Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Jamaican Me Crazy!

So original, no?

We are about to have another blast of arctic hellish air here, so I thought I'd delve into my "head movies" so as to keep myself from getting depressed.

I give you..Jamaica vacation! 2011! You may recall my Jamaica pics a few posts back. We stayed at a beautiful resort in 2010. In 2011 we had less $$ to spare and found a great deal on 7 Mile Beach. Was it fun? Yes. Was it scary? Yes. We definitely got a taste of the local culture and while it was a fun vacation, it wasn't terribly relaxing.

It was gorgeous!! I'm always amazed how flowers bloom and plants thrive in February in other parts of the world!

Sweaty but beautiful dinner on 7 Mile Beach in the evening. It was HOT even at 10pm! LOVE!

The beach itself is beautiful, but a sort of show that I didn't much enjoy. People walking aimlessly up and down the beach to be seen (tourists).  Locals selling food and drinks. Loved that part. There was literally no hunting for food. If you had cash and sat on a beach chair, eventually someone would come up and sell you something. The food was delicious. The best food on the beach was from a guy with a bike and a cardboard box on the back of his bike. He ran out of food fast and that part of the vacation was great. What I also loved: Locals would take the large alcohol bottles from various bars on the beach (cleaned out, I presume. I never got sick, so it was all good.) and make HUGE/YUGE bottles of orange juice to sell you. $5! It tasted like Tang but it was hot and I didn't care. Plus, I felt good about and was happy to give money to the locals and the local economy. Too many times we've traveled thinking our money stays local when in reality it's all offshore. So that part was very cool.

Not sure why I look like a total drunk at 2pm here, but I was NOT drunk. I titled this photo "Bar Hag." I loved all of the outdoor areas to have drinks and to EAT. Did I eat CAKE? I believe I did! Vacations are not the time to try and resist foods! What you don't see in this photo: Men constantly trying to sell us drugs. It was funny at first and then annoying. Unfortunately Brad had a doppelganger on this vacation! Another white bald man! He was terribly rude and wore a lame necklace. Why do I bring up the necklace? Because one day as we're lying on the beach, this local comes over to Brad and offers him various drugs. Brad "No thanks, man." The guy gets increasingly upset and says "Why are you pretending like you don't know me? You know me!" and then I point to other bald white guy and say "I think you have him confused with THAT guy over there! See? He's got the necklace!" and all was well with the world. We then knew who was buying large amounts of cocaine on the beach! Good times!

This is where we had breakfast some days. Bliss.

We also saw the same tourists from our hotel here everyday. One woman was quite old and refused to wear a top ever. Topless beach! I could never quite figure out what was going on with her. Whenever I'd swim, the water would take me to wherever she and her latest Jamaican boy toy were making out. NO LIE. It was very uncomfortable. I'd be treading water, relaxing and suddenly I'd be 2 feet away. I think I may have yelled "Ahhh..F&&K!" one day because I just got tired of it. We lovingly nicknamed her "Milkshake" after the song "My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.." and I told Brad "I wish I could put a shirt on her! Her boobs are burned!" I must say that when I stopped seeing her (she must have left to return home.) that I kind of missed her and realized our vacation was also coming to a close.

That water is amazing. So imagine swimming..relaxing and suddenly smelling gasoline and hearing a jet ski behind you and a guy saying "Hey! Hey you!" Me: "Me??" "Yes! You need anything!" and what he was referring to again- drugs! It just never ended. EVEN IN THE WATER!  There was just no escape from the madness. It IS supremely beautiful there. I will say that.

We had dinner here one night. It was lovely.

The simple architecture makes me happy.

Beautiful sunset! I had too much to drink this evening and spent the night throwing up. TMI? Sorry. Let's just look back at the sunset!

My sweet Brad. I love him. Good. Kind. Sweet. Funny.

My friend Melissa always makes fun of me for taking pics of where I eat. I love food. I have no shame!

Ahhh...I feel better now! We stayed at the White Sands on 7 Mile Beach. It's cheap, it was clean. It's fine..just don't leave your wits and common sense at home! We were witness to a machete fight just down the beach at a local market. I was just trying to buy gifts for our nieces and nephews and was suddenly smack dab in the middle of what felt like a NatGeo program!  I distinctly heard a voice in my head tell me "Back UP. Back up toward the beach." I think it was God. Seriously. It was creepy yet I felt calm. But again..scary and a BIT unsafe.

