The 5 Places I Want To Visit Before I’m 50

I thought it would be nice to do a little travel chit-chat post on my blog today! I love traveling to new places because I get to explore different cultures, try new foods and experience the history of a city.

As I said in my Travel Tag, I have been fortunate to be able to travel to so many fun places in the past few years. But there’s so many more places I want to visit soon for each of their own reasons. Here they are!

1. ITALY

Italy is one of my top countries to visit in Europe. I just love the architecture of its cities and how it is filled with history. There are three main places I would love to visit in Italy:

ROME

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Rome is a top destination for me. There are lots of structures that were built in the Roman Empire that I would like to see in person. One of these places in particular is the Colosseum. It’s so beautiful!

I would also love to visit The Vatican and it’s museum because as you may know, I’m obsessed with museums. I would love to enter the churches and admire its beauty in person.

VENICE

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As I also said in my Travel Tag post, Venice has a history with my parents because they took one of their first “baecations” there.

They wanted to go back for a “memories” baecation recently and I was just sat there screaming “TAKE ME WITH YOU!”. Of course they said no lol. But hey, I tried!

I think Venice is a beautiful city on water and I would love to cruise along the canals, stay in a hotel there and just relax.

 

SICILY

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My father recommended this city to me because he said It was one of the cities in Italy he enjoyed the most. He said there’s something about the vibes in Sicily that is unlike any other place he has been too.

Sicily is mostly known as the place in Italy where Mafia’s originated from. I think it would be a beautiful city to be wined and dined, explore nature and just relax.

2. GREECE

I don’t know much about Greece to be honest. It’s a really low key country. But I am drawn to visit here and experience the city because it’s beautiful!

ATHENS

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Athens is known for its historical landmarks and it will be interesting visit these landmarks to see how people lived over 3000 years ago. Very hard to believe life existed before the 1800’s so it would be nice to see it up close.

 

SANTORINI

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I love this island! The blue waters, the clear skies and the houses on the hill all make me want to visit here. It’s the perfect relaxation holiday destination. I’m already thinking of the Instagram worthy photos I would take.

 

3. Las Vegas – USA

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Sin City! When I think of Las Vegas now the only thing I think of is UFC. Is it weird that it’s my main motivation for visiting there?

My love for UFC has reached a cult like status so I would love to go to Las Vegas, buy a ticket for a UFC fight and watch it live. I would also like to visit some casinos but I’m not big on gambling so it will not be my main focus.

Las Vegas also has extravagant broadway type shows like Cirque Du Soleil and singers in Ceasers Palace so booking a ticket for one of these shows is a must!

4. Arizona – USA

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Now I’m not an outdoorsy person so I don’t even know why this is on my list. But The Grand Canyon is a place that I think should be visited at least once in a lifetime. I love Natural wonders so it’s something I think I would enjoy.

5. New York – USA

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The concrete jungle! I have been to New York before but it is a place that I want to visit again. New York is unlike any place I have ever been to in the world.

I particularly want to visit the Statue of Liberty because I didn’t get to last time. It was closed for reconstruction sadly. Can you enter the torch? I would really want to stand there!

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I also want to see another Broadway show live. The first Broadway show I ever went to was The Phantom Of The Opera and it was nothing short of amazing. The next show on my list is The Lion King!

If possible, I would also like to visit Niagara Falls because, natural wonder. Lool


That is it for my list! I have many other places I would love to like Egypt and Tokyo but these are the places I see myself going to sooner rather than later.

And btw, I now have a 1600 followers on The Pearly Life! Thank you for the continued support on my blog.

Is there any place you would like to visit soon?

How To Get Your First 500 Followers On Instagram

Instagram has changed. Gone are the days where you take a photo straight from your iPhone, slap on a Valencia filter, put one or two hashtags and call it a day. Instagram has evolved into a powerhouse especially for bloggers and influencers! I have had Instagram for 5 years now so I have seen many changes in the app. However, it wasn’t until 5 months ago I decided to create a separate Instagram for my blog and grow it. I have amassed a lot of amazing followers so I would like to share how to get followers on instagram!

A lot of the strategies that bloggers tout as the best strategies honestly do not work. Hashtagging brings almost no returns now. It is also a complete waste of time spending hours on your phone liking and commenting on people’s photos in the hopes that someone will follow you.

