Let’s Have A Look – FDA curbs unfounded memory supplement claims – Harvard Health Blog – Harvard Health Publishing

Let’s Have a Look at this. How well do many of those pharmaceutical ‘miracle’ drugs they tout in advertisements work? Putting aside the long drawn out, often dangerous side-effects always recorded at the end of a commercial ad, in haste, in hopes your ears may miss a few, is it worth it to take this drug?


So this little question came to mind when I Googled the memory touting drug, Prevagen. To be honest, I looked it up out of curiosity because whenever I watch American news channel MSNBC (which I pay a premium to have), I can’t get over the same three or four themed advertisements that play over and over – pharmaceuticals, insurance companies, and more of it’s ilk. And the same ad for Prevagen comes on no matter when I watch that channel. But I digress, and after seeing that commercial numerous times I was curious about what exactly is in this ‘miracle’ drug? I mean, I know my short term memory sometimes plays tricks on me, so maybe I should take this?

As a person who does her damnest not to have to take pharmaceuticals, and thankfully, I don’t, except my compounded natural dessicated thryoid medication, my little meno-moments got me curious enough to look up – or try to look up, what is in this stuff? It led me to this page of Harvard University medical educators and contributors on various topics. Dr. Robert Shmerling, Senior Faculty Editor at Harvard Health Publishing, gave a great scientific explanation of the touting of Prevagen, it’s actual efficacy, and mentions the protocols the FDA takes before allowing a drug on the market, and the stipulations of wording that can be used by the advertisers.


Here are some of the points Dr. Shmerling makes:

“Like many heavily-advertised supplements, this one makes many claims. The bottle promises it “improves memory” and “supports: healthy brain function, sharper mind, clearer thinking.” Never mind that the main ingredient in jellyfish (apoaequorin) has no known role in human memory, or that many experts believe supplements like this would most likely be digested in the stomach and never wind up anywhere near the brain.”

“As “proof” of power, a bar graph shows a rise from 5% to 10% to 20% over 90 days in “recall tasks.” But there’s no way to know what these numbers refer to, how many people were studied, or other important details. And no information is provided about effects on memory after 90 days. The fine print under the graph says that the supplement “improved recall tasks in subjects” without explaining what this means. While a company-sponsored study reported improvements in memory after people took apoaequorin, the published version demonstrated minimal improvement (summarized here).”

“The US Federal Trade Commission wasn’t convinced of the supplement’s benefits. It charged the supplement maker with false advertising back in 2012. In the legal filings, the company was accused of selectively reporting data and misleading the public by claiming that Prevagen is “clinically proven” to improve cognitive function. The lawsuit has not yet been decided.”

You can read the full article, where it continues on about what claims pharma companies are legally allowed to make, and which claims are not allowed as disclaimers.

According to what I’ve read from the above articles, I am personally not convinced I’d want to take that drug. Interesting the wording permitted to use in advertisements leaves me feeling a bit duped, and without the long term benefits or side-effects, a lawsuit still pending on whether or not the efficacy has been proven for effectiveness and listening to claims in the ad how it’s ‘given them back their peace of mind’, I’m not convinced either.

If you’d care to share your thoughts on FDA issues with claims you don’t agree with from your own experience, please share your thoughts here with us. And if any of you readers here take Prevagen, I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts about.


Source: FDA curbs unfounded memory supplement claims – Harvard Health Blog – Harvard Health Publishing



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Open Book Blog Hop – What Would You Do If You Had The Money?

Something a little different.  I visited my friend, Stevie Turner’s blog, where she shared a post she wrote as a blogshare for a Blog Hop. I haven’t joined the Blog Hop but I thought it would be fun to share an answer to this week’s Bloghop question Stevie shared on her blog:


Read Stevie’s post:

Welcome to this week’s Blog Hop. Today the topic is:

If you had unlimited money to start and maintain a business, what would it be?


I have to admit, I love Stevie’s ambition in her response to the question. And it didn’t take me long to think about what I would do with an abundance of time and money.

