What Cruise Newbies Might Want to Know

 This article originally appeared on Linkedin here

I just disembarked from my “virgin” cruise vacation.  It was short and sweet –  72 hours from Long Beach to Ensenada, on the Carnival Cruise Line – Inspiration.  I was expecting the entire time to be spent in my cabin waiting for the “horror” to end.  See, I get sea- sick looking at bath water, so I was predicting a miserable time.  I was wrong! It was fabulous and hubby and I had a great time – really!

Our trip left from the Port of Los Angeles at sundown.  A great photography opportunity.  Once out to sea, we went to explore the ship and what it had to offer. This “mini-city” on the sea was packed with about 2400 travelers and quite a bit of activities that were well organized and advertised via their ship’s brochure that was easily found in each cabin.  The food was so-so (probably the worst part of the trip), but the fitness center, outdoor track, spa and water actives were quite fun. The people we met were from as far as Europe and a close as Long Beach, the city where we set sail.

Not many people write about cruising for “newbies” in a way that is raw and honest.  So, I will take this opportunity to give a few helpful hints with the sole purpose to educate others. Note Carnival, the cruiseline mentioned in this post, did not compensate me. They just happened to be the first cruise line I tried.

Here is my “To Do and Not To Do” list for first – time “cruisers”

 1. Seek out good deals with short cruises. Many are available from the Port of Los Angeles (Long Beach and San Pedro). Some cruise lines offer 3 and 4 night cruises for a very comfortable price.

2. Book an inside cabin, in the center of the boat and on a lower floor. Less rocking happens in this part of the ship.



Read more from the original article posted on Linkedin January 24, 2016

Photographs of Sunsets

I will start this very short blog post by saying I am not a professional photographer. I just love photography and sunsets is one of my favorite “subjects”.  While I would like to say that the photos below were taken after much thought and with great care, they were not. In fact, they were all snapped via an smartphone camera and are unfiltered.  Most are from my hometown area in Southern California – on the Palos Verdes peninsula. A few are from other beach areas and  Hawaii.

Enjoy and feel free to post your blog url if you are a lover of photography, too!  Thanks!



Palos Verdes, the Portuguese Bend

Kindness, Social Good and Sweetness found in these Valentine’s Day Cards (Review)

I don’t often review holiday specific products on this blog.  However, there was something intriguing about Peaceable Kingdom’s  Valentine’s Day card collections that piqued my interest.

First, they are A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E!  Not only do they have some weight and substance to them (unlike the store bought ones I use to give my kids to hand out in school), but they come with messages that are thoughtful, yet not too “sappy”.



The “foodie” in me loved the Scratch and Sniff Valentines (Chocolate scented – a bonus!).  They are large enough to go through the US mail without being lost, but small enough to not be overwhelming in a backpack. The box that I received had the standard classroom quantity-  28 cards and 28 envelopes (kinda wish they would add one extra envelope for boo-boos).

The second pack I received was the more interactive Lollipop Valentine’s with “Moustaches and Lips”. These are a hoot! Imagine dress-up for Halloween blended with the sweetness of Valentine’s Day! Again, 28 was the quantity.





Not just for kids!

Here is an “out of the box” idea for the grown-ups who read this blog. These Valentine’s are not just for kids! Imagine how fun it would be to put some out in your office lounge or at your organization’s meeting? Not only are they a fun discussion starter, but they also show that your place of business or group has a sense of humor sprinkled with compassion.


About Peaceable Kingdom 

Before I tell you how to get these delicious cards – let me delve more in to the company itself.  Peaceable Kingdom is “my kind of company”. They are dedicated to #SocialGood. In fact on their “about page” they go in to length about their commitment to being ecologically friendly as a “green company.” 

Peaceable Kingdom’s company mission or “promise” says it all…

The future, as they say, is in our hands. We consider this every day in everything we do so that our children and their future may be as healthy, as peaceable, as our kingdom today.

Also, they don’t just create speciality cards as they are big in to the board game business. Their website also helps promote game inventors, creative kids and much more. People in the San Francisco Bay area who are interested in being a  GAME TESTER can learn more via their website. 

Where to buy?

Direct purchase can be made here via the Peaceable Kingdom website.

On Amazon you can get the Scented Valentine’s for a very reasonable $5.99 (and if you have Amazon Prime that is even better!)  Click here for the direct link.

