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Its been a LONG time since i’ve blogged. Between the car accident that messed up my back, having back surgery because of said car accident, fighting for YEARS with the auto insurance company, changing jobs, moving, quitting my new job and getting married, i’ve been a busy woman!

I’m hoping now that things have started to calm down a bit, I can delve back into blogging and traveling again. While I slowly get that up and going, I plan on getting to know my new hometown, Savannah, Georgia better. I have recently been out and about exploring the city and one of my photos was featured this past Friday on Explore Georgia’sFan Photo Friday” blog! If you have a moment, check out the blog. My photo is of The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. Its not a bad photo considering I took it from a moving trolley while I was touring the city with Old Savannah Tours. (I’ll be writing more about them soon)

Anyways, I hope I still have some readers out there. It would be great to hear from you!

**This is my photo that Explore Georgia is featuring on their blog**

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I fell in love with Ft. Worth from the moment i pulled up to the hotel.

Check In: The Ashton is a historic hotel located in the heart of downtown Ft.Worth. I checked into my room and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was beautifully decorated, spacious and impeccably clean. The room was absolutely perfect and i was actually a little sad that i was “only” staying for two nights. (My inner hotel snob was giddy to say the least). Nightly turndown service includes homemade chocolate chip cookies which were great for a late night snack after a night on the town.

After dropping our bags at the hotel and getting changed, we took a stroll over to Cantina Laredo. It was a beautiful walk…the crisp air was filled with the sound of live music and the
trees were decorated with white lights (so romantic!)

Dinner
: Cantina Laredo. After working all day and then catching a flight to Dallas i was starving. My friend suggested a bite to eat at this place and i’m so glad we went. I’m always down for some good Mexican food so add “Gourmet” to that and give me a thirst quenching “Casa Rita” and i’m good to go! I can be quite indecisive and my friend suggested the sampler platter. It was easily enough for two people and there was still leftovers. Great food, great drinks, great service and of course,  great company.

Grab a Drink: Another quick walk and we were at Sundance Square-ready to grab a drink at Flying Saucer. With over 80 beers on tap (yes 80!) and 100 in the bottle this is THE place to go in Ft. Worth if you are looking to try a new brew.

Jazz it Up: Picture this…you are walking down the street-you turn the corner and there is this little Jazz club tucked away in an alley. Walk up, give the man your name and he lets you past the velvet rope. You step into an elevator and go to the basement, step out and you are in the nicest little Jazz joint I have ever seen. Its dark, there was some amazing live music playing, we grabbed some drinks and sat in a booth tucked away. Scat Jazz Lounge is exactly what a Jazz club should be-and so much more.

Thank you, Ft.Worth and The Ashton Hotel. I cant wait to come back and visit again soon.

Photos courtesy of The Ashton Hotel

We come into contact with so many people on a daily basis but its nice when we meet someone who inspires us to make changes in our life and care about the environment even more

I was lucky to meet two inspiring men this past week.

Meet Mike Simpson & Will Rich.

They set out on a journey on March 1st, 2011. Stand up Paddleboard from Key West to Portland Maine with two goals.

1) Raise $25,000 and awareness about The Wounded Warrior Project
2)Clean up the Nations coastline and educate the public about the importance of keeping our beaches clean

I heard about them through some mutual friends of ours who had kayaked from Maine to Key West last year. Thinking it would be neat for them to stay at the resort i work at for the night, i contacted them back in January. I remember very clearly bragging about the beautiful weather that we were having (mid-70s and sunny here on the Georgia Coast) considering it was in the 20s and 30s up in New England where they were training (and call home). We spoke about their affinity for southern cuisine and i assured them that they would leave our shoreline well-fed.

This past Thursday, (April 7th) two men resembling Paddle Boarding-Ninja-Navy seals landed on the shore in front of my hotel.I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I figured that they were tired from being out on the ocean and under the sun for most of the day and I wanted to help them get to their room as soon as possible. People started to slowly walk by them….creep up a bit and timidly ask who they were and what they were doing. Mike and Will started handing out some cards with information and explaining what they were doing.The beach -goers were pretty amazed (as was i)

Mike and Will ended up spending 3 days and two nights at my resort. I was lucky enough to enjoy their company for dinner both evenings and for breakfast on Saturday morning. Talk about a HOOT! We did a lot of talking about life. Where we’ve been, where we are going…our hopes, dreams and goals. We also spoke about the Wounded Warrior Project and the rapid deterioration of the worlds oceans. What amazed me about them was the fact that instead of just talking about it, they have taken action. So many people are quick to open their mouths but reluctant to take action for what they believe in. I think we could all learn a lesson from Mike and Will.

