Budget Tips, Consumer Advice

My review of Swimsuitsforall.com

August 4, 2016 • By
Hello Readers! Today’s post is the third of seven daily posts that I am writing for the Problogger ‘Find Your Blogging Groove’ challenge. It’s meant to encourage bloggers to post more frequently and thoughtfully. Today, I am going to review an online shopping venue that I have fallen in love with.

If ever there was an equalizer among women, it’s the historically proven fact that we all HATE trying on and or buying swimsuits.  Just my biased opinion, but I’ve never understood why slimmer women balk at having to try on suits.  Traditionally, I think the market always attempted to serve them.

If you were a bit on the large size and assuming that manufacturers even bothered to make swimsuits in your size, you could expect the very worst. From garish animal prints made out of bullet-proof fabric to psychedelic paisleys confusing enough to make the most inebriated, sober, swimsuits for fluffy people leave a lot to be desired.

On occasion, you might find something acceptable in the plus sized stores located in your neighborhood mall, but that was because you literally had no other choice.  Besides, how can you have a proper vacation playing beach ball in a tank top and shorts?  Luckily, one company heard the choir of voices crying out in the wilderness and proceeded to not only answer those cries, but to do it in such an impressive and stylish way.READ MORE

Newbie How-to's, Travel Advice

The Newbie’s Guide to enduring long International Flights

August 3, 2016 • By
Hello Readers! Today’s post is the second of seven daily posts that I am writing for the Problogger ‘Find Your Blogging Groove’ challenge. It’s meant to encourage bloggers to post more frequently and thoughtfully. I am going to add a new installment to my Newbie’s Guide series and I hope that you find it helpful to you!

You did it!  You’ve just booked your first international trip and you are stoked!!  You’ve always dreamed of seeing _____ (insert your dream destination) and you now have to become acquainted with the fact that you will be traveling a fairly long distance.

How long you say?  Depending on where you plan to land, you can count on at least 8 hours of flight time.  That’s a long time to sit in a flying tin can, but fear not, I will give you some tips on how to get through the experience without losing your marbles.

long haul

First, take care of some housekeeping issues before your trip

If you are not currently signed up with the Global Entry program, I would advise you to do so.  It will save you a major headache when traveling period, but especially internationally.  It will allow you to smoothly transition from customs to your gate during your departure and from customs to your destination upon arrival.READ MORE

Inspiration, Lifestyle

My top five reasons why you should stop being ‘nice’ and start being more authentic

August 2, 2016 • By
Hello Readers!  Today’s post is the first of seven daily posts that I am writing for the Problogger  ‘Find Your Blogging Groove’ challenge.  It’s meant to encourage bloggers to post more frequently and thoughtfully.  I am going to tackle a not so easy to discuss issue today, so buckle your seat belts…….

There’s an old saying, “Growing old isn’t for sissies”.  There’s a lot of truth to that.  Growing old makes you bolder and less patient for nonsense in general.  Having been a lifelong people pleaser, I’ve surprised myself quite a bit as I have grown older.

I have a very low tolerance level for boorish, selfish behaviors and I find myself speaking my mind in objection to it more often than not.  I guess I figure I have nothing to lose by refusing to accept unacceptable behavior and truth be told, neither do you.

The good news is that you don’t have to wait for gray hairs or saggy skin to appear in order to stand up for yourself.  Here are my top five reasons why you should stop being’ nice’ and start being more authentic:READ MORE

North America, Travel Advice

Spotlight on Joseph Strauss, Chief engineer of the Golden Gate Bridge

July 20, 2016 • By

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I must confess.  Until we actually arrived in San Francisco to see the Golden Gate Bridge in person, I had no idea that it was flanked by the Golden Gate Park!

Located in the center of it, was a statue of a man that I was not familiar with.  His name was Joseph Strauss and he along with Charles Alton Ellis, the man who is largely credited with the actual structural design, is responsible for bringing the Golden Gate Bridge to life.READ MORE

Consumer Advice, Lifestyle, Travel Advice

The Top 5 Carry-on Bags Under $60

July 12, 2016 • By

Recently, after years of inadequate solutions to my carry-on bag problem, I had to finally purchase one that suited all my needs. The search was far too long and tedious. After all, how hard is it find a tote bag with a shoulder strap, multiple organizer pockets and a laptop compartment?

