Thursday, November 28, 2013

I am thankful for so many things, no butts about it!

I am thankful for so many things, no butts about it! EVERYDAY, before my feet touch the floor in the
morning and before my head hits the pillow at night, I thank God for the many blessings I have in my life.

I am grateful for my dysfunctional family that reminds me to Keep It Real. They've seen me before coffee. 

The dear friends that listen to me bitch about my dysfunctional family and sit through countless hours of my travel photos and tales from the road

The joy I feel when I travel to a new place, the opportunities I've had to see the world and break bread with incredible people. So, I raise my glass to the boss that fired me 8 years ago. His moment of insanity opened doors and windows I didn't even know were there!

My husband Ralph, (yes he does exist) who has encouraged me to reach for the stars and lifts me up when I can't quite reach them

A hilarious business partner, Rick Griffin who makes me laugh daily, makes me step out of my comfort zone, daring me to do things I didn't think possible

The amazing destinations I've been to that remind me how big the world is and that it doesn't revolve around me.

and YOU. Yes, You! You know who you are 

Looking forward to a stress free day, with no expectations, serving up heaping helpings of traditional fare in my pajamas with people who have seen me before coffee.

Yup. Keeping it Real. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Interview with a Foodie – Sandi McKenna


Interview with a Foodie – Sandi McKenna


About Datz

They are omnivores — carnivorous, chocolate-loving, bacon-hoarding, wineauxs, beer geeks, curd nerds and yes, even vegetarians. They are shamelessly unapologetic flavor crusaders and Datz is their playground. An american gastropub and market dishing up regional comfort food favorites generously paired with boutique spirits, craft beer and wine. Served with ample sides of culinary education and entertainment in a spirited, ever-evolving environment.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Meet the MidLife Road Trip Co-Hosts, Travel Experts and Dream Weavers, Rick Griffin and Sandi McKenna

It's is our firm belief that travel is the perfect therapy for a midlife or any crisis no matter what your age. We're about encouraging people to live their dreams, daring to try what they always wanted to do, go where they have never been and experience all that the world has to offer.  Through food, travel and adventure we take them along for the ride, in the air, on the road or at sea. .  Whether it's something as extreme as skydiving or as simple as learning to cook your favorite meal, the Midlife Road Trip cast and crew are committed to making the most of life {YOLO: You Only Live Once} in a fun and entertaining way. Our co-hosts, Rick Griffin and Sandi McKenna met through mutual friends on Twitter where a simple conversation launched the adventure of a lifetime.
Rick Griffin
Atlanta, GA

Rick is the founder/creator and co-host of the Midlife Road Trip.  After a life-threatening experience in 2004, Rick re-evaluated his priorities, sold his business and began to pursue his creative passions in travel, writing and video production.
In 2009 Rick developed the creative concept used for Budweiser's Designated Driver Campaign that premiered in the Tonight Show. Rick was the first place winner of XlantAds.com’s  "Searching for Love" webisode contest and of Poptent.Net’s  "Road Trip" contest. In 2010, Rick was selected as a featured panelist for BlogWorld 2010 in Las Vegas, selected for Princes Cruises "Follow Me At Sea" Twitter cruise, selected to attend the NASA shuttle launch and Tweetup, participated in the Mongol Rally and Rand McNally/USA Today's Best of the Road Rally.

sandra mckenna
Sandi McKenna
New Yorker living in Tampa, FL
Sandi is the co-host of the Midlife Road Trip. Considered the Lois Lane of social media, Sandi's natural curiosity combined with 20+ years in marketing and entertainment public relations were the perfect training ground for the MidLife Road Trip.  Add to that a myriad of life experiences & her love of connecting with people everywhere and you get a recipe for laughter, the unexpected and a great time in any circumstance. 
With dogged determination and unstoppable spirit Sandi show's you that simply being ordinary can be an extraordinary experience. Sandi was selected to attend the NASA shuttle launch and Tweetup, Rand McNally/USA Today's Best of the Road Rally and named one of the Top 10 Travel Experts on Twitter.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Think ......

Mission San Juan Capistrano
I'm not a fan of chain letters and emails. I rarely, if ever pass them on even (especially) when they threaten me within an inch of my life. While the following was not threatening (but did request I forward the email to at least 10 people) I thought the message was a beautiful one. I'm sure this story has been around the block a time or two but this is the first time I had read it. What a lovely message of gratitude that it carries with it. 

