Hurricane season is here...Are you prepared.

Hurricane season is upon us. What is a hurricane? Well a hurricane can be up to 600 miles across and have strong winds at speeds of 75 to 200 mph. Each hurricane lasts for about a week, moving anywhere from 10 to 20 miles per hour over the open ocean. 

Hurricanes gather heat and energy from the contact with warm ocean waters. Evaporation from the ocean increases their power. Hurricanes rotate in a counter-clockwise direction around an "eye" in the Northern Hemisphere. The rotate in a clockwise direction in the Southern Hemisphere. The calmest part is the center of the storm referred to as the “eye of the storm”. When hurricane came upon land the heavy rain, strong winds and large waves can usually damages buildings, trees, cars, bridges and more. Hurricanes form over water that is 80°F or warmer. 

The Atlantic hurricane season starts June 1 and thankfully ends November 30, just in time to let us enjoy the holiday season. In the Eastern Pacific the hurricane season begins May 15 and ends November 30.

TROPICAL STORM WATCH are conditions with sustained winds from 39 -74 mph 

TROPICAL STORM WARNING means that Tropical Storm conditions are expected in your area within the next 24 hours.

HURRICANE WATCH means that Hurricane conditions with sustained winds of 74 mph or greater are possible in your area. this is when a family's disaster plan comes must be initiated.

HURRICANE WARNING means that Hurricane conditions are expected in your area within 24 hours and your family should be in the process of securing your home or possibly evacuating.

COASTAL FLOOD WATCH means there is the possibility flooding of land areas along the coast within the next 12 to 36 hours.

COASTAL FLOOD WARNING  means that land areas along the coast are expected to become, or have become flooded.

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY means that  a warning issued by the National Weather Service, most frequently in coastal areas. Usually issued when winds are expected to reach within  the next 12 hours, a speed marginally less than that which is considered gale force, usually 25-38 mph.

Make sure to have a disaster plan and a pet plan ready before a storm threatens. For more information on the proper measures to take in case of a hurricane please visit  and make sure to follow their guidelines.
Hollywood Beach Florida, photo by Paula Santos
©2014 Paula Santos ( all photos and posts.

Getting Fit One Day at a time on the Beach...

There's nothing better than actually having someone to get fit with. So I decided to start a group (Hollywood Beach Fitbums). Sometimes motivation is no where to be found and it helps to have someone that encourages you to stick with a workout plan. (trust me i use to be an expert at making up excuses for not exercising: it's too hot, it's cold, it might rain, i didn't sleep well, i'm tired....blah blah blah) Bottom line is that by not getting off your bum and getting or staying fit you are only hurting yourself. It's not just about losing weight it's about being able to climb those stairs, having energy and feeling good. And with these views who can complain???

So if you live in the Hollywood beach area come and join us. So far I've lost about 20 pounds and have another 30 to go. I'm also using the exercising video Brazilian Butt Lift from Beachbody which you can get here. And this weekend me and my boys are starting the P90X Challenge also available on Beachbody.

Will post a few healthy recipes here tomorrow. 

Looking forward to looking good real soon.
Have a great day and don't forget to live, love and laugh.

©2013 PaulaSantos all photos and posts.

Photography Of South Florida

My photos will soon be available in my etsy shop. I can't wait to share them all with you and I hope you will enjoy them. I will also be turning some of my photos and paintings into art greeting cards. I'm very excited about these new items.

©2013 PaulaSantos all photos and posts.

Florida is an Oasis this time of year!

As I walked over the intracoastal and headed towards the beach I was thinking about my family and friends up north. As my feet came in contact with the sand and I looked out at the ocean and all the tourists I thanked my lucky stars to live in such a beautiful place. I looked on Facebook and all the post of my family and friends up in Montreal, Canada showed endless mountains of snow and from their descriptions it was bitter cold outside.
My view as I cross the intracoastal.

Love the feeling of sand between my toes and warm air on my skin. #solucky

Anyways if you're looking to come down and get away from the cold I recommend reading info on

Here are a list of some of my favorite places in south florida (and no I do not get paid anything from these businesses or people)

Hotels, Restaurants and Nightlife: 
Westin Diplomat (a little bias here since I use to work here many year ago)
The Clevelander in South Beach is the perfect place to party (I haven't stayed overnight at the hotel, but their bar is awesome). Outside bar with pool and various crazy contests going on or live music.

