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Diana’s Dresses for Humanity II

December 5, 2008 by · Comments Off on Diana’s Dresses for Humanity II 

Pink Suit

Pink Suit


I remember waking early to watch the wedding of Charles and Diana and sadly remember her funeral in 1997. But, I certainly never got to meet her. Vivid memories of her life and times flood back, however, while viewing the Dresses for Humanity II exhibit.

The Lakeland Center, between Tampa and Orlando, is hosting a collection of eighteen outfits worn by Diana, the Princess of Wales, from the time of her wedding to her untimely death.

Maureen Rorech Dunkel, owner of many of the gowns, is "using beautiful things to do beautiful things." She continues the philosophy Diana started by auctioning her dresses at Christie's. Proceeds go the worldwide charities supported by the former Princess.

Pink India Gown

Pink India Gown

The presentation is exquisite, including soft music and lighting which dazzles the eye. "The Pink India Gown" boasts thousands of hand sewn sequins resembling gems and designer, Catherine Walker's loaned a shimmering pearl, sequin and crystal embroidered cream lace confection. Other outfits include elegant tailored suits and sexy sheaths. Photos of Diana accompany each outfit and signage provides an understanding of her interest in humanitarian causes.

The experience is truly moving and emotional for many. I saw visitors with tears and others praying. They appear to feel "the perpetual power of The People's Princess," as they move through the gallery. Sharon Helton, a museum-goer from Tennessee said, "I have no words, it just got to my soul."

Two English ladies, one now living in Lakeland, told me, "We miss her. We feel cheated. She was something very special."

If you're a Di fan or interested in history, fashion or celebrity, the show should not be missed.

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http://www.princessdianadresses.com/
Until December 26, 2008
The Lakeland Center
701 West Lime Street
Lakeland, FL 33815
Monday-Tuesday:
11:00AM–5:00PM
Wednesday-Sunday:
11:00AM–8:00PM
$23, $8 Children 6-12
Children under 6 admitted free
Free parking

Travel Wise Gift Guide

December 2, 2008 by · Comments Off on Travel Wise Gift Guide 

I find gift guides very helpful, so here are my own suggestions for travelers and those interested in sustaining our world. All are available on the Internet, so you save time and gasoline.

1.Olympus Stylus 1030 SW– This compact point and shoot camera works underwater (up to 30′), in the snow and is shockproof. The 10 mega-pixel baby also takes video. Great for outdoor active adventurers. Everyone who sees mine wants one; I ought to be getting a commission from Olympus! I guarantee this gift will please travelers. I love this camera. http://www.olympusamerica.com/cpg_section/cpg_digital.asp

2. Kiva – Give to others through www.kiva.org. You choose an entrepreneur, loan money in $25 increments and then get repaid. Money can then be re-loaned to someone else. These micro-loans change lives. A very well run and reputable organization.

3. Flip Video Mino– a pocket-sized camcorder that records 60 minutes of video. You can attach this to a bike, a helmet, where ever– just think of the fun. Uploads easily to the computer for sharing or connect and watch on TV. Weighs only 6.4 ounces. Very cool. High-definition model also available. www.flipvideo.com

4. World Wildlife Federation gifts- adopt an endangered species or buy a child an unusual stuffed animal (a snow leopard or blue-footed booby) and help save the animals on our planet. www.worldwildlife.org.

5. The Nature Conservancy — plant a tree, rescue a reef, or adapt an acre of forest in the US. To see all the green gift options go to: http://support.nature.org/site/PageServer?pagename=holidaygiving_xx_hgg&autologin=true

6. Global Lost & Found — an E-tracker ID with lifetime registration to stick on your phone, laptop computer or MP3 player. If you lose the item, the person finding it can call a toll-free number and enter the code. A box is shipped to the finder and he/she returns it directly, to GLF for privacy protection. The neat part is the finder receives a cash value gift card and is entered in a chance to win a $1,000 shopping spree. http://www.glfound.com/

7. Compact convertible backpack — Unfold the contents of 10″x 6″x1″ pouch and you’ve got a waterproof backpack. Makes a great day bag or fill with extras you bought along the way. www.travelsmith.com

8. Kindle- Amazon.com’s wireless reading device. Instead of lugging heavy books on your trips, you simply download them onto your 10.3 ounce Kindle. The process is quick and the screen is very readable. The device can hold up to 200 books. Really terrific, I bought one of these for Jay last year.

9. Retriever Luggage Tags — When (sadly, not if) your bags get lost, these bright yellow or green luggage tags invite agents (in eight languages) to remove the itinerary you’ve placed inside, and forward your bag to you while you’re still en route- instead of sending it to your home address. www.magellans.com Very useful on international flights.

10. Travel Magazine subscription — I could suggest many (National Geographic Traveler, Travel & Leisure, Islands and Travelgirl to name a few.) Just pick one and help keep the writers, editors and publishers in business!

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