Getting Personal #155: “North Island, New Zealand” (Reblogged)

I think I’ve mentioned before how much I love lighthouses. I’ve had the opportunity to visit and climb several of them on the East Coast – Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia. One of my dreams is to visit every lighthouse in the United States, and climb as many as I can. That’s no small feat!

For Christmas 2017, my sister-in-law Savy bought me this incredible book, Lighthouses of America. I love it! I plan to review it here on the blog soon.

For now, though, I’ll be admiring this photo of North Island in New Zealand. And thinking about the next lighthouse in my vicinity that I can visit and climb.

Do you like lighthouses? Where do you dream of traveling and exploring?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Just Wunderlust

North Island, New Zealand

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Getting Personal #151: “The Drain House, Drain, Oregon” (Reblogged)

Image Credit: Just Wunderlust

I love sharing inspiring posts from Just Wunderlust. The photos are incredible!

I’ve been thinking of Oregon a lot recently. Mainly because my best friend, Melissa, and another friend, Brittany, live there. But, I’m in awe of the beauty of the state. This photo is no exception.

Seeing the mist and the trees behind this house makes me think of the story I wrote and illustrated in fifth grade. I called it “Electro Girl,” and I set it in the forests/mountains of Oregon. It’s definitely writing from my 10-year-old self, but seeing this photo makes me think of that story. Also, that story was recognized as a Young Authors book, and going to the ceremony and reception that year was where I got to know and love Melissa!

The colors of the house make me smile, too. It looks like a doll’s house.

I did some research, and learned that Drain is located in Douglas County, in the southwestern part of the state. The last population count, in 2017, was 1,169. The town is named after town founder and politician Charles J. Drain. It’s a prominent example of Queen Anne style architecture. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 12, 1978.


What do you see when you look at this photo? Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Have a great week!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Just Wunderlust

The Drain House, Drain, Oregon

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Adventure Time: Norfolk, VA Edition (Round 6 – An Evening with Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox)

Al and I discovered Postmodern Jukebox (PMJ) on YouTube within the last year. When we found out they were touring and coming to Norfolk, we bought tickets in April!

Sadly, Al wasn’t able to go because the concert date conflicted with his recent work trip to Mexico. So, we invited our 13-year-old niece, Mia, to be my date. It was awesome!!

The ensemble told everyone up front that photos and videos were definitely allowed, which was amazing!

This was the set before the concert started. The curtain was gorgeous!

There was such a vintage theme. I took pictures mainly because of all of the costume changes!

This woman. Holy cow! So soulful, and beautiful. She reminded me so much of Aretha Franklin!

All of the different dresses!

One of the singers, and the resident tap dancer!

The beginning of their rendition of “Africa.”

The whole band! Every single one of them was awesome!

They were singing and dancing to “Umbrella.” So colorful!

The trombonist’s last night on tour was in Norfolk. He was awesome!

The tap dancer! I love this action shot!

She sang a fabulous version of “Time After Time.” It brought the house down!

It was such a wonderful experience! If they come to your city/town, it’s completely worth the money!


For more information, check out these links and videos:

There’s so many more on YouTube!


Have you heard of Postmodern Jukebox?

If you have, do you have a favorite version / rendition of theirs?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #66: “WHO KNEW? …Reflections on Vietnam”

I received this book as a gift! My dear friend, Lydia, sent a sweet card with the book, explaining that she knows the author, and wanted to send it to me after reading a blog post regarding my interest in Vietnam. Thank you, Lydia!

The best way I can describe this book is a mix of a memoir, photo album, and poetry collection, all wrapped up into a nice book. It gave me a sense of what Watts went through during her year of service.

While preparing to receive her undergraduate degree at Villanova, she knew wanted to travel. She wanted to join the Peace Corps, but they wanted her to start before graduation. Then, she found a brochure for the Supplemental Recreation Activities Overseas (SRAO) program of the American Red Cross.

What she ended up with was a year of service, and a lifetime of memories.

Watts blends photos, poems, soldiers’ artwork, and her memories into a powerful book. It made me feel like I was there with her.

