Escape Winter

…with this week’s Margarita Moment.

Smather's Beach, KW

Smather’s Beach, KW

DSCN3336

Higgs Beach, KW

Historic Seaport, KW

Historic Seaport, KW

No Worries, this is Brainy Fun

This post has a little something for everyone. If anything Super Bowl-related is as relaxing for you as a trip to the dentist for a tooth extraction, scroll down to Brainy Fun.

If your team isn’t in contention or you aren’t a fan of football, Super Bowl partes can be as much about the food and drink, commercials and half-time show as they are about the actual game. Granted, the contest between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco Forty-Niners this year was pretty exciting, especially with a 33-minute blackout, but the talk of the evening at our house last night was about the commercials. Here are our favorite top three:

3.  Sweetest Ad

2.  Family Life Ad

1.  Happiest Ad

Many of you in the US likely had seen the Volkswagon ad before the big game since it caused a bit of a stir. Some have complained it has racist undertones. However, I’ll take my cue from the Jamaican government, which has openly embraced the ad as a positive connection to Jamaican culture. No worries, mon.

What’s your take on Super Bowl XLVII?

Brainy Fun…

If you like optical illusions, you’ll enjoy this video. I always learn something new from these science movies, yet they keep my attention with their catchy illustrations. This one is interactive. Even better. 🙂

What do you think of fast thinking vs. slow thinking? Were you tricked by any of the optical illusions or surprised by any of the activities’ answers?

Did You Ever Notice?

If you’re like me, you’d agree stand-up comedy is one of those forms of entertainment where it can be really hysterical or downright uncomfortable. In my home turf here on Long Island, there are some decent comedians on weeknight and occasional weekends out earning a little extra cash or warming up for their bigger gigs in the city. These acts tend to be good to side-splitting great. Then there are those comedians honing their craft, who haven’t quite made it big yet. They are the acts that can go either way. When it goes bad, the audience squirms with embarassment for the comedian. It’s no fun for anyone.

That’s what makes you realize the talent that goes into making a great stand-up show. The timing, the writing about everyday experiences in a unique, funny way, the facial expression, the gestures…the little zingers that make us think.

I can recite the whole “Cake for Breakfast” routine by Bill Cosby and still get a kick out of George Carlin’s “Did you ever notice?” skit. But Bill’s comedic style plays too slow for this post and Carlin’s language isn’t PG enough. So, I surfed YouTube, looking for the perfect stand-up moment to share with you today. After a couple hours of laughing, I realized I was procrastinating. What better stand-up moment to show you than Ellen Degeneres talking about, guess what, procrastinating.

What’s your favorite stand-up routine or comic? Are you a procrastinator? Are you reading this blog instead of working?

Bikes and Bubbles Encore

Happy Margarita Moment, all! This week I’m traveling with extended family in celebration of my in-laws’ fiftieth wedding anniversary. Please enjoy this reader favorite I originally posted last summer. I look forward to sharing the sights of Bermuda with you next week. Until then, cheers!

Do you ever find yourself blowing bubbles alone, skipping rope just for fun, or dunking a cookie in milk without counting calories?

Simple pleasures like these can bring you back to a time before you worried about laundry, bills, and work deadlines, when summers lasted a year and Halloween was near the top of your favorite holidays’ list.

As a kid growing up in New York’s rural Adirondacks, my bike was everything. First my Big Wheels, and later, my beloved ten-speed racing bike. I was excited to be independent, breezing along field-lined roads as my skinny legs pedaled to and from my friends’ houses.

Like many childhood toys, I left my bike behind upon entering college. By the time I pulled it out of the backyard shed, the bike was rusted and in need of new tires. Being an impatient twenty-something, I figured I’d buy a new one after my move. The NYC metro-area provided many wonderful opportunities for my husband and me, but traffic and the growing demands of family life convinced this transplanted country girl to switch over to a more conventional vehicle–the minivan.

Beautiful Southernmost Beach

Fast-forward twenty years, and my husband and I are on vacation in Key West, Florida. What’s the suggested mode of transportation?  Bicycles, of course. Called beach or island cruisers, these bikes are equipped with baskets in front, perfect for carrying a beach bag or souvenirs, like items from the KW Jewelry Bar. They can be ridden at night, too, with strobe lights attached to the wheels’ spokes instead of handlebars. (More on that to come!)

My eyes light up as I gaze at the bike, thinking, I’d miss you even if we’d never met. (Movie Quote Alert…answer below.) In spite of niggling doubts about having enough energy to traverse this five square-mile island, I agree to rent one.

We bike to Smathers and Fort Zachary Taylor beaches, bask in the sun like lizards and float on the warm Atlantic waters.

