My Wordsmith Vantage Point


Aloha People,

Although we’re a little over a month into the summer of 2014, I’ve already made some headway in my activities. To piggyback on my 5 Things You Should Do This Summer post, I’ve dedicated this blog to my summertime goings-on. Here’s what I’ve been up to in the last 42 days:

June 18: Rebelution concert

June 21: Crab Fest with family & friends (water balloon fight included)

July 4: Fireworks & fun

July 12: A day out at Busch Gardens

July 17: Evening swim with family

July 19: Bonfire with family & friends

July 26: Bowling with my son

July 27: Backyard birthday BBQ

July 30: Happy Hour with an old classmate

August 2 & 3: Road trippin’ with the boyfriend

Road trippin'


I wonder what the next 30 days will hold…



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Godmorgen ven!

I’m in the mood for something unconventional this week. The first three destinations were all popular islands but now it’s peninsula time. I chose Copenhagen, Denmark because I loved the Little Mermaid movie as a child. And what better way to honor that timeless tale than to dreamily visit the hometown of Hans Christian Anderson.

Fourth stop: Copenhagen, Denmark!
Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen has come a long way from being a simple fishing village and trade center. Today, the capital city of Denmark is home to many famous sights and attractions, including Tivoli Gardens, Amalienborg Palace (home of the Danish monarchy), Christiansborg Palace, Nyhavn, and the Little Mermaid sculpture. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s the most visited Scandinavian metropolitan, drawing over a million visitors a year. I guess that’s good enough reason as any to visit!

The Little Mermaid statue is not only a popular attraction but also a Danish icon. Although the fair tale was published in 1837, it took about 70 years for a Danish brewer to commission the waterfront statue.
Little Mermaid statue

Tivoli Gardens: The world’s second oldest amusement park opened in 1843. This attraction is more than just an amusement park; it’s also a great place to people-watch and dine. This 21-acre park is beautifully landscaped with more than 400,000 colorful flowers. Rumor has it that this place may have inspired Walt Disney with his theme parks.
Tivoli Gardens

Frederiksberg Palace: You can’t go to any European city without visiting a palace. Completed in 1703, this palace was only used as the royal family’s summer residence until the mid-19th century. Now, anyone can visit and relax on the 25 acres of Frederiksberg Park.
Frederiksberg Palace

Rosenborg Castle was built in a Dutch Renaissance-style designed by Bertel Lange and Hans van Steenwinckel for Christian IV of Denmark. The castle is now open to the public for tours and its museum is home to the Royal Collections, artifacts spanning the royal Danish culture from the 16th to the 19th century.

Rosenborg Castle

Copenhagen Jazz Festival is supposedly one of Europe’s biggest, comprehensive international music events. The city streets, squares, clubs, and concert halls have strummed each summer with live jazz since 1979. The festival begins the first Friday in July and runs for 10 uninterrupted days.

Copenhagen Jazz Festival


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According to USAA, there are nine apps one should have on hand to help weather severe storms. After reading this article, I couldn’t agree more about having these apps on one of my electronic devices.

9 Must-Have Apps to Help You Weather Severe Storms

Hi there!
This week’s dream destination is Barbados. Fortunately, I visited this lovely, quaint island almost 13 years ago and I would love to go back. Initially a study abroad class, my three-week stay in paradise was more recreational than educational (but I thoroughly enjoyed my classes as well). It was my first taste of Caribbean culture and I soaked it up as much as possible. I was lucky enough tot experience a lot but my favorite were the Crop Over Festival, which is a celebration marking the end of the sugar cane season, and Kadooment Day (two words: music and dancing).
Third stop: Barbados!

Barbados map

This island is also known as 4×4 due to its size (it’s 21 miles in length and 14 miles wide). The food, music, history, and Bajans (the citizens of Barbadoes) are guaranteed to get any tourist involved in a little fun, sun, and relaxation.

Bridgetown: Not only is this Barbados’ capital city, it’s the largest city on the island. Among the colorful streets you will find the Cheapside Market, where you can discover an allotment of more color, fruits, vegetables, vendors, and tradespeople!


The Crop Over Festival and Grand Kadooment Carnival Parade is a must-do experience. The festival begins in late May and ends with the parade early August. With loads of performance artists at the Pic-O-De-Crop competition, parties, and fests, any visitor will find something exciting.

Dancing in the street

Dancing in the street


Oistins, Barbados: In the mood for some Flying Fish aka Barbados national fish? Or maybe your taste buds hanker for lobster, swordfish, tuna or marlin? Then you’ve found the place to have those good eats. On Friday nights–in particular–this is the spot of the famed Oistins Fish Fry. So don’t miss out on the food and entertainment!

