Visiting the Amazing New Marlin's Park in Miami, Florida

During my visit to Miami Florida in June 2015, I had the pleasure of attending a baseball game at the Marlins new stadium.  This is a really new stadium that just opened in the spring of 2012.  The Marlins were playing the New York Yankees that night and it was a sold-out game.  I'm a Yankees fan so I was a little disappointed when they were losing eight to nothing in the first inning.  I know it's team can't win every game but it's not really much fun to watch once one team is winning or losing by that much from the very beginning.                                    

.  I thought the new stadium was absolutely beautiful.   It has a capacity of nearly 37,000 people and  has a retractable roof which many people feel has increased attendance to the games tremendously.   I love how you can see the skyline through the windows and the home run Marlin decoration that goes into action when the team scores a home run.  You can see a video of it in action here on YoutubeHome run .  Some people see it as over the top or cheesy.  I thought it was fun and I loved the added color to the stadium. 

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I usually try and photograph the players, but I was busy catching up with a friend I hadn't seen in years.  My favorite player was not playing in this game since the National League doesn't allow designated hitters.  Yes, I'm an Alex Rodriguez fan and I hope not too many of you stop reading this post here :)
Wandering and searching island girl-1-13We had great seats!
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Wandering and searching island girl-1-13I would ask you to caption what the group of guys was saying in the row behind us in the photo below.  The score was 8-0 in the first inning and they were not happy about that being Yankees' fans as well.  I want to keep my blog family friendly though ;)
Wandering and searching island girl-1-13I'm not terribly pleased (at all) with this photo of the Miami cityscape, but I thought it was gorgeous with all the different colors and especially the red building seen on on the left.
Wandering and searching island girl-1-66Thanks for your visit.  I would  like to hear which baseball stadiums you have visited and are your favorite.  Have a great week. 
~Michelle

 


My European Escape To Vizcaya in Miami Florida

 Here is the entrance to Vizcaya:

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Villa Vizcaya now called Vizcaya Museum and Gardens on Biscayne Bay in Miami Florida was built by businessman James Deering as a winter home.  Vizcaya was planned and built between 1914 and 1923.  Vizcaya combines french and Italian garden layouts combined with Cuban limestone stonework. 

I felt like I was touring a mansion or palace in Europe while I was there.  The ceilings and decor is so incredibly ornate.  The only thing I didn't like about my visit was not being able to take photos indoors, but that is the policy in most similar places I've visited in Italy as well.  I would also recommend visiting this lovely museum during the "cooler" months.  I was there in mid June on a very warm day and there are three floors of rooms to see! 

Vizcaya can be rented for special occasions such as weddings and photo shoots.  One can do a self guided tour for $18.00/adult.  It's an additional $5.00 for an audio tour.  Special guided tours can be arranged as well.  Vizcaya will be undergoing renovations beginning in mid July 2015 until October 2015.  The price to tour the museum will be reduced to $16.00/adult. 
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Here is a photo of the court yard:
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The water in the pool really was this hue of blue - not sure if it's safe to swim in!
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Here is the court yard:
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The statues throughout the grounds were amazing!
Wandering and searching island girl-1-2I was so fascinated by this Italian barge structure behind Vizcaya.  It's mainly for decorative purposes, but it's supposed to calm the waters near the shore as well.
Wandering and searching island girl-1-2  Wandering and searching island girl-1-60I loved the statues throughout the grounds:

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I will leave you with a photo of my friend Jahna Robertson and I relaxing in the air conditioned gift shop/cafe.  It was a very warm June day and made us appreciate what it was like to build and work on this mansion as well as live in southern Florida before the invention of air conditioning.  I would definitely recommend visiting Vizcaya if you are ever in the Miami area.  Most people like having 2-3 hours to tour the grounds.  For more information about visiting, here is their web site:  Click here: Vizcaya

 

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Thank you for visiting my blog.  Please leave me any comments and questions.  I would love to hear your thoughts on my blogs new design as it's still evolving.  I hope you are having a great week

~Michelle


The Mysterious Coral Castle in Southern Florida

  I wanted to see the Coral Castle when I visited the Miami area because it looked to beautiful in the photos.  I was not prepared to hear the interesting stories surrounding the man who built it, how he did it, and why.  Like the Egyptian pyramids, much of how one man was able to work with stones weighing a ton or more remains a mystery.