I’ve done a lot of fun and sometimes off the wall things in my life. I try not to have regrets and own up to the decisions I make then live with them. If I wanted something in life, I always went after it. I’ve been known to chase the impossible and come out victorious.  Then I settled into a different pattern of living and social butterflying after I finally broke my promise to myself that I wouldn’t get married. But after a few years of marriage, my antsy self needed a hobby.

In my earlier life, one of the careers I chose was to become a casino dealer. I followed my passion and thought about where I’d like to work and could enjoy my job. I went to dealer school and got licensed to become a blackjack dealer, then a poker dealer and worked my way up to pit boss in my days of working casinos. Besides the long hours standing on my feet and a sore neck and shoulder from years of dealing cards in regimented fashion, I loved the action and the social aspect of the job. I felt right at home as I’d grown up watching my mother and aunts play poker in our smoke-filled kitchen once or twice a week, and played Gin/Rummy since I was a kid with my paternal grandfather. I matured into a rather good card player.

With the advent of online poker I decided to join a poker site – okay, maybe two. I enjoyed playing tournament poker on our bi-annual jaunts to Vegas. Now I could play in the comfort of my own home. I didn’t play for high stakes but the tournament pots were healthy sized.

I probably had a good eight year run before I  began to apply and assert myself and start writing a book I’d be thinking about doing for years. I always wrote bibs and bobs and kept many journals for years. The writing bug took over and for the last eight years I’ve been immersed in the writing world. The poker tournament days evaporated once the serious writing began. And so that’s where the last of my careers will remain, writing. That, and taking care of my husband.

So, after my short biopic, and in answer to the question – what would I want to do with all the money and time at my disposal? Nothing, nada, zero. Oh sure, throw in lots of travel (when there’s no pandemic), but what I can honestly say is I’m quite content to write the rest of my life. The only thing I’d want to do with an abundance of money is “Waste away in Margaritaville.” Well, not really wasting away, vegging, but more like just taking in the beauty of nature, the sun’s rays adhering themselves to my body, and a daily margarita or two.

Give me the sun and warmth in Pacific Mexico. If I had oodles of money, I’d have no desire to get involved in starting up any other business. I’d remain writing because it’s part of who I am, and I’d hire virtual assistance to do the parts I don’t enjoy doing for marketing and such, and write at my leisure, be out on the beach daily with a book and an afternoon margarita. It doesn’t get better than that for me at this point in my life.



What would you like to do if you had access to a lot of money? Would you be eager to want to start a business and be tied to the time and gruel it would take to mature and beyond if you were middle-aged or older?


You can visit Stevie’s post and find out what she would do with the money:




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Smorgasbord Health Column – Project 101 – Resilience – An opportunity to get fighting fit – Sally Cronin | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Sally Cronin has begun a new health series at her blog – Smorgasbord Invitation. This new series, Project 101 – Resilience, is to both educate and inspire us all to get and keep fit. In this series, Sally will be talking about the sum of our parts and how to keep each of them running optimally, in this online sequel to her book Size Matters.



Smorgasbord Health Column – Project 101 – Resilience – An opportunity to get fighting fit – Sally Cronin


Welcome to the new series – Project 101 – Resilience.

As with most of you, I have spent the last 10 weeks in lock down with only a visit to the supermarket for fresh produce once a week. Thankfully, and touch wood, none of our family or close friends have been infected and slowly we are all coming out of hibernation and preparing to face the world again.

I am sure I am not alone in feeling somewhat nervous about this and will continue with my early shopping to avoid the crowds, wear gloves and a mask when shopping and decontaminate when I get home again.

I have been making good use of the time by continuing to work on keeping myself fit plus resurrecting some writing projects. I have also been planning the direction I would like the blog to take in the next year. For example, I wanted to make use of all the health posts that I have in the archives which number in their 100s, and re-purpose them in a way that readers would find useful.

Project 101 – Resilience.

Let me say upfront, that I cannot promise that what you will read over the next few weeks will prevent you catching a viral or bacterial infection, but what I would like to do is to encourage as many people as possible to take themselves out of the identified high risk categories by making some small changes to their lifestyle and diet.

