The World

Sunday, October 8, 2017 by  

A mother picking up her child from a playdate once said to me, “I just came across your website and didn’t know you had a long career on television or traveled anywhere. And here I thought you were some Fairfield County shut-in Mom because you’re always with the kids and bake & craft and they come back home with cookies & stuff.”

I seriously had no comeback.

I just politely ushered her and her sweet daughter out the door, brownies & artwork in hand. It’s important to note here that this woman is an executive whose nanny usually picks up the lovely little girl who’s been coming over for years. The Mom blurted her judgmental comment of which she certainly knew nothing about…ah, yes, one should never assume.

True, I’ve had an illustrious career distinguished by multiple journalism awards, blah, blah, blah. But being a mother has 

been & always will be my most important job. And true, I don’t send kids back home with their homemade goodies on a paper plate saying, “Susie was such a good girl and did you know I’ve been to more than 60 countries over 150 times on 5 continents? Have a nice night.”    

It riled me was that any Mom would think any other Mom was a “shut-in” just because she liked being home with the kids. All the kids, their friends and friends of their friends. Yeah, I like that! I like being home with my family & my pets. I’ve been fortunate enough to choose to stay home because I wish to. I’m grateful for it. I like that I only have to go to the radio station once a week & can write from home when the kids are in school. I don’t mind if a Mom works in an office, works from home, doesn’t have a job or doesn’t choose to keep working. Moms should not judge one another, they should support each other & their choices.  

That night, memories of my travels flitted through my mind… trains, ships & air on countless flights & logging tens of thousands of miles sailing through the Adriatic Sea, Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea, Pacific Ocean, Andaman Sea, Denmark Strait, Red Sea, English Channel, Sea of Marmara, East & South China Seas, Gulf of Alaska, Mediterranean Sea, Gulf of Aden, Suez Canal, Sea of Crete, Ionian Sea, Atlantic Ocean, Baltic Sea, crossing the International Date Line via ship, learning preventive pirate safety measures through the Suez Canal, giving a big thumbs up to our US Air Force pilots during a fly-by over our vessel in the Red SeaEnjoying cool places like Malaysia, Egypt, China, Russia, India, Japan, Ireland, Turkey, Venezuela, Scotland, the Philippines, Germany, former Yugoslavia, Taiwan, England, Mexico, Hong Kong, Denmark, Spain, Guatemala, Sweden, islands throughout the Caribbean, and most of our own beautiful States from the top of the Haleakala Volcano in Hawaii to the bottom of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, to snowy Killington Peak in Vermont and sunny San Diego, California & most everything in between.  

Coming from a large multicultural family, I eagerly welcome different traditions, different people, different views, and my travel experiences are packed with wonderful memories & world lessons … with a handful I’d like to forget. Sure, those are the best stories but for another time…

I’ve been a dinner guest at Parliament, a special guest at a Royal wedding, and a Thanksgiving guest in Turkey. I’ve enjoyed divine spa treatment on the beaches of Malaysia and wretched at the sight of travel friends drinking snake blood in Taiwan for a dare. Ewww! (Yes, they became very ill!)

I’ve been to Tianamen Square before the ’89 crisis, to Berlin before the wall came down, to Sarajevo before the war, and to Cancun before President Reagan attended an economic summit there making that once-quiet getaway in Mexico a carousing hub for partying tourists. 

I’ve been stuck at the top of a pyramid in Chichen Itza & stuck in a remote beach bathroom in the dark in Marbella Costa del Sol when the door handle broke…and so did the light.

I’ve kissed the great-great-great-great-great…on-and-on direct descendant of Christopher Columbus, a duke, and a well-known European prince who kisses like a lizard. Yuck! Traveling can be good and not so good!