A man named Edward Leedskalnin was rejected by his 16-year-old bride to be in Latvia just one day before the wedding.  Edward decided to leave for America at that point.  He spent more than 28 years building the castle and refused to let anyone view him working on it.

The Coral Castle is made of a stone called Oolite (see the close-up below).  The Florida Keys and the surrounding Miami area are primarily made up of Oolite.  The Coral castle has remained intact since the builders death in 1951 and survived a direct hit by Hurricane Andrew

Along with  the builder's two story residence, the castle contains the following impressive items:

Accurate sundial,

A Polaris telescope,

An obelisk,

A barbecue,

A water well,

A fountain,

Celestial stars and planets,

Furniture including a heart-shaped table, a table in the shape of Florida, twenty-five rocking chairs, chairs resembling crescent moons,

A bathtub, beds and a throne.

The current adult admission fee is $16.00/person.  More can be read at the Castle's web site here:   http://coralcastle.com/

 Here is the view as you walk through the doorway of the Coral Castle:

Wandering and searching island girl-1-33It used to only cost 10 cents to see the Coral Castle.  The owner left a bell for visitors to ring.  If he didn't answer, they were supposed to slip a dime in the slot.
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Wandering and searching island girl-1-33My friend Jahna Robertson:
Wandering and searching island girl-1-33Oolite close-up
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Wandering and searching island girl-1-33Yours truly:
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Here is the entrance to the builder's living quarters.  Edward didn't have an air conditioning when he needed a break from the intense South Florida heat.  I imagine he could have used it while working as hard as he did!
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The Coral Castle has a nice cafe and outdoor eating area:  Wandering and searching island girl-1-38

I will leave you with a couple photos of my friend Jahna Robertson and I:

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Thanks so much for stopping by.  Please feel free to ask any questions and of course comments are always appreciated.  I hope you are all having a great week.

~Michelle


Fun at South Beach in Miami Florida

Nok-1-7The above photo was taken from a nice restaurant called the Rusty Pelican where you can get a pretty good view of the Miami city skyline.

I always enjoy taking photos of people at the beach.  Most of them are having fun especially the children.  I enjoyed seeing the ocean and big waves which I don't get to see in the Tampa Bay AreaSouth Beach in Miami is very beautiful as most of the beaches I have visited in Florida are.  
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I will leave you with a photo of the Royal Palm Hotel at night:

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Thank you for your visit.  As always I welcome your comments and questions.  Have a great week.  

~Michelle


My Trip to Malaga, Nerja, Madrid, and the Rock of Gibraltar in Spain

Nok-1-76I visited Spain three years ago and saw four different areas of the country.  There are still other areas of Spain I would like to see such as Barcelona, but I do feel like I saw a pretty good cross-section of the country.  I'm writing this post from memory so I'm afraid it won't be as detailed as if I had written it three years ago after the trip.

I started out in Malaga which is in the southern part of the country and made day trips to the rock of Gibraltar and to a charming beach town called Nerja.  While visiting these three areas I was fortunate enough to have my high school friend join me who now know lives in Sweden.  She was a very good tour guide as she knows how to drive in Europe which I never would have dared to do by myself.  Of course having a great friend from way back join me made the trip 10 times more fun.  We would have enjoyed the trip no matter where we were!        

After leaving Malaga I went to Madrid for a few days.  As some of you may know, I am not much of a city person and Madrid is a very large city in my opinion.  I thought the architecture and buildings were beautiful and I learned a lot about the history of the country by going on a tour. 

  The rock of Gibraltar was fascinating to see.  The monkeys were so much fun.  They were not aggressive at all compared to the ones I saw in Bali

From what I have seen in Spain so far I would say that the beach town, Nerja, was my favorite.  It's definitely an area I would love to go back and visit.  I thought it was really beautiful, clean not a very big town with still plenty to do. 

My photos are not the best either I didn't have any knowledge of photography at the time I have tried to improve them but that is hard to do without a raw file.  I had no idea what to take photographs of or how to take them and definitely not how to edit them.  That is something that I am working at getting better at now. 

Here are some photos of the rock of Gibraltar and a concert hall inside it:

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My friend and I at the Rock Of Gibraltar:
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Nok-1-76I thought the babies were adorable!
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Nok-1-76The following few photos are of the southern section of the country called Malaga.  The following is a photo of the marina.  There are a lot of nice restaurants and shops.  It was a great place to have lunch and dinner.

