TLC Travel Diary – Positano, Sorrento, & The Amalfi Coast

  
 
Positano, Sorrento, &  The Amalfi Coast
 

The Amalfi Coast

 

   Usually, when a person asks us for our advice on what to do when visiting a port of call (which happens often – and we love to share!), we have no problem giving our “top pick”.  However, for the first time, we are stumped.     

Friends, many cruise ships dock in Naples, and there are a lot of things to see from this port.  We thought that Capri was the sure thing and perfect recommendation for anyone asking for our opinion on where to venture from this (which it is!!  truly!! a beautiful day well spent – guaranteed!!)…but….we have found something else that has captured our hearts….The Amalfi Coast.    

We will try here to give a taste of the beauty we experienced in this area of the world, but we must stress that really, the photos are not in any way, shape, or form even slightly doing justice to the real thing.  The views were so magnificent and breathtaking, and the villages so perfect and authentic, that it is a place we are sure we will visit again and again, should we be so fortunate to have the opportunity to return in our lifetimes!    

The drive itself is….impossible to describe.  The cliffs are so noble and tremendous, the water so clear and azure, and the wild vegetation growing everywhere is what we in Canada grow in our Greenhouses to beautify our back yards with in the summertime.  unbelievably stunning.  Truly.    

Amalfi Drive overlooking Positano

 

Amalfi Drive - if you click to enlarge & look closely you can see the road that takes you along the coast

 

Memory of a Lifetime

 

On our drive we stopped in the famous village of Positano.  Sigh.  Gorgeous.  Positano is another notable coastal holiday escape for vogue Europeans, and it is easy to understand why.  As soon as you are in the midst of its incredible charm, the shops, narrow cobblestone streets, chic restaurants and exclusive beaches are a lure for anyone belonging to any VIP list.    

Street in Positano

 

The Beach at Positano

 

Positano - Click to enlarge!

 

Back in Sorrento we had just enough time to explore this seaside resort town, and it was filled with unique characteristics that set it apart from its neighbours and gave it an aura all its own.  The center of the town was built on the top of the cliff and had a very colonial feel to it.  The resort area was nestled down at the bottom toward the seaside, and had the most unusual beaches built up on docks – so unique!  We had never seen this type of thing before!  Have you?     

The "Beach" at Sorrento

 

City Center - Sorrento

 

Sorrento

 

Of course, in the interest of Eat, Pray, Love…and keeping in theme with every other day of our trip so far…we had to finish off the day with a taste of the local food and drink, so we asked our taxi driver (born and raised in the area) where she would recommend for some authentic local fare.  She told us of a place where the locals love to go for pizza, but said we wouldn’t like it because it’s “not fancy, and has paper plates and plastic cups for the wine”.  We said, “THAT’S PERFECT!! – can you please take us there??!!!” 🙂    

Living the Italian Way!

 

The Best. Pizza. Ever.

 

Chris' Perfect Cannoli

 

The Pizzeria was called Franco’s…..and we are doubtful we will ever find its equal in pizza anywhere else in the world.  And, Chris found his dream authentic Italian cannoli to boot.  (His favourite!)  Another perfect end to another perfect day – in paradise.  Thank you, Universe.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.      

Another Day in Paradise

 

  

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TLC Travel Diary – Pisa & Tuscany

  

Pisa

Week 2 – Pisa & Tuscany   

What an original day this turned out to be!  For our stop in Tuscany on this day we decided to do something that none of us had ever done before – a Wine Tasting Tour!…and…in TUSCANY!!  Does is get any better than that??  We don’t think so!!    

Ok, I’ll get to that in a second, but first I have to tell you about the “adventure” we had that morning.  Since our Tuscan wine tour didn’t depart until the afternoon, we decided that we had just enough time to get in a little “road trip” to Pisa.  Now, my Mum really wasn’t too into this idea due to the fact that we were “winging it” (no organized tour – too chaotic for her), but Dad was all for it, so Mum happily took the opportunity for some quiet time on the sun deck while we ventured on our trek with no set itinerary.      

 I should say that we normally don’t recommend travelling the Italian ports on your own due to the inconsistency of the transit system (they often take prolonged breaks and go on random strikes, and you CAN’T be late when you’re cruising!), but, we decided to make an exception with this one because Pisa is relatively close to port compared to the other stops.  We also didn’t want to spend the extra money on the organized tour to Pisa because….well….there’s not that much to it, really.  We warned Dad that it was going to be quite a journey for what you get at the end, but he didn’t care, so off we went!      

On one of many buses to/from Pisa!

 

Have ticket - will travel!

 

…..After a shuttle bus from the ship to the city centre of Livorno, and then a city bus to the train station, and then an hour wait at the train station, and then another city bus from the train station in Pisa to the site of the Leaning Tower…..there it was.      

Yup, this is it!

