Travel Snobbery

Let it be known that The TravelDiva is a travel snob. Plain and simple. I don't care. Lap of luxury or damn near close to it is the standard as far as I'm concerned. After a couple of years in the military where luxury sleeping was considered a tent or well built foxhole, I consider a hotel with the doors exposed to the outside equivalent to those accommodations. Humph! I didn't take on the alias of TravelDiva for no reason. I have traveled...maybe not as much a some, but more than the average ('cept maybe Honest - she is a traveling monster) and I have stayed in some wonderful places. I knows the difference. Trust.

So, earlier this year, Ron and I attended some event where you could enter your name into a raffle for a free trip. I didn't really think much about it, just filled out the form. I usually don't win stuff, but this year seems to be my year for winning contests (Wii, gift cards, trip). Might not have a job, but I got goodies. Earlier this month, we get a call saying that we won a trip to Williamsburg, VA. Yippie. I like free stuff and we could always use a getaway. Williamsburg is very pretty when decorated for Christmas and the shopping is good.

One catch. (There is always a catch - ain't nothing free) We have to take a tour of a new resort while here. Ron and I laughed. Did you do a background check before you offered us this trip? You would have seen that one of us is self-employed, the other unemployed and not about to buy a damn thing ...especially not a resort in Williamsburg, VA. Are you kidding me? Whatever, if you're going to pay my hotel stay & give me $150 in spending money, I've got nothing better to do. Why the heck not.

We pack Cara up (Jordan & the rest of the crew have social lives better than ours) and head down to Wiliamsburg. Guess what? We are not staying at the resort we have to go on a tour at. We are staying in some kind of guest suites down the street that is just one step up from the Su.per.8. At least the doors are on the inside. Yep...Snobbery. Smarty pants, the FireMarshall, says what did you expect for free? I hate him sometimes. He is laying across the bed, coloring with Cara, laughing at me while my nose is all up in the damn air blogging my disdain.

Actually, the place is not horrific, but when you are expecting a resort and you get Mo.tel.6, you tend to cop an attitude. I did plan us a nice day at Historic Williamsburg for us tomorrow (after our "tour"). We are taking Cara to "A Kids Holiday Memories" Event and then we are doing a walking tour of the Christmas Decorations in Historic City. I hope to get some new Christmas Decorating ideas. Serious Business.

Are you a travel snob?


Christmas Decorating - Serious Business

Here at True Blessings Estate, we take the holiday season very seriously - especially Christmas...and when it comes to decorating for Christmas, we mean serious business. It is a process, that starts with staging the boxes in their appropriate place, set up, a power plan, automatic timing of the on and off of the lights - and ends with a carefully selected color theme. We pretty much stick with one underlying color theme (Red & Gold) and add or subtract colors and items from there.

We always start putting up the decorations the day after Thanksgiving and everything MUST be in place and ready to go by the 1st Saturday in December - the day of the Army-Navy Game and (if I say so myself) THE BEST football party EVER - which we throw every year that we do not go to the game. The invitation to that party went out on Monday. If you want to come to the best time ever and you didn't ge tyour invite, you need to drop me a line.

I have an entire storage area dedicated to Christmas Decorations as well as a lot of other spaces. Dedicated to my craft - Absolutely. How about 2 large storage bins of power cords & timers. Like I said, Serious Business.

This year is the first year for the outdoor tree. A church friend gave my mother a 10 ft tree which we decided would be great for the front area of the house. With this outdoor tree, we will have a total of 5 trees in the house. Putting that sucker up, staking it down (safety first, the FireMarshall said), and decorating took a lot longer than expected. We managed to get it done and started working on the inside - have to work on the rest of the outside later, it was getting cold.

My mother started setting up the Fontanini Display - you won't believe how much room that thing takes up, but it is going to be awesome. At 8pm, we finally gave up the ghost and decided to call it a night. Between our feet and backs hurting, I'm just simply exhausted. I'll have to finish the rest later.

So, how serious are you about your Christmas decorating?


