Good Luck Chef Ian Marcel!

Tune in to Season 4 of MasterChef Junior, which starts on Friday, November 6, 2015. I am super excited to say that Chef Ian Marcel, 9 years old, is from my little beach town in Beverly Shores, Indiana.

Wow — If I was at home, I am sure a group of us would be watching this together on a BIG screen TV routing him on.

Visit The Times Media Company of Northwest Indiana’s website where you can read about Chef Ian’s journey to MasterChef Junior. He comes from a family of trained Chefs, so he has been cooking/prepping food since he was 3-4 years old. This is certainly an adventure.

Congratulations Chef Marcel!  We are all PROUD of you!


REI closes on Black Friday

Courtesy of Recreational Equipment , Inc. (REI)

Courtesy of Recreational Equipment , Inc. (REI)

Finally, a store that is willing to fight back and say, “No, we don’t need to shop on Black Friday, instead let’s enjoy the outdoors with our family and friends!”

What a GREAT move by REI (outdoor retail sports store). I agree with them. I was shocked when, a few years ago, retailers started to have special promotions on Thanksgiving Day… at midnight. Such a frenzy, it was crazy.

I’m sure many of us thought when is “enough–enough?”

REI created a wonderful website ( to promote their closing and encourage others to follow along. I think it would be a great idea for ALL of us who “believe” that a holiday should be a holiday to share an outdoor photo on REI’s website.

I’m sure there are some fantastic photos out there!

Here’s to having some fun in the outdoors this Thanksgiving!!

Halloween Birthdays!

Happy Birthday MauraI‘m dedicating this post to my College roommate whose birthday is on Halloween!  Yes, I am doing this to make up for the years I forgot to wish her a Happy Birthday.

How could I forget a Halloween birthday…? It happens!

But not this year! I’ve got a black cat for you.

So, Maura, if you’re reading this post, I hope you are smiling. 

Thanks to YouTube for the Happy in Dublin video!

Have a FANTASTIC birthday this Saturday!!  Celebrate Irish style in a Pub and start dancing the jig!

Harbors Magazine

imageHaving recently moved to Seattle I am in touring mode wanting to explore and learn all about the area.

The Pacific Northwest has a real outdoorsy feel to it. So much water… it’s no wonder that seaplanes and boats are popular for touring the area, getting to the San Juan Islands, and beyond.

I admit I did make the mistake of talking like a tourist and not knowing my information. I went on a trip to Victoria on Vancouver Island. However, I thought it was Victoria Island as part of Vancover, you see the error. The crew on the Ferry were kind enough to pull out a map and show us (different tourists) the layout of Vancouver, Vancouver Island, San Juan Islands, etc.

I came across Harbors Magazine back in January when I was job searching. I was immediately drawn to the fantastic cover and when I went to Harbors Magazine’s website, I was able to view the magazine and see what it was about.

Great articles on adventuring in the Pacific Northwest (Seattle/Alaska/British Columbia). They cover boating, fishing, water front living, art, wineries, shopping, dining, flying… this is your “go to magazine” for being in the outdoors by boat or seaplane.

In every issue they have a map of Alaska, British Columbia and Puget Sound that shows you what Ferry and Seaplane service is available to you. This is wonderful and allows for easy trip planning.

Kat McKelvey Publisher, Harbors Magazine

Kat McKelvey, Publisher, Harbors Magazine

Kat McKelvey, the Publisher, would love to hear from you.

Here she is with her awesome King Salmon caught this summer in Sekiu. She is a lovely lady and produces a stunning magazine.

Visit Harbors Magazine on Facebook too, you’ll be inspired by the stories.

Start planning your next adventure and then share the story for publication!

Chicago – Potholes become Mosaics

Artwork by JIM BACHOR

Artwork by Jim Bachor

I grew up in the Chicago / Northwest Indiana area. Winters with snow and salt were tough on the roads. If you are from Chicago you know that road construction is a way of life. We seemed to never catch up with it.

We all cringe when we hit a pothole, our car jerks, and we immediately hope our axel survives and curse ourselves for landing in the pothole — bad maneuvering, right!


Photo of Jim Bachor: Web Urbanist

As I live on the West Coast now, I am not always up on Chicago news. Thanks to Bon Appétit Magazine, I recently read a wonderful article about artist Jim Bachor who lives in Chicago and decided to add art and beauty to our city by covering potholes with mosaics that he makes. This was a brilliant idea!