One of the highest risks is to those over 70, particularly those who have underlying health problems. However, those health problems are predominantly lifestyle related and do not have to be for life. For example, Obesity, Type II Diabetes, Inflammatory diseases, nutritional deficiencies such as Vitamin D and High Blood Pressure.

I see a window of opportunity for all of us to review our health, diet and lifestyle and see where we can make improvements to boost our immune systems, reduce our risk factors and feel more confident about going back out into the world again. A chance to get our bodies fighting fit.

Over the last 20 years or so of working with 100s of clients as a nutritional therapist, I have discovered that making sweeping changes does not work. There are three elements that require attention, physical, mental and emotional, and making small but key changes in these areas is much more effective. . . .

Please head over to Sally’s and check out what we can expect to learn in this series.


Source: Smorgasbord Health Column – Project 101 – Resilience – An opportunity to get fighting fit – Sally Cronin | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine



Savvy Online Shopping – What to Watch Out For – Just Sayin’

Today I’m back with some of my online shopping and shipping tips. It seem’s every so often there seems to be a kerfuffle when I place an online order. And because it seems I do a lot of online ordering, there’s bound to be mix-ups or snafus every once in awhile. I will add that thankfully, I’m not yet at the stage in life where I must have my groceries delivered, as I much prefer to choose my own produce and make sure I’m not getting any dented cans or ‘almost ready to expire’ products. My latest snag prompted me to write this post so I can share a few handy tips on what to look out for when placing an online order.


So what prompted this little informative rant? I was recently  on a hunt for my favorite lipstick, which I sadly discovered is soon being discontinued – once again, as many of my favs have disappeared through the years in Sephora. My first go to site was our big pharma site with a host of beauty products they sell online but not in all their stores as there are a multitude of product lines and only so many a store can carry. I prefer to check out sites in Canada first, as if I have to order from the U.S. I get hit with a multitude of duties on top of outside Canada shipping. When I get that desperate (as I have with other products gone astray), only then will I order from Ulta in the U.S. who, like Sephora, carry all cosmetic lines.

My recent order through Shopper’s Drug Mart required a minimum of $50 spent to get free shipping. As I have currently stockpiled 5 of these lipsticks, I thought I’d order a few more for my collection and of course the order came to $49 and change – pennies short of free shipping, so I decided to add in a bronzing cream I love because my current one is almost empty, but could have waited a month or so for. So my order now was well over $50. A few days after I placed my order I received an email confirmation, “Your order has shipped”, only at the bottom of the email, there was a notice saying – sorry the lipsticks are out of stock. The email had a new total being charged to my card – now well under $50, but they had taken the liberty now to charge me an additional $8 for shipping! No way was I paying shipping on that order!

Here’s the deal online companies, if items are out of stock which weren’t out of stock when I ordered, I think I deserve the courtesy of knowing before hand in a separate email, offering me a chance to add to the order or cancel. But they took the liberty of sending the bronzer cream without the rest of my order and slapping a shipping charge on. I promptly called their customer service number and told them exactly what I wrote here. ‘Please don’t take the liberty to ship half an original order without my consent and adding your shipping charge because YOU couldn’t fulfill the order.’ Yes, it was a bit time consuming, but I don’t appreciate companies taking my money without my consent. And of course, they reversed the shipping charge.

When online shopping, it’s important to check our emailed receipts to make sure we haven’t been wrongly charged, and correct sizes and items are listed to make sure  receive exactly what we ordered – even with that, sometimes wrong things are sent in error, but checking receipts and Visa statements are a first line defense.

I do usually order online from my specific favorite companies and am pretty familiar with their shipping practices. But when I order from an unfamiliar site, the first thing I do before ordering is click on their shipping policies to learn what I’m up against.


What to Look at When Ordering Online

First, if you’re unfamiliar with shopping on a certain site, I recommend Googling them up to check out reviews and recommends for that site, which will undoubtedly give you an idea of their customer service, should you require contacting them. I’ve come across a few popular sites over time that majority of complaints from customers was the terrible customer service and policies when it came to returns. That’s enough info for me to send me looking somewhere else to do my business. We should also check for reviews on a product we’re interested in ordering, on the actual site. Reading product reviews gives us a better idea of the product once someone has actually received theirs. Now, this isn’t to say that all reviews are helpful, as many of us readers know, not all book reviews are useful and sometimes irrelevant to a book.