 

 

 

 

I purchased my 1st major piece of jewelry in Hong Kong along with 100 rolls of film. Yup, took a lot of pictures then, too!  I’ve been traveling to Europe & around the world since I was just a few weeks old. So let’s take a little photo journey throughout the years:                                 GERMANY with Mom

                       GIBRALTAR                                                                             BARBADOS

MALAYSIA – apparently I liked stripes!

 BERLIN WALL

JAPAN

INDIA

 

Stark contrasts in India, just a walk away

Beautiful Taj Mahal mausoleum on the Yamuna River, commissioned 1632. Sweet monkey.

And below is the Red Fort, Palace of the Mughal Emperors, AGRA, INDIA 

Great Wall of CHINA – Odd that we don’t notice these things when we’re younger but why am I standing over that mountainous edge just for a photo!?

Autumnal view through the Wall’s window, Graffiti on the Wall, and LOOK at those STEEP steps!!

 LONDON Summer Ball

HONG KONG                                                                BOMBAY

CALIFORNIA

TAIWAN

Kinsale, County Cork, IRELAND

        PHILIPPINES                                                  DUBROVNIK, YUGOSLAVIA (former)

    ST. MAARTEN                                                     ROYAL THEATRE LONDON

SOUTH CHINA SEA

SPAIN

    SEVILLA                                                                                 CADIZ

The GREAT EGYPTIAN PYRAMIDS at sunset…breathtaking

GREAT SPHINX OF GIZA, sitting on the steps in a PALACE IN EGYPT

BEIJING UNIVERSITY

MONTREAL

St. Basil’s Cathedral. MOSCOW, RUSSIA  

ST. PHILIP, ATLANTIC COAST

I was able to photograph the bride during their ceremony at CHIANG KAI-SHEK’s MEMORIAL

     VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA                              PENANG

                                                                          BARBADOS                                                                        

SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN

TURKEY

HUALIEN

JAMAICA

                             OSAKA                Great Pyramid – oldest of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World

GOETEBERG, SWEDEN

Beer from vending in KOBE….and 26 years later with my Hello Kitty backpack in SCOTLAND 

CHICAGO

My Dad getting us on the helicopter to see the Haleakala Volcano in HAWAII & later the waterfalls

KYOTO

        TAROKO GORGE, TAIWAN                                           LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND

ISTANBUL

 Getting stuck at the top of the CHICHEN ITZA Pyramid in MEXICO. Daddy saved me!    And we left the arena immediately in tears in VENEZUELA! 

            PUERTO VALLARTA                                                     TIANANMEN SQUARE

MARBELLA, COSTA del SOL

TURKS & CAICOS

CARIBBEAN ISLANDS (my Mom snapped these shots)

Attended Trinity College, DUBLIN, IRELAND… And visiting a hilltop monument in Ireland 

ALEUTIAN ISLANDS, Archipelago, Pacific Ocean

KIEL with my Granddad

NARA, JAPAN

  MT. KILLINGTON, VERMONT                                    THE GRAND CANYON

BERLIN

ASCOT, EAST BERKSHIRE, UK

ROYAL ASCOT

                             GUATEMALA                                                 DENMARK

BRANDENBURG GATE, EAST/WEST GERMANY age 9

DALLAS

LLANFAIRPWLLGWYNGYLLGOGERYCHWYRNDROBWLLLLANTYSILIOGOGOGOCH, WALES   Longest town name in the world!! This is the train station.

LANCASHIRE, ENGLAND

AMISH COUNTRY, PENNSYLVANIA

                   MARBELLA                                   A. EINSTEIN MEMORIAL, WASHINGTON, D.C.

                                  NEWPORT, R.I.                                                              ILLINOIS

WALES

                                 IOWA                                                            KEY WEST

   TEXAS

SOUTHEAST ASIA

         ADIRONDACK MOUNTAINS                        OUTER BANKS, NORTH CAROLINA

6 bucks for this hostel in EAST ASIA

                               ENGLAND                                                                IRELAND

      KREMLIN, MOSCOW                          ADRIATIC SEA                                  SUEZ CANAL

SULTANAHMET CAMII Blue Mosque, circa 1609

            GUINNESS BOOK OF RECORDS, NYC                          PARK CITY, UTAH

If you know me, I’ve been snapping photos of kids or with kids for over 3 decades.

