Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Jamaican Beach Bunnies and Tropical Style Tips


It is a well known fact that you can not visit Jamaica without dipping your toe into at least one beach. Beach connoisseur that I am, I managed to explore three while roaming about the north coast of the island.  I was on pristine Tryall Beach in the parish of Hanover, when I snagged the chance to offer beach style tips in this video for Zappos: (Catch me in between the clips of smiling Jamaican beach bunnies)

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Next Stop: Sweet Jamaica



I'm headed to the land of wood and water, otherwise known as Jamaica, this week for the Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival in Montego Bay. Jamaica is one of my favorite islands, the beauty and the culture are unparalleled. Besides soaking up some wonderful reggae music at the fest  by roots legends like Third World, Ken Boothe and Cocoa Tea, I'll be volunteering at a school, checking out a Rastafarian village, visiting Ocho Rios and the Mystic Mountain rainforest bobsled and maybe lolling on a beach or two. Stay tuned for posts about all of these experiences as well as details about classic Jamaican cuisine. Until then, I'll send some Jamaican vibes and sun out to everyone!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Hawaiian Coconut Shortbread and Peruvian Chicha Morada



Sometimes, traveling can be as simple as mental transportation to a favorite spot. For me, nothing does that as quickly as food or music. I may be in blustery Chicago but my mind is in Kaua'i and Peru. That's because I just nibbled my way through a box of  buttery coconut-macadamia shortbread cookies accompanied by a tangy glass of chicha morada. I bought the cookies in Kaua'i and every bite conjured up memories of  tossing ocean waves and the aloha spirit. I apologize for not posting pix of the cookies, I gobbled them too fast for a photo op but the box is lovely, as you can see.



Chicha morada is a Peruvian drink made from purple corn, pineapple, lime juice, cinnamon and cloves. I drink gallons of it whenever I'm in a Peruvian restaurant and this time, I took a bottle home. It tastes sweet and zesty and purportedly contains more antioxidants than blueberries but the appeal for me is that it's a deep, lovely shade of purple.  Eating and drinking anything purple is always awesome. Sipping chicha creates images of Machu Picchu  and the Andes for me. Do you travel anywhere through food?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Secluded St. Vincent Island


It's no secret that I harbor a life long attraction to islands. I have never visited one that I didn't like although I do especially love the small, sparsely populated islands. St. Vincent, in northwestern Florida, fits that bill nicely. (Although St. Vincent & The Grenadines would also fall into that category.)


 Floating smack dab in the Gulf of Mexico, St. Vincent is completely uninhabited. I explored the wild, unspoiled terrain one afternoon with a boat ride from nearby St. George.


 The trees were windswept and sun burnt and the pearly sand was studded with hundreds of shells.


St. Vincent is also home to a national wildlife refuge and even if you didn't know that, you get that feeling from the striking terrain.  I spotted Alligators, bald eagles and ospreys but wolves and snakes also lurk. I collected two pounds of seashells and lots of relaxing memories from St. Vincent.