I needed to find a method that worked so I read lots of blogs on how to get followers on Instagram. My main criteria was that the method should be cheap and show a noticeable growth in followers without spending hours on Instagram.  After a few tweakings and experiments, I found it!

I didn’t use any follow bots/automatic liking systems because I don’t have the money and I wanted a more organic growth. Growing your Instagram this way is definitely slower than using bots but I’ve found that the audience you build will be more engaged. Also, as your following increases, the amount of followers you gain increase exponentially so patience is the name of the game!

Post (Semi) Often

I’m guilty of not posting often because I don’t have the time to take pictures for the week and schedule them. Whoever does this is a true champion! How do you do it?!??!

Posting frequently on Instagram is a no – brainer. It’s always the key to growing any social media account. Post frequent, high quality posts. The more often you post, the more exposure you get and a greater chance of more people seeing your Instagram and following you! Most experts say posting once a day is optimum for growing your account.

But it’s not absolutely necessary. I only post once or twice a week and I get followers everyday. Do what frequency is best for you and makes you comfortable. Just be consistent. Consistency is key.

Do A Follow Train

This is the most important thing that has made my instagram grow these past 5 months. I do a follow spree 5-6 times a week and I have seen a lot of growth from this method. Here is how I do it

At peak hour, (which is 7-10 pm for my time zone) I click on the latest posts from a user I follow and see who liked it. Once I’m there I visit the pages of whoever liked their picture. I like the users pictures and then follow them. I usually follow 10-15 people on these days. They will usually follow you back. I have a 70% success rate using this method. This method is absolutely necessary for me.

One thing to consider is a users follower to following ratio. If a user has a massive gap between followers/following, do not expect a follow back. It also helps to follow people who are interested in the same things as you are. So I usually follow a lot of bloggers and females age 18-30 because I know they fit my demographic of who I am trying to reach!

Instagram Pods

Instagram pods are completely optional but they do help somewhat in engagement on photos. An Instagram pod is a group of bloggers on an Instagram group chat (usually 15) who comment and like on every post anyone shares in the group. There’s no limit on the amount of instagram pods you can join, but one pod is a lot to keep up with!

It’s nice to have a group of bloggers that will always like your pictures and comment. I also ask for blogging advice and general chit-chat from time to time on the group chat so it’s a nice community to be in. However it’s not necessary, Instagram pods are so new and you can grow your account without one.

Follow a theme

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Once someone visits your page for the first time, the overall impression that they get is what will make them decide to click the follow button. Themed Instagram can help drive people to click the follow button. I love having a themed Instagram, but it’s not always the easiest thing for me to achieve.

My theme is currently (to the best of my knowledge) lots of white space with a pop of neutral colors. I don’t overthink my theme and frankly I don’t care. As long as my pictures look decent I’m posting it.

You can tweak and try different themes to see what gets the most likes and comments. If a streamlined theme works for you, do it. It’s also good to have a theme when you are branding yourself on social media because you can be easily recognized by your style of photos. It’s all dependent on what you personally want!

Once you implement these tips, you will see an organic growth of your Instagram with highly engaged followers. I hope you got some amazing tips on how to get followers on Instagram!

Instagram is fun, but my new favourite social media is definitely Pinterest because I get lots of traffic from there. I wrote an extended post on how to get started using Pinterest and drive traffic to your blog. Do check it out!

Amazing Books To Read This Fall

Fall is upon us and I think this is the perfect time to snuggle up and find some new reads! But first let’s take a moment to thank the book gods…I’ve read more than 2 books in a month! I have read a lot of  books recently and I decided that it would be nice to share 4 amazing books to read this fall.

I can’t believe I’ve read these many books in a short span of time because I literally have the attention span of a fish. Reading for me used to be anywhere and an anytime thing but now it has become so ritualistic and boring. 

I need to have the perfect conditions present before I can read now. I’m talking a dark room, complete silence and preferably snuggled in a blanket, before I can read. My high maintenance habits have made it difficult to finish books within a sensible time frame…until now!

I usually read all my books on the kindle app on my iPhone or Kindle device and I buy all my books on Amazon. It’s so much more convenient and I prefer reading the reviews before I shell out money to buy it. Most of these books are 4.5 stars so they’re fan favorites!

