Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My Visit to the Morikami Museum

The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens is a real treasure, located in South Florida where I grew up. My brother, my husband and I spent a sunny afternoon walking the gardens and strolling through the museum. If you ever visit Florida, I would definitely recommend including this on your list of places to go.

I have included a few of my favorite photos from the visit featuring Japanese rock gardens, magnificent bamboo and gorgeous scenery. Photos are not allowed to be taken inside the museum, so you will have to visit to see the wonderful collection of art and artifacts.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Fun in Philly

I went to Philadelphia a few weeks ago and stayed downtown. It was my first time there and I found the downtown area a charming place with lots of shopping, including neat boutiques. My trip was short, so I didn't have a chance to discover other wonderful places, but my favorite stop was Reading Terminal Market. Its a great food market filled with a fantastic array of foods & crafts. The baked goods and chocolate were especially tempting but you can also find fresh meats, seafood, produce, and many more wonderful items.

I started my visit with a fresh cup of coffee from Old City Coffee. I am a coffee fanatic and enjoy trying different coffees from the neat places that I find when I travel. After walking around for a bit, I worked up the appetite for lunch and enjoyed a fabulous vegetarian po boy (eggplant, spinach & fresh mozzarella) from Beck's Cajun Cafe with a side of fried macaroni & cheese. I am so embarrassed - I was enjoying my meal so much, I forgot to take a photograph before diving in, so all you get is a half eaten meal!

Learn more about Reading Terminal Market (

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tomatoe & Portabello Quesadillas

This is a great way to pack veggies into a classic Mexican favorite. I love making quesadillas because you can add different combinations of veggies and meat and create different flavors so you never get tired them.

In this rendition, I filled two layers of wheat tortillas with fresh diced tomatoes, sliced portabellos, black beans, corn and shredded cheese. Add salt, pepper and others seasoning to taste. When creating this version with two large tortillas, I like to bake the quesadilla. Baking is a little different than the traditional way of making a quesadilla, but I find it to be more convenient. I bake my quesadillas in a frying pan, this tends to cook the bottom more, so I always place the pan on the top rack so the top will get enough heat.

First, lay one tortilla into a greased frying pan, top with a layer of shredded cheese, then add other ingredients, top with another layer of shredded cheeses, cover with a second tortilla. Insert the frying pan into a preheated oven at 375 degrees. Bake for 12-15 minutes. The oven will cook the quesadilla throughout and you don't have to worry about flipping it over.

Photo: Quessadilla topped with avocado slices, sour cream and fresh diced tomatoes.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Moving Maven

In my lifetime, I have moved 18 times! Some moves were local and some moves were interstate. The farthest move being from Tampa, FL to Seattle, WA.

We recently relocated our office and warehousing facilities and I learn something new with every move. I thought it might be useful to share some tips with you which will be great for both home and business.

1) Get a binding estimate - this will ensure that you are informed of all the costs and fees upfront and there will be no surprises because you have it in writing before moving day. (Clark Howard has great advice for dealing with movers.)

2) Do your own packing - It would be nice to rely on the "professionals" but ultimately, no one will take greater care of your items than you. Most moving companies will provide you with boxes, cushioning, and tape. These materials may be included or cost additional. You can also get packing materials at your local office supply store, Wal-mart, etc. If you let the movers pack any or all of your belongings, be sure to supervise. If you are not happy with the way something gets packed, speak up, this will save you a lot of headache later in dealing with damaged items like furniture and electronics.

3) Pack items in a neat and organized manner in each box. Items from the same room should stay together as much as possible. I always write a description on the outside of the box, on the top and on atleast one side, this way, no matter how the boxes get stacked, you have a good chance of finding the description without too much re-arranging. Take extra care to wrap fragile items. As an extra precaution for valuable or fragile items, you can pack individual items in smaller boxes and insert them into the larger box.

4) Garbage bags are great for wrapping items that you want to keep from getting wet. One move we experienced was during one of our famous Florida summer storms. Boxes were getting soaked because they were loaded in the rain and unloaded in the rain. Luckily I had wrapped and sealed my books, and some other valuables in garbage bags.

5) Take valuables with you, on your person, if possible, such as jewelry. If anything is irreplaceable and you feel that the item is safer with you, then take care of it on your own. On our move from Tampa to Seattle, it took the moving truck about 10 days to arrive. If you are making a long move, taking valuables with you might also give you greater peace of mind so you don't fret for days about your belongings.

Overall, the more organized you are about your move, the easier it will be when you unpack in your new home. Most of all, enjoy the journey!