White Wines

I go to La Brisa for lunch, and asked for Azael. I always ask for him when he is working. He brings me some white wine to try since they don’t have Sauvignon Blanc (who doesn’t have Sauv Blanc? It’s as common as orange juice).

The wine is decent and drinkable. It must have been, because I drank a lot of it.


I took a bunch of pictures of the wine glass near my sunglasses, trying to get a good reflection picture. This was the best I could do. Not so impressive. Boo.

This is what the bottle looks like, if you are a Sauv Blanc drinker and want to give it a try.


I have the lunch of champions, two grilled lobsters and french fries, with lots of limes for the lobsters. If you usually use butter, next time try limes…SOOOOO good!


More wine in the sunglasses reflection pictures.



Diane B., Who I met when we were here for New Year’s Eve, came by and said hello. Mayvany, the new assistant GM comes over to introduce herself. She has been with Iberostar for a long time. She is from Cuba, and has been in Spain for the last few years.

Azael asks me if I want coconut ice cream. They no longer have to go and get it for me. They have it waiting.


It is delicious.

When I head back to the beach, I make a detour and stop by the pool bar to say hello to Humberto. Haha! His expression is so funny in this picture. (He gave me another glass of wine, for the road).


Carlos was there too!


After all that wine, I’m sure there was a snooze.

The beach is hot and I want to get wet. I consider the ocean, but it has been rough and murky. I consider the main pool, but it it too chaotic with so many people and they are drinking and playing games. I want some peace and solitude, so I go to the quiet pool. Actually, it is called the tranquility pool. And tranquil it is. I wish it was closer to the ocean.

When I am finished I go by the main pool, looking for Tessa and Dave, but it is just too noisy. There is a bingo game going on. I get a glass of wine and go back to my room.


I sit on the balcony, drink my wine, feed my soul, and try to find the answer to life. Thinking, maybe having a little buzz will help.



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The Answer to Life

I wake up foggy and with a headache, which I suspect is an alcohol/Ambien hangover. I grab a lounger at the beach before I go to breakfast. I enjoy the walk to Bella Vista, and ask for Azael when I get there. I say hi to Olivia. I skip a Mimosa since I am feeling rough around the edges. I have a good breakfast which makes me feel better.


The mango is delicious. The other thing was……interesting, kind of slimy.


On the way back to my room I read a post on Facebook from the guest who wants to meet me. It is a woman named Diana, and she wants to know where I am, right now. Okay, that feels a little stalkerish. Just kidding. I respond that I am going to the beach to try to discover the meaning of life.

When I get back to my room I find this under my door. Seriously? I am aware of the club and don’t really need any more information. I am all about honesty, and this is not saying anything about the club, when that is all it is about.


I get out to the beach.

And exhale.


Now, back to the all important question, what am I going to do with my life?  Get a second job, or start a consulting business?

I ponder.


The answer does not come to me. So, I order a Mudslide, which not only tastes good, it looks good too.



I still have not discovered either the answer to what I should do with my life specifically, or the answer to life in general, so I order a Shandy. This is a drink my friends from last night told me about. It is half beer, which I normally never drink because it just doesn’t taste good, and half Sprite, which I don’t drink either because it is too sweet.

The waiter repeats what I have asked for, which usually means, what the heck do you want that for?


It is surprisingly good. Very refreshing. Each half softens the edges of what I don’t really enjoy about the other half.

It does not bring the answers I am looking for either. I guess it is time for lunch!


Posted in Drinks, Food/Menu Items, Restaurant, The Grand | 2 Comments

Group Dinner with Amazing People

After relaxing for a bit on the balcony I get dressed for dinner. I am joining a group of people. My friends, Dave and Tessa Brown are here and they have invited me for a group dinner. Tessa is a fashionista and I am expecting her to give me a run for my money in terms of dinner dresses and shoes. I have tried to bring my A game.

Most of my dresses are from Rent the Runway Unlimited. It is a subscription service for clothes. Actually, it includes jewelry and handbags as well. You pay about $140/month and can have three items at a time. You can keep any of the items for up to six months. Once they send you the item or items it usually takes 2 days to arrive and when you send them back it takes about the same amount of time. Travel time is included in the amount of time you “have” an item. The most expensive thing I have rented was a Donna Karan dress that was worth almost $2000. I never spend even close to that much, so it’s fun to wear things like that. Most of the things are in pristine condition as they dry clean them between customers. Rent the Runway also has a service where you can rent a dress for four or eight days, and that is the same company but a different service (in case you check it out). Sometimes I get coupon offers for friends (I get a discount too – in the interests of full disclosure), so if you are interested, leave a comment and I can see if I have anything available.

Some of the things I have really loved and worn several times. There have been things I tried on and sent back without wearing (like the really gorgeous Versace dress that I couldn’t zip up, and I sized up!). This dress was from my subscription. The shoes are all mine.


I get a ride to the lobby and go to exchange some money. Sarah comes our to say hello, and I am so embarrassed to admit I didn’t recognize her at first. We got past that (can you say mortified?) and she told me that there was a guest who wanted to meet me.  She’s not in the matchmaking business, so she just lets me know and lets me decide what I want to do with the information. So I poston Facebook that I’m usually at the lobby bar in the evening.

I exchange money and then go over to previously mentioned bar to where Dave and Tessa and their friends are. I meet Dave and Mitzi Dawson, and Tom and Ali Gooch. They are all coming to dinner. Such incredibly nice and fun people!

Alberto comes over and says hello.


You can see in the above picture that I have a cucumber mojito. Gustavo made me this. Daniel is on medical leave, and although I do get to see him while I am here, he does not make any of my drinks this trip. Gustavo does well with my cucumber mojito.

The first shoe off is a draw. My Christian Dior cage shoes (I got these five years ago for my 50th) are pretty impressive. However, Tessa is wearing some kick-ass shoes herself. This picture does not really do them justice.


We head off to dinner with Eder. We see Ahleli, who is preggers, and working in the Club lounge. We go to Toni’s. Sajid (who used to be the entertainment manager, and is just visiting) and Aziz (who is the manager for entertainment in Mexico) join us. It is a very nice evening.

I have a Ceasar salad.


I have a rib-eye, medium rare, because that is what I always have here and it is always delicious and perfectly cooked. I have some kind of potatoes too. The swirly decoration is nice, if not awfully bright!


Group photo.


Aziz turns out to be a smoker and, after many glasses of wine, I steal his cigarettes. It is Wednesday, so there is the Stars Under the Stars party by the pool, and we move the party there. Aziz does convince me to give him back his smokes (I think). Tessa dances, but I’m not a dancer. The music is loud, and I am feeling somewhat drunk, so I head back to the room. One of my rules for solo travel is not to get drunk. At least out in public. What I do in my room is another matter.

It has been a really lovely evening, spent with really lovely people. I should have just gone to sleep. But noooo! I read emails. I don’t usually read work emails on vacation, but I see that there are 12 emails in my work email account. I wonder why there are so many. So I look at them. Most of them are inconsequential. But there is one that gets me really worked up, and then I can’t sleep.

Thank goodness for Ambien.

Looking forward to tomorrow and feeding my soul.




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Back in Paradise

One of the flight attendants is a riot. As we are ascending he is whispering over the PA, “Your eyes are getting heavy. You want to sleep. You don’t want anything to drink. You don’t want any peanuts. You just want to sleep.” Later on, when he is taking our drink orders, he rushes over to the PA and says that if we are wondering what those big circles are, to our left, they are pizza farms. In the winter, that’s where they grow frozen pizzas.” He is a riot!

I order a rum and coke. Well, okay, I order two.  The flight attendant passes out snacks. I take some pretzels. He tells me to take something else, after all, “this isn’t United.” When he is trying to charge me for the rum and coke his machine won’t work, so he says I get it free.

I have all I need for a good flight.


It is a smooth flight, except for one big bump. I guess there have been bigger ones. I get off. I get through immigration pretty quickly. I go through Customs, but get the red light. I am worried because it was so difficult to zip up my suitcase. The Customs agent moves things around a little bit and they take some things out of my travel bag. He is able to zip up my suitcase, which alleviates my embarrassment over how full it is. I walk through the gauntlet. Nobody tries to mess with me because I have perfected that, “Don’t f**k with me” look.

I get outside and look for a sign with my name. I have booked with a different company this time. It is a new company and I was offered a special rate. I can’t find my name. Some people ask who my transportation is with and they are not familiar with this company. I suspect that is because it is so new. The one guy says he can take me for $65, which is more than what I have paid for a round trip with this other company. As if. I keep looking, and then the woman who I was talking with sees the guy with my name and comes to get me and takes me to him. I am relived. The guy takes me to the area where the vans are and says it will be five minutes and then disappears for close to 15 minutes. I am starting to think about what my Plan B will be.Then he shows up and takes me to the van. My feelings are bordering between relieved and aggravated. The driver gets me to Iberostar Paraiso, but he doesn’t know where the Grand is. I tell him where to go. He doesn’t seem to speak much English, but we get there. I have got to get back to Rosetta Stone.

