No Money to Travel? This Could be the Answer!!

20 04 2009

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Days have rolled into weeks and weeks into months and it seems we still have to wait a while for this economy to come to some kind of balance but in the meantime I need to find a way to relax and enjoy myself and why not in my own home?

The last trips I have taken lately were emergencies, the necessity to go and assist my parents as they were sick and in hospitals and even though a change of scenery was good it was not the same as traveling for pure pleasure. Thankfully we had the opportunity to go on a cruise together in November but aside from that I won’t be doing any traveling for a while.

So what can we do when we don’t have much money to blow but still need that much needed trip and mental relaxation? I decided to transform my surroundings with paint!

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Drawing my ideas from one of my favorite places, Italy. I chose colors from nature, their homes, their fabrics, and the food to highlight different areas in my home; family room, kitchen, foyer and library. So far the family room and kitchen is finished and I can feel how the colors changed the way I feel when I walk in. All the decorations I had on the walls now pop up against a strong background color and little by little I come to think about the beauty of my beloved Italy which I still have to see in person once in my life. What are your favorite places? Try to gather pictures, paintings, pots, vases, candles, flowers, and colors that remind you of those places. You probably already have a few things around, dust them and put them around the house for everyone to enjoy. Postcards are great to put under the glass of a table or on an inexpensive picture frame. Plan an evening at home with some friends or family, everyone can bring something and in that way you won’t spend much money either. Pick a theme and make it memorable, take a lot of pictures and make a small album with them.

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I have traveling magazines lying around and I was thinking about cutting pictures of places I liked and group them together in some kind album to sit with it and get even more ideas and inspiration to recreate other areas of my home with it. I always wanted one of those open terrace with an outdoor long dining table to dine al fresco. My backyard is nice enough to grant plenty of late afternoon walks or just plain lay on the grass with a big blanket and have a picnic or lay down to see the clouds pass by. One thing I need to add is more flowers for color.

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Food is another way to transport ourselves to far away places, pull out some of your cookbooks and try new recipes now that you have more time available. Integrate a few typical decorating items that would complete the food and turn on the music. I look for the weekly sales in the supermarket and stock up on them. I used to stock 2 refrigerators but those days are gone. Now I plan better what I am going to cook and try to cook just enough so that I don’t have left overs. Couple of bottles of wine are always available just in case I feel like sipping before, during or after dinner. We need to give ourselves a little treat even though we can’t spend much money on them, the ritual is what matters and if you can share it with your friends, neighbors or family even better.

Have anymore ideas?





Finding Ways

16 03 2009

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It is important to look for those things that helps us gain strength, tranquility and at the same time recharge us. To me it is the sea. I go there as much as I can and take a few moments during my walk to stop and look out to the horizon and let go of whatever troubles me. It is a ritual of sorts, I give it out and expect to get something positive into my life.

I breathe in deeply, close my eyes and feel the breeze, listen to the waves coming to the shore.

I love the feel of the wet sand under my feet,to feel the water and the sun warmth on my skin.

I walk and walk and I don’t want to go back home, because I am already home.

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Clary Lopez, author of Simplicity, Richness of Life





Reviving Memories

11 02 2009

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Today I long for the days when the sea breeze caressed my skin as I stepped outside to stand by the shore. Those were moments when I felt connected to my senses to each and every breath I took and to everything that made me vibrate with happiness and emotion. There was a sense of completeness and of wanting to dream again, to go around in circles with my eyes closed and then fall down to the ground to feel everything spin around me. It was a time when I smiled easily and demanded less but somehow got so much. Sometimes there were short and flashy moments when I tried to grab as much as I could and then there were long and meditative times as I watched the waves crashed against the rocks.

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Nothing comes easy in my life, sometimes only windows remain open and then I decide to open wide the doors to my heart. How could I have lived so far away from the place and people that saw me being born, where my heart lies right next to the sea? I placed it there to remain, to beat as I left flying in the sky with tears in my eyes. My soul lingers everywhere I look and it is only natural to feel at home and a complete stranger when I walk a foreign land.

I saw the sunsets and the moonlight shining over the water as the breeze made the palm trees dance. I also heard and felt the rain pounding on the ground refreshing all around me. The night before I leave my heart always beats a little faster, and tears rolled down my face; I want to stay and never have to say good-bye. I want to embrace all that transformed me and that let me feel joyful again.





