August Break – I Believe (You Have to Be Really Drunk For This)

Turtle Racing in Key West, Florida

Turtle racing seems like both the most ridiculous thing you could do and the most hilarious. I'm honestly not sure what to think of the fact that there is a bar in Key West where this is a thing.

Would you go and watch if you had the opportunity? Would you bet? Or maybe this sign is an indication that Key West is not the place for you… What do you think?

* I'm participating in Susannah Conway's August Break. Only one more day left to join in the fun!

August Break – Yes! (I will ride in your yacht!)

Another shot of the rich and the famous. What kind of places do you think they go to in their magnificent yacht(s)? (And how much do you think it costs for upkeep of said yacht? 😬)

P.S. If you are reading this post and own a yacht, feel free to invite me on vacation. I won't bite. Or steal your yacht. 😉

* I'm participating in August Break. Join in?

August Break – Adventure

fog in Miami

I always love fog. To me it seems so symbolic of adventure.

Like … when Frodo begins his journey in The Lord of the Rings… Or the way the garden is foggy in The Secret Garden… It's the implication that something, though we don't know what, is around the corner and just waiting to happen.

With September only days away, are you ready? Do you know what to expect in the next month? Or are you clinging to August with every fiber of your being?

* I'm participating in The August Break

August Break – Window

view from the Intercontinental Miami

The view from our hotel room at the Intercontinental Miami was an absolute stunner. Remember the sunrise from earlier this month? I seriously did not want to look away or leave the room to do anything else. Just swoon. (You can ask my husband.)

* I'm a participant in Susannah Conway's August Break and one of the many reasons you should be one too. ;)

August Break – Pretty (Awesome) Weeds

In Florida, they have these trees that grow out rather than up. The roots dangle into the water, and as the tree continues to grow, it develops more and more roots, continuing to grow outward. This tree is called a Mangrove. If you get a bunch of these growing together, they can create an island. Mangroves are particularly important to our environment, because, as you can imagine, the roots are home to a variety of above water and underwater creatures and coral. Mangroves can even help lessen the impact of hurricanes and tsunamis on larger landmasses.

While I have to admit that I thought the Mangrove was a "pretty ugly weed" when I first saw it in Florida, I think it does a lot of awesome things for the environment and I'm willing to give it a pass.

Had you heard of the Mangrove tree (shrub?) before today's mini-lesson?

* I'm participating in #AugustBreak2017.

August Break – A Sign

All over Key West there were these signs that claimed it was "90 miles to Cuba". Well, no. Not exactly. Try 105. JFK used the "90 miles to Cuba" frequently in his speeches during the Cuban Missile Crises, and so it became known as fact. Only it wasn't. Try googling the distance between Key West and Cuba and you'll see. :)

Are there any other alternative facts that have been spread as truth that you can think of? 

* I'm participating in August Break. You should be too.

August Break – Sour

Carmen Moo-randa's in Key West, Florida

While I was in Key West, Carmen Moo-randa's was one of my favorite places to stop. Of course they have fresh Florida fruit milkshakes and smoothies, but they also had key limeade, various flavors of ice cream and sherbert, frozen chocolate coated key lime pie on a stick, and, my favorite, the key lime refresher, a tart drink made with frozen key limeade and a scoop of key lime sherbert on top. It was sweet, tart, and cool all at the same time. It's one of the few things I miss most from Key West.

Are you a fan of the key lime flavor? Would you consider stopping at place like this if you ever found yourself in Key West?

* I'm participating in August Break. You should join in on the fun!

August Break – Monochrome

Wynwood Walls area in Miami, FL (July 2017)

I had the hardest time finding a monochrome image for this challenge. As I was searching through my files, I found this one which I believe fits the monochrome criteria. It's also kind of funny. This particular artist had street art all up and down the road depicting brands going up against one another through (what I imagine to be) karate. Although imho that Chevron guy kind of looks more like a cat to me. ;)

Hope you all are having a wonderful Monday! Is anyone out viewing the eclipse today?

* I'm participating in August Break. I'd love for you to join in!

August Break – I Love (Sunsets)

Sunset off of Mallory Square in Key West, Florida

I love sunsets. I love how I don't have to get up extra early to see them. I love how much more vibrant and colorful they seem to be than sunrises. I just don't like how hard they are to find on the east coast. Luckily the Keys and Mallory Square offer some beautiful views that almost make you feel as though you are an on island.

Which do you prefer? Sunsets or sunrises?

* I'm taking part in August Break. Stay tuned for more Key West and Miami, Florida pictures!

August Break – Metal

One thing to note: if you take the Key West Hop On Hop Off trolley tour, it stops at several hotels on the route, such as the Crowne Plaza La Concha, Casa Marina Resort, and the Best Western Key Ambassador Hotel. For those looking to save money on parking and planning to get around using the Hop On Hop Off trolley, these are some of the best places to stay in Key West.

