Category Archives: Excitement

TRAVEL TIPS SERIES: PART 2 — STRATEGIES FOR FINDING AFFORDABLE ACCOMMODATIONS

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NEW BLOG POST!

Now that you have some ideas about the various ways to travel to your destination via assistance from various airline/flight hacks, let’s explore the multitude of ways to secure affordable accommodations.

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I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to not to be tied in to staying in one type of accommodation. Here are a few:

  •  Airbnb, HomeAway,VRBO — as part of the “sharing” economy, these three peer-to-peer online home stay networks are wonderful ways to experience a destination as if you are at home.  They come in the form of private homes, condos and apartments — fully furnished! I have used both VRBO (Vacation Rental by Owner) and Airbnb in cities like New York City, San Francisco and Boston). They are even available for international destinations. I plan to rent one the next time I travel to Paris or London.  To secure, you merely have to check availablity, place a deposit for the dates you desire, and look forward to your adventure.   I find that I prefer these arrangements over hotels, not so much because I dislike hotels, but because I get to cook my own meals in a fully stocked kitchen, launder my clothing and relax in a homey environment.  They are equipped with towels, pots/pans, wifi, and modern appliances. There are a variety of price ranges depending on the pricing assigned by the owner.  I’ve stayed in high end ones, and I’ve stayed in ones that were more economical — all were class acts. Payments are made online. Please visit each entity’s website for more information.  Below are pics from an Airbnb in New York City.
  • Hostels — this arrangement is often more economical; here guests can rent a bed (dormitory style), share bathrooms, and there are usually common area lounges and kitchens.  Unlike hotels, hostel rates are incredibly lower than hotels, and in many you can find book and music sharing  programs. It’s very communal, and opportunities to meet, socialize and hang out with other hostelers is very prominent. If you are one for privacy, you won’t find it in a hostel. EVERTHING IS NOT FOR EVERBODY. I’ve done it once, and although I have met and maintained relationships with some great people from Malta, Sweden, Canada and England while staying at a hostel in Paris, I probably won’t do it again — only because I am past dormitory style living. However, if you are on a tight budget and don’t mind communal living and interaction, this arrangement is a viable one. Additionally, there are systems in place for securing valuable items.  Many even provide airport shuttle services, along with internet lounges and a means for booking city tours. Despite the age old stereotype that hostels are best suited for students, and nomadic types, there are high end hostels and ones that offer private rooms (albeit at an additional cost).  Be sure to check out Hostelworld.com  Below are pics of a hostel in Bangkok, Thailand.
  • Couchsurfing — I must admit that I have not experienced this one first hand. Every time I vow to try it, I chicken out! I can’t seem to muster up the courage to sleep on a total stranger’s couch.  However, a couple of friends have couched surfed, and they found it safe and convivial. Although a guest could conceivably stay on a host’s couch, private rooms in homes are often provided.  One of the most attractive features of Couchsurfing is that it is free; there is an annual membership fee, however. If you have a skill or talent or other interests, these can be shared, also, with your host.

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If you still prefer staying in a traditional hotel, I strongly suggest that you make arrangements through booking.com, a great site!  Whenever I have used this site, I have had pleasurable results.  For example, for an overnight layover in Dublin, Ireland, I booked a room through this website, and I landed a beautiful room in The Clayton Hotel (really luxurious) for a mere $79.00.  When I arrived — super exhausted, I might add, the hotel agent kindly informed me that the Clayton was providing me with an upgrade to a suite.  When I asked him how much it would cost, he gently replied “courtesy of us.”  Needless to say, I’m going back to Dublin soon, AND I’M STAYING AT THE CLAYTON!

CHECKOUT THESE WEBSITES:

airbnb.com, couchsurfing.org, hostelworld.com, homeaway.com, vrbo.com

NOTE:   Stay tuned for Part 3 of this series where I will talk about tips for “Traveling Comfortably.”

 

 

 

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TRAVEL TIPS SERIES: PART 1 — Strategies on Finding Affordable Airfares!

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If you’re hell bent on traveling the world in the same old way each time you do it, these tips may not be helpful to you. What I’m sharing here is for the OPEN-MINDED traveler that is willing to explore different and unique approaches to travel.