 

 Dad’s reaction was as we predicted – it’s the same as most travellers experience when they arrive in sight of the famous monument – it’s kind of like: “Is this it”??  Yup.  That’s it.  Now, don’t get us wrong, it’s still an amazing display of architecture and history, and highly recommended on any bucket list, but it can be somewhat underwhelming when you see it.  It’s a lot smaller than you expect, and it’s a lot less to see than you expect, as there is not much else to the site other than the three structures.  So, unless you feel like taking the hours to wait in the endless lineups to go inside, it takes you about 10 minutes total to take the obligatory “I’ll hold up the Leaning Tower” photo, and then you’re done.  So we did.  Natch.     

TLC in Pisa - 1997

 

TLC in Pisa - 2010

 

  

 Summary:  6 buses + 2 trains + 4 hours + 15 minutes = 1 photo, and 1 cross off the bucket list for my Dad.  Worth every minute. 

  

Dad in Pisa - 2010

 

The wine tour that followed in the afternoon was such a glorious and relaxing treat.  The travel through the Tuscan countryside was breathtaking.  Rows and rows of grapes, olive trees, and my favourite – sunflowers.  Sigh.  I could have stayed forever.     

Sunflowers in Tuscany

 

The Vineyard was a beautiful and serene little farm that has been active for generations, and we had quite a history lesson of the farm, along with a tour of the owners’ private cellars.  We also were treated to an incredible education on all things involved with local wine & production in Italy, including growing, harvest, fermentation, and food pairing.     

Private Wine Cellar

 

(not recommended to take a bottle from the middle of the stack)

 

After the tour came the part we were all salivating for – the tasting.  After our busy day of sight-seeing, learning, and touring, nothing could have ended it better than a toast (or 10) with family on a Tuscan countryside.  Highly recommended in every way.      

Salute!

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TLC Travel Diary – Rome: Week 2

Week 2 – Rome 

Arc De Triumphe & Colosseum - 1997

 

Arc De Triumphe & Colosseum - 2010

 

Our second day in Rome was as glorious as the first, but in different ways.  The first week we spent mostly strolling the outdoors and admiring the beauty of the streets, architecture, and landmarks, while this time we focused mostly on the rich art and tradition found at the Vatican Museum.  We planned it this way on purpose, as to truly appreciate the Vatican Museum you really need a full day (at least) dedicated solely to it, as every single square inch of the place is a feast for the eyes – so you need to savour it. 

Ceiling of one of the many hallways full of art in Vatican Museum

 

Another Ceiling....

 

See? Every square inch!

 

 When you reach the end of the museum you reach the pièce de résistance – the Sistine Chapel.  The structure itself is usually a bit of a surprise to some, as it really just is a “chamber” of sorts:  four walls – that’s it.  But….the artwork takes your breath away.  Michelangelo’s The Creation (the ceiling) and The Last Judgement (back wall) are among the many great pieces of art that this Genius created, and are a must-see to anyone who ever has the chance.  Bucket-list material for sure.   Mark it down.  Make yourself a promise.   In the meantime, do yourself a favour some afternoon:  sit down with a cup of tea and Google this man.  His achievements in his lifetime are so astonishing it will move you – without a doubt. 

Now, you are not allowed to take photos inside the Chapel, and the reason may surprise you.  Most think it is because it will fade and damage the paintings, but that is why you can’t take flash photography, and no one should ever, ever, ever do that.  But the real reason that you can’t take photos even without the flash is because 20 years ago a Japanese company donated a substantial amount of money to fund the restoration of the Chapel, and in turn owned the rights of any images of the interior.  So…basically if you want a photo you have to buy one.  Unfortunately, our camera went off by accident while we were holding it down by our leg…. 

Michelangelo's The Creation - Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel

 

Michelangelo's The Last Judgement - inside the Sistine Chapel

 

After the Vatican Museum we ventured off on foot again (we walked easily 10 miles a day on this trip!), as we still had a few things to cross off the list before the day was done.  Thankfully, my parents and my husband trusted my navigation skills and vague memory of our whereabouts from 12 years ago, but nevertheless, we still spent a lot of time “in the map” just to be sure.  (ps – if you get the reference, leave a comment – bonus points for you!) 

Us in the Map in Rome

 

A visit to Rome would just not be complete without a stop at the Colosseum – another must-see, and one of my personal favourites.  The Colosseum is just so impressive.  There it is, standing majestic and proud since 72 AD, so much history took place within its walls and chambers, you can almost feel the roar of the crowds when you stand overlooking the animal’s dens.   And then across the street is an electronics store.  Life goes on, I guess. 

Colosseum

 

Another fun thing is the “Mouth of Truth”.  Legend has it that if you put your hand in the mouth and you are not a truthful person, that the Mouth will bite your hand off!  This sculpture was also famously featured in the movies Roman Holiday and Only You.  (Great films, by the way!)  Naturally, I suggested Chris give it a go…. 