Apparently, I underestimated what’s out there and, perhaps, my overly critical eye because it took several months to locate the perfect bag. Now that I’ve been through the fire, I consider myself somewhat of an expert on the concerns of today’s jet setter and I’ve compiled a list of options that should satisfy the most persnickety amongst you- at an affordable price.


For The Traditionalist – $49


Lifestyle, Travel Advice

Exploring The Negro Motorist Green Book

July 5, 2016 • By

It was a precursor to today’s TripAdvisor but it literally saved lives……

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In the not so distance past, traveling for black people was not as pleasant an undertaking as we may view it today.  Right after Reconstruction, laws were passed to ensure the permanent second class status of black people.  Many whites felt that blacks were ‘too free’, so laws were instituted to make sure that they knew their ‘place’ in society.

They were not allowed to travel freely like white people.  Many hoteliers refused them service as did restaurants, gas stations, amusement parks, etc.  It was literally life-threatening for those who found themselves in the unfortunate situation of being caught in ‘Sundown towns’.  It wasn’t unusual that direct eye contact with or speaking to whites could get you thrown in jail for the offense of ‘reckless eyeballing’, assaulted or even killed.READ MORE

North America, Travel Advice, Trip Reports

A day trip to the Great Smoky Mountains

June 28, 2016 • By

You may recall that I purchased an annual National parks pass in anticipation of my visit to Utah last year.  Since I was  visiting Gatlinburg again to spend time with family, I figured that we might as well check out the Great Smokies while we were there.

Due to an agreement between the state of Tennessee and the Federal government, the Great Smoky Mountains does not have an entry fee, so no annual pass was needed.  However, as we drove past the entrance, it reminded me of our time at Zion National Park, where you traverse a long winding road that has various points of interest on the side of the road along the way.



Fun stuff, Inspiration, Lifestyle

How Loom Knitting has kept me on the shallow side of the deep end

June 22, 2016 • By

loom knitting

Previously, I shared one of my favorite ways to deal with stress. While gaming is a great way to unwind after a hectic shift, I found an even better, long-term way to alleviate stress: loom knitting! Knitting without needles has been incredibly therapeutic. It’s relaxing, keeps me focused on achieving a goal and once I’ve finished a project, I have something tangible to give as a gift or to keep for myself. But the absolute best thing about loom knitting is that it’s incredibly easy to learn. I’ve been doing it for two years and made over seventy different projects from hats, scarves, bags, socks and blankets. All you need is patience and a free afternoon to get going!

Before You Get Started

Loom knitting is a relatively inexpensive hobby to start. For most projects, you need a loom, a loom tool, a crochet needle and yarn. The type of loom you’ll need depends on what project you wish to start. Most people start out learning how to make scarves on the loom, so for a thick scarf suitable for winter weather, a rectangular loom is best. For a light fall or spring scarf, a round loom is fine. Generally, rectangular looms are for scarves, blankets, place mats and similar projects. Round looms are for hats, scarves, gloves and socks.READ MORE

Budget Tips, Consumer Advice

Where To Get the Best Locally Sourced Plant Deals

June 14, 2016 • By

One of the most frustrating aspects of creating the garden of your dreams is the astronomical costs of supplanting barren land with healthy, lush plants.   Look at any gardening magazine and you will be inundated with photos of the most elaborately spectacular gardens you’ve ever seen.  Depending on where you live, where you shop or your personal tastes, it can potentially become an expensive endeavor.

Here’s my situation

As you may recall, last year, I decided to pull up 17 year old azaleas that had long overstayed its welcome in my yard. I like azaleas, but I think that given the space it occupied, it wasn’t exactly earning its keep. It was bland, predictable, uninspiring and a remnant of what the previous owner had created. The house was mine now and I wanted it to reflect in some small way, my desire to create an English Cottage Garden.


North America

Travel Photo Tuesday

June 7, 2016 • By
Chicago Skyline

View from the Adler Planetarium

A lot has been said about Chicago in recent years, the majority of it negative. But when I think of Chicago, I remember walking across the Dearborn Street Bridge with my girlfriends as we embarked on another exciting day of adventure.

We spent four glorious days touring the city back in the summer of 2009. Numerous rides on the L Train took us to block parties that ended at two in the morning, shopping sprees along the Magnificent Mile, an incredible fireworks display at Navy Pier, and, of course, a stop at Gino’s East for a slice of deep dish pizza!


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