Bella Vida by Letty




I have a great love of books and cozy spaces. I take great comfort in lounging on the couch near my bookshelves and indulging in some hard earned me time. When I’m not traveling of love perusing images and books for inspiration. Once my imagination gets going my creativity really begins to flow.

These books are truly beautiful to look at.

travel coffee table books

Follow Me To

The Follow Me project was created in 2012 based on the concept of showing the beauty and uniqueness of different locations around the world. It is a story told through the eyes of two ordinary travelers who attempt to portray local lifestyles and narratives by means of photography. 

travel coffee table books

The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World 

From Lonely Planet The world’s leading travel guide publisher.  Take a journey through every country in the world.

travel coffee table books

Drives of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Most Spectacular Trips

Pack your suitcase, load up the car, and head for the open road! In the tradition of National Geographic Traveler magazine’s award-winning annual feature showcasing the world’s best auto trips, National Geographic presents Drives of a Lifetime: Where to Go, Why to Go, When to Go. This lavishly illustrated, hardcover travel planner and gift book gives you every bit of information you’ll need to navigate 400 amazing driving routes in some of the world’s most fascinating locales.

travel coffee table books


Gray Malin is the artist of the moment for the Hollywood and fashion elite. His awe-inspiring aerial photographs of beaches around the world are shot from doorless helicopters, creating playful and stunning celebrations of light, shape, and perspective, as well as summer bliss. Combining the spirit of travel, adventure, luxury, and artistry, Malin built his eponymous lifestyle brand from a deep passion for photography and interior design.

travel coffee table books

Wine Trails: 52 Perfect Weekends in Wine Country 

From Lonely Planet, the world’s leading travel guide publisher, Wine Trails, the first book in Lonely Planet’s “Perfect Weekends” series, introduces the secret gems in well-known regions such as Napa and Sonoma, Tuscany, Burgundy and Rioja, and also explores off-the-beaten-path regions in Georgia, Greece and beyond.

travel coffee table bookstravel coffee table books

Paris in Color 

Take a journey through the world’s most romantic city, traveling from color to magnificent color with this beguiling book. An orange café chair, bright blue bicycles against a fence, a weathered white door—Nichole Robertson’s sumptuous photographs of the distinctive details of Paris, all arranged by color, evoke a sense of serendipitous discovery and celebrate the city as never before. At once a work of art and a window into the heart of the city, Paris in Color will surprise and delight those who love art, design, color, and, of course, Paris!

travel coffee table books

The Seasons of New York

New York is one of the most ever-changing and photogenic places in the world. Featuring full-color photographs of well-known landmarks from all five boroughs—from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to South Street Seaport, as well as secret treasures throughout the city—this visual celebration of New York in all of its seasonal splendor is a perfect take-home souvenir for a tourist or a treasured gift for a resident New Yorker. 

travel coffee table books

See San Francisco: Through the Lens of SFGirlbyBay

From internationally popular design blogger SF Girl By Bay comes the ultimate love letter to San Francisco. This gorgeously photographed lifestyle guide gives readers an insider’s tour of the City by the Bay through Victoria Smith’s unique lens. Organized by neighborhood, each chapter features enchanting photos of hidden corners, local color, landmarks, and hot spots, revealing why so many people, Victoria included, fall head over heels for this amazing city. Brimming with original, dreamy photography and packaged as a gorgeous jacketed hardcover, this lovely book makes a perfect gift for photography fans, San Francisco dwellers, visitors to the city, or those who have left their hearts in San Francisco.

travel coffee table books

The New York Times: 36 Hours

To travel in North America is to face a delicious quandary: over these vast spaces with so many riches, from glittering cities to eccentric small towns and heart-stoppingly beautiful mountains and plains, how to experience as much as possible in limited time? The New York Times has the answer, and has been offering up dream weekends with practical itineraries in its popular weekly “36 Hours” column for over a decade. 

travel coffee table books

Great Escapes Italy 

To travel through Italy is as close as one gets to being in paradise. For centuries, writers, artists, architects and merchants have been drawn here, inspired by the beauty of Venice, Florence, Naples and Rome. Countless books, paintings, poems and sculptures are evidence of its undying appeal, and over the past 60 years, the country has become one of the world’s top travel and holiday destinations. The loveliness of Italy—its architecture, landscapes, culture and food (some of the world’s finest!) — if not eternal, is certainly enduring, and the easy-going and relaxed Italian lifestyle, il dolce far niente, is still unrivaled.

You can purchase any of these wonderful books via the link or by clicking on the image.

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The Lincoln Memorial in Washington Dc

The Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC

The Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial is on my top five things not to miss when visiting Washington DC. It is something you need to experience in person. The scale and architecture is more grandiose than you can possibly imagine. I along with everyone in my party was left blown away. It is spectacular so make sure to make time to see this during your visit.

The Lincoln Memorial

What is the Lincoln Memorial?

The Lincoln Memorial is an American national monument built to honor the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. The Greek Doric shaped Memorial building is 190 feet long and 119 feet wide, and reaches a height of almost 100 feet. There are 36 columns, each one representing one state in the U.S. at the date of President Lincoln’s death.

Inside you will find a 19 foot tall 175-ton statue of Abraham Lincoln.  To the left of the statue is Lincoln’s great speech, the Gettysburg Address. Every single word of the Address is etched into the wall. To the right is the entire Second Inaugural Address, given in March of 1865.


The Lincoln Memorial

When to Visit

Located on the western end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C. across from the Washington Monument the Lincoln Memorial is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. I visited twice and each time I went during the evening. It was not too crowded and I had a spectacular view of the Reflecting Pool and the Washington Monument lit up at night.

Have you visited The Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC?

