Bella Vida by Letty


The Courtyard Marriott South Beach #FloridaWish #Spons   

Courtyard Marriott Miami Beach South Beach

During my many travels I’ve stayed at various Marriott Hotels all throughout Florida and even Georgia.  I continue to patronize this brand of hotels because I can always rely on the cleanliness and great customer service.  As part of the Florida Wish campaign I stayed at the modern and sleek Courtyard Marriott Miami Beach South Beach.  South Beach is a trendy vacation spot where the stylish and cultured come to relax on the sand or indulge in fun and entertainment.  This hotel fits right into the South Beach ambiance.  Its decor is modern and artsy using en vogue fabrics and textures.

There is indoor and outdoor seating all along the lobby.  Being into photography I really loved seeing the framed vintage black and white photographs of South Beach history all throughout the hotel.  I thought it was a great way to balance the new while giving a nod to the history and art deco style South Beach is known for.  The lounge offers free wifi and beautiful workspaces next to a cafe style bistro.  There’s a big multi use space for casual or business to work on laptops, plug in various devices or watch television.

You know I am very active while traveling and enjoy lots of walking.  This is the main reason I would recommend this hotel is because it is smack in the middle of everything good.  A short walk east takes you to the beach, one block south takes you to Espanola Way and just north is the world famous Lincoln Street Mall.  You have fine dining, shopping and entertainment literally at its doorstep.

Another great amenity is the hotel valet service for your car.  Parking in South Beach can be tricky and expensive.  In addition there is new construction going on the roadways right now and you have to take all sorts of out of the way detours to arrive at your destination.  You can just leave your car with the hotels valet service and not have to worry.  Anything you want to do is within walking distance.

After settling in the first thing I did was head upstairs to the rooftop pool.  Wow, what a gorgeous view.  The space is designed to be a luxurious retreat for hotel guests.  There’s the pool and balconies with plush comfortable seating.  I spent a rainy afternoon up there catching up with some reading and writing.  It was so relaxing.  It was some much needed me time.

Lincoln Road Mall South Beach

After charging my batteries I was ready to hit the town for some fun.  Here are some suggestions for fun things to do.

South Beach Itinerary

August happens to be when Miami Spice takes place.  Fine restaurants around town offer three course meals featuring signature dishes created by world renowned chefs.  I was in the mood for Mexican food so I headed to Lincoln Road Mall.

Stroll along Lincoln mall which built in 1912 as a sophisticated retail spot is also one of the county’s first outdoor malls.  Today you will find casual restaurants, fine dining, high end designers, book stores, bars, theater and a Star Bucks on every corner.  There are art galleries and artist studios which open up for tours, movie theaters, street vendors and all types of street performers.  You can spend hours here.  I suggest having a seat, it’s a great spot for people watching.  You never know what rich and famous person you might bump into.

Head to the beach.  It usually rains in the afternoon during Florida summers.  I recommend heading out early.  I was able to beat the rain on Sunday and enjoy some beach time.  This beach has vendors for just about everything including snacks.  Be sure to get a peek of the famous lifeguard stands.  No two are alike.

Walk down Ocean Drive and see many familiar historic art deco hotels.  This street appears in numerous films and television shows.  There are lots of places to pick up souvenirs.

espanola way

Visit Espanola Way an often overlooked bohemian spot for shopping, dining and art galleries.  The area was modeled after the Mediterranean villages of Spain and France and was originally built as a meeting place by Miami Beach’s wealthiest citizens.  It’s very pretty at night it’s lit up by strings of light bulbs.

If you like music check out the New World Symphony schedule.  Some performances are projected on the buildings huge wall facing the park.  On certain nights they present free outdoor movie screenings.

Visit the Fillmore Miami Beach at Jackie Gleason Theater for live entertainment, concerts, comedy tours and private events.

If you love to dance some of Miami’s most famous nightclubs are on Washington Avenue, Collins and Ocean Drive.

All of these activities are within walking distance of the Courtyard Marriott Miami Beach South Beach.  You can find more things to do, news and deals by reading my specially curated Florida twitter list.

If you are traveling to Florida check out Marriott hotel deal click here.