Well..thanks for taking a stroll down vacation memory lane with me.

Here's hoping your Wednesday is beautiful!



Monday, January 28, 2013

Gideon Ridge Inn.

I found this on the blog today (I found the blog through another blog, through another. Does anyone else do this? Through a series of a possible 27 steps I stumbled onto this great blog. I have no REAL idea how I arrived there!) and I must say..I'm going!  In my MIND that is. Check out these fantastic views!

Did someone say "Road Trip"?

(Images via Google Search.)


I have also always wanted to visit Savannah, Georgia and someday soon,  I will! Preferably in the spring or fall as summers in the south are el diablo!

McSwoon! Beautiful!! I could live there. Right in the park. For a fortnight..gotcha!

(Image via

I could live here:
(Image via

I love the architecture and the feel of the south. After living in  Tennessee it's still hard to put into words, but I can feel it when I look at my photographs from that time and when I see photos like these. A totally different vibe and lifestyle than the aggressive north.


"Teaser" post update!

I was just minding my own biz while reading on the beach this February day in Mexico a few years back. The resort we stayed in was pretty, but lounger chairs were hard to come by. Every few days, a boatload of cruise ship peeps would leave their ship and come and stay, snorkel and hang at our resort for a few hours. Never bothered me until this day. With a WHOLE beach to sit on and anyplace to move a chair, this woman  decided to sit almost on top of me. LITERALLY. She didn't speak english. I looked at her, moved my chair a bit and I kid you not, she moved hers closer. I don't think she was trying to be funny, I think she was just european. In the way that "this table seats four but there are two of you- let me eat right next to you!" Not necessarily a bad thing until she bent over and stuck her arse in my personal space MORE THAN ONCE. The point of this tshirt is in its optical illusion. The faux body makes it SEEM as if she were farther away than she actually is. If you look at her real legs you can see she's nearly ON me. I believe I got up and hit the bar after this pic was taken. Then rather than being mad I just laughed, made Brad take a pic and said "It sort of annoyed me but then kind of made my day because it's just so f**king bizarre!"

I will also say that whenever I travel outside of the US, I see and experience a general lack of manners not from the locals, but the tourists. I also used to live in Sedona, AZ and this was the case there as well. What is WRONG with people? NOT all people, but a lot of them. It's like basic manners and common sense leave.

Of note: I believe I was reading John Irving's "Til I Find You" here which was a great book!!

I'm off to do a bit of work. The dogs have fashion forward red valentines kerchiefs on thanks to Brad, and I have a box of donuts to eat. I also had CAKE yesterday at Emerson's family birthday party.

He is ten now. He chose...get over the hill cake that had "RIP" on it! LOL, LOL! Who does that at such a young age? THAT is why he is so darling and  hilarious. He thought it looked "dark and cool."

It's only a few years until he has a party with a "Lordy, Lordy Look Whose 40!" cake, I guess.

Happy Monday, Friends!



Friday, January 25, 2013


Happy Friday, All!

I'll give you the full story regarding this fabulous picture at some point this weekend.

I think a cliffhanger is always good.

I will only say this right now:

It was in Mexico on vacation. Year 2011.

This woman actually had her butt pretty much IN my face, as I was annoyed I noticed the art on the shirt.

You think about it. Or..feel free to make up a small story regarding what TRULY happened.

I'm all ears.

This photo is titled "Why?"

Peace out!



Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Inexpensive Home Decor.

Yep! I've got a few ideas. I wouldn't say that I'm "cheap" by any means, but I would say I can be thrifty. Also, the curse of being artistic and making things is seeing something and fixating on the price. "This is nice, but I could easily make that for half of that amount."  It's honestly exhausting at times because if I allowed myself, I'd just never buy anything and have a million ongoing home projects.  I know when to say NO. I bought Pottery Barn mica lampshades a few weeks ago for my birthday. Not something I can recreate nor would I care to if I could. Know thyself. No longer available but see my new shades below. Yow! It has totally changed the lighting for reading and relaxing in our bedroom and was worth the cash.


What I can't get onboard with: Overpriced apothecary jars! I love them, I do. But I will not pay $30 for a 7" tall jar that is decorative and pretty, yes, I give you that. But the reality is I'm just going to be shoving Q Tips and or soaps in them. I always figure I can (and do!) use the extra money in savings (like that? Like how I think of buying something as a vehicle to also give me savings? I know.Weird.) for charities that are close to my  heart.