Look at these precious children from SARAJEVO & CHINA, simply beautiful!!!

               MONGOLIAN barbecue in ASIA                                  MILLENNIUM in EUROPE

NEW LONDON Cty.

                         NEW YORK CITY                                                    ANDALUSIA

          WESTERN ASIA with my Mom when I was 5.                     EAST GERMANY when I was 9.

MAUI

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC                 SNOWBIRD, UTAH                                BERMUDA

DUSSELDORF, GERMANY for GRAND DEPART of TOUR de FRANCE

More CARIBBEAN Island pics with Mom eons ago

           BEAR MOUNTAIN                                  MEDITERRANEAN SEA                       CATSKILLS

                          BERLIN Zoo                                              BALTIMORE, MARYLAND

                        SOUTH AMERICA                                                        NEW JERSEY

GREENWICH Polo

                           BALTIC SEA                                                                          BAY OF KIEL

                    ARABIAN SEA                                                       ATLANTIC OCEAN

FLORIDA

Flying to MARTHA’S VINEYARD – our 9-year-old daughter co-pilots 🙂

DUTCH WONDERLAND

MEDITERRANEAN

VALLEY FORGE

VICTORIA & AUSTIN, TEXAS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Reagan’s Procession

NEAR EAST around age 5

THE PENNINES

                                  LABOE                                                                        MALAGA

CHEYENNE SPRING, COLORADO                                                     CANCUN

                    HAMBURG                                  HADRIAN’S WALL built by the Romans 122 A.D. 

                   TURKS & CAICOS GRACE BAY                                          LANCASHIRE, UK

NEVADA

             CORPUS CHRISTI                          LIME ROCK                                    KIEL-WIK

                                  CONNECTICUT                                                          PHILADELPHIA

                            INDIAN OCEAN                                                                             NYC

               VALLARTA return                          THE HAMPTONS                            SAN DIEGO

              SUEZ CANAL, built circa 1860                                            YORK, ENGLAND

                      THE EVERGLADES                                       Elvis’ home, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE

             NEW HAMPSHIRE                                                  SNOWBIRD in UTAH

Photo taken from our towel on a Caribbean beach, eeek

Chillin’ in OCHO RIOS

       Old Capitol Building, WILLIAMSBURG, VIRGINIA                                       ILLINOIS

                            SCANDINAVIA                                                 SAN ANTONIO

THE KEYS, PROVIDENCIALES, KOBE & THE BAHAMAS

bright spot flowerThe Bright Spot  – Home Sweet Home ~ As I’ve stated many times on-air, online and in person, my very favorite place to be in the whole world is home with my family & furbabies, feet up in my little white socks, a pony tail, Greek salad & a good family movie.

There are certainly a gazillion more places & photos, but this pictorial refutation has clearly served its purpose. The real point here is don’t judge people especially if you’ve never gotten to know their background. As my friend, Sara, so succinctly put it regarding the woman’s comment – “Honestly, some nerve!!” We laugh because, seriously, one can only chuckle at the mother’s unapprised statement at this point. 

Let me just say to that mother who assumed I was a “shut-in” because I like to craft with the kids & make their day magical – there is no greater job than raising the next generation of kindly world citizens, travelers & defenders of Earth & her gifts. That’s my gift back to this planet that’s been a joy to traverse, study, explore & relish!!    


Bianca

Hand me a Volleyball!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016 by  

Well known for its particularly high satisfaction rating by patients, I am no exception with my bilateral reduction mammoplasty (photo taken next morning): 

With the initial look at my dressing upon waking in recovery, I was simply delighted with the white bralette, my first ever. I felt like someone should hand me a volleyball so I could head to a California beach straight away!