Although I have experienced travel where I’ve stayed in top notch hotels, ate numerous gourmet meals and taken my share of spacations, I am equally at home in an AirBnB, where I can prepare my own meals and still have very nice amenities at my fingertips.

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What I would like to share with you over the course of several posts, are travel tips that allow you to travel economically thereby allowing you to maximize your dollars!

So let’s start in this post by examining a number of ways to secure deals on your flights.

I strongly feel that being flexible and not relying on one mode of securing flight arrangements, no matter how it has worked for you previously, opens you up to the best opportunity in the moment.  For example, I once found a round trip ticket to New York City for $150 USD inclusive of taxes and and all typical fees! How?  That time through a travel agent.  Ironically, that same trip was pricing out at $100 more not more than a month later.  The next time that I needed to book a trip to NYC, I searched for another travel arrangement through Travel Zoo.  Although the cost was more expensive than the $150 ticket I secured on that first example I spoke of, it was still less expensive than the instance that cost me an additional $100.  This time it cost me $177.00.

Another tactic in your air fare search arsenal is to keep your ears and eyes open on special and often unbelievable deals that the airlines offer.  For example, recently Southwest Airlines ran a 72 hour promotion for its shortest routes in the United States.  My cousin got her ticket for NYC to Atlanta for $104 round trip!  Although I purchased my ticket prior to Southwest’s special promotion, I was able to find a great deal for $222 by going directly to Delta’s website!

What about International flights? Well, I needed to get to Madrid back in June, and I found one hell of a deal from Chicago to Dublin to Madrid on Expedia for $893.72.  For this flight, I had a seven hour layover in Dublin (going to Madrid), and although I had a 17 hour layover in Dublin (on the return to Chicago), I had enough time to experience some of this fun Irish city! I met some great people, hung out on O’Connell Street had had a fantastic meal, along with  beer at a local pub — The Temple Bar!

This mini excursion gave me enough to know that I would like to return for a longer visit. I have never had a layover that long, but I made the most of it by not spending it in the airport.

Dublin has a wonderfully vibrant airport with over 200 businesses, eateries, chocolatiers, perfumeries and designer stores.

NOTE:  Literally two minutes ago, a notification from TRIP Advisor came up n my feed informing me of an airfare for $734 from Oakland to Madrid (as you have probably guessed, I love Madrid)!  Now that is a deal.

CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT FLIGHT RESOURCES

The following are search options that I have not only researched when looking for a good fight price, but these sites have produced for me some results at wonderful prices:

Fareness.com — Where should I go in April for the best flight destination?  This site offers a wide range of destinations and travel periods (e.g. check where to travel to from October to February) and receive immediate results highlighting the lowest air fares. Then you can build the rest of your vacation based what is most economical for you versus making that decision based on locale only;

Yapta.com — A very underutilized resource — tracks pricing for millions of flights worldwide allowing you (like Fareness.com) to first pick a travel spot, then creating your activities around that.

The Flightdeal.com — Targeting flights to cities that are six cents or less per mile — Chicago, Seattle, NYC, Baltimore, Philly, D.C., Portland, Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco!

Airfarewatchdog.com — The airlines reduce airfares daily, but they don’t advertise them. This site notifies you of fare glitches and/or bargains.

Expedia.com — I have had really good success with this site.  If you don’t mind layovers (sometimes long ones), Expedia can become your best friend! You can find really good deals, and you can access by internet or telephone agents.

In summary, here are the things you must be willing to do to snag great deals:

  •     Search Often;
  •     Sign Up for Email Alerts;
  •     Use Twitter;
  •     Use Priceline for Last Minute Trips;
  •     Combine Two Separate Fares Versus Booking One Fare (can be cheaper)

To utilize my consulting services on economical trip planning, please contact me at robin@thisidoforme.com

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Wanna Join Me in Greece?!?!

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As you all know, I love to travel! So, I’m letting you in on a little secret today!

This…I…Do…For…Me is announcing its 2018 International Excursion (its back to Sydney, Australia in 2017) to Athens, Santorini and Mykonos!

