America’s Happiest Seaside Town

In 2016, Southern Living Magazine readers voted Stuart, Florida “America’s Happiest Seaside Town.” It ranked above some amazing coastal towns in California, Oregon, Maine and the Carolina’s’ to earn that distinction. I imagine the voting criteria included things like, location, affordability, and activities for families. While those things are important, I think what makes Stuart special, and therefore its residents happy,  is sea air, salt water, sunshine, a strong sense of community, picturesque scenery and a laid-back attitude that makes everyone feel welcome. Continue reading

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Showcasing Our Photos

As an introduction to those of you who might be stopping by for the first time; our blog is about our experience as early retirees. We live comfortably in our home in South Florida, travel often and share a variety of interests which include cooking, and photography. Our goal is to inspire others who are retired or contemplating retirement, to look beyond the front porch and see the amazing possibilities of life after work.

Being new to the world of Blogging, we made some basic discoveries early on. Content and images can make or break a post. I read a lot of Blogs and the quick turn-off for me is poor quality images, too many photos, or no photos at all.  There are many things about creating a successful Blog that I do not know, but this is an area in which I feel confident. It is also the subject of today’s post. Continue reading

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About Our Photographs

In between road trips around Florida and extended travels, Malcolm and I have a laundry list of home improvement projects and family obligations that fill our time. It is also nice to be part of an active community, where we can pick and choose to participate in things that interests us. However, the biggest part of our down time is spent enjoying one of our other shared  hobbies – photography.

The beach is our “go to” place for taking photographs and being just fifteen minutes from the Atlantic Ocean makes it convenient to grab the gear and go on a moments notice. Avid weather watching is requisite for all Floridian’s and we are not an exception. Tidal charts and weather apps are essential for a “planned” outing, especially in the summer months. Our favorite time at the beach is on a cloudy day, waiting for a storm to roll in over the water. The depth and range of color in the clouds and in the water is extraordinary and makes shooting in any direction a pleasure.

Malcolm uses a Panasonic “point and shoot” with a built-in zoom lens most of the time, and I have a Panasonic GX7 Mirrorless with interchangeable lenses. Depending on the goal, I use either a 12mm-35mm, wide angle or a 100mm-300mm telephoto. My skill level falls into the “hobbyist” category, (evolving) with Malcolm hovering just below that benchmark. I like editing photographs, while he is satisfied with straight out of the camera. We typically produce a wide range of images that tell our retirement story on this blog and on our Instagram page and we are constantly striving to improve our abilities.

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Treasure Coast – House of Refuge shoreline


My favorite place in the world – home

These photos were taken against the same late afternoon sky, within minutes of each other. The one on top is obviously edited. I love the moodiness of the deeper colors and think that it elevates the photograph. The second one is out of the camera, as is. It does not need to be enhanced to make a point.

You will find both types of photos on our Blog, along with staged and styled shots that are intended to draw a readers attention to the content of the post. Sometimes the very best we can do is to shoot through the tour bus window, as was the case in this shot, but we think you will agree that the results tell the story. You can read the post that includes this picture here.

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Coastal views in route to Giant’s Causeway

Photography is important to the message we want to convey, which is that life evolves. Retirement is a stage of life, not the end of life. Embrace your situation and live the life that you were meant to live. Be happy!


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Florida’s Gold Coast

Next in our series of how Florida’s Coasts got their names, is the Gold Coast. You might notice a bit of overlapping on the map, but for the most part, the Gold Coast consists of Miami/Dade and Broward Counties. There was a time when the area included Palm Beach and Martin Counties, but those two counties more accurately identify themselves with the Treasure Coast. Personally, I don’t blame stately and sophisticated Palm Beach for wanting to disassociate from the glitz and glitter of Miami, but hey, that’s just one opinion. It’s a new money/old money kind of thing.

In as much as the Treasure Coast is about Spanish gold shipwrecked along the coastline, the Gold Coast is about new money, and lots of it. Every few decades there seems to be a new influx of cash that dictates the location of Miami’s latest hot spots, trends, and up and coming areas. From South Beach, to Wynwood, it’s like a movable feast.  Who’s in, who’s out – follow the money!

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The shinny new toy these days is Brickell Avenue. Now we’re talking glitz and glitter galore! Check out this recent article regarding high rise construction in Miami. Personally, I like what is happening on Brickell Avenue (it’s about time) and I am thrilled with the idea of a self-contained “walk-able” city. Not so thrilled with the high priced establishments and congested traffic getting off of I95. Why does there always have to be a downside to progress?

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I am somewhat enamored with the new Miami skyline and am repeating this photo from a previous post.

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The really neat thing about this latest cash infusion is that it is spilling over into historically depressed areas like Wynwood and Little River. Just a few years ago, Wynwood was plagued with prostitution and drugs and Little River was a run down warehouse/small business area struggling to employ decent people in a declining environment. Locked gates and barbed wire fences was the order of the day for any respectable businesses. In this case, “trickle down” is actually working.

After hearing about Wynwood Walls for a couple of years, we finally decided to see what all the fuss is about. It truly is pretty amazing and you can easily spend hours walking the streets and enjoying the biggest display of street art I have ever seen. Of course, where there is great entertainment there must also be great food, and Wynwood is clearly not short on options.

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IMG_5583Trust me, this is not randomly painted graffiti. Most of the pieces within the garden were painted by very well known artists, but the walls and buildings outside the garden are equally impressive. It seems as though the entire area has gotten in on the show and there is something unique around every corner. Bring your camera to this sensory feast.

P1560560 (2)It all comes together magically and can be enjoyed by anyone – for free. In fact, the day we visited, we saw families with small children, teens, older folks and even a group of dancers enjoying the displays. The young lady above allowed me to take a photo of her against this stunning tropical mural. I think I will call it Pink Flamingo!

When glitz and glitter cross the line to gaudy, I start to cringe, and that is exactly what happened when we drove down Collins Avenue on South Beach. No longer the shinny new toy of the 90’s, it is starting to show signs that there is a “new gang in town.” Even in the daylight it looked raunchy. Without the famous and still fabulous Art Deco buildings, South Beach would be just another beach in America. Maybe one day it will “glitter” again, but right now Brickell has the spotlight.

I will leave you with the one iconic image of Miami (trust me, there are too many to include in this post) that made me scream, “Malcolm, stop the car I have to get that picture”.

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And there you have it. Glitz and glitter make this the Gold Coast!


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Discover Florida – One Coast at a Time

Florida gets a lot of visitors each year, with most of them bound for Miami or Orlando. The whole world knows about Mickey and South Beach. But, there is so much more to Florida. One of my blogging goals this summer, is to share the Florida we know and love. We will do that, by taking you along on our road trips one coast at a time.

Most people think of Florida as East Coast and West Coast. But the state actually has ten very distinct coasts. I borrowed the color coded graphic below from Google Images since a picture paints a thousand words. Continue reading

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