During both Hop On Hop Off tours that my husband and I did, our drivers always made a point to show trolley tourists any iguanas found behind the Best Western Key Ambassador Hotel. Being from the south, my husband and I may have rolled our eyes a little bit since we have seen plenty in our lifetimes, but others on the tour (especially the kids) were thrilled to spot the new and unexpected amphibian!

Anyway, while everyone else was checking out the "lizard", I was off staring into space … Turns out that with an airport on the small island of Key West, you can see airplanes coming and going pretty regularly, and they get pretty close to you. The one pictured above was coming in for a landing.

Just to make your life easier, I decided to google and see exactly how far Best Western Key Ambassador is from the airport. Tripadvisor reviewers seem to suggest it is no more than four minutes away and they recommend packing ear plugs if you decide to stay at this hotel. No one wants to be woken up (or kept up) by airplane noise! Good things to know, right?

Have you ever stayed at a hotel located near the airport? If you did, did the sound of planes taking off and coming keep you awake?

* I'm participating in Susannah Conway's August Break – a picture every day in August. Join me and link up!
** I received two free tickets for a ride on the Key West Trolley tour, but all opinions shared on my blog are my own.

August Break – One Regret

I think the one regret I always have when I travel is not having enough time to see more. For example, in this trip to Key West, we basically went straight there and then straight back. We didn't really have time to explore any of the other keys. On the one hand, I'm okay with that. I'm not much of a snorkeler, we didn't have time to rent a boat… but I would have liked to have stopped at several of the bridges and get pictures looking out over the crystal clear water. Maybe next time…

When you plan trips, are you anything like me? Do you plan them such that you don't have time for a break? Or are you more of a slow traveler? … Or maybe you are just a better travel planner than me and you always see everything on your wish list? (If so, can we talk?)

* I'm participating in Susannah Conway's August Break. You should be too.

August Break – (Not) Daisies

an orchid at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami, Florida

We didn't see daisies in Miami, but we did see orchids, specifically at the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. I will definitely be writing a full post (or two) on Vizcaya in the future. More or less, if you ever travel down to Miami, this place is a must! Not seeing it would be like going to Asheville, NC and skipping the Biltmore Estate or going to Paris and not taking the time to see Versailles. The estate is absolutely gorgeous (and expensive), but given the amount of upkeep they probably have to do on the property, I'd say it's well worth the money.

Anyway, I digress.

An orchid for your pleasure. :)

Hope you all are having a fantastic week so far! We are just over halfway through it!

* I'm participating in August Break and sharing my photos from Key West and Miami. Join in or follow along!

August Break – Favorite Color

Key West, Florida bridge

My favorite color is blue, which you see a lot of when you are in Key West, Florida.

The sky.

The water.

More sky.

More water.


What's your favorite color?

* I'm participating in August Break. Want to join in?

August Break – Dragon

dragon at Vizcaya in Miami, Florida
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami, Florida (July 2017)

Would you believe I saw a dragon in Miami?

Yeah. Me neither.

* I'm participating in August Break. You should join in!

August Break – Vintage

On our way back from Key West (and, really, the whole time we were in Miami), we noticed a lot of older cars. This one that had been driven to a remote "Jumping Off Bridge" on Sugarloaf Key. These older cars were a stark contrast to the more typical SUVs, jeeps, and more current cars that were parked all around it. I think the thing I loved most about seeing older cars in the Keys was noting that they weren't all in perfect condition – for example, this Chevrolet has paint coming off of the door. Mostly it's in great condition (like the owner actually cares about his/her car), but it's also a well-loved car too, one that's driven and parked on dirt roads off the main highway and not kept on a trailer to be shown solely at car shows.

Given it's condition, I'm made to wonder who drives this vehicle? Was it passed down from one generation to another? – Has it been in the family for years? Or did someone with a lot of money purchase it and then decide to drive it around just for fun? Maybe they got a good deal on it? Perhaps it's a family car and the parents decided to take their children on an outing in it, just for fun? Maybe it's not typically driven but they decided to have a little fun on the day we spotted it?

What do you think? Do you know anyone with a classic car? 

* I'm participating in August Break. You should join in. :)

August Break – I Crave

pineapple drink in Key West

When I was in Hawai'i this past winter I got to try a piña colada for the first time. It was "free" with our luau, so why not? I'm usually not a big drinker because I often don't like the taste, but piña colada were a big win for me.

After we got home from our travels, my husband tried to make one for me. Only he used dark rum.


So when we started planning our trip to Key West, I knew that I wanted to get a piña colada there. And I did, but nothing was quite as good as what I had in Hawai'i. (I mean – it could be that everything tastes better in Hawai'i?)

