Amazon Prime Day

Favorite Summer Finds for Travel and Home

I’ve been an Amazon Prime member for a decade for the reasons below. Most of all, I like shopping online for the selection and convenience. Below are some of my favorite finds over the last decade. Because I enjoy sharing them, I’m also an Amazon Associate. Disclosure: I get a commission at no cost to the consumer on goods and services bought with affiliate links.

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Give the Gift of Audible (to Yourself and Others)

Audible starts my mornings with guided meditations for connecting with the Creator and self, releasing tension, and exchanging anxiety with hope. Audible teaches me on work commutes, entertains me on trips, and tells me bedtime stories when I’m too tired to read. Check out their podcasts, books, original content, and music here.

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Alexa, Rosie’s Granddaughter

I don’t have Alexa, but my daughter does. Here are deals with Alexa built-in.

My Favorite Finds Over the Last Ten Years…


I love to TRAVEL and live for ADVENTURE. Exploring new places… meeting new people … reconnecting with family and friends … taking solo beauty breaks for the soul. For my Key West, L.A., Palm Springs, and Morocco trips this year, I found some great carry-on choices.

The One I Went With

I love the spinner wheels, sturdy hard body, color/design, and phone charger. Click on images below for details.

Other Great Choices

I love the look of the DELSEY Paris Chatelet Hardside 2.0. I’m a rose girl, but this Angora set is gorgeous and on my wishlist.

When I moved to Morocco, my sister bought me a large It check-in bag. It was lightweight and tough enough for two years in North Africa, another in the Caribbean, and beyond. I also bought a tiny It carry-on bag in London to meet budget airline size specifications. I managed 13 days in six European cities in winter with just that carry-on and the backpack below. This carry-on looks fun and I remain a huge fan of the brand.

My 3rd trusty It piece is this one. The color of my Filament 28″ Softside 8 Wheel Expandable Spinner is appropriately named Moroccan Blue/Dress Blues. This one has made two return trips to Morocco as well as Sarasota, Anna Maria Island, and Captiva Island.

Laptop Backpack: THULE store

I felt like Lucille Ball in 2013 when my overstuffed backpack exploded in the Atlanta airport and I had to grab a new one to make my flight to Costa Rica. It was one of the best purchases I ever made. A decade and a dozen countries later, the bag is still going strong.

Sports Sandal: Chaco Store

If you’re Carrie Bradshaw with a trendy shoe addiction, unlimited budget, and desire to run in heels … DON’T buy Chaco’s. You’ll tire of the look long before they wear out.

If you do want quality sports sandals that go the extra mile for years, this is your brand. Mine saved me in mudslides in Ecuador and in slippery Tennessee streams. They got me over the Atlas Mountains by mule and foot and across the Sahara Desert by camel in 2014 (above) and 2023.

The same is true for Birkenstock. I have worn my silver Gizeh model almost daily for three summers. On my wishlist is this one…


When I travel, I take my Cannon for stills, Go-Pro for YouTube/Podcast interviews and videos, and phone for Instagram Reels. My Cannon Rebel EOS T4i that I bought in 2013 is still going strong. I did replace a lens in 2020. If you need a Cannon Rebel replacement lens, body, or accessory, Amazon has options. If you want Santa to bring you a newer model, check out the T7 and T8 with Built-in WiFi.


This is my go-to for video. The size makes it discreet and the quality is incredible.

Summer Reads

Stay tuned for more reading recommendations for Kindle and Audible. Here are three of my favorites from my bookshelf. The first is a memoir by Frances Mayes, author of Under the Tuscan Sun. I fell in love with her books on Italy before realizing she was raised in the U.S. South like me. I haven’t met her in person but spoken with her a couple of times by email. She is one of my favorite living authors.

I had the honor of meeting a granddaughter, great-granddaughter, and great great granddaughter of this author at a writing retreat. The book is a timeless classic based on the Sanibel-Captiva Island area of Florida.

This one was a reference on architecture and design when. I wrote my memoir on living in Morocco. Gatherings in Maryam’s beautiful home outside of Marrakesh and volunteering at Project SOAR are sweet memories.

Home Goods

This comforter is still soft and plush after several washings.

This pillow relieves lower back tension for better sleep.

I love my Gatsby-era/Art Deco champagne/cocktail coupes.

I normally make my sangria, but this mix is delicious, too.

Apartment living is easier with this grocery cart. Be sure to get one with spinner wheels.

My favorite essential oils are these two. Neroli is the scent of orange blossoms and transports me to Morocco. Likewise, my computer cover takes me to faraway places while working at home.

NOTHING gets up animal hair like a Dyson (says the owner of a Golden retriever, lab, and Persian cat.) I loved my upright in the 2000s and the Animal stick model has changed my life.


Pretty for carrying to a wedding or hanging in the boudoir 

Layer these in indifferent links.

From Boho to Copacabana, Amazon carries some cool clothes.

Sadly, this bathing suit is out of stock, but there is a similar one and a couple of others I’ve bought at this store.

The Perfect Journal

LOVE the length of these phone chargers

Women Gather in South Carolina to Exchange Gifts for the Soul

Women Gather in South Carolina to Exchange Gifts for the Soul

Peace. Artistic Expression. Adventure. Beauty. Sisterhood. Self-care.

