The little things…


We are very quickly approaching the end of the year. OMG, Where does time go?

I have been busy learning new things, expanding my skills set, even learning how to become more technically oriented (loving it) my “smartphone” has made me more efficient than I ever suspected I could ever be. Still, I still prefer the old-fashioned desktop computer when it comes to writing, studying or researching for long periods of time.

I recently became a licensed Life & Health and Annuities agent, and have spent many hours online preparing for this new “venture/career”, the process has been interesting and enjoyable, for the most part (time-consuming) and I am now in the process of writing a business blog; that is a story for another day but one of reasons I have not been posting here more frequently. LOL

In addition, I have been spending quality time with my family, especially the little granddaughters, and those times have been precious! Here are some of those moments and some of the places from the last two months, we have been all over just having fun together!

These were all snapped while we visited Savannah, GA and Hilton Head, SC

Beautiful cities, my first time there but not the last!

Hilton Head 092 Hilton Head 097 Hilton Head 120 Hilton Head 124 Hilton Head 127 Hilton Head 146 Hilton Head 156 Hilton Head 161

Hola Abuela!
Hola Abuela!

On a recent visit to New York City…


At the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge
At the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge

It had a been a long time since we last set foot in New York, and as soon as we landed I wondered why it had taken so long to go back; we are talking more than ten years here, and New York is one of my favorite cities, we lived in Brooklyn for over twenty years.

It was waiting for us!
It was waiting for us!

It was a Mother’s day trip arranged by our two daughters Yasmin and Natalie, and it was definitely a “girls thing”. Needless to say, it was a great experience. The four days we spent there were filled with fun adventures uptown, downtown and all around the town and, we walked like I had not walked in a in a very long, long… time. LOL

Tulips in Central Park!
Tulips in Central Park!

The subways were our mode of transportation and we covered lots of miles from Brooklyn to Harlem and places in between. We acted like tourists in a town we previously called home. To be honest, when we lived in New York we hardly skipped a beat either, we frequently visited all the landmarks and museums, restaurants and attended all kinds of cultural events. I truly believe this is because I am a wanderlust soul at heart and now have two daughters that like to travel and discover places just as much as I do, Yippee!

My daughters and I make a great travel team and we each had our assignments; Yasmin was the Yelp expert that got us to all the right places to eat and had them lined up before we even set foot in the city. Natalie was in charge of accommodations and lined up a great Best Western hotel in the heart of Brooklyn (the R train was right outside) which made it easy for us to reach all the must see places that I had lined up for us to visit. Brooklyn Museum was my favorite stop.

Long lines...it must be good. It was!
Long lines…it must be good. It was!

So we ate “off the truck” Halal food near Rockefeller Center (delicious), walked to Central Park, and stopped at John Lennon’s memorial, Strawberry Fields, and then walked some more. One thing about walking in the big cities you don’t feel the pain until…you feel the pain. In my case, that was two days later, but Advil took care of that!

We covered a lot of ground (making up for lost time) FAO Schwarz, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Central Park, Harlem, Brooklyn and surrounding neighborhoods, Times Square, ahhh… the sights of Times Square (I’ll save those for another post, LOL).

Delicious cheesecake!
Delicious cheesecake!

We even made sure to stop at Junior’s in Brooklyn to get some of their famous (nostalgia) cheesecake, it is still good!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Infinite


For the purpose of this challenge I defer to Merriam-Webster‘s definition…enough said. LOL

I don't believe you can get to a purer infinite state than this one!
I don’t believe you can get to a purer infinite state than this one!

Lafayette Cemetery, New Orleans

Full Definition of INFINITE per Merriam-Webster:

:  extending indefinitely :  endless <infinite space>
:  immeasurably or inconceivably great or extensive : inexhaustible <infinite patience>
3:  subject to no limitation or external determination
4 a :  extending beyond, lying beyond, or being greater than any finite value however large <infinite number of positive numbers>
4 b :  extending to infinity <infinite plane surface>

4 c :  characterized by an infinite number of elements or terms<an infinite set> <an infinite series>

Tweet from richardbranson (@richardbranson)


I just read this on Twitter, so consider it a re-tweet? I just had to share. As a former manager in the retail banking business, I love the approach. Killing  them with kindness always works wonders!