Over 3 hours & hundreds of internal stitches later, Dr. Chang Soo Kim (GCsurgeryandlasers.com) & his amazing team removed nearly 1,500 grams! Find a 3.3 pound weight and put it on a chain & wear it around your neck over your lungs and tell me if you don’t want to rip it off by the end of the week! Not only did Dr. Kim give me the breasts of a 20-year-old, but I could suddenly breathe effortlessly again!!

 

I don’t blame breastfeeding, I don’t blame aging & I certainly don’t blame weight loss.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life started out normal…

        

     

And then, what on Earth happened?? I mean, seriously, look at my little neck…

  

No matter how little I weighed, I was still a DDD+.                 Not pleasant when the rest of my body was wearing a size 4.
 It translates into neck & back pain, underwires digging into soft skin, and bursting
buttons.

I had never experienced a surgery that would alter my appearance. Between fun, function & fashion, the twins had served their time well.

  

But enough was enough. Deemed a medical necessity, I was grateful it was fully covered by our insurance. So grateful!! All $91,234.43! 

Unless you’ve not been able to bounce on a trampoline with your kids or run through Costcos without getting black eyes or lay on your stomach at the Chiropractor’s or zip up your coat without pushing past the bust roadblock or comfortably enjoy a massage or if you’ve rested your twins on your wrists climbing the stairs or slung your mammaries into the massive nylon cups of a minimizer or released them at the end of the night only to swing like tube socks with golf balls or if you sleep on your side with a pillow just for your top boob or find it difficult to buy a pretty little outfit with straps or take a deep breath without holding up your center bra wire or accidentally hit the delete button with your breast when you’re reaching over your keyboard, then you may understand. Millions of women do. This surgery is life-changing!  

 

And those shocked by my decision only proves I was a master of camouflaging my DDD+ girls with the perfected fashionable slouch, wearing baggy blouses, and, as countless women know, subjecting ourselves to breath-defying minimizer bras. 

Dr. Kim & his team were incredibly kind. I even asked to pray before surgery, something I’ve never done before and really didn’t even know what to say, but Dr. Kim held my hand and his team gathered around and I felt safe and cared for and the next thing I knew, after “Amen,” I was waking up in recovery feeling lighter & breathing easily.

The only unusual part of the day was standing with Phillip shortly before surgery in the pre-op room and the doctor used a special surgical Sharpie pen to mark my skin for the incisions. Ewww. I tried not to picture what those lines really meant.

When it was time to go home late that night around 10pm, Phillip helped me change. Gown off, we both looked down for the first time and were excited and pleased. No drains. No ugly bandage wraps. Just a little white satin bralette. I felt so adorable. I felt 20 again. “You look awesome,” Phillip exclaimed. Cool!

I dreamed of finally buying a pretty bra with a lovely pattern or wearing something strapless for the first time. When I got home, I wore a cozy PJ top I have never been able to button before. It was exciting!

Interestingly, if anything could go wrong the weeks leading up to surgery, it did. But it wasn’t going to deter me.

I had partially torn my meniscus and was in physical therapy 3 times a week in February. Phillip just recovered from another intensive cancer treatment surgery (The Journey) through February & I was drained. My Mom tripped 10 days earlier and I was making the 60-mile roundtrip to her house daily to care for her. Then Mom (Tribute to Mom) fell the day of my surgery and injured herself even more. My sister & niece both have bronchitis and my daughter broke her foot in gym this week prompting us to immediately cancel the friends’ homes where she was to stay during my initial recovery. As if that weren’t enough, I haven’t had my period for a year & the night before surgery it came on with full force & was relentless all week. Then a fluke March blizzard delayed my follow-up visit to the surgeon. One thing after another, but you know me. Nothing would stop me & so it is done.