Testing Chris at the "Mouth of Truth"

 

As always, it was imperative that we finish off the day with a hearty helping of Italian carbohydrates and white wine, and as always, it proved to be a glorious way to top off our visit .  Salute, Roma! 

A Taste of Italy

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DWTS – Season 11 – First Thoughts

 Dancing with the Stars – Season 11 – The Cast 

First of all…hurray!!  DWTS is back!!  And second of all ….WOW what a cast this year!!!!  

When ABC  announced this season’s roster we were so incredibly intrigued, as this is by far the most “Star-Worthy” cast they have ever lined up.  Now, this makes us very excited for two reasons:  1) participating in the show & ballroom dancing is becoming increasingly attractive to the celebrities, and 2) with lineups like this, it will intrigue even more hot celebrities, so that means the show is only getting hotter and isn’t going anywhere for a looooong time!  Wheeee! 

Below are our humble opinions of how the teams made out on their debut week.  BUT, we have a few disclaimers:  1) my mother always taught me if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all, so there won’t be any bashing on this blog.  If that’s what you want, read somewhere else.  Everyone has strengths to celebrate and weaknesses they can improve on, so if that’s what you like to learn about, read on…and 2) we must be honest and disclose on the outset that we will always be a bit biased toward Mark Ballas, Corky Ballas, and Derek Hough, as there is a bit of a 6-degrees of separation between us:  Mark Ballas & his family (including his dad Corky, mom Shirley, and friends-like-family Derek and Julianne Hough) are the very close friends of our very close and special friend, Alan Grundy and so we support them no matter what.  Sorry, can’t help it.  Friends help friends. 🙂 

 

Audrina Patridge & Tony Dovolani : This girl really surprised us.  She seems to have a lot of potential, and has a cute personality.  It was nice to see her smiling throughout her entire routine, and that body!  Holy legs, Batman!  If she uses them to her advantage to create some great lines and learns to point her toes consistently, she will do very well.  But Tony is truly an amazing teacher and one of our favourite pros, so no doubt he will make that happen.  Btw – we are so happy that Tony has been given a good partner this year, as he usually is stuck with the ones that need “work” because he’s so nice.  Remember Kate?  Ugh.  What a waste of Tony that was. 

 

Brandy & Maksim Chmerkovskiy:  Here’s another one that has an infectious smile and very likeable personality.  Look forward to seeing more of her, especially as she gets more comfortable in the dancing.  And…well…she was teamed with Maks.  So….that’s all I can say about that…because…well, I’m married. 

 

Bristol Palin & Mark Ballas:  We have vowed to give this girl a fighting chance, and here’s why: 1) her mother is not her fault, 2) she is the ONLY celebrity with absolutely NO experience with performing or showcasing their talent on TV in front of millions of people, and there are no words to describe how challenging that must be for her, and 3) well…we mentioned it earlier…it’s Mark! 

 

David Hasselhoff & Kym Johnson:  Ummmm….well….he’s gone, so that’s that.  (Phew!) 

Florence Henderson & Corky Ballas:  Yaaaay, Mrs. Brady!  We always support the more “mature” contestants because they just damn well deserve it for getting out there and doing it.  And also, it’s Mrs. Brady! It’s everybody’s mother!  You kind of have to!  Actually, we have a bit of a six-degrees-thing with Florence Henderson too:  she is the best friend of our friend & boss from JAR Productions, Jean Ann Ryan.  We met Florence on a number of occasions when they would pop in to rehearsal and watch, and we are more than happy to say she is truly a lovely lady and every bit as funny and delightful in person as you see on TV!

 Jennifer Grey & Derek Hough:  Derek has to be the luckiest Professional on DWTS – he always gets a great partner!  Jennifer did amazing, and obviously has the potential to go very far, as we all know she has dance training behind her through her iconic performance in Dirty Dancing.  Since the desire to be “Baby” is the reason why so many girls (myself included) started dancing in the first place, she plain-old deserves respect just for what she has done for the dance world.  I don’t even need to comment on the disappointment we all feel about her plastic surgery so I won’t. 


Kurt Warner & Anna Trebunskaya:  Truth be told, we always secretly root for the “Sports Guys”.  Their involvement in the show has done SO much for the sport of Ballroom Dancing we can’t even tell you.  Plain and simple: they remove stigma, and make it “cool” for men to try ballroom dancing.   For that we thank them, along with millions of wives and girlfriends around the world who want to dance so badly but their guys won’t.  (Hopefully someday this will cease to be the reality.  C’mon people – it’s 2010 for god’s sake!)  My favourite comment of all is when some of the NFL players et al say things like, “This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done”.  Kurt did very well too, and shows a lot of potential if he keeps up the hard work and keeps that endearing personality he displayed on the floor!

