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Here I would love to share with you our travels and adventures as international consultants. About living in Italy, the Veneto area near Venice; in Indonesia, central Java. Why we love the southeast of the United States and moved back from Italy. Our love for gardening, the botanical way. Sharing with you our manifold treasures from exotic places and even offering several in my Mariette's Back to Basics LLC Boutique, for others to enjoy. As well as high end silver items from Giovanni Raspini, Italy |  google.com/+MariettesBacktoBasics 
I also do classes and consulting... too much to list here! Check out my google.com/+MarietteVandenMunckhofVedder ABOUT page, where you see my other LINKS and email address; you just scroll down.Thanks!
Love to bring back some romance and quality to the daily life of others... 

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

{Bok Tower in Lake Wales, Florida}


While we were at the +Hyatt Place Lakeland Center we also visited the Bok Tower in Lake Wales. It was our second visit as we were there on December 28 of 2001.
This is the actual tower, built from pink and gray Georgia marble and Florida coquina, a limestone of shell and coral fragments.
Yes, the Bok Tower is a Florida Heritage 
And also a National Historic Landmark
Very peaceful surroundings and beautiful subtropical vegetation along the road that leads to the Singing Tower & Gardens...
Here husband Pieter is standing in front of this 205 feet (65.5 meters) high Bok Tower which is built on the highest point in peninsular Florida (324 feet) or 99 meters.
Lots of Spanish moss hanging down from the trees, just as we see it here in Georgia.
Majestic palms actually dwarf besides this tall Bok Tower with its beautiful pink and gray Georgia marble.
The architect was Milton B. Medary from Philadelphia and it got built in 1927-1929
 The Bok Tower Sanctuary was dedicated to the American people by President Calvin Coolidge on February 1, 1929, and added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1972.
Edward Bok, born October 9, 1863 at Den Helder, The Netherlands died within sight of this tower January 9, 1930. At his request his family placed his grave in the lawn in front of the great brass door. Coming to the United States as a poor immigrant boy of six, he achieved success as a writer and editor. Late in life he created the sanctuary as a place of repose for the human spirit. Built the tower with the great carillon as its central accent, and presented them to the American people for visitation as his thanks for the success they had given him.
On this photo you see the great brass door and in front of it Edward Bok has been buried in the lawn, where those plants are...
Here I am standing in front of the wrought iron gate with birds...
There is also a huge reflection pond, where the entire tower mirrors itself but it was being drained for cleaning when we visited.
This Japanese stone lantern was a gift to the Gardens as a tribute to Edward Bok to reflect his interest in world peace, symbolized by the dove carvings.
Given to the Sanctuary by Tsujita of Tokyo, January 1956.
The Japanese stone lantern was a gift of Usaburo Tsujita of Tokyo, member of Edward Bok's staff from 1922 to 1925. The lantern representing seven years of his savings, is placed within direct sight of the grave of Edward Bok as a tribute and symbolizes, with its encircling doves, humanity's universal hope for world peace.
Nice views from this elevated area...
Very peaceful gardens
We enjoyed a coffee at the Blue Palmetto Café...
Sharing some of my home baked cashew-meal with coconut sugar cookies with a friendly squirrel

Did you like this very special sanctuary?

Related link:
{1903 Ladies Home Journal by Edward Bok - The Mother of America & Dutch American Heritage Day} | previous post by me with more information about Edward Bok
Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida | YouTube short video with carillon playing
Bok Tower Gardens 2011 | YouTube short video from the spring