 
I came home that night, got in bed, put my feet up, snuggled our 3 kitty cats & haven’t moved much since. We inflated a triple-decker queen air mattress in our room with pretty aqua sheets & a pastel butterfly comforter for my little Darling, 
and we’ve been cozying up watching The Flash, enjoying tea & scones, and letting our Boys deal with the chaos in the real world while she & I focus on our *Healing Party.*

(And Mom has Visiting
Angels now).

The reduction was a huge decision, no pun intended. No woman goes into such a major surgery without having given it a great deal of thought. 4 girlfriends went through it and offered words of wisdom. Recovery was quick and, thanks to strong meds, relatively comfortable. (Phillip’s med chart >         for me.) No stretching, no pushing, no pulling, no lifting, no standing upright for a long time. No driving for 2 weeks.

For a busy Mom, it’s actually quite nice to stay in bed for a while.

My gals still “under wraps” as I enjoy a lovely salmon dinner in bed. Phillip has brought me every culinary delight this week & is keeping me on track with infection & pain meds around the clock.

My husband & I met with Dr. Kim a week later for the unveiling. Phillip says the Redesigned Twins are “spellbinding!” Ooh! (blushing). We’re happy, I can breathe & long necklace ornaments will never be bobbling off the center wire of my big brassieres again because those parachutes are all in File 13!

UPDATE: DAY 9

(Warning: Graphic photos ahead intended for mature audiences only)

We visited Dr. Kim yesterday, the one-week checkup since surgery. To be honest, I was afraid to look down & see stitches when the doctor took my bandages off. That’s when Phillip gave me that beautiful compliment above. But today was Day 9 and I seriously needed to shower so this would be my first meeting with my girls.

Phillip helped me take off the tight bralette and gently peeled off the gauze bandages. I just
stared at myself in the mirror for the longest time. I mean, just really stood there and stared. What looked back at me was the most beautiful set of healthy, perky twins with an upturned point you would only see on a mannequin and think, “Yeah, that’s not for real.”
But it was real… they were staring back at me in all their glory. 100% all-natural me, just less of me!! I simply had to share this beautiful ending to this long-awaited decision in my life. At the risk of my father spinning in his resting site at the idea of my gals going uncovered on screen, I’ve made sure to find pretty little flowers to cover the tips.
 
Since launching this story a few days ago, I have had countless women who have gone through reduction email me and say they wished they had done it earlier. That’s exactly what went through my mind, too. But I’m glad it is done now. 
The Bright Spotbright spot flower – Thank you, Dr. Kim, for your wisdom & your artistry. Your work is outstanding and you and your team are the very best and have made me feel light & amazing. 2 things that make Dr. Kim stand out from the rest – he doesn’t like to use drains which I’ve heard are painful to remove a week or more later. And he uses a special technique to help save sensation after healing. 
 
As my OR nurse who later wrote to me so perfectly said, “Wishing you a “B”eautiful recovery, “B”ring on the new “B”ras and “B”athing suits!”  

Dr. Chang Soo Kim ~ Click: GCSurgeryandLaser 203-920-1444  

UPDATE: DAY 18

As one friend who has been through this aptly put it, “Your lady bits are tender now. Drink tea, binge watch & recover.” Good advice & someday soon I’ll be able to lay on my stomach! Photos below of my loving Support Team!! Daily our furbabies skillfully demonstrate how to just lay around & chill.
I would like to thank everyone who is been so encouraging & wonderful especially in helping to pick up our Darling from school, or bring her home after track, or to and from dances, sleepovers & movies, or brought me to the doctor for stitches cleaning/dressing changes or sent goodies or brought dinner, you know who you are & I’m grateful.

Thank you, in particular, to Nayer, Samara, Maria, Anitta, Emily, Melissa, Aimee, Cheryl, Chloe, Mighty Medina’s, Jane, Stephen B., Rose, Ann, Cathy, Sue, Lorine, Julie, Hannah F., John Z., Billy & Shannon, Luz & Lisa, Suzanne, Barry & Sara, thank you all!! Your actions meant a lot!

