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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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Lifestyle tacos in West Hartford West Hartford Dining


  • By
  • July 6, 2021

West Hartford Flavor Fusion

bartaco a friendly, hip dining experience
bartaco in West Hartford offers friendly service and its menu incorporates elements of diverse cuisines.

The Best Tacos

Bartaco is a West Hartford, Connecticut hot spot where diners of all ages stop for a cocktail and one of the restaurant’s famous tacos. Your mouth will water when you taste the Baja fish, a tempura-battered cod with a spicy chipotle slaw and the chile-lime shrimp topped with a jicama escabeche and zesty pepita salsa macha. Add the spicy cucumber salad with garlic, rice wine vinegar, and red pepper flakes as a refreshing side dish.

Whether you’re traveling on nearby 1-84 and need a lunch, dinner, or an anytime break in your daily activities, bartaco is conveniently located in the heart of the downtown close to the shops. Parking is available behind the restaurant and there is also limited on-street parking,

Once inside, you’ll feel the welcoming casual dining style with the white-washed interior that’s a perfect blend with the downtown and its upscale shops. The framed photography denotes a nomadic, carefree lifestyle that’s reminiscent of a Friday afternoon where friends gather to celebrate the beach cultures of Brazil, Uruguay, and Southern California.

This West Hartford dining hot spot speaks of the Brazil, Uruguay, and Southern California beach style.
Ordering made convenient at bartaco in West Hartford, CT

The menu selections are indeed light, lively, and laced with a variety of flavors that whisper “street food” and “sophisticated food truck.” Some of the tastes you’ll encounter in the “chopped salad” and the “spicy cucumber salad,” are citrus and mild spices. Order those on days when you want a different spin on vegetables.

bartaco flavor fusion
The bartaco cucumber salad unites tastes from various cuisines. Photo by Manny Vargas. 

bartaco’s kids’ menu is reasonably priced. Some of the choices available are guacamole + chips (not spicy) $6; quesadilla, $2; corn wheels $2; and beef, chicken, and fish tacos $2. A large tray of quesadilla, guac + chips, three tacos, corn wheels, cucumbers, and fruit skewers will feed three kids for $14.

Specialty cocktails, freshly-squeezed juices, (Aguas Frescas, pineapple chicha, ginger grapefruit and pomegranate limonada)  and beer out of a bottle are among the selections on the drink menu.

You can’t beat the bartaco menu, atmosphere, and staff. Click on this link to find bartaco locations in AL, CO, FL, GA, NY, NC, TN, CT, and VA.

Looking for lodging near West Hartford, Avon Old Farms Hotel offers classic New England hospitality. Check out my coverage here or book your stay.

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When Mothers Die

No one could have prepared me for a life without my mother.

When Mothers Die My personal struggles to cope with my mother's death during COVID-19.
90th Birthday Celebration

My mom would absolutely hate these photos but she didn’t like any photos of herself. Sorry, Mom. I miss you and hope you forgive me for sharing them.

Christmas Eve 2019

Despite our ups and downs, as I purged my mother’s belongings this past year, in doing so, discovered that every knick-knack, piece of clothing, jewelry, and memento had a story attached. When Mothers Die is a heartfelt account of my personal struggles in dealing with my mother’s death during COVID-19.

My mother consulted with me before she bought every piece of furniture in her home after 1978. Her tennis racket tucked away in the closet stored memories of our trips to the U.S. Open and hours and hours playing tennis together. Her pots and pans simmered the meals she cooked for my children. Her golf clubs…I never played golf but I know she tried the sport and had hoped to play again in the future. Mom’s basketball stories of why my grandfather wouldn’t allow her to play high school basketball (the skirts were too short). The tap shoes I found stored in a basement closet are now safely in my home waiting for me to take my first class. I guess you can say that at least at times, we danced to the same tune.

They are all reminders of the degree to which she was a part of my life. We shared a few common traits, the ability to read people and a knack for constant worrying. She was a habitual worrier who thought about every twist in the road before she made a decision.

Throughout my childhood and until the day she died, my mom was with me through the best and worst of times and now she is forever in my heart.

If only we knew the emotional pain that comes with losing a mother, we would probably resolve to spend more time together, particularly when we know the end is near.

My mother died during the pandemic but not from COVID, or maybe she was a casualty of the isolation caused by this wretched virus. I know the worry took a toll on her emotional health. And the risk of transmitting this virus to a 94-year-old woman was nothing less than terrifying. I’m not sure in the long run I would go to such great lengths to protect her if had I known she was in her final days. But as they say, hindsight is 20/20.

Only recently have I begun to come to terms, at least in part, with the circumstances surrounding her death. The opportunity to spend her last days with her was taken from me because of hospital regulations, despite exceptions in place for families of elderly terminally ill patients. That’s another story. I was finally allowed to see her eight days after she was admitted but by then, she was slipping away and rightly so, angry and scared. She felt betrayed that she was left alone in the hospital to suffer.

