Lifestyle Recipe

Classic Hummus

Pasta making

Add a Mediterranean Twist to Your Meal

Cooking with Talia Segal Fidler at The Lodge at Woodloch

Show Notes

Sponsored by the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau

There’s nothing quite like cooking your favorite foods in your own kitchen. If Mediterranean cuisine is on your list, begin with this classic hummus recipe courtesy of Talia Segal Fidler, MS, HHC, AADP, and The Lodge at Woodloch, an award-winning spa destination in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains.

Plain and simple, you are what you eat, according to Talia, a holistic nutritionist, and whole foods chef, and taking charge of what you put in your body begins with non-GMO good wholesome ingredients. This classic hummus recipe has deep roots in the Mediterranean region and is available in grocery stores but the dish is so simple to create, why not try it at home today?

After watching this week’s Featured Chefs from Around the World cooking video, you’ll be able to treat yourself and your family and friends to hummus that’s packed with essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and healthy fat. Yes, the good fat that comes from olive oil, a staple in Mediterranean diets for thousands of years.

classic hummus


Chickpeas, a staple in many Mediterranean kitchens are one of the main ingredients in hummus.

She begins with the Chickpeas (a/k/a Garbanzo Beans), delightful round legumes; Tahini, a creamy sesame paste; and lemon juice, for a dose of vitamin C, soluble fiber, and plant compounds. You can’t go wrong with this combination and particularly when the flavor is enhanced with roasted garlic, high-quality olive oil, toasted pine nuts, spices, and parsley. 

Without a doubt, Talia is the perfect addition to The Lodge at Woodloch team of professional chefs and educators who reinforce the important role of nutrition in disease prevention and healing, and how powerful the mind-body connection is in relation to our eating habits. The lodge’s state-of-the-art Chef’s Kitchen is the perfect stage to watch the cooking and baking demonstrations you’ll enjoy throughout the week as a guest at the lodge.

lemons are high in Vitamin C


Lemons not only add a delightful citrus flavor. They’re high in Vitamin C.

Meet the Chef

Talia’s mission is to empower her clients to take control of their health and improve their eating habits and their well-being by making sustainable changes that will be appropriate to their own individual lifestyles. In her workshops and group lectures, she covers a variety of nutrition-related topics such as food and longevity, seasonal eating, detoxification, foods that fuel, mindful eating, plant-based nutrition, navigating the supermarket, and nutrition for disease prevention. She holds a Master’s of Science degree in Health and Nutrition Education and a Bachelor of Fine Arts and has been teaching art at the JCC of Manhattan for the past 15 years, as well as participating in the wellness and culinary programs. You’ll find her art in galleries and museums throughout the United States.

We hope you’ll incorporate this classic hummus recipe into your diet and reap the benefits a healthy lifestyle can bring. This chef cooking demonstration video is sponsored by the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau. Read more about the visitors bureau here at 



Tahini is ground sesame seeds.

Looking for a getaway spa retreat? Learn more about the myriad of services The Lodge at Woodloch offers and book a visit for you and a friend.


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Travel Mania

Stories of Wanderlust for the Explorer in You

The Best of the Best Travel Books

Author, Karen Gershowitz

Karen Gershowitz, Travel Mania author, travel writer, and photographer

What does Karen Gershowitz do to satisfy her travel bug while air travel isn’t an option? Rather than stay at home dreaming of far-away adventures during the pandemic, she chose to explore hidden treasures closer to home in New York City.

Travel Mania ranks as one of my all-time favorite travel books. Karen’s stories stir and reactivate my sense of adventure. She utilizes her well-tuned storytelling skills to bring her travels to life as she documents her day-to-day encounters while traveling to more than 90 countries.

Karen left home for Europe at age seventeen and since then pursues her constant yearning to journey in search of the unknown. The more you read her detailed accounts, the more you’ll understand how and why her sense of adventure has made each trip an extraordinary learning experience.

Sit back in your favorite chair with Travel Mania as you follow Karen as she circles around the globe from remote areas of Indonesia to Germany and other enthralling locations.

You can order a copy of Travel Mania on using my affiliate link at no additional cost to you.

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Poconos Visitors Numbers Grow

Poconos Visitors Numbers Grow due in part to resorts like The Lodge at Woodloch.

A Playground for Young and Old Alike

There are many reasons why the Poconos visitors numbers continue to grow and 30 million tourists from around the world visit the Pocono Mountains each year. Chris Barrett, Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau President/CEO explains.

“Now more than ever, visitors appreciate the fresh, open-air that the Pocono Mountains has to offer.”

Miles of Exploration Opportunities

As a matter of fact, there are plenty of options for visitors who crave the outdoors. You’ll find a diverse array of terrain surrounded by gentle mountains, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, and woodlands along some of Pennsylvania’s most scenic roads. Explore trails for year-round hiking, rivers, lakes for fishing, ski slopes to challenge you, and spectacular vistas to practice your photography skills.

