May 31, 2019

There are so many little attractions on the island that can easily be missed by the casual tourist.

Today enjoy some of my Special Moments.

Ask yourself with each of these moments..  Did I?

Click the arrows and hoover over the pictures to see all of my adventures! 

May 1, 2019

Happy Cinco de Mayo week…a toast to Mexican Independence Day!!! Or is it? As an American, that is what I have always been taught, but now that I spend part of my life in Mexico, I have been educated to the true meaning of this mostly American holiday! First and foremost, Cinco de Mayo does not celebrate Mexican Independence Day… Independence Day is September 16. Are you as surprised as I was? Most Mexicans truly don’t “get” why those of us north of the border make such a fuss over May 5th. 

The truth is that May 5 is the commemoration of the victory of the Mexican army over the French army in the state of Puebla in 1862! Known as the Battle of Puebla, this unlikely victory over France was such a surprise, because of the vast difference in the two armies. Mexico had about 4,000 soldiers, inadequate supplies and artillery, while the French army boasted some 8,000 soldiers a...

April 3, 2019

Mexican culture is truly a wonderful one. It is all about family, loyalty, traditions, food, and most importantly Mexican culture is about life lessons.

Traditionally on the island, single family homes house multiple generations. The abuela (grandmother), or as a more loving expression (abuelita), is always still in the house, which may or may not have been in her original family. If the abuelo (grandfather) is still alive, he, of course will be there also. The children all stay in these lovely, quaint casas and their spouses move in and a new generation begins family traditions in the family home.  For the most part, local families on the island do not live in separate houses… there are of course, exceptions to every generality. As I pass by these colorful, cinderblock casas, the doors are always open with, at the most, a privacy curtain blowing in the doorway. The rooms are filled with...

February 27, 2019

When in Texas, I'm often asked, " Do you have electricity on that island?" A valid question!! After all, this Mexican island is only 5 miles long and 1/2-1 mile wide. Yes, we do. As it turns out, there are underwater electric cables connected to the mainland. Same is true for our water... (however, even the long time locals drink bottled water). That being said, we do have periodic electrical outages, as the underwater cables are showing signs of oceanic wear and tear. Efforts are currently underway to rewire all the lines to the mainland.

So, as you see, the island doesn't belong to Gilligan or Thurston Howell III, but we do have many outdoor living spaces that resemble that sitcom of my youth.

In Mexico, palapas are thatched roof, wall-less structures, constructed using a dense wood that is insect resistant (in the past, ocotillo wood was used, but it now has some restricted use) and top...

January 30, 2019

There are various ways of washing clothes on the island. Many households wash their clothes by hand and hang them out to line dry. These clotheslines can be a fence, a line across a driveway or as you see here... on rooftops!! Every day is wash day here for some and I always enjoy observing the hard working women of these casas, attending to this household task with joy.

For me, Monday is wash day, actually one of my favorite days on the island. I get to do the wash!! The island is full of wonderful lavanderies, which are a huge help in washing large towels and sheets. For about 8 US dollars, these lovely ladies will wash, dry and fold those heavier items. They use a wonderful fabric softener that brings a delightful, refreshing fragrance into the casa, but I love to wash my pillowcases, kitchen towels and clothes.

No washer and dryer for me, just like most locals, so I set up wash day on...

January 16, 2019

Mariachi music in Mexico can trace its roots back to the 1700’s. Over the centuries, the style and purpose of these musical groups has morphed into the Mariachi Bands that we are familiar with in the Mexico of today. Any Mexican town that promotes tourism, will have a host of Mariachi groups roaming the busiest streets and restaurants. The one, two or more musician groups express the culture of themselves and Mexico!

Today’s Mariachis may wear the traditional CHARRO attire (typically depicted in the movies) or they may be smartly dressed in matching shirts and slacks. Locals today associate Mariachis with cultural celebrations, birthdays, quinceñeras or even for religious celebration. Tourists typically think of Mariachi as colorful street entertainment that one might be approached by during a meal or sipping on a cerveza. A simple “si gracias” or “no gracias” is all it takes for a vis...

January 9, 2019

Traveling to Mexico soon? Then listen up! I have seen these mistakes made over and over on the island and in Mexico in general. Here we go!

Local Tip #1:

Exchange some US dollars into pesos AFTER you arrive in Mexico. Restaurants will gladly accept your American money, but their exchange rate will be far less than you can get at the local bank or money exchange window. Why? Because, like any local with American funds, we are limited to the amount of USD that we can exchange into pesos on a monthly basis. The restaurants exchange rate will be posted somewhere in the eatery.  Just come in with some pesos or plan to use a credit card (not always accepted). I have witnessed several irate tourists in restaurants, because they get a lousy exchange rate there. Be ahead of the game and get pesos. Last time I checked, France doesn’t accept USD, why should Mexico?

Local Tip #2:

Only carry the cash you...

January 2, 2019

Mexican folk art is a magical combination of practical items for everyday use, or for the impractical, whimsical desire to express one’s creative spirit, for the sheer joy of decoration. It represents particular regions of the country, capturing the needs of the indigenous people and their personal visions. Diversity of materials available for use or even the roles of other cultures played a practical part in each regions creations. From leather crafts, paper crafts, ceramic designs and even the hammocks developed on the Yucatan peninsula, folk art has long played an important part to each region of Mexico.

My particular Mexican folk art indulgence is the art of OTOMI. This embroidery technique, in its purest form, has long been a passion for the people of central Mexico in Tenango de Doria in the state of Hidalgo. The mesoamerican culture brought OTOMI to life in clothing and ceremonia...

December 26, 2018

As in any culture, folklore and stories are kept alive and well from generation to generation. Certain customs become more embraced than others and perhaps even lean to an impractical belief or action. Nevertheless, the stories and legends cast a spell and help explain why each culture embraces certain practices for life in general, or for a particular holiday or celebration. As Americans (Texans to be more specific), living part of our lives now in Mexico, we find ourselves embracing the Mexican culture as our own.

With this in mind, I was curious as to which particular New Year's customs that my Mexican friends actually believe, recreate and embrace for this one holiday that is all about new beginnings. I talked to Raul (remember he is our friend from Aguascalientes that artfully restored the old hacienda doors inside our beachside casa) last week with a list of questions about his fa...

December 19, 2018

Christmas in the Caribbean is one dreamy delight of our beachy lifestyle. With our Christmas plans up in the air, I embarked on creating a coastal Christmas on Isla. And then, staying true to our love of Mexico with its colorful lure, our Texas decor had to be Feliz Navidad y’all!! I reflected on a tradition, brought to Mexico by the Spanish and now an important form of Mexican folk art… vibrant-colored tissue paper flowers... to adorn our Texas mantle. The papier-mache’ colorful longhorn was created in Mexico and purchased in Round Top this fall. Embroidered stockings were custom made in Isla and monogrammed in Texas. Inside and out, we celebrate the season with all of the brilliant colors we love, that take us back to our island home.

Our Isla tree was designed using locally bought Christmas ornaments (colorful ornaments and glittery reindeer)… but with the added embellishment of local...

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