Lifestyle Blogging Basics – Laura Lynn

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I’m always on a path of self improvement especially when it comes to my blog. So I decided to buy a book about lifestyle blogging to see if I would learn anything new. This book is written by Laura over on Breezy and Brazen.

Why you should buy it:

This book is perfect for any beginner blogger that wants to get started on their website/blog. It talks about starting a blog, what blogging platform to use, how to promote your posts, working with brands and many more. I also loved how there was a “how I failed” section in each point because it’s reassuring to know that blogging is not a smooth sailing ship. You will make many mistakes but as long as you keep going it’s all good. It’s an extremely valuable book for all level bloggers so it’s worth a read!

Luring A Lady – Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts is a really popular author and I’m sure almost everyone has read one or two of her romance novels. I’m a romantic girl at heart so I enjoy reading romance genres from time to time. I was pulled in by the plot in this book so I decided to make a purchase.

Luring A Lady is a about a woman called Sydney Hayward who recently took over the family’s real estate business. She has always felt the pressure to be the perfect wife/socialite/daughter so she is closed off and too busy for any distractions…that is until Mikhail comes along.

Why You Should Buy it:

It is a simple, cookie cutter, entertaining romance story. It’s so easy to read and you don’t have to rack your brain trying to comprehend what is being said. It was also cute to see how her ice-princess facade was slowly melted by Mikhail. And if you love an Alpha type main character in a novel, this book is for you.

The Curated Closet – Discover Your Personal Style And Build Your Dream Wardrobe

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I have the most haphazard personal style ever because I just throw anything on and pray for the best. I also happen to hate shopping and the thought of spending hours in a clothing store makes me want to gouge my eyes out. Although I hate shopping, I love fashion! I wanted to see if there is way to build a wardrobe I love that captures my personal style, but is versatile for any season. Enter the curated closet! It goes into detail about building your wardrobe based on what you like, shopping tips and building a capsule wardrobe! It’s a really invaluable tool for anyone that wants to improve their closet with minimal effort.

Why You Should Buy It:

If your closet is a mess, you have no semblance of a personal style and you don’t have the willpower nor energy to figure it out yourself, this book if for you!

The Naturalist- Andrew Mayne

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The Naturalist is a thriller/crime investigation novel about a scientist who is thrust into the middle of an investigation when one of his former students is brutally murdered in the woods. I’m not done reading this but I’m really enjoying it at the moment! I’m also getting a serious Gone Girl vibe from this novel and I know there’s going to be a massive bombshell at the end. Fingers crossed it lives up to my expectations!

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed my post this and found some new books to read this fall!

What are your current favorite books?

Related: The Mid Year Favourites Roundup: Books, Music, Movies and Makeup!

4 amazing books to read this fall

3 Things That Made Me Accept My Natural Hair

I have had a complicated relationship with my hair. I grew up in a society that did not accept my natural hair, afro’s or dreadlocks. Straight silky hair was right and kinky hair was wrong. Right from when I was little, I went to the salon every three weeks to get a relaxer. Now if you don’t know what a relaxer is it’s a strong chemical that you put on your hair to straighten it permanently. I had extremely coarse and thick hair that my mother couldn’t comb so this was the best option at the time. Also, everyone was doing it so it was not a big deal.

I think most people can agree that relaxers are more harmful than good. The hair relaxers always burnt my scalp (yes, chemical burns on my scalp!!) but I always loved the straight silky look I got when I wore a relaxer.

I never knew what my actual hair looked like. I always had the impression that my hair was some sort of untamable beast that needs a relaxer unless all my hair would fall out.  It was unthinkable not relaxing my hair!

I also thought that people who had natural hair were dirty, lazy and god forbid they had dreadlocks. This was years of conditioning where I grew up where your natural hair was not appreciated.

 

3 things that made me accept my natural hair

Breaking the Stereotype

The first time I saw a woman with natural hair was on YouTube. Shoutout to Karen aka Glamfun. She looked beautiful, and she looked like me!! Could I really have hair like that? I decided to go natural because I was tired of using weaves as a crutch. I didn’t like the fact that I felt less of a woman once I didn’t have a weave on and felt the need to hide or compensate with more makeup!

It was then and there that I decided to go natural! It wasn’t always an easy journey but reminding myself of these three things finally made me accept my natural hair and love it for what it is!