So my way to have apothecary jars that I LOVE?  I reuse my HomeGoods candle jars! Two for one! Or what some might call a win-win. Enjoy the candle, the kinetic lighting of the candle, the good scents. Freeze the almost dead candle for a few hours (Thank you, Martha Stewart!) and the wax should pop out easily. If it doesn't, I put a bit of water in it for a day and it will usually work. Rubbing alcohol also works on any black smoke marks on the glass OR a run through your dishwasher. I will admit that I recently accidentally placed two fir smelling candles in the dishwasher. Everything smelled of evergreen in a nice burned fashion. Brad asked "What did you do?" Me "Huh? You're acting like I did this on purpose as if I WANTED our dishware scented! Untrue!"

This was $7! Yayy! It also really makes using a Q tip seem almost amazing!

Next up: My $2 pillow from the Goodwill. I know it can seem gross to buy a pillow there. I have passed on many that seem like they'd be tough to wash without ruining. This little gem was easy to wash and our dog Daisy loves it. I'm sure it was from someplace like Target (unsure as it has no tags and I don't remember seeing this anywhere recently.) but I like to pretend it was from Ballard Designs or something and that my savings is just huge or YUGE.

Again, Daisy looks cute when she naps near here. I always tell Brad "she seems to have better naps when she's sleeping near cute chevron or a well designed pack of pillows." Ha!

Finally...saw my nephew Emerson yesterday as he had the day off of school. He was one of three kids in his class to be invited to a Little Author's Workshop in the cities in March "for aspiring writers." !! He acted like it was no big deal, but I KNOW that it is! Here's his latest read. Looks kinda spooky. I love kids books!

Read if you DARE!

It's terribly cold here. I find that complaining about the weather is boring..but my's about 5 below still and its noonish! Bleh!

Off to work!



Saturday, January 19, 2013

Saturday Etsy Love!

Just wanted to share some beautiful finds from Etsy this week. Things that make me happy!!

Does it not just yell HAPPY?! It does for me.

Same shop, more beauty:

More from this shop. Has a pomegranate ever looked so lovely?

I think I'm getting to that point in winter where I actually crave spring color and flowers again. I looked at my planters flanking our front door yesterday wondering "What to do?" It's too cold for anything. I don't want spruce or anything christmas-y. Ideas? I need something. Help!  I am in Minnesota and although it's 30 today, the temp will plummet to a high of -2 on Monday. Anyone have any arctic ideas?! Bring IT!

Different shop, more beauty!

More love:

Finally..give me a reason NOT to want to eat many of these?! I'll be waiting! Haven't purchased anything yet, but my finger is ready to hit "add to cart"..

Buy them here!

I'm off to have some Marshmallow Mateys now. The generic equivalent of Lucky Charms. Same flavor, less $$!  We've also run out of dog biscuits and everytime Daisy comes in from going to the bathroom, she looks at me as if I'm a failure. Must go to store.

Have a lovely weekend, all!



Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Little Gent Turns 10!

My nephew Emerson turned 10 on January 15. Where does the time go? It seems like he was just a baby and then a toddler who was obsessed with Dora the Explorer for a good two be followed with a love for Max and Ruby and then the Backyardigans.  Now he's learning Power Point Presentations in fourth grade! When did that happen? Impressive, but seems "mature". He also knows his way around an iPhone and an iPad. He figured out within a day how to use "facetime" on his iPad (a bday gift from his dad) and I was able to see his cute little face on the phone while talking to him last night!

 Brad and I surprised him at his school on his bday to take him out for lunch. He's just so fun. He ordered a double order of corndogs, fries, a vanilla shake and then had a little sundae. When I asked him "guess who else shares your birthday who is really special to me?" (I'm referring to my best friend Kim, he knows her.) he replied "Martin Luther King!" So cute and smart. Then out of the blue during lunch he said "Do you know about oil drilling?" Me "Yes, it's not good." Emerson "NO! It's not good! We're learning about it in school and it's bad for the environment." I just love how concerned and aware he is. He hit Dave and Busters last week with his cousin and my nephew Nick, who is 18. Nick told me that they discussed how they could change the world by curing cancer and with inventions. I think I was just happy playing basketball outside at that age and eating cotton candy. They are amazing. He is such a great little soul.

Eating his gift of cotton candy at his bday lunch!!

And doing some coloring, tic tac toe and mazes on the kids menu. I love that he still enjoys all of this kind of kid stuff even while he's getting older and crazy smart.