On a happier note, to this day, I describe my mother as timeless and not because she lived into her nineties but because she pushed herself to be independent until the day she was admitted to the hospital. My mother gave new meaning to the word, “determined.”

While sorting through boxes, I found a box that contained every article I wrote for newspapers and magazines. There are more than 1,200 news clips and she saved every one of them in the hopes that one day I would understand she was proud of me.

As we arrived today at the first anniversary of her death, I’ve made some strides on the path to a life without my mother although she will always be there coaching me from above. Clearing her personal belongings has been a sorrowful task for me but also a reminder of how much we meant to each other. Maybe she’s next to me but there is no question that she is guiding me to succeed and carry on family traditions.

Takeaway: Honor your mother’s wishes as best you can and you will forever keep her memory alive.

Read my article about finding peace in 2021.

Are you dealing with loss? Here are some recommendations from

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Lifestyle Product Review

Pixel Eyewear

Combat Eyestrain with Breakthrough Lens Technology

Ian Chen, Pixel Eyewear Founder Combats Blue-Light Eye Fatigue with Stylish Protection

Pixel Eyewear Founder Ian Chen
Ian Chen created Pixel Eyewear after spending long hours in front of his computer. His eyewear features breakthrough lens technology that filter 50 percent of blue light and up to 95 percent at the strongest wavelengths.

When you spend most of your workday staring at your electronic devices, your eyes pay a price. Thanks to Ian Chen, Pixel Eyewear founder, and owner, there are glasses you can wear created with breakthrough lens technology that filters 50 percent of blue light and up to 95 percent at the strongest wavelengths. These high-quality blue light filtering glasses protect your eyes from prolonged exposure to screens without the yellow tint.

How to Eliminate Eye Strain Caused by Blue Light

Chen started his company to solve a personal issue he experienced when he routinely stared at his screen for more than 10 hours a day. At the end of each day, he walked away from his computer with horrible eye strain and headaches. When he couldn’t find what he was looking for, he created his own eyewear.

Chen said,

“There wasn’t anything available on the market so I decided to make it myself. The goal was to create both a stylish yet functional pair of glasses that I would enjoy wearing every day that helped with my eye strain.”

Ian Chen via email
Pixel Eyewear safeguards your eyes and is essential gear for travel writers and journalists
Venture outdoors knowing your eyes are protected from damaging ultraviolet rays. Pixel Eyewear is comfortable and stylish. I’m wearing “Buteo” available in sunglasses and computer glasses.

Pixel Eyewear Benefits

Thanks to Chen, you can go about your business and finish your projects with significantly less eye strain, even on those days when your screen time increases due to an increased workload. Pixel Eyewear blocks blue light, eliminates glare, blocks UV light, resists scratches, fingerprints, and smudges; repels water, liquids, dust, and particles, and reduces color and image distortion.

Worried about your kids’ eyes? In today’s world, virtual learning combined with gaming can cause tired eyes. Kids are no exception. Pixel offers protective eyewear for men, women, and CHILDREN with styles that will get your son or daughter excited about wearing glasses. His kids’ line features colorful options with trendy names like Cotton Candy, Sky Crystal, and Indigo Blue.

Polarized Sunglasses for Fly Fishing

Pixel Eyewear also stocks a fantastic selection of premium polarized sunglasses that are perfect for outdoor activities like fly fishing and hiking. Why do you need protective eyewear when you’re fishing?

Protect your eyes against damaging ultraviolet rays while wearing these fashionable frames from Pixel Eyewear. The premium polarized sunglasses are perfect for fly fishing and other outdoor activities. The frames sit comfortably on your nose. You’ll forget you’re wearing them.

Sunglasses protect your eyes from damaging UV Rays and glare, deflect flies and lures away from your eyes, and allow you to spot and track trout by blocking reflected light. Pixel has 13 different styles to choose from so you can look great while you safeguard your precious eyes.

Check out the styles in prescription and non-prescription glasses using this link.

Disclaimer: I will receive a small commission if you buy Pixel Eyewear at no additional cost to you.

Listen to my Everything, Everywhere, Travel Podcast episode with Orvis expert angler, Tom Rosenbauer and get fly fishing and travel tips.

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Book Review Lifestyle

Your Purpose-Oriented Adventure

By Rabbi Tuvia Teldon, author of Eight Paths of Purpose

How to Add Purpose to Your Next Trip

True or False? We all have the ability to make the world a better place each and every day.
By Rabbi Tuvia Teldon, author of Eight Paths of Purpose
“Whether we know it or not, we all have the ability to make the world a better place each and every day. As human beings that is simply how we are hard-wired,” Rabbi Tuvia Teldon.  

If your answer is “true,” you and Rabbi Tuvia Teldon share a common thread. He was born into a family that loved to travel. As a result, he caught the bug at a very young age. But traveling is more than the opportunity to have fun. In his guest post, “Your Purpose-Oriented Adventure,” Rabbi Teldon explains how even the most ordinary actions can make the world a better place by fulfilling our unique purpose in life. He is executive director of 34 Chabad centers on Long Island, NY where he is intent on improving the world by focusing on the most ordinary actions. Even our small or mundane intentions can collectively make a big difference over time.