Music & Sight

24 03 2008

For longer than I can remember I’ve been wanting to visit Greece, specially Santorini. I don’t know what this place has but everytime I look at pictures I’m transported to a place of tranquility within.

The last few days have been difficult and tense. Music always have a positive effect on me, too bad I tend to forget and keep going with the day to day responsabilities and don’t make time to listen regularly. Yanni’s music tunes vibrates inside in such a way that the mental tension just melts away. It’s amazing. Music with lyrics don’t make the same impact. So yesterday I sat on the floor in front of my stereo, my eyes closed and listened to this whole concert on high volume. I let every note resonate inside me and that helped me tremendously.

What helps you keep balanced and relaxed?





Ringling Museum – A Treat for the Senses

9 10 2007

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To live in the vicinity of Sarasota, FL it’s fortunate. The west coast area where I’ve lived for the past seven years is one full of beauty, culture and the arts. The John and Mable Ringling Museum is just one of my favorites places to visit since the museum host impressing traveling exhibitions throughout the year. In addition to the 21 galleries of european arts, the grounds around the museum are a delight for the senses. Located on the Sarasota Bay the estate allow visitors to enjoy Florida Gulf Coast in all its splendor.

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John and Mable Ringling’s generosity is now one of Sarasota great treasures to its residents and visitors alike. Student’s are invited to visit frequently with a generous discount and numerous art instructions for them and for teacher take place at the museum to help develop more local talent. On Monday admission to the museum is free.

There is a lot more to see while you are visiting the estate which includes the Circus Museum, Mable’s Rose Garden and Ca’ d’Zan (House of John) the mansion where John and Mable lived overlooking Sarasota Bay.





Old World Flavor

8 09 2007

I’m attracted to old word architecture and its charm. One of my dreams is to one day travel to Europe. Among the countries I would love to see are: Italy, Spain, Greece and Ireland.

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In redesigning this blog I selected one of my pictures of Old San Juan. I grew up looking at beautiful Spanish architecture and my high school dance was in Casa de Espana. Its old world charm transported me to places designed in a much simpler but elegant times. It was a time in which beauty was desired and the buildings and houses were constructed with a lot more details than today. The bright colors of the buildings are a reminder of living in a tropical island and the pace is faster than in the United States.

Restaurants built with this old world flavor are an automatic attraction to me. As soon as you walk in you can smell the different spices used in their simple but tasty dishes and the service tend to be superb. They tend to be a little expensive but they are great for a special occasion.

What kind of places and architecture do you enjoy?





Inspiration Day at the Museum

30 07 2007

It has become a routine, every four to five months I visit the Museum. I check on the visiting exhibitions which they present in a special hall. It was the perfect day, I had a busy weekend that drained all the energy and inspiration from me. I needed to be outside in beautiful surroundings and contemplate works of art. They come from all over the world; photography, sculptures, paintings, etc. Walking along the elegant corridors that surrounds the interior garden I get transported into another world. It resembles Venice. The tall marble columns that sustain the roof are in diferrent shapes and forms, parts of different buildings which were demolished and the columns along with many other architectural features on this building were rescued by John Ringling. It’s breathtaking, if I would add one more element to the mix I would add classical music as a background.

As soon as I got off my car I had to take out my camera, there was a squirrel on the tree in front of me and he was not afraid. I took a few shots and this was the best.

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Then as we waited for our transportation to the museum I was faced with this beautiful lake. I don’t know what is it about this place but every time I come I see more beauty in it.

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An older couple, who saw us at the entrance and talked to me about forcing my kids to come with me, observed us as we went around in the gallery. She said she used to do the same with her grandkids and they hated it but now they thank her for it. So I drag them with me every time and every time they learn something new, want it or not. I’ll wait 15-20 years for that thank you.

After we saw the exhibition then I took some shots at the garden and that would serve me for some inspiration while I write. Appreciating the beauty in art stimulates the senses and the imagination, one that is needed in order to later on be able to come to a blank screen or piece of paper and start creating something beautiful with words.

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It was raining softly when I took these pictures and I couldn’t walk the gardens like I usually do, but I left satisfied that my senses were delighted one more time as I look at the shapes and colors of the oil paintings on the Landscape From the Age of Impressionism. The exhibition will be here until July 29, so if you get a chance stop by and enjoy it. On Mondays visitors can go to the museum for free. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.