Happy, Happiest of New Years as we Kick This 2020 to the Can

I don’t think there are enough words to say about this past year of learning, loss and lack of real living, but I can honestly say, I’ve never been happier to kick a year to the can and to ring in a new one.

Yes, we cheer and always wish others well for a Happy New Year, but I think I can speak for the world when I say, we’ve never had a year like this one we shared globally, and each of us has swam our own waters and no doubt encountered our own sharks. I hope for all the world has been through this year we’ve all learned lessons whether great or small, if only for gratitude for the very things that sustain us and the freedoms we have.

give it the boot



May we celebrate the welcoming of a newer, better and kinder year for us all


champagne toast



Welcome In!


welcome 2021



I’m counting as fast as I can, only a few hours to go


Countdown to boot 2020



Join me in ushering this year out with a big heave ho, and open our arms with wishes of joy, health, peace and happiness for the new year and forward!


Joy to the world

Happy and Safe New Year to you all. I’ll be joining a few of my writing friends in a bit of a break from the blog world for a few weeks into mid January, but don’t be surprised if I show up from time to time till then. 



Happy New Year



Happy New Year! What’s on Your Plate for 2020?

Just a short note to wish you all – my friends and readers, a Happy New Year filled with all good things, love, and good health.


New Year resolutions


Honestly, I’m not sure where the year has gone. It seems it was just September, life is going a tad too quickly it seems, a good reminder to be grateful for every day we wake up to a new one. I can’t quite track where this past year has gone and all that transpired. However, I do remember spending the first 2 glorious months of the year in Mexico, and although not quite for 2 months this coming, year, I’m looking soooooo forward to returning there again.

I expect January to fly as I seem to have an ever-growing and lengthy to do list before our February winter jaunt. I’ve also just about completed first draft to a new book I’ve been working on this past year, and that should take me well into the spring or early summer to ready for publication, considering I will be leaving it for marination while away. So that’s my first half year planned, lol. As for the rest—I’ll leave it up to destiny!


Happy New Year!


Happy New Year



Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Travel Column Finale – With D.G. Kaye – Winter Snow Vacations for all the family. | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

My last Travel Column for the year was recently featured at Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord Blog Magazine, and I’m sharing it here with you today. This is the second part of this issue. The first part offered some warm winter getaway destinations, and this edition features a few cold getaway recommends for those who prefer winter activities. Next year I will be writing a new column for the Smorgasbord blog – Realms of Relationships, so stay tuned!


Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Travel Column Finale – With D.G. Kaye – Winter Snow Vacations for all the family.


For the last two years D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies has taken us on vacation all around the world from Arizona to Malta, on cruise ships and by air. This will be the last Travel Column, but have no fear… Debby will be returning in 2020 with a brand new column that showcases one of her other areas of expertise, relationships in all their glory. I am excited and I am sure that you will find the series both interesting and helpful as we navigate our way through these sometimes tricky elements of our lives.


D.G. Kaye on Relationships


Look out for Debby’s introduction post in the New Year….

For this final Travel Column Debby is going to share three winter resorts that are popular during the ski season but also have activities for all the family, including someone like me who does not trust two short planks down a mountainside at 60 miles an hour… I prefer waiting at the other end of the slopes at the Gluhwein (hot red wine) stall…..

Take it away Debby….


Thanks everyone for setting out on this last trip of the Travel Column series and I am very excited to be back next year with my new column, and looking forward to plenty of discussion on the subject of relationships.

There are a great many wonderful ski resorts in North America and in Europe as well as slightly further away in New Zealand. I have selected three that are wonderful places for the whole family including non-skiers.  If you are thinking about a ski vacation then you might find this site very useful as it covers resorts around the world: Ski Resort Information


I am of course going to begin in my home country.


Canada, British Columbia – Whistler Blackcomb gets five out of five stars by multiple users on the site.


The Whistler Blackcomb ski resort is very family and child friendly. There is a separate Family Zone on Whistler Mountain and multiple Whistler Kids children’s areas distributed throughout the ski resort. The Children’s Adventure Park, the Big Easy Terrain Garden and the Tree Forts are very popular up on the mountain. Families are very well cared for at Whistler. For the bigger kids, there are many events as well as the Ziptrek (a zipline flight over Whistler). Special packages offered for the whole family round off the offering. – Please continue reading at Sally’s blog


Source: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Travel Column Finale – With D.G. Kaye – Winter Snow Vacations for all the family. | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy Holidays, Come Party!

I know we are all so busy at this time of year, in particular today, as many of us are getting ready to gather with friends and family to celebrate the festive season. So, I’m going to keep this short, especially since I can see how quiet blogtown is today, lol.