Good place to have brunch in south beach is The Front Porch at Penguin Hotel
Hotel website is:
No need for shirt or shoes this local hangout is primarily popular through word of mouth. The Front Porch serves a great breakfast and is a cozy art deco eatery. Ask for a table outside and people watch. It's worth the wait. Okay pricing.

Loews Miami Beach Hotel is a good family hotel
Hotel website:
Although South Beach is not the perfect place for kids this hotel offers spacious rooms and has a kids program.

If you want to stay at an art deco Hotel then The Tides is for you
Hotel website:
The Tides was built during the Depression and offers fabulous ocean views from it's suites. Great place to check out.

Miami Seaquarium
Covers 38 acres, boasts Lolita the Killer Whale and the Flipper, plus all the shows, see scores of tropical fish, sea creatures and scary sharks.

Villa Vizcaya
An Italian Renaissance-style villa built for industrialist James Deering in the early 1900s. This Home and huge gardens are designated a National Historic Landmark and are now open to the public. Visitors can tour the historic house museum plus more than 10 acres of formal gardens and a historic European landscape adapted to Miami's climate.

Best Shopping Outlets
Sawgrass Mills Mall is the largest Outlet and retail shopping mall in the United States. Make sure to put on some extremely comfortable shopping shoes because it will take you many hours to make the rounds of this mall.

Hot Tin Roof
Ocean Key Resort & Spa
Duval St.
Key West, FL 33040

The Dining Room at Little Palm Island
Little Palm Island Resort & Spa
28500 Overseas Hwy
Little Torch Key, FL 33042

Red Fish Grill
Matheson Hammocks State Park
9610 Old Cutler Rd.
Coral Gables, FL 33156
( RED FISH GRILL has open bay with a panoramic view unparalleled in the city)
Scarpetta (Contemporary Italian food is arguably some of the best in town)
Fontainebleau Miami Beach
4441 Collins Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33140

Smith & Wollensky( my favorite)Reserve a window table or one in the outdoor café for the best view of cruise ships steaming by)
1 Washington Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139 
3030 Ocean (Enjoy seafood and ocean views at this restaurant)
Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa
3030 Holiday Dr.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316

Best Nightclub: LIV at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach but it's difficult to get it so your best bet is to buy tickets which usually sell from $75 to $140 per person here at Want tickets
Another fun place with lots of choices as far as bars, restaurants and nightclubs is The Seminole Hard Rock and Casino in Hollywood.

©2013 PaulaSantos all photos and posts.

Good Health, Happiness and Prosperity for 2014

Copyright 2013 all rights reserved

©2013 PaulaSantos

Turning Trash into ART...

My next project will be turning common household trash into art. For inspiration I started pinning on pinterest but if any of you have project you would like to share let me know. Would love to get more ideas. Will keep you posted on my progress.
©2013 PaulaSantos

Steep Cost of Exhibiting at Famous Art Exhibitions (example Miami, FL)

As a self representing artist with the dream of one day owning my very own gallery it's depressing to find out the cost of exhibiting at world famous venue. In order to have a presence at some of these art exhibitions you have to have really deep pockets. Here are examples of what I'm talking about.

Scope Miami 2013 cost for the exhibitor/artist gallery:
200 sq.ft. (18.6 sq.m.) US $10,600
300 sq.ft. (27.9 sq.m.) US $15,900
400 sq.ft. (37.2 sq.m.) US $21,200
500 sq.ft. (46.5 sq.m.) US $26,500
600 sq.ft. (55.8sq.m.) US $31,800
700 sq.ft. (65.0 sq.m.) US $37,100
800 sq.ft. (74.3 sq.m.) US $42,400

Art Basel Miami Beach (Dec. 5-8, 2013), can cost a gallery over $100,000 for a large booth and other associated costs.

Art Miami (Dec. 4-8 ,2013) just the minimal size booth is 300 sq. ft./27.9m2 and costs $16,000 (this does not include all the extras you need to pay for).

AQUA 13 Art Miami (Miami Beach) December 4 - 8, 2013, cost minimum space of 240 sq. ft./27.9m2 is $6,800 (again there will be extras that are not included).