Whenever you need a vacation or getaway, the Pocono Mountains offers opportunities for winter, spring, summer, and fall activities across a four-county region and more than 2,400 square miles. That’s a breath of fresh air around every corner.

But there’s another reason why the Poconos Mountains draw local, national, and international visitors.

“The Poconos is a great four-season destination within a few hours’ driving distance of major metropolitan areas such as New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington D.C.”

Chris Barrett

Breathtaking caverns surrounded by scenic trails like the Tank Hollow Trail feature rewarding views of the Lehigh River and surrounding landscape. Plan a hike today! (Photos courtesy of the PMVB)

Abundant Lodging to Suit Your Style

You won’t have a difficult time finding lodging to suit your every mood. Whether you’re planning the perfect honeymoon, a solo trip, girlfriends’ getaway, family vacation, or a weekend escape from your hurried lifestyle, you will not be disappointed with your choices. From resorts, hotels, and motels to bed & breakfasts, inns, and cabins, the Poconos stands out with a selection of top-notch places to stay while you play. Begin your search for accommodations here.

The Lodge at Woodloch consistently wins awards. One visit and you’ll understand why guests keep coming back year after year.

Water-Worshippers Delight

“It’s always ‘bathing suit season,’ inside one of the Poconos Mountains indoor waterpark resorts,” according to Chris, so forget planning your vacation around the weather forecast. As the temperatures drop, four all-season waterparks await you at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, America’s largest indoor waterpark; Great Wolf Lodge, Camelback Resort, and Split Rock Resort. Book a fun-filled VACATION using this waterpark link!

History and Culture Abound

Ever wonder who blazed the trails leading through the Pocono Mountains, figuratively speaking?

Long before the region became a popular destination, the area was inhabited by the Delaware, Iroquois, Shawnee, Minisink, Lenape, and Paupack Native Americans. Thanks to The Pennsylvania Historical Marker Program, there are more than 2,000 plaques in the Commonwealth, with over 50 located in the Poconos that highlight significant sights and stories from our region, state, and nation. Be sure to look for the distinctive dark blue signs with gold lettering serve throughout your travels. Click on this link to learn more about the history.

You’ll find delicious favorites and new dishes to try everywhere you turn along the Poconos food and beverage trail.

Dine In/Take Out

When you’ve worked up an appetite or a thirst you can only quench with a frosty mug of craft beer, the Poconos has abundant options for dine-in or take-out breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In an ever-evolving restaurant scene, diners can choose from local farm-to-table fare, sidewalk cafes, pubs, casino dining, multi-ethnic cuisine, and bakeries for a special treat. The Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau (PMVB) can help take the guesswork out of where to dine.

“Some of the main attractions include our year-round outdoor recreation activities, quaint downtowns, renowned resorts, high-quality restaurants, unique events, and the Pocono Beverage Trail.”

Chris Barrett
When it’s time to rekindle your relationship, the Pocono region is brimming with romance.

Suggestion: Order a take-out picnic lunch from Pocono Picnic, LLC, and choose a nature trail for a rejuvenating hike.

Calendar of Events

Chances are you’ll want to round out your trip at one of the Pocono’s upcoming events and festivals. The PMVB will keep you up to date with its calendar of events that run the gamut from NASCAR to the arts and live entertainment. When you’re ready to return home, you’ll leave feeling satisfied and revitalized. But keep in mind, the offerings are plentiful and you’ll need to plan more than one trip to experience all the Poconos offers.

Publisher’s Note:

In less than three years, I covered more than 15 Pocono Mountains destinations. Each town along the main thoroughfares I refer to as the Pocono trail, from the historic Delaware Water Gap to Milford, portrays the Poconos in its own unique way. It’s not a mystery why travel writers like myself return often to cover new accommodations, dining, and events. You won’t be disappointed.

Many thanks to the PMVB for sponsoring The Lodge at Woodloch Featured Chefs from Around the World cooking video.

The Lodge at Woodloch awards are too numerous to mention but in this companion article you’ll find out why it’s a favorite for a relaxing spa retreat.

Sponsored Post

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Lifestyle Recipe

An Authentic Italian Dinner

Pasta 101

In the Kitchen with Stefano Picciocchi, Picciocchi’s Pasta, Clarks Summit, PA

Sponsored By Fidelity Bank, Dunmore, PA

What foods are served in an authentic Italian dinner? Pasta making with Stefano Picciocchi Picciocchi's Pasta gives you the information you need.
Featured Chefs from Around the World, a free service I offer to restaurants and chefs, highlights the culinary accomplishments of some of our finest and most creative cooks. Fidelity Bank, Dunmore, PA, and I teamed up to bring you this Pasta 101 feature with Stefano Picciocchi, Picciocchi’s Pasta. Scroll down to find important links.

What’s An Authentic Italian Dinner?