Kyle Massey & Lacey Schwimmer:  Ok, we’ll admit it – Lacey really isn’t our cup of tea (sorry to all of her fans – we don’t know why?  Too much “edge”, not enough “lady” maybe?) , but nevertheless – her partner sure is!!    This guy is personality, personality, and more personality, and as a bonus – he can dance too!  We were so impressed by his sharpness and lines (Lacey gets our credit for that, of course) and easily took our “Performance” award out of all of the competitors.  Amazing!

Margaret Cho & Louis Van Amstel:  A note about Louis: he always takes our “creativity” award.  This man is the Ballroom Dance world’s “Madonna”.  He always pushes the envelope, and sets the trends for style, choreography, and performance.  As the weeks go on, watch for this in his performances – especially when he dances with other Pros.  It’s amazing.  Now, admittedly his choices didn’t wash on the first night and we agreed with the judges.  It was just too soon, and Margaret should have stuck with her story and kept it serious, because it was working, and pulled at our heart-strings.  When she added the jokes it took away from her performance, but we know Louis will fix that for next week!

Michael Bolton & Chelsie Hightower:  This girl has really grown on us.  She has matured so beautifully, and has just the right balance of preserving her youth while acting as a professional and a lady at the same time.  We feel the casting of her with Michael Bolton is unfortunate, as the match is just kind of uncomfortable to us.  Michael has a lot to work on, but if he really puts his mind to it he can certainly improve.  Lucky for him, he will also have his vast fan base behind him so that’s always a bonus.

Mike Sorrentino & Karina Smirnoff:  The Situation was a unique Situation, in many ways.  He was immediately at a disadvantage as he only had 5 days to prepare compared to the 3 weeks that the other celebrities had,  so or this we will give him a break, and see how it goes next week.  But, we must admit that if he pulls out more of “the Situation” and brings that unique “confidence” to the dance floor, it will be pure entertainment to watch in a train-wreck-kind-of-way.  Where does one get cahones like that, anyway?

Rick Fox & Cheryl Burke:  This guy gets our sports kudos that we mentioned above, is absolutely gorgeous to look at, and danced really well to boot.  Cheryl really deserves an honourable mention for how well she covered the very obvious height difference.  The behind-the-scenes of this is: it is an amazing challenge to work with a partner that is not matched height-wise, so we were very impressed by that.  Four-inch dance heels?   Damn, Girl!

….and that’s today’s TLC.

ps – did you watch?  who’s YOUR favourite?

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TLC Travel Diary- Rome, Florence, & the French Riviera

   

Vatican City

 

     Day 3, 4 & 5 – Roma, Firenze, & La Cote d’Azur      

Rome and Florence were beautiful days from start to finish, full of incredible architecture and artwork every time we turned a corner, all standing majestic and strong even though they are from centuries ago.  (Insert irony here that we in Canada can’t build a stadium that will last us past 30 years…)  The Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Panthenon, lunch in Piazza Navona, The Vatican, and more all got crossed off the list in Rome- the Colloseum and Sistine Chapel will be next week .      

Rome 1998

 

Rome 2010

 

   The stunning Statues of David, Goliath, and Neptune all had lunch with us in the Piazza in Florence before we visited the Duomo and the sculptor’s tombs at Holy Cross Church – great days.        

Statue of David (et al) Florence

 

   Chris and I were both surprised how quickly the surroundings became familiar again – it really felt as if we never left, and we were showing Mom and Dad around our “neighbourhoods”.       

Mom and Dad in Rome

 

Speaking of neighbourhoods – on Friday we returned to the place where we someday dream of being able to actually call our neighbourhood – our beloved Villefranche.       

Ahhhhh…Villefranche.  Words cannot even explain the beauty of this place.  Friends, you must, must, must put a visit to the French Riviera on your bucket list. It is truly magical.  There is so much splendour to take in here, and we really want to share as much of its beauty as we possibly can with Mom and Dad in the short time that we have.      

      

We decided to start off with a visit to the stunning Monaco and Monte Carlo (the inhabitants of which making the uber-rich of Capri look like middle-class bourgeoisie), and then topped off the day – literally – at the top of the Cote d’Azur in a little village called Eze .       

Eze

 

This special place is one of our favourites of all of our travels, and it is where Chris and I were engaged.  We took Mom and Dad back to the scene of the crime – a beautiful restaurant nestled on the side of a cliff overlooking the Riviera called “Le Chevre d’Or”, ordered a bottle of Sancerre, and toasted to our marriage and to my Mom and Dad’s 45th wedding anniversary.  All at the exact table where it all happened 12 years ago.  Yes….I cried a little bit….      

Our Engagement - Eze 1998

 

Celebrating our Marriages - Eze 2010

 

 

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TLC Travel Diary – Naples & Capri

Day 2 – Naples & Capri   

In Naples we took a ferry over to Capri – it was absolutely gorgeous.  Very scenic and luxurious – obviously a play town for the uber-rich.    