Miami River Art Fair (Miami, FL)December 5 - 8, 2013, cost of min. 100 sq. ft. booth is $4,500

The above is just an example of the exuberant cost of participating in the most renowned art exhibits. Considering that most small or up and coming art galleries barely make a profit, to participate in these types of venues are out of the question.

As an artist if you want a presence at one of these venue you would have to research one of the galleries that are represented at the venue and try to get them to choose at least one of your pieces.
To read more about galleries and exhibitions check out these articles.

- The gallery scene

- So You want to Open an Art Gallery?

- Ask A Gallery Owner: Why do Galleries Get Such High Commissions?

- The Art of the Business of Art

- Common Misconceptions Artists Have About Galleries

©2013 PaulaSantos

Miami Scope 2013

Please help me get my work seen at SCOPE Miami Beach 2013 this December. It's simple just click "Support Me" above to get started!

This year SCOPE has a new location on Miami Beach, FL which will feature a 70,000 sq.ft. pavilion. Scope will have about 100 International Exhibitors and 15 Breeder Program Galleries.
For more information visit them at: Scope Miami 2013

1000 Ocean Drive
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Free for Platinum VIP card holders
Platinum Preview Gala
Mon | Dec 02 | 5:00PM-8:00PM

Free for VIP cardholders
First View | Tues | $100
General | Wed-Sun | $25
Student | Wed-Sun | $15

Wed | Dec 04 | 11:00AM - 8:00PM
Thur| Dec 05 | 11:00AM - 8:00PM
Fri | Dec 06 | 11:00AM - 8:00PM
Sat | Dec 07 | 11:00AM - 8:00PM
Sun | Dec 08 | 11:00AM - 8:00PM

©2013 PaulaSantos

Do you know all there is to know about Twitter???

Now that I'm blogging on a regular basis I decided to try to figure out how to use twitter. There's a lot of information out there but basically this is what I'm going to try right. Hopefully it will help me out. (thought I'd share and save you the trouble of searching the web)

This article gives great tips on tweeting to be famous. Will have to try it out and see if it works

Here are 15 tips on being successful as a writer on twitter (if you're blogging I consider that as being a writer)

10 favorite Twitter tips and tricks can be found here:

Remember that smiles and kind words are free to give and great to receive.

Thank you for reading this and if you have any helpful tips please share them.

©2013 PaulaSantos

Dinner was delicious but the best part is sharing it with good friends

I have to admit that I love food. And for great Italian food one of my favorites places in Fort Lauderdale is Anthony's Runway 84. The place is always packed and the atmosphere is awesome. So today we went there with another couple that are great friends of ours.

As we sat there being served one delicious plate after another I thought about how wonderful it is to reconnect with old friends. Have a few laughs about the past and present and hope that the future is just as great. That's not to say that we haven't each come across bumps and hurdles throughout the past and present but it means but we choose to give more importance to the good times than the bad. And in life I think that's a hard lesson to learn for we all have scars and bruises from those falls we took, whether they were financial, physical or emotional. Life is not always easy but it's a lot more rewarding when you make a conscious decision to learn from the bad and concentrate on the good. So now I'm sitting at home thinking about how fantastic it is to enjoy not just a great meal but even more important how much fun it is to enjoy being with good friends. Reminiscing about the bad, the good and the ugly. Talking about our future plans, dreams and ambitions and raising our glasses and drinking to good health, good friends and future dreams.

Remember that there is no better therapy than laughing with and enjoying the company of good friends and/or loved ones.

Thank you for reading this and have a wonderful day.

©2013 PaulaSantos

My Beagle and Siberian Husky

We have a chunky beagle by the name of Nemo.

We got him when he was about 3 months old and with old age he just got lazy and put on a few pounds. Still the vet says he's in good health except for a little arthritis. When we first got Nemo as a puppy I would tell people I had a new beagle and they would tell me horror stories about how loud they were and that they would howl all night etc.
Luckily we got the most easy going quiet dog around...well except if he sees a cat or another dog then he goes crazy. And he goes crazy when he sees us with food too!  Although I have a strict rule not to feed him our food. Overall he's one heck of a dog and loves to sleep on my son Noah's bed.

In 2008 we adopted our drama queen from the humane society and her name is Kia.

She's a friendly playful white and brown (more like rust) siberian husky with beautiful blue eyes. It took a while for Nemo to get used to her since she was way too playful for him. But now they get along just fine and she only complains when he takes over her bed.

We are grateful and happy to have them in our lives.
If you're thinking of getting a pet make sure to visit the humane society or
My friend who is a chef and an animal lover also has a small business catering to dog lovers.

Remember that smiles and kind words are free to give and precious to receive.

Thank you for reading this and have a wonderful day.

©2013 PaulaSantos

Being Grateful...

A while back one of my favorite hangouts near my place closed and today I finally decided to treat myself to a little quiet time at another Barnes & Noble. I have to admit that it took me about 20 minutes to drive there compared to the 5 minutes I was used to drive before, but it was worth it. Now don't get me wrong I'm all for technology and I love my ipad and imac and my windows computer but there's something special about actually holding and touching a book. Turning the pages and being able to actually sit there with a whole bunch of books and magazines and take my time in choosing which ones are worth buying while I sip on my Starbuck's cappuccino.

Of course my first stop is always the discount section and I came across this little book on special for $6.98 titled "A Simple Act of Gratitude" by John Kralik. When I started to read it I thought about all the wonderful people that I have come across that have showed me kindness, understanding, friendship and love and it also made me take a minute to wonder about how I can brighten up their day. I thought back to when I was in my twenties and how I was much better at sending thank you notes, remembering to send birthday cards and so forth. Then you have kids and life takes its course and somewhere along the line we don't bother to send birthday cards anymore we rely on facebook and other easy ways to relay our message maybe via voicemail or text message.

The more I read this book the more I thought about examining my life and how I want to live it and what changes I need to make. And like John Kralik I thought that maybe a good place to start was by making a commitment to start appreciating the people around me and showing gratitude for the little  things in life. I know that sometimes just a simple smile from a stranger or a heart felt thank you can make me feel good about myself. And it's easy to dwell on the negative things that happen to us but if we really think about it most of the time we can find something to be grateful for.

From my previous blog entry you know that June was a rough month for us after the mix up in the hospital lab that ended up with my son having to spend a week in the hospital. But thank God he is okay and thank God the hospital took responsibility for their mistake and corrected it and he ended up healthy after all. So even after all that negativity I find myself being thankful. Which makes me want to send a thank you card to the Doctors that worked so hard to fix everything.

I also thought about how I like getting cards or gifts in the mail. Even the smallest unexpected delivery puts me in a good mood. So I decided to try John Kralik's experience for a year and send out 365 thank you cards to family, friends, strangers, neighbors and see what difference it makes in my life for the next 365 days.

I challenge you to take the time to think about what you are thankful for. Or who you need to thank and take that 5 minutes to write a simple heartfelt thank you, put it in an envelope and mail it. It doesn't have to be a fancy card because the important part is the message.

And if nothing else put a smile on your face and thank the barista that makes your coffee, say hello to your grumpy neighbor with a smile on your face, thank the mailman for delivering your mail come rain or shine. And if you believe in a higher power thank God for all the wonderful little things in your life. I'm sure that there are a lot of things and people that you are grateful for.

Remember that smiles and kind words are free to give and precious to receive.

Thank you for reading this and have a wonderful day.

©2013 PaulaSantos

When Medical Labs Screw Up!!!