So you’ve invited guests for dinner. Congratulations. After more than a year of isolation, you’re finally able to share an authentic Italian dinner with some of the important people in your life.

What will you serve?

Pasta reigns as the go-to food in Italy and if you want to treat your friends and family to an authentic Italian dinner, pasta should be at center stage. But not just any pasta. Fresh pasta.

Fresh Pasta Rules!

Yes, forget the pizza for this meal. While pizza ranks high on American tables, you’ll be surprised to learn it’s not AS popular in Italy – at least it’s not as important as pasta.

According to Stefano Picciocchi, founder and owner of Picciocchi’s Pasta, Clarks Summit, PA.,

Throughout Italy, Stefano said, “We, Italians, eat pasta every day. I eat pasta every day.”

Stefano Picciocchi

But Is Pasta Healthy?

Like most other carbs, moderation is the key.

Try fresh pasta if you want to avoid that heavy feeling in your belly, Stefano said.

In fact, he swears by pasta made from simple fresh ingredients without additives as a healthy choice that won’t leave you feeling “stuffed.” Of course, that depends on how much you eat.

Inside Stefano’s Kitchen

In this Featured Chef from Around the World demo, Stefano takes you inside his commercial kitchen for a close-up view of his pasta room, (also known as his “bunker”) where he gives you pasta-making tips. He emigrated from Genoa, Italy, a few years ago and he and his wife, Kristy, set up their pasta business in a busy strip mall in the Abingtons where they offer a dine-in and take-out lunch and dinner menu. Customers can order entrees and side dishes throughout the day. But if you visit the store, I guarantee your mouth will water when you gaze at the selection of prepared lasagna (pesto lasagna caught my attention), pasta, parmigiana, and dessert displayed in the refrigerated section in the front of the store.

Ingredients Make the Difference

Although Stefano was trained to make pasta by hand, he relies on a variety of commercial machines to keep up with the demand for his products. He produces pounds and pounds of pasta every day with varieties that range from linguini to tagliatelle and ravioli. You’ll find his comment about one of my favorite varieties, angel hair, surprising.

Meanwhile, you might wonder if you can capture the flavor and texture commonly associated with handmade pasta with commercial machines. Stefano says, “Yes, you can. However, the ingredients are important.” He’ll demonstrate the process he uses.

Finest of Kitchen Memories

Throughout most of our video interview, his mixing machine was preparing the dough for the outrageously delicious focaccia bread he makes from scratch. I had a chance to sample a slice before he brought a small plate of spaghetti with his 4-Cheese Sauce for me to taste. I was in heaven with fleeting flashbacks from my childhood in my maternal grandmother’s home kitchen. She came to the U.S. from Avellino around 1917 and most of our family gatherings were centered on the homemade pasta she rolled with a broom handle. Fettucine and ravioli were her specialties. You can read more about my love for Italian food and culture in the first edition of my newsletter, “This and That & Whatever Strikes Me.”

Stefano Picciocchi’s spaghetti dressed with a 4-Cheese Sauce. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui

Menu Guide

Kristy Picciocchi took the time to provide you with her guide to a traditional Italian dinner menu that will impress your guests and keep you on course as you plan your dinner.

“This is for a typical Italian dinner,” Kristy said. “All of these items come out one by one, in small portions and in this order. The menu will always stick strictly to either fish or meat.”

Antipasto is the first course of a traditional Italian meal
Begin your Italian meal with an Antipasto brimming with cured meats, olives, pepperoncini, mushrooms, anchovies, various cheeses, pickled meats, and vegetables. Oil and vinegar are most commonly used as a dressing.

What and When to Serve

  • Antipasto
  • Cold Antipasto platter consisting of mixed cold cuts such as prosciutto (cooked Italian ham), prosciutto crudo ( raw cured ham) mortadella, salami, etc, assorted cheeses, marinated vegetables, olives, etc
  • Primo piatto (first plate)
  • Plate of pasta or ravioli with sauce (70-100grams of pasta) 
  • Secondo piatto (Second plate)
  • A piece of chicken (roasted chicken or chicken cutlet) or meat (meatballs, pot roast, steak)
  • Contorno (side dish)
  • Salad or roasted, steamed, or fried vegetables 
  • Dolce (dessert)
  • Fresh fruit, pastries, or cake 
  • Espresso coffee 

What’s on Today’s Menu?

Picciocchi’s Pasta is located at 100 Old Lackawanna Trail, Clarks Summit, PA. Order your next meal by calling 570-319-5167 or visit their website for more information on authentic Italian food you can serve at your next gathering.


Mon – Thur:  9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Fri –  Sat: 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Many thanks to my sponsor, Fidelity Bank, and Stefano and Kristy Picciocchi for sharing their passion for Italian food.

Read more about Fidelity Bank in an exclusive feature.