Enter the promotional code SUM into the Corporate/Promotional code box when making your online reservation, or call 1-800-228-9290 in the US and ask for promotional code SUM.  The code is valid until October 5, 2014.

Don’t wait head on over and make your reservations today.

Sponsored post opinions mine

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Florida Travel News Round Up Mid May

Florida Travel News Roundup

Travel related news roundup for my state of Florida.  Find out what’s new to see and do.

Perdido Key, Florida

Visitors will find the ultimate treasure in the new, pirate-themed aquarium built for Perdido Key by Wayde King and Brett Raymer of Animal Planet’s hit show, “Tanked.”  The bickering brothers-in-law are designing a 403-gallon aquarium to be installed in the new Perdido Key Visitors Information Center. The aquarium will feature fish and an ecosystem native to the Gulf of Mexico, and of course it will be filled with all the elements of a buccaneer party, including a pirate’s ship, treasure chest, gold coins, and a few other surprises to pay homage to Perdido Key’s annual Pirate Festival.

Read more: 

Roads / Turnpike

New renovated Turnpike Service Plazas are now open.  Construction began in 2010 to provide larger, more modern facilities with enhanced amenities. Florida’s Turnpike is pleased to announce completion of six of the eight plazas. Construction is now complete at these service plazas:

  • Turkey Lake, Mile Post 263
  • Canoe Creek, Mile Post 229
  • Fort Drum, Mile Post 184
  • West Palm Beach, Mile Post 94
  • Pompano Beach, Mile Post 65
  • Snapper Creek, Mile Post 19

Read more: 

Ft. Lauderdale

The Museum of Discovery and Science invites the whole family to participate in an evening of sea turtle discovery this summer. Once again, the annual evening Turtle Walks will occur in June and July.

Read more:

All around the state of Florida

This is certainly not surprising to me.  Ten of the top 25 beaches in America are in Florida

Read more:

All around the state of Florida

Visit Florida unveils online tools allowing travelers to virtually walk hundreds of miles of Sunshine State beaches – from legendary locations such as Miami Beach to lesser-known sanctuaries such as Cayo Costa.  Select your preferences in four ranges of beach personalities: Action-packed, Secluded, or maybe somewhere in between.   The Beach Finder immediately delivers visual choices that best match your desires. With every tweak of the tuner, the options change before your eyes.

Try it for yourself. 


The light at the end of the tunnel. After 55 months of construction the Miami Tunnel is due to open to traffic before the end of May. The tunnel is designed to move cargo trucks and cruise passenger traffic out of downtown Miami and under Government Cut between Watson Island and Port Miami.

Read more

The recreational red snapper season in state waters in the Gulf of Mexico has opened.

The season started Saturday and closes July 15. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says opening the season before Memorial Day will help attract more visitors and bring economic benefits to the state’s coastal communities.

The federal season starts June 1 and closes June 10.

Read more 



For up to the minute updates you can read and follow my curated Florida twitter list.


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What is the nicest thing you’ve said to yourself today?

What is the nicest thing you’ve said to yourself today?

“To say “I love you” one must know first how to say the “I”.” Ayn Rand

“I have feelings too. I am still human. All I want is to be loved, for myself and for my talent.” Marilyn Monroe
“I no longer agree to treat myself with disrespect. Every time a self-critical thought comes to mind, I will forgive the Judge and follow this comment with words of praise, self-acceptance, and love.” Miguel Ruiz

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November 19th 1493 Columbus Lands in Puerto Rico

1898 US Flag is raised in Puerto Rico

I find it astonishing that in 2012 this date is disrespectfully referred to as the discovery of Puerto Rico because I believe Puerto Rico has yet to be discovered.  Discover means to become aware of but so many people, both islanders and non islanders have no clue who Puerto Ricans are.  Can you tell me?

November 19th 1493 was the day Columbus landed on the island.

The known history of Puerto Rico actually begins with its first settlers, the Ortoiroid, who originated off the Orinoco river in South America before migrating and settling all throughout the Caribbean approximately sometime around 5,000 BCE.

I want to share these photographs of Puerto Rico from the last century.  It’s the closest I’ve come to discovering what a Puerto Rican is.

