Thursday, July 28, 2011

And the Recommendations and Reviews Just Keep Coming!!!

As many of you know, I love to watch movies and read, especially if these particular movies and books pertain to traveling. I had hopes of watching "The Art of Travel" before writing this post; however, as I am about to go out of town this weekend and I won't be able to watch it before I leave, I'll wait until next time to include it in my recommendations/reviews. However, I do believe I have some worthy books and movies for all of you...well, with the exception of one.


A Summer in Genoa: If I’m being totally honest, this was a different kind of movie. It starts Colin Firth and Catherine Keener and as much as I love Colin Firth, this was not one of his finest. After the death of his wife, he decides to take his two daughters to Genoa where a close friend from Harvard lives (Catherin Keener). His oldest daughter finds herself becoming friendly with some of the local boys while the youngest daughter continues to have nightmares about her mother’s death and has trouble dealing with living in a world without her mom. There doesn’t really seem to be much of a solid plot and ends on a very “what now” note. It is definitely not one that I would recommend; however, the landscape and scenery reminded much of Rome with the cobblestone streets and narrow alleyways.
My Life in Ruins: Having never seen “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” I have never watched many movies with Nia Vardalos; however, this one was quite…fun. Set in Athens, Greece, Georgia (Nia Vardalos), works as a tour guide who is tired of her job and tired of the same-old tourists who would rather shop than witness Greece’s historical beauty. Ready to move back to the states, she decides to take one more tour group. When they come along, not only does she meet some interesting characters, but she forms a friendship with a man who has his own words of wisdom for her. All the while, an attraction to an unlikely bus driver forms and she quickly finds herself falling back in love with Greece all over again.


Sand in my Bra and Other Misadventures by Jennifer Leo: If you’ve read any of my past reviews, you would know that I am a big fan of Jennifer Leo and her work. This book is no exception. With her clever titles, Sand in my Bra is just as funny as Whose Panties Are These? Women continue to tell their hilarious tales of traveling solo and you learn quickly of what should and shouldn’t do on the road. Reading about Ellen DeGeneres’ fear of flying, a woman’s tale of nearly being trampled by wild elephants, and even a woman going topless on a Tahitian beach…you will find yourself laughing hysterically with every story.

Educating Alice: Adventures of a Curious Woman by Alice Steinbach: This is the sequel to “Without Reservations” which I reviewed not too long ago. Alice Steinbach certainly has a way with descriptive words and imagery. In this book, she takes her readers to various parts of the world, detailing her experiences along the way. Not only does she learn about border collies and sheep herding in Scotland, but she delves into the world of geisha girls in Kyoto, Japan. On top of that, you get the feeling of what it would be like to take a cooking class in Paris, France; learn the history of Florence, Italy, and become a part of the hot Cuban lifestyle in Havana. I would highly recommend her books, not only for her style of writing, but because of the stories she tells…they make you want to pack your bags and take off on your own experiences.

French Lessons: Adventures with Knife, Fork and Corkscrew by Peter Mayle: All I can say is that Peter Mayle certainly knows his stuff when it comes to France and all things French. Discovering his passion for French cooking at 19, his book details much of the necessities and indulgences that can be found in French food. Devoting chapters to frog legs, cheese and wine, I often found my stomach rumbling through the process of reading this book. Although the idea of frog legs does not seem too appetizing to me, I cannot deny how wonderful French cheese, breads and wines are. And let’s not forget the chocolates. Oh the many patisseries that call France home. Including informative and interesting history in regards to the foods, the drinks, and the people, I can just say that this will not be the last book I pick up written by Peter Mayle.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Traveling Back to November 1963

Do any of you recall where you were on November 22, 1963? For most of us, that date is one that preceded our existence by at least a decade or more. The assassination of JFK stands out as one of those days our parents will never forget, just as many of our grandparents will never forget the bombing at Pearl Harbor, and we will never forget September 11, 2001.

I have been fortunate enough to have visited each of these sites at various stages in my life, with each one having a substantial impact in the way I view America and its history. While visiting my sister in Dallas a few years ago, our family decided to visit the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.

Opting to take a tour of the old Book Depository, we worked our way through the museum’s exhibits and collections, learning bits and pieces about JFK himself, as well as those whose names are etched into history for the role they played in the assassination plot.

Videotapes, recordings, newspaper clippings, and photographs helped to display the events of that fateful day; however, it wasn’t until we stopped in front of the window that looked down upon Elm Street. Whether or not you believe that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone or at all in the assassination, one could not help but picture the man right there in that room.

After leaving the Depository, we made our way down to the area of the “grassy knoll.” Having stood in various places, where history took place, this was an equally moving moment. Standing where so many witnessed our 35th President be shot, I suddenly wondered how my parents felt. Hearing them recall how they were sitting in school when they heard the news, this must have been a surreal moment for them to actually be standing where it all took place.

I’ve always said that one can learn much about history in a textbook; however, to truly experience and appreciate it, one must travel to see where it took place.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

There’s No Place Quite like New York

In 2005, my sister was living in Manhattan, attending graduate school at Columbia University. I was fortunate enough to visit her on multiple occasions, to which I saw some of the most amazing monuments, buildings, and memorials. As many times as I visited, my sister and I made sure to take some great photos to hold us over until we get to visit again.

Overlooking Central Park

The amazing Empire State Building

A view of the Empire State Building from On Top the of my favorite places in NYC!

The New York City Harbor at Night

The Rockefeller Center Tree...truly one of the most beautiful things I've seen...and what a day that was!

This was just down the street from my sister's apartment...yes, it is the "Tom's Restaurant" that you see in the least the outside of it.

I do have more photos but unfortunately, I can't load them onto my computer right now. New York City is a completely different kind of experience, especially from a girl who has grown up in Arkansas her entire life. It's some place that I love so much and believe everyone should visit at least once in their life. From visiting Ellis Island to walking through Central Park to standing in the presence of where so many perished on 9/11...New York City is quite a place and one I hope to visit time and time again.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Ragged Old Flag

Happy Birthday America! The stars and stripes of this great nation mean many things to many people...respect, courage, honor, humility, loss, pride, and faith. Our flag has seen it all and continues to fly high today...may her colors of red, white, and blue never run, and may the people of the United States honor her always.