Swag Item Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Toggle between the 3 different prizes to enter.  You may enter all 3 if you wish.

Lastly, you are cordially invited to join me for a Periscope Blogaversary Partaaaaaay! We will open some gifts, do a little dancing, toasting, and blow out candles and stuff. It’ll be great. I strongly enourage you to toast along with me so BYOB to the party.  If you aren’t on Periscope yet, get with the times! Download the app and then follow me @OutdoorsyDiva on Periscope and be ready to party at 6 pm (eastern time).  You can also watch from your desktop. All I ask is that you give me lots and lots and lots of hearts by double tapping the screen.  Easy peezy!

Blogaversaryperiscope party

Lauren G. , Outdoorsy Diva
“Adventure is a lifestyle.”

Family Fun,Kid Friendly,Tampa Eats,Tampa Life

Topgolf Tampa Opening First in Florida

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I had the opportunity to attend a media preview of one of the most highly anticipated new entertainment attractions in the entire state of Florida!  Topgolf has chosen to make its first Florida home right here in Tampa Bay.  Lucky us!  If you aren’t familiar with Topgolf, according to the brochure they are a multilevel golf entertainment facility boasting 3 floors of 102 hitting bays.   If you’re like me and you are not a golf aficionado, what this means is it’s the fanciest, snazziest, driving range you’ve ever seen and they serve booze.    Topgolf really rolled out the star treatment for us and in the words of my 14-year-old son, “This place is sooooooo kewl!”  If the moody teenager approved then it must be good. Continue Reading…

Beaches,Family Fun,Family Travel,Great Outdoors,International,Travel

Island Hopping in the Caribbean: St. Kitts

DSC00646

Greetings!   I know you were all waiting and anticipating the next stop on our Island Hopping Caribbean adventure.  My apologies for taking so long to pick this back up.  I had to prepare for a major move to the other side of the county.  I’ve left the comforts of luxury apartment living in über suburbia for a little slice of country life in a nice size house on a ginormous plot of land.  No worries; it’s just down the street from a different suburbia.   Instead of Super Target in my backyard, I have to journey about 20 minutes down the interstate.  It’s been different to say the least and it’s already yielded some new adventures and I can’t wait to share them with you.   We are all moved in and settled now so I’m getting back into my normal routine, which means writing and sharing adventures.    Now without further adieu, on to St. Kitts! Go On…Keep Reading!

Foodie Adventures,Grown-Up Fun,Happy Hour Somewhere,Tampa Life

Foodie Adventures: Wines From Italy

whole foods market wines

Hello Outdoorsy friends!  Last Friday I  was afforded an awesome opportunity via my affiliation with Tampa Bay Bloggers and courtesy of Whole Foods Market to attend a Wines of Italy class at Whole Foods Market, Carrollwood.   They already have that tasty buffet of deliciousness in the cafe and I get lots of natural hair and skin products from there, but I had not actually purchased or sampled their wine.  How that’s even possible is beyond me because I love wine.   After attending this WFM class, that certainly won’t be the case anymore! Continue Reading…!

International,Most Popular Posts,Travel,Travel Tips

Comprehensive Guide to Planning for Carnival Trinidad

A street dancer at London Notting Hill Carnival © Dariusz Renke | Dreamstime.com

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my recent posts about Trinidad as much as I’ve enjoyed reliving those moments as I’ve written about them.   If at any point you’ve read my post or looked at my pictures and thought, “Yes! I want to do this,” then this is the post for you.   You can totally do this!  I’ve compiled the lessons my travel buddy and I learned into this comprehensive guide to planning for Carnival.  Please note that all dollar amounts are in US dollars unless otherwise stated. Go On…Keep Reading!

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