Stefano Picciocchi and Pasta Making 101 – Featured Chefs from Around the World

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Fidelity Bank

Fidelity Bank gives back to the community

History Rich in Customer Service and Innovative Banking Solutions

Fidelity Bank proud sponsor of the arts and the spotlight on Picciocchi's Pasta

Supporting local individuals, families, and businesses of Northeastern Pennsylvania has been a Fidelity Bank tradition since 1902.

Full-Service Banking

My family opened our first account at Fidelity more than two decades ago and joined the ranks of other longtime customers who appreciate the personalized service and the array of banking products and services this community bank provides. From personal and business checking and savings accounts to a full-service Wealth Management and Mortgage Center, Fidelity has products and services to help you manage your assets remotely or in person.

Fidelity Fact: Fidelity Bank introduced the first drive-through bank window in 1951 and continues to create and implement innovative solutions to make banking more convenient for its customers. 

What are the benefits of banking with Fidelity?

To start, the customer care center serves as a virtual branch that allows access to your accounts seven days a week and 24 hours a day. Throughout the pandemic, Fidelity consistently provided fast, reliable service via telephone, chat, online, and drive-thru banking.

When stopping at your local branch to discuss your needs in person better suits your needs, when COVID protocol allows, Fidelity operates 20 branches throughout Lackawanna, Luzerne, and Northampton Counties and Fidelity Bank Wealth Management Minersville Office in Schuylkill County. Fidelity will add additional offices in the near future.

Fidelity Fact: Fidelity D & D Bancorp, Inc.’s Landmark Bancorp, Inc. acquisition will add an additional 25 retail community banking offices in Northeast and Eastern Pennsylvania.

Are surcharges GETTING TO YOU?

Tired of incurring surcharges when you need to access your account and withdraw cash while you’re on the go? Fidelity has exceeded client expectations by eliminating those fees wherever possible.

Fidelity Fact: Fidelity Bank recently partnered with MoneyPass®, a surcharge-free* network of over 37,000 ATMs located nationwide where you can get cash where and when you need it.

Strengthening Community Ties

Even during the pandemic, when social contact was extremely limited, Fidelity bankers helped to strengthen community ties and make our region a better place to live. In 2020 and 2021, the team donated more than 1,400 hours volunteering in schools and neighborhoods, partnering with local groups, and serving on boards. The “Volunteer Time Off” Program gives employees a block of time during work hours to give back to the community.

Helping Others Thrive

Fidelity’s strong growth in earnings enables the bank to pursue philanthropic contributions of more than $1.5 million over the last four years. Scholarship programs, education initiatives, sponsorships, donations, and in-kind activities benefit local organizations, and Fidelity remains at the forefront of community support.

Fidelity Fact: The bank is committed to “green” business practices since opening the West Scranton branch in 2008.

Fidelity Bank consistently demonstrates its commitment to creating environmentally responsible and resource-efficient buildings and practices and their efforts don’t begin and end with current standards but are reevaluated on a regular basis.

Looking to learn more about Fidelity Bank?

Customer Care Center hours are Mon – Fri: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sat: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sun: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Call 570-342-8281 or 1-800-388-4380 to speak to a Fidelity Bank representative.

This is a Sponsored Post.

Many thanks to Fidelity Bank for its commitment to responsible journalism and blogging practices and for promoting the culinary arts and Featured Chefs from Around the World spotlight on Picciocchi’s Pasta, Clarks Summit, PA.

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Side Hustles

Your Business, Your Way

“So You Want to Start a Side Hustle”

Carrie Bohlig and Craig Clickner Help You Build a Business That Empowers You to Live Your Life, Your Way

Husband-wife entrepreneur team Carrie Bohlig and Craig Clickner teamed up with McGraw Hill to publish an attention-getting guide that will propel you on your way to starting your own Side Hustle.

A side hustle is a job that produces income above and beyond your main job but depending on the nature of your business and how much time and effort you devote, there is the potential for you to earn a substantial income.

“So You Want to Start a Side Hustle: Build a Business that Empowers You to Live Your Life, Your Way” is 2021’s answer to building a business that will bring you extra income and potentially change your lifestyle. If leaving your full-time job is one of your goals, I encourage you to get your hands on a copy.

In times of profound uncertainty, particularly after having more than a year to test drive working from home, chances are you found ways to stay motivated. If you lost your job or you found the shift back to the traditional 9 to 5 workplace daunting, carving a side hustle could be a viable option if you’re willing to move beyond the idea and start-up phases.

The side hustle journey often involves a brush with the unknown and a fear of failure. Don’t let trepidation stand in your way. Carrie and Craig will teach you about Progressive Passive and passive incomes and equip you with the tools you’ll need to define your goals and set up your business for success.

Whether your gig is public speaking or starting a non-profit, take your dreams and ideas and move forward using their accomplishments as a guide.