Their journey began at Key West and by the time they make it to Portland, Maine they will have paddled over 2,500 miles, picked up hundreds of pounds of trash in our waterways and met hundreds of people, planted seeds of hope for a cleaner planet and shed light on The Wounded Warrior Project

Thank you, Mike and Will for standing up for those who stood up for our country and our freedom. Thank you for raising awareness about the importance of keeping this little slice of heaven we call home clean for future generations (both human and animals)

To learn more about Mike and Will, to donate to The Wounded Warrior Project or learn more about SUP cleanup visit their website at:

www.supthecoast.com

One day, my passport is going to be so full of stamps, its going to need a vacation from me :)

This part of my bucket list is a work in progress.

Serenbe -This place is the equivalent of Disney World for my inner tree hugger/foodie. I’d love to live here one day.

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Villa DiGeggiano-Located a few miles outside of Siena, Italy in the Tuscan countryside with their own winery and olive grove….this place is magical.

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Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay– Ok…dont laugh. I fell in love with the resort when i watched “American Wedding”. Dont judge. Its beautiful though and i’d love to see California too.

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Ice Hotel-Sweden. Its pretty funny that i want to stay here because i’m ALWAYS cold. But, you’ve got to admit. Staying in an ice hotel is pretty neat. Its like an adult igloo with great alcohol!

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La Mamounia– Morocco.I havent been lucky enough to visit Morocco yet. The closest i’ve gotten is a postcard that was sent to me from a very dear friend of mine. That postcard….hearing about his trip and looking at his photos made me want to visit more than ever. I’m sure if i go, i’d stay in a hostel but hey…..ya gotta dream BIG sometimes!
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Kruger National Park -South Africa. I dont think you realize how much i love Africa and want to visit. Forget Europe. I WANT TO GO TO AFRICA! Have i made myself clear? I’m still kicking myself for not going when I had the chance to go for free a few years back. I WILL go to Africa.
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Casa Iguana -Little Corn Island, Nicaragua. – I found out about Casa Iguana when some former co-workers of mine moved there to run the day to day operations of this eco-lodge. Again, its the tree-hugger in me that loves this place. Its simply amazing, unspoiled beauty.

Time to Breathe…..

Its friday and i’ve officially survived one heck of an awful week. I’m going to attempt to put all of that negativity and stress BEHIND me and take a great leap forward into peace, tranquility and positivity. (Where i hope to STAY for a long time to come) I thought what better way to do this than to look at some photos that help me relax as well as some thought-provoking quotes. Enjoy!

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”
~Mother Teresa~

 

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

~Mahatma Gandhi~

 

“Our doubts are traitors,
And make us lose the good we oft might win
By fearing to attempt. “
~William Shakespeare~

Monday, March 21st 2011 Marks what would be my grandfathers 87th birthday. He passed away on April 10th, 2010 surrounded by his family but theres not a day that goes by when I don’t think about him. I’ve sat here for hours staring at the screen trying to find the perfect way to start this post but no matter what I think of, no matter what I write, it wont do him justice.

” La Famiglia ” was his favorite saying. It was always said in love although it was occasionally used in moments of sheer exasperation with his family. As a typical Italian family hailing from New York we can be quite the handful at times (those who know my family would probably say calling us a “handful” is an understatement).

I have many fond memories of my grandfather through the years but the one that always stays with me is how he served his local community. He was a member of the Gardiner,NY rescue squad from its inception as well as a member of the Gardiner Fire Department (and also served as fire commissioner for several years). I used to love going to local parades when I was younger so I could wave to grandpa in the fire truck. Through his service he taught my siblings, my cousins and myself how important it is to serve your neighbors and to volunteer in your community. This is something that I will do for the rest of my life.

He loved the weather channel….oh how he loved watching it. I’m pretty sure every time I went to visit him it was on. I remember driving down to see him in Florida one time and there was a storm coming. He refused to let me leave until after the storm had passed. He was afraid that I would get caught up in the storm and have an accident. It wasnt until this past November when I went home to New York and was looking through some old photos and mementos we had taken from his house that I realized just how many years he had been fascinated by weather. His senior yearbook has his ambition as being a Meteorologist. It is also noted that he enjoyed stamp collecting (We found HUNDREDS of stamps!) and was in the Glee Club (He loved singing!) Below is his Senior photo from high school.