Your Purpose-Oriented Adventure

By Rabbi Tuvia Teldon, author of Eight Paths of Purpose

By the time I was 20, I had traveled to 25 countries and 30 states. But when I reviewed what I got out of my journeys, all I could say was that it was fun and educational. I felt like it was great for my eyes and my brain, but didn’t feel like I had really accomplished anything for my heart or soul. 

Now, many years later, I feel that life’s many varied adventures, whether close to home or far away, should accomplish some purpose. But how does one combine travel and purpose? Most people take lots of photos and observe their surroundings, interact to some degree, but don’t really look at themselves as fulfilling any purpose when they travel.  

Your Purpose-Oriented Adventure
Rabbi Tuvia Teldon, author of Eight Paths of Purpose and executive director of 34 Chabad centers on Long Island, New York

Sure, there are many travel opportunities to visit distant villages in Africa to help them access water, or build a house for a homeless family in India. But that is a little too much ‘purpose’ for my taste. I still want to have fun when I travel. 

So, I thought, how about if we turn our adventure into a ‘purpose’ adventure. What would that look like? Let’s start by asking ourselves a question: How many times a week, in our ongoing activities, do we see situations that call our name? We are in the right place at the right time to help someone, reach out to a child, help an elderly person across the street or pay forward for someone to get a free toll. Unfortunately, many in our society feel very uncomfortable doing any of these kinds of gestures. It’s corny, politically incorrect, unappreciated, or any of a number of adjectives that we can use as excuses. 

What if we got rid of all of those inhibitions while we travel, and we just put our better side forward without the normal obstacles that stand in our way? What if we gave an American dollar to every beggar we passed, or started up a conversation with a local who is standing next to the fountain in Centro? What if we asked a small child what gift they would like and then bought it for them, or paid a restaurant bill for a young couple on the next table?

In other words, what if we really left our imprint, in some small or large way, on the places we go to tour. Instead of seeing their lives through the eyes of our cell phone, try interacting with the locals. And I don’t mean to just converse and exchange cultural niceties, but to really do something that will leave an impression on them, maybe even change their life. It may mean having to go out of our way to do something meaningful, but I have a feeling that will be the one activity you will best remember after the trip is long over.

Who knows, perhaps once you live a day, or a week, without those inhibitions, you will come home and realize that you like the person you were there more than the person you are at home. It could become contagious. That is because we all inherently want to connect to a sense of purpose. In my book, Eight Paths of Purpose, I explain how living a life of purpose, even in the small matters of life, gives us such a sense of inner happiness. Perhaps your travels could be the entry point for you to discover your purpose as well.

Do you find music calms your anxiety? Listen to a Mozart Aria performed by an international opera singer, Heather Schmid.

Use meditation as a means to get in touch with your purpose.

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healthy Lifestyle

Woosh Beauty: Makeup Simplified

The Fold-Out Face by Woosh Beauty

The Fold Out® Face

WOOSH BEAUTY founder, Andrea Abraham: Easy, Supportive Solutions for Beauty (and Life)

What? Are you asking me to model your makeup?

As confident as I am about my middle-aged skin, aging skin has its issues. Dark spots, rosacea, dry patches, and yes, occasional breakouts can appear all at once. Fortunately, I found my perfect shades and look with a makeup line that’s a gift to the beauty industry.

Trying to find the best fit for your skin tone, age, and lifestyle in a sea of cosmetic options takes considerable money and time, and quite frankly, with a busy lifestyle, most days I want to be out the door in a flash.

Knowing there must be tons of other women like her looking for simpler ways to help them get their faces on, WOOSH BEAUTY founder Andrea Abraham focused on creating a palette that puts everything you need in one place. She also designed the applicator tools that “help you get things done faster, easier, and better.”

The Fold-Out Face by Woosh Beauty
Imagine having all your makeup in one convenient fold-out kit. Andrea Abraham created The Fold-Out Face Palette in five palettes.

The Fold Out Face® Palette, the only all-in-one fold-out case with a built-in mirror, is the answer to your makeup needs. The palette contains 13 cosmetics to help you create the look you want, cut the clutter, and spend less time in front of your mirror.

Abraham, a self-proclaimed makeup junkie, confessed,

“I myself have always been a beauty junkie, buying and trying (and hoarding) all kinds of beauty products stuffed into every inch of space in my vanity… while dichotomously seeking a more streamlined approach to what needed to be done every morning.”

Andrea Abraham Woosh Beauty
Andrea Abraham, Woosh Beauty founder created her company to give women an easy, simplified way to apply makeup from eye shadows to lip gloss.

Who wants a heavy foundation that feels like old-fashioned pancake makeup? WOOSH makeup products are lightweight with an air-brushed look that enhances your skin.