His & Hers

 

 We hopped on a local bus and travelled (by “travelled” I mean hung on for our lives as the driver zipped along the edges of the cliffs) to the very top of the island to a town called AnaCapri – it was stunning and the views were breathtaking.    

Capri

 

 We toasted the day with a picnic of local wine and some fresh pizza pastries warm out of the oven from a little boulangerie…mmmm…..   

Capri Happy Hour

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TLC Travel Diary – Week 1 – Barcelona

Wow….we can’t believe a week has gone by already!  Mind you, despite the fact that the time has flown, at the same time it feels like we have been around the world and back and seen every corner of it on the way!   

TLC in Barcelona 1997

 

TLC in Barcelona 2010

 

The journey started in Barcelona where the memories began to flood back as soon as we stepped out of our cab.  We retraced our steps from when we used to spend our Saturdays doing day-to-day things like grocery shopping and laundry, to strolling Las Ramblas, admiring Gaudi masterpieces, and of course stopping to enjoy authentic paella and sangria.    

HappyHourBarcelona

 

Mom and Dad loved it too, and we didn’t stop wandering the city from when we met them in the morning to when we fell into bed late that night.  Our hotel was right on Las Ramblas, and we people-watched from our balcony overlooking the famous promenade for hours.  Bliss.   

Barcelona - Colom

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TLC Travel Diary – Day 1

We’re off! 

       

Some people absolutely hate travelling. Not the actual vacation part, but the travel part. We, on the other hand, really love it. The airports, the magazines, the airplane food, the movies, the crosswords – you name it. We try to make the “transportation” portion of the journey part of the holiday, and make the most of every minute. Admittedly though, it wasn’t always like this, it’s just that over the years of living with no fixed address other than a passport we learned a few tricks of the trade to make the travel more fun.  

 

 One of our favourite “TLC Travel Tips”, is to pull our best “Ferris Beuller” a la “Abe Froman – the Sausage King of Chicago”:  We always try to schedule enough time in between flights to visit the posh VIP lounges even though we totally don’t belong there. Truth is though, you don’t have to be a “member” – you can pay per person to enter just for the one day, and then you get R&R with all the trimmings. The price is totally worth it. Wine, beer, full open liquor bar, full internet access, all-you-can-eat buffet – you name it! Think about it, you’re probably going to pay for an overpriced lunch, a couple of overpriced magazines, and an overpriced venti-latte-something-or-other….why not pay all-in-one and get it with peace & quiet and a glass of wine to boot?   

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SYTYCD Canada Season 3 – The Good, the Bad, and the We’ll See.

Apologies to all – this post is waaaay late.  We have a couple of good reasons, but mostly it’s because we have been completely neglecting our PVR due to the fact that we’ve been feverishly renovating the church where we rent our dance space.  We’ve been working overtime trying to get it done before we leave on vacation (now) so that meant it was during our “off ” hours (after teaching, after practice, after the show – basically in place of social life, sleeping, posting, and such.)   The hard work has been a success though – in one month we put in a new dance floor, painted the whole space, threw in a bit of decor, set up a  mini-office, and put some admin features in place.  All by our-covered-in-paint-head-to-toe-selves.  Yes, me (TL) too, and I even wore sweatpants.  Albeit with high heels… of course.  Baby steps, friends, baby steps….

(btw – pics and vid documenting the creation of “The Church of Dance” to follow – watch this space!)

Regardless, while we were busy being a Worst Handyman and Woman,  a new season of SYTYCD Canada started, so we have to take a moment to pause, reflect, and celebrate!  Congrats on Season 3 to all involved!

This season has started off with a bang, and we believe it has some good, some bad, and some that is too early yet to comment on.  Nevertheless, below are our thoughts, but remember – they are just personal opinions!  If yours differ, that’s the beauty of being Canadian!  It’s perfectly ok to disagree!

The Good:

– Jean Marc is finally being…Jean Marc.  We have known and respected this unbelievably talented man for many, many years, and one of the best things about him is…him.  The “real-life Jean Marc” is incredibly funny, caring, and sincere, but in the most natural way.  The TV one seemed to be going through a bit of an adjustment period in Season 1 & 2, but it seems he has found his comfort zone.  Also, seeing his beautiful wife France on with him was delightful!  Loved it!  They are a true team in every way, so it was nice to enjoy them working as one on the show.

– The production value.  The editing, the sets, the camera work, lighting, directing…man, that franchise gets it right!  Just gorgeous.  Enough said.

– Love Mia.  Love Stacey.  Love Dan.  Love Blake.  They really seem “unafraid” to tell the truth and give critique, and we like that.  Even Luther has been a bit tougher this season – good to see.  Tre is just plain gorgeous.  What on earth does she use on her skin?  And can I order a vat of it?