Eat Well, Laugh Often, Love Much

It is enough that I get this post together of some pictures from dinner since I'm about to slip into a coma from all of the food and adult beverage. Lawd Hab Murcy. I feel like a stuffed turkey myself. We are off to put our PJ's and watch a movie in the home theater.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Rejoice & Be Glad - Happy Thanksgiving

May you and yours have a
Blessed Thanksgiving Day


The Day Before Thanksgiving...

...and all through the house, everybody was stirring and mixing and rushing about.

Terri and I ran away from the hustle and bustle of pre-Thanksgiving Prep (after a great session of Yoga) and left for Tyson's Corner for Tea at the Ritz Carlton. As you can see, we had a great time. We did a little shopping in the mall afterwards to let the rush hour traffic die down and made it back home in short order for dinner of a fabulous roast & potatoe soup my mother made. Joe made crabcake appetizers. Heaven on earth today!

The Blessing of Good Friends...

I love my friends....

Terri is treating us to Tea at the Ritz today. I LOVE GOING TO TEA. It is just so, so...Grown up & Fancy!

Right now, we are off to Bikram Yoga. Yes, my friends let me torture them. Isn't it great!

Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

Happy Thanksgiving !, originally uploaded by Ming chai.

We started prepping and cooking last night in preparation for Thanksgiving Day. I started working on the table, put out the centerpieces and made Pama Margaritas for my company. We barely left the kitchen as we cooked, talked and enjoyed each others company. I love Thanksgiving...I love my friends...I love my family. We are blessed.

Here is the menu for our big feast:

Turkey (GMa Sandy)
Honey Baked Ham
Andoulle Sausage Stuffing
Sweet Potatoe Casserole w/Apples & Marshmallows
Cajun Corn Maque Choux
Sauteed Spinach (GMa Sandy)
Green Beans w/Cranberries, Blue Cheese & Walnuts
Macaroni & Cheese (Shawn)
Rolls (Shawn)
Cranberry Sauce w/Pinot Noir
Pumpkin Cheesecake w/Ginger Snap - Pecan Crust
Unknown Dessert (Shawn)



The Tina Turner Concert last night was SIMPLY THE BEST...better than all the rest. Tina is a true performer in every and all respects. This was a class act & performance. We had a blast.

My new goal is that when I am 68 years old, that I have legs & a body like Tina's and can dance for 2 hours in stillettos without missing a beat. SIMPLY THE BEST.

NSN Fall Connection Experience

This past Saturday, The National Sales Network DC/Baltimore Chapter held our last event for the year - The Fall "Connection Experience" Networking Social. It was a huge hit. Thank you to all the member (and future members) that not only made this event but the entire year a success. See you in 2009.

Too Cool

Pink Bunny Rabbit Top

I really have no words for this top. Not the best of pictures, but you get the point - JUST SAY NO! She needs new friends.



I love me some Tina Turner! We are off to see her in concert tonight. I can't wait.


It's my Mommie's Birthday today! We are going to dinner and to see Tina Turner in Concert.
Happy Birthday!!!!

Me & Mommie - Graduation Day, 1987

Me & Mommie - Florence, Italy - 2005

THE ART OF WAR - Usual Suspects Style

I met up with some of the Usual Suspects last night at a place called Co Co Salsa. Good thing the company was great cause this place, while cute 'n all, was way too froo froo for even me. Come on now...They put 3oz of wine in a 14oz glass and charge $12; they serve up "Co Co Bites" (see picture below) as appetizers, charge $8 and it is something my husband could pop in his mouth with one bite; specialty drinks - $13 and not so special.

Despite the disappointing drinks and cuisine, the company was no where close. It is always a freakin' scream when I get together with the gang. I got to meet Shelly & OneBlackMan and it was like a lightening bolt hit me when it finaly dawned on me that they were the two parties in one of the most infamous blog wars in history. What a treat.

Some of the funny moments:

  • The Art of Re-Stalking
  • How to keep the love/hate affair -blogwars - fire burning
  • Making sure you hang out with friends crazier than you are so you have someone else to blame & you can live to tell the story.
  • We need to add diversity to the group...We will be handing out applications to other cultures seeking people who would like to officially have a black friend.
One thing I know for sure...I love hanging with these women (and occassional guys). They are all funny, real, interesting women that are just a pure pleasure to be around. Like Monnie said last night...It is great to have some wonderful women friends at this point in our live. Yes, Lawd. I love it.