Not sure what palette you should buy? Abraham created five palettes for the fairest skin to deep tones for our girlfriends with ebony skin. Each kit includes:

  • Four Wet/Dry Eye Shadows (One is a Base)
  • Two Perfector to Hide Blemishes and Dark Circles
  • One of Each Light and Dark Contouring Powder
  • Two Blushers to Use Separately or Blended Together
  • Two Shades of Foundation Powder to Give You an Air-Brushed Look
  • Shimmery Highlighter to Add the Finishing Touch

Makeup Fact: WOOSH BEAUTY’S mineral formulas are perfect for any age and skin tone. But you’ll also be happy to know they are cruelty-free, derm-tested, free from sulfates, paraben, and gluten, and FRAGRANCE-FREE.

Woosh Beauty Makeup Tools
Create a flawless look with versatile makeup tools.

Creating a beauty company doesn’t come without its challenges. Abraham soon discovered explaining her design concept to the men who work in the “beauty” spaces at her suppliers and manufacturers took more time and effort than she anticipated.

“Something I didn’t bank on was the time and effort it would take to try and explain product ideas to these men who clearly don’t wear makeup,” she said. “To tell them why the tools needed to be just so with this particular angle or why the palette needed to be laid out just like this…I have a sneaking suspicion that if I had been speaking to more female engineers and manufacturers, a lot of time would have been saved.” 

Abraham built her brand to support women’s needs with a mantra that says it all. In a nutshell, she believes life is complicated enough, makeup doesn’t have to be. At a time in our culture where it feels like beauty is more complicated, more confusing, more competitive, more, more, more she is focusing on less.

“One palette and a few unique tools are all you really need to look and feel great. I hope people think of Woosh as a brand that offers easy, supportive solutions for when beauty (and life) feel overwhelming. We’ve got your back!”

Makeup Tip: The blender shades have you covered as a foundation and finishing powder that you won’t know you’re wearing.

Looking for more makeup tips?

I applied my makeup using The Secret Brush, a 4-in-1 nesting brush that makes application a BREEZE. It’s perfect for every day and travel.

Makeup should complement your age, skin tone, and lifestyle. A heavy foundation only enhances fine lines and wrinkles. Rather than hide your beautiful face behind layers of products, aim for a lightweight airbrushed look.
“You don’t look like you’re wearing makeup,” “What kind of makeup are you using?” and “You look fabulous” are among the compliments I’ve received since I began using Woosh Beauty products. I’m wearing #2.5 Medium Tan and the Spin-On Lip Gloss.

Not sure how to get the look you want? Step-by-step instructions are included with each palette. Stay tuned for my makeup tutorial where I’ll show you how I applied Woosh Beauty products.

If you love what you’ve seen in this review and you’d like to order The Fold Out® Face, click HERE to check out the selection.

Keep your skin in tip-top shape. Get DIY recipes to keep your skin glowing. Try recipes from The Lodge at Woodloch. Book a spa retreat at the Lodge at Woodloch.

Protect your skin. Wear a hat. Choose from a wide selection of Wallaroo Hats. Read my review. .

Disclaimer: One or more of the links on this page is an affiliate link. Please note I only promote products I use and trust and if you buy a product I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

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Lifestyle top

After Antarctica

After Antarctica

Tasha Van Zandt Dedicated Storyteller

Filmmaking an Expedition of Its Own

What motivated Tasha Van Zandt, director, cinematographer, photojournalist, and Emmy-nominated producer to direct the adventure thriller, “AFTER ANTARCTICA?”

Tasha Van Zandt
Tasha Van Zandt, “After Antarctica” director

“Growing up in Minnesota, Will Steger was a hometown hero, and I remember reading of his expeditions in National Geographic magazine and seeing photos of expeditions across both poles,” Tasha said (via an email interview).

Will’s work had a tremendous impact on her path and inspired Tasha to use her lens as a tool to bring awareness to our need to protect our natural world.

AFTER ANTARCTICA is a feature-length cinematic memoir and a wilderness thriller that documents Will’s 1989 trek across Antarctica and his solo Arctic expedition 30 years later at age 75. The documentary is interlaced with Will’s memories of the triumphs and obstacles he and his team faced as he recounts his journey across the frozen continent.

Over the years, she began working with National Geographic leading educational expeditions around the world and when Tasha eventually met Will after a talk he gave, they immediately connected. What was their common thread? A shared fascination with our polar regions.

Will Steger, explorer
Will Steger and his team of six explorers and scientists journeyed across Antarctica 1989-1990. Photo by Tasha Van Zandt

AFTER ANTARCTICA is a film for all who crave adventure and anyone who shares a concern for the environment and the preservation of our natural resources. You will, at times, find yourself perched at the edge of your seat as you witness the danger Will and his team of six explorers and scientists encountered as they journeyed across Antarctica. But the film is also a sobering glimpse at Antarctica’s rapidly changing climate and their mission as the first humans to cross Antarctica by dog-sled was to draw attention to climate issues and to convince world leaders to renew the Antarctic Treaty. The treaty protects the frozen continent from industrial profiteers for the next 50 years.