– We only fast-forwarded Leah when she was visible.  We think her voice-overs are way better than they were in Season 1 and 2.  If she would stop flicking her head with every second syllable we could perhaps fast-forward even less.  (Maybe we should have put that in the “we’ll see” category.)

– “LazyLegz” .   You made our month.  We hope to meet you someday and give you a really long, good, snuggly hug.

– Looks like we’ll have some amazing and uber-talented dancers to enjoy this season!  Yay, Canada!

The Bad:

– Even though we think it’s “better”, the critique is still a bit too “nice” for us.   By all means, tell the dancers what they did right, but then tell them what they did wrong, or what they should work on for next time.  Yes, as we said, the talent is exceptional, but everyone can work to improve on something, so we wish the judges would say so more often. 

– “Made for TV” stuff.  Maybe it’s because we work in TV, but to us it’s so transparent when phrases are edited and we don’t see the real thing.  Trust us – TV – even “Reality” TV – isn’t real at times.  Yuck.  Maybe that’s why the judges’ comments come out too reserved?  Maybe they said “more” but we just don’t get to see it as viewers?  But this leads us to……

The “We’ll See”:

– It’s too early to comment on the dancers themselves, as it takes a few weeks for them to find their groove and really let loose.  Dancing in front of millions must be the most daunting thing imaginable, so we think it’s only fair not to comment on specific performances until they’ve had a bit of time to relax and just enjoy their time in the limelight!  Enjoy and good luck to all competitors!  Great job so far! 

Please, Canada – support this show!  Help celebrate the Arts in Canada!!!

….and that’s today’s TLC.

ps – what are your thoughts of SYTYCD Canada Season 3 so far?

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You Only Live Once. Cross Something Off Your “Bucket List” today.

N.B. – still counting votes from the previous post regarding capital letters – hundreds have read, not many voted, but nevertheless results are pretty split down the middle – so this will be a test-capital-letter-blog.   Feel free to go back to the poll and vote if this influences you!  🙂  But first….today’s blog: 

Due to the fact that we are professional Gypsies, and to the admission in a previous post that we try our best to “Work to Live” not “Live to Work”, you may have already figured out that we really try to cross things off of our “Bucket List” as often as we can.  We are acutely aware that “we only live once”, and don’t want to miss a thing while we’re here,  so we are constantly working on making the next dream come true.   We are proud to report that we are crossing another item off the “Bucket List” this week, but even happier to report that it’s not on our list…it’s on my parents’. 

 

The most magical part of our life so far was when we worked in the Mediterranean.  We loved every minute of it.  We miss it.  We have always said that if we won the lottery, we would immediately board a plane back to the Med, buy a place there, and spend the rest of our lives sharing its beauty with any friends and family that wanted to visit us.  (Mark our words – that WILL still happen – lottery or not!)  

Portofino, Italy

It turned out that our love was infectious, because as we went on and on about it, my Mom and Dad declared that “some day” they would love to experience it.  We immediately promised that when they were ready to go, we would go with them, and be their tour guides to help them experience “the best of the Med”.   That was 14 years ago.  Yes, you read that right.  And we’re not proud of it.  Neither us nor my parents.  For 14 years we all let day-to-day life and work get in the way, said “maybe next year” over and over, went about crossing other things off our bucket lists, and before we knew it, 14 years had gone by.  Then something happened.  This year, suddenly in April, Chris lost his Mom.  

 

We miss her.  There are many things we so badly wanted to experience with her.  We didn’t get the chance.  This week, we are taking my Mom and Dad to the Med.  And Chris’s Mom too.

Posted in Life with TLC | 10 Comments

Queries, Kudos, AND CAPITALS of a Big Blog World…

…so…when we decided to jump into the blogosphere, we decided to do so as we do everything else in life – head first.   we had no idea how deep it was, or the size of the world we were to swim around in, but we were excited to explore.  and we can report after a very short period of time that it is in fact – a Big Blog World full of queries, kudos, and CAPITALS.  

first – the queries.  

there are a lot of them!   from the first day you feel like you are back in grade 2 and faced with math class for the first time, and you have 10+ more years of learning to go before you’ve even scratched the surface of what you need to know.   some we have been faced with so far:  blogspot or wordpress? should we self-host? do we need a domain name? how do we tag? why do we need categories?  how do we connect social media? do we need twitter? a fan page? what are links for?  multi-media? how many kinds ARE there?  AAARRRGHH!  and the list goes on for 10+ more years.  (fyi – what have found some answers, and are happy to share and save you the time – message us if you have some!)

second – the kudos.