Reviews are supposed to be helpful for others to aid in helping us make our decision to purchase. Sure, it’s okay to state how much you may love a product, but not adding any descriptions, such as sizing issues if it’s a garment or shoe, actual size of a product compared to what’s advertised, shipping issues, etc., isn’t helpful.

Below, I’ve done a little comparison of what to include in a good product review as opposed to what isn’t helpful:



  • Size comparisons, such as: “I’m usually a size 6 or small, and I needed to size up in this.”
  • This shoe fit too tight – size up.
  • This blender died after 2 months use – if I see a few of these comments, I’m on to a different brand.
  • The color of the product isn’t the same as what’s displayed on product page.
  • Book reviews that give some insight to fellow readers what the book is about, how they related to plot or characters, pacing, something the reader took from the book, and how the book left them feeling.


Not Helpful:

  • I love it!
  • So beautiful, glad I ordered it.
  • Wished I ordered in more colors.
  • Book reviews with no substance and nothing to entice a fellow reader.


Just Sayin'



I know as an online shopper, I rely a lot on other people’s reviews before I venture into making a purchase. Good reviews help others make an informed decision. Yes, it’s okay to share the love for a product we’re happy about, but without adding useful information, a review will serve no purpose other than to high-five the seller.


Remember this checklist before making your online purchase:

  • Check reviews on the site you’re ordering from.
  • Check shipping policies and ‘additional’ charges – especially if you are going to order from out of your country.
  • Check reviews under products you’re interested in purchasing, and read both negative and positive comments to help aid your purchase decisions.
  • Check Customer Service and ‘Contact Us’ on the site to make sure their return policy is fair and doesn’t require you to take a hit as penalty for returns, and that there is a contact phone number.
  • MAKE sure when placing an order on a site that isn’t from your country that you click on the right currency for your country, because if you will be paying in foreign dollars, you are looking at an exchange rate plus an additional bank charge on your credit card for the conversion. This will help you decide if paying the additional exchange plus shipping and duties are really worth purchasing the item.
  • Lastly, if you get surprisingly dinged for a shipping charge unjustly added, make sure to contact the company to have the charge removed.


Remember: It’s important to always check your receipts, emails, and credit card statements to make sure you haven’t been wrongly charged.

If you would like to add a situation you may have encountered that could help others, please feel free to add to the conversation in comments.


© D.G. Kaye and DGKayewriter.com, 2014 – 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to D.G. Kaye



My Big Fat Mexican Vacation – Part 1 – Getting There

My recent vacation was so jam-packed full of fun and activities that I was flummoxed with where to begin, so I decided, why not begin from the beginning. As many of you know, I enjoy writing about my travel adventures, and ‘getting there’ always entails some of my observations and rants. So for this first post on my recent trip I’ll begin with the flight to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.


What could be possibly go wrong?

I was ready. Every detail had been looked after. I managed to get ourselves bumped up to first class for a not bad fee. I’d previously booked ‘preference’ seats in economy costing $55 per seat, each way, allowing for bigger seats and more leg room. On top of that additional fee, it was going to cost another $80 per person for 2 checked bags each, and still, no food was free with those seats. I made a point to mark off ‘wheelchair’ request on my husband’s booking because I learned from previous trips that not only did that speed things along for us for the very long walks to security checkpoint and worse – to the gate – a trek my husband can no longer endure, but being in a wheelchair at the airport definitely has its perks. An airline assistant wheels my hub through to security with no lines to await in because we’re taken through to wheelchair access line, and me being his companion gets to share in that perk. The assistant proceeds to wheel him through to the gate, and of course, we’re granted priority boarding before the masses load on and chaos ensues with everyone trying to fit their often over-sized carryons in the upper cabin bins.