UPDATE: 1st Summer!

I find it funny that when I’ve run into friends these past two months, the 1st thing they say is, “Hey, how are your boobs!?” So here’s an update: It’s been 4 months since undergoing this major surgery & this major change in my life. It took weeks to drive or even lift my arms above my shoulders. But with each passing month, I’m just happier and so thankful to feel light and look like a normal person in clothes. And it’s not just my new clothes…I’ve been able to “closet shop!” So yes, everything feels different and new because fabrics hang properly now.

The surgeon explained the outside stitches would heal at their own pace and then I could use scar tape across, down & under (left photo) to lighten the marks once the wounds closed. It works very well. He explained, however, that the hundreds of internal stitches are different – they are made of a slow-dissolving material that takes months to dissolve while the soft breast tissue heals. I accidentally pulled out 2 of them when I peeled off the scar tape to shower. Owww! Those stitches were tough & thick like a clear nylon fishing line. Believe me, I peel much slower now!!

In the end, all is wonderful and summer in spaghetti straps is a dream realized. (You can still see the dents in my shoulders above from all those burdensome years…well-endowed ladies, you know what I’m talking about!)

Who knew 32 years ago when I asked my parents if I could paint my walls – I think they thought ivory or yellow or something! – that I would paint this picture…check it out – my gals look like that painting!

The Bright Spotbright spot flower– As I mentioned above, it’s 100% all-natural me, just less of me!!!

 


Bianca

Caribbean Pleasures

Friday, July 18, 2014 by  
Caribbean, Barcelo, islands, Punta Cana, resorts, Caribbean resort (11)

Nothing says Caribbean like the freeing feeling of music & dance in the evening breezes of the islands!                                        From high in the sky…

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to underwater exploration, our 8-year-old reveled in every adventure at the gorgeous Barcelo, an all-inclusive resort in the beautiful Dominican Republic.
Scubadoo, Caribbean, Barcelo, islands, Punta Cana (2)    Scubadoo, Caribbean, Barcelo, islands, Punta Cana (3a)

Tropical paradise & pristine waters,

Turquoise water, Caribbean, Barcelo, islands, Punta Cana, resorts, Caribbean resort (55)

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Phillip’s favorite place…the swim-up bar,Pool, Caribbean, Barcelo, islands, Punta Cana, resorts, Caribbean resort (38) Caribbean, Barcelo, islands, Punta Cana, resorts, Caribbean resort (18)

where our daughter bounced around in a giant beach ball

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                                                                          plus, elegant dining on the beach,

Dinner on the beach, beach dinner, Caribbean, Barcelo, islands

and, of course, Brenda, the monkey, who wondered why our little one had a tail just like hers 🙂 !Caribbean, Barcelo, islands, Punta Cana, resorts, Caribbean resort, monkey (1)

We booked the getaway the night before & left 26 hours later.

The trip started with smoked salmon & the latest edition of Sparkle World magazine…

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and went full swing into shopping when we realized we forgot hats & sunglasses.

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Snorkeling in the Caribbean,

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sunsets & full moons made for the perfect setting.

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Barcelo’s food was as beautiful as it was delicious

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and chess was a must.

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If you are looking for a place to flip over on your next vacation, Barcelo is it!

Handstand, gymnastics, Caribbean, islands, Punta Cana, resorts, Caribbean resort (9a)

Trapeze, flying trapeze, Caribbean, Barcelo (2)

From the glass-bottomed boats to pool lounges, there’s something for everyone.

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So come here and make your sand turtles a reality,

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paradise awaits.