For the Moustaches and Lips box click here. They are priced at $12.99 but are both a lollipop and clever designs.

Follow on Twitter Peaceable Kingdom and Facebook. 

Have fun!

Should I write the post or not?

Recently, I have become a bit agitated by events going on around me.  Our political arena seems to be topsy-turvy.  Some people in my sphere are not making the best of choices and seem to be posting their very strong opinions  and photos carelessly and without regard to whether or not they are experts in a field or being sensitive to the feelings of others.  Some things are just not making sense.

I have started and stopped a variety of blog posts on these various situations and keep deleting them.  I have wanted to yell via my Twitter feed – “Stop posting negative political posts!”  Or… “That is online bullying!”  Or…” You are NOT an expert in this field – don’t make blanket statements about medical treatments that are standard and customary!”

That begs the question – should you post or blog everything you want to say or not? 

I decided to NOT post for now all the random and intense thoughts that are flowing through my brain.  For one, the post would actually be an e-book. Instead I will just give resources on what is considered standard practice or words of wisdom for bloggers and those in social media.

For those who feel they need to post without a filter I suggest reading about possible repercussions to ones’ career in this New York Times article. Rafael Gomez, the author, makes a good point when he queries about whether a person would post a photo that they used in social media on the wall of their office cubicle?  If the answer is – NO – then you should proceed with caution about what you upload on your Twitter, Instagram or Facebook stream.  (And note, this is especially the case of college students who think the photo of them on Spring Break is funny – but prospective employers may not share their sense of humor.)

Don’t think that your rant about the President, key officials or even your boss will go unnoticed?  Your negative post could result in loss of job, a trip to the police station or a visit from an agency with three letters in their acronym.  Your comment will and should be taken seriously.  So that purported innocent comment that you will back-pedal about by saying, “I was only kidding” – can potentially be THE mistake of your life.  Read more here. 

 If you are not a physician, lawyer, accountant, etc. then you shouldn’t be dispelling advice.  Sure, you can tell your opinion, but I would steer clear of giving hard and fast professional advice. And this is why – social media litigation is becoming a business.  Yes, what is said, posted, tweeted, pinned, etc. on social media has become a legal entity of its’ own.  So, for those who are stepping out of your profession and stepping in to one that you don’t have certification/ licensure – be ready – as you are setting yourself up for potentially a lot of “woe”. New technology means new laws.  Read more about liability and social media here.

I will conclude by saying – just because you have a thought doesn’t mean it needs to leave your head. Be smart. Be safe. Be kind.




My day at the #PriceIsRight: Part 2

Just a quick follow- up from yesterday’s blog  about my going to  the social media “awesome” week for the game show The Price is Right.  While I can’t divulge any details about the show results, it is safe to say that my garage will not need to be cleaned out for any additional vehicles to reside.

It was a fun day and rather longer than expected. We arrived at 8am and left after 2pm. We only filmed one episode that will air on January 27th. In the interest of educating any future attendees of the Price is Right, I have compiled a list of Do’s and Don’ts.

1- Wear comfortable shoes and clothing

2- Bring sunscreen- you will be outside for a large part of your day.

3- Don’t forget your ID

4- Bring your own lunch and drink – it is very expensive to eat their food.

  1. If you park in their suggested parking lot be prepared for a rather steep payment.  Note that there are no parking vouchers, so you pay in full wherever you park.

  2. There are some really nice people who are in the audience.  Newsflash: this can be a very good networking opportunity – so pack a few business cards! We met people from all over the country, including a whole bunch of Mary Kay Cosmetic representatives who were attending a local convention! If you are not a social butterfly then bring a book. They  take your phones rather early in the waiting process.

  3. Remember that the odds are not in your favor to be chosen, but for those that do  hear the words, “Come on Down!”, it seems to be a hoot of an experience!

Below is the tweet of a pre- show photo with hubby and friends.  I dressed as the “Queen of Tweet”.  Our “interviewer” thought that was funny. My shirt says “TeamDrew” as my original outfit was “flagged” for possible advertising.  Apparently @LouiseASL and #411Voices are known brands! OY!

Price is Right tweet.png


And in the end… 

Sorry, can’t tell you the outcome of the day.  But, do catch the Social Media Awesome week for the Price is Right!  Final note, if you are in Los Angeles and interested in attending a taping of a television show you may want to check out the On Camera Audiences website to see available shows and dates.





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