richardbranson (@richardbranson) tweeted at 10:38 AM on Fri, Jun 28, 2013:
How to write a complaint letter – read this hilarious note from a frustrated airline passenger http://t.co/BCvUPzTswV
(https://twitter.com/richardbranson/status/350624264556249090)

Get the official Twitter app at https://twitter.com/download

NOLA on my mind…Strolling through the Big Easy


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New Orleans has been on my mind for a few weeks now (ever since our short trip back in December) especially because it has been on the news a lot with the Super Bowl and most recently the festivities leading up to “Mardi Gras” or “Fat Tuesday“, which is the last day of the Carnival season and it always falls the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Today is Fat Tuesday, tomorrow is the beginning of the Lenten season for many Christians around the world.

Mardi Gras or Carnival as it is known in places such as Brazil, Trinidad, and many other countries, including Panama is a celebration which harbors many fond memories from my days growing up in Panama, where it is a major event. The floats, costumes, and partying that goes along with Carnival are dizzying, but so much fun!ImageImageStrangely enough, I have not participated in a true Carnival celebration since I moved here over 30 years ago, and for some reason I seem to prefer it that way, keep the memories going based on some long ago perceptions, go figure. However, the spectacle of New Orleans Bourbon Street (off-season) was more than enough to remind me of the fun that could be had during the festive season of Carnival. One thing for sure I discovered that New Orleans is a very unique place; you have to go more than once to truly appreciate its charms, especially if you like the historical perspectives or love cultural experiences.

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I left the city of NOLA feeling that I must go back soon so I can explore those areas I missed, talk about a bucket list!

Happy Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Martes de Carnaval–or whatever you call it wherever you are be it New Orleans, Panama, Brazil or Trinidad. Let the Good Times Roll!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Purple


I have been busy, really busy this past month. All sorts of life events, vacations, babysitting gigs out-of-town, family illnesses, birthdays, baptisms and I am sure I forgot something else. The upside? I have spent the month of July in the company of my most beloved people and feel happy and fulfilled. I think I am now ready to resume blogging duties, unless of course…life gets in the way.

The Purple House in Punta Gorda, FL

I missed a few of the photo challenges and rather than attempt to catch up by back-posting, I will jump right in here with my purple submission. As soon as I saw this prompt, I knew I had to go down to Punta Gorda to snap some pictures of the “purple house” I frequently drive by. The choice of color always puts a smile on my face, not something I would have picked myself…but I absolutely love how it looks with its white trim; especially on an old traditional Florida home such as this one. And below… the slowly fading purple of our crepe myrtle tree. Aah, nature!

 

My A-Z Travel Challenge


I received this challenge from Johanna Bradley, of http://restlessjo.wordpress.com a few days ago, and it made me think…a lot;(Thanks Jo, LOL) it also made me realize I need to get going on my bucket list pronto! Therefore, if there are any travel companies out there listening, I am letting you know now–I am available for travel assignments. LOL.

A: Age at which you went on your first trip abroad:

Nineteen, when I left Panama for the very first time–went to Brooklyn, New York, on a 6-month visit, yeah!

B: Best foreign beer you have had and where:

I am not much of a beer drinker, but I prefer light beers–Heineken, or when I travel to Miami, Cerveza Panama.

C: Cuisine:

Give me some Latin or Caribbean food any day of the week, (Panama, Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, etc.) closely followed by Indian and Mediterranean. I, however, am known for trying all kinds of foods at least once.

D: Destinations, favorite, least favorite, and why:

Six Thunderbird F-16s in delta formation flyin...
Image via Wikipedia

I love big cities New York, Miami, Orlando, and Atlanta where I once lived and still have family are favorites. I also love London and Paris, and Panama of course, even though it is not a big city—it is where I come from. I do not have a least favorite destination…yet.

E: Event you experienced abroad that made you say, “Wow!”

There are many, but the first time I saw a skyscraper in New York City, that image  remains etched on my mind. I was nineteen years old and it was the first time I’d been away from my parents’ watchful eyes, I will never forget it.

F: Favorite mode of transportation:

Airplanes, I want to get there fast!

G: Greatest feeling while travelling:

Anticipation, I cannot wait to get where I am going, let the fun begin.

 H: Hottest place you have travelled to, where?

Florida, in July and still we went ahead and moved here, LOL

I: Incredible service you have experienced and why:

Pampering received during a 7-day cruise to Bermuda, because they catered to my every whim and I loved it!

