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Hello, it’s the Happiest Place on Earth. Disney World, that is … and it’s about to get bigger. I hadn’t been to Disney in way too long, so I was super excited to make a quick weekend trip over. We were total park hoppers and Disney experts along with our friends D & JP, making it to Disney World, EPCOT and MGM in one day! People mover, check. Tower of Terror, check. Soaked on Splash Mountain, done. Drinks in Mexico and dinner in Japan, definitely.

And I was excited to see that Disney is improving and expanding Fantasyland! Looks like I’ll be seeing you real soon, Disney 🙂

We’re approaching the three-year itch.  That is, the point where J and I are thinking, “What’s next!?”  We crossed the Florida border in May 2008, and our feet have stayed on the Sunshine State’s soil ever since.  We’re pretty settled; that is, we have a roof over our head, jobs, a car, a killer tan.  But, now what?! I can’t imagine we’re the types to stick around anywhere long enough to get a gold watch, but who knows.  I never thought I’d be the type to marry the guy I went to my senior prom with … but I did.  And that’s really working out for me … so far 😉

But, we’re both getting anxious.  We love being homeowners.  We love having stable jobs and two paychecks.  But, does homeownership and money buy happiness?  After reading this blog post, the answer is … sort of?  I’m running in circles here.  To be happy, I need to make money (above $75,000); I can stay Democrat (Lefties and Righties are equally happy, with about 70% happy-very happy); have kids (empty-nesters are “most happy”) — or not (the child-free also cite average happiness); oh yeah, and stay in love (funny, the engaged are happy, as are the separated-but-not-yet-divorced, but what about those just plain ol’ married?!).

I’m sad to hear that travel isn’t on the Make-Me-Happy list.  Whenever I’ve traveled, I’ve never had too much money in my pocket, but I’ve always had a killer smile on.  Do you ever feel like you just have to GO SOMEWHERE?  And I don’t mean to a new restaurant.

Dreaming of where to go makes me happy.  I guess that’s OK … for now 😉

Could you retire at 38? After I read this blog post, I grabbed my Magic 8 Ball.  And the answer is, Reply hazy, try again. 😦 But, Yes, in my imaginary world. Sadly, that world hasn’t become a reality. The Powerball isn’t rolling my way, my bank account hasn’t afforded me a private island yet and I sit in a cube five days a week. I’m knee/hip/chest?-deep in a mortgage, car payment, credit card bills and two felines. It’s sooooo American of me, right?

But, then I hear a story like Billy and Akaisha’s. Or Amy Vanderhoof’s. Or Shayne and Shannon McIntyre’s. I admit, Jealous Jackie comes out. But, Inspired Irene triumphs. I ‘m amazed, hopeful. I mean, for real, Shayne and Shannon travel the world with a bag of surfboards and two kids.

Although it doesn’t look like I’ll be retiring at 38, the dream is alive and kicking me in the ass. If it were just the thought that counted – and not the money – then it’d be possible. Because I think about it everyday. Am I the only 30-year-old (whoa, I just typed 30!) that does research on island life, sailing, raising my 2 cats and a kid (maybe on that kid part; haven’t really figured that life aspect out yet) sans Facebook, iPhone and a 24/7 media barrage? I can’t wait to get out of debt, but it’s not in hopes of buying a Range Rover or upgrading to a platinum wedding ring. (Don’t get me wrong, I would looooove a platinum upgrade!) Instead, I’m opting for a way to retire … get out of the rat race … stop climbing stuff … I mean, what’s not to love about wanting a life that includes making margaritas at 2pm (WARNING: This activity can be dangerous!) and playing eye-spy the clouds at the beach. It’s all I’m asking for … is that too much? Come on, who’s coming with me!!??

Maybe there are more people my age that can imagine life without social media and smart phones? Maybe there aren’t. Maybe I’m loco. Maybe I love rice and beans, the smell of coconuts and the sight of a solid tan line against clear blue waters too much. Now, if I could just learn to like seafood …

Until then, though, I’m content with my debt and semi-private, 30-year financed CBS island with a hammock and a hottie 🙂

L-Dub held its annual Reggae Festival this weekend at Bryant Park.  If there’s a chance I can catch live music and see JP dance, I’m all over it.  So, we hopped on our bikes and checked it out on Saturday.  Some quick pics of the event:

No reggae festival is complete without the man — Bob Marley.

Jamaican artist Red Rat.

A little drum-on-drum action.

Jamaica’s Anthony B. had the crowd going crazy!

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