The Blogmopolitan Quiz

Have you ever heard of a Blogmopolitan Quiz? Well I had not, until I recently came across one a few days ago on I blog that I follow Two Thirds Hazel, (a really fun blog).  Apparently, there have been two other quizzes created prior to this one, all for us bloggers to get to know each other better, and of course, for fun too (who doesn’t love these internet quizzes?).

After finally figuring out how to complete this quiz on Photoshop (yeah, in my humble opinion, not the most user-friendly program)… here is my Blogmopolitan Quiz with some burning questions you may want answered!  Enjoy!

The Blogmopolitan Quiz 2

 You can get your own quiz to share in the fun HERE and it is also a fun link up (my first)!!!!

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A Visit to Venetian Pool…

Coral Gables, Florida, The City Beautiful, as it is nicknamed, is a gorgeous community of esplanades, fountains, plazas and Mediterranean styled homes, designed by Dade County commissioner and land developer George Merrick starting in 1921.  And within this beautiful city, is the hidden gem of Venetian Pool, one of this country’s most beautiful public swimming pools and the only one listed on The National Register of Historic Places.

The beautiful Venetian Pool

The beautiful Venetian Pool

The Venetian pool was opened in 1924 as the “Venetian Casino,” which was part of the Grand Plan George Merrick had for the City of Coral Gables.  The pool was created in 1923 from a coral rock quarry, where much of the original coral rock was used to border and further accentuate the pool. It also features two large historic lookout towers, with a view to Coral Gables.

The towers

The towers

The clear, cool water (76-78 degrees) is fed by underground artesian wells, providing 820,000 gallons of water. Until 1988, the pool was drained and refilled every day during the summer; now a conservation method is utilized that recycles the water through natural ground filtration and returns it to the subterranean aquifer.

The pool is a lot of fun, as kids jump off the rocks and love to go swimming and hiding through the caves.  There’s also a sandy area resembling a beach, and there’s an on site cafe with tables and chairs on the patio.  Everything you need for a full day of family fun in the summer. But even if you don’t go swimming, take a peek through their gates, it’s truly something worth seeing.

Venetian Pool is located in a residential neighborhood of Coral Gables, at 2701 DeSoto Boulevard, and opens seven days a week from Memorial Day to Labor Day (and closed on Mondays during the winter). For vintage photos and more information, check out the Venetian Pool website at www.coralgablesvenetianpool.com/History.html.

Here are a few more photos of this amazing place, have you been to Venetian Pool?

Entrance to the pool…

One of the towers

The tower ceiling

The tower ceiling

Venetian style mooring poles

Lifeguard Stand

Lifeguard Stand

The waterfalls

Beach area at the pool

Beach area at the pool

Cafe

Patio for cafe area

Having fun!

Having fun!

Summer Sandals

Sandals always remind me of summer. Lucky for me that I live in Miami because I love to wear sandals all the time, and I usually do.  I probably own more pairs of sandals than any other type of shoe!  But for those of you that do not live down south and can enjoy wearing sandals the next few months, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite ones:

My Favorite Sandals

My Favorite Sandals

 

  1. Jack Rogers; http://www.jackrogersusa.com; these are my all time favorite summer sandals.  They come in a variety of colors, and are also available in wedges.  Prices range from $110-$128.  They also offer jelly beach sandals for $68. I’ve owned many of these, and they last a super long time.  They’re also really comfortable after you break them in!
  2. Havaianas; www.havaianas.com; these are simply the best flip-flops all around.  They also come in a variety of colors and patterns.  Prices range from $26-$32.  They also come in wedges and new t-sandal styles.  If you’re undecided, you can design your own Havaiana on their website!
  3. Sam Edelman; www.samedelman.com; Gigi style, comes in various color combinations, $65.  These are very comfortable and you can match them to almost any summertime outfit.
  4. Espadrilles; www.zappos.com; Sesto Meucci style, $65.99.  Who doesn’t love espadrilles in the summer?  I often buy mine in Spain or Italy, but Zappos offers tons of styles of espadrilles, in all colors, prices and styles!
  5. Born; http://www.bornshoes.com; Neeli style, $85.  While at first glance Born shoes may not always appear the most fashionable, they are definitely very comfortable.  These are the best type of sandals to take on vacations where you’ll be walking a lot!  Trust me, they come in very handy.

What are your favorite summer sandals?

What Is A Montadito?