Friday, June 27, 2014

{Hollis Garden in Lakeland, Florida}

After our stay in Miami, we did travel to the central part of Florida, to Lakeland, a city with many lakes. We stayed at the +Hyatt Place Lakeland Center which is very conveniently right in the center of this beautiful city. 
Only about half a mile away from our hotel is this lovely Botanic Garden, named Hollis Garden, which is situated within the historic Lake Mirror Park
Below you see lake Mirror viewed from Hollis Garden, which is on its southern shore.
The Swan is very much the Symbol for Lakeland and you find many statues and even more real swans, e.g. on Lake Morton, the largest lake and bird sanctuary in Lakeland.
There is even a link between the Queen of England and Lakeland's swans.
When swans had become extinct, because of alligators, people and dogs, one resident from Lakeland wrote the Queen of England for two swans from the Thames River.
In 1957, Lakeland received 2 swans from Queen Elizabeth.
Beautiful Mute Swan Nesting In Lakeland FL Lake Morton←(click it to read full story)
Lakeland, Swans Will Get a British Royal Emissary←(click it)
Pieter sitting next to the water bowl in Hollis Garden.
Look at those absolute blue skies! We got so lucky these 9 days in Florida.
Flowers up close... taken with my iPad.
We did not have our Fuji camera as it got lost at the Hyatt House in Miami...

Tuscan gazebo, this is the water bowl that husband Pieter was sitting next to.
Please see the slide show from link below for far better impressions...


Related links:
Hollis Garden | Far better photos shown than my iPad shots...
Lakeland Florida HD | YouTube video


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

{The Colonnade Outlets at Sawgrass}

The Colonnade Outlets at Sawgrass Mills in Florida are not to be missed if you ever are in the Miami area!
This is also the Valet parking entrance and you are at the right corner to start browsing Neiman Marcus Last Call, Saks Fifth Avenue or Bloomingdale's and all Outlets at the Colonnade to your right.
Sawgrass Mills is the largest outlet mall in the United States!
HOW large?
2.1 million square feet or 195,096 square meters, which is 19.5 hectare!
According to Miami.com's Sawgrass Mills Survival guide (click it) you deserve a medal - and a foot massage if you ever walk those 350 stores and outlet shops...
Yep, in the above screenshot, you see Neiman Marcus to the left and at the top you read Escada and that's how all designer outlets are lined up on both sides of the Colonnade and under a roof. 
Rain or shine - you will be fine. 
Neiman Marcus with super bargains and if you can't make it to the outlet, you also can order on line: Neiman Marcus Last Call ←(click it)
Trip Advisor review by me:
The Valet parking is a MUST in order to save your feet as the parking lot is like Miami.com put it here above: acres of parking lots with no empty space in sight...
There also is a Wolford outlet store; one of my favorites.
Have you ever been to the Sawgrass Mills Mall?

Related links:
Sawgrass Mills | website for finding store directory, mall map and directions


Monday, June 23, 2014

{Hyatt House Miami, Florida - Our Home Away from Home}

Just to give you an idea where we stay when we reach Miami, Florida. The Hyatt House Miami Airport has really become our Home Away from Home! So come, have a look yourself...
We just got here, all the way from Sarasota where we stayed for one free night at the Hyatt Regency. We had a tornado warning and left in time, after first shopping at +Trader Joe's in Sarasota. Here Pieter is holding the Bresaola (dried beeef) from Italy...
Yes, this is Our Home Away from Home!
A fully equiped kitchen with dishwasher and microwave, visible in the above photo. A cooktop with oven, toaster and large refrigerator with freezer compartment above.
Living room...
Entrance with door to closet to hang coats and to find the iron with iron board and safe.
Free internet access with great ergonomic Miller chair.
It is from here that I picked up the idea for our office...
Flat screen TV in the living room with entrance to the King size bedroom.
You also can have a 2 King size apartment for staying with 4 people.
We did that at three other Hyatt House locations, together with my sister Diny and significant other.
All at a price for $ 129.00 per night in 2007 when she was visiting and that included a hot extended breakfast and from Monday through Thursday also hors d'oeuvres with soup, cheese, salad and fruits with wine or beer in the evening! 
Again, all this luxury complete with pillow top mattress and down duvet and pillows for a great price with Pieter's Platinum Hyatt Card!
The bedroom has another flat screen TV!
If you have a 2 bedroom apartment, you have this in each bedroom!
Very roomy bathroom with ample space for everything. 
Tub with shower and toilet is to the left of that tub.
View from the other side, to the right you just see the toilet...
Left is a huge closet with sliding mirrored doors for half hanging and half with shelves.
In such an apartment you really have all the comfort from home!
There further is a big pool, workout room, laundry room with washer and dryer if you need to use that.
Would you not love to stay there?