In January 2010 Grandpa flew down to Florida for what was sure to be a blissful three months in paradise. He absolutely LOVED sitting in the sun and going to the beach and just enjoying the beautiful weather which is a big change from New York in the winter. In late January i received a phone call from my mother. Grandpa had taken a turn for the worse and as the closest relative (in physical distance to him) I needed to drive down to St.Augustine, FL. and take care of him.

I was completely unprepared for what I walked in to. The last time I had seen him he was smiling and laughing and walking. Surely this was not my grandfather. My shock quickly wore off when I realized that I had to act immediately. The next few days consisted of me taking care of my grandfather. You name it, I did it and i’d do it all over again if I had to. It was one of the most trying times in my life but I feel blessed to have been able to spend that time (and the next few months) with my grandfather as well as my mother, my aunts and uncle.  I think one of my favorite (and last memories) I have of him is dancing with him from room to room. While I was taking care of him, he wasnt able to walk very well and instead of using a walker, we danced from room to room. He loved that.

So here I am….a little over a year later…..getting ready to celebrate my grandfathers life. I think i’ll make this a yearly occurrence. He was a very, very, very special man in my life and I never want to forget him, the good times i’ve had with him and the lessons he has taught me and the character he has instilled in me. I’m going to leave you with a few photos of him and some music from The 3 Tenors.

Happy 87th Birthday Grandpa. I raise my wine glass to you.  I hope you are having one heck of a party up there in Heaven.

85th Birthday with the family

3 Generations of Coffarelli men

Family reunion 2009

85th Birthday

 

Read about John Coffarelli’s life Here

A New Beginning

‘Vitality shows in not only the ability to persist but the ability to start over.”

~F.Scott Fitzgerald-The Great Gatsby~

 

I’m hitting the “Reset” button-on my LIFE.  I guess it happens to everyone eventually. You are driving down the road of life and everythings fine until one day when you look up and realize you made a wrong turn somewhere. And instead of being on that same road you are lost in a different country (or so it seems).  It finally happened to me. I woke up one morning and wondered how i ended up in this “place”. I couldn’t smile, couldn’t laugh. My joy was gone. I worked my 9-5 job and i was a big heap of misery. I’d go home and shut my door and close out the world. Life sucked.

 

But this is where it ends. This is where I draw the line and take MY life back

 

This past week I decided things had to change. I made a few phone calls and booked a hotel room at a resort not far from where I live. It was time to start fresh. So here I am sitting in this amazing hotel room reflecting on my past and looking towards the future. One thing that i’ve noticed is that I have no goals. And now, it seems silly not to have them. We should always be striving to be the best person that we can be both personally and professionally. I’d like to share some of my goals with you.

 

1) Love myself more. I’ve made quite a habit out of putting myself down, putting the rest of the world before myself and not seeing my full potential. Loving myself means taking time for ME. (kinda like i am right now….a weekend all to myself!) It means i wont settle for second-best in any area of my life and I will surround myself with people who are positive and uplifting. No more toxic people or relationships.

 

2) Get HEALTHY! The one thing i’ve got going for me is that I dont remember the last time I was sick…so thats a good start! If im going to live to be 100 I had better start taking care of myself because i’ve only got 1 body and its irreplaceable and cant ever be traded in. I will eat more whole-foods, more local produce (and more produce in general), less junk food (make that FAR less). I will start going to the gym again and give 110% of myself to improving myself physically. I also want to try eating no meat for 2 weeks (or more), I’d like to try Yoga and finally try kayaking as well. My hope is that while getting healthy I will have more energy and it will also help improve the way I feel about myself.

 

3) Write. Writing has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember but somewhere along the line I lost that passion. I forgot how much I enjoyed getting those words out of my soul (and head) and into the world. I am committing to blog more-A minimum of 2 times a week (to start) and hopefully more after that. Id like this blog to be travel-related but there will be a personal touch to it as well. I hope everyone enjoys reading about my life cause it’ll be on here for the world to see. My hope is to one day be a published travel writer. To do that it is imperative that I work on my writing skills. I welcome any and all suggestions and feedback from anyone who is reading this blog.

 

Please bear with me as I make these changes. There are several more changes that i’d like to make but these are the three that I feel are the most important right now. I feel like I should have an “Under Construction” sign around my neck. :) I cant wait to see what the future has in store for me. Finally….after years of waking up in the morning with dread…I can wake up EXCITED about what each new day has in store for me.

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