My holiday season commenced with a road trip to Rock Hill, South Carolina where women of all ages gave and received gifts that nourished the spirit. Ruth Surface of Mended by Hand Massage and Wellness organized the event which benefited Keep It Real, Mommy,  a nonprofit organization empowering women to care for their emotional, physical, and spiritual needs.

KIRM Founder Danielle R. Adamczyk shared her story and goals for the community she has created–women brave enough to be transparent about the challenges of motherhood. Plans include a life coach, chaplain, and counselor on staff to support women through miscarriage and grief, overcoming childhood trauma, and learning self-love.  Danielle wants mothers to know they are not alone. A fast-growing organization based in Charlotte, North Carolina, KIR plans through expansion and legislation to positively impact women’s lives nationwide.

Keep it Real Mommy
Danielle of Keep It Real Mommy: “50% of the women who are going to experience postpartum depression begin to spiral during their pregnancy. A good way to jump ahead of that is with a community base–a place where everyone is welcome regardless of motherhood philosophy or religious background or beliefs. A place where everyone is accepted warmly.”

Ruth asked me to read travel tales of living in Morocco and offer guests ways to chart their own adventures–local or global– in the new year. Bonus was meeting Ruth’s friends and family while spending time with her mom, Sally.  Sally and I have been soul sisters since kindergarten, and she was driving down from Virginia. I couldn’t wait to see her newest jewelry line, Chérie, inspired by the photos I’d taken on my journey in Africa–a continent Ruth and Sally called home for nineteen years. 


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As is the tradition in Morocco, those who attended made new friends and deepened old ties over mint tea and treats. Catering was provided by Food Taylor Made.  Guests sampled classes by Ceramics and More, soaps and lotions by Raw Essence, essential oils and massages by Mended by Hand.

Sally made her amazing Ma’amouls– Lebanese cookies made from a buttery semolina pastry filled with exotic dates, imported nuts, Mediterranean spices, and Middle Eastern essences.  Ma’amoul is also Sally’s grandmother name which she says has  become a symbol of life’s sweet blessings and delights. 

Photo by Blakely Dixon

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Gifts for the Soul Organizer Ruth Surface (left) and Keep It Real Mommy Founder Danielle R. Adamczyk (right)

I shared that self-care was foreign to me until I unexpectedly became a single mom when my children were one and three. I hated the times when they were away, but wise women convinced me to use the space to recharge. Over the years, baby steps—lunch out on a pretty patio, walking through the woods or a museum —eventually turned into strides—an overnight stay at a B and B, learning Latin dance, leading students and volunteering on trips abroad.  Beauty and adventure infused me with superpowers  moms, teachers, and creatives need–wonder, confidence, calm. And when my kids grew up and flew away, God called me to fly away, too. In Africa I felt like a girl again and a woman much loved. Chérie means “cherished” in French, the language of Niger and Morocco where Sally, Ruth, and I lived.

Some who attended were young moms. Others were grandmothers caring for their  parents. Most said wistfully they’d like to travel solo, with a spouse, or a friend. I offered a calendar to intentionally schedule timeouts in the new year–be they massages, art classes, trips abroad or across town.


Practicing what we preached, Sally and I explored Rock Hill, a southern city just south of Charlotte reminiscent of the Kentucky hometown of our youth.  First stop was Ruth’s new salon smelling of newly sprouted grass, essential oils, and fresh paint. At Milk and Sugar, Owner Yolonda Licea, as delightful a lady as you’ll ever meet, makes staff and clients feel like family. Though busy preparing for the official grand opening, she sat cross-legged on the floor telling me the story of her heaven-sent space. I believed her. After my long drive from Tennessee, the facial from Jess James and massage from Ruth were as soothing as naps under angel wings.

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Yolonda Licea, owner of Milk and Sugar, Rock Hill, South Carolina’s Premier Day Spa

To book a massage with Ruth (see below), go here.

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Ruth Surface


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Jess James

Women realizing dreams at Milk & Sugar Spa and Salon

We drove to East Main Guest House Bed and Breakfast Inn which proved to be the place to stay. Though the Rock Hill square rocked with live music (Food Truck Friday), we opted not to walk into town but to relax in our beautiful surroundings. Once the home of the town doctor, the inn is now a healing haven of southern hospitality. Our room was perfect–pretty and overlooking the garden. The twin beds brought back memories of my sharing a room with my sister and birthday sleepovers (called slumber parties when Sally and I were kids). We enjoyed meeting other guests at breakfast and seeing signatures from around the world in the guest book. If you want to experience a charming, quiet getaway or need a venue for a southern wedding or women’s event, this is your place. Tell gracious Innkeepers Scott and Donna Peterson I sent you.





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Just a couple of blocks away is Amélie’s French Bakery & Café. Sally loves this spot and now I do, too.


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For more information on Chérie, please see brochure. And in the new year, remember to follow your heart, walk in faith, choose adventure, wonder at beauty, seek and find.



Thank you to East Main Guest House Bed and Breakfast Inn and to Ruth of Mended by Hand for your hospitality.  As always, the opinions here are my own.