Video Slide Show: 31 Day Yoga Challenge


I feel like a grown up blogger now with my own domain name!


Update your links, but don't worry if you don't. You will still end up here using the old blogger link....salesdiva.blogspot.com


A Perfect Day in Paradise

I love my life & I love my husband - my personal Fire Marshall - who spoils me ROTTEN!!!!! Let's just say that today, our last day on St. Lucia, and I felt like a fairy princess. There have been a lot of down days recently, but it was if my Fire Marshall knew what I needed (rest, relaxation, pampering, love) and then he topped it off with strawberries & champagne.

Today started with a lazy day by the pool, where I promptly fell asleep with Ron giving me the appropriate tap to remind me to roll over so I wouldn't burn to a crisp. I was then sent off to the spa for an exfoiliating scrub and massage.
That evening we had a Candlelight Dinner on the beach and we were the only couple out that night (all the other nights, the beach was lined with tables & couples). It was so romantic. The evening was just perfect. The food was a little, ummm, not so great, but edible. The lobster bisque was really tomato soup with some sherry & lobster trown in. The salmon was dry. The dessert; however, was awesome! The food issues didn't really matter, we had each other and clowned on the beach we had to ourselves.

I was kinda kidding about the Fire Marshall running down to the jewelry store for an early Christmas present. Well, he went ahead and did it and said I could wear it now. I'm am estatic and the most blessed wife in the world.

Tomorrow..."Back to Life, Back to Reality"... but I think I can make it through.

Each day ends in a blaze of color to applaud the finish of another perfect day in paradise.

No Words

I don't even know what to say about any of it...especially the underware/diaper.


Soufries Day Tour - St Lucia

The Fire Marshall and I spent a beautiful day taking a catamaran sailing tour to Soufries. We got to see the Piton's (which were named a U.NES.CO World Heritage site in 2004), visit the center of a volcano that has active sulfur springs, visit the Botanical Gardens, have lunch at a wonderful restaurant with a great view of the Piton's, snorkle & swim off shore and just relax and enjoy the beauty of the island.

There were so many young, newly married couples on the day trip. We were like the "old married couple" to all these young kids. It was just cute to watch them all. There were guys who would come by on a kayak with "merchandise" to sell while we were anchored for swimming. Drive by selling. Just funny as hell.

There was a dance & drinking contest on the way back to the resort. I was robbed on the dance contest. You simply can't tell me that cheeeka out shook me. Humph! I took her on the beer (we only had to do one). That sucker was gone in a flash. Don't mess with a professional drinker. Step off. I won a bottle of rum.

Saw a rainbow today. Just another reminder and how beautiful the world is...it made me feel like God was smiling.


I simply don't have any words for what my eyes beheld below. Just no words.


A Day of Relaxing - St. Lucia

Adventures with a Fire Marshall

So...we are walking down the hallway to our room and the Fire Marshall hears "a sound".

Me: What sound?
Fire Marshall: Don't you hear that woman screaming?

He decided to investigate by trying to figure out which room the "sound" was coming from. Stops outside a door with a Do Not Disturb Sign on it.

Me: Fire Marshall! You prolly know what that sound is. Leave the door alone.
Fire Marshall: I just wanna make sure I don't have to kick in a door or something. Everyone has a right to be safe.
Me: *Running to our room*...I don't know you.
Fire Marshall: *Leaning in to get a closer listen*...Aaaaah, I know that sound. She's okay, he's bout finished.


We Are In Paradise - St. Lucia

It was a long day of travel - 6am flight from Dulles, and the Fire Marshall has to be at the airport 2+ hours prior to departure. We arrived at the airport at 4am and the dang ticket counter was not even open. Ron did upgrade us to First Class for our leg from DC to Miami. I love me some First Class but didn't really get to enjoy it cause I was out like a freakin light. All snuggled up in my travel binkie, drooling on Ron's shoulder. When I heard the china clinking, I woke up long enough to have 3 sips of coffiee, a hot croissant, and the pineapple outta the fruit cup before I was back in a coma.