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Books that Will Make You Want to Travel

My daily reading habits include news and social media but in addition I try to always have some fiction and non-fiction to read. I particularly love books that inspire me to imagine and create.   Just like reading travel expands our minds, our horizons and limits. Reading fills us with knowledge, mental stimulation and of course entertainment. The wonderful thing about books is you can take them anywhere. You can stash a whole library on your phone.

Here a few books that will inspire you to travel:

the alchemist


The Alchemist

Paulo Coelho’s masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago’s journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.

“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” 

— Paulo Coelho 

“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.” 

— Paulo Coelho 

“We are travelers on a cosmic journey,stardust,swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share.This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity.” 
— Paulo Coelho 


on the road jack kerouac

On the Road

On the Road chronicles Jack Kerouac’s years traveling the North American continent with his friend Neal Cassady, “a sideburned hero of the snowy West.” As “Sal Paradise” and “Dean Moriarty,” the two roam the country in a quest for self-knowledge and experience. Kerouac’s love of America, his compassion for humanity, and his sense of language as jazz combine to make On the Road an inspirational work of lasting importance.

Kerouac’s classic novel of freedom and longing defined what it meant to be “Beat” and has inspired every generation since its initial publication.

“There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.” 

— Jack Kerouac 

“I was surprised, as always, by how easy the act of leaving was, and how good it felt. The world was suddenly rich with possibility.” 

― Jack Kerouac


My Brilliant Friend Neapolitan Novels

My Brilliant Friend: Neapolitan Novels

The story begins in the 1950s, in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples. Growing up on these tough streets the two girls learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone or anything else. As they grow, as their paths repeatedly diverge and converge, Elena and Lila remain best friends whose respective destinies are reflected and refracted in the other. They are likewise the embodiments of a nation undergoing momentous change. Through the lives of these two women, Ferrante tells the story of a neighborhood, a city, and a country as it is transformed in ways that, in turn, also transform the relationship between her protagonists, the unforgettable Elena and Lila.

“Everything in the world was in precarious balance, pure risk, and those who didn’t agree to take the risk wasted away in a corner, without getting to know life.” Elena Ferrante

“Nowhere is it written that you can’t do it.”  Elena Ferrante

Life of Pi

Life of Pi

The son of a zookeeper, Pi Patel has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behavior and a fervent love of stories. When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes.
The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with Richard Parker for 227 days while lost at sea. When they finally reach the coast of Mexico, Richard Parker flees to the jungle, never to be seen again. The Japanese authorities who interrogate Pi refuse to believe his story and press him to tell them “the truth.” After hours of coercion, Pi tells a second story, a story much less fantastical, much more conventional–but is it more true?

“It is true that those we meet can change us, sometimes so profoundly that we are not the same afterwards, even unto our names.”  Yann Martel 

1000 Places to see before you die

1,000 Places to See Before You Die

It’s the journey of a lifetime, every month—and the perfect gift for the traveler and anyone who dreams of traveling. Written by Patricia Schultz, author of the #1 New York Times bestselling book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, and illustrated with full-color photographs, each month is a to-die-for itinerary. Discover exotic and culturally rich Uzbekistan. Cruise America’s “favorite drive” in autumn, the winding Blue Ridge Parkway. And experience the light that captivated so many Impressionist painters in Normandy. Each month features a large photograph, smaller images throughout the grid, a map, must-see attractions, and local history.

“If you’re waiting for a special occasion to make your next trip happen, then consider this: The day you get off the couch and head for the airport, that’s the special occasion.” 

— Patricia Schultz 

“As Herman Melville wrote in Moby Dick, I had “an everlasting itch for things remote.” 

— Patricia Schultz


What are some of your favorite books that inspire you to travel?








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Florida Road Trip in the Chevy Suburban 2016

s6 Collage

This summer has been a blast.  I love when my family comes down to visit and I get to show them some of the places I love and share what makes Florida so special.  Some of our stops you will recognize as popular and others are gems that are off the beaten path.  The Chevy Suburban comfortably accommodated seven passengers as we explored some of the fun unique places Florida has to offer.  With our extended family in tow, cooler with water, picnic and beach supplies in the trunk, we caught up while we hit the road.  We didn’t have to split up.  We were able to enjoy each others company the entire trip.  The Suburban is perfect for large families.

Florida is a state where it is warm year round.   If you are not used to the heat, summers can be uncomfortable.  One of my favorite features of the Suburban are cooled seats.  Not only are the driver and front passenger seats cooled but so are the second row seats.  Another feature that saved us from the blaring heat is the fact each person can adjust the air conditioning to their liking.  I know some of my family members disagree on how cold it should be.  With the ability for each person to adjust the a/c to their liking made everyone happy and we were able to cool off much quicker than other vehicles.

South Florida

Florida makes is fun and easy to plan road trips.  There are wonderful highways that will take you all across the state.  When you are in Miami be prepared for traffic.  Especially on the weekends.  The first place I wanted to share with my family was the art district of Wynwood Walls in midtown Miami.  This entire place is a canvas for artists.  Everywhere you look you will find images and secret messages.  It is a very special place with a vibe you will not find anywhere else in the world.  I come away inspired every time I visit.  My family was blown away.