The beautiful aspect of this adventure is that airfare is also included, making this one of the most affordable international offerings that you will come across.

There are only 14 slots available, and as I announced this dream vacation on my social media platforms today, five slots were immediately taken! Don’t think too hard — JUST GO!

If you are seriously interested in seeing stunning Greece, please contact me at 773/759-1374 for information on cost, payment plans and a detailed itinerary.

OPA!

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I’M NOT OLD –I’M JUST GETTING STARTED!

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NEW BLOG POST!

Let’s face it, once you reach age 50+, all types of beliefs and images crop up about the exciting part of our lives being over, dead, kaputz.  However, it is at this stage of my life that I, like so many other women at this point, feel more alive than ever!

I feel truly free to try new things without worrying about their outcome!  I can do something for the sheer enjoyment of it, and as soon as I scratch it off my list after completing it, I feel confident and emboldened to add to the list and sample something else!

My daringness extends even further!   Trying new recipes –Italian, Mexican, Thai and even Vegan!  Through cooking I get to expand my creativity and expand my horizons about other cultures, and when I actually get to travel to a country where the recipes emanates from, I am on cloud 9!

I’m also taking a photography class with a group of young women half my age — there are days where I walk away feeling empowered, and there are days when I ask myself during the class “why am I here?” or where I swallow a regular dose of “I’m too old to get this.” However, I put my big girl panties on and keep it moving.  I won’t give up, I tell you!

Over the past year, I’ve created a new business that serves women age 50+. This endeavor allows me to bring all that I’ve learned, experienced, seen and dreamed about to others to share.  I’m not focused on being perfect, but on perfectly expressing myself for my own fulfillment.

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I’m traveling more now than at any other stage of my life! Sometimes I think “you should have been doing all this whirlwind travel in your twenties and thirties!”  Then I take a deep breath and add more countries and cities to my list. I’m just getting reved up!  Croatia, Prague, Maldives and Tanzania– all places now on my list once I turned 50+!

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I now think with greater clarity; I express myself in a firm manner, and I feel at a much deeper level — all of this after I turned 50.

I am engaging in new things all of the time, and my excitement when planning new experiences is unparalleled.  I get extremely enthused when I think about all the new possibilities for my life.

I only hope that after reading this, you are also propelled to live your life OUT LOUD!

NO MORE EXCUSES — I’M TAKING A PHOTOGRAPHY CLASS!

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LATEST BLOG POST!

As a 50+ year old woman, I find increasingly that my life becomes more and more rich and interesting. Why? I think it’s because I’m not enmeshed in building a career, or proving myself to others that as an African American or as a woman that I can do the job, handle a challenge or am worthy of any accolades or position I hold. I am  not saddled with the fear of not being married nor am I no longer obsessed with hoping everyone likes and approves of me.

As a result, I’m free to enjoy aspects of life at a level not yet experienced to date and to try new things.  I’m clear that as I approach the third act of my life that doing things that have been on the back burner, exciting times, opportunities and new experiences are forever unfolding!

An example of something that I’ve had on the back burner for years is my desire to take a photography class. I have been saying I’m going to do this for what seems like forever. Well, I’m waiting no longer —  I have finally registered to take a class at Blue 1647.

Located in the Pilsen community in Chicago, Blue 1647 is an entrepreneurial and tech organization that provides a space for racially and ethnically diverse groups of children, teens and women to develop their technical skills. They even offer workshops for fledgling inventors.  They host a number of hack-a-thons and coding classes, and with all this innovation, Blue 1647  even offers a a 1919 program for women to develop expertise in graphic design, photography, public speaking, entrepreneurship and Word Press.

This is Blue 1647’s unique  approach to community development, involvement, building and closing technological gaps among people of color.  And it’s a really good one, I might add.

I love interesting photos, and I’ve often wondered what actually goes into creating a picture like Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Moneta Sleet’s iconic photo of Coretta Scott King and daughter Bernice (Bunny) at Dr. King’s funeral. Or how about a photo of a delectable plate of food (photo below taken by me) that makes you want to reach out to take a bite of it? “How did that photographer get that shot just right,” or “How did she/he capture the emotion I’m feeling?”  These are questions I’ve often asked myself when I have come across an impactful photo.