I had just about given up on finding a good piña colada until shortly after my birthday a few weeks ago when my husband used the almighty google to search for a place in Atlanta that served the best piña colada. Instead we found a good recipe.

If you are in search of a delicious piña colada, look no further:

2 oz white rum
2 oz coconut cream
4 oz pineapple juice
1 pineapple wedge
1 small cocktail umbrella

1. fill a glass with ice 
2. add ingredients 
3. shake(or blend if you must)
4. garnish and enjoy.

And just for the record, the drink pictured above is a mixture of coconut water and pineapple blended together. So no alcohol whatsoever. But it looked festive. :)

* I'm participating in August Break. You should join in!

August Break – Love Note

Near Wynwood Walls in Miami, there were notes like this all over the sidewalk. There were funny notes, loving notes, cartoons making fun of brands (i.e. an Apple headed stick figure karate-style kicking a Microsoft headed stick figure), and, in some places, fish painted on the ground, swimming beneath your feet. If it hadn't been so hot the day we went, I think it would have been a lot of fun to just meander and soak up the area, including the graffiti'd ground.

What do you think of this message? And of artists taking over an area with graffiti on the walls and the ground? Would it bring you joy to see these kinds of messages on the sidewalks you take every day (assuming you walk on some) or would it just make you think of the place as dirty? … i.e. Why isn't there security keeping people from painting all over our pristine white sidewalks?

* I'm participating in August Break: 31 pictures in 31 days. It doesn't really feel like a break, but it's fun. :)

August Break: One Wish

fireworks in Fort Lauderdale, FL
fireworks (shot handheld) in Fort Lauderdale, July 2017

"If you keep on believing
The dream that you wish will come true…"
– A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes

What's in your heart today? Is there anything you are wishing for?

* Participating in Susannah Conway's August Break.

August Break – Lavender

Lavender makes a good instagram color.

In case you were wondering…

And no, I did not create this in Photoshop. (If I did, why would I tag #JoeAndTheJuice?) This is actually on a wall near the Wynwood Walls in Miami, Florida in front of a building where, I believe, the company has gone out of business.

Joe and the Juice? Are you out there?

* I'm participating in August Break and you should be too.

August Break – Postcard

If there was ever a wall mural that should be a postcard, this is it…

Also, I do believe the shadow is my husband holding up a coconut with a straw in it – definitely sums up what Key West is about.

Have you ever drank out of a coconut before? What is one thing you would have to do if you went to Key West?

* I'm participating in August Break. You should to.

August Break – Glass

Shortly after we left the dock at the Bayside Marketplace in Miami, Florida for our Millionaire Row sunset cruise, I touched my camera lens with a wet finger. (I had taken a sip of water from a water bottle and spilled a bit, because I'm clumsy like that.) I tried to wipe the lens clean of the water, but I guess I missed a spot?

Let this be a lesson to you all.

If you intend on going out to shoot lovely sunset shots with your camera, make sure to clean your lenses first! And clean them again if you get something on them! Getting good shots is worth the extra time and energy it takes to rectify your clumsiness. Otherwise, you will come back from a sunset cruise with millions of shots like this where the glass isn't clean. Then, you will roll your eyes, bang your head against the wall, and think "how stupid am I?!"

Trust me.

I know.

* I'm participating in #AugustBreak2017. Join in?

August Break – Where I (Don't) Live

Key West house as seen from the trolley tour

One of the first things my husband and I did was ride the Hop On Hop Off Trolley around Key West. The trolley takes 90 minutes and allows you to see tourist sites, the beach, and homes of the elite all within the small 4.5 x 1.5 mile radius that encompasses Key West. We took our first tour of the city, on the trolley, the night of our arrival to Key West and shortly after we got off, it rained for a good hour while we ate. Luckily, for me, the rain clouds and lower sun made for some interesting shots while we were on the trolley, and, as it does in Florida, the rain didn't last long enough to ruin our travel plans or sunset viewing.

Have you ever taken a Hop On Hop Off trolley or bus tour while vacationing? Did you think it was worthwhile? If you haven't, would you consider doing it in the future?

P.S. Parking in Key West is atrocious! You will pay an insane amount ($20+) to leave your car anywhere for the day, assuming you can find parking to begin with. While the small size of Key West makes it incredibly walkable (especially in the old town), the hop on hop off trolley and conch tour can make it easier to get around. So, even if you've never considered doing a hop on hop off tour before, you may want to consider it if you go to Key West, simply because parking is such a mess down there.

P.P.S. I received two free tickets for the Key West Old Town Trolley tour in exchange for a review. The free tickets in no way influenced the review I provided here, today (and won't influence the more extensive one I write in the future). In fact, we enjoyed the trolley tour so much that we upgraded our tickets for the second day!