1898 Mayaguez, Puerto Rico teachers & students

Cidra, Puerto Rico 1938

1937 Ponce, Puerto Rico
Bayamon, Puerto Rico 1941
Puerta de Tierra, Puerto Rico 1938

Yauco, Puerto Rico 1942
Yabucoa, Puerto Rico 1942

School in Aibonito, Puerto Rico 1944
Martin Pena Canal 1973
Political Cartoon, Puerto Rico in Chains 1898-1910

Articles I’ve written about Puerto Rico.

Honoring Our Puerto Rican Veterans Thank You

Multicultural Familia:  Revealing the Taína Within

Remembering Puerto Rico’s 65th Infantry This Memorial Day

1898 Puerto Rico in Photographs

Chicago’s Puertorican Day Parade in the 60’s

People for the Ethical Treatment of Puerto Ricans:  Qué Bonita Bandera

Women of Puerto Rico in 1899

Favorite Places ~ Old San Juan Puerto Rico

Rainy Photographs of Puerto Rico

My tumblr blog

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Indulging in Enjoyable Recollection

“The living owe it to those who no longer can speak to tell their story for them.”  Czesław Miłosz

Dia de los Muertos Parade 2012

Dia de los Muertos Parade 2012


I can see why reminiscing is considered indulgent since our memories are incredibly faulty and influenced by our senses as well as emotions. You can say life is that way. No two people will have the same experience. This is why good communication is important, to enrich our lives.

Dia de los muertos is all about remembering our lost loves and paying tribute to them.  I’m always reminded of my grandmother during this time.  She wasn’t born in a hospital and as the jokester she was, would tell us she was born on the day of the dead.

Here are a bunch of photos I took during a parade on that day.  It looks like some people got Halloween and Day of the dead mixed up.  There were people dressed as zombie pirates.
Anyhow, enjoy the photos. xo!

Dia de los Muertos Parade 2012
Dia de los Muertos Parade 2012
Dia de los Muertos Parade 2012
Dia de los Muertos Parade 2012

“Don’t be ashamed to weep; ’tis right to grieve. Tears are only water, and flowers, trees, and fruit cannot grow without water. But there must be sunlight also. A wounded heart will heal in time, and when it does, the memory and love of our lost ones is sealed inside to comfort us.” Brian Jacques

“People think dreams aren’t real just because they aren’t made of matter, of particles. Dreams are real. But they are made of viewpoints, of images, of memories and puns and lost hopes.” Neil Gaiman

“I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.” Edgar Allan Poe

“He was still too young to know that the heart’s memory eliminates the bad and magnifies the good, and that thanks to this artifice we manage to endure the burden of the past.” 
Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez
 (Love in the Time of Cholera)

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Karmically Connected Souls

what you seek is seeking you

Time seems to go by faster as the end of the year approaches.  My calendar has become quite a colorful reminder of events and appointments.  I love waking up everyday to write or create but I know in order to do all of these fun things I must make sure to take care of myself so I remain healthy.  Last weekend while watching Oprah’s Own Network I caught a bit of Deepak Chopra speaking about meditation.  I think I was in college the last time I tried to meditate but I remembered how centered it made me feel.  I’m going to try his 21 day challenge to bring balance to the fast pace of events.  I’ve only done day one so let’s see how it goes.

Another thing Deepak Chopra said that really struck me as beautiful was the comparison of our social networks to karmically connected souls.   What a lovely thought.  Recently, I was contemplating how my cyber social networks have grown organically linked by shared common interests.  It’s inspiring that Chopra wants to use networking to promote positive ideas.  Sounds like what I’m already doing. Count me in.


I had the honor of being interviewed by New Latina online magazine. New Latina offers content that inspires, informs and guides Latinas to live more centered and confident lives.

I’ve been following New Latina since its launch because I enjoy and applaud what they do. I highly encourage you to check them out.
You can read my interview here.

Mangrove saplings at the Miami Museum of Science
Do you believe we are karmically connected?

“Whatever relationships you have attracted in your life at this moment, are precisely the ones you need in your life at this moment. There is a hidden meaning behind all events, and this hidden meaning is serving your own evolution.” Deepak Chopra

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.” Herman Melville

“From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that we are here for the sake of each other – above all for those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends, and also for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.” Albert Einstein

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Empowerment Requires Your Action


Empowerment requires your action.