What is a “Montadito” you might ask?  Well, In Spanish, montar means “to mount,” so montaditos are tapas-style tiny baguettes that are piled high with meats, cheeses, chocolates…essentially delightful bite-sized finger food.

Various "montaditos"

Various “montaditos”

That is the concept behind 100 Montaditos (you can choose from 100 mini sandwiches, hence the name).  They also serve appetizers, tapas, salads, various types of beer, and of course sangria.

100 Montaditos has become a very popular restaurant chain, which first opened its doors in 2000 in the south of Spain, and has now become the largest Spanish-owned franchise in the world.  The ambiance is very typical of a tapas bar in Spain, where once folks finish their meals, they like to hang around drinking and having fun.

Ham croqueta appetizer

Ham croqueta appetizer

In 2011, the first US restaurant and Americas headquarters was opened in, where else, Miami.  My family and I love to frequent this place because there is such variety, and you can’t beat the prices. The mini sandwiches range in price between $1.00 – $2.50, but on Wednesdays, all sandwiches cost $1.00! Another great feature of these restaurants is their locations.  In the Miami area, you can find one in South Miami, Miracle Mile, Lincoln Road, Brickell Avenue, Midtown, Kendall, Pinecrest…just about anywhere. My favorite montaditos are the Serrrano ham, Manchego cheese, tortilla Española with ali oli, and my husband loves the BBQ pulled pork.

My favorite Guava & Cream Cheese Montadito!

My favorite Montadito!

On our last visit there, they had changed up the menu a bit, and I was surprised that they no longer serve the very popular cream cheese and guava montadito, (not sure why it’s off the menu, it was delicious). But if you’re looking for a sweet ending to your meal, make sure you try one of their delicious chocolate montaditos, especially the Cookies and Cream one! Have you been to 100 Montaditos?  If you have, which is your favorite?

Montaditoscollage

 

Captivating Capri

When in Italy, visiting the beautiful island of Capri should be on everyone’s itinerary. Every time we vacation at the Amalfi Coast we take the ferry from Sorrento and spend one full day in Capri. The island is simply breathtaking, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited.

Arriving at Marina Grande

Once you’re off the ferry, which leaves you at Marina Grande, if you’re not familiar with the island, or you’re visiting in August (as we usually do), it can appear chaotic at first. But have no fear, it’s pretty simple. The quickest way to travel to the center of Capri from the port is by the island’s funicular, a little train which makes its way up to the center through the island’s lemon gardens in just 3 minutes.

Sign for the funicular

Sign for the funicular

Or, if the queues are too long, as they often are in the summer months, you can take a bus, or my personal favorite, catch one of the famous open air taxis up to the center of Capri.

Open air taxis available by the funicular station on Marina Grande

Open air taxis available by the funicular station in Marina Grande

Of course, you can also walk if you feel up to it and it’s not too hot. The taxis and buses will leave you at Piazza Umberto I, better known as the Piazzetta, the heart of Capri’s social life. There are numerous bars and cafes on the Piazzetta, perfect for people-watching and enjoying a cold drink on a hot summer day. On the Piazzetta is the 17th century Torre del Orologio with its beautiful clock, believed to be the old bell tower of the cathedral. Right off of the Piazzetta, are the main shopping streets where you can find many designer boutiques.

Torre de Orologio on the Piazetta

Torre de Orologio on the Piazzetta

If you would like to see the entire island, boat rides are offered that explore the coast. The amazing rock formations, called the Faraglioni, are truly a magnificent sight.

Faraglioni rock formations

Faraglioni rock formations

The boat ride can also take you to the famous Grotta Azzurra (Blue Grotto), a sea cave along the coast of Capri known and admired by all for its brilliant blue color. Once you arrive near the grotto, you will be transferred into small wooden rowboats. Because there is no headroom, it is common for tourists to lie on their backs in order to clear the entryway. Warning: in the six times or so that I have visited Capri, I have only been able to enter the Blue Grotto once! This is because many times there is a 2-3 hour wait for one of the rowboats, during the busy months. Other times, it is impossible to visit, and the boats will not take tourists, if the sea levels are too high. The last time we tried, we had our hotel in Sorrento call the port in Capri very early in the morning to see if they were taking boats to the grotto. Although they were taking passengers that day, once we arrived at the grotto, there was a 3 hour wait for a rowboat. If you have your hotel check on a particular day, my recommendation would be to take the ferry to Capri as early as possible, as this will cut down your wait time for the rowboats. If you’re staying in Capri, you already have an advantage and can get on the earliest boat out to the grotto.