We rode coach from Miami to St. Lucia, but I still didn't have a clue that there was a difference cause I was out comatose (except when the woman sitting next to me started talking to herself - I don't know what that was about - it was a long conversation).

Now, mind ya. St. Lucia is the place where Ron and his partners are building a resort & spa. So, when he comes to visit on business, someone from the government always greets him and his party and they are whisked through customs. NOT THIS TIME. He wanted to be all incogNEEGrow, and see what it would be like to go through customes like everybody else. DA HELL? That line was so freakin long and I was looking all cute and ish. Imma tell you what playa, da next time, I wanna be whisked through too. Crackhead. It's gonna cost him big time for that one...there is a jeweler on premises and I'm thinking I need my Christmas present early. Yep buddy, bounce yourself on down there and get that solitaire to go with the band that you got me in St. John. I'm feeling so much better now.

N E WAY, we had a lovely (yet long) ride from the airport to the resort. Ron made the driver stop so he could show me the bay & land that the resort would be built on. BEAUTIFUL. We arrived at the resort (Sandals Grande St. Lucia) and were promptly greeted with champagne. My kinda place.

Our room is beautiful. I'll take pictures when the bed is made again. Beautiful 4 poster bed, kinda like ours at home, but I'm thinking I'm gonna change the canapoy on ours to the way they did it here. SEXY! One of Ron's business partners picked us up and we went out to dinner with him and his wife. They were wonderful and smart. Let me tell you, the St. Lucians are some very bright and intelligent people and they know politics (especially U.S. politics) better than we do. We talked about the election and Ron's friend was breakin down election night results by COUNTY in some states. DAMN, BRO. His analysis...insightful and dead on. I love them. After a wonderful dinner, we walked around Rodney Bay where the nightlife was hoppin'. Unfortunately, I was about to collapse from exhaustion. I had been on those heels and in that dag on bra since 2am...I just can't hang like I used to.

We got back to the room and I have never seen two people get undressed and into the bed so fast. So much for hot, mad, tropical love...I think both of us were asleep and snoring before either of us hit the pillow.

We both slept the sleep of the dead. We woke up to an awesome tropical breeze. Coffee on the balcony...off to the beach.

P.S. The second language here is English. Most of the islanders speak Antillean Creole or Patois.


Airport Antics

It never ceases to amaze me with the amount of mess, drama, and fashion horrors you can see while waiting to board your flight.

1. If you are morbidly obese, and shaped like beehive-it doesn't really help to wrap your head with a scarf in the shape of a beehive too. It just accentuates the...beehiveness.

2. I highly recommend that when you try on pants, that you really take a hard look in a three way mirror. Look at the front, the sides, and Lord, please, at the back. Your pants are too small if they gather between your legs and into the crack of your azz. That also makes the pants highwaters. TRUST ME. I can see your ankles - was I supposed to?

3. If your pants are now high waters and your ankles are swole over the rims of your shoes - at least wear socks and use lotion. Please. Maybe think about some compression hose. I'm just saying.

4. White eyeliner - who knew?

5. Getting the attitude slapped outta me in public worked when I was a kid and I turned out okay. WHY DA HELL ARE YOU NEGOTIATING with a kid having a tantrum and talking back. In two hot seconds, that brat aint gonna have no teeth...TRUST.

6. If you are over the age of, let's say 12, booty shorts with anything written across your azz is inappropriate. Also, I don't care where you are headed...you had to be freakin cold as ish, dressed like that.

7. If I see one more freakin muffin top - you know the look - jeans so damn tight that you create a muffin top oozing over - IMMA SCREAM.

8. I hate gum cracking. It just grates my nerves. It sound ghetto and like you,ve had no home training. You can dress it up, but the impression your leaving me is EWWWWW.