I want to wish all my friends and readers a beautiful holiday season and thank you all with deepest gratitude for all your visits, shares and interactions here for the past year(s). May you all be blessed with love and hope and gratitude for you and yours.

Also, for you bloggers who are looking for a great blog party complete with all things festive – food and drink and great music, and some wonderful Christmas wishes added from several authors over at Sally Cronin’s Christmas Smorgasbord, the post is still running hot and live throughout the holidays. So come take in some festive cheer over at Sally’s blog!


Wish – Guests, Food, Music and laughter



The theme for this year’s party is ‘Just One Wish’. We are all familiar with the story of Cinderella and her Fairy Godmother, who was pretty liberal with that magic wand of hers and managed to turn a pumpkin into a golden carriage.

Unfortunately, she has long since retired and hung up her wand, but because I asked nicely (and she would like me to promote her memoir – The Prince Charmings I have Known!) she has agreed to allow my guests, just one wish…

My thanks to everyone who sent in their special wish and with a great deal of positive thought from us all, and of course a little assistance from the magic wand of the Fairy Godmother, they might just come true…


Please help yourself to food and drink and if you would like to dance on the tables… that is great. You will find links to authors author pages and a selection of their books and their social media so please head over and discover more. . . Please head over to Sally’s and join the fun!


Merry Xmas


Happy Holidays!



Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – The Christmas Book Fair with Guest Writers – starting November 18th 2019 | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Sally Cronin has done it again . She’s come up with another wonderful holiday season series at the Smorgasbord Invitation. Sally invites writers to join her Christmas Bookfair to showcase your books and stories.


Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – The Christmas Book Fair with Guest Writers – starting November 18th 2019



I know that this is a tad early but the series will be starting on Monday November 18th to ensure that every author that is in the Cafe and Bookstore is featured before Christmas.

Each author in the Cafe and Bookstore will have one of their books showcased, and I will usually pick the first in a series, with links to the other books, or the author’s latest release.

I will include the best review for that particular book and the usual links to Amazon, Goodreads and social media.

If you are on the shelves, you don’t need to do anything, but I would be grateful if you would share the post on your own social media to help promote, not just your books, but the other authors that are featured.

Guest posts for the Christmas Book Fair.

This year I will also be running a separate series alongside the book fair. I will be inviting some special guests along to talk about various aspects of writing, proofreading,editing, formatting and design as well as those who write within a specific genre such as non-fiction, romance, crime thrillers and fantasy.

And I will ask some book reviewers to share the key elements they look for in what they consider to be a four or five star rated read.

New Books on the Shelves of the Cafe

If you have a new book coming out between now and Christmas then please let me know. For those already in the Cafe and Bookstore, all I will need is the link on Amazon either as pre-order or available.

If you are new to the Cafe and Bookstore here is the link to the submission post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/12/27/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-2019-free-book-promotion/

There will be other promotions in the run up to Christmas including A Christmas Blog Party on Friday 20th December that everyone will be invited to.. food, drink and music… and an opportunity to promote your blog in the comments.

In the meantime.. do not forget to let me know about new books due out before Christmas…thanks Sally.

Please visit Sally’s Blog to find out more!


Books by Sally Cronin

Visit Sally’s Books on Amazon



Source: Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – The Christmas Book Fair with Guest Writers – starting November 18th 2019 | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Travel Column with D.G. Kaye – Part Three – Preparing for a Safe Trip. | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

Travel Talk with D.G. Kaye


Welcome to Part 3 of my Travel Tips in my Travel Column I’m writing for Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord Invitation.



Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Travel Column with D.G. Kaye – Part Three – Preparing for a Safe Trip.


Welcome to part three of the Travel Column with D.G. Kaye.. Debby Giesand this week Debby shares some great tips to get the best value and maximum enjoyment from your holiday. There is much to prepare for to ensure a safe and enjoyable holiday including insurance, luggage security, extra fees for exclusive holidays. Debby has all that covered and more.


Part Three of Travel Tips – Preparing for a Safe Trip


bags packed



For today’s edition of Travel Talk, I’ve prepared a list of important things to do to prepare yourselves for a snag-free travel experience.


Important Tips to Consider When Booking a Trip


Travel Insurance – Don’t leave home without it! Always make sure to purchase travel insurance before leaving your country (or province for fellow Canadians). We don’t plan on mishaps, but they surely do happen. In many countries, particularly the U.S., if you need medical care and don’t have travel insurance it can easily cost you six-digit figures for medical aid. A few hundred dollars for insurance is worth the peace of mind.

Price Checking – Do your homework when booking a trip. Compare prices on various sites and with airline packages.

Check for Discounted Rates – Most hotels worldwide and car rental companies offer further discounted rates for seniors, members of CAA or AAA (Canadian Automobile Association and American Automobile Association). Remember to ask for those discounts when booking!