Nok-1-71This park was right behind the hotel:
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Nok-1-71My one souvenir from Malaga - I only bought the purse because it matched my shoes so well!
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Nok-1-71 The following few photos are of Nerja:

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Here are a few somewhat pathetic attempts at taking photos in Madrid:
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Lastly, here are a few photos of my friend and I goofing off at a restaurant we liked and frequented:

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Nok-1-75And one more in Nerja:
Nok-1-75Thank you very much for stopping by.  Please let me know if you have any questions.  I hope you all have a wonderful week!

~Michelle


Island Girl's PSA: Tanning is OUT and Your Skin is IN!!!

 

I had a wake up call this week regarding sun exposure and wearing sunscreen.  I live in sunny Florida and have visited some very nice places with great beaches that are near the equator.  I've mistakenly thought that my olive tone skin would protect me.  While darker skin is less likely to be affected negatively by the sun, no one is immune.  I want to share my experience in case it can help someone else.

1535385_10202946244611175_2027794919_nPaia Beach, Maui, Hawaii

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when I am out exploring beaches and Islands.  I grew up in Vermont where we only had a few weeks of really hot and sunny weather during the year.  We didn't really think about sunscreen because we wanted to soak in as much of the sunlight as we could.  I was a tomboy and I was always outdoors. We also had a pool and I never really worried about getting a sunburn.

I  As a teenager we used baby oil when laying in the sun.  When I went to college, we made a point of being out during the PTH 's - also known as the prime tanning hours between 10 AM and two PM.  I will tell you in this post are the hours when the sun is the strongest and most dangerous and we need to be the most careful. 

When I was in my 20s I discovered tanning beds.   At that time most people believed that tanning beds were better for you than the sun.  That belief is now said to be very untrue. 

I went to a dermatologist last week and pointed out some moles that I have developed in adulthood.  I also pointed out a small spot on my nose which the doctor might not have noticed if I hadn't pointed it out. It was on the side of my nose which is a very typical area for certain types of skin cancer to develop.  When the doctor saw it, she immediately said that it needed to be removed. 

I had to wait nearly 2 weeks for the biopsy to come in it came back as a pre-cancerous lesion so it is not cancer and basically had about a one in five chance of becoming cancer.  If it had come back as cancer, I would have faced 15 days of radiation five days a week for three weeks.  She did recommend that in the fall I go back for a very deep chemical peel.  She wants me to wait because having something like this done in the summer can make your skin extra sensitive. 

So what will I do differently in the future?  I will do my best not to spend a lot of time in the sun between 10 AM and 2 PM if I do need to be in the sun I will make sure that I use a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least 30 SPF or above.  I will wear a wide brimmed hat and reapply sunscreen every hour or so.  One should also need to make sure that the expiration date on my sunscreen is good as it doesn't last forever. 

I have also learned through this ordeal that everyone should check their skin frequently for any changes.  Our skin is the largest organ in your body and it's not a bad idea to have a yearly check up or more often if you are at risk for skin cancer.  If you have a relative with the most serious type of cancer called melanoma, you are more likely to develop it.  Any moles that are larger than the size of a pencil eraser or that are very dark colored or have an asymmetrical border should be looked at by a doctor.  Melanoma is almost always curable if caught early.  If is if it is not caught early it is extremely serious. 

I will still visit beaches, but thankfully I stopped just lying on the beach in the past five or six years.  I prefer to sit under umbrellas or inside.  As I've gotten older I don't really like just to sit still.  I like to explore and walk around so just laying on the beach and baking in the sun is no longer fun to me. 

All of this said I will still be very vigilant when it comes to my skin and visit a doctor at least once a year.  Unfortunately it can take as much is 20 to 40 years for the full effects of sun damage to show up on your skin. You can read more about skin cancer here:  Skin Cancer Facts

Here is a list of what I will do differently in the future:

1.  Avoid the sun and or be extra careful between 10 AM and 2 PM

2. Wear a broad spectrum sunscreen of at least 30 SPF making sure to check the expiration date and re-apply every 1-2 hours.

3.  Wear a wide brimmed hat at the beach - sunglasses are good too.

4.  Visit a doctor at least once a year for a skin scan check.  Anything suspicious especially unusual moles need to be checked immediately.

Luckily I love stormy weather - even at the beach:

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Thank you so much for stopping by please leave any comments or questions.  I hope you all have a wonderful week.

~Michelle