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The Oyster Card – Your Answer to Getting Around London

March 21st, 2017 · International Travel, Travel Tips

The Oyster Card has made getting around London a breeze.  The Oyster requires a £5 deposit ( aproximately $8 US dollars) – which the user can theoretically get back at the end of her stay. It is the cheapest way to get around on London’s buses,the Underground (subways/tube) and DLR (Docklands Light Railway).


Do not purchase the one day family pass – £60 – for a family of four. Fares are calculated based on zones. Travel from zones 1-3 is £4.70 and from zones 1-6 is £5.70. With the Oyster who can save up to £2.80 on each journey.

I would advise only putting on £10 at a time, in case of loss or theft. Also unused amounts under £10 can be refunded at the ticket office, larger amounts will cause a delay due to processing. Some convenience stores also allow you to use your Oyster card for small purchase – which came in handy for when the kids wanted snacks.

Be sure to tap your Oyster card on the smartcard reader when you enter and exit the station.

For longer stays with children (and advanced planning) consider the Oyster photocards, which allow for kids under 18 various reduced rates.

We have a stack of tube maps in 8 point font… ugh.  I would highly recommend going online for enlarged maps and to use the London trip planner .

Do you have any London travel tips? Drop me in a line in the comments section below. Cheers!



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Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is

January 8th, 2017 · Random Things That Make Me Smile

2016 was a horrible year for me personally.  My beloved sister died suddenly; which sent me into an emotional tailspin. Every slight, comment and indignity seemed to matter and simultaneously nothing seemed to matter.  Big P shouldered most of the parenting duties while I slowly crept out from the abyss of grief and pain.

As the year wore on, I realized so much of my energy was directed at trying to get my children’s schools to treat them as the intellectual equals – regardless of race, class, or  gender.  The presidential election with its crudeness and embrace of xenophobia, racism, sexism and anti-semitism didn’t help matters.  Even people who I didn’t think supported the President Elect seemed emboldened.  One school administrator proclaimed to African American parents that he was not accountable to parents- only to the board of directors.  In addition, teachers were not accountable to us – only to him.  So for $40,000 – this is the sh*tshow that I’m dealing with.

On December 31st, I decided to forgo my end of year annual fund contributions.  I redirected my contributions to organizations that are supporting vulnerable Americans; the poor, women, minorities, gays and lesbians.  This is my list:

  • Project for the Performing Arts
  • Planned Parenthood
  • Southern Poverty Law Center
  • Trevor Project
  • North Carolina NAACP
  • ACLU
  • United Negro College Fund
  • Little Essentials
  • Children of Promise

My last contribution was to Brown University, where I obtained my undergraduate degree. They may not need it as much as the other organizations but I am incredibly grateful that they took a chance on me.

In 2017, I’m putting my money where my mouth is and in the hands of organizations that support the principles and ideals I value.  Its the right thing to do and it feels good.

Happy New Year!


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36 Hours in the Hamptons, New York

September 5th, 2016 · Hamptons

I was inspired to do this post after someone sent me a message via Facebook asking for info on things to do during a weekend trip to the East End of Long Island.  I really had to scratch my head on this one.  A fun weekend in the Hamptons for me usually consists of a laying on the beach with a good book, or in my hammock with an ice cold Angry Orchard hard cider.  I’m pretty low maintenance in the Hamptons.

Ninevah Beach, Sag  Harbor

     Ninevah Beach, Sag Harbor

Once you make it through the traffic – you will  be hungry. At Duckwalk Vineyards you can purchase bread and cheese and eat on their lovely patio overlooking their vineyard.   Heading east, art lovers should explore the new Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill.

After you settle in at your hotel or vacation rental, take a stroll through downtown Sag Harbor.  Burger aficionados will enjoy LT Burger, well known in the village for their decadent milkshakes.  History buffs should place The Sag Harbor Whaling & Historical Museum on their “must see” list.  Sag Harbor is known for being an enclave for artists and writers. Harbor Books carries a wide selection of  books for people of all ages and interests.  Don’t forget to ask about any readings. They are usually free and feature top notch writers.

If you love shopping, check out the fabulous stores in East Hampton. While you’re there, catch a flick at the cinema on Main street. After the movie, you can feed your sweet tooth at Dylan’s Candy Bar.  Yard sales and antiquing are very popular in the fall. Pick up a copy of Dan’s Paper and The Independent (both are free and often found in supermarkets) to find listings of sales.

If you need a good workout, try SoulCycle (think cycling and dancing; it’s popular, so sign up early) or my favorite alternative –  a vigorous walk/run down a local beach. After you’ve burned off those calories, head down to Amagansett for some seafood at Lunch/Lobster Roll.   Keep going east on Route 27 to beautiful Montauk.  Stop at the lighthouse and take in the view.  If you’ve made it this far, stop by  Gurney’s Resort and Spa for a massage.  (Insider tip:  Book ahead, take the Long Island Railroad to Montauk and ask for complimentary car service for pick up and drop off).

36 hours may not be enough time to enjoy a lot of these venues, but I guarantee you will have fun trying!

When is the best time to go? – Now. Hotel rates drop significantly after Labor Day.

Where should I stay? – There are lots of options. Hotels, B &Bs, vacation rentals. (Insider tip – Stay in Riverhead. You will save a bundle and will be 30 minutes away from the Hamptons.

Do I need a car? – That depends on where you stay and what you want to do. The Long Island Railroad and Hampton Jitney provide rail and motorcoach service, respectively. There are taxis available but you’ll have more flexibility and less downtime if you have a vehicle.

If you have a favorite thing that you do in the Hamptons, let me know in the comments section.




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