A medical lab's mistake turned our lives into chaos for the past couple of weeks. As stated in my previous entry my son has Crohn's Disease and it was bad enough that he had to have surgery to remove an abscess at the beginning of May 2013. And we were happy after that since he was on the road to recovery but alas a disturbing call on June 13 brought our world to a standstill. I get a call from his gastroenterologist asking me to bring him to the hospital right away because a culture they took from  his abscess had come back positive for TB (tuberculosis). I was a total wreck knowing that my son was taking Humira and now probably had TB. Needless to say as a teenage boy having to deal with a hospital stay the previous month he was not very happy to find himself being dragged back to the hospital and I can't blame him for that. When we get to the hospital I called the doctor and he met us right away, asked Noah to put on a mask and explained to us the severity of the situation. Within 10 minutes of arriving at the hospital my son has been admitted and was in a room. That same day he has an MRI to determine the damage of the TB and the next morning he has a CT Scan followed by a spinal tap. The day after that they bring him down to Nuclear Science department to have a bone scan and various other tests. ALL these tests come back negative for TB. Every day we meet with various specialists and they are perplexed at the fact that his culture came back positive for TB but all the tests they have run come back Negative. We also had to have my son Adam tested along with ourselves. Our tests came back negative.
Noah's gastroenterologists wanted to leave no stone unturned and it's decided that maybe the TB is in his intestines or colon. They do an endoscopy and colonoscopy along with biopsy to determine if TB is present. At this point an infectious disease specialist, Dr. Reed, that we had consulted comes back and states that he doesn't believe that our son has TB becauses all the tests show he doesn't have the disease but he believes that somehow his specimen got contaminated at the lab by some other persons specimen that had the disease.
Unfortunately at this point the Florida Health Department is involved and unfortunately for my son he is forced to take the TB medication until Dr. Reed can prove that my son's specimen got contaminated at the lab and he doesn't have the disease. He is unable to continue his medication for the disease he does have which is Crohn's and is forced to take the TB meds.
Dr. Reed and his gastroenterologists release my son from the hospital 6 days after he is admitted however we still have to deal with the Florida Health Department who insist my son takes the TB medication until it is proven that his specimen was indeed contaminated. So no matter what other tests this poor child has gone through that prove he does not have the disease he is unable to start back on the medication he should be on for his Crohn's because the state believes he has TB. The Florida Health Department actually has a nurse that comes to the house every day that has to witness him taking his meds (meds he doesn't need!!!). 

We spend Father's day in the hospital with my son... what should have been a happy day is instead a day filled with worries and stress. And for months we had been planning for our 25th wedding anniversary which was a family reunion in Montreal, Canada. But the most pressing matter was getting our son back on his regular medication and off the TB meds. Finally on June 28th we got the call from Dr. Reed stating that he was able to prove to the Health Department that Noah's specimen was indeed contaminated and he could get off the TB meds and back on his regular meds.
It was a wonderful day and we are currently working on getting him back to good health.
Although our big family reunion in Montreal was cancelled at least our daughters managed to get away for a few days to come and celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary on the 25th of June.
Here are some photos from our special day.
Adam and Noah

The Hubby and me.

Having fun in the pool
Noah having fun playing
Celebrating our 25th at Saia in Fort Lauderdale, FL

©2013 PaulaSantos

Crohn's Disease...

I've taken a little hiatus lately from all my online blogs, websites, facebook, basically because I've been dealing with my son's Crohn's disease. My son was diagnosed with crohn's about 3 years ago. The 2 first years were really tough and in March 2012 he ended up developing an abscess and a small fistula. He had to have surgery and spent about 10 days in the hospital. At that point we decided to try Remicade in order to control his crohn's. For a year things were great. Every 2 months he spent the day at the hospital getting his treatment and he led a normal happy life. About 2 months ago he started feeling sick again and at first the doctors thought he had just developed an infection. They put him on antibiotics for a month. Unfortunately that did not help. He had an MRI done and that came back with great results but yet he didn't feel well. It got the the point were he was having a lot of difficulty sitting and walking so we ended up at his doctors office again trying to figure out what was going on. They finally discovered that he had developed another abscess so he had surgery about 2 weeks ago. At the same time we did a lot of testing and we ended up finding out that his body had developed antibodies against the remicade so that is no longer a viable form of treatment. On monday we head back to the doctors for his first treatment of Humira which we hope will help him get healthy again.  Being sick is hard but having a child sick is really the worst feeling in the world. I wish I could protect him and take all this pain away but all I can do is make sure he gets the best treatment and I can give him all my love.
To find out more about Crohn's or to donate to find a cure please visit:

©2013 PaulaSantos

Affordable Logos

I wanted to have a logo for my website and correspondence, business cards etc. Unfortunately at first all the companies I contacted wanted an outrageous amount of money which I could not afford since I'm starting my business on a limited budget. And truthfully I would rather spend the money on supplies such as paint or beads. I did come across and they did have offers to create logos for as little as $5 however the communication with the people selling the logos was a little difficult since they had a hard time expressing themselves in english. I bought 3 different logos from 3 different people and although they were okay it wasn't really what I was looking for. Even after their free revision they still did not understand what I was describing to them. A little more research on my behalf and I ended up purchasing some graphic design software and creating my own logo. So here it is and I hope you all like it.

Let me know what you think...
I will also be adding logo services to my website in the next couple of weeks or so starting at $15 if you need one immediately don't hesitate to contact me.
Have a fabulous day.

©2013 PaulaSantos