Bachor has a passion for this art form, which he learned in Italy. He started out with flower mosaics for the potholes. As the cost is $70-100 per mosaic, and he wanted to do more, he raised $4,600 through a Kickstarter Campaign to create 10 more mosaics. He chose ice cream as his next pothole theme.

artist-bachor-fills-potholes-with-food-and-flower-mosaics-6Certainly this is a labor of love, each piece takes 8-10 hours to make plus 2+ hours for installation. As an artist, this allows him to be creative in a positive way making a lasting impression in Chicago and hopefully the world. Finland brought him there to install some pothole art for an end of winter festival they were having.

My mother was born and raised in Florence, Italy, so for me, it is a true pleasure to see this special art form being sprinkled around Chicago!

I can hear Pavarotti in the background while Bachor installs these pieces of art. FANTASTIC!

Sunday afternoon…

imageWho likes seafood?  I was downtown Seattle this weekend and happened to walk by a seafood stall in the Farmer’s Market. I immediately noticed this octupus.

Wow — I thought of the movie, “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.” That was the first time I had seen a scary looking octopus.  Although, this one looks harmless.


Next, as I continued my walk, I happened upon a salon. The funny looking stuffed animal heads caught my attention, so I looked in the window.  What??  I couldn’t believe it, pedicures for children?

What do you think? What will children have to look forward to?

Have any of you ever swam with an octopus?  Or eaten one? I wonder how many people this octopus would feed? He does look big.

Here’s to a delicious seafood dinner.

Music from Prague

PragueI was intrigued recently when I met a gentleman, Luke Doubravsky, who is from Prague.  I’ve always wanted to visit Prague and when I heard his charming accent I felt like I was half way there.

Prague is beautiful (see photo). The “first” thing I noticed in this photo were the bridges. My mother is from Florence, Italy and the view in Florence of the bridges over the river Arno looks so similar. I really had to smile at this.

As Luke started talking it was clear to me that he had an artistic flair about him. I was curious and wanted to learn more. He said he started playing piano when he was 10 years old. It turns out by day he is an Architect and by night/weekends his true passion comes out as a classically trained musician.

See Luke on Youtube. He plays all genre of music (jazz, American favorites, popular, contemporary… just ask and he’ll play something beautiful.)

Here he is doing what he loves.

Luke at Piano

Photo of Luke from

Luke lives in Seattle and can turn any event into something special. He also travels to the Las Vegas metro area to play.

Contact Luke Doubravsky for the next event you have coming up, i.e. corporate parties, grand openings, weddings, fundraisers, anniversaries, birthdays and more. You will not be disappointed!

The holidays are coming, it’s a perfect time to entertain your guests/customers with music played by an expert!

Luke – It was a pleasure meeting you!

Study Abroad in Singapore

DormMy daughter called a few months ago super excited.

She said she was doing her “study abroad” program in Asia. She had chosen Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University.

imageAs she is studying International Business, we were thrilled to hear that she had chosen to go to Asia.

I accompanied her to help her move into the dorm. The trip was exciting. First, we were downtown Singapore touring and then we headed to the University. They were celebrating Singapore’s 50th Nation’s Day, so there were a lot of activities and fireworks being prepared for this.

Next, when we got to the University, we signed into the dorm. We learned that my daughter was put in one of the dorms that has larger rooms. Very good – no air conditioning though and it does get hot in Singapore.  Not a problem, we bought a fan. Beautiful view of a pond from the window.

imageWe went to the area where all the exchange students sign in. That was fun!  Students from Sweden, Germany, Ireland, U.S., India, Vietnam, China, Italy and more were there. Everyone full of excitement and anticipation not knowing what to expect.

This will be a great adventure…

Taiwan – Airport

imageI was traveling to Singapore and had a layover in Taiwan this week. I was pleasantly surprised to come across Gate C7 the “imagePostal Waiting Room.”

Walking in the gated area I found a nice story on the history of their postal system.

Here is the motorcycle they use to deliver mail.image

They displayed the Present Day mailbox and the one from 1906.  Interesting!


Oh, and they had a “current mailbox” for daily mail collection, so you could send a postcard or letter if you wanted from Taiwan. Yeah, you guessed it, I headed to the nearest newsstand to find some postcards to mail! They made it so easy.

AND you know what, people still like receiving “snail mail!” So, check your mailboxes and surprise someone with a postcard.

100 “Thank You’s”

I received an email from today. They are a volunteer group that share inspiring messages every day. A few years ago when I was having a tough day someone forwarded one of the daily messages to me.

The message on that particular day pertained to what I was going through and was extremely uplifting, so I subscribed to the daily messages.

A film by Hailey Bartholomew. More at 365 Grateful. Video from

Today they had a message on artist Lori Portka who, for a year and a half, devoted herself to painting 100 paintings of gratitude to “thank” people who have made a difference in her life.

Take a minute to view her video. Lori Portka’s beautiful artwork can inspire ALL of us to perform our own form of gratitude to thank people in our lives.

Gratitude — it’s a good thing!