  1. Your hair is a unique representation of you

Absolutely no ones hair can be the same. Your hair is designed perfectly for you. It’s adapted to your skin colour, your weather, even the colour of your eyes. Your hair has a personality of its own and you should never compare list for list with another persons hair. Using a natural hair typing system may be only part of the equation but just because you and someone have the same hair type does not mean you can do the same things on your hair and have the same results! It will always look different. Embrace its uniqueness cause that is you.

    2. Get preconceived notions of what you think “good hair” should look like out of your mind

I’ve learnt that healthy hair is good hair. Healthy hair always looks good no matter what texture, color or length. Once you remove unrealistic expectations of what you think your hair should look like and accept it for what it is, it will be great! I used to admire people who had long flowing locks of hair and hated natural hair. The self-hatred and conditioning was real ladies! Now I appreciate all hair types, but I have a special admiration for afro’s. They’re just a special breed awesomeness!

On days that I think my hair looks like absolute shit, I get 1000 compliments on it. So never think your hair is ugly because it’s not what you think it should look like!


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3. Stop obsessing over your hair length

When I first went natural I was obsessed with growing my hair long. I always had 16 inch weaves so to go from that to short hair was very challenging for me. I also felt like I had to grow my hair long because my hair had been grazing my neck my whole life and I wanted to prove to someone I could grow it long for some reason. This led me to do arduous things that I didn’t like only because it would give me long hair. Instead of enjoying my hair at every step of its journey, I was always obsessing over it. As long as your hair is healthy, it will grow!

Now I pretty much don’t care about having long hair. I’m even contemplating cutting it shorter because it’s so much more easier to manage! In the end, your hair is an extension of you. Accepting it may not always be easy, but once you do it is extremely liberating.

Thank you so much for reading! If you would like see one of the ways I take care of my natural hair check out my Ultimate Routine For Thick, Curly Hair!

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I’ve Gone Self Hosted: The Move To My New Website!

I’ve Gone Self Hosted: The Move To My New Website!

I have been flirting with the idea of going self hosted for months now and I finally did it! I’ve Moved! If you’re reading this post right now it means you’re still subscribed to Thepearlylife.wordpress.com!

I have now moved my blog over to thepearlylife.com so I will no longer update posts on this website!

I hope you can join me over on my new website! I already have some new posts I would love you to read.

Thank you so much for your support on my blog. I wouldn’t be here without it. ❤️

Love,

Pearl.

Travel Diary: Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Florida

Two days before the monster Hurricane Irma was set to make landfall in Florida, I decided to go to Disney’s Animal Kingdom! I have been going to Disney World every year for the past 14 years so I am very familiar with most rides in all the theme parks.

I didn’t want to miss going here because it was my birthday and I wanted to celebrate it  for once! I’m really glad I did but now I’m currently cooped up at home recovering from the hurricane writing this post. It’s been a journey!

Disney World is arguably the most popular theme park in the world. There are many parks that have different themes that stay true to their names. There is Magic Kingdom, which is dedicated to fairy tales and Disney princesses. Epcot, which is dedicated to technology and futurism and Animal Kingdom, which is dedicated to nature and it’s animals!

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

I visited the theme park with my family and it was a really sunny when we arrived in the parking lot. There were many cars parked already and we walked forward to a series of poles to wait for a tram to pick us up!

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It takes about 3 minutes to reach the ticketing booths so it’s a really short ride!

You can buy Disney World tickets in person or online. I bought my tickets online so I didn’t need to wait in line to get tickets. I simply walked to the booth in front and scanned my bar code on my phone to get in!

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Once you’re inside the park you immediately feel as if you are in an Amazonian forest. There is a lush display of evergreen trees everywhere and beautiful flowers scattered around. It really gives you the feel of the Jungle!

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The park is divided into roughly 4-6 sections but I only remember 4! There is Africa, Asia, Dinoland and Pandora.

Pandora: The World Of Avatar

Pandora is Disney’s new attraction that recently opened in Animal Kingdom. It reportedly cost half a billion dollars to construct! I’m a big avatar fan so there is no way I was going to miss seeing this attraction!

Pandora is absolutely breathtaking! It blows my mind just thinking about all the hours that went into the construction of the scenery. The surrounding area looks like it came straight out of the Avatar movie! Those strangely shaped rocks and filled with green leaves and spinning thingies? They’re all there and look so real. It was so great to be immersed into the environment.