In their words, “Everything we have built started out as a side hustle or still is. What we share in this book is relevant because we have lived it. It is not theoretical, statistical, or academic, but an authentic testament of our own ordinariness that we hope empowers you. People don’t talk enough about progressive, incremental growth and just how deeply powerful a side hustle approach can be.”

Here are a few of the topics you can expect to find.

  • Why you should elevate WHO you surround yourself with before and while deciding WHAT side hustle you’ll pursue. 
  • Mindset v. Lifeset: what’s the difference, and how does it impact your side hustle success?
  • What is progressive-passive income and how can you create it through a side hustle?
  • You already have a brand but your side hustle needs a brand too.  How to create it.
  • How and why to evaluate business systems, not products, for entrepreneurship success.

You can purchase So You Want to Start a Side Hustle using my link. I highly recommend you read their book and refer to their tips when you encounter roadblocks that could sabotage your business dreams. Expect hurdles. They are inevitable but having mentors helps you overcome bumps in the road.

Learn more about authors, Carrie Bohlig and Craig Clickner on LinkedIn.

If you need additional motivation, read a companion article.

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Bryse Wilson On Baseball and Travel

Bryse Wilson Atlanta Braves Pitcher

When He Learned Baseball Would Be His Future

Atlanta Braves Pitcher Reminisces

“For me, and I’m sure as well as the other guys on the team, I think the mindset coming out of the NLCS (National League Championship Series) was that we proved to all of baseball that we belong and are good enough to compete and make it to the World Series and even win it.”

Bryse Wilson

My “Bryse Wilson On Baseball and Travel” interview with Atlanta Braves pitcher, Bryse Wilson, took shape only days after the NLCS playoff. Scroll down for my exclusive Q & A interview with Bryse as he reminisces about his role in this much-anticipated best-of-seven series, his affinity for hunting and fishing, and of course, travel. We can’t forget about the power travel has on our lives, emotions, and imagination.

Bryse Wilson, Atlanta Braves Pitcher
Bryse Wilson on Baseball and Travel
The opportunity to interview Bryse Wilson couldn’t have come at a better time – only days after the NLCS (National League Championship Series. Many thanks to Mich Faulkner and Jeff Krauss for arranging this interview.

What are his thoughts about baseball, the playoffs, and hunting and fishing? Where does Bryse spend his spare time? The interview begins here and we hope you enjoy learning more about Atlanta Braves pitcher, Bryse Wilson.

Joan: Please give my readers background information including your hometown and evolution into baseball. Where did you grow up? What led you to the Atlanta Braves baseball team? Are you married or single?

Bryse: My name is Bryse Wilson, I grew up in Hillsborough, NC and I have lived there all my life and still do. About a year ago I bought a house right outside of Hillsborough in Timberlake.

I started playing baseball at probably the age of 4 (whenever you start tee ball) and I have played since. Growing up I liked baseball but my real love was football. Around my freshman year of high school is when I learned that baseball was going to be my future. I have a girlfriend that I’ve been dating for about a year now and her name is Rebecca Herring. She is in pharmacy school at the University of Tennessee. 

Bryse doesn’t have a lot of time to travel during the MLB season but in the off-season, he hunts and fishes and spends as much time as possible with his girlfriend, Rebecca Herring, a pharmacy student at the University of Tennessee.
Joan: What impact did the 2020 NLCS have on you? What are a few of the positive aspects of playing in this year’s series?

Bryse: I think the biggest impact that the 2020 NLCS had on me was getting the experience of pitching in the playoffs. As a young pitcher, sometimes that can be a little overwhelming, but I am extremely happy with how I handled it and the outing that I was able to put together. For me, and I’m sure as well as the other guys on the team, I think the mindset coming out of the NLCS was that we proved to all of baseball that we belong and are good enough to compete and make it to the World Series and even win it. 

Joan: How has COVID-19 affected your life and your Atlanta Braves team members?

Bryse: I think the biggest way that COVID affected my teammates and I is just in the everyday aspect of testing every other day, and then every day in the playoffs, all of the protocols at the field that were different, and then the bubble and being isolated from the rest of society.

Bryse Wilson Atlanta Braves Pitcher
He looks to hunting, fishing, and traveling when he’s not playing baseball.
Joan: How did this virus affect your ability to practice and play baseball?

Bryse: I think that overall the season went really well and once we grew accustomed to everything (protocol and testing) we definitely made the best of it.

Joan: What positive impact did this year’s world series have on the world returning to its fascination with baseball?

Bryse: I think the World Series and the competitiveness of the playoffs as a whole gave everybody a sense of normalcy during the pandemic and I think that it probably helped a lot of people out. 

Joan: How has baseball affected your life and your travel opportunities?

Bryse: Baseball has affected my life in so many different ways. I love being able to go to these new places and see the stadiums and explore the cities that they are in. I think the biggest impact that it has had on my life is all of the friendships that I have made and the friendships that will last a lifetime.  

Joan: As a celebrity, what role have you personally played in battling this disease or helping the world recover emotionally?