Top; my only visit to the Blue Grotto Bottom; Rowboats with people lying down

Top; My only visit to the Blue Grotto
Bottom; Rowboats with visitors lying down as they’re entering the grotto

To experience the “other” Capri, far from the glitz and glamour of the Piazzetta, you’ll need to take the 3 kilometer winding road up the cliffs to Anacapri (my favorite area on the island). Here, in the picturesque historic center of Anacapri, you’ll discover a very different island with smaller streets, peaceful piazzas, and beautiful bougainvillea all around. The bus or taxi will leave you at Piazza Vittoria, full of tourist shops and cafes. Piazza Vittoria is also where the Via Giuseppe Orlandi commences, a pedestrian road which winds its way right through the historic center of Anacapri.

Piazza Vittoria, Anacapri

Piazza Vittoria, Anacapri

One of the most memorable things we did in Anacapri was take the chairlift up to Monte Solaro, the highest point of the mountain (1,932 feet) with 360° views. The first time I came across this chairlift was back in 1996, when my husband and I first visited Anacapri. He right away wanted to take the ride up, and I remember telling him not all the money in the world would get me to ride this thing! So he didn’t go either (I felt kind of guilty). Fast forward many years later, on our first trip here with our daughter, and of course they both went on it. I was once again terrified and decided to window shop while they took the ride up. Near the chairlift is the other shopping strip with hotels and more famous historical sites. Well as they say, the third time’s the charm. On my next visit to Anacapri, hubby and daughter begged me to take the ride, and promised I would not regret it. Boy, were they right! I couldn’t believe what I had been missing. The chairlift is a 10 minute ride up but there were definitely a few moments, especially when it tilts upwards towards the end, where I felt my heartbeat speed up. But once you arrive at the top…priceless, the most spectacular views of the Bays of Naples and Salerno around. You will not want to forget your camera on this ride! There is also a cafe at the top, so you can spend some time taking in the views, while sipping a cool drink and taking photos (always taking photos), before you take the ride back down.

Left; Going up to Monte Solaro Right; Coming back down

Piazza Armando Diaz is considered the center of life in Anacapri, where the locals can often be found relaxing. In the center of the piazza, is the Chiesa di Santa Sofia, which is beautiful. The church was constructed in 1510 to replace Anacapri’s old Parish Church of Santa Maria di Costantinopoli.  Definitely worth to take a look inside.

Chiesa di Santa Sofia

Chiesa di Santa Sofia

While all of Capri is full of designer boutiques and shops selling all sorts of items, I have to single out my two favorite stores. The first one is Margherita Boutique (Via G. Orlandi, 144). Walking down the pedestrian Via G. Orlandi, you continue past the church of Santa Sofia, and the boutique will be on your right hand side. They sell beautiful cotton clothing with prints of anchors, Capri pants, beautiful lively blues, representing the sea surrounding Capri and also prints of cancelli (the wrought-iron door elements found in Anacapri).  They also carry beautiful leather bags and some carry-on luggage pieces, of which I bought a few (couldn’t resist)!

Boutique Margherita

Boutique Margherita…my daughter picking out her bag!

The other shop my daughter enjoys stopping in every time is La Bottega Caprese (Via G. Orlandi, 26), right on Piazza Vittoria. This shop sells custom-made leather sandals, where the owner himself, measures your foot and creates the sandal on your foot, after you’ve chosen the color and style of straps. She really gets a kick out of choosing her own sandals. They’re a bit pricey, but what isn’t on this island?

La Botegga Caprese

La Bottega Caprese owner making my daughter’s sandals…

Delicious Caprese salad and beautiful limoncello bottles for sale.

Delicious Caprese salad and beautiful limoncello bottles for sale.

One thing is for sure, on your visit to Capri, you have to try a Caprese salad (first created on the island in the 1950s).  The delicious mozzarella cheese combined perfectly with the tomatoes and basil is amazing! Capri is also known for its lemon trees grown throughout the island. Not only do these lemons form part of the beautiful scenery, but they are also used to produce limoncello, a sweet, lemony, liquor prevalent on the island. Delicious any time of the day.

Have you visited the Isle of Capri? If so, I would love to hear what you enjoyed most!

Here are a few more photos of our trips, enjoy!

Hubby relaxing in a cafe on the Piazzetta, back in the day on our first trip there!