The Suburban drives so smoothly and the rearview camera with image outline made parking a breeze.  If you get nervous driving in traffic the Suburban has many safety features to put you at ease; the forward collision alert, the lane keep assist, lance changer alert with side blind zone alert, rear cross traffic alert, rear vision camera and tire pressure monitor system.  You and your family can enjoy yourselves without worry.

s4 Collage


Florida has no scarcity of beautiful beaches.  Take your pick from North to South and East or West coast.  There are beaches to be on the look out for celebrities like South Beach, or spend some quiet family time on the Hollywood Broadwalk or enjoy more quiet beaches where the locals hang out.  We love to picnic at the beach on weekends.

s5 Collage

Florida Springs

An off the beaten road trip you might not know about would be visiting a Florida Spring.   There are many beautiful, clean, clear water Springs throughout central and north Florida.  I chose to visit Wekiwa Springs in central Florida.  Only a 40 minute drive from Orlando it was the best way to cool off after visiting packed theme parks.  For only $6.00 per car we spent the entire day canoeing, picnicking and swimming.

s2 Collage


Every time friends and family visit I make sure to take them to experience an Everglades sunset.  No where else in the world will you get a spectacular view like this.  As the sun begins to go down you’ll probably see a gator or five.  Hundreds of thousands of birds flock to the flora for a safe nights rest.  The adventurous will get on boat rides to explore the Everglades, the river of grass.  The night I drove my family to see an Everglades sunset we bumped into a group of people going bow fishing.  That’s were you use a bow and arrow to catch your fish.  I’m always come away learning something new on every road trip.

s1 Collage

So here are my must do and see when visiting Florida:

Experience art like you’ve never experienced art before at Wynwood Walls in midtown Miami.

Splash and play on one of many Florida’s clean soft sand beaches.

Cool off at one of Florida’s most beautiful natural wonders, the springs.

And finally try not to leave without viewing an Everglades sunset.  Beware and stay away from the gators.

Have you experienced a Florida sunset?

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Visiting Starved Rock Illinois State Park Near Chicago

Visiting Starved Rock Illinois State Park Near Chicago

When I visit a place I really enjoy exploring and uncovering hidden gems. Since I’m a die hard road tripper this includes surrounding areas of wherever I may be. While I visited Chicago last summer I searched for things to do within driving distance of the windy city. Starved Rock State park turned out to be the perfect place to spend the day since I love exercising outdoors and being surrounded by nature.

Visiting Starved Rock Illinois State Park Near Chicago

Starved Rock State Park is only a one and half hour drive from the city of Chicago along the south bank of the Illinois River. It is a pleasant surprise since most of Illinois consists of flat prairies. It was formed thousands of years ago by melting glaciers. The water rushed and eroded everything except the sandstone. Today you can see steep rock walls, cool dark valleys, bluffs, gorges and canyons.

This beautiful park has many things you can do: hiking, camping, fishing, canoeing, etc. There are cabins and of course the Lodge for extended visits.

hiking tip

Planning your Visit

Before you go I highly recommend checking the website or calling the park for conditions. I visited on a very hot afternoon toward the end of July. The park had experienced lots of flooding, which meant parts were inaccessible which limited the things to do. Flooding is common in the area and some people even recommend hiking in rain boots. So call ahead and find out what to bring.

Upon arrival we parked near the lodge where there were plenty of empty spaces. Head inside and grab yourself a map. They have a visitor’s center, gift shop and dining if you need supplies. In addition there are many other lots to park at depending on how long or far you want to go and what you want to see.

Visiting Starved Rock Illinois State Park Near Chicago

Since we were only there for a few hours we chose the trail leading us to the bluff and gorgeous views of the Illinois River. It was very hot that day. You can experience all four season on any given day in Illinois so I recommend layers you can take off and put on as needed. Each person in the group had their own water and snack supply. These are not easy trails. If you do not exercise regularly you may find the trails challenging. The boardwalk has many many many stairs, which take you up and down for miles and miles. There are also dirt paths you can take all throughout the park. Some were quite muddy and we had to make many detours. Our trail led us through a lush green forest of oak and hickory trees, through the canyon and to a grand view of the Illinois River.

Visiting Starved Rock Illinois State Park Near Chicago


Hours: Visitors Center: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00pm

Prices: Free to Public. Prices for tours, activities and boat rentals vary.


This is one place I would love to come back and visit to explore the other trails. During the springtime there are waterfalls and during winter ice falls and that is something I’d love to see.

Have you been?



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Things to do in Boston

Things to do in Boston

Things to do in Boston

Boston is Massachusetts’ capital and largest city. It is one of the oldest cities in the US and it’s rich political history has greatly impacted the way the US government runs today. Whatever type of travel experience you are looking for there is something on this list of things to do in Boston for you. The city is vibrant with all kinds of activities whether you’re a sports fan, enjoy the outdoors, are seeking culture or are a huge history buff.

What to Do

The Freedom Trail

Take a Freedom Trail Tour. The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile-long path through downtown Boston that passes by 16 locations significant to the history of the United States. Starting at the visitor’s center of the beautiful Boston Common the tour led by costumed guides. It’s a great way to learn about and see some of Boston’s most important sites.

Insider tip

Wear comfortable shoes.  It’s a very long walk.

Granary Burying Ground

One of the more interesting stops on the Freedom Trail was the Granary Burying Ground. Founded in 1660 it is the city of Boston’s third-oldest cemetery. Located on Tremont Street, it is the final resting place for many notable Revolutionary War era patriots, including three signers of the Declaration of Independence; Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Robert Treat Paine.  Also, prominently displayed in the Burying Ground is an obelisk erected in 1827 to the parents and relatives of Benjamin Franklin who was born in Boston and is buried in Philadelphia.

Quincy Market

Explore South Market and Quincy Square near Faneuil Hall. Quincy Market is a historic market complex near Faneuil Hall in downtown Boston, Massachusetts. It was constructed in 1824 and named in honor of Mayor Josiah Quincy, who organized its construction without any tax or debt. There are many places to eat and shops for purchasing souvenirs.

Insider tip

This is a touristy area always buzzing with people.  Enjoy the street performers which appear at any time of day.


Take the subway over to the Skywalk Observatory.  The Skywalk Observatory is located on the 50th floor of the Prudential Tower. It is the second tallest skyscraper in the City of Boston. Enjoy amazing views of the Boston’s famous landmarks like the Charles River, Fenway Park, Boston Harbor and much more.

Click here for more photos.