When we were offered to upgrade, I was sent an email from Air Canada offering the upgrade if I placed a bid on a sliding scale of how much more I’d be willing to pay per ticket for the opportunity. I figured out the cost and took a chance with my bid after figuring that the bags and seat I’d already purchased per person were already adding up to $135 per person and settled on offering $300 more each toward the bump up. If they accepted it (on what I felt was a fairly empty first class section, after checking seating availability first), I was really paying about $170 each for the upgrade and the previous seats I booked and paid for would be reimbursed to me, plus we’d be given meals. I had nothing to lose.

Let me preface this by saying that last year we did the same trick and it was fine. Besides the seating room and free bags, a hot meal is included and all the snacks you want, plus of course, priority boarding, and free meal and drinks in the First Class Air Canada departure lounge while waiting at the airport.

I knew this was a much bigger plane than we’d previously traveled on to Mexico, which of course meant more seats available in first class, much to my chagrin, it seemed to me that they stuffed in more first class seating to obtain higher fares, taking away some of the comfort – as in leg room!

By the time my upgrade was accepted, we ended up in the last row of first class. Our chairs didn’t recline because of the makeshift, cardboard-like wall that separated first class from economy. Oh, and of course the tiny curtain that gets pulled closed upon take-off to separate the 2 classes. I’m pretty sure there was a woman with ants in her pants in the first row behind us in economy as that partition wall was banged on a lot, lord knows what that woman was doing. At one point the woman must have fallen and rolled halfway under the curtain as she continued to busy herself with taking up and down her carryon on bag several times from her overhead cabin. Half hour into the flight, the menus came around for breakfast. There was nothing for me to eat with my dietary restrictions so I wasn’t a happy camper.

Alas! We landed. Being in first class, we deplaned with the first class round of departures first. My hub was on his cane and I was schlepping my hugeeeeee tote back with purse and computer bag inserted in it, my husband’s hand-held carryon bag full of our medications and other remedies, and pulling my own carryon behind me. When we approached the exit doors there was no ramp with a wheelchair assistant awaiting, BUT A FLIGHT OF STEEP STAIRS to get off and get onto a bus to take us to the airport. Yes! Nobody told us we would be busing in from the tarmac, and I was stunned. I turned to the stewardess and voiced my dismay, “Are you kidding me??????????? What would happen if there was a passenger with no legs????” I received ZERO response.

Needless to say, I was pissed! Hungry and pissed at that! So I rearranged my carryons, placing each ‘heavy’ bag on one shoulder, grasping my roll on carryon in one hand and holding my husband’s arm with my (laughably) free hand as he slowly took on one steep, narrow stair at a time til we got down. Once down, a Mexican wheelchair assistant awaited with a wheelchair to get my hub on the bus as I dragged myself and bags and followed.

Puerto Vallarta airport has undergone some major renovations in the last year as it expanded it’s once tiny airport to accommodate the ever-growing amount of tourists that visit annually. It’s beyond me why with the amount of Canadians dominating the tourist scene there why Air Canada got bumped from having its own hangar to pull into. But once off that plane, despite having an assistant wheeling my hub through Mexican customs and patiently awaiting with us to collect our bags, I knew we still had a few hurdles to cross. Once bags are collected and walking through to get to the taxis, you first have to pass a mob crowd of people selling you stuff. No, not trinkets and Tshirts – more like a FREE taxi ride (not free). I found out quickly last year that these ‘vendors’ pay airport fees to be able to mob into a ‘meet and greet’ atmosphere when plane loads of people exit the airport. These ‘free’ taxi rides come with a price, mostly time-share offers where you are expected to spend almost a whole day visiting a property for rent, listening to 2 hour long presentations and sometimes given a free meal for doing so. Certainly not worth many people’s time (I know because we once got caught in it nearly 2 decades ago in Acapulco).