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The Bright SpotTM bright spot flower – The Caribbean. Enough said. 😉


Bianca

Paradise for Families

Sunday, June 2, 2013 by  

Peace, tranquility, a vacation like none other – cliché by no means! Let me explain.Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (33)

We were looking for a family vacation & what we found was something above & beyond in Runaway Bay, Jamaica.

It wasn’t the cozy sleep on the flight American Airlines, Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, 1st class sleeper seats, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, family time, vacationor the magnificent sunsets or the spa on the stone jetty in the     <Caribbean Sea. Jamaica, spa on the sea, Caribbean, resort, relaxation, beauty, family time, luxuryIt wasn’t the climb to the awesome 100′ slide Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (52)or the fire-breathing master.

Fire breathing, Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation

The FDR resort is an all-inclusive, 78-suite, ultimate family experience consistently rated among the best in the Caribbean. Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (51)It is Jamaican-owned, Jamaican-operated with Jamaican restaurants so you get the true flavors of this beautiful, tropical island and its people. 

Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (14)

It’s not an oversized resort with a Starbucks, Burger King or Payless Shoes. I didn’t leave the States to find a mini-USA. 

What took the experience at the FDR resort to the level of “phenomenal” was an intrinsic feeling of being transported back to the days of summer holiday camps like Kellerman’s in Dirty Dancing. Everyone knew everyone at the resort, and if you didn’t, you were welcomed with warm smiles and a handshake.
Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (19)Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (11)

I was stunned to find that families have been going there for 25 years. Folks e-mail each other dates of when they’re returning. Families plan around other families they don’t otherwise see but once a year. We’ve been e-mailed by guests – now friends – about the next holiday. Unless I’m visiting friends, I never go back to the same places on Earth so I can explore new territory. So I was intrigued when the 1st family I met said they had been coming for the past 10 years. “Why??” “You’ll see,” smiled the father. By week’s end, I was looking forward to re-visiting this very special & unique place.

Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (23)

The owner, Franklyn D. Rance, for whom the FDR resort is named, says he has welcomed repeat international families for 25 years, he has watched couples come when young Moms were pregnant, and then watched their children grow up year after year, and then watched those children marry and come back annually with their own kids. I’d never heard of such a thing; it was fascinating to me.

I felt like I was back in the 60s or 70s ~ where parents of other children cared for, bandaged up, and guided with love the children in their midst. If you’re 40 and over, you’ll know that comforting feeling – a mix of common sense, “old school neighborhood,” and family amongst friends. And all the staff members knew everyone’s name, had fun with the parents, and the lifeguard swam with the kids.

     Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (3)Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (37)

Frank was one of the original 3 partners to found “all-inclusives” 30 years ago. He and his partners built resorts throughout the Caribbean and, now retired, he enjoys his days at the FDR sitting under a palm tree with his advisors. He envisaged a Jamaica, Caribbean, wonderful folks, super staff, authentic Jamaican food, poolside office, Frank Rance & staff, nanny, all-inclusivesrelaxation haven for parents when he created the Personal Vacation Nanny service.
Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (47)

Each family is matched with a specially-trained, private nanny to follow, entertain, swim with, play with, keep safe and care for every need of your child or children so parents can completely relax – body & mind. Your personal nanny takes care of your suite as well, bedding, towels and even brings up platters of evening treats you request. 

I wasn’t into it at first. I watch my kids. I play with my kids. This is family time.

Jamaica, Caribbean, Daddy Daughter smiles, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (16)Well…guess what…there’s plenty of family time and one can always play and swim with the kids, Nanny is there to assist from 9-4. She will run back to the room if you forget your sunscreen or hat, she’ll get a drink for you at the bar and, once I was completely comfortable and knew how happy my little one was with all her new friends and their nannies, I could actually take a romantic morning walk on the beach with my husband… or a little afternoon siesta…imagine that…on a family vacation!