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In our first class, co-led by Amber Marie Green and Rashad Sallee, we were introduced to Shutter Speed, Iso and Aperture; we were also even given a chance to shoot photos of activities going on at Blue 1647! Not bad for my first time handling a DSLR camera!

I’m excited about doing something completely out of my comfort zone.  Women, who are age 50+, LIFE IS JUST BEGINNING! Embrace it with everything you have!

 

 

A RECAP: ONE YEAR OF THIS…I…DO…FOR…ME!

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It was exactly one year on August 15, 2015 that I launched This…I…Do…For…Me (TIDFM)! It has been a year of tremendous growth, creativity, meeting fascinating people, traveling to places that I thought I’d never visit and stepping out with the belief that I could carry TIDFM off into the world for the benefit of women who are 50 years of age and older!

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I am most proud of the business’s website thisidoforme.com; this is the pipeline for posting information for our clients and readers in the areas of Art/Literature, Theater/Dance, Music/Concerts, Food/Restaurants, For the Soul, and Travel. I chose to focus on these areas for the website, as well as the blog thisidoforme.wordpress.com because activities, outings and excursions would serve as the focal point to encourage our target population to immerse and treat themselves, particularly since they have spent countless years caring for others.

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Here are some of the fun things that I, along with my adventurous clients explored this past year:

TRAVEL

In September 2015 – It was 11 cities in France – Paris, Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Avignon, Monaco, St. Paul de Vence, St. Balme Maxime, Nice, Lyon and St. Tropez! I left feeling like France was my home.

In November 2015 – It was magnificent Sydney, Australia! I have a trip planned for eight people planned in November 2017!

In January 2016 – It was the beautiful shores of Orange County and Los Angeles, California!  Shopping and sheer relaxation was the order of day for a solid week.

In June 2016 – I had the honor of traveling to Madrid, Salamanca and La Alberca, Spain! It was here that I fell in love with the culture, the magnificent food and the warm and loving people. I even had the chance to take a short side trip to Dublin, Ireland! I must go back there if for no other reason than I must spend more time in some of neighborhood pubs that are full of life, laughter and good food to accompany that fun environment.

ON THE TRAVEL RADAR FOR 2017:

It’s looking like Atlanta, Georgia in January, Cuba in February and back to Sydney, Australia in November 2017! Life is Good!

THEATER AND DANCE

Some of the theater outings that TIDFM clients participated in included Byhalia, Mississippi at The Steppenwolf Theater, Lorraine Hansberry’s The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window at The Goodman Theater, the musical 42nd Street at The Cadillac Palace Theater, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical at The Oriental Theater and Satchmo at the Waldorf at Hyde Park’s Court Theater.

ON THE THEATER AND DANCE RADAR FOR 2017:

The critically acclaimed Hamilton (hopefully my group’s name will move up the wait list)! If I see nothing else except Hamilton in 2017, it will have been a good year.

FOOD AND RESTAURANTS

Yes, I and my clients love to eat! I, along with food critic Eleni Murphy reviewed some interesting restaurants. Eleni even shared some of her London, England favs. Oftentimes, these restaurants were sampled following a theater performance. What a way to top off a great production!

Here are some of the restaurants visited and reviewed during TIDFM’s first year of operation:

1. Café Ba Ba Reeba (Chicago, Illinois)
2. Sobrino de Botin (Madrid, Spain)
3. NAC (London, England)
4. Kappacasein Dairy (London, England)
5. Granger and Co (London, England)
6. Berners Tavern (London, England)
7. Sweet Mandy B’s (Chicago, Illinois)
8. Del Seoul (Chicago, Illinois)
9. Summer House Santa Monica (Chicago, Illinois)
10. Dove’s Luncheonette (Chicago, Illinois)
11. Cemetia’s Puebla (Chicago, Illinois)
12. Nini’s Deli (Chicago, Illinois)
13. Podhalanka (Chicago, Illinois)
14. Mercado San Miguel (Madrid, Spain)

ON THE FOOD AND RESTAURANT RADAR IN 2017

1. Army Thai on Damen
2. La Palapa on 34th Street

ART AND LITERATURE

I and a client attended the “Portraits of Motherhood” Exhibit, which highlighted the artistic talent of Antonia Ruppert. I found a gem on the south side of Chicago – The Creative Room located in the heart of the Park Manor community. This design studio’s mission is to provide a space for people to create their own DIY (do it yourself) interior design projects.  Clemenstien Love is the mastermind behind this hidden treasure.