Boston Ducktour

Boston Duck Tours is a very fun way to explore the city of Boston. You a great overview of the city, see many unique neighborhoods and splash into the Charles River for a breathtaking view of the Boston and Cambridge skylines.  It was a blast.

New England Aquarium

Visit the New England Aquarium and check out the four-story Caribbean coral reef teeming with more than 1,000 animals.

Greenway Carousel

Ride the unusual Greenway carousel.

Where to Stay

There are plenty of places to stay in the city however, during my visit there were several conventions going on so most places were booked. I ended up staying at the Hilton Garden Inn in Waltham. Hilton is a reliable established brand with comfortable, clean rooms. It is located in a quiet area, which is just a short drive into Boston.

What to Eat

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Having some clam chowder at Finz at Pickering Wharf in Salem Ma #food #foodie #visitma #travel #instagood #bellavidabyletty

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Boston is the place to eat great seafood. It is home to some of the world’s most amazing lobster rolls, clam chowder and fish especially cod dishes.  Go try some.

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#boston lobster rolls #food #foodie #foodlove #instagood #instalove #bellavidabyletty #visitma

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Have you been to Boston?

What were some of your favorite things to do?

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Things to do in Chicago Take in the Willis Tower Views

Things to do in Chicago

The Willis Tower was originally built and still commonly referred to as the Sears Tower. This 108-story skyscraper is one of the most famous landmarks in Chicago, Illinois. It took 2,000 workers three years to build and has been open to the public since 1974. It’s the second tallest in North America and the Western Hemisphere and the eight tallest building in the world.

Skydeck Willis Tower

If you’re visiting Chicago I highly recommend checking out the views from this iconic skyscraper. The Skydeck is the highest observation deck in the United States and from the 103rd floor features expansive views of the city and lake front. Visibility from the Skydeck is approximately 40-50 miles. On a clear day you can see four states: Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan.

Skydeck Willis Tower

Fun Fact

The average sway of the building is six inches from true center. But don’t worry the building is designed to sway up to 3 feet and you won’t feel it anyway.

Skydeck Willis Tower

Insider Tip

The Willis Tower Skydeck is a popular attraction, which receives about 25,000 people each day. The best times to visit are either early morning or evening. One way to beat the long lines and save money is to purchase a Chicago CityPASS. If you purchase the booklet ahead of time you can totally by pass super long lines and go straight to the elevator that swoops you up to the Skydeck.

The CityPASS also includes entrance to Chicago’s most popular attractions, The Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, The Art Institute, Museum of Science, Planetarium, etc. It comes out way cheaper than purchasing tickets for each individual attraction. Especially if you’re traveling as a family.

Skydeck Willis Tower

Chicago CityPASS  ~ See the Best and Save Money


Have you visited the Skydeck at the Willis Tower?

Where you brave enough to step out onto the platform?

Willis Tower related products.

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Cool Ways to Preserve Your Vacation Memories

Cool Ways to Preserve Your Vacation Memories

Cool Ways to Preserve Your Vacation Memories

Vacations might not last as long as we would like them to but we can preserve our memories of them to enjoy and to pass on.  When we experience fun with loved ones and family we want to hang on to that good feeling and share our stories with others.  I know I always bring back postcards, tons of photos and all kinds of trinkets, mementos and souvenirs.  I have scrapbooks and little collections around the house to remind me of those good times.  Here are some fun  and clever ideas to preserve and display your haul.

ticket organizer

1. Just the Ticket: Ticket Stub Organizer

Organize and preserve your tickets from special concerts, shows, trips, and sporting events in this handsome organizer. Makes a great place for your ticket collection.

scratch off map

2. Luckies of London Scratch Map Travel Edition 

Travel size world map. Scratch off top layer. 

photo display

3. Umbra Hangit Photo Display

The Capello bath hardware collection by Umbra was inspired by the fixtures and details found in classical architecture. This graceful collection focuses on cohesive proportions with an antique sensibility, great for a coordinated look.


4. K&CompanySmash Folio, Retro Blue

This is the “unscrapbook” for the person who doesn’t have time or thinks they aren’t creative. Great way to keep track of your life, remember funny things, inspirations quotes, and project ideas. “Live it up, glue it down, and Smash it in.”

travel journal

5.  My Adventures: A Traveler’s Journal

Record your jet-setting, travels, and vacations with the My Adventures guided journal. Enjoy the lightly guided prompts for agendas, lists, and observations. Inside you’ll find plenty of open pages for daily journaling. There is also a handy address book to keep track of friends met on the road.

6. Family Tree 21-Opening Collage Picture Frame 

Show off all your favorite family or vacation photos with pride in this traditional collage frame.


7. Beyond Words Coastal 6-piece Wall Photo Frame Set, White

Share your treasured memories in style with this beautiful coastal theme wall frame set. Each set includes 6 pieces (4 frames and 2 art plaques) and an easy wall hanging template for you to follow. You can also create your own unique layout! Each piece has a coordinating white woodgrain finish for the perfect casual wall gallery. Art plaque reads, “life is better at the Beach.” Perfect for display in any room of the home.

memory box

8. Luckies Memory Box

Keepsakes, notes, souvenirs, mementos, photos – we all accumulate bits and bobs that mean something to us but all too often they are scattered in draws, on shelves and left to gather dust. The perfect gift for someone who loves to keep gig ticket stubs, shells from far flung beaches, buttons that once graced a Grandparent’s shirt or simply Polaroids and pictures of friends and family.

ticket box

9. Ticket Memento Storage Boxes (Drop Your Tickets)

Store and display ticket stubs from movies, concerts, sporting events and more with a Ticket Memento Storage Box. It’s a decorative way for ticket collectors to remember all of their favorite evenings.

decorative box

10. Quickway Imports Old-Fashioned Small Suitcase/Decorative Box with Straps

Decorative box from Quickway Imports that is great for storage and decoration.