Related links:
{Our Smaller Office} | previous post by me showing the Miller chair at our office...
{My Brocade Skirt Suit Creation from 1950s Zelinka Matlick} | photo shoot Hyatt House
{My Hand Knitted Silk Lace Shawl in Peacock Pattern} | photo shoot in Hyatt House garden...
{Miami Hyatt House & Date Palm} | previous post by me
{Muscovy Duck in Miami, Florida} | previous post by me from the Hyatt House Miami
{My Hand Knitted Linen Top} | previous post, photos taken in the garden of Hyatt House Miami


Saturday, June 21, 2014

{Celery Almond Soup & Costco's Multi-Grain Crackers}

After we did check out from the +Hyatt Regency Sarasota we did go to +Whole Foods Market for some shopping and also to eat a healthy CELERY ALMOND SOUP. We both loved that soup so much that I have made it myself at home for you to see. Very healthy!
Served with +Costco Wholesale's delicious crackers it makes for a perfect supper or lunch.
Using our Campbell's soup bowls with Alvin Bridal Rose gumbo spoons, which are so great for eating soups...
Here are the very healthy Multi-Grain Crackers from +Costco Wholesale...
They come in a large box with two sealed bags inside.
Gluten free and low fat...
This is the Almond Meal from Trader Joe's that I used for the soup, together with +Trader Joe's low sodium chicken broth.
I used about half a pound, for one pack of low sodium chicken broth.
Or if you want to make more, use one pound with two packs of chicken broth...
Further you need one bunch of celery stalks that you cut up in pieces.
Just cook together till the celery stalks are done, blend them with the handheld immersion blender and you have a delicious soup!
While enjoying our Celery Almond Soup at Whole Foods in Sarasota, Florida we got this Alert for a Tornado coming to the region.
We drove south, with a stop at Trader Joe's in Sarasota first, so we would have food for our apartment kitchen at the Hyatt House in Miami where we were heading next...
That Tornado did cause heavy flooding for the Tampa region.
We were so lucky with our stay, even though that morning it was too windy for swimming at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota pool... Now we knew WHY!
We will go back to Sarasota again!

Related links:
{Sarasota Bay, Florida - Anhinga} | previous post about our stay at Hyatt Regency and Bay walk
{Sarasota Bay, Florida - Great White Heron} | previous post                    "
{Sarasota, Florida - Hyatt Regency} | previous post about our stay at Hyatt Regency


Thursday, June 19, 2014

{Sarasota Bay, Florida - Anhinga}


During our stay at the +Hyatt Regency Sarasota we did encounter some great wildlife at Sarasota Bay.
We came upon an Anhinga...
Perched on the corner of this deck. Yes, with the ugly purple from yesterday's post in sight.
It let me come really close... 
Again, the ugly purple, wish they'd left all those piers natural like this one!
All taken with my iPhone...
The Anhinga preening itself, not yet paying attention to my coming closer and closer.
Sometimes the Anhinga is called Snake-bird, look at its snake-like neck!
Don't know if he was friendly with me or not...
Anhinga is related to the Cormorant but it lacks the hooked bill at the tip.
This difference makes it pretty easy to distinguish between the two.
Anhingas have long and pointed bills; NOT hooked at the tip...
Guess he was willing to show all his different poses for me
Am I pretty? YES, a lot prettier than that ugly purple structure!
I will snatch your iPhone away...
Why didn't you bring me a BIG fish; I'm hungry!
ARGH, guess I have to dive for one myself...!

Related links:
Sarasota Bay | Info about this coastal lagoon in Florida, USA
{Sarasota Bay, Florida - Great Egret} | previous post                    "
{Sarasota, Florida - Hyatt Regency} | previous post about our stay at Hyatt Regency



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