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I also saw the machines that the humans used in the Avatar movie. I loved how they made it life-sized. You could just tell that a lot of effort was put into the design and construction of these structures!

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The Na’vi River Journey

Up next was one of my most anticipated rides; the Na’vi River Journey! The Na’vi river journey is a boat ride through a bioluminescent rain forest in search for the Shaman Of Songs. It was a really dark ride so it was difficult to get some good shots! But there is a giant life-sized singing avatar robot (the shaman), 3D animations and lots of sensations that make you feel like you’re really in the Na’Vi River! It’s definitely a ride that you should not miss if you go to Pandora!

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Standing in the long lines had me beat so I decided to get some delicious bubble tea called “Night Blossom” at a stall nearby. This was my first time getting bubble tea and I was pleasantly surprised!

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The lines in Animal Kingdom are also ridiculously long so make sure you have some sunscreen, comfortable shoes and a bottle of water. I stood for 1 hour to enter the Na’vi river and the ride only lasted for 5 minutes. The two other Pandora rides had 120 minute long lines! Long lines are just something you have to prepare for in Disney because there is always a crowd present.

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Africa: The Festival Of The Lion King

Up next was the walk to the Festival of the Lion King all the way in Africa! This was a broadway show with Simba and his friends filled with elaborate props, acrobatics and special effects.

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I love broadway shows and musicals so this was something I was really looking forward to! I was pleasantly surprised because I taught it was just a simple singing show. It is so much more than that! It was also a full 30 minute show so I was happy that it wasn’t as short as most Disney attractions/rides.

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Off To Dinoland….

Dinoland is dedicated to Dinosaurs and the main attractions are really the rollercoasters there! I wanted to go on some of the rollercoasters there but my sister was afraid and riding alone in a rollercoaster isn’t fun to me. We skipped on that and rode a little cute baby dinosaur on the Dino-Rama ride!

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Entertainment Around The Park

I loved how there was lots of entertainment around the park that didn’t require you to stand in long lines. There was a drumming quartet in Pandora, a harp player near Dinoland and acrobatic dancers in Africa.

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I think I had a really good birthday celebration at Animal Kingdom! I usually don’t celebrate my birthdays because I just can’t be bothered. good experience that I won’t forget! Thank you so much for reading.

Have you ever been to Disney? 

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I Am Now A Self Hosted Blog! What I’ll Miss About WordPress.com

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I Am Now A Self Hosted Blog! What I’ll Miss About Wordpress.com

I Am Now A Self Hosted Blog! What I’ll Miss About Wordpress.com

Do you notice anything different on here? Well I have now officially moved to the Thepearlylife.com! It has been a very long time coming to get a self hosted blog. I am so excited for this next phase in my blogging journey! I’m so glad you’re all here along on the ride with me.

My move from wordpress.com to a self hosted wordpress.org blog was not without it’s challenges. However, it was not as difficult as I expected! I’m going to miss so many things about WordPress.com but I know this is for the best. Here are some of the things I’ll miss about WordPress.com! Think of this post as my little goodbye, love letter to WordPress.com

What I Will Miss About WordPress.com

  1. I no longer have access to the lovely WordPress.com community! I’m really going to miss tagging my posts and seeing them come up in the reader. I don’t think my tagged posts will show up in the reader anymore! Do they?
  2. I will miss the access to likes and ease of commenting on the reader. It will become significantly harder for my readers to comment on my posts using WordPress.com reader since I am technically no longer a member! You would have to go straight to my page in order to comment. Don’t worry though, I have made sure my page is easy to navigate so it will not be too much of a hassle for you!
  3. I don’t have to bother about updating plug-ins because everything is automatically updated for me by WordPress.com! Now I have to manually update some plug-ins because they can’t be auto updated.

The Self Hosted Blog Journey….

It was a simpler time for me back when I was a wordpress.com blogger. However, everything is much more challenging now which is really exciting to me. I am absolutely in love with my website now and the freedom I have. I am also enjoying learning about SEO and seeing some of the many mistakes I made in the previous posts. As I continue to improve I am sure I will get better at being a self hosted blogger!

I hope you all enjoyed reading this little post of mine and I can’t wait to start publishing posts on my new blog! Thank you so much for reading and subscribing.

Have you thought about self hosting?

What was your experience and what will you miss?

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How To Create The Perfect Pinterest Profile

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