Oistins Fish Fry every Friday

Oistins Fish Fry every Friday


Mount Gay Rum Distillery Tour. I’m not much of a rum drinker but after sampling this smooth spirit, I quickly became a fan. 45-minute tours are about $7 for adults and free for the kiddies.

Yum yum! I'll have some rum!

Yum yum! I’ll have some rum!


Sunbury Plantation House is located in the eastern parish of St. Philip at Oldbury. It is one of two sugar plantations that has been restored to its original style. A tourist will encounter plenty of history and culture here. Viewings of the hours are seven days a week between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.Sunbury Plantation Barbados


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Greetings Everyone,

A few years ago, I found myself in a situation where someone I once cared about asked for my forgiveness. About 85% of me didn’t want to grant any pardon, but then I realized it would be more for me than that person. After a two days of reflection, I responded with the bible verse Matthew: 14-15. Instantly, I felt lighter as if a huge burden was lifted and I was glad for it.


Let's hug it out!

Let’s hug it out!

A segment on the D.L. Hughley Show inspired me to write today’s blog about forgiving. And for those of you who are having trouble absolving your fellow man, check out the following ten reasons to do it anyway:

10. It helps you avoid being a victim.

9. It helps you to be in the present, enjoying the now.

8. Holding onto it won’t make you feel better.

7. It lowers symptoms of depression.

6. It helps you stop punishing yourself.

5. It helps your regain your power.

4. It improves your health.

3. It decreases hostility.

2. It improves relationships with others.

1. It allows you to get your happiness back.


D.L. Hughley Show: The Top 10 Reasons to Forgive

I hope this benefits someone out there.



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I can’t believe it but James Garner dies (aka the old Ryan Gosling in The Notebook). Garner was such a great actor! I remember his roles in Maverick, The Great Escape, and Victor/Victoria.

NPR Article: James Garner Dies

G’Day Mate!

This week’s destination in the series is Sydney, Australia. I’ve always wanted to have an excursion in the Land Down Under. Not to mention, pay a visit to my long-time pen pal, Zoe, and Camp Kitty buddy, Jordie. I definitely don’t want to risk my life by having an Outback adventure, but I would be open to much safer alternatives. #LOL

Second stop: Sydney, Australia!


Other than kangaroos, koalas, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Sydney Opera House, I don’t know much about the place. Just like Japan, it’ll cost a grip to travel here. But in the meantime, here are some Aussie locations to daydream about:

The Sydney Opera House is unique in design and engineering that adds to the character of this international attraction.


Bondi Beach is Australia’s most famous beach and is close to Sydney. Not only goes it boast with great sand and clean waters, the beach has diligent lifeguards that’ll keep any tourist safe.


The Queen Victoria Building: Renownedfir it’s architectural marvel, this place is also a great shopping experience.


New Year’s Eve in Sydney. Fireworks over the famous Sydney Harbour, need I say more?


Sydney Aquarium is a great place to take the kids as it features five separate exhibitions focusing on Aussie ocean.



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Hiya folks!

As long as I can remember movies have had a huge influence on my life. In fact, from ages 6 to 17 I wanted to be an actor badly–so much so that my first major in college was theater performance. That idea quickly kicked the bucket when my writing style began to develop. However, my love of motion pictures never flickered away.

Some will argue that movies are cultural artifacts that reflect the world around us, and others will debate that it’s all about Hollywood making a buck. More importantly, movies have a way of affecting us whether it is positive or negative (hopefully inspiring us for the better). My expectation and attitude vary depending upon the film. I’m no snob when it comes to the silver screen. I enjoy all types of cinema: romantic comedy, romance, thriller, horror, foreign, action, comedy, independent, and so on. I have only one goal in mind when it comes to watching movies: satisfaction.

With no further delay, here are my 10 favorite films over the span of my 33 years that I will happily re-watch any day of the week:

10. Any of the Twilight movies. I know it’s juvenile but I’m a sucker for the intertwining romance of humans, vampires, and werewolves.
My love for scary nocturnal creatures go way back to Dracula, A Werewolf in Paris, and Once Bitten.


9. Girlfight (2001) Michelle Rodriguez’s feature debut as Diana Guzman, a pugnacious teen who decides to become a professional boxer despite her misogynistic environment. You have this girl who doesn’t fit in anywhere and is without a mother. Diana’s jagged and lost, and I rooted for her in the ring, at home, at school, and to win the boy. Who can resist a female taking charge of her own destiny?