There was a blind girl who hated herself because she was blind. She hated everyone, except her loving boyfriend. He was always there for her. She told her boyfriend, 'If I could only see the world, I will marry you.' One day, someone donated a pair of eyes to her. When the bandages came off, she was able to see everything, including her boyfriend. He asked her, ‘Now that you can see the world, will you marry me?' The girl looked at her boyfriend and saw that he was blind. The sight of his closed eyelids shocked her. She hadn't expected that. The thought of looking at them the rest of her life led her to refuse to marry him. Her boyfriend left her in tears and days later wrote a note to her saying: 'Take good care of your eyes, my dear, for before they were yours, they were mine.' This is how the human brain often works when our status changes. Only a very few remember what life was like before, and who was always by their side in the most painful situations.

Life Is a Gift Today before you say an unkind word - Think of someone who can't speak.
Before you complain about the taste of your food - Think of someone who has nothing to eat.
Before you complain about your husband or wife - Think of someone who's crying out to GOD for a companion.
Today before you complain about life - Think of someone who went too early to heaven.
Before you complain about your children -Think of someone who desires children but they're barren. Before you argue about your dirty house someone didn't clean or sweep - Think of the people who are living in the streets.
Before whining about the distance you drive ~ Think of someone who walks the same distance with their feet.
And when you are tired and complain about your job - Think of the unemployed, the disabled, and those who wish they had your job.
But before you think of pointing the finger or condemning another - Remember that not one of us is without sin and we all answer to one MAKER. And when depressing thoughts seem to get you down - Put a smile on your face and thank GOD you're alive and still around.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Beware: Watch your "Social Media Back"




Social Media can be a great thing. It can also be quite unsettling. It can leave you vulnerable. I don't often talk about my past. Not that it was bad or because I did anything crazy. There are parts of ones life that are raw, unresolved and therefore go unspoken. That is until through the beauty of social media they hit you smack dab in the face.

In high school I met & fell in love with Tom a very smart and handsome young man. I was head over heels crazy in love. Of course, hormones took over and at 18 I gave birth to our daughter. Yes, there was s shotgun wedding. Back in the day that's what we did. Sadly, I wasn't the only girl on the block to wind up in that situation. After a very tumultuous two years, this union which was doomed from the get go, came to a crashing halt. While I'll spare you the details, it took me several years to recover from the heartbreak. It took me 18 years to fall in love again.

That chapter had long been closed until I received several anonymous emails telling me that my first husband had passed away several months earlier. It had been nearly three decades since we had spoken, a lifetime ago. He had moved on with his life and I with mine. I remembered him as a vibrant young man and was sad to learn his life ended. He and my daughter never had a real relationship. It had been over 25 years since he had contacted her. I don't even know if he knew he had two grand children. They were never mentioned or recognized in his obituary. His family never had a relationship with my daughter and never met my grand children. Probably didn't even know they existed. We are all o.k. with that.

Now, for the unsettling part. This week someone named Charlotte (who we don't know) posted her condolences on his legacy guest book. She included a photo of my daughter (which Charlotte used as her avatar) and one of my grand-daughters. She used the photos as if they were hers. She did not mention that the avatar she posted was not her and that the girls had nothing to do with her. Both photos have been cropped & edited from a recent photo that was taken of my entire family for Parade Magazine (including my husband of the past 18 years who raised the kids w/me). It's downright creepy.

I can't imagine why someone who we don't know would do this. It serves no purpose. It could certainly be hurtful to his mom, sisters and son. While they know he had a "First Family" we have long been out of their lives and long forgotten. Chapter closed. I have googled "Charlotte" in Land O' Lakes until my fingers went numb. Surprisingly, "Charlotte" does not exist! Then who? Who would feel compelled to do such a thing? Sometimes, the past should be just that. The past.

While I may never know who "Charlotte" is, I think there is a valuable lesson here. You have got to "Watch you Social Media Back" ... People can steal your likeness and use it for anything. They can "edit" your life to fit theirs.

Here's what "Charlotte" wrote:

September 28, 2011
My thoughts and prayer are with your family today Tom. I've just recently learned of your passing. You possessed a spirit that always gave and seldom asked for return. You continue live on in the heart and soul of your diverse and very large family, your multitude of friends from all walks of life, and in the beautiful children and their children you created. Your life and all which it stood for should never be forgotten. May peace surround us all until we meet again.

Charlotte