Bryse: I think the biggest thing that I’ve done is just showing everybody how to prevent becoming infected and the proper protocols that were seen through tv and casting of the games.

Bryse Wilson on one of his fishing adventures.
An avid outdoorsman, Bryse is shown on one of his fishing adventures.
Joan: What will you do the same or differently to prepare for next year’s baseball season?

Bryse: I think I’m going to continue to eat healthily and stay on top of my conditioning. In the past, I’ve done a little bit more traditional lifting in the offseason whereas this offseason I think I’m going to do more of a baseball-specific type of lifting. I’m going to use more technology during my bullpens to help improve my individual pitches and really focus on consistency and command.

Joan: Do you currently endorse products? What type of endorsements fits into your lifestyle? How can you use your name to improve lives?

Bryse: As of now, the only thing that I endorse is my on-field stuff which are Rawlings gloves and Mizuno cleats. Off the field, I would love to be able to have some hunting endorsements. That’s what most of my offseason is. I don’t really travel that much because I hunt for deer and duck all the time. And I feel like I can use my name to help people feel comfortable and be proud of where they come from. I’m from a small town and I absolutely love it. I love every aspect of it and I want to show people that it’s okay to be from small places and to be able to be proud of it.

Joan: Please tell us a few of your hobbies and interests outside of baseball. What do you like to do in your free time? Do you fish or hike?

Bryse: My favorite hobbies outside of baseball are fishing and hunting. I love to do both. Whether is going to the lake to catch catfish or just bass fishing in a local pond I love to fish. As far as hunting I love Whitetail and duck hunting. I have a good group of friends and that’s what we do all offseason. I enjoy shooting skeet too.

Myrtle Beach, SC is a hot vacation spot for celebrity travelers like Bryse Wilson.
Bryse is shown enjoying time off from baseball in Myrtle Beach, SC, with Rebecca Herring.
Joan: What percentage do you travel for the team and leisure travel and when you have spare time while you’re away, how do you spend your time?

Bryse: I would say the vast majority of my travel is with the team during the season. In the offseason, I may take a short 3-4 day trip but other than that all of my time is spent prepping and scouting to hunt and then the actual hunting itself.

Where do MLB celebrities go on vacation? Niagara Falls
Bryse Wilson’s recent Niagara Falls vacation adventure
Joan: How does travel fit into your life and what are a few of your favorite destinations?

Bryse: I don’t do that much traveling but when I do in the offseason I love to go to mountain areas. I really enjoy the North Carolina mountains and I’ve been to Gatlinburg, TN a few times. I went to Myrtle Beach, SC last offseason as well as Gatlinburg. I’ve also been to Niagara Falls and that was pretty cool to see.

Joan: What’s one city and/or country you’ve visited that stands out as pivotal and why?

Bryse: I would say that the one city that I really like the most is Gatlinburg, TN. I like it because when I go it’s usually just me, my brother (Payton), my mom (Tracey), and my dad (Chad). It’s just super relaxing and it’s always a good time for us to spend time together. 

Joan: What travel tips do you want to share with my readers?

Bryse: If I have any travel tips the one that I would give is to really take in as much as you can when you do travel. See and experience everything that you can and take a lot of pictures. I sometimes don’t do that enough, but pictures really remind you and sometimes let you relive those moments when you traveled.

Gatlinburg, TN with an Atlanta Braves pitcher
Family travel is important to Bryse, shown left, with from left, dad, Chad, mom, Tracey and brother Payton during a trip to Gatlinburg, TN.

Follow Bryse on Instagram.

If you enjoyed, Bryse Wilson On Baseball and Travel, read more celebrity travel stories with digital marketing icon, Neil Patel and author, Marcella Nardi.

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This is an affiliate link and if you purchase a hosting plan I will receive a small commission. I only recommend product and services I use and trust.

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Lifestyle music celebrity interview

A Bowie Celebration: Just For One Day!

Mike Garson and Friends Celebrate Bowie

Mike Garson and Friends Celebrate Bowie’s Timeless Style

David Bowie’s Cinematic and Timeless Style

David Bowie lives on in the hearts and memories of his fans and friends. You didn’t need to travel to be a part of the masterpiece concert celebration that honored music legend, David Bowie. Mike Garson, Bowie’s longest-standing band member, and pianist hosted “A Bowie Celebration: Just For One Day!” He also co-produced the event with Stacey Sher, Kerry Brown, and Rolling Live Studios.

The three-hour production dazzled a worldwide audience on Jan. 9, 2021, with a cinematic tribute to the esteemed entertainer who died on Jan. 10, 2016, two days after the release of his twenty-fifth studio solo album, “Blackstar.” Promoters announced Just For One Day! raised more than $40,000 for “Save the Children, an organization that was also the past recipient of Bowie’s fundraising efforts.