Jamaica, Caribbean, wonderful folks, super staff, authentic Jamaican food, pool, nanny,  vacation nanny, no stress Jamaica, Caribbean, wonderful folks, super staff, authentic Jamaican food, pool, nanny,  (8) Jamaica, Caribbean, wonderful folks, super staff, authentic Jamaican food, pool, nanny,  (4)We loved our nanny so much that we asked she bring her child to work so we could spend time with her 2 year old.  Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (57)Jamaica, Caribbean, peace, love, hand in hand, child and adult hands, wonderful folks, super staff, authentic Jamaican food, pool, nanny,  (10)We gave her a little dollie and hope she remembers us till we return. We love FDR. It’s not a mega-huge resort. It’s kid-friendly and families are welcomed back year after year with handmade signs on their door.

Jamaica, Caribbean, wonderful folks, super staff, authentic Jamaican food, Family welcome sign

Another delightful and unusual thing about this trip was that each night dinner was served in a different restaurant, or on the beach or on one of the piers throughout the resort. Location & time were listed on the chalkboard by the pool. We didn’t get that at first and went downstairs when we felt like it for dinner. Everyone was finished and going to the dance floor area for entertainment. Whoa, what happened? Families came up and said, “Hi, we missed you at dinner.”

You did??

The next night we came down between the 6:30-9:00 time for cocktails on the pier and dinner. Everyone was there.

Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (39)Children ran around & played and parents talked about their great day. Amazing! It was so delightful. So friendly. So engaging. So comforting. So not the era we’re all living in now where everyone’s consumed by their handhelds, Facebooking, texting, tweeting, blah, blah, blah. Here everyone was unplugged and relaxed – Eating together. Dancing together. Singing together. And, in Phillip’s case, entertaining us with some funky stick dance on his butt~! LOL! Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (41)

Dolphin soars in the sky, dolphin jumping, leaping, dolphin breaching, Jamaica, Caribbean, swimming,family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (20)

The trip was simply wonderful, rejuvenating & exciting. We enjoyed the resort’s glass-bottom boat, spa, our private wedding anniversary dinner with our 7 year old on the pier, Jamaica, wedding anniversary, happy anniversary, private dinner on the pier, joy, balloons, lovely evening in the Caribbean, Caribbean Seathe children’s talent show, the daily activities, the Rum treasure hunt at the bottom of the pool, board games, water trampoline, swimming with the dolphins & stingrays, snorkeling, diving and all the exciting adventures the Caribbean has to offer. 

 Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (28)Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, sea urchin

 

 

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Jamaica, water trampoline, fun in the sunJamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (56)Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (58)Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (38)Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (30)Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (13)
Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (61)Jamaica, Caribbean, Relax, waiting for tour bus, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (17)Nanny, Jamaica, vacation nanny following children, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacationWalking by the shore, Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacationJamaica, Caribbean, wonderful folks, super staff, authentic Jamaican food, pool, nanny,  (12)Jamaica, Caribbean, wonderful folks, super staff, camera buff, authentic Jamaican food, pool, nanny,  (3)

Jamaica, Caribbean, wonderful folks, super staff, authentic Jamaican food, pool, handmade bracelets

Saying goodbye, hug goodbye, lifeguard & friend, Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind folks, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacationJamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (6)

The Bright SpotTM bright spot flowerIt was hard to leave Jamaica but e-mails from other families we met there have been flying in: “When are you going again?” I can tell you it will be very soon. A real pleasure and, indeed, the ultimate family experience!

Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (54)Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (53)Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (4)aJamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (34)Dancing, free dancing, dancing at the resort, Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends (2)Dancing, free dancing, dancing at the resort, Jamaica, Caribbean, Kind people, Paradise, Island, fun, friends (1)Daddy & Daughter watch sunset, sunset, Jamaican sunset, Caribbean, Paradise, Island, fun, friends, swimming, boating, family time, vacation 

Jamaica, Caribbean, Dolphin kisses, dolphin love, fun, swimming, boating, family time, vacation, dolphins, sting rays (26)


Bianca