I am pleased to present excerpts from our interview and I encourage you to keep this documentary on your radar. Tasha is no stranger to world travel and her career has taken her around the globe and across all seven contents as she personifies the true meaning of documentarian and itinerant explorer.

The team of explorers and scientists who crossed Antarctica
The explorer team at the completion of their trek across Antarctica. Photo by Per Breiehagen


What do you believe was your greatest challenge while working on AFTER ANTARCTICA?

The greatest challenge was that as a small film crew of only two people throughout the production portion of the filming process we had to each take on many roles to be able to capture Will’s journeys. When filming in very remote locations there is so much pre-production work that must be done in order to ensure you are prepared, much like with any expedition. There were also the logistical challenges of reaching such remote locations, as the only way to reach parts of the Arctic is via bush plane, and one of the only methods of reaching Antarctica is by ship over the Drake Passage from South America so there was a great deal of planning and research that went into the filming of the film.

“I felt my path had been bringing me to be able to share Will’s story. Along with my fellow producer Sebastian Zeck, we then began working on the project that would eventually become ‘AFTER ANTARCTICA.”

Tasha Van Zandt

To what extent were you involved in the on-location filming?

The majority of the film was documented as just a two-person team with myself as the director, producer, and cinematographer, and Sebastian Zeck as producer and director of photography. Together alongside Will Steger, we traveled to Will Steger’s off-the-grid homestead numerous times to film, as well as  traveling to both the Arctic and to Antarctica. To be such a close-knit team really made for a special experience together with Will.

As a film director, what is your primary focus?

I’m dedicated and passionate about telling stories of the power of collective action and perseverance throughout my work. I strongly believe that the more personal the story, the more personally people can connect to the message at hand, and I’m driven to telling stories that can inspire people to push beyond boundaries and come together to effect change.

What do you believe are three common traits shared by all film directors and cinematographers?

For myself, I think that perseverance, determination, and curiosity for the world around us are all incredibly important traits to be able to endure through the journey of filmmaking and tell impactful stories. In so many ways, the journey of filmmaking is an expedition of its own, and it’s so important to keep your eyes on the North Star of the importance of the story you are telling to help guide you along the way.

Antarctica Treaty
Tasha filmed the documentary at Will’s off-the-grid homestead and on both poles.
Will Steger – Photo by Tasha Van Zandt

What criteria do you use when you are determining if a film project is a good fit?

Filmmaking in so many ways can be such an expedition of its own, so for me, it’s so important to tell stories that I believe can inspire action and change around the audience and drive me to explore the realm of storytelling in a new way. The most important first step for me is to feel personally inspired and moved by the project and if it feels like a story that can inspire me to evolve my own path as an individual in some way, and I felt that fully in meeting Will and wanting to be able to share his story.

Please define cross-media projects and give some examples of your work in that genre.

As a multidisciplinary artist, I work in many mediums, including still photography and cinematography, but across all of my work, I’m a storyteller at heart and use a variety of tools to bring these stories to life.

From a travel perspective, what are three of your favorite destinations and why do they rank high on your list?

My favorite place I have traveled to is traveling back to Antarctica with Will Steger as that had been a lifelong dream of mine to one day go to the continent that is one of the most pristine, beautiful, and otherworldly places I have ever seen. But as Will Steger says “a melted drop in Antarctica ripples throughout the rest of the world”, and to see such a wondrous place that holds such importance for our world had a strong impact on me. Also, I would say our travels with Will to the Arctic were so beautiful to be able to see the life and wonder that the landscape holds. Both parts of the world hold so much importance for the changes we are beginning to see on our planet and it’s powerful to see firsthand these places that are so quickly changing. Iceland is another place that holds a special place in my heart as it’s a place where the power of our natural world is on full display – but there are still so many places I still would love to be able to explore!

In addition to your role as director, I’ve read you also lead expeditions for National Geographic. What are a few of the expeditions and do they typically help you scout new projects?

Over the years I have worked with National Geographic leading student expeditions around the world as a filmmaking and photography instructor, in places such as Tanzania, Australia, Japan, and Iceland which has been such an incredible experience to be able to help share with others about the power of storytelling.

What’s next on your film agenda? What are you working on now?

We’re currently in the process of preparing to bring our impact campaign to life for AFTER ANTARCTICA and are excited to begin development on several new projects!

Looking for more stories about documentaries directed by women? Read the Peace Corps Documentary story.

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gluten-free cooking Lifestyle

How To Get Back on Your Feet

How To Get Back on Your Feet

When Life Knocks You Down

When life’s hurdles get in your way, come back to read Eric Power’s tips to help you get back on your feet.

By Eric Power


Eric Power, Veterans Disability Help, and his newly released book, “Don’t Shoot Your Future Self” have been featured in 360 Magazine, KCEN-TV, Authority Magazine/, MSN, KHOU 11, WGRZ, Sirius XM Radio, and other media outlets.