I provided overview of books that I’ve read over the past year – including a few children’s books. There were a mixture of travel, music, autobiography/memoirs, short stories and social justice commentaries.  They ranged from biographies of culinary icon Marcus Samuelsson to children’s classics like “Corduroy” by Don Freeman.  For reviews of the other selections, please check out the art and literature link on thisidoforme.com

ON THE ART AND LITERATURE RADAR IN 2017

I plan in conjunction with another entity to include my clients on a few Famous House Tours during the holidays. Please stay tuned.

FOR THE SOUL

One of my favorite things to do in conjunction with the business is learning about the myriad ways in which women care for themselves even in the midst of dealing with life’s stressors. This section of the website spotlights a diversity of women who share with TIDFM’s audience how they care for their souls, especially as they are taking care of other people, their jobs/businesses.  Please check it out as you might find some helpful hints on self-care and the exploration of new things.

My first year has been loaded with fun, doubt, new experiences and places, great people and a true excitement about TIDFM’s future growth.

The growth of TIDFM has manifested through the creation of a logo, connecting with Mighty Mongoose Tours to write a blog post of an upcoming helicopter excursion, participation in The Diverbo program in Spain, serving as a guest on the radio program “Living it Up After 50,” hired two freelance writers for the website, ran two TIDFM contests, announced TIDFM’s first international excursion to Sydney, Australia, and I was asked to review a self-empowerment book by a coaching expert.

I am grateful to our readers, those who traveled with me and those who joined us on a number of outings. In the coming year, I plan to broaden TIDFM’s reach, and I hope you will stick around for the ride.

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PHOTO ABOVE:  Me enjoying Indoor Skydiving!

 

VOLUNTEER IN SPAIN!

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Photo:  Some of the Volunteers and Spainards — Class #1056.  I’m on the far left

NEW BLOG POST!

THERE IS MORE THAN ONE WAY TO GET TO SPAIN!

Everyone thinks that the primary way to travel is by taking a traditional vacation replete with great hotels, tour guides, super expensive airfares and meals. I’m here to tell you that another fantastic way to get your travel jones satisfied is through participation in the Diverbo Program!

What is Diverbo, you ask? It is a language immersion program (means diversity and language) designed for Spanish speaking adults (there is also a children’s and youth program). Many of the program’s participants are employees of companies where gaining a greater command of the English language is becoming increasingly important. As a result, these employers are willing to invest in their employees so that transacting business with English speaking clients becomes easier.

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Photo:   Volunteers and Spainards hanging out in La Alberca, Spain

The Spanish speaking participants during my time with the program ranged from 18 to mid 50s. They were from Barcelona, Malaga, Almeria, Madrid, Bilbao and Marbella. Additionally, the English speaking volunteers were from various parts of the United States, England, New Zealand and Canada and were of varying ages.
Here’s how it works.

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Photo:  Improving their English, Diverbo is a week of immersion

You must complete an application that gives you an opportunity to share why the Diverbo Program is of interest to you. By the way, the program prefers people who speak no Spanish so that you are not tempted to speak the language with participants who really need the immersion in English during your eight (8) days in La Alberca (Salamanca Region), Spain.

You will have the sheer pleasure of working with the Spainards individually and in group settings to improve their English through FUN activities and activities. More importantly, you will walk away from the experience with a boatload of new friends – both from Spain and around the globe.

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Photo:  Volunteers and Spainards getting familiar with the town of La Alberca, Spain

You must be willing to talk, talk, talk and talk some more! The activities are led by a Master of Ceremonies and a Diverbo Program Director. Some days, I laughed so hard that I cried – that is how fun the exercises are. Needless to say, although I was a volunteer, I ended my week with Diverbo having received more than I gave. Eternal Bonds are created.