August Break – Rose (Colored Glasses)

a colorful wall from the Wynwood Walls summer 2017 taken in Miami, FL

In Miami, Florida, there is a run down area of town where the Wynwood Walls stand. While the area is known for it's beautiful graffiti'd walls, very few artists make it into the elite fenced off section where all of the tourists go to gawk and take selfies between 10:30am and 11:30pm. For whatever reason, rather than looking at this art as graffiti, the people in Miami have come to think of it as art and as a tourist attraction; they look at the pieces through "rose colored glasses"; though, who could blame them? In my opinion, many of the walls both outside and inside the fence are beautiful and worthy of a stop, gawk, and selfie or two. But I'd love to know what this area was like before it became known for it's walls. Did anyone come to admire the work of the street artists? Was it more of a personal experience without hours to limit you, cops guarding the work, and restaurants that sell too -expensive food waiting to take advantage of tourists? Were the people of the Wynwood area uprooted from their homes to make way for the tourist attraction?

I guess I'll never know.

Does it make your heart happy or sad to hear about gentrification? Have you ever spotted any gorgeous wall art (or graffiti) in your town?

* I'm participating in Susannah Conway's August Break.

August Break – Gold(en Hour)

Originally when were planning our trip to Miami, we had considered taking a short day trip to the Bahamas. (Did you know there is a boat that leaves from Fort Lauderdale and takes you to Freeport, Bahama Island?) Anyway, as it turns out, our budget was too low and vacation days too few, so instead we opted for a sunset tour of Millionaire Row. Honestly, we had no idea what we were getting into with our boat tour on the Island Queen, but we were looking forward to a nice, relaxing boat ride after the long ten hour drive down to Miami. While I can't remember much about the tour (rich people's houses don't really interest me), I remember them saying that one particular house (perhaps the one pictured above?) along millionaire row has an air conditioned front yard.

Say what?!?! ;)

Given how hot it can get in Miami, I am totally behind having an air conditioned front yard. Paying for it? No. But being able to enjoy the outdoors while everyone else is sweating? Yeah, I could deal with that. :)

What are your thoughts on air conditioned front yards? Would that encourage you to get outside and exercise even in the warmest of weather? 

Or maybe you'd prefer an outdoor heater? Something to prevent the snow from building up outside your house?

Let's imagine anything is possible. What unique amenity would you like to have in your imaginary dream house if money was not a problem?

* Linking up to August Break.


At the beginning of every month, as part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, I take a look at my successes (not just in writing), share the ways I hope to improve in the next month, answer the IWSG question of the month, and provide inspiration (if I have any).

July Goals
Read a book.
Get caught up on blog comments.
Decide/plan trip for the solar eclipse in August.
Write email regarding my car.
Get car fixed?
Continue asking around for possible employment opportunities.

Additional Successes –
✓ Twitter follower numbers went up!

✓ Job offered.
✓ Found pictures from Hawai'i that had been accidentally deleted.

August Goals –
Return dress to Von Maur.
• Pay for program so that I can recover Hawai'i pictures.
• RELAX. (Don't stress.)
• Finish planning for Labor Day trip.

IWSG Question: What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?

I hate when someone is looking over me when I'm writing. Like, look elsewhere, please.

Then there's that moment when you are struggling for a word. And even Google can't help you figure out what it is. *sigh*

As for reading? I remember Twilight driving me crazy because the writing was so incredibly simple. "He thought this. She said that." Bland, bland, bland, bland, bland. I'm not saying I can do much better, but I am saying that if you are a paid author and getting published, I expect more. 

Of course, I also can't enjoy a book after watching the movie first. Or, at least, very rarely can I. The only exception I can think of is Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen which was full of surprises, despite my having seen the movie. 

Your Turn

What are your thoughts? Can you read a book after seeing a movie? Can you write when someone is looking over your shoulder?

Are you happy to see the end of summer? School is already back in session for many of the kids in my state, as of yesterday(!), and I can hardly believe it! Where did the past two months go?

Click here to learn more and
link up with IWSG!

August Break – Morning

sunrise over Miami
view from the Intercontinental Miami

As I mentioned in my last post, August is looking really hectic and crazy. I had wanted to share 30 days of Miami and Key West, but I don't think I'm going to have time to do the research required to do it well. Hence, August Break: one new picture every day as I work my way through my Florida shots and prepare for the day when I can put together my Miami + Key West guide. (I'm working on it. I have approximately six posts done or in progress out of the thirty I'm working on.)

Anyway, let's begin with a beautiful shot of the sun rising over the Miami Harbor, taken from the Intercontinental Miami. I absolutely loved staying at the Intercontinental Miami, and seeing the sunrise from our hotel room just made the stay that much better.

Have you ever gotten up early while on vacation to see the sunrise? If so, would you ever do it again? 😉