9. Why do so many women look like the just don't give a damn? All I can think about is what we talked about on Word on the Curb...We really outta be more vain..We must do better...Damn, we are killing ourselves. SIGH

10. I love traveling with the Fire Marshall. He carries all my stuff and let's me sleep on his shoulder.
The TravelDiva
Lisa Steptoe


Day 31: Namaste

Pose #26: Khapalbhati - Blowing In Firm Pose

It is done. Half Moon to Half Moon - 31 Day Bikram Yoga Challenge. Tonight was probably one of my best practices...prolly cause my Mom was there, taking pictures for a slide show I'm going to put together for the studio. I wanted to do my best for my closeup, ya know. I'll have pictures for you shortly.

The question I get the most about the challenge is "What did you get out of the challenge?" No free parking, no free classes, no free clothing. What I got out of it is hard to articulate. Since I'm packing for a tropical, bumpin' uglies with my own personal Fire Marshall sans kids trip to St. Lucia, (Don't hate the playa) I'll have to elaborate on that later. All I got for you right now, that keeps going through my mind is.....

I respect that divinity within you that is also within me.
Simply put, namaste intimates the following:

'The God in me greets the God in you
The Spirit in me meets the same Spirit in you.'

In other words, it recognizes the equality of all, and pays honor to the sacredness of all and everyone, regardless of age, status or wealth.
So, I will leave you with this greeting...NAMASTE


Day 30: Looking Into The Eyes of Your Best Teacher

Pose #23: Sasangasana - Rabbit Pose

I always find it just a tad amusing, when the instructor (at least Kat) tells you at the very beginning of class to "come to focus, and look into the eyes of your best teacher." That may very well be true in Bikram Yoga, but I always chuckle a little to myself, that if I'm my best teacher - then no wonder my grades sucks. I wanna look up at the instructor and ask if she can just stand in my face and I'd look directly into her eyes - cause Kat is a damn good teacher. She is right, though. In the past 30 days, I have pushed, pulled, stretched, cajoled and coaxed my body to do things that I thought just were not possible. When I look at myself in the mirror, look at my "best teacher", I now know that I CAN! I DO have self-control. I DO have will power. I CAN make changes in my body. I CAN do anything that I put my mind to do and I can work through the ups & downs - the challenges & roadblocks that rear their ugly head to knock you off your path.

Pose #24: Janushirasana - Separate Head to Knee Streching

A long time ago, when I was in the military, I was given a plaque - an award for my service as an aerobics instructor on the military installation I was stationed at. I did it for free, after duty - because I loved it. At the end of an exhibition & workshop we (myself and some other instructors) conducted one Saturday, I was presented this plaque. It has been on the wall in my office for many years. I forgot it was there, until recently, and it made me think about the yoga challenge.

It says:

To Lisa Steptoe - On Being Relentless
You are Relentless - a firery, driving force that lets no obstacle, setback or challenge get in the way of a noteworthy goal.

Have you forgotten who you are? What you are made of? Sometimes it takes a "Challenge" to remind you of just how fabulous & strong you really are. I has for me.

Pose #25: Ardha - Matsyendrasana - Spine Twisting Pose

Tomorrow is the last day of the "Half Moon to Half Moon - 31 Day Yoga Challenge". I have to do two classes tomorrow to get in 31 classes and complete the challenge. No Problem...

I Am Relentless

From AngryBlackManVA: I Wanna Do This Soooo Bad

So many telemarketers call our house these days that I rarely EVER answer our home line. If you wanna reach us, you know the real deal. Otherwise, leave a message and we'll call you back when I get around to sorting through the messages left.

I would get a real kick outta doing this prank on a telemarketer or two. Just HEEEE...LAAAR...EEE....OUS!!!!!

Great Christmas Gift Idea

Go and check out Rebekah Jenkins website for her - CHANGE." R.Jenkins Signature Series - Official Barack Obama Merchandise‏‏‏‏‏. The framed poster is beautiful and priced very reasonable. I love the post cards too.

"CHANGE." - The art and design of this series is intended to promote growth, explore diversity, encourage success and visually present past and present change in an innovative manner.

Explore the depths of heritage, history, politics and the expansion of a new era that has begun. Past, present and future. Inspired by the recent President - Elect, Barack Obama and his success, the "CHANGE" series represents a historical moment that will forever be paramount.

Signature imagery that will depict all that has come to exist, the
change that is represented and the future of an entire nation