this is a shout-out to all of the great friends that have helped us to answer the above questions, either by answering them directly, or, without even knowing, because we have visited their great blogs to see how great bloggers do it right (the links provide “blog-love” – which is one of the thing’s we’ve learned about):  Ginger of three65, Chris of Nachos at Midnight, Keltie of HighKicksandHighHopes, Andrew of PhotoVanBeek, Rosie O’Donnell, Rod Fage of OSG Consulting, the feedback and opinions of: Amrita, Derick,  Lannan, our beloved students, everyone-else-that-we-should-be-thanking-but-is-going-to-come-to-mind-after-we-publish-this-post, and of course – our latest best friend:  Google.

third – THE CAPITALS.

this is to represent the questions that will be posed to you as you “put yourself out there” into the blogosphere, and it’s interesting to learn what people will ponder as they read.  this is my favourite one so far: “why don’t you use capital letters in your blog?”   great question.   and really, i’m not that sure of the answer because it just kind of happened, but i thinks it’s mostly about “tone”.   this blog is meant to be very informal, laid-back, and more of a behind-the-scenes of life and our thoughts than anything “official”.   capital letters, to me, make things more official and important, which is why i still capitalize proper nouns.  they can also CHANGE THE TONE, AS YOU SEE HERE, ALL OF A SUDDEN I SEEM TO WANT YOUR ATTENTION.    so, i decided not to use them.  BUT (note the emphasis),  we are really open to learning and making it the best blog it can be, and, we strongly encourage interaction……so….let’s find out what you the readers would prefer: 

now…if i could only figure out how to change the font.  sigh. back to google.

and that’s today’s TLC.

ps….who deserves your kudos today?

Posted in Life with TLC | 7 Comments

All We Hear Is…Radio Cha-Cha…

Neil & Steve from EZ Breakfast Show

 …so yesterday i had the amazing opportunity of guest co-hosting on the EZ Breakfast Show on EZ Rock 99.7 .    this was my first-ever attempt at radio, and let me tell you, it’s a lot harder than it looks … i mean…”sounds”.    it was the most scared and nervous i have been for anything in a really long time, and there is SO much going on behind-the-scenes at any given moment you wouldn’t believe it!  

i think we all picture the hosts of radio morning shows to be sitting around, feet up, chillin’ over a cup of java and shooting the sh*t.   but, that’s the beauty of when it’s done well,  it seems like that’s what’s happening, but in reality,  there are a million things happening at once,  and all the while they’re cool as cucumbers.     i was so impressed with how smoothly Neil and Steve zipped in and out of breaks, weather, traffic, news, callers, and of course music – while at the same time making sure the rookie (me) didn’t push any wrong buttons or speak at the wrong times (thankfully they really helped me with this one, and chris wants to know where he can find a “mute” button like the one they had for me).   it was an incredible learning experience to say the least, and i have such genuine newfound respect for the job they do  (not to mention how bloody early they have to get up every day – oy vey).   they made it look so easy (excuse the pun),  and it was a really fun way to spend the morning!  i need to try it about 845, 672 more times in order to really get the hang of it, but the first time is always the hardest so at least it could only get better, right!

Neil and Steve,  special thanks for your patience, for making me feel so welcome, and for helping me cross something off my bucket list.   and to their awesome co-host Viv, thanks for letting me keep your chair warm for a day while you were away!   someday i’ll teach you ALL a cha-cha in return! 

here’s a sneak peek behind-the-scenes:  (thanks, chris for taking all the pics and video!  xoxoxo….)

and that’s today’s TLC.

ps – what will you do today that scares you?

Posted in Life with TLC, TV with TLC | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Do You “Work to Live”…or “Live to Work”?

one of our favourite sayings of all time was given to us by a lovely lady that we met while working in the South of France.  we were chatting one day about how calm, relaxed, and happy the European people are, and she said to us, “that’s because in Europe, we work to live….but in North America, you live to work.”

wow.  bang on, isn’t it? 

this comment really resonated with us, and we try to remind ourselves of it as often as we can,  especially when it feels like work is taking over everything.  and boy, doesn’t that seem to happen to all of us way too often?  if i asked you what your “top priority” is, what would you say?  health?  happiness? family?  friends?  your children?  of course!  these are the things that make life worth living.  but if i asked you what drains most of the energy out of your life what would it be?  too often the answer is work.

now, the thing is, unless you are the latest lotto max winner, or are the direct descendent of a founder of a very large and successful hotel chain, we have to work.  the formula is simple:  work = the money we need to live and enjoy the things in life.  but at what point do we pass the point of working to live, and end up living to work?  how much is enough? 

recently we were faced with this issue in our career.  after years of living the gypsy life, i was offered the opportunity coveted by so many: the full-time job.  it had all the trimmings – a bit more money, 40 hours a week, security, benefits.  so…we went for it.  after all, it’s what everyone strives for, so it must be the best way, right?  we’d be crazy to pass it up, right?  well, it turns out that depends on what’s really important to you.