8. The NeverEnding Story (1984) If you’ve never seen this movie the you need to run–not walk–to your nearest Redbox or search Netflix for it because it’s worth the 107 minutes of viewing pleasure. It’s got a fantasy world (Fantasia), a young warrior (Atreyu), an assassin wolf (Gmork), a talking luck-dragon (Falkor), and child empress all rolled into one story. Can anyone say remake?


7. Wicker Park (2004) This remake of the 1996 French film L’Appartement is about a love triangle. I don’t know what’s up with me and twisted love stories but this one has me biting my nails every time. After two years away, will Matt find his one true live, Lisa, while following clues to her whereabouts in Chicago? How successful will Alex be in keeping them apart? I’m on the edge of my seat up til the very end at O’Hare Airport.

6. My Fair Lady (1964) Between the ages of 12 and 15 I was really into musicals, and this was my absolute favorite. I’d pretend to be Eliza Doolittle belting out Wouldn’t It Be Lovely and On the Street Where You Live. Thank goodness for George Bernard Shaw!

5. Shrek trilogy movies (excluding Shrek the Halls and Scared Shrekless) I got into this animated movie light years before my son was born, so I can’t blame it on him. What can I say? I enjoy being a kid at heart. 😊

4. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) What would my childhood be without a classic 80s movie? Boring. My brother, cousin, and I would huddle around the TV with popcorn and Kool-Aid to watch this horror classic. We were deranged for watching it but we didn’t care.


3. Love the Hard Way (2001) Adrien Brody and Charlotte Ayanna play characters from different worlds–she’s an innocent student and he’s a petty thief, both living in NYC. While she shows him the joys of enjoying life and being loved, he darkens the relationship with his evolvement in con-artist crimes. It isn’t your typical boy-meets-girl love story. It’s dark and moody–that’s what I love about it! And the ending is also quite fitting.

2. Star Wars Trilogy (1979-1983) This epic film convinced me that I had to be an actor. It had everything: plot, action, romance, and great/memorable characters. I can’t say that for the prequels that came out in 1999-2005. But what I will say is this: Disney better get these next three sequels right or else!


1. To Die For (1989) Don’t get this movie confused with that skanky 1995 Gus Van Sant film of the same title, starring Nicole Kidman and Joaquin Phoenix. I’m talking about the horror-romance film directed by Deran Sarafian, starring Brendan Hughes. Okay, so you don’t know who these people are and that’s not important. But what is important is that it started my obsession for the human-vampire relationship. If only I could purchase this on DVD then I’d be in heaven!

What are some of your favorite films?


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So, I was listening to NPR this morning and heard the following piece about stress for parents of teenagers. Good lord I hope I don’t have an emo, disrespectful, or ungrateful teen.

What do you think about this article?

Stress of Parenting A Teen

Hi there fellow Earthlings!

I remember 2001 like it was yesterday. I’d bought my first PDA (personal digital assistant) made by Palm and I though it was the best thing since sliced bread. However, the newness wore off pretty quickly due to it being clunky, a pain to update, and not very compatible with other computer software that I used in college and at work. Fastfoward 13 years later…and you find that electronics have forever changed our day-to-day routine.

I can’t keep my present day straight without consulting my calendar, which is convinently located on one of three nifty devices: my Kindle tablet, iPod, and iPhone. Actually, I don’t know how I’d make it without any of them.

My Kindle Fire, courtesy of B. Payne.

My Kindle Fire, courtesy of B. Payne.

In honor of life with an electronic, I came up with the top 10 reasons why I adore having any of my devices.

10. I like the way my iPhone 5c looks

Mine is white, but you get the picture.

Mine is white, but you get the picture.

9. My Kindle Fire makes it easier to play game and stalk people on FB.

8. I can turn any of my devices in any direction and the screen will follow suit.

7. iTunes makes my music experience enjoyable and is very addictive. (I could literally spend hours searching for songs or artists and creating playlist that are soundtracks of my life)

6. I can customize my home and lock screens (only on my Apple devices) to whatever appeals to me at the moment.

5. Siri will be my friend and converse with me.

4. There are a multitude of great built-in applications that make my life easier (i.e. – email, calendar, weather, reminder and Google map apps).

3. There’s an app for just about anything (weirdest one I have: a prank calling app).

2. Everything syncs from my phone contacts to my email and calendar.

1. All of my devices are simple to use!

My iPod started it all.

My iPod started it all.

What are some of the reasons you adore your electronic devices?

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Erik Conover

storyteller | south jersey native


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