The trick is to keep walking. Don’t ask a question or they’ll never leave you alone. The salespeople are like trained hounds. Once outside in the beautiful sunshine with a packed airport full of people waiting for cabs, there are choices of various taxi stands to choose from. With the hot sun beating down on me and sweating in my rather warm traveling clothes, I stood searching out the shorter lines. While standing, a cab service manager (yes, they’re all managed) thought I may have looked like an easy mark over-burdened with carryons and a cart full of luggage with a husband in a wheelchair. He offered me an SUV cab ride for $55 U.S. dollars. My response as I sweated with aching arms, “What kind of drugs are you on? I’m not paying $55 US for a 5 minute cab ride” then I proceeded to move toward a regular taxi cab line. I told the cab manager where I was going and he quoted me the fair price of 250 pesos, which I knew was the standard airport fee to my destination, even though it was double the price of going to the airport because it always costs more to get out of an airport with airport fees added onto the taxi fee.

Finally, we got in the cab with all our luggage, and the driver proceeded to drive off when my inbred habit of double-checking kicked in and I wanted to verify with the driver that the fee was 250 pesos. “How much is the ride?” I asked. He replied, telling me it was 500 pesos. “Take me back” I raised my already impatient voice to the driver. It’s 250 not 500!” The driver didn’t respond but turned the taxi around and stopped right back where we got in. I jumped out of the car and approached the cab manager and asked him why I was told 250 and the driver wants to charge me 500. He told me the Flamingo hotel is further into town in another cab zone for fares and I told him, “I’m not going to the Flamingo!” He apologized and 250 pesos and 7 minutes later we finally arrived at our rented accommodations.

Within 2 hours later I was unpacked and the sun was setting, and too tired to get changed to go eat or grocery shopping. Hubby went down to take out dinner from the restaurant attached to our condo. I ate my chicken fajitas and sipped on my maragarita on the big beautiful balcony, zenning out at the ocean. Relaxation mode begins.



gorgeous sunset

Million dollar view

other half of the million dollar view

Mexican sunset


Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Travel Column with D.G. Kaye – Traveling to #Mexico | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

Travel Talk with D.G. Kaye


Today I’m sharing my latest edition of my travel column over at Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord Invitation. And today, we’re off to Mexico!



Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Travel Column with D.G. Kaye – Traveling to #Mexico


This edition of my travel column is all about Mexico and what you need to know about traveling there.


I love Mexico and have been there many times over the years, visiting several different parts of Mexico in the past. My favorite Mexico destination is Puerto Vallarta, located on the Pacific  west coast of Mexico. I recently spent one month there last winter and looking forward to two glorious months there next winter.


About Mexico


Mexico’s official name is The United States of Mexico – Estados Unidos Mexicanos. Mexico is comprised of 32 States. It is also the 11th most populated country in the world with a population of over 118 million people, and the 14th largest country by land. The climate in Mexico is hot and humid – less humid in the interior states. Mexico has the 9th largest economy in the world. Their main industries are: food, beverage, Tequila, Corona beer, tobacco, cotton, iron, steel, and last but certainly not least – tourism. Their rich natural resources are silver, petroleum and natural gas.

Mexico gained its independence from Spain in 1821. Mexico City is the capital, originally built on the ruins of the Aztec capital, which was destroyed when the Spanish conquered the Aztecs. Although the language predominantly spoken in Mexico is Spanish, there are in fact 68 languages spoken there by the natives and approximately 350 indigenous dialects!

In the year 2000, Mexico finally became a democratic country after 7 decades of rule by the Institutional Revolutionary Party, known as the ‘PRI’. Like many other countries in the world, there are parts of Mexico that are safer than others.


Popular Places to Visit in Mexico and Places to Avoid


Currently, there are 7 northern names states and 3 western named states that are on travel advisory lists, mostly due to cartel violence. If you click on the link supplied above with the named states, you will see that specific cities are named on the advisory in the named states. Sadly, some of my fond memories of yesteryear vacations were in the once beautiful Acapulco (in the state of Guerrero) where the cartel has finished off that resort town for travelers. And although the beautiful and serene city of Manzanillo located in the state of Colima, is said to not be part of the advisory of that state, there’s not a shot you’d catch me going back there either.


So where are the safest and most popular tourist locales?