Happy 10th Birthday, Em! So glad you are part of my family!!



Saturday, January 12, 2013

He Makes Me Cake.

My hubby Brad does. Every year on my birthday. Without fail. This year he was kind of sick, but I still received a beautiful pink confetti cake. Full of love and perfectly baked.

It was delicious. My bday was Thursday, January 10th. The cake was gone by Friday night. NO, I didn't eat ALL of it. But most of it.  The first year he baked me a cake was a surprise. We'd been dating for less than a year. He made it before work (he works nights as a nurse) and delivered it to me the following morning. Perfectly safe in a box. I looked at him and almost cried and said "You made me a cake!" because I couldn't remember anyone having made me a cake since my mom had died. It's possible SOMEONE did, but I just don't recall.  It was a big deal. He stopped making the two layer cake a few years back as it was just too much to eat. Each piece of cake was equal to three pieces.

So...I'm 41 now or Tina version 4.1.  I don't feel much different except I don't sleep like a baby like I did at 37 or even 38. The reason I GIVE my age is because people are so weird about age. As if it's something to be embarrassed about.."Oh, yeah..I'm sorry I'm over 40 one point I was younger.." it's just dumb. When I was in my 20's I thought that 40 was OLD. Now that I'm in  my 40's I find that I feel just fine. I think that overall I get lighter and happier as I age. Stupid things that are of no consequence generally don't bother me as much. If anything, I'm just smarter and more selective about how I spend my time and who I spend it with.  We were supposed to be in Tucson this weekend visiting a good friend & her family. Everyone here is sick (I'm  not anymore, but I did have a migraine that I thought was going to kill me.) and I guess Melissa's baby is sick AND it's only 26 degrees and snowing in Tucson. It just wasn't meant to be.

I had a great early dinner/late lunch with Brad on my bday at..oddly enough PF Changs. Not sure why, it just sounded good. I'm weird about making plans on my bday as I then feel stuck and find that I usually don't want to do what has been planned. I'm a bit weird like that. So I thought we were going to hit antique shops and at the last minute I thought "Let's take a weird left and go to Changs!" It as fun. I had an apple beer that was gluten free and quite yummy.  We perused Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma afterward. I bought some very pretty mica shades for our lamps in the bedroom. They make me happy everyday. THAT  is a good purchase. I felt loved and my  head had stopped hurting, so it was a good day.

Found this pic today and I think I may have posted it months ago, but here's a reshare!! Me and my little sister Dawn in the late 70's. I loved these Santa Dolls!

And for ONCE I actually used my "FREE BDAY DRINK" coupon from Caribou!

Good Things, People. Good Things.

Happy Weekend. Rock this Saturday with all you've got!



Monday, January 7, 2013

Good Deed Monday. Donate $1. Help With Adoption.

Just found out about this today on Flower Patch Farmgirl and wanted to pass it on!

This fundraiser ends in one week and if everyone donates just $1...amazing things can be accomplished. As someone who plans to adopt and possibly foster, I know too well how incredibly expensive it all is and overwhelming. It is why we are still in the beginning stages of our journey. Everytime Brad has a hip surgery, we are thrown back months. I know if this were me, I'd love the help.

Please head over to Small Town Joy blog and read about Pie and throw a dollar to the cause! You'll be glad you did and quite possibly...maybe you'll have some angel bucks waiting for you in Heaven!



Friday, January 4, 2013

My View.

This was how my world looked for most of yesterday. I "took to my bed"  and ate lots of chocolate, downed some ibuprofen and watched some serious tv! YOW! I am also reading this great book "Fireworks Over Toccoa" and had fair trade chocolate from Trader Joe's. Thank you, Bradley W.! xo

My birthday is not until next week, but Brad surprised me with my gift last night. I must say, he's a great gift giver because he thinks of things I don't even KNOW that I want!  He bought me an iPhone! It's a 4S and is refurbished. Almost new (like I care, I've had the same droid for a few years now. With a TERRIBLE phone camera! You may have had the pleasure of seeing some of those phone pics on this very blog. Lucky you. blurry...bad...yep.) I LOVE it. I didn't even know I wanted a new phone until I received it. Everything is user friendly and easy. Thank you Apple peeps. I can send a text or an email without my keyboard adding 10 W's that I never touched. It's like that commercial for Healthy Choice meals (I think) "I had always thought I hated the sound of children's laughter all these years. Turns out, I was just hungry."  Me: "I had always thought I just hated phones for the past few years. Turns out, I just hated that particular phone I had!"