shadow box frame

11. Mcs Industries 12-Inch by 12-Inch Shadow Box Frame

Show off a favorite scrapbook page, trophy, ribbon, cheerleading uniform, t-shirt or just about any other memento.

photo puzzle

12. Personalized Photo Jigsaw Puzzle with Keepsake Tin

Family & friends can piece together the fond memories of a special photo with our Pieces of Love Personalized Photo Puzzle .

photo album

13. Alaska State Antique Map Photo Scrapbook 

Scrapbook top load refillable post bound 10 double sided pages photo safe and acid free.

glass jar

14.  Anchor Hocking 2-Gallon Heritage Hill Jar with Glass Lid

A unique way to display photos and souvenirs.  On the table, in the kitchen, and around the home, Anchor Hocking offers a wide variety of high quality consumer glassware products that are both beautiful and functional. Accent and organize the kitchen, bath or living room.

wall cabinet

15. Distressed Wooden Two Tier Wall Cabinet 

Display knickknacks and decorative items in true vintage style inside this rustic wooden wall cabinet from the Home Office Collection.


16. Uniifurn Wall Shelf Series White Display Cubes with Elegant Rounded Corner

Attractive white wall cubes give any wall in your home or office a striking appearance. Arrange in whatever fashion you like; whether it be grouped together or displayed separately.

showcase table

17. Manchester Wood Glass Top Display Coffee Table 

Featuring a glass top showcasing prized possessions or collectables, this beautifully crafted American solid ash coffee table also sports incredibly durable and thoughtful design that adds refinement to any setting.

curio cabinet

18. Small Wall Mounted Curio Cabinet Shadow Box

A great way to showcase your collectibles.

shadow box book

19. Mini Configurations Shadow Box Book 

Designer Tim Holtz has teamed up with Advantus to offer his Idea-ology line of unique paper craft embellishments, papers and tools with a vintage appeal. If you love configurations, then you’re going to flip for the new configurations book. Sized about half of the printers tray configurations, this one has an attached cover to lay completely flat when closed, or display open when standing up. Of course it includes all of the completely customizable inserts configurations is all about, but wait until you see what creative uses we’ve come up with for this one.


Have you tried any of these ideas to display your vacation memories?

How do you display your photos and souvenirs?


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Best Travel Packing Organizers

Best Travel Packing Organizers

The best travel packing organizers for your next trip. These are clever gadgets to help you maximize the space in your suitcase. Let’s face it packing is not fun so why not make it easier on ourselves. Save yourself some time and energy with the latest clever storage gadgets.


packing cubes

1. Pro Lightweight Travel Packing Cubes Set 

Fit more into your carry on & backpack.  Show airline security your contents quickly and discreetly.

underwear storage

2. Portable Travel Drawer Divider Organizer Bra Underwear Storage

Perfect for organizing clothes or other small belongings. Convenient foldable design for space saving.

travel storage

3. Travel Bathroom Hanging Organizer for Toiletry, Cosmetic, Makeup with Bonus Reusable Bag

Travel with all of your toiletry, cosmetic, and makeup essentials in this large double-sided travel toiletry bag.  The bag is designed to be hung up for convenience and easy storage.

shoe storage

4. WalterDrake Shoe Storage Travel Bag

A zipper on 3 sides lets the shoe storage travel case open to hang full length in a closet; folds flat to store. A shoe travel case means no need to wrap each pair; no more messing up a suitcase to find mates!

travel bottle

5. humangear Gotoob Travel Bottles 

The award-winning and patented GoToob is made from soft yet rugged silicone, so it’s easy to squeeze down to the last drop. A large opening makes it easy to fill and clean, and an ID-window on the collar helps your remember what’s inside. Airplane carry-on approved, food-safe (FDA) and 100% BPA and PC-free. 2.0 size is great for short trips and features an integrated suction cup for occasional hands-free use.

boarding pass id holder

6. Travelon Id and Boarding Pass Holder

Simplify airport security clearance with the ID and Boarding Pass Holder. It hangs securely around your neck or over your shoulder and features slots for your ID, passport, and boarding pass. Your documents are ready for presentation and check-in is just that much easier. A hidden rear pocket offers extra space for currency, receipts, or other travel essentials and the mini pen is ready when you need it.

toiletry bag

7. Fishers Finery Expert Traveler Hanging Toiletry Bag 

“Our hanging toiletry bag is a must have for travel. After years of looking for the perfect toiletry bag we decided to design our own. All pouches expand to fit all the necessities. The bag hangs securely from the rubber tipped hook which is sewn securely to the inside of the bag. This eliminates “twisting” while hanging. We added a nylon loop on the bottom to make packing easier, it also allows the bag to be folded closed while hanging. Simply the best value in a hanging toiletry bag available.”

roll up organizer

8. Roll-Up Organizer

Secure cosmetics, toiletries, jewelry and more. This handy space-saving travel case rolls up for easy compact storage. Features four spacious zippered compartments and secure button and loop closure.

tech organizer

9. ButterFox Universal Electronics Accessories Travel Organizer / Hard Drive Case / Cable organizer 

Organise your electronics accessories the easy way. This Universal Electronics Accessories Travel Organizer provides a flexible organisation solution for your electronics and computer accessories. It helps make you better organized with all the small electronics items and gadgets.

packing envelopes

10. TRAVELON 0214 Travel Packing Envelopes

This set of rugged see-through PVC zipper envelopes keep small items from getting lost in your luggage and allows airport security to quickly scan your belongings. With 7 different sizes, these water-resistant and washable envelopes organize a host of travel items and prevent spills in your luggage. Perfect for organizing personal, household, travel and easy-to-lose items.

