A Local's Guide To Naples, Florida

A Local's Guide To Naples, Florida

5 places to visit on your weekend getaway.
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Only twelve years under my belt, and I still have a tough time finding things to do in Naples. It has nothing to do with the actual city because there is always something going on. I guess you could blame it on my fear of venturing out from what I know.

So, what better place than Facebook to ask for recommendations in your hometown? Thank you to all those who were a part of creating this guide. So, if you're a local or visitor, look no further before establishing weekend plans.

1. Naples Botanical Gardens

I'm embarrassed to say, but the first time I visited was three weeks ago and boy, was I missing out! Only three miles away from downtown Naples, the botanical gardens fill 170 acres with a variety of flowers. One of my favorite areas was the butterfly garden, which is everything to dream about. And absolutely perfect for photo ops! Definitely, add this as one of the top places to visit!


2. The Bowl

I didn't know I was missing one of Naples' best-kept secrets until I found The Bowl. With a chalkboard menu describing every kind of combination you can imagine, their Açaí bowls are what they are known for. Another specialty is kombucha and local cold brew coffee, which both fit nicely with your choice of Açaí bowl. If you want to see what you're missing out on, look at their colorful feed on Instagram.



3. Kunjani Craft Coffee & Gallery

This is one coffee shop that screams "authenticity" to every foot that steps through the door. A mother-daughter duo created Kunjani, which serves the best variety of coffee, tea, Farm-to-Table food, and handmade crafts by local artists. Not only are they bettering the community of Naples with their originality, but they have also created a non-profit called Kunjani Project. Their non-profit focuses on improving housing in Zimbabwe, Zambia, and South Africa. Running a coffee shop and a non-profit?! Talk about leading ladies in the community!




4. Downtown Naples

Imagine walking down a street so colorful that you pinch yourself to make sure it isn't a dream? Bingo! Downtown Naples consists of the sweetest shops and the tastiest restaurants. The gorgeous blooms make the area that more inviting and perfect for an obligatory photo shoot. Some of my favorite places to visit are Kilwins, the delicious shop filled with candy and ice cream galore. There are also delicious restaurants like Ocean Prime, Tulia, Truluck's, Yabba, and a handful of others. If you have an allowance that forbids extra spending, it's just as fun to window shop down Fifth and Third Street.


5. Naples Pier

If you want to see the most beautiful sunset, then this is your stomping ground. During the months of January through May, this place is packed with seasonal guests taking in every sunset before heading back up North. Along with the glowing sunset, are locals fishing and often catch all types of fish and even sharks. If fish isn't your thing, Cosmo's is a pizza restaurant along the Pier.

If you're looking for any services while visiting the area check out two of the best local small business owners!

The Daily with Maggie - creates the most stunning calligraphy pieces.
Deniece Giovinazzo Photography - Her photography is so lovely. How about a family session on the beach?



Cover Image Credit: Lance Asper

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To The Girl Who Hasn't Been Herself Lately

Your spark return, and you will shine like you were meant to.
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Life gets tough. Life gets too much to handle sometimes, and those times make you stronger. However, right now, it seems like you have lost yourself.

It’s difficult when you catch yourself not being you. When you do something or act a certain way and just wonder, “what did I do to deserve this? Why is this happening? When will it get better?” The way you’re feeling is not so much that you’re unhappy, you just feel weird.

Your day will come. I promise you. This is just a phase.

The day you realize how much you have grown from this point in time will be your reward. It is so hard to see now, and I feel your pain.

Your light will return to you. Your pure bliss moments, they are seeking you. Your laughter where your tummy aches is in your reach.

Our moods change far too often for us as humans to understand why, but the encounters you make every day have this effect on us.

You must remember the pure happiness you experienced before your first heartbreak, before the first friend became someone you thought they weren’t, before you lost your innocence. That was a time of true joy as you had not a care in the world for the things that would harm you. Better yet, you didn’t have the option to experience them because you were just a child.

The world can be an ugly place, and your attitude towards life can change every day. One thing is for certain: you did not lose who you are internally. We all put on a face for the world. For the people who we try to impress. For the life we want to live. For the things we want to achieve.

Your definitive personality is still in the works. Believe it or not, it always will be. Times like this change us for the better even though we can’t see it.

Your happiness will return. You will be a better, stronger version of you. In fact, you will be the best version of you yet.

Once this phase is over, you will be okay. This I promise you.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Sutton

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President Trump’s Wall Is Not A Solution, It Causes More Harm Than You Think

After the second government shutdown since Donald Trump's inauguration, immigrants and opponents of the wall are not the only ones suffering.

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At this time of writing this, the government has been shut down for 19 days. Friday will be the first day that workers in one of the affected organizations will not receive a paycheck. Children on free lunch programs will have gone without this service for 19 days. Families on food stamps are unable to receive one of the most necessary and basic human rights. This is not an emotional tangent, but rather a reasonable suggestion to our government to do their jobs. Both political sides can be seen at fault, as a negotiation usually occurs between dissenting opinions. However, compromises are made through understanding and reasoning.

However, while our government converses about their views on the proposed wall, I will offer mine. With a price tag of $5 billion to construct, this is not a cheap and short-term project. Building this "border" will take money out of every American's pocket; our government simply does not have $5 billion in a savings account. Funding may occur in the form of taxes, which is already a system that has been reformed and looked over time and time again. If the administration follows through with their prior statements, then funding may also come from the budgets of other existing agencies. Additionally, since President Trump is a man of maximalism, the construction of a wall will impede on residential lives for those who live along the southern border. This affects major cities and towns such as San Diego, El Paso, and San Luis.

In a capitalist country where money and finances are a concern, there are many agencies that would thrive if they could obtain a fraction of this billion dollar proposal.

Schools need funding. The criminal justice system and public defenders need funding. Women's health services, like Planned Parenthood, need funding (Planned Parenthood has stated that government money does not get used in abortion services). Did you know that Planned Parenthood only receives $500 million for their annual budget, which is 1/10th of the wall's budget? With a fraction of this budget, you could fund a project to provide clean and safe drinking water across the world. The governmental funding for the Environmental Protection Agency has been halved, and it is now less than the budget for this wall. Humanitarian services need funding. We could help the homeless and build walls… four walls for a shelter, that is. Remember Puerto Rico and Hurricane Maria? There are still people without power- our government is responsible and needs money to aid these citizens.

I understand that people want stricter security and immigration services. A wall is not a solution. Airplanes exist- people can fly over the wall. Boats exist- traveling to America via water occurs. Building a power symbol cannot solve a "national emergency," as Donald Trump believes; the national emergency lies in the suffering Americans who will be impacted by the attempts to get this wall built.

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