Eric leads the way in helping veterans with their VA disability benefits as the Veterans Disability Help, LLC owner and operator. He has served more than 2,500 veterans since he incorporated his business in March 2015, and he has redirected over 2.1 MILLION dollars a month from the VA back to the veterans in VA Disability Benefits. Veterans Disability Help is a professional firm with a team of dedicated individuals for veterans and their families in need of VA disability assistance.

Learn to meditate or take time to be quiet
Learn to meditate and breathe through life’s problems.

How To Get Back on Your Feet When Life Knocks You Down inspires and drives home the point that you CAN get past the roadblocks. Follow these tips every day of your life to reap the rewards of a positive outlook.

  1. Actively remind yourself you are capable. One of the biggest challenges,
    when faced with life’s obstacles, is fear. The fear that you are not capable can
    consume some and is the driving factor in the loss of motivation. Next time you
    begin to find yourself worried about your ability to face the challenge in front of
    you, remind yourself of the challenges that have come before that you
    conquered. Remind yourself of the powerful person you are because if you
    can’t be in your own corner, who can.
  2. Figure out what can be done now. Don’t let the challenge hold you hostage.
    You may not be able to move past it all at once. Maybe it’s too large of an
    emotional burden to get over in a day, or maybe finding a new job will take
    time. Don’t let the amount of time it may take stop you from acting today.
  3. Seek Support. No man or woman is an island. There is no amount of work,
    effort, or aid that you can produce that is greater than that of many. Just as you
    need to believe in yourself, you need to find others to reinforce and support
    that belief. The big challenges in life will require you to find support.
  4. Reinforce success. We’ve all heard the expression, “Rome was not built in a
    day.” So to your biggest challenges may not be solvable in a day. While we are
    not all blessed with patience, rewarding yourself when you are on the right path
    and doubling down on activities or actions that reinforce your success will
    strengthen your resolve.
  5. Forgive yourself. The unspoken pain of most of life’s big challenges is guilt.
    The guilt that you are not performing or able. The guilt that you may deserve
    this challenge. The guilt will only serve to further isolate you in your challenge
    and will get in the way of any support you may seek. Forgiving yourself opens
    the door for others to do the same. As I’ve often said, “Don’t Shoot Your Future Self.”
Nature heals. If possible, spend time outdoors.
Nature heals. If possible, spend some time outdoors.

For More Information, visit: |

Publisher’s Note:

Many thanks to Eric Power for his informative tips and positive thoughts that will get us through the many challenges we face in the world and in our lives.

Gain peace of mind through relaxation. Meditation helps. Devote five to 15 minutes per day to meditation.

Check out the array of relaxation products and services available through Amazon.

Disclosure: One or more links on this page are affiliate links. If you purchase an item I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

If you find value in How to Get Back on Your Feet, check out more tips and techniques.

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Lifestyle Recipe

Saffron Scallops and Duck Breast Recipes

Seared Saffron Scallops and Duck Breast with Huli-Huli Sauce

The Eagles Mere Inn

Eagles Mere, Pa

Refried Beans Kosher Style with Quesadilla by Deep Flavors cookbook author Ken Horwitz
Chefs Creations Logo Design by Joan Mead-Matsui. Copyright 2021.

In this week’s Featured Chefs from Around the World video, watch Gregory McCarty, the Eagles Mere Inn chef, as he prepares two recipes: mouthwatering Seared Saffron Scallops and a Succulent Duck Breast with Huli-Huli Sauce.

Come to the historic Eagles Mere Inn and you are guaranteed outstanding lodging and a fabulous meal. Chef Greg, a Northeastern Pennsylvania native, discovered his passion for food and pursued an education at the Culinary Institute of America. After you watch the video and you’re ready to try the recipes in your kitchen, scroll down the page where you’ll find the ingredient lists and instructions.

Chef Greg has shared his talents with numerous restaurants in the greater Pittsburgh area but upon his return to the Endless Mountains, his career led him to the Eagles Mere Country Club. Thirteen years later, Chef Greg brought his culinary wisdom to the Eagles Mere Inn. When he is not in the kitchen creating sumptuous meals for the inn’s guests, he can be found riding his motorcycle or enjoying the outdoors with his wife, JoAnn, and daughter, Reagan.

In his kitchen at the inn, Chef Greg prepares a variety of entrees to suit every palate. Guests can choose from three onsite dining options: fine dining in “The 1887,” tapas, a small plate menu, burgers, salads, and artisan sandwiches at “AC Little’s Drinkery,” and the “On the Rocks Patio” open seasonally, May through October. View a sample menu.

Don’t forget to share this video with your family and friends.

