Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Sea & Summer to remember....

Linking up to:  Completely Coastal

Taken from the beach of the Four Seasons Punta Mita Mexico

"I really don't know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea, except I think it's because in addition to the fact that the sea changes, and the light changes, and ships change, it's because we all came from the sea.

And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have, in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears.

We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea - whether it is to sail or to watch it - we are going back from whence we came."

John F. Kennedy
9/14/62 Remarks in Newport, RI at a dinner for America's Cup Crews.

The beaches in Punta Mita, Mexico are on the top of my favorites list. I am linking this up to Cindy's I Owe it all to Him's weekend party on Favorite places.  

This beach is heaven on earth..with lot's of shells, coral and driftwood. 

Pool at the Four Seasons Punta Mita

One last view of this amazing beach

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Weeki Wachee - City of Mermaids

Have you ever wondered if Mermaids are real?  Well for those skeptics who say they don't exist - welcome to Weeki Wachee, a place that proves there really are Mermaids.

Mermaids, also known as Sirens, are mythical creatures who's top half is a woman and bottom half is a fish.  One of their greatest talents is that they are able to breathe both in and out of the water which makes them all the more elusive & mysterious to humans.  They are known for falling in love with handsome men, and pulling them beneath the water, to live with them under the sea.  

Some cultures feel mermaids bring good luck and it is said, if you help return a lost mermaid to the sea, she will grant you a wish.  It's also common folklore, that if you anger a mermaid, she will seek vengeance with storms, floods and tidal waves.

So welcome to Weeki Wachee, a City of Mermaids, the world's only enchanted springs, located on the Gulf Coast of Florida.  The spring is so deep, the bottom has never been found.  Each day, 117 million gallons of 72 degree, fresh spring water surges out of the cavernous bottom.  This fabulous place opened in 1946 and is one of Florida's most historic roadside attractions.  It hit it's stride in 1959, and became one of the country's most popular tourist attractions and women would come from all over the world for the privilege to audition as one of the Weeki Mermaids. 

One of most fabulous things about Weeki Wachee is that it has transcended time and is still a popular attraction - with modern day Mermaids.  It's so wonderful to see how something that began in 1946, with a 16 seat theatre can sustain itself and maintain it's originality and appeal to people who visit from all over the world.  

So 64 years's proof that Mermaids really do exist...... 

A color brochure from the early years

Mermaids from 1947

Love this shot - you can see the hose she used to breathe.  
This was revolutionary at that time.

Elvis visited while filming "Follow that Dream"
Love The King's smile

Photographs from brochures
 in the early years

Modern Day Mermaids

Is that a whale?  No - it's Larry the Cable Guy - swimming with the Mermaids in April 2010

Somehow - I don't think he is going to be a permanent Mermaid

I'm linking this up to It's a Blog Party Favorite Saturdays!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Not left behind....A tribute to the rescuers of Katrina

There is this wonderful book called....Not Left Behind. It covers the story of some of the Best Friends team as they rescued and cared for over 4,000 stranded dogs, cats and other pets in New Orleans as a result of Hurricane Katrina.  The remarkable photographs show how the frightened but resilient pets were given back their lives by compassionate volunteers who would not leave them behind.

I have one such couple to thank who embodies the spirit of this book. They drove to New Orleans from Miami, on their own with some friends and two boats.... to help rescue stranded animals.  When they left New Orleans a week later, there were three homeless dogs they rescued that they didn't have the heart to leave behind.  All three were sick and had no identification as to where they came from.  They found the three of them together, scared but friendly, wandering the streets in a deserted part of town.  There was a golden retriever, a yellow lab and a scruffy little mixed terrier.  So their hearts told them to bring them back to Miami where they found a vet who nursed them back to health... they posted their photos on Petfinder, hoping to find their owners but when nothing turned up - they found homes for two of the three.  They kept the little mixed terrier and named her Scruffy as they thought she was so frail and a bit ugly - no one would want her.

The Yellow Lab found an awesome home and is now living with his family in a big waterfront home in Miami Beach and my husband and I were lucky enough to bring home the golden retriever who was estimated to be about 12 - 14 months old. We kept the name his rescuers gave him which is Red and to keep track of his age, we make Katrina his birthday.  So on this 5th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina - we are so grateful to have him in our lives.

When he first arrived with us, he was petrified of the water, even the pool, for obvious reasons. But now, we can't keep him out the boat. Last year, as a thank you to his rescuers, we bought the book and gave it to them with a photograph of Red pasted inside along with a note, as if it was written in his words telling them how grateful he was that they didn't leave him behind.

Here is Red, five years after Katrina... in The Keys - on alert looking for pelicans.