Many people love to visit the rich culture in the heart of Mexico, Mexico City. Another popular place people like to visit, and incidentally, many ex-patriots make their home in is San Miguel Allende, which is a beautiful city located in the interior of Mexico, not far from Mexico City. But the most popular vacation destinations in Mexico are Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific west coast and Cancun/Playa Del Carmen on the eastern gulf coast.

Have a look at the map of Mexico HERE to get a broader scope of where the different cities are located geographically.

I always loved Puerto Vallarta and had spent quite a few vacations there through the years but hadn’t been back there for almost 10 years until last winter because my husband and I got hooked on cruising and exploring the Caribbean. We always said that we must go back to Puerto Vallarta and with the advent of the current administration in the U.S. and the devaluation of our Canadian dollar, we took the plunge last winter and we had the time of our lives.

Puerto Vallarta is a beautiful coastal town, and my, has it grown. I love that it hasn’t lost its native charm, yet, has grown with the availability of many North American amenities. We rented a beautiful condo right on the beach.

We shopped our groceries at Walmart and Costco, a short walking distance, and ate out at some spectacular restaurants. One block away I could get my daily dose of a Starbuck’s Soy Vanilla, Sugar-free latte. A five-minute cab ride north is the beautiful Marina area where the cruise ships dock nearby and many restaurants, yachts, shopping and weekly markets can be enjoyed. A ten-minute cab ride takes me downtown to what’s known as the ‘Malecon’ which is Mexican for the boardwalk where hundreds of people stroll, eat, shop and watch artists at work and displaying their crafts for sale. The people are friendly and the value for our dollar was fabulous. The sunshine is also virtually guaranteed daily, save for their short rainy season from mid-June til October, boasting approximately 300 sunny days per year. Honestly, I don’t recall ever seeing rain in Puerto Vallarta.

The weather in PV is hot and humid by day – usual temps in winter (November thru April) can range anywhere from the high 70s to the mid-90s. We spent last March there, and I found the days became exceptionally hotter once mid-March hit. The nights often offer a cool ocean breeze where I have been known to actually have to throw on a sweater when walking through town.

Cancun, being on the gulf side, is known to have sporadic rainfall and has become quite Americanized through the years. I personally have never gone to that side because I prefer knowing I’m waking up to guaranteed sunshine, and besides the weather, I also prefer the unspoiled feeling of being in Mexico when I’m in Mexico, not feeling I’m in a more commercialized locale, and according to the many I know who have been there, a lot more expensive in Cancun. I don’t need American dollars in Puerto Vallarta, and my Canadian dollars get me great value with Pesos. U.S. dollars are used a lot in Cancun and food and beverage are also more expensive there.


So, let’s get into what you need to know when visiting Mexico.


Facts, Dos, and Don’ts, and Safety


First and foremost, you need a Mexican Tourist Card to both, enter Mexico and to leave. . . Continue reading



Source: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Travel Column with D.G. Kaye – Traveling to #Mexico | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The #Travel Column with D. G. Kaye – #Cruises – Part Two – Ship Tips | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

Friday blogshare



Today I’m sharing my latest post – Part 2 of the Cruise series, where I write a travel column over at Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord Invitation. In today’s article you will find everything you need to know about booking cabins, excursions, shopping aboard and some personal tips I’m sharing. Hop on aboard and visit me over at Sally’s blog.


Travel Talk with D.G. Kaye



Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The #Travel Column with D. G. Kaye – #Cruises – Part Two – Ship Tips


Delighted that D.G. Kaye – Debby Gies is now a regular contributor to the blog with her new Travel Column. Debby is a non-fiction author who has received wonderful reviews for her inspirational memoirs. She also is a seasoned traveler and her book Have Bags Will Travel is packed with useful information and entertaining stories of her own adventures.

Last time Debby shared some important information on cruise lines, the various standards of cabins available, and the best place on the ship to be if the weather is a bit choppy.

You can read that post in the directoryhttps://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/the-travel-column-with-d-g-kaye/



Cruises – Part Two – Ship Tips

In my first post in this series I covered what to look for when considering booking a cruise. Today I’m going to cover some of the activities available while on a cruise, and some tips on how to save money when booking those activities.