Chef Greg McCarty of the Eagles Mere Inn prepares Pan Seared Saffron Scallops and Duck Breast with Huli-Huli Sauce.
Huli Huli Sauce


1 cup pineapple chunks

2 cup brown sugar

1 cup pineapple juice

1 ½ cup ketchup

1 ½ cup soy sauce

1 2/3 cup chicken stock

2 tablespoons fresh garlic

2 tablespoons fresh ginger


  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender
  2. Blend until smooth
Pickled Red Onion


2 whole red onions

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar


  1. Peel and julienne red onions
  2. Add onion to a pot with vinegar and sugar
  3. Cook onions over medium heat for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally
  4. Cool and serve
Balsamic Spheres


2/3 cup balsamic vinegar

2 grams Agar Agar

3 cups olive oil (cold)

1 eyedropper or syringe


  1. Add Agar Agar and vinegar to a small sauce pot
  2. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat, allow to cool for 1 minute
  3. Using eyedropper, drop small amounts of vinegar mixture into cold oil
  4. Repeat to use all of vinegar mixture
  5. Strain olive oil and rinse the remaining balsamic spheres under water
  6. Use as a garnish
Cous cous pilaf


1 cup Israel tricolored cous cous

2 cup water

2 stalk celery (diced)

2 whole carrots (diced)

1 green bell pepper (diced)

1 red bell pepper (diced)

1 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon dill

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Sauté cous cous in a pot for 1 minute; add water and bring to boil before reducing to a simmer, covering, allowing it to cook for 10 minutes
  2. Drain cous cous in a colander
  3. Dice all vegetables and add to a bowl; add cous cous along with herbs and oil
  4. Serve warm or cold
Smoked tomato butter


2 medium tomatoes (cored)

½ cup apple cider vinegar

1 cup tomato juice

1 dash tabasco sauce

1 stick butter (cut in 8 pieces)

Smoking chips (apple, mesquite, or hickory)

Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Wash and core tomatoes
  2. Soak wood chips in a bowl of water for 20 minutes and drain
  3. Add chips to a smoker and set heat to medium of 130 °
  4. Smoke tomatoes for 40 minutes adding more chips if needed
  5. Remove tomatoes and add to a pot with apple cider vinegar; add tomato juice and tabasco and cook over medium heat to simmer
  6. Using an immersion blender, bled tomatoes in pot; add butter pieces one at a time while blending until smooth
  7. Add salt and pepper
Beet Purée


2 whole beets

1 tablespoon xanthan gum

4 cups water

Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Using gloves, peel and rough-cut beets; add to a pot with water
  2. Boil beets on high for 35 minutes (more water may be needed)
  3. Remove beets from water and add to a blender with a half cup of boiling water
  4. Add xanthan gum and salt and pepper
  5. Purée for 3 minutes 
  6. Soak wood chips in a bowl of water for 20 minutes and drain
  7. Add chips to a smoker and set heat to medium of 130 °
  8. Smoke tomatoes for 40 minutes adding more chips if needed
  9. Remove tomatoes and add to a pot with apple cider vinegar; add tomato juice and tabasco and cook over medium heat to simmer
  10. Using an immersion blender, blend tomatoes in the pot; add butter pieces one at a time while blending until smooth
  11. Add salt and pepper

Are you in need of a getaway? Book a stay at the Eagles Mere Inn and experience the beauty of Sullivan County and the upper Allegheny Mountains. Eagles Mere is home to a scenic lake and three museums but also set aside time for outdoor activity on the nearby nature and hiking trails. Contact the innkeeper to book your much-needed escape or for more information about Eagles Mere.

Visit the Eagles Mere Inn website.

Many thanks to Chef Greg for sharing his recipes.

You need pots and pans and cooking gadgets to create these recipes. Find the perfect kitchen supplies on Amazon.

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Raising Awareness Through Wildlife Photography

  • By
  • May 7, 2021
Wildlife Conservation Photography

Laura Crawford Williams: Wildlife and Conservation Advocate

“Wildlife in Wild Lands: Photography for Conservation in Southern South America”


Wildlife Photographers Raising Awareness
Wildlife Photographer Laura Crawford Williams utilizes her skills to bring awareness to wildlife conservation. 

An Interview With Laura Crawford Williams, award-winning professional wildlife photographer 

Laura Crawford Williams has served as an advocate for wildlife and conservation for 18 years. She won national and international awards as she has established a reputation for beautiful to impactful photography. You can see her collection of photographs in “Wildlife in Wild Lands Photography for Conservation in Southern South America”
By Laura Crawford Williams in cooperation with Fundación Parques Nacionales de Argentina
Wildlife Conservation Photography
Laura Crawford Williams’ photographs speak to her love of nature and interest in protecting it.

How did your affinity for wildlife progress?

I always had a love of nature and enjoyed my childhood as a true-to-heart tomboy growing up in southern Louisiana. Fortunately, my father and brother were true outdoorsmen and brought me along whenever they could. My father would care for injured or abandoned animals such as alligator, opossum, and raccoon at home as well. As a result, my love of nature spurred my interest in protecting it at a very young age.

I believe we are all connected to the natural world from birth. It is our heritage. I have yet to meet a child who does not experience a deep sense of wonder, adventure, and inspiration when exploring in nature. This is especially true when that child is led by an enthusiastic guide who teaches the secrets, connections, and behaviors of that world.

What is the correlation between wildlife photography and conservation and how does photography raise awareness? How does photography encourage conservation?