Later, we sightsee. In the evenings, I scoop up my flowing skirt to tuck around me as we take a leisurely ride side-by-side to Michael’s or another of our favorite haunts for a romantic dinner, followed by sunset cocktails at Mallory Square.

On our more adventurous nights, we lock up our bikes on Duval Street, and begin an impromptu Duval Crawl. Hours later, we return to our bikes (Sometimes the toughest part is remembering where the bikes are located!), and take the exhilarating two-wheeled trip back to our B & B. We whizz past quiet, side-street houses in the darkness–with nothing but mesmerizing strobe lights guiding our fuzzy brains. Whee!

I learned it’s never too late to enjoy simple pleasures like the ones I loved as a kid. Key West is my favorite getaway, and the fun we have riding our rented bikes everywhere is definitely a big part of the draw for me, being a kid at heart.

What childhood toy or activity have you left behind that you’d like to revisit, or maybe adapt to your life as an adult?

Movie Quote Answer: Wedding Date, 2005 (Debra Messing, Dermot Mulroney, Amy Adams, Peter Egan) Debra Messing’s character, Kat, complains that Dermot Mulroney’s character, Nick, knows everything about her and she doesn’t know a thing about him. He responds, “I’m allergic to fabric softener. I majored in comparative literature at Brown. I hate anchovies. And I think I’d miss you even if we never met.”

Kindle Fire Obsession Update

A Tropical Drink to Chase Away Winter Blahs

Happy Margarita Moment, everyone! I’m excited to share a couple of fun travel posts, pics/music, and news I discovered on the web this week. But first, here’s that update I promised.

It’s been two months since I purchased a Kindle Fire. In that time, my crush has become a full-fledged obsession. In fact, it’s hard to imagine life without it–or at least my late evenings, weekends, waiting rooms, and car rides. Amazon Prime’s promotional month of free movies and tv shows was a nice perk. As I shared in my initial post about the Fire, I was hesitant to pay the $79 annual fee until I knew how often I’d actually use the service.

Here’s my Fire money breakdown for the past month:

$11 on movie downloads

$30 on ebook/music downloads

If I were a Prime member, I would have had unlimited streaming access for three of the four movies as opposed to a 48 hour rental window, saving $8. At that rate, I’d save $96 for the year, coming out $15 ahead. Not a huge difference, but I know I would have watched 3-4 more movies had they been “free.”

 

The exciting news for parents of kids with Kindle Fires came on February eighth. Amazon announced a deal with Viacom that brings a number of Nickelodeon, MTV, TVLand, and Comedy Central shows as part of Prime’s package. Considering my son spent $41 of his Christmas gift card to own a complete season of a favorite Nick show, a $79 investment can very well save money in the long run–in addition to more viewing options.

Be cautioned:  Unlimited streaming only works when the Fire has Wi-Fi connection. You still need to purchase and download tv shows and movies to view them offline. Let’s say you want to watch The Bodyguard, one of Amazon Prime’s new listings. As a member, you can watch this Whitney Houston/Kevin Costner flick via Wi-Fi as often as you wish until the movie is removed from the Prime listing. (I’ve only owned the Fire for three months, but I haven’t noticed any movies taken off the roster yet.) If you aren’t a member, you can download it or watch via wi-fi for $2.99 in a 48 hour rental period.

Fire Text Customization Features

Let’s talk ebooks.

I’m so excited to finally have an ereader and instant access to my favorite authors’ work. As you may remember, I discovered a new contemporary romance author, Abigail Strom, and consumed all four of her delicious titles. Since then, I’ve read Jan Rome’s ONE SMALL FIB romantic comedy and began THE CHASE IS ON by Maggie Van Well.  I haven’t had an issue with eyestrain or awkwardness holding the Fire. I actually prefer the backlighting for reading at night, and I figured out how to customize the ebook by background color, font, letter size, line spacing, and margins. Just click on bottom of screen and a pop-up menu appears. (Not all custom features are available with all ebooks, however.) As long as the Kindle Fire is indoors or in shade, visibility is excellent.

Now, for your Margarita Moment Mini-Mashup…

I follow Nicole Basaraba’s blog faithfully, not only because she’s a kindred writer spirit, but because of her awesome European travel posts. Check out her recent trek to Alicante, Spain. You won’t be sorry!

In the same vein as my recent youtube video, Livin’ on Key West Time, is this relaxing slideshow of Mexican vistas by Adinasadventures.

Last, but not least, is this article about a Long Island couple who recently won a $3 million scratch-off jackpot. After paying off their bills and taking care of two children’s weddings, guess where they’re taking a little trip? In their words, they’re going “heaven on Earth…Key West.” I couldn’t agree more, and I wish them all the best.

Until next time, I wish you all the best too. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find a little slice of heaven on Earth wherever you are this week.

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