Packaged Deals

Many cruise lines offer package deals you can purchase pre-cruise or while onboard such as beverage packages. Yes, it’s true that soda pop, tea, coffee, and some juices are free to drink while onboard, but beer and alcohol, bottled water, specialty drinks and coffees, smoothies, etc. are not part of free.

If you’ve re-booked a cruise on a previous sailing or if you luck into a promo offer at the time of your booking, often cruise liners will offer you bonus incentives at bonus pricing. With Celebrity, their promos change often and depending when you book you will be offered to choose 2 or 3 packages to add on to your cruise FREE. The choices can be anywhere from a drink package (including alcohol), your tips paid for the entire cruise, a $200 – $300 onboard credit (my fav!), or free wifi (rare but I managed to catch one). So do make sure to check on the special offers to get the best bang for your bucks while booking. You can always book a drink package of your choice once onboard, but typically, you’ll get a better deal when pre-booking your packages.

Note: I highly recommend if you aren’t offered a free drink package, to buy one at a reasonable price comparatively to paying for each drink you consume on the whole cruise. Without a prepaid all you can drink package the price of alcoholic beverages and any specialty drinks can add up to well over $1000 if you’re taking a 2 week cruise. For example, premium bottled water will run you close to $4 a bottle. On a hot pool day I have no trouble drinking at least 6-8 bottles a day. And that’s not counting a specialty coffee in the afternoon and a cocktail or two before dinner then wine with dinner. I would have no problem spending at least $80 a day just in beverages!


When purchasing drinks, sundries or any other service related product while onboard, you just use your ship card to make those purchases. The card is your method of payment for anything purchased onboard without having to carry money around. When purchasing service related products, you can expect to see a service charge added to your bill if your purchase isn’t included in a package.

You will also be expected to leave tips at the end of your cruise to your cabin steward and restaurant staff who have served you nightly in the dining room. These tips are pre- calculated on a daily basis and will vary from ship to ship but will typically run at approximately $12 a day per person. This is where choosing the ‘tipping package’ will save you a few hundred dollars, already paid for. Some passengers get angry over this tipping charge and if you find it a problem, you can always go to the front concierge desk and ask them to remove the charges from your room bill. But I will state that the staffers work hard and many long hours daily, so my take is that it’s relatively cheap to tip those amounts compared to if you were to tip every single time you were served food or ordered a drink. . . Continue reading



Source: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The #Travel Column with D. G. Kaye – #Cruises – Part Two – Ship Tips | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

Smorgasbord Health Column – Alternative Healing – The Alexander Technique – Part Two – #Posture, #Backpain #Ergonomics | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

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Are you familiar with the ‘Alexander Technique? Sally Cronin has written an informative article on this procedure invented by Frederick Mathias Alexander to help correct posture. A wonderful read particularly for us writers who spend countless hours at our computers.


Smorgasbord Health Column – Alternative Healing – The Alexander Technique – Part Two – #Posture, #Backpain #Ergonomics


Last week I did an introduction to the Alexander Technique, which I have found very useful over many years.

Here is a link to the post:https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/05/30/smorgasbord-health-columns-alternative-healing-therapies-the-alexander-technique-part-one-backpain-headaches-posture/

Part 2

The Alexander Technique.

The originator of this technique is Frederick Matthias Alexander, an Australian actor, who found that his career began to falter as he lost his voice on stage. He consulted doctors but they could find neither the cause nor the cure for the problem. Having developed a technique to correct his own posture and that resulted in the return of his voice… Alexander went on to teach his method in the UK and America to dancers, actors and singers.

It is not just performers who can benefit from this technique as most of us today are either in jobs that force our bodies into unnatural contortions, or we are sitting at a desk writing for many hours of the day!

Alexander’s first step was to stand in front of the mirror and observe his body and posture. The truth is that none of us are completely symmetrical. Over time, with bad sitting and standing posture, we can become even more out of line.


Identifying problem areas

Stand naturally in front of a full length mirror . . . continue reading


Source: Smorgasbord Health Column – Alternative Healing – The Alexander Technique – Part Two – #Posture, #Backpain #Ergonomics | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life