Empower: To equip or supply with an ability. The giving or delegation of power or authority. Enable. Give permission.

We do not live in a vacuum.  Each and everyone of your actions carries consequences. Who are you enabling with your actions?


“Responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and naming for you; it means learning to respect and use your own brains and instincts; hence, grappling with hard work.” Adrienne Rich

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.” Charlotte Brontë

“Education is a means of empowerment, never take it for granted.
Always make time for independent learning.
Find your passion in life and pursue it with your heart and soul.
Never stop believing in yourself.” Deborah Gabriel

“If we can acquire an attitude of self-belief, then we will surely determine our future actions and our future life opportunities.” Stephen Richards

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The Benefits of Daydreaming


~ Relieves Boredom

~ Boost Creativity

~ Problem Solving

~ Imagine New Goals

~ Relaxation


“A daydreamer is prepared for most things.” Joyce Carol Oates

“Don’t waste your daydreams on your mind. Tell the world a story.” Giuseppe Bianco

“Writer advice. Write. Finish things. Go for walks. Read a lot & outside your comfort zone. Stay interested. Daydream. Write.” Neil Gaiman

“Our actions are all that separate our daydreams from our goals.” Roy H. Williams

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My Experience Attending the Hispana Leadership Summit 2012


Last weekend I attended the Hispana Leadership Summit at the beautiful Turberry Isle Resort & Club. The event was hosted by Poder Hispanic and Vanidades Magazine.

Their description of the conference:
‘HLS brings powerful Latinas from across the country together to inspire, motivate and educate one another in an intimate luxurious setting. This dynamic three day summit is designed to support the forward focus of Latina business women by providing lifelong learning opportunities and resources to enrich professional careers and achieve personal goals.’

It was exactly what they did. I was not disappointed. If you have the opportunity to attend next year I highly recommend it. This conference is perfect for the Latina who is already an entrepreneur, just starting a business and especially if you are considering starting a business. This conference is also perfect for Latinas in leadership positions in their current employment or those seeking to fill leadership positions.
Thanks to the wonderful organization Las Comadres para las Americas I was able to attend this year’s Hispana Leadership Summit.

Las Comadres is a city-based community building/networking group for Latinas to learn about and celebrate the Latino culture and share professional, social and cultural connections. Educational, enrichment activities and opportunities are provided both by Las Comadres and many community groups whose information is shared via this network. Do yourself a favor and click here to join. It’s an easy way to connect with your community and costs you nothing.


The first word I would use to describe the event is amazing, an amazing ride on a roller coaster of emotion. It was overwhelming to enter a large space filled to the brim with all of the role models I never had growing up. Sadly the whole world has missed out because media purposefully chooses to show and perpetuate negative stereotypes of the Latina. I’m estimating there were about two hundred professional Latinas in attendance to disprove each and every single one of these myths. In a population that continues to grow I am certain we can find thousands and even millions of these would be mentors.

Each day I sat somewhere different taking advantage of this special opportunity to meet amazing women I wouldn’t be able to connect with elsewhere. I met doctors, lawyers, journalists, chefs, writers, educators and every type of business owner you can imagine. It also gave me the opportunity to reconnect with amazing women I have met online through writing, blogging and social media.

I love to share the beauty I find in life which can be anything from art to knowledge. It is my perspective of life and the mission of the company I am building Bella Vida by Letty. One of the tools I use to share other than writing articles is social media. I was actively tweeting throughout the event which allowed me to connect with even more amazing women. Connect with me on twitter here.

The conference was vibrating with positive energy. The speakers and coaches enabled all in attendance to realize each of us was more alike than we were different. We were educated, intelligent, capable and determined. For me, one of the most important lessons from the conference that will stay with me is how we must support and help one another. It is together that we can all succeed and create change.
I left reassured that the world will get better one day at a time beginning with the contributions of the two hundred or so women there.

The conference has left me with a lot to think about and digest so you will see more posts where I will continue to share the many lessons I learned at the Hispana Leadership Summit.

Have you attended the Hispana Leadership Summit yet?


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Are You Prepared to Win?


We all have goals and daydreams but are you prepared for them to come true?

“Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it!” Maya Angelou

“The past is behind, learn from it. The future is ahead, prepare for it. The present is here, live it.” Thomas S. Monson

“Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”

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Be Drawn by the Beauty of What You Love

I am drawn to create.

Made this from stationary on my desk.

This is what I created from carnations on my entry table.

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” Helen Keller

“Be of good cheer. Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.” Helen Keller

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Are You a Trend Setter or Trend Follower? Fashion Night Out Miami 2012

“You can never be overdressed or overeducated.” Oscar Wilde


Fashion’s Night Out (FNO) is a global initiative created in 2009 to celebrate fashion, restore consumer confidence and boost the industry’s economy during the recession. By going out and making a purchase you are supporting your local community and boosting the country’s economy.  In addition many events were affiliated with charities.  Wherever you chose to spend your hard earned money it would be a night of giving back.

And you know my philosophy:  When you give, it leaves you wide open to receive.



I headed down to the Miami Design district for some fun, food and to take photos of course.  I chose this event in particular because it supports local artists, vendors, musicians, venues and designers.   Plus I wanted to see what the local scene was creating and bolster it.

It was a nice break in the routine.  There was a DJ spinning house music, food trucks at the curb and lots of eye candy.  There were several custom jewelry vendors.  One in particular captured my attention; these delicate bracelets with precious stones in the loveliest shades.  I ended up with an evil eye bracelet in the prettiest shade of sea blue.

The trend I noticed were designers re-use and re-purposing of objects also known as upcylcing.  Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value.  There was a jewelry designer who incorporated keys and doorknobs into her work while a boutique owner incorporated vintage pieces of clothing and accessories alongside new ones.  The clothing and handbag designers made fantastic creations combing textiles and fabrics.  There was something for everyone.

So are you a trend setter or a trend follower?

I have to say I’m a bit of both.  I take what I like and wear it in my own way 😉


“Over the years I have learned that what is important in a dress is the woman who is wearing it.” Yves Saint-Laurent

“I don’t do fashion, I AM fashion.” Coco Chanel

“Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.” Orson Welles

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What Inspires You?

“The disempowered mind believes dreams come true; the empowered mind knows I bring my dream to life. How long have you been waiting for your dream to come true? As if, by spontaneous combustion, your life will be set on fire. You must ignite the fire of your dreams and set a course of action that will lead to its birth in our reality.” Steve Maraboli

I create to ignite fires.

“Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground. Let their spirit ignite a fire within you to leave this world better than when you found it…”

“Books can ignite fires in your mind, because they carry ideas for kindling, and art for matches.” Gary D. Schmidt

“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be ignited.” Plutarch

“Ignite the fire within you and it will allow you to live your special dreams in life. You were born for it and your destiny. Now…live it!” Timothy Pina

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What would YOU do?!

How would you decide to spend the last day of your life if you knew the world was going to end the next morning?

South Florida Sunset 2012

Money doesn’t matter because it cannot buy you more time.  You only have one day.  What would you do?  Where would you go?  Who would you spend it with?

Things to do
Places to see

  • I’d have to dip my toes into the ocean.
  • I would want to listen to music.  If there was a live performance somewhere even better.
  • I would contemplate and write.
  • I would want to be among nature.
  • I would want to travel but not spend a long period of time on a plane.
South Florida Sunset 2012
How about you, what would you do?


“There would have been more “I love you’s” and more “I’m sorry’s”
. . . but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute . . .
look at it and really see it . . . and never give it back.” Erma Bombeck

“I live my life based on 2 principles. One, I live as if today was my last day on earth. Two, I live today as if I am going to live forever.” Osho

“We never know when our last day on earth will be. So, love with full sincerity, believe with true faith, and hope with all of your might. Better to have lived in truth and discovered life, than to have lived half heartedly and died long before you ever ceased breathing.” Cristina Marrero

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The Paths We Take

One of the dirt paths at the historic Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia

“We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it’s another to think that yours is the only path.” Paulo Coelho

“I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” Frank Herbert

“Do not be content with showing friendship in words alone, let your heart burn with loving kindness for all who may cross your path.” Bahá’u’lláh

“Strength isn’t about bearing a cross of grief or shame. Strength comes from choosing your own path, and living with the consequences.” Jennifer Armintrout

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