J: Journey that took the longest:

My sister and I, took a road trip from New York to Florida, twice; just for the fun of it and with our young children in tow. I would never do that one again!

K: Keepsake from your travels:

I bought two handbags in Paris; and a few Pashmina scarves in London. I usually shop for things that are practical and wearable, not too big on keepsakes.

L: Letdown sight, where and why:

I am sure there are some, but I just cannot remember them.

M: Moment when you fell in love with travel:

The first time I got on a plane, from Panama to New York. That was it!

N: Nicest hotel you have stayed at while traveling:

We travel as cheaply as possible. However, any Marriott usually does the trick.

O: Obsession: what are you obsessed with taking photos of when you travel:

Boats, beaches, sunsets, old churches, museums, and gardens usually get my attention as well as unusual sights. Architectural structures that are unique and beautiful.

P: Passport stamps, how many and from where:

Very few in the last few years–London, Paris, Bermuda and Panama; I better get going on that bucket list!

Q: Quirkiest attraction you have visited and where:

English: WonderWorks in Orlando, Florida
Image via Wikipedia

Orlando’s only upside-down attraction, WonderWorks, an amusement park for the mind featuring over one hundred interactive exhibits for people of all ages. I had the weirdest experience upon entering the exhibit building, thought it was moving–not. LOL. That was a very funny experience.

R: Recommended sight, event or experience:

A trip to Paris, which includes a visit to Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre Museum  and a cruise on the River Seine.

S: Splurge; something you have no problem forking out money for when travelling:

I do not mind splurging for a room with a view, and dinner at a fancy restaurant now and then.

T: Touristy thing you have done:

When I arrived in New York for the first time, I made sure to tour all the big attractions–Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Rockefeller Center, Central Park, and all the museums I could get into; that was a lot of fun. Who knew I would be living there for the next twenty years and would get to visit those sites over and over every time friends and family would come to visit. LOL

U: Unforgettable travel memory:

Roundtrip London to Paris on the Chunnel, which included visits to many, must see sites and some off the beaten path places.

V: Visas, how many and for where:

I can only wish, but so far none.

W: Wine, best glass of wine had while travelling, where:

The best wine I have ever drank was had in Paris, at a friend’s home.

X: eXcellent view and from where:

Port Charlotte Beach Complex

Sunsets on the beach, in Florida

Y: Years spent travelling:

More than I can remember, but mostly within the states. Seriously, I have to get that bucket list thing going. LOL

Z: Zealous sports fans and where:

New York Yankees fans; don’t even mention the Mets to them.

Well, this has been a fun exercise (but it made me think too much) so now I pass it on to some of my fellow bloggers. Let us see, who is next?

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Port Charlotte? Where is that?


A view of the harbor, from Laishley Park

Port Charlotte? Where is that? It does not sound like a place where there will be much to do. That is usually the way the conversation goes when I talk to strangers, right after the standard introductions; almost everyone I meet says the same thing. To which I respond, as if on autopilot, “we are in Florida, on the Gulf Coast of Mexico right between Fort Myers and Sarasota”.  Suddenly, an Aha moment—as Oprah would say–I know where that is, my grandma’s friend has a house down there somewhere. LOL

Funny thing is, there are enough things to do in Port Charlotte and its surroundings; the area boasts some of the best beaches–Boca Grande, Siesta Key, Sanibel, Clearwater, come to mind—that you can find anywhere on the Gulf Coast, all within less than an hour’s drive. Sunsets are beautiful and plentiful; except of course, on those days when the skies open up and let out the thunderstorms and lightning we are so famous for, which earned the Tampa Bay’s area the dubious “Lightning Capital of the U.S.” moniker.

During this time of the year, when the freezing weather up north ensures our population swells with the arrival of “snowbirds” looking to escape the snow and cold, there is so much going on, locals have a difficult time finding a place to eat where the wait is less than an hour.

Sunset at the beach

Arts, film, and music festivals, and gallery exhibits, block parties, plays and everything else you can think of, are in plentiful supply. In addition, there is always fishing and boating, or year-round drum circles at nearby Venice and Sarasota beaches, where every Saturday evening you can let go your inner hippie while enjoying the music–bring your own drums, food and drinks and prepare to welcome the most beautiful sunsets ever!

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