Still trying to load instagram on my new phone, but at least for now, the photos actually have a decent quality to them. Curtis this morning...

You may have also noticed I have a widget/"thing" at the top of my page for chipin. No pressure, I just love animals and it's for a dog that was saved by a shelter and needs help. He's got a foster home but has had mange, they've tried everything and can't get rid of it. The dog is seeing a specialist, but the bills aren't cheap.  Feel free to check it out and donate even $1 if you like. Easy and you can feel good after. I felt better after donating than I did while eating my candy bar. Go figure. this viral Instagram video if you want a good laugh. It's to the tune of "Photograph" by Nickelback and is hilarious!!

Have a beautiful Friday!



Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Yes, I think the year on this photo may INDEED be correct. Me at a Waffle House in Kentucky in 2006. En route to visit friends in Tennessee, one of my many former homes. I love the Waffle House. We don't have anything similar enough in the "aggressive north" here that is adequately comparable. It's just not the same.

Heart attack on a plate, see you on the other side!

I say that to Brad whenever we have a huge breakfast and we're going for broke.

Anyway....I love this pic because it's just goofy. You know what else? My eyes are open!

Brad and I will not be taking our usual beach vacation this year due to funds and our impending move/downsize 2013! It's more important to have more than enough $$$ to cover our move and all things that go along with that. We'll be leaving the A'Ville Burbs and are excited to move back into or near the city. I seriously cannot wait. While I've enjoyed certain aspects of living out here ( a good hour from the city with good traffic.) I have realized it's just too damned far from everything, our neighbors are mostly weird (in my opinion, they could also view me as a total freak. Fair is fair!) we have a lot of peeps who keep it real, hang in the garage all summer long and watch tv out there...and seem overly concerned with everyone else's business. Not for me. No judgement. Just not for me/us.

We also plan to adopt someday soon (it keeps getting put on the back burner with each of Brad's hip surgeries, but we should be able to get back on the train soon.) and there just isn't enough diversity here. Again, my opinion. I'm excited to be around history again, older homes and buildings with character and PUBLIC TRANSPORT!!

Sidebar: I have lived in the burbs before and LOVED it. Before I met Brad, I bought a townhome in southern Minnesota and loved everything about it. We've both agreed there's just something "off" for us here. Bad feng shui? Homes built on some sort of burial ground? We don't know. It's just weird.

The point? I'm perusing vacation photos from years gone by! Here we stayed at the Grand Palladium in Jamaica in 2010 and my GOD, beautiful! Everything was large in scale and gorgeous. I'd go there again in a heartbeat. Too many restaurants to choose from, beautiful spots to grab a cocktail and watch the ocean. Beautiful design. The best jamaican jerk chicken I've EVER had (and we've been to various spots in Jamaica a few times) and paella on the beach. It was bliss.

From the upstairs bar area...on your way down to the beach.

Everywhere you go, a great place to sit. The gift shop near here WAS a total rip off I must say. I paid $11 US for a box of 5 tampons before leaving. Hey, you asked!

This pic makes me laugh because on our camera it was small and Brad kept saying "I took this of you while I was swimming." Me "That is NOT me. Not the older lady or the baby." He kept insisting until he saw it large.

I had a great massage here!

And I ate a lot of great food here! Tip: ketchup in Jamaica is one of the grossest ever. Avoid! the architecture. This is my very favorite kind of yellow. Perfection. When you travel from Minnesota in February and you land here, it's magical. I usually cry. Life is abundant. Flowers bloom. From icy wasteland to a place that God seems to be smiling upon.

Also of note: Where Brad fell in love with scuba diving. I snorkel. Scuba scares me. He dives to crazy depths, I swim, drink and read on the beach. Win, win!

That's the ocean behind us, folks. The photo doesn't capture it's greatness and the person who snapped this picture isn't great at focusing on the subject, but it's all good. I mean, it's a good thing we have that table in the photo to the right..along with that empty drink. This is how memories are made.

Back to reality! We are headed to Tucson to visit one of my good friends, her hubby and their three adorable kids in a week. That should be super fun. We'll also hit Saguaro National Forest. Never been. When I lived in Arizona, it was in Flagstaff and Sedona, hours and hours away from Tucson.

Happy Wednesday, Peeps! Be well. Have a cognac. Rent "The Watch" with  Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller. It was goofy. As my BFF who recommended it said "It's no Shawshank, but you'll smile!"