Summer Watercolor Free Printable

Summer Watercolor Free Printable

As the end of May quickly approaches, I’m thinking about summer vacation possibilities. Feeling landlocked in the middle of Texas, I can’t help but dream about beaches, coastal waters and big waves. Yesterday, I painted a watercolor of a sandcastle, hoping that my travels this summer might take me to a beach. I can go south, east or west. I’m not picky!

Last summer my adventures were in Scotland and the Isle of Sky with my daughter Andrea, where we explored some fantastic castle ruins.  Thinking about that trip, I decided to add a wee flag of Scotland on the center tower of the sandcastle just for fun. Continue reading

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Salad Inspiration With Vegetables

Salad Inspiration With Vegetables

I must admit, I’m not very consistent when it comes to cooking and eating vegetables.  If you’re like me, then maybe all you need is a bit of inspiration. I created three easy vegetable salad combinations, that you can make too. My enthusiasm for fresh vegetables was stirred from an eclectic mix of restaurants I discovered during a weekend get-a-way. Continue reading

Scottish Favorites

Now that I have temporarily quenched my thirst for all things Scottish, it’s time to reveal some of my favorites, from the Isle of Skye, to Pitlochry, to Edinburgh.  Too bad I don’t have a photo of every plaid pattern I saw on my trip to Scotland, but I do have wonderful experiences and places worth sharing. Continue reading

Adventures On The Isle of Skye Tour

My daughter Andrea and I can turn a trip to the farmers market into an adventure, so imagine what it’s like when we go on holiday. Usually our adventures can be classified as quests, journeys, explorations, and sometimes escapades. A typical escapade would be making a wrong turn, getting lost, then realizing we passed what we were looking for three times.  Luckily, our adventures during the Isle of Skye tour were kept in check by our experienced guide Ian, from Inverness Tours. Last year he was our guide for only one day, this year it was three days. Poor man.

We had several outdoor adventures, starting with a stop at Glenfinnan on our way to Skye. Above Glenfinnan is the location of the possible site Prince Charles Edward Stuart’s standard was raised, on August 19, 1745. As we stood in front of the weathered rock that recorded the historic location, I was trying to imagine how much determination the Jacobites must have had to fight for their dreams.

 

Above Glenfinnan where Prince Charles Edward Stuart's standard was raised August 19, 1945

MDCCXLV IN NOMINE DOMINI VEXILLA TANDEM TRIUMPHANTES CAROLI EDUARDI STUART ERECTA

 

My thoughts were interrupted, as I was introduced to the most vicious insects on the planet. Midges! The attack was fast and almost lethal. As the midges swarmed my head, I’m pretty sure I heard one say, “oh-aye, the lass’s hair smells bonnie”. It was just a wee bit annoying at first but by the time we turned to walk down the hill, I had visions of rolling in the grass to dislodge the beasties. I scraped up every bit of self-control I had, not to scratch like a flea-bitten mad dog.

From the hill-top, part of the Glenfinnan Viaduct is visible. If you are a Harry Potter fan you will recognize the viaduct from the movies. No sign of the Hogwarts Express though.

 

Glenfinnan Viaduct


Continue reading

Isle of Skye Botanical Beauties

The imaginative tales of the Isle of Skye fairies, are not so hard to believe, especially when surrounded by magical gardens. If you don’t accept the existence of fairies, you might change your mind with these breathtaking, Isle of Skye botanical beauties. At every turn, I was captivated by fascinating flowers. I discovered fairy hats and sparklers; chandeliers and fireworks; fairy ladders and cushions. They were all in plain sight, but the fairies were asleep.

The Dunvegan Castle gardens were the most enchanting, although the nature walks at the Clan Donald Centre gardens were stunning. The lilies below were waiting to greet us in front of a wonderful shop called Bay Pottery in Armadale.

 

Yellow and Red Armadale, Skye Continue reading

Simple Packing Tips For Scotland

Sure, I can power lift a 45 pound bag over my head into the luggage bin. Traveling light has never  been a problem, however last year when I went to Scotland, I packed as if I were going on a month-long expedition to the Himalayas. Idiot!  This year I’m using simple packing tips for Scotland and solemnly swear to pack smarter.

  • Start with light weight luggage. A great example of light weight luggage is this Samsonite roller which  weighs in at about 6 pounds.  The Vera Bradley weekender bag is also light weight and has a convenient strap to fit over a luggage handle which allows for easy maneuvering. You can hardly beat Vera Bradley for its practicality and inexpensive price tag. Think about letting your bags do the work and save your back.

 

Light Weight Samsonite

 

Light Weight Packing

 

  • Wear comfortable clothes. On travel days I wear leggings and a tunic for marathon flights. Of course, I can be stylish without looking like I’ve been working in the garden.

 

Tunic For Travel Comfort

 

  • Lay out clothes before packing. By getting a visual of tops, I could switch out different looks. Everything is light weight cotton in coordinating colors, that can be layered depending on the weather. Luckily, everything goes with jeans which go just about anywhere. Jeans can be dress up or down with the right top, shoes, accessories and attitude. 😉

 

Tops and Accessories

 

  • Pack the right shoes for walking. Sorel short booties are great for walking, look fashionable with jeans and leggings, but best of all they are water proof. Oh yeah, I’m talking comfort and on rainy days in Scotland, that’s a big plus.

 

Sorel Water Proof Booties

 

Sorel Wedge Booties

 

  • No matter what kind of boots or athletic shoes you choose to wear for walking, invest in good quality socks. Feetures are my favorite because they fit snug on my feet,  prevent blisters and keep my feet dry all day while walking or hiking.

 

Feetures

 

  • Don’t forget the right outerwear. The Mac is a must in Scotland. I also packed a light weight polar fleece and a denim jacket,  which should be more than enough. Two pairs of jeans this time? I can do this!

 

Jackets and Jeans

 

  • Pack a few things for convenience, such as tissues, an adapter, snacks, and hand-wipes. A journal is a great idea to record interesting places, restaurants, and special dishes or cocktails. I could throw in more items but the goal is to pack light.

 

Fun Stuff To Pack

 

 

  • Packing a power charger is a good precaution; helps to avoid that feeling of impending doom when the cell phone is about to run out of battery. There are lots of these on the market, this one is made by Beare.

 

Emergency Charger

 

  • Find the right concept for packing. The small space bags work best for me especially for items I’m not concerned about getting wrinkled and dirty clothes. As far as rolling vs. folding: I do both so I can efficiently use all the space I have in my luggage.

 

Space bag

 

  • Decide on the right style of handbag or backpack for your needs. No matter what I’m wearing, I feel as if I could be “trending now”, with my Kate Spade backpack.  The durable nylon in black goes with everything, has comfortable straps and is light weight. The roomy interior efficiently holds my camera, umbrella, wallet and any other lifesaving necessities I might need in a single day.

 

Kate Spade Backpack

 

Keep it simple and you will have a great trip.  Off for another adventure to Scotland…

Cheers!