travel portfolio

11. Portfolio Style Travel Organizer with Zipper, Mesh Pocket Dividers and Bonus Reusable Storage Bag

This travel organizer with zippered mesh pockets organizes and stores your travel essentials such as travel documents, electronics, clothing items, cosmetic and toiletry essentials all into one place. This double zippered travel organizer has 3 zippered mesh pockets, 1 wall zippered mesh pocket. And the back features buckle straps that can be used for your eReader or tablet. The travel organizer stores and organizes various travel essentials all together into one place. The travel organizer is also great to use for work, school, and home. Use the travel organizer with zippered mesh pockets to consolidate your travel essentials all into one place.

jewelry organizer

12. Pink Hard Tube Shaped Rollup Jewelry Box 

This portable and compact 3 tiered travel jewelry case is the perfect travel accessory for your jewelry. The cylinder shaped jewelry box is snapped shut by a snap button. When unbuttoned the box reveals 3 different circle shaped storage compartments. Designed to be compact and portable this 3 tiered jewelry case is the perfect choice for travel.

pill vitamin storage

13. Gasketed VitaCarry 8 Compartment Pill Box

“Keeping pills fresh, secure, and organized – it’s what we do best. This vitamin organizer is the direct result of consumer demand. The Gasketed VitaCarry pillbox has a full gasket which makes it airtight and watertight and therefore effective against moisture and oxidation concerns. The pill dispenser can be locked securely, but the spring-loaded mechanism assures simple release.”

travel bottles

14. Miamica CLR TSA Compliant Security Case with 11 AST Bottles and Label Stickers

The plane to see travel case is a see-through toiletry bag with a fashionable flair and sturdy zipper. This bag meets the latest tsa regulations to make packing for your next flight comfortable, efficient, and fun.

lay and go

15. Layngo TRAVELER Dopp Kit

The Lay-n-Go Traveler is a 20″ diameter patent pending tioletries mat that converts into an easily transportable handled clutch, allowing for quick and effortless clean-up of your cosmetics. No more dumping your toiletries onto a towel or having to worry about your grooming items rolling off the counter and onto the floor!

shirt protector

16. Patrona – Shirt Shuttle 

British Design at its Best. The Shirt Shuttle works on a very simple principle. If you wrap a piece of fabric around a curved edge it cannot crease. The pack contains the outer carry case & the folding board with a collar stiffener & hanging hook. Ideal companion for Business Travel.

tie shirt organizer

17. Multi-functional Travel Shirt Tie Pouch Organizer

Great for keeping shirts and ties together.

tie storage

18.  Black Leatherette Tie Storage and For Travel

Crafted in black with red stitching and an easy to use silver clasp this excellent leatherette gift roll makes for the perfect container to store and ship your neckwear in style. Great for both gifts and personal use.

manicure set

19. Steve Madden Men’s Deluxe Manicure Set

This manicure set includes everything including a mirror.

drink carrier

20. Tugo Luggage Drink Holder 

Simplify getting through the airport with your rolling luggage and a drink. Tugo is an amazingly simple travel tool for people on the move.

packing tips book

Bonus: For even more help with packing.

21. Fodor’s How to Pack (Travel Guide)

Fodor’s How to Pack is a must-have to helps you get organized. Packed with info and advice on everything from foolproof pre-trip to-do lists; travel kits; how to arrive wrinkle-free; tips for packing tricky items; help for moms and dads; carry-on packing; all the secrets; how to pack for the way back; and what to take no matter where you’re going.  Plus how to avoid the overpacking trap; clothing checklists for men, women, and kids; packing checklists for every kind of trip; and how to buy luggage.


Have you used any of these gadgets?

What was your experience?

Which is your favorite?

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Road Trip Emergency Essentials Checklist

Get ready for your next trip with this list of road trip emergency  essentials.

Road Trip Emergency Essentials Checklist

Taking road trips is one of the most common ways to vacation.  It’s more affordable and a great way to explore new places, relax and have some fun making new memories.  Make sure your car is ready to go with this checklist.

1. Spare tire
2. Tire jack
3. Tire iron
4. Tire inflator and sealer
5. Jumper cables
6. Your car’s manual
7. Car emergency kit
8. Tire pressure gauge
9. Duct tape
10. WD-40
11. First aid kit
12. Flashlight
13. Multi-tool
14. Matches or other fire starter
15. Energy bars
16. Water bottles
17. Weather radio
18. Seat belt cutter
19. Window breaker
20. Flares
21. Maps / Atlas
22. Ice scraper
23. Mylar space blanket
24. Paper towels
25. Tissues
26. Toilet paper
27. Wet wipes
28. Pencil and paper
29. Umbrella
30. Spare change/emergency money
31. Blanket
32. Change of clothes
33. USB mobile device charger


Are you prepared for your next road trip?

Do you have any suggestions to add?


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Things to do in Florida at Hollywood Beach Broadwalk

hollywood broadwalk

Here’s an insider tip for things to do in Florida.  One of my very favorite hometown hangouts is the Hollywood Broadwalk.  No, that’s not a typo. The city named the boardwalk The Hollywood Broadwalk.

Did you know there is a city in Florida named Hollywood?

Not very many people do.  It’s the complete opposite of the one out in California.  Located between Miami and Ft. Lauderdale this small beach town is very diverse receiving visitors from all over the world. It’s relaxed, laid back and family friendly.

Hollywood Boulevard ends at A1A where you can access Surf Road and the Hollywood Broadwalk. The Broadwalk stretches for about two and half miles.  On one side of the Broadwalk are seven miles of sand with the view of the gorgeous Atlantic Ocean, which changes from jade to turquoise depending on the light.  The other side of the Hollywood Broadwalk is lined with shops, cafes, ice cream shops, restaurants, hotels, inns and other businesses.

Experience South Florida the way the locals do.

Hollywood Broadwalk Collage


If you park at the north end at Sheridan Street there is a viewing deck where you can climb up a few stories to take in the beautiful beach view from above.


