Monday, January 14, 2008

Thinking Blogger Award!

Wow so I got a comment on my last post from a very mysterious Mrs. X, who tells me she likes what I write and that she has nominated me for a Thinking Blogger Award! First of all I was surprised anyone outside of my family and friends has read my blog and even more pleasantly surprised that it has made someone think.

Well, you may ask, what does this award mean and do I win anything? From what I can gather, someone in cyberspace (a part of the world I am really not that familiar with) has developed a recognition system for people whose blogs make others think. There's no prize money (for those inquiring minds) but I think it is a really nice thing nonetheless.

So in order to be an award winner I basically have to do an entry about the subject and list 5 blogs that make me think. Sort of a receive and pass it on thing, which is kind of nice.

Here are some of my favorite blogs.
1. Bonz's Travel Antics - That's my friend Teba's blog, she totally inspired me and talked me into packing my bags and heading over to Asia.

2. The Lost Girls - These girls are from NYC and they decided to pack it all in and travel. Funny, insightful and very handy resources.

3. Creating Ms. Perfect - I found this blog randomly, it is written by Kimberly and she writes about all sorts of things, the post that caught my attention specifically was Flirting vs. Being Nice. I can relate.

4. The Skeptic Yogi - Also a random find, written by Caren who has written some really interesting things about her quest to change her life. Her post called Clearing Space for Life to Happen is fantastic.

5. Think Simple Now - Written by Tina, the Chief Happiness Officer! I love that title!! She has written a beautiful post called Train Your Eyes to See Color Again.

Please check out all these wonderful websites!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Everglades - Miami

On another stellar Miami day, my sister and I decided to take a trip to the Everglades National Park. As children we used to go there a bit, either on field trips through school or with our mom. Every time we had a European relative visiting, we knew a trip to the Everglades was in store. As a kid I was not too into going to the Everglades, I guess I used to think it was a bit boring sometimes, so as a result of that former impression, I have not been in many many years.

The Everglades are subtropical marshland that were at one time inhabited by the Seminole Native American Tribe. The park , a World Heritage Site, was established in 1947 under the order of President Truman and the biggest champion of the park was Marjory Stoneman Douglas a prolific journalist and environmentalist. Mrs. Douglas championed the conservation of the marshlands and was instrumental in creating legislation to control the sugar cane industry and ensure compliance of water quality standards.

So for the first time in many years I ventured down to the Everglades with my sister to the Anhinga Trail part of the park. We saw lots of birds; anhingas that sit on trees spreading their wings to dry them in the sun, a wood stork that was fishing for his lunch in the marsh and was dangerously close to being gobbled by an alligator, a cormorant that caught a fish and swallowed it whole right in front of us. But what we were really after were alligators! So we hunted for them carefully and quietly and ended up seeing quite a few sunning themselves, one even gave us quite the evil eye. Just in case anyone is wondering, we were not trekking through the marsh, it is relatively safe and you walk along a boardwalk trail so it is unlikely you will be gobbled up by a gator.

After spotting lots of wildlife we made our way to a very special fruit and vegetable market. Just on the outskirts of the Everglades, in the agricultural community of the Redlands, is the wonderful tropical fruit market called Robert Is Here. The market started from a simple vegetable stand in 1959 when Robert was six years old and was told to sell some cucumbers from his father's crop. When Robert got home that evening, he had not sold one and his father thought people must not see this little boy as they drive by, so the next day Robert's dad made a big sign and attached it to the table saying Robert Is Here and a business was born. Robert is a tropical fruit expert and farmer, in addition to having a lovely market where you can buy all sorts of things. My sister and I bought all sorts of goodies like passion fruit and star fruit, homemade mango salsa and honey jalapeno barbecue sauce and then had some of Robert's famous milkshakes, blackberry for Carmen and cherry key lime for me. Robert's is a great place and an institution of South Florida, you can check out his website at

Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens - Miami

Winter is high season in Miami and it is no wonder why - temperate climate, bright blue skies, sunny days, it's easy to see why so many tourists flock to Miami during this time of year.

So on one of these pristine winter days, my mom and I went to go visit Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens in Miami. An appreciation of nature tends to run in my family as does an interest in horticulture (although I do not seem to have the ability to keep plants alive too long).

Fairchild is a beautiful botanical garden in Miami which was established in 1938 by Robert H Montgomery, a business man with a passion for plant collecting. Mr. Montgomery named the gardens in honor for his friend Dr. David Fairchild, a renown plant explorer and collector. Dr. Fairchild traveled all over the world looking for plants that could be of potential use to the American people. The gardens lie on 83 acres and have a huge variety of beautiful plants, butterfly gardens, green houses and fruit trees. Fairchild is a leader in the area for botanical and environmental education and conservation.

In addition to the amazing botanical collection, Fairchild also has various art exhibits throughout the year. Currently they have a permanent Dale Chihuly collection of incredibly glass sculptures as well as the monumental sculptures of Roy Lichtenstein on display in the gardens. It stunning to see a collection of modern art in such a beautiful, tranquil and organic environment.