it didn’t take long before chris and i were working all hours of the day, at completely opposite times, never seeing each other.  and when we did, we were so exhausted that we didn’t feel like doing any of those things that the extra money was supposed to allow for.  as a matter of fact, we didn’t have any time for them anyway.  we were rarely seeing our family or friends.  we were living to work, not working to live.

so, you can probably guess that after a very deep look into our life and realizing what was really important to us, we decided to do what some may think is crazy, and give a bit of it up.  we decided to cut a few corners here and there to make up for the financial shortfall,  and just work to live.  don’t get me wrong,  if Kelly Ripa mysteriously slips on some marbles and falls down the stairs, and Michael Gelman calls for me to rush in and take her place, that would still be great!  but if that doesn’t happen, that’s ok too.  the most important thing will be that if he does call, we have great friends, great family, and each other to share the news with. 

….and that’s todays bit of TLC.

ps – do you work to live, or live to work?

Posted in Life with TLC | 3 Comments

Life’s a Dance….Live it Like Everyone’s Watching!

so…i think i should explain myself…because at first glance, it may seem like our “tagline” for the blog is an error.  usually, you may hear the saying “dance like no one’s watching”. very famous, and with a great meaning behind it, something like…”do whatever you want, how you want, and don’t care what anyone thinks because their opinion doesn’t matter anyway”.  love that.  and admittedly, i considered using that one, because we often tell our students to think that way when they dance so that they dance with abandon.  but, the more and more i thought about it, it just didn’t sit right.  something felt wrong to me.

i think it felt wrong because this blog is not only about dance, it’s about life.  and in life we actually live it for the most part like people are watching, don’t we?  for example, if nobody was watching as we go about our day-to-day routines, wouldn’t we all walk around naked more often?  girls, really, wouldn’t we skip the hair-and-makeup-routine?  wouldn’t we wear our very favourite outfit every single day instead of as-often-as-we-can-but-strategically-planned-with-an-acceptable-number-of-days-in-between, or according to which people will “see” it at the event we are wearing it to?  exactly.  we typically do these things because people are usually watching.  don’t even get me started on life when you’re on a daily TV show…yes…people are watching….and yes….they have opinions…believe me…on every single little tiny move that you make.

so, with these thoughts in mind, i thought i’d take it to the next level.  if people are watching us live our lives, why don’t we live the best life we possibly can, trying to make the best choices, work the hardest, love the deepest, be the kindest, you name it.  don’t just live or dance like some people are watching – take it up a notch and live like everyone’s watching!  and make them damn impressed by what they see!

and that’s today’s TLC.

ps….what will you do today that you want everyone to see?

Posted in Life with TLC | 1 Comment

Once Upon A Time…..

….lived a couple named TL & Chris.   that’s us.  and this is our new blog. 

i must say, thinking of the name for the blog was the most interesting part of putting this thing together.  a lot goes through your mind.  you want it to describe who you are, and what your blog is all about, whilst at the same time allowing for the reader to add their own interpretations of what it means if they so choose to.  we chose “Dance, TV, and TLC”…. and this is why:

Dance” – well, we’re dancers.  our speciality is of the ballroom and latin variety,  but we have attempted many other genres, albeit under duress.  we’ll tell that story on a later post.  here is a tidbit in the meantime: click this link for a video of TLC Dancing 

TV” – we are TV personalities.  TL (that’s me, i’ll be doing most of the writing because my husband is a typical male and doesn’t do these things) is the co-host of a live daily Talk Show called Daytime Ottawa on Rogers TV, and we have also done work for CBC, Bold, and others.  we are also currently putting together a pilot for our own Ballroom Dance TV show – but we can’t tell you a lot about that…yet!  here is another tidbit:  click this link for a video of  TL Hosting

and “TLC” – this is where it gets interesting.  TLC can mean a lot of things:

  • first of all, it’s us – TL & Chris. 
  • secondly, it represents the Tender Loving Care that we put into life, each other, and everything we do to live the best and most fulfilled life we can. 

….but it can also mean so much more:

  • Travel, Leisure, Cruising – we worked on cruise ships for 12 years on and off
  • Trust, Loyalty, and Committment – the foundations of our marriage
  • Tenacity, Learning, Courage – what we feel it takes to succeed, or at least try to
  • Totally, Ludicrous, Choices – basically, some would feel our career and life choices to date, but that’s been part of the excitement!

in any event, it’s been a pretty interesting ride so far for us – there have been ups, downs, triumphs and tribulations, but through it all, there has been a lot of TLC.  in this blog we plan to take you along the behind-the-scenes as the daily drama unfolds, share some memories of our journey so far, and pass on some lessons we’ve learned along the way.  there won’t be any kind of “structure” to this blog… because life isn’t like that….. it will just be a mish-mash of thoughts, videos, photos etc. from past and present.   we hope you enjoy!

ps…what does “TLC” mean to you?  ever thought about it?

Posted in Life with TLC | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments