What a surprise. I open my email on the train ride home only to discover I have been nominated for a *Liebster Award*! I have to admit, my first thought was courtesy of Sally Field: 'They like me! They really like me!'
It still amazes me when someone tells me they have read my writing, that they find it entertaining or, on occasion, want to use something I have written.
So when Suzanne from Adventures of Empty Nesters sent me a nomination I was thrilled. Suzanne writes a fabulous travel blog.To be included in the list of other writers she nominated is a thrill. I read the work of many of these ladies and always take away a little something that helps improve my own writing.
Please take the time to click on Adventures of Empty Nesters, read Suzanna's own nomination questionnaire, check out some fabulous adventures and click on the links of the other nominees.
As for me, well, I nominate the following ladies:
Bonnie is a fellow sailor, an avid kayaker and a long suffering plastic giver-upper.
Mo is a fellow Cornfield, USA gal who knows her way around a road map and a good glass of wine.
Beverly is one of my first blogger-buddies. She has a unique, risque outlook on life and is willing to sometimes bare it all!
Karen is a surfer, a writer and a woman after my own heart!
These ladies never fail to make me laugh or heaven forbid, make me think. I am passing on the same questions given me. Can't wait to read everyone's answers.
What is your dream destination?
I have a ridiculously romantic vision of Morocco, thank you Bogie and Ingrid. I will be the breathy woman in the lovely fitted white linen suit sipping a cognac and guilt-tripping a ruggedly handsome man.
I have to admit. I have never really been anywhere that completely disappointed me. Although, for our 20th anniversary, we went to the fanciest casino in St. Louis (stop laughing, it is connected to a Four Seasons Hotel, which is still one of my favorite hotels) and I was pretty bummed to find that there was a much higher percent of sweat pants to evening gowns and tuxedos. And WAY more smoke than any James Bond movie.
What is your favorite U.S. destination?
This is a tough one. I absolutely love Destin, Florida. The white sand. The emerald ocean. Sure, the traffic in the summer is obnoxious and it can be super hot in July, but it's an ocean heat. I would be willing to make the 12-14 hour drive at the drop of a suitcase for even just 24 hours on that beautiful beach. My other favorite place is good old across the river from home: St. Louis, Mo. St. Louis is overlooked by everyone. We have some of the best restaurants, a diverse musical scene, a wealth of history, a rich literary past, a honkin' big Arch and a museum with the world's biggest pair of underpants. How big are YOUR underpants, NYC???
What makes you happy?
Sitting on a deck or patio, warm breeze gently blowing, nice glass of wine, a delish appetizer, classic rock being played by a band or an ipod surrounded by my family and friends...nirvana.
Why did you start blogging?
I started Coast of Illinois as a goof, based on a running joke at work regarding the number of vagabound hairnets spotted on the walk to the parking garage. It doubled as a way for me to keep up a little creativity when work and life didn't allow for time to work on fiction writing. I can't believe I have been maintaining the site since 2012! There have been times I considered quitting and times when I can't seem to write fast enough to get everything I want to say posted. I stumbled over Suzanne's site a year ago and thanks to her invitation to join Women of Midlife, a facebook blogging group, I feel that my little blog might actually go someplace. At the very least, I have met an incredible group of women who share a love of writing and bring to the table a variety of talents, experiences and support.
What are your top three bucket list items?
In no particular order: Live in a city apartment for one year, where I can walk to the store, stop at a cafe, visit a museum and return to my lovely city view to write. Actually finish a novel (and get it published, she whispers. And have people actually purchase it, she hints out of the other side of her mouth.) Spend however long it takes to do the Moveable Feast tour of Europe/Cuba/KeyWest – fishing for trout in Spanish rivers, sipping coffee and whiskey in French cafés, writing the truest sentences one can write from my palm tree lined veranda outside Havana, winning the Martha Gelhorn look-alike contest at Sloppy Joe's in Key West. (Did I mention I am a hopeless romantic?)
What is one piece of advice you would offer or one saying you live by?
"Try three bites before you decide if you like it or not." This was the rule I taught my Brownie Scouts when it came to trying unusual food. But honestly, it applies to everything.
What is the best thing anyone has ever said about your blog?
My family and friends have been incredibly indulgent and supportive of my writing. I love when they mention something I have written, without prompting from me. But my absolute favorite thing to hear is 'you made me spew coffee all over my computer screen'. I always thought this was an issue only my sister suffered from, but apparently, it is occasionally an epidemic.
What is your ultimate guilty pleasure?
Curling up on the couch in the middle of a perfectly good day, diet pepsi and popcorn in hand, ridiculously bad SciFy movies on TV. Think – Sharnado, Anaconda, any worm movie starring Kevin Bacon, or an apocalyptic end of the world movie in which Dennis Quaid, Will Smith or Lou Diamond Phillips, assisted by robots, saves the day. I will not apologize.
What is one product or service you cannot live without?
My super fab hairstylist Vanessa (Salon Lofts, Ladue). As a woman with naturally curly hair, who lived the first 40 years of her life with pixie cuts and bad poodle shags, I can not stress to you the importance of finding someone who knows what I want to do with my hair, even after I say "oh you know, sort of angled, shortish. You know with caramelly colors. But not too dark. Or too short."
What two countries make you the happiest to visit?
We took a quick trip to Canada last summer, and it was one of the most beautiful, clean, happiest places I have ever been. Even the panhandlers were pleasant. And Tim Hortons?! Best coffee ever.
In the fall of 2014 I was lucky enough to travel to Tortola, BVI. I have been to Europe and Mexico but never to the Caribbean. I had no idea what to expect and once again, everything surpassed my preconceived notions of what island living might be. I can honestly say, if it hadn't been for our kids we would have chucked everything and stayed.
*The Liebster Award is an award given to bloggers by bloggers. The blogger who is nominated answers a set of questions provided by the colleague who nominated them and then pass the fun on to other bloggers. The purpose is to give some well deserved recognition to newbie bloggers, provide their site with an exposure boost as well as seek out and network with other newbies. It is also a way to show some love to a favorite blogger, or to a blog you look up to. It’s a little bit of ‘Pay-It-Forward’ and a little bit of ‘Team-Building’ all in one.
I have always loved writing. At one time my dream was to write for Saturday Night Live, and in my spare time Rolling Stone Magazine. Life got in the way, as life is wont to do, and instead of moving to the big city I moved to the Coast of Illinois where I became a nurse, married my best friend and life style instigator and raised a writer son who creates fantasy card games and a daughter who juggles pulmonary research and fire clubs. No. Really. I returned to writing somewhere around 2008, writing short stories. I have met some of the most interesting people through writing – both in 3D and cyber-space.
A big THANK YOU for all your encouragement and support!