Bowie was known for his visual presentation, as well as his significant impact on popular music. His record sales during his lifetime are estimated at over 100 million records worldwide with chart-topping hits like “Rebel Rebel,” “Changes,” and “Let’s Dance.”

Despite the pandemic, Bowie fans were safely united as they watched the virtual three-hour live stream evening performance “at a time when virtually everyone around the world has been apart,” Garson said in an email interview.

Just For One Day: A Bowie Celebration
Mike Garson, Bowie’s longest-running band member, and pianist hosted and co-produced the cinematic “A Bowie Celebration: “Just For One Day!” a live-streamed star-studded event hosted by Rolling Live Studios. Image courtesy of Steve Rose.

“I was supposed to be on tour right now,” Garson added. “Obviously, due to COVID, that wasn’t going to happen this year. But the music needed to be played. The next best idea was an online streaming concert.

Mike Garson

Despite the obstacles the producers encountered while planning the event, diligence and perseverance allowed Garson to extend an invitation to 40 Bowie alumni and another 40 special guests. The performers either worked with Bowie or were deeply influenced by him and the result, Garson said is a “Woodstock of the virtual world.”

“The amount of talent was overwhelming and stunning with each artist bringing their own voice with heartfelt integrity.”

Mike Garson
Corey Glover performs "Young Americans" at the Just For One Day concert honoring David Bowie.
Corey Glover, an American singer, guitarist, and actor, performed “Young Americans,” a hit from Bowie’s ninth studio album released on March 7, 1975, by RCA Records.

Viewers enjoyed a seamless production thanks to technology and Garson’s unfeigned introductions and insights into the endearing relationships Bowie and his alumni shared. Who better to set the stage for this event than Garson who performed 1,000 shows with Bowie in venues around the world?

Some of the artists performed on stage at Hollywood’s The Bourbon Room while others gathered around the globe to perform. You can view the setlist by following this link.

Duran Duran opened the concert with a rendition of “Five Years,” a song David Bowie wrote and recorded in November 1971, and the opening track on the album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders released in 1972. Bernard Fowler and Nandi Bushell closed the show with Heroes, a song from his twelfth studio album released on Oct. 14, 1977, by RCA Records.

American R&B and soul singer-songwriter, musician, record producer, and actress Macy Gray’s distinctive raspy voice offered a personalized rendering to “Changes,” one of Bowie’s best-known songs.

Charlie Sexton’s “Let’s Dance,” Macy Gray, “Changes,” and “Slaughter on 10th Avenue” by Richard Rogers were among the performances that in pre-COVID-19 days would have culminated in standing ovations.

Charlie Sexton is a world-renown musician and vocalist best known for the 1985 solo hit “Beat’s So Lonely.” He also continues to perform as a member of Bob Dylan’s backing band.

Garson’s goals were two-fold: Just For One Day is as much a celebration of Bowie’s music as a means to show gratitude. In Garson’s words,

“Music truly heals and I thank David for his contribution towards that goal.”  

Mike Garson Interview: 2021

Visit Rolling Live Studios to learn more about A Bowie Celebration: Just For One Day.

Watch a live-streamed concert on your new Sony TV.

You can learn to interview. Start here with this post and buy my course.

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Botero Life and Art

Botero is a film directed by Don Millar.

“Lesson For Us All”

An Interview With Botero Film Director Don Millar

Fernando Botero Documentary Colombian artist
Canadian Film Director, Don Millar, eloquently captures the life and times of 88-year-old Colombian-born painter and sculptor, Fernando Botero, shown here. Botero is known for his explosive color palette and exaggerated figures. Millar refers to Botero as a “lesson for us all.” All images courtesy of Hogan Millar Media.

One of the world’s most influential artists is still at work and thriving in his Colombian studio. Botero Life and Art is a review of the 2018 documentary, “Botero,” directed by Canadian film and television director Don Millar and distributed by Corinth Films.

The Vancouver-based director is well known for his documentaries “Oil Slick,” “Full Force,” and “Off The Clock” and in Botero, Millar put his talents to work as a lens-based visual artist to create this in-depth and compelling profile of 88-year-old Colombian-born Fernando Botero, also known as the “Maestro.”

Botero Life and Art is a film review of a documentary directed by Don Millar
The film takes viewers through 10 cities as Millar introduces the works of one of the world’s best-known artists and sculptors. Image courtesy of Hogan Millar Media

The artist’s voluminous signature-style depicts his subjects, most notably people, with large, exaggerated characteristics and explosive color. Botero often used his art to depict political criticism and humor.

What led Millar to feature Botero?

When he was invited as a family guest to Botero’s opening in Beijing he said he didn’t know what to expect.

Millar explained via an email interview, “The experience made me feel I needed to do this film.  The appeal of his work in China – so far away physically and in terms of artistic traditions – blew me away.”