Diverbo covers the cost of your accommodations (lovely villas) and all meals (extremely delicious). Even two glasses of wine were included with every lunch and every dinner!

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Photo:  My Villa while during my eight days volunteering with Diverbo

This volunteer experience has left an indelible impression on my entire life.  Travel had always been a vechicle for my growth and development, and it has allowed me to really push to get the most out if life.  However, a volunteer travel experience really forces you to see that it’s not always about you, but how you make a difference in another’s life.  Would I do Diverbo/Pueblo Ingles, again?  I’ll just say,”Viva la Espana!”

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Photo:    Can someone tell me where all the fun is?

For more information, visit Diverbo.come

TIP TOE THROUGH THE WHITE HOUSE ROSE GARDEN!

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New Blog Post!

Once again, our Washington, D.C. correspondent Yvonne Hawkins is giving us a glimpse and the inside track on events, activities and excursions offered in the DMV (Washington, Maryland and Virginia)!

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Photo:  The White House Rose Garden sits outside The Oval Office

Here’s a heads up for you: Get to Washington D.C. for the Fall White House Garden Tour, if you can. Though I’m not sure when the date will be released. Check http://www.whitehouse.gov for updates. But tickets are free and available first come, first served on the day of the event. And a pro tip: If you can’t nab advance tickets, just show up toward the end of the event anyhow.

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Photo:  the Oval Office in The White House’s West Wing

Everyone gets in then. The experience just might change your life. At least it did mine. I went to this year’s spring tour, and I now have a richer perspective of my connection to the seat of power. True story. Every time I see President Obama on TV make an announcement in the Rose Garden or see him emerge from Marine Force One, I get another “I get it now” click in my brain. The tour through the White House gardens, which sit on the South Lawn, changed my understanding of what makes our nation work—or rather, who makes our nation work.

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Photo:  South Portico Ground Level Entry of The White House

But the shift didn’t have anything do with the White House’s flowers, which are gorgeous, of course. Or the White House’s flowering trees, planted by different presidents and their wives over various administrations. Though, those obviously are stunning, too.

Even the hit the tour:

Michelle Obama’s vegetable garden (officially named the White House Kitchen Garden) – isn’t what did it. Instead, the aha was an accumulation of barely perceptible familiarities. They emerged singularly and slowly until culminating with the recognition that MO’s vegetable garden is, well, just a vegetable garden. I couldn’t really understand why I took a picture of it. It probably was a group-think thing. As others oohed and ahhhed, I kept thinking that the heads of lettuce there look just like every other heads of lettuce I’ve ever seen. Same goes for the collard greens and fresh herbs. Actually, same goes for many features of the South Lawn.

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Photo:   Moss Veggie Garden at The White House

Although, the water fountain and view of the Washington Monument are exceptional. And, yes, the presidential seal sits on the back porch. Still, the magnolia trees are just magnolia trees. You can get one at Home Depot for less than $100.

Before the tour, the White House seemed merely a symbol of the seat of presidential power. And as a symbol, it didn’t really seem real. You know, like the grocery store is real. I guess the White House is as real as the grocery store to folks used to determining the fate of the free world. I’m just more familiar the grocery store. And with struggling to make my bed, grab some breakfast and get out the door in time to battle morning traffic. I know about balancing bills and budgets. And about trying to do simple things to have a beautiful, refreshing space in the backyard. Turns out, the folks who live at the White House do, too. That’s the click that happened. The White House is a just house. Like mine. Just bigger.

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Photo:  Malia and Sasha’s Playhouse Outside The Oval Office

A family lives there. Children there must make up their beds in the mornings. The current dad of the house has a home office. It’s oval. The mom has a home office, too. Their backyard is where the family hangs out. The dad sometimes invites his friends to play basketball. Sometimes, he temporarily parks his helicopter on the back lawn when he comes home from work. But that’s just so he can be closer to the back door. Makes sense to me. After the tour, I now see the White House as accessible and relatable to my life. There was something about the ordinary affairs of beets in a veggie garden that demystified the joint for me.