Keep on Price Checking – Once you’ve booked a trip in advance, do an occasional price change check. Many companies will honor a price drop if you spot it and will re-adjust your price. Before I went on my last cruise I went on their site to check some packages and noticed a sale on cruises. I saw my same cruise and cabin category listed for $500 cheaper, months after I booked it. I called my cruise rep and got the $500 deducted off the price of my cruise!

Resort Fees – Always inquire at time of booking a hotel if they charge resort fees on top of the initial price. Don’t get caught by surprise! Many U.S. hotels, in particular, are now charging approximately $33 per night extra just for bogus resort fees. Some companies hide them or make no mention of them until you get to the hotel. A one week’s stay in a hotel can run you an extra $230 just for fees, based on a one week stay. I found this out twice by surprise – once while I visited a hotel in Vegas where I was comped with a free 5-night stay, but still got snagged with daily resort fees. And once when I booked an all-inclusive air/hotel trip to Arizona with Air Canada, only to find out that the secret resort fees weren’t part of the all-inclusive. After I booked the trip, I called the hotel in Arizona to inquire about their facilities and that’s where I found out about the additional fees. You can read the article I wrote about this incident HERE and how I rectified it with the airlines.

What are Resort Fees? – Once upon a time when you booked a hotel . . .Please continue reading 



Source: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Travel Column with D.G. Kaye – Part Three – Preparing for a Safe Trip. | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Caribbean and Canada Customs by D.G. Kaye | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

Reblog and share


Today I’m sharing the last in the series of travel share posts that Sally Cronin shared on her Travel Blog Series. This post can refresh your memory or be an appetizer for the new posts to come from me on travel and tips, which I’ll be writing for Sally’s new Travel Column at the Smorgasbord starting this Monday!


Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Caribbean and Canada Customs by D.G. Kaye


If you would like to share some of your posts on travel to anywhere, by any means of transport and pass on your experience and tips, then details are at the end of the post. Don’t forget it is an opportunity to showcase your blog and your books!


Time for the last in the travel series of posts from D.G. Kaye’s blog. And this week we are off to the Caribbean and more adventures with Customs and Excise!!! First published by Debby Gies in February of 2017.

Welcome Aboard

Hello lovely people! I’ve just returned from the beautiful Caribbean, and although I’m in between my return and part 2 of our winter vacation in Arizona next week and doing lots of laundry, sorting out emails and details for the next trip, and having a few follow up doctor appointments for hubby, I’m dropping in here with a short post.

We had a spectacular vacation of fun and sun. We were blessed to have everything flow beautifully from our departure to Fort Lauderdale, all the way through our return journey home.

Fort Lauderdale

A view from our balcony in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

I had hoped to post more on social media, but between our constant busyness and unpredictable internet, as anticipated, I was pretty much absent on the web. While at sea, the days magically turned into night so effortlessly that time drifted by.

We were up early daily, eating breakfast on the balcony before we headed out by 9am-ish to either our lounge chairs at the pool or exploring on the shores. All the years I’ve been with my husband on vacation, he’s been the one to get out by 6am to secure the deck chairs with a towel and chair clips to ensure we ‘got a good spot’ to soak up the rays without being squashed in by too many other chairs enabling us to turn our chairs around as the sun moved. This time was different.

Balcony view on the Caribbean

A view from my cabin balcony in the Caribbean

Our friends who my husband had always got chairs for as well, repaid the favor to allow him to sleep in, and took turns waking at dawn to secure our seats. Chair saving and positioning is an art, and one the six of us are conveniently all fussy about.The weather was gorgeous and hot, particularly when we got out of the Atlantic into the Caribbean. Please continue reading . . .


Source: Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Caribbean and Canada Customs by D.G. Kaye | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

My Big Sunny Mexican Vacation Part 2 – Beach Wares and Chairs and Muffins

Puerto Vallarta


We woke up to spectacular ocean waves crashing and gorgeous beach views every morning, which we enjoyed as we ate our early breakfasts just after sunrise. Sunshine with a side of ocean breeze was just what the doctor ordered for both us.


Previous to our trip, my husband was unwell for a few months. When we left for this vacation, he had just graduated to using a cane from using the aid of a walker. He was so excited to go away that he said he was content just to lounge on the balcony all day while I’d go down to the pool. But miracles abounded.

happy in the sun


By day two, hubby joined me at the pool. I got him to take little walks with me on the beach – sans cane. By the third day of pool lounging and after taking our showers, we walked up the main street for a couple of blocks to get familiar with what was available to us. Walking on the narrow sidewalks full of cracks and high steps up and down from curbs, he began to tire so we returned back to the condo. We locked elbows as we ventured back the few blocks but I was elated within that my husband could walk with me without the cane.

