Firstly, I want to give a huge shout-out to my aunt Alice and uncle Bruce for being the most wonderful hosts once again. I had a fantastic time; it was equal parts fun activities and unadulterated relaxation, which was just what I needed! The weather in south Florida also happened to be perfect the entire time I was there! A little chillier in the morning, but otherwise sunny, blue skies and high 70s during the day.

When we went to the beach my first day, I remarked to Alice how I felt like Dorothy stepping into technicolor Oz. Chicago’s colorful spring and summer seasons have not arrived yet, and it was so refreshing and invigorating to see bright green grass, aquamarine water, and beautiful foliage, like bougainvillea.

I took a nap under the shade (I didn’t tan at all…on purpose) and the feeling of the sea breeze was so wonderful and zen. 

One of my favorite activities included a water boat tour of the Loxahatchee Everglades. We saw a ton of alligators, including some young ones, though this year’s mating season is expected to begin next month!-16

We also saw an iguana (an invasive species), a turtle and a variety of birds including herons and vultures. In addition to the iguana, I learned that Burmese pythons and the snakehead, also know as the “walking catfish”, are other invasive species in the everglades. In fact, if you catch a snakehead, it’s illegal to throw it back into the water; you must kill it! Another interesting fact is that the herons will eat baby alligators, which would never had occurred to me. 

Touring the everglades again also gave me an opportunity to create a “now and then” photo with Alice! 

On my last evening, we went to Boca Raton for a fantastic dinner at Max’s Grille, a very happening restaurant in a very popular area. While we didn’t partake in wearing green, we did celebrate St. Patrick’s Day like some true Irish lasses, with cocktails and a delicious Pinot Noir called Copain, which means “Friend” in French.


Not only was the service excellent (thank you, John!), but I had one of my favorite meals ever. Crab crusted snapper with lyonnaise potatoes, leeks, braised greens, and red pepper vinegar sauce. For dessert, we got berry creme brulée pie, with a sweet (and truthful) message from our server!

Boca made for some great food and people watching! There was a parade of luxury vehicles and women dressed to the nines. Very fun to look at, but I was glad not to be teetering in sky high Louboutins, especially after imbibing.

When I returned to Chicago Sunday morning, I was relieved to see the sun was out and the temperature wasn’t too bitter, but I’ll certainly miss the fresh smell of the ocean breeze and the happy sunshine! I’ll also miss my gracious hosts!

Thank you again, Alice and Bruce. Love you two!




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