The Hollywood Broadwalk gives you the opportunity to have a seaside meal. At the north end of the Hollywood Broadwalk, just off of Sheridan Street you will find plenty of parking, shade and picnic tables.  You can use the grills or bring your own.

On the weekends there is a fresh market at the south end of the Broadwalk where you can find organic produce and drink a refreshing smoothie made from locally grown fruits and vegetables.

And in between you will find a great variety of restaurants, cafes, ice cream parlors, pizza joint and just about any type of food you’re in the mood for.

Sleep / Stay

You will find various types of accommodations along the Broadwalk from large chain hotels, small mom and pop hotels. If renting is your thing you can find anything from luxury to casual beach house.


Just off of Garfield Street you can find a playground, ball courts and even an interactive dolphin fountain for the kids to splash and play.  Charnow Park features shaded seating areas and picnic pavilions.


While on the sand you’ll see all types of boats out on the water.  On weekends you might see a group of twenty small sailboats bobbing along during sail school.  At night you’ll see large cruise ships and their twinkling lights as they head deep into the ocean.  The port of Ft. Lauderdale is only about eight miles away.


The Broadwalk is always bustling with skaters, joggers and bike riders.  There are at least two places I know of where you can rent wheels.  You can pick up a racket and play ball at the ball courts off Garfield Street.


In the water you can swim, float, fish. If you want to play in the water you can also rent jet skis.


You will find various entertainments at the different bars and restaurants. For free entertainment you can find live music performances at the band shell located off Johnson Street. The Hollywood Beach Theater hosts live music five nights a week and a variety of cultural performances just 25 steps from sand to center stage.

You can see what’s happening at the beach now via this live webcam or view a map to plan your next trip here.

Have you been to the Hollywood Broadwalk?

What was your favorite thing to do there?

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My Best Travel Photography Tips

travel photography tips

Today’s post is filled with travel photography tips to help you capture the best vacation memories.  When we take a photo not only are we preserving precious memories but we are also documenting a place.  We are capturing the essence of a place at a particular time in history.



Just a slight shift in position can dramatically alter a photo.

Unusual angles can add impact and different perspectives.  They can bring out point of views we normally don’t see. How to get different perspectives:

  • Shoot from the side.
  • Kneel down.
  • Shoot up.
  • Hold your camera high.
  • Lie down.
  • Sit down.
  • Climb up.



Lighting is everything when it comes to photography. Tudor South Beach
The hardest time to get a good picture is during the bright middle of the day.  The best times to shoot are early morning and early evenings.  An added benefit to being out and about so early is avoiding large crowds.



Framing is the technique of drawing attention to the subject of your image by blocking other parts of the image with something in the scene.

Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center

Framing gives the image depth and layers while leading the eye to your focal point.


Zoom In

Zooming in can bring texture to your photos. French Toast Muffins


Zooming out can be awe inspiring.



Don’t center your subject.


Sblue shack


Do you have any photography tips?  Share them below.


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Roadtrip to Plimoth Plantation

Pilgrim Village Collage

Last summer I took an amazing road trip through the state of Massachusetts and one of the towns I visited was the famous historical town of Plymouth where the Mayflower landed and the first pilgrims settled. Plymouth is a small coastal town and it’s super easy to get around. Everything is close by and lovely views of the waterfront can be enjoyed from just about everywhere.

When visiting Plymouth a great way to spend the day is a visit to Plimoth Plantation. Located on several acres near the waterfront it’s a living indoor-outdoor museum. It’s the recreation of a 17th century Wampanoag village and Pilgrim settlement. The place is huge and with self-guided tours you can walk as little or as much as you like. We spent an entire fun filled morning and could easily have spent the day.

The place is large with a visitor’s center, cinema, gift shop, craft center and tons of grounds to cover. If you like strolling among lush green vegetation you’ll love exploring the paths, which take you to an authentic Wampanoag village and Pilgrim settlement.

Pilgrim Village


The attraction does a good job of demonstrating how life was for these two settlements and how important it was for their survival that they find a way to live and work together.  The staff is dresses, live, speak and act as the citizens and Native Americans did during that period. Wonderful structures have been recreated to take you back in time. They encourage you to interact and ask tons of questions. I was very impressed with their knowledge and the stories they shared. It was very entertaining.

I started through the bright green paths leading to the Wampanoag village where there was lots going on. There were people tending to the crops, women cooking, children playing and men building. I stopped at a lovely display of indigenous toys from that era. There were huts you could enter to see how it was built and another large one where I sat and listened to what life was like. At every station you are free to ask any questions.

Settlement Collage

After the village a beautiful path winding up the hillside leads you to the Pilgrim settlement. That was my favorite path. You have beautiful views of the Eel River and even a nice view of the Pilgrim Sands on Long Beach where I stayed. As the paths turn you can even see the beach and the Atlantic Ocean.

The Pilgrim Village has many structures to explore. The staff dressed in period costumes attending the crops and animals as they did in the 17th century.


If you go Tips

–  The earlier you go the better parking you will get.

–  Wear comfortable walking shoes.

–  Bring sunblock and water.

–  Ask lots of questions.  The more you interact the more fun you’ll have.


 Have you been to Plymouth?  What did you do during your visit?


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Sailing in Salem an American Coastal Town

Salem motto

Salem’s history is intertwined with its harbor and surrounding waters.  Even the town’s motto: “To the Farthest Ports of the Rich East” alludes to it.  The very first colonists survived by becoming fishermen.  Salem would grow from a fine fishing village to be known as a major international trading center peaking in the 18th century thanks to the codfish trade with the West Indies and Europe.  The spices these ships brought back would make this town one of the wealthiest in the country.  By the end of the 18th century it was the sixth largest city, wealthiest per capita and home to the US’s first millionaire.

