Tag Archives: Making New Friends



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!


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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.


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)


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


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


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


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.


PHOTO ABOVE:  Me enjoying Indoor Skydiving!





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



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.


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.


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.


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!


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!”


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

For more information, visit Diverbo.come



This is the 3rd and final installment of my posts on Spectacular Sydney, Australia!

I have been back from Sydney, Australia for a little over a month, and like with so many things, the impact of that experience continues to unfold. Most notably, the main thing that will always be at the forefront of my mind are the friendly people that I encountered and how open Sydneysiders were to converse, ask and answer questions.


Photo:  The Famed Sydney Opera House


Take Mayleen, who I met while eating breakfast at The Queen Victoria Building (QVB).  Noticing that I was obviously not from Sydney (maybe looking more African American than Aboriginal was a dead give away) nor from England (my American accent often mistaken for being from the southern states versus the south side of Chicago),

Mayleen had just sat down across from me to enjoy a pastry and a cup of coffee before she reported to work at a boutique in the building.  She immediately asked where I was from, and when I responded “Chicago,” she wanted to know more about me and specifically more about the churches in my city. She explained that she was a member of  the Pentacostal faith, and she truly hoped to visit the churches led by Kenneth Copeland, Joyce Meyers and Joel Osteen someday.

We discussed and even lightly laughed and joked about some of the craziness going on in the world and how we must pray for its healing.  We exchanged information so that once either I returned to Sydney or she traveled to Chicago, we could connect.  We said our goodbyes. I remember thinking how pleasant the experience was and really feeling good about taking this trip.

Then there was a young (in her early 20s) woman named Tanta, who was of Balinese descent but had grown up in Sydney.  She was passing out chocolate samples outside of Haigh’s, a premium chocolatier.  Once I detected that she was friendly and would be open to questions, I said, “I’m just going to come out and ask you, why does Sydney have so many Asian citizens.”  It’s important to note that from the time I step off of my flight in the airport, I noticed that it seemed that every seven in ten people I saw were of Asian heritage.


Photo:  Inside The Sydney Opera House


Tanta chuckled and explained that 44% of the people in Sydney were not from there and that many of that 44%  were primarily Chinese.  Tanta attributed it to the development of new economic markets.  She, too, wanted to know where I was from and what I was doing in Sydney.  She told me about her desire to visit the U.S., and maybe even experience living in either NYC or San Francisco. She seemed so excited while chatting with me that another layer of Sydney was embedded in my heart and consciousness.

She wished me an enjoyable experience and urged me to do The Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb.  Needless to say, I had no intention of doing that climb, so I smiled and thanked her for her kindness but not before I went into Haigh’s to purchase some salted caramel chocolates.



Photo:  In The Rocks Section of Sydney


Photo:  Life is Good in Sydney!


In the midst of meeting friendly Australians, I encountered some very friendly North Americans —  Ryan from San Diego, Savannah from Montreal, both of whom I spent an entire afternoon with on a city tour and a group of three lively young men from Hawaii and Los Angeles.

When I  spotted them, I went right over and struck up a conversation with them at the QVB.  I also met a super friendly couple from Seattle at The Sydney Wildlife Center.  In each encounter, we were all happy to meet each other and readily shared some of our awesome Down Under experiences.


Photo:  At the Sydney Wildlife Center with New Friends Visiting From Seattle


So, if you have been hesitant about traveling to Australia, because its just too far away, the flight is too long, you don’t know anyone interested in traveling there with you, or a whole host of other excuses, no worries, mates. You will be amongst some of the friendliest people in the world, and there is plenty to see and fun to be had. When you go you must explore:

  1.   The Sydney Opera House — I saw a ballet performed by the      Australian National Ballet Company.  Be sure to take the tour of the Opera House — you won’t regret it;
  2. Bondi Beach — just gorgeous;
  3. Manley Beach — access by ferry;
  4. The Taronga Zoo — access by ferry;
  5. The Sydney Wildlife Center — get to know Erica and other Koalas
  6. The Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb — This I Did Not Do!
  7. Darling Harbour and its many restaurants, stores and boutiques;
  8. Sydney Harbour — sit, sip, eat and enjoy music along The Opera House Promenade; take a cruise along the Harbour;
  9. The Rocks;
  10. The Central Business District (CBD);
  11. The Queen Victoria Building (shop, chat with the locals and admire the beautiful architecture;
  12. Visit Chef Jaime Oliver’s Restaurant — you must try the Polenta Fries


Photo: Beautiful Christmas Tree Laden With Swarovski Crystals at The QVB




Photo:  Train Stop in The Central Business District


Photo:  A Trainer at The Sydney Wildlife Center


Photo:  “It’s Your Shout” (An Aussie Phrase Meaning This Round of Drinks Are On You).  In This Case, It’s A Pimms Cup!