I also learned about the SRAO program of the Red Cross, and how instrumental these women have been since World War II. I gained a new perspective, and a sense of gratitude. I know Watts and her crew were appreciated by the men in the jungles of Vietnam, during a very trying time there, and here at home.

Although I wasn’t alive during her service, I appreciate Watts for writing this book. It provides a unique perspective on a unique type of service during the war, and I’m grateful for her to show me, and others, this insight. Reading accounts like this makes me want to learn even more about the Vietnam War and the people who were involved, both soldiers and civilians.

Thank you again, Lydia, for this gift!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #147: “The winter is coming, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Dolomites, Italy” (Reblogged)

I love sharing Just Wunderlust’s photos often. No matter what photo it is, each one evokes emotion or some sort of connection. Sometimes, seeing these photos spark a daydream, or even a potential writing prompt.

Seeing this photo today made me think of several things, aside from the obvious, “Oh, wow, that’s absolutely gorgeous!”

I started thinking of the road that leads to this area. The characters that live there, both real and fictional. It reminded me a little bit of Beauty and the Beast, but my imagination ran a little wild earlier today. I love it when that happens, especially when everyday life and the normal routine can become so repetitive and dull.

The fog looks so ominous around the beautiful mountains, kissed by early snow.

What are their winters like?

Do tourists come?

Do the children enjoy the snow, the winter?

I’m sure it’s cold, but undoubtedly beautiful.

Italy is such a beautiful country, from what I’ve heard. I hope to be able to visit, someday.

As the fall weather is finally starting to settle in, here in southeastern Virginia, I’m enjoying the crisp air, the changing of the leaves, and the coming holidays. We’ll blink and Thanksgiving will be here in a flash. But, I do love one good snow every year – It turns the whole world white and beautiful!

What’s your favorite season? Why do you love it?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Just Wunderlust

The winter is coming, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Dolomites, Italy

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Getting Personal #139: Eight Years

Love Quote - BrainyQuote

Image Credit: BrainyQuote

I love writing these “dating anniversary” posts every year!


Today, Al and I celebrate eight years together!

Here are eight photos that are special to me.

Image may contain: Laura Beth Vardaro and Al Vardaro, people smiling

September 2010: This was the very first photo that was taken of us!

Image may contain: Laura Beth Vardaro and Al Vardaro, people smiling, outdoor

January 2015: Spending the weekend with friends in Richmond.

Image may contain: 1 person, standing, wedding, tree and outdoor

November 2015: One of the best days of my life!

Image may contain: Laura Beth Vardaro and Al Vardaro, people smiling, people sitting and outdoor

October 2017: One of my favorite photos of all time. This was at the start of Nick and Savy’s wedding reception at the farm.

Image may contain: Laura Beth Vardaro and Al Vardaro, people smiling, people standing

October 2017: Dancing the night away!

Image may contain: Al Vardaro and Laura Beth Vardaro, people smiling, beard, closeup and outdoor

April 2018: We took this at The Main in Norfolk!

Image may contain: outdoor

April 2018: This was part of the “Love Gallery” at LanternAsia, the amazing display at the Norfolk Botanical Garden.

 

Image may contain: 3 people, including Al Vardaro and Laura Beth Vardaro, people smiling, closeup

August 2018: This was the Norfolk Tides game on my birthday!

Happy Anniversary, Al. I love you!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #136: “Sunflower Sunset, Dreamland, Kentucky” (Reblogged)

I love sunflowers. They make me happy! They’re not my favorite flower, but seeing photos of them make me think of sunshine, birds chirping, quiet, and peace. And I love sunsets, too.

Seeing this post also made me think of the TV show Smallville, which Al and I are currently binge-watching on Hulu. It’s one of the shows that Al grew up watching. Plus, it lasted an entire decade, from 2001-2011. It’s been funny to catch certain cultural references, and reminisce about the technology, hairstyles, glasses, and more.

The show is set in Kansas, and this is in Kentucky, but it makes me think of farms, country living, and more.

What’s your favorite flower?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Just Wunderlust

Sunflower Sunset, Dreamland, Kentucky

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