Botero Life and Art
Family, colleagues, curators, and historians contribute stories of their experiences with Botero in this heartwarming documentary. Image courtesy of Hogan Millar Media

Botero was filmed in 10 cities in Colombia, France, China, Italy, Monaco, and the United States.

The easy and courteous way Botero handled the experience was touching, Millar said.

“Here is an old-school gentleman, not unlike my late father.  These two factors inspired me and I didn’t give up.”

Millar leads film-goers behind the scenes as he chronicles a man the art world regards as a profoundly private painter and sculptor. Yet he takes the documentary beyond the scenes and invites you into Botero’s life through interviews with the artist, family, and historians. To hear Botero talk about his many challenges and triumphs is one of the humanizing factors that bring this film to life.

What attracted Millar to Botero’s work?

He enjoys the humor.

“I was not familiar with the influences and thought behind his work until we got into the film, then I came to respect the work in addition to enjoying it,” he said.

As for his life, Millar noted he was drawn to Botero.

“It is amazing to meet someone who has stuck to his own artistic vision through time, conflict and distance.  He’s a lesson for us all.”

Photo of Botero's art image courtesy of Hogan Millar Media
By its very nature, Millar’s documentary encourages viewers to put aside their preconceived notions about art as he presents Botero’s art in his 2018 film. Image courtesy of Hogan Millar Media

Looking for the perfect evening art film, you can watch Botero here.

Many thanks to Don Millar and Corinth Films for inviting me to screen this film.

Inspired by art, read this companion story.

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Lifestyle top

Highliners Pushing the Line

Highliners Pushing the Line

Discovery+ Top Highliners Set Lines and Break Records

Slacklining crew hangs out in the snow
The highlining crew hangs out in the snow. Pushing the Line is streaming now on discovery+.

We all walk a tightrope from time to time, figuratively speaking. So why would anyone intentionally try to navigate a ridged piece of rope that sways and moves? As the interest in extreme sports grows, highliners are pushing the line attempting to cross between two mountain peaks hundreds of feet above the ground. The rope they use is one-inch and thinner than your belt.

Record-Breaking Solo Slackliner

Spencer Seabrooke, a world-class highliner, is among the top slackliners you can follow in an all-new series, “PUSHING THE LINE” that premiered on discovery+ on Sat., June 5, 2021. These adventurous athletes not only live together but also push each other to set lines and break records. Seabrooke holds the world record for the longest free solo slackline.

Spencer Seabrooke highliner world-record holder laughs while enjoying the outdoors.
Remaining calm and focused allows highliners like Spencer Seabrooke to reach new heights and break records.

Highlining Origins

Slacklining is not a new sport. Climbers in Yosemite Valley worked on their balance and stretching with the webbing on their days off as far back as the 1970s. How did Seabrooke learn about the sport? He found highlining intriguing while watching his fellow castmate, Andy Lewis.

He explained,

“I saw a film about his adventures in highlining and that really inspired me to try out the sport,” Seabrooke said.

Who’s most likely to try highlining?

Anybody can highline, Seabrooke said,

“As long as you have the mindset and willingness to try. Slacklining is calm. You really have to be in control of your adrenaline. And I think it attracts those who have a history of doing more dangerous things.” 

Preparing for a slacklining adventure
Spencer and Mia check out the view over the bridge.

Meet the Strength and Endurance Guidelines

What do you need to do to prepare for highlining? The answer is training, according to Seabrooke, and knowing what you can do on the ground before you attempt to walk high in the air. However, knot tying and rigging are the most important part of highlining.

How do you prepare your body and mind for highlining? Perhaps, you’re wondering if there are specific exercises or an established training regimen to get you ready.

“For me, I just like to be calm in my head. I put on some music. It’s visualizing what you’re about to do. That’s a crucial thing for me,” said Seabrooke.

Is Highlining Safe?

As long as you’re using the equipment properly, you maintain focus, and remain calm, Seabrooke said highlining is safe. Compared to other extreme sports like bungee jumping and skydiving that are physically demanding, controlled, and adrenaline-producing, he said highlining requires you to fight the adrenaline rush.

Safety First, Always

Even if one piece of equipment breaks, highliners always have another measure in place to save them from serious bodily injury or death, Seabrooke commented.

“All of the gear that we use is redundant. The equipment that we’re using is all rated for much higher breaking strength than what we’d reach,” he said. “As long as all the equipment is used properly, it’s completely safe. We double and triple-check it on the ground before putting it in the air where we know it’s safe.”

Thrill-seekers who want to try highlining should tune into Season 1 to learn more about the sport. Pushing the Line is streaming now on discovery+.

If you’re looking to join a group dedicated to highlining, Facebook has local community pages that are geared towards this extreme sport.

“One thing about the community is that they’re very inviting and happy to teach others. There isn’t a big market in teaching. Everyone is very happy to help out and share gear.”

Spencer Seabrooke

Love the outdoors? Get fly-fishing tips with my podcast guest, Tom Rosenbauer of Orvis.

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