By the next day, hubby seemed to be back to the man I knew two years ago. Lots of sleep and sunshine was surely a healing tonic. He ate his breakfast and eagerly gathered up the towels for the beach chairs to go down early to secure our chairs of choice for the day. This was the vacation job my husband always had taken on, and had previously told me it was going to be my job now, but I never inherited the duty as he cheerfully would go down to the pool every morning each day to mark our spots. I’d do the breakfast dishes while he sat patiently waiting me for come down and join him about two hours later each morning. While I’d catch up on emails and social media check ins, he’d happily chat at the pool with other husbands who were doing the same – saving their chairs until their wives would join them. It seemed to be a ritual by many seasoned travelers.

Canada towel
My beach towel. If I would have brought 20 of I could have sold.


Everyone seemed so friendly at our pool, most vacationers were there for two and three months, and majority were Canadians – most from Quebec, others from Vancouver, Alberta and Saskatchewan. We all had one other thing in common besides being Canadian, and that was our desire to get out of the cold Canadian winter.

We had our daily visitors on the beach – vendors selling T shirts, beach coverups, hand crafted items, sunglasses and more. But the most awaited were ‘Muffin man’ and ‘Mango man’. Only once a day we’d hear the shouting out of Muffin man as he walked across the beach and passed by each resort pool, calling out “Muffin man” to alert all those eagerly awaiting his pass by and raising curiosity in the newcomers like us.

At approximately 11am daily, the Muffin man made his rounds past our place with his huge round platter balanced on his head, full of huge muffins, slices of fresh baked coconut or cheese pies. and apple or blueberry turnovers – the same menu daily and for the mere price of 15 Pesos, about the equivalent to 1 Canadian dollar.  The colorful Muffin man complete with eyeliner and mascara and a jovial personality, had no problem unloading his tray and my husband became another fan of all the goodies presented daily. Mango man came by a few times a day with reloads of his mangoes already peeled and creatively sculpted into flowers on a stick, which were appealing to many while the hot sun burned and those juicy fruits had all the work done for them to, ready to just purchase and indulge into.

From our pool seats we could view the ocean only steps in front of the roped off private part of the beach in front of our pool where we’d see horseback riding, and even a few whales popped up for air only meters from shore. Sadly, my quick reflex camera skills weren’t quick enough to grab a photo of the whales before I could set up the photo, they went back into the Pacific. And we had the best massages right on the beach by registered massage therapists at the hotel next door. The massages were done up on a slight hill right in front of the ocean. The massage booth was complete with two comfortable beds, aromatherapy that wafted through the air as the ocean breeze blew through the white canopied curtains that hung from the four sides of the makeshift open air massage room. And only the sounds of the waves crashing and birds chirping nearby could be heard.

massage on the beach
Massage area before morning set up of beds and curtains



The lookout edge of the pool is where most of the ladies hung out while cooling out of the hot sun – you never know who was going to pass by selling something of interest. Of course I’d bought a few beach cover-ups and made friends with some of the Mexicans who schlepped their wares all day back and forth along the beach all day. Every time I wore a new one to the pool I’d get asked where I got my cover-up. I told them I’d send Lisa over later to the pool’s edge, and got her a lot of business.

another beach day ends
Another glorious day at the pool ends. I’m wearing one of Lisa’s fashions


Lisa with her wares
Lisa and her husband dropping off their load at the pool’s edge
Beach goodies
What to choose?

We made some new friends while away. Two of my new friends – Jean and Bertholle, are from Quebec. We met in the pool and became fast friends. Jean happens to be a medium and a writer! He has just finished his manuscript and I referred him to my editor who happens to be bilingual. I also promised to help with with trying to find a translator to get his book from French to English, and urged him to start a blog. We got along famously between speaking my broken high school French and their broken English.

2 writers and a therapist

We also made friends with a lovely couple – Claudette and Alain, and look forward to spending part of the winter with them again next year.

Claudette and Alain

Balcony view
Visiting at Alain and Claudette’s beautiful balcony view

We also met a lovely couple who own a magnificent unit in our condo – Eric and Leticia. As they live in Guadalajara, they keep their unit for their beach escapes. They offered to rent their condo to us next year. Of course we’re taking them up on it. It’s rather large with 4 bedrooms, with the master bedroom and bed facing the ocean!

Until next time, I’ll share a few magnificent sunset photos  I took from my balcony. Many more to come.

Stunning Puerto Vallarta nights

Puerto Vallarta splendour

Puerto Vallarta sunset

Puerto Vallarta sunset

Balcony sunset view
Another view at almost sunset from our balcony
one beautiful sunset
One of many more beautiful sunset photos to come


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