So thank you to all of the wonderful and brave people who dedicated their time and effort helping all the people and animals that were so devastated by Hurricane Katrina. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Coastal Chic by Wisteria ... Louis XV Style

I always look forward to receiving my Wisteria Catalog. I am after all.... a catalog junkie at heart.  Always have been and always will be.

Way back when, my husband used to throw them out before I saw them...thinking that if I didn't see them - I wouldn't buy anything....(wrong!)... but thankfully, he has conceded defeat and now stacks them up for me to read when I get back from my travels.   

Wisteria provides incredible inspiration & ideas and is pretty affordable as far as home decor catalogs go...and they have great online sales. I've bought a few inexpensive things here and there.  

Even though this mirror is a bit over the top for my house...(if Louis the XV was a shell lover - he would be very proud).....  I still love the details and appreciate all of the beautiful shells & workmanship.  Here are some of my favorite coastal chic items from Wisteria:

This is just YUMMY

WOW....I love this with a touch of red.   
This would belong in a corner all by itself.  
Talk about making a statement.

Amazing - talk about shell crafts!  Even if I started today and had forever - I could never pull something like this dresser off!!! 

If you get a chance - check out Wisteria for some great inspirations.  Their Shop by Scene section is great for all kinds of home decorating ideas.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sanibel...A Shell-a-cious time

Linking up to Completely Coastal

Well - I had such a hard time selecting my favorite post of this year - to link up to Completely Coastal's "Everything Coastal" link party.  But I finally decided on this one - from August 2010.  So here goes....

What's the saying...a picture is worth a thousand words?  Well, I think in this case, it's best to let the photographs do most of the talking.  My husband I recently returned from an amazing weekend on Sanibel Island....which is just such a fabulous place, especially for a seashell fanatic like me.  

From the minute we arrived on the island, I was in heaven.  Everywhere I looked, the theme was seashells... from art galleries to restaurants to shops - I was like a kid in a candy store. 

Before we went, I did a little research on the island because I was really curious as to why so many seashells and sealife found their way there.  I have lived on the Florida coast most of my life and haven't seen any I was curious as to why they showed up over on the Gulf Coast in such large quantities and not here in my own backyard.  Well now I know.

Sanibel Island is part of a large plateau that extends out into the Gulf of Mexico for miles and this plateau acts like a shelf for seashells to accumulate.  Due to the currents and tides, shells travel from all over the world which is why one of the best times for shelling, is after a major storm. When the tides pick up, the seashells move around and Sanibel's land configuration acts as a scoop to pick up all these lovely shells roaming around out there, and the tides deliver these lovelies right onto the beaches....for all of us to enjoy.  One of the best sites for Sanibel shelling is  I Love Shelling...check it out - its an awesome research for shelling and more...on Sanibel Island. 

This where we stayed on W. Gulf Drive.  Awesome location.

Our little beachfront cottage.  Very cute. 

The beach at the Island Inn.  Just gorgeous.

Sea turtle season.  A great blog to learn more
about the sea turtle nests on Sanibel is Sanibel Toots
It is a wonderful resource on everything
there is to love about Sanibel. 

One of the highlights of the weekend was booking a shelling excursion with Captain Mike Fuery to Cayo Costa
Island for the most amazing timeThe tour leaves out
of Tween Marina which in on the Captiva side...
but called Tween because Captain Mike
said that the marina was in-between Sanibel and Captiva.
 This is the restaurant that is at Tween Waters Inn. 
We ended up going back there for dinner
on Captain Mike's recommendation.  It was great.

Two of the cottages across the street from Tween Waters Inn. 

I loved this one cottage. It was so pretty.

Here's the marina.

Captain Mike's boat. The excursion is a maxmium of 4 people.

Here's the amazing view leaving the marina heading
towards Cayo Costa. And the rest of the photos are samples
 of the amazing shells I collected.  This beach was so beautiful.
It was deserted and is part of a protected national park. The shells were amazing, many of the larger ones were still alive so of course,
we spent a lot of time throwing them back in, hoping that they
would not washback up again.  My husband found a large shell,
about 10 inches long with what looked like a red large,
hairy tarantula peeking out of it.  It was a creatureous looking crab
and when I told Captain Mike about it,
he said that it could be at least 15 years old! 
We had placed it back in the ocean, hoping that it made it
back out to sea. 

The great part was there were a lot of shells, especially the ones I like
best - old vintagely looking shells.  I like the imperfect ones...that look like they have traveled far and wide.  The bad part was, I left my camera on the boat and it was too difficult to go back and get it!! 

The beach across the street from Tween Waters Inn.  The beauty is indescribable.

And one last lovely little pink beauty............