Hubby relaxing in a cafe on the Piazzetta, back in the day on our first trip there!

Views of Capri from the chairlift

Views of Capri from the chairlift

Gorgeous views from Monte Solaro

Gorgeous views from Monte Solaro

On the ferry...

On the ferry…

The open air taxi

The open air taxi

Typical street in Anacapri

Typical street in Anacapri

View from Monte Solaro

View from Monte Solaro

View of the dome

View of the church dome

View of Capri from the chairlift

More views of Capri from the chairlift

Arriving at Marina Grande

Beach Essentials

Now that it’s summertime and many of us are going to the beach pretty regularly, I thought it would be helpful to come up with a list of must-haves at the beach. I always try to bring everything we might need for a long day, however I hate to carry things (like most of us), so most of these items make our trip to the beach a bit easier.

Beach Essentials Collage

1) Scout Beach Bag; www.scoutbags.com; Original Deano style $37.50, comes in a variety of colors and patterns, and monogramming is also an option. I love these bags, as they are very durable and fit an abundance of items.

2) J.Crew Open-weave trilby hat; www.jcrew.com; $32.50, much better than sunglasses by avoiding raccoon eyes while tanning!

3) Tile Beach Towel; www.landsend.com; $23.40, comes in a variety of colors, these are great, thick beach towels, which last a few years.

4) Ultra Hi-Boy 7 Position Beach Chair w/ Canopy; www.beachstore.com; $99.95, these are so practical, you can eliminate bringing a beach umbrella, one less thing to carry!

5) Hawaiian Tropic Lime Coolada After Sun Moisturizer; $7; sold at various drug stores as well as Target and Wal-Mart. I’ve been using this after sun care moisturizer for years, and my entire family loves it!

6) Igloo 28-qt Island Breeze Wheeled Cooler; www.walmart.com; $24.97, comes in others colors as well. These are great, and since it has wheels, it’s not as heavy to carry.

What are your beach must-haves?

Girl Meets World…

So after watching Boy Meets World, many moons ago, and remembering that it was a very sweet sitcom of the 90’s, I was excited about Disney’s spin-off for my daughter, Girl Meets World, which premiered on the Disney Channel, June 27th.  Although I was not as disappointed as I have been with other Disney shows in the past (click here for my tween TV post), I wasn’t completely impressed either.

Cast of Girl Meets World Photo Courtesy of People.com

Cast of Girl Meets World
Photo Courtesy of People.com

While I love the concept of seeing Cory and Topanga still together as married adults (well, very young adults, they haven’t aged a bit), with their own family, Girl Meets World, is not as innocent.  Cory is now a history teacher at his daughter Riley’s school, so of course he will be dishing out advice just as his mentor Mr. Feeny did on BMW.  But as with Feeny, boundaries are crossed. The conversations and antics that take place in Cory’s classroom, would never occur in the real world. And 12-year-old daughter Riley, is very sassy and a bit disrespectful, however, deep down she likes to do the right thing.

The plot lines are silly (what parent today allows their 12-year-old to ride a NYC subway alone?) and the parents clueless. I had my fingers crossed with this pilot, hoping that it would mimic its predecessor, however, this just felt like yet another new Disney show, with Cory and Topanga as part of the cast.  Having said all this, my daughter thought it was cute, and I’m sure she’ll be watching it again.

Shawn & Cory ; Maya & Riley

Something that Disney will have to work on a bit is the mischievous BFF. While Shawn was the kid from a broken home, with a heart of gold, and an eye for mischief, Maya isn’t a troublemaker from a blue-collar background. Maya pushes Riley in similar ways as Shawn pushed Cory, but Maya is no Shawn! Everyone loved Shawn, while Maya right now just seems to be a very bad influence for what appears to be a kind-hearted Riley. But I’m sure they will develop that storyline some more, and show us why Maya acts the way she does (probably neglected and/or misunderstood by her parents somehow).

Good old Mr. Feeny

My favorite part of the pilot was at the end, when we see Feeny walk out of a stay-in-school poster to offer reassurances to Cory. This made me wonder if Feeny had died at the end of the BMW series, but I’m pretty sure he didn’t. I can only assume that he will be making guest appearances, or maybe even joining the cast later on.  This might actually be a good thing.

I’ll have to give this show a chance and see if Disney redeems itself.  Did you watch the pilot, and if you did, what were your thoughts/impressions?