We finally arrive. The bell boys don’t look familiar to me. They take me into the bar and I say hi to Gustavo. I have a glass of champagne (okay, it’s sparkling wine, because it didn’t come from that specific area of France, but for simplicity, I will call anything that is bubbly white wine, champagne). René, the head butler, comes out and greets me. Then the bell boys take me to my room. Havana Siete and the pillows I requested are there, as I requested by email. Victor comes and checks me in. It’s always so good to see him. I unpack.

I take a picture and put it on the Facebook page, saying surprise. Except someone who was told I was coming posted about it before I did this, so it wasn’t the surprise I intended.


As you can see, my hair has immediately wilted. Gotta love that humidity.

I finish my bubbles. And drink in the beautiful view.


It’s a little difficult to do the Ceremonial Removal of the Watch by myself, but I manage it.


I unpack. I order room service. They have brought me limes. I make myself a rum and coke.


My room service is delivered, smoked salmon. I eat it on the balcony.


I take a deep breath, and slowly exhale. It is always good to be back in Paradise.

Posted in Awesome Staff, Check-in/Upgrades, Food/Menu Items, The Grand | 2 Comments

“What Next?” Solo Trip

May, 2016. I need a trip to Mexico. I’ve had several things come to completion, or end within the last year. Hell, within the last seven months. It started with my hospital attaining its Baby Friendly designation in October, 2015. That had been something I had wanted for about 20 years and been working on for the last three years. Two days after that I stepped down as the lactation coordinator, a position I had held for 12 years. I finished the work for my Master’s degree in Health and Wellness just a few weeks ago. I also had a professional article accepted for publication at about the same time. I had re-organized my kitchen, and had a list of organizing projects around the house. But I felt like I needed to do more professionally. I had been tossing around the idea of starting a consulting business, helping hospitals through the process to Baby Friendly designation. I also was thinking about just getting a second job, and had an interview for when I returned.

I had been in a funk for the last few weeks. I decided to book a solo trip to Mexico. If the ocean doesn’t hold the answer, at least it will feed my soul.

Four nights. I am doing carry-on. I can’t get everything in my carry-on bag, and end up putting my toiletries bag in my travel bag. Have I mentioned what an awesome travel bag I have? My shoes have to hold their breath when I zip up the carry-on bag. The goal with the carry-on is that I can lift it up into the overhead compartment. I think it could do three nights, but four is stretching it. But four is what it is, so stretch is what we do.

That night I have a dream about running around in the morning trying to find a larger bag and throwing everything in at the last minute. Gotta love a good nightmare.


My flight leaves from Terminal C, but I always go through security at Terminal A because the lines are shorter. Then I take the train to Terminal C. The TSA lady gives me a hard time because I am standing on tip toes because I am a germaphobe. She asks why I didn’t wear socks. I say because I wore sandals and if I’d worn sock she wouldn’t be able to see the starfish on my toes. Just kidding about that last part. I did get lots of compliments on my new sandals. Lots!

She wants to know if I go barefoot when I go outside. NO! There are germs out there. And, what’s your point anyway?

This photo does not do justice to the sparkly effect of my sandals. But you can see my cute starfish.


I finally get to terminal C. I buy magazines and water and hand sanitizer (don’t laugh) and go to Root Down for breakfast. I start with a Blood Orange Mimosa.


I have a fried egg sandwich. And another Mimosa. There should be pictures here, but I have run into technical problems that are resulting in many f-bombs being dropped. So, I’ll just proceed with the narrative until I can get into the genius bar at Apple, and maybe he/she can tell me where my freakin’ pictures are.

I board and since I fly Southwest, it’s always a mystery where I will sit. This time I get the third row, aisle seat. It is always an aisle seat. I need to keep my eye on the flight attendant. I figure if he/she is bored, or playing Candy Crush, then there is nothing to be concerned about regarding that smell, sound or bump. I will go back to Siberia to get an aisle seat. This time, thankfully, I don’t have to.

Third row, aisle seat. There is a guy in the window seat. Nobody sits in the middle seat. Thankfully, window seat guy is not chatty.

I hear a conversation in the row behind me. The lady, who has a 7 month old, has to pump her breasts, and she has never done it before. You go girl! I tell her that I am a lactation consultant, in case she has any questions. She is probably wishing I was less chatty/nosy.

There are lots of loud conversations, while we wait to take off. We get the safety instructions. My friend, Steve, told me that there is a generation who doesn’t know how lap seatbelts work. I still say my thing. I HAVE to, or bad things will happen. (It’s a seatbelt, just like any other seatbelt, and if you don’t know how to use it, you probably shouldn’t be out in public unattended).

The pilot says, keep your hands and feet inside the aircraft at all times because we’re about to go REALLY FAST.

I can tell, this is going to be an entertaining flight, because, everyone is a comedian.








Posted in Drinks, Shoes, The Grand | 6 Comments