The majesty of the White House’s symbolism as a seat of power remains. But we all have power in our own ways. And in those realms, the mundaneness of daily rhythms and attempts to beautiful our various spaces are amazingly common. Magnolias are magnolias. After the tour, my friend and I walked to the front of the house to mill around. And something clicked again. 1600 Penn is a family’s front door. I wonder if there’s a doorbell.

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Photo:. Ground Level, South Portico

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Photo:  Yvonne standing under The Presidential Seal

 

Yvonne D. Hawkins is a former newspaper journalist, certified spirituality and life coach, and Baptist minister. She currently lives in Northern Virginia and enjoys exploring the Washington DC-Virginia-Maryland area. But being a former Chicago and Evanston, Ill, resident, she also misses Lake Michigan. And the Taste of Chicago. Her newest blog is http://www.artistssaw.com.

TAKING A CHANCE ON LETTING ADVENTURE FLOW FROM US!

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Artist Agnes Martin always painted new works based on the mantra “inspiration always came when I asked what’s next?”

Do you find yourself wondering when things will change in your life, or when will something fantastic happen to me or why  doesn’t something exciting ever happen to me?  Well, wait no more.

We have to be more proactive by tuning in to our inner selves and letting that guide us in experiencing the miracle of our lives.  In essence, all we ever hoped and dreamed of is within our very own being. The only thing stopping the flow is our own mental blocks that often have us waiting for some magical moment.

WE ARE THE MAGICAL MOMENT.

If we want to have a different experience, we must ask the Universe what was I created to do?  What is waiting for me to experience?  It could be something as simple as changing our nail polish or something creative like writing a book. It could mean trying a new flavored tea instead of the same flavor we have sipped for the past three years. It could even mean starting a new career path or a long postponed hobby.

Whatever it is, the anticipation of letting new adventures flow from us is an opportunity to experience yourself in a new and exciting way!

Those things don’t have to be huge and sweeping changes, but starting out with small and manageable adventures will increase your confidence for the things you can’t imagine yourself venturing into. Just try new adventures (big or small) consistently, and you will be amazed at how rapid your growth occurs, and more importantly, how vibrant you feel.

Life is to be lived, and even our mundane daily tasks can yield newness.  When recently shopping for groceries, Linda shared with me that she made up her mind to try a different fruit — ugli  fruit (delicious) is now a semi regular item on her list.

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I learned a while ago that when I find myself stuck in my same old patterns, when I feel weary or when nothing new and exciting seems to be on the horizon, that is when I get to “listing.” Listing is a tool I use.  I literally list 3-5 new things or opportunities that I want to try out, sample or experience.

Currently, my list has these things on it:

  1.   Learn how to create 60 seconds videos for my business;
  2.   Eat a minimum of 2 meatless meals weekly;
  3.   Resume my online French lessons — 40 minutes daily;
  4.   Plant a variety of bulbs (besides tulips) in my backyard;
  5.   Try indoor skydiving

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Photo:   Indoor Sky Diving at IFly Chicago

I am committed to find new things to see and do — new people to meet!  Let’s imagine new possibilities and then DO THEM!

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ANTICIPATION!!

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As I prepare for my trip to France later this week,  I am paying close attention to all the emotions that are flooding my mind, body and soul.

What stands out is the sense of anticipation that I am experiencing, not just excitement, but a feeling that something is about to be birthed.  Usually, I am excited about the new country that I am going to visit, the foods that I will sample and of course, the shopping that I will get to do.

I have been to France before on two other occasions (Paris, Aix, Marseille), and although I will excitingly get introduced to new French towns/cities (St. Tropez, Beaune, Monaco, Lyon), this trip is different from other trips taken in the past.

I can’t recall anticipating visiting a new city with the hope of returning home to plan something — a trip, an excursion to new restaurant, an educational lecture — not for me, but for you!  “This I Do For Me” readers, I take this trip with brand new eyes and a heart for creating something for you that you will remember, always.

While I’m traveling, please check our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest pages.  Wheels Up!

Baguettes, Macarons and Crepes -- Here I Come!

Baguettes, Macarons and Crepes — Here I Come!