Salem an interesting bustling place buzzing with people from around the world.  Many languages, smells and aromas permeating the air.  Some of the merchandize brought in from around the world was silk, chinaware, paper, coffee, tea, molasses, sugar and rum.  A large variety of spices could be purchased and sold here; nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and pepper.

By mid 19th century Salem’s prosperity as a major seaport winded down as New York and Boston which had deeper harbors to accommodate larger vessels took over.

Pickering Wharf

We can still see the impact of the industry today.  With over 400 years of maritime history many of Salem’s historic buildings, wharves and reconstructed ships are well preserved for you to visit today.



You know how much I love being out on the water.  When visiting Salem I recommend you take a cruise on these historic waters.   I headed to Pickering Wharf located in central Salem with beautiful vistas of the harbor.  It’s a nice place to stroll with shops and restaurants.

I took a late afternoon cruise on a replica of the famous 1812 private schooner Fame.  It was fantastic.  The crew was talkative and friendly sharing tons of boating stories as well as the history of sailing and its impact on Salem.  It was a sunny mid July afternoon at Pickering Wharf but I brought a sweater because the weather changes once you head into deep waters.  Once we set sail the crew served snacks, soda, wine and beer at reasonable prices.

The trip started out on a lovely warm afternoon but before we could reach Salem Sound we ran into a thick wall of fog rolling in from the deep waters. It was really cool especially since I’ve never seen anything like it in person while boating.  We had the contrast of the sun shining brightly on one side of us as we slowly lost visibility of the water, summer houses and homes and other water vessels as the cool fog creeped closer and closer until we were completely engulfed by it.  It was far too dangerous to keep sailing into Salem Sound.  The fog grew so thick there was no way to tell when or where another boat would pop up.

Even though we didn’t get very far it was a pleasant afternoon.  The crew began teaching the children how to make the various knots needed to use on a sailboat while the skipper entertained us with tales of history and piracy.   The sailboat bounced softly and rhythmically in circles completely relaxing me.  It was a very relaxing sail.


Have you been sailing in Salem?


Where to stay: Salem Waterfront Hotel & Marina

Centrally located and literally on the wharf near shops and restaurants.

Where to eat: Finz Seafood & Grill

Right on the wharf with beautiful views and really good food.


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Taking a Road Trip in the New 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe #Spons

2015 Chevrolet Tahoe

This summer in mid July I took a road trip all around the state of Massachusetts.  It was a really fun first visit to the state.  I have so many wonderful memories from this trip.  I was able to drive to a different town on each day of the trip.  I felt safe and happy especially on the first day.  Summer means rain and we were lucky to have just one day of rain and boy did it pour.  At times there was barely visibility.  I knew we would be safe in the Chevrolet Tahoe because it is high above the ground meaning we would have no problem getting through the puddles that sometimes accumulate on old back roads.  I felt at ease driving through the bad weather with my family in the car because of the many safety features.

Onstar directions and automatic response.

Forward collision alert.

Side blind zone alert.  This is one of my favorite features for sure.  An orange light would appear in the sideview mirror whenever a car or truck was anywhere near.

Tire pressure monitor.

Lane departure and safety seat alert.  Yes the seat would vibrate to alert me.

Front fog lamps.

Rain sensing windshield wipers.

20 inch polished aluminum wheels.

2015 Chevrolet Tahoe

Since it was my first time visiting Massachusetts I wasn’t sure what to expect as far as the driving terrain.  It turned out to be mountainous and hilly.   While exploring the Cape we stopped in quaint little towns and villages.  One of the things I wanted to do was climb the Scarborough tower for the view.  Getting up there was tricky but luckily the Tahoe has a built in GPS system which has different displays of the map and even the weather.  I felt powerful driving up the steep bends behind the wheel of this V8 engine with four by four wheel drive.  The scenery was quite beautiful.  Even with the gray sky there was so much lush green flora, large leafy trees and lovely manicured gardens.


2015 Chevrolet Tahoe


  “What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.” Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

2015 Chevrolet Tahoe

The weather improved and we drove on highways, up hills, down mountains, through quaint small towns, past the shore, above the trees, through the mountains, over bridges in the rain and the sunshine, in the city, in traffic, on the turnpike, on state roads, on paved roads and brick roads, through puddles, over potholes and dirt roads.

I drove from Boston to Cape Cod to Plymouth to Boston to Springfield to Salem and Boston again.  Another reason I would recommend driving a Chevrolet Tahoe on your next road trip is how fuel efficient it is.  I drove to a new town every single day and barely had to stop for gas.  On extended trips on the highway I was able to use the adaptive cruise control which allowed me to set the speed and distance.   I enjoy driving with the sunroof open to let the sun shine on me and to gaze at the stars at night.  I have wonderful memories of my family oohing and awing at the site of a clear starry night.  It was an amazing feeling.  It was humbling and made me feel connected to the universe.


2015 Chevrolet Tahoe

The Chevrolet Tahoe has many features to keep you comfortable on your next road trip.  It’s one of the most comfortable cars I’ve ever driven.  Everything can be adjusted to your liking.  The seats are big and soft and have both cooling and heating, a feature I discovered while driving the 2014 Chevrolet Impala on a road trip from South Florida to New Orleans, Louisiana.   The entertainment system kept us entertained on particularly long drives or if when we were stuck in traffic.  XM Radio has a channel for every taste.  The rear seat entertainment center even comes with headphones.


2015 Chevrolet Tahoe

 I value experiences more than material things.  I prefer driving while vacationing because it makes me feel connected to the places I visit and the people around me.   I can stop if I see something curious or take a photo of an amazing view.  I get to hang out and crack jokes with friends, family and new acquaintances.  I get to hear stories and tips from the locals.  I’ve been welcomed into many places on this trip.  I’ve explored, discovered and grown.  I get to re live them each time I edit a photo or write a new paragraph.

What are some of your wonderful vacation memories of your family road trips?


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