Humans are visual creatures. We respond to what is seen with judgment as well as emotion, using both the logical and emotional side of the brain. A successful image is one that stimulates both. The aesthetic appeal of an image is important, but not nearly enough. The successful photographer is able to take an image from interesting or beautiful to impactful. Emotional reaction is crucial, especially in wildlife conservation photography where you are trying to impress and persuade the viewer to care.

If I am a successful photographer, I will bring attention to things you miss in your everyday life, introduce you to the things you never knew existed, and nudge you toward appreciating each a little more. I will tell a story in a fraction of a second, that you may not have known, but will intuitively understand in the same amount of time. Once the brain is engaged in this way, we usually want to learn more about what we are seeing (and feeling). The successful image engages and invites the viewer to care, be curious, and remember.

How did you make the plunge from photographer to photographer/activist and how has that role been received by your colleagues?

Before my life as a wildlife photographer, I worked for a newly established software company. The hours were long, the work was intense, and by the time the company was sold in 1999, I was thoroughly burned-out. To recharge my depleted battery, I would walk with my dogs in the forests and prairies surrounding my home. A creative spark was ignited and I began carrying a camera as I walked. In 2001, my first published images appeared in National Wildlife magazine and by 2007, I had been published in National Geographic magazine. It felt like the pinnacle of success. But, the truth is, I never intended to become a professional wildlife photographer. I was simply doing what I love to do. My friends, family, and co-workers were very envious of the transition. Who wouldn’t want to give up a stressful corporate existence for the allure of the wild? I have been very fortunate in life so far.

How has photography changed the way you view some of the world’s most beautiful destinations and its indigenous animals? 

When you spend time with a subject researching, tracking, observing and engaging you can’t help but develop a special appreciation. I do everything I can to be a respectful, quiet observer. Not to interfere or change behavior with my presence. The gift I am given is a unique insight into the life of another creature. More often than not, I feel empathy, inspiration, wonder, and/or awe. My world seems bigger as a result and I am reminded that we are not alone, we are a part of something larger, and just as miraculous, as ourselves.

When did you begin your relationships with magazines such as National Geographic, The Nature Conservancy, National Wildlife, and Nature’s Best and how have those relationships changed your life and career?

The very first of my images to be published appeared in National Wildlife magazine in 2001. The senior editor at the time, John Nuhn, said he had never seen another photographer come so far from “out of nowhere” and have such a grand entrance into the world of wildlife photography. By 2007, I was published in National Geographic magazine. I thought it was the pinnacle of success at the time. It was certainly a milestone that changed how I was perceived as a professional. But, the truth is, I never intended to become a professional wildlife photographer. I was simply doing what I love to do.

What does the invitation to the BBC’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibit at the Museum of Texas Tech University represent to you?

I moved with my mother from New Orleans to Texas when I was 14 years old. I attended Texas Tech University at age 16, after graduating a year early from a local high school. Going back was an amazing experience and I loved seeing familiar faces I hadn’t seen on over 20 years. The fact that the event was tied to the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year simply made it that much more important and special to me. Many of the winning images being exhibited were created by friends and acquaintances I’ve made in the last 18 years. I suppose it was a bit like watching your past and your present collide in one big celebration!

Wildlife Conservation Photography
Laura Crawford Williams has incredible stories to tell from her travels all over North America and Southern South America.

What’s next for you? Are you currently working on projects? 

With so much content, I’d love to produce another book. I have two projects in mind:

Audiences have thoroughly enjoyed hearing stories about being on the road in some of the most remote areas of the world, as well as about working with exotic species in the wild. They can’t believe some of the uncomfortable challenges we had to overcome. After eight years of traveling all over southern South America, there are incredible stories to tell.

I also have a large collection of images taken while living and working in the prairies of Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota for 12 years. I’d like to showcase the best of this collection and inspire people to appreciate the subtle and fragile beauty found in our prairie ecosystems. This less dramatic landscape is easily overlooked and often under-appreciated.

What are some of your answers to questions audiences ask during gallery talks and lectures?

Audiences always like hearing about the adventure of wildlife photography, especially when working in wild and exotic locations. The moments that happen “between frames” contain some of the best stories — these are the things I am asked about most. People have a very romanticized view of wildlife photography. They focus on the excitement of travel or working with exotic species and discount the reality of difficulty and discomfort. Most are amazed at the amount of time, effort, and planning it takes to pull these trips together.

Every audience asks about “close calls” or “scary moments” in the field. While I have had a few of these, I prefer not to put emphasis here. They are almost always a result of someone making a mistake or miscalculation. I don’t want people to focus on the “fear factor”. Too many people are afraid of nature as it is. We should admire and respect nature first. I consider it a terrible failure should I find myself in a difficult or dangerous situation.

Where do you call home?

I have called Delray Beach, Florida my home since 2013. Before that, I spent eight years living half of the year in Argentina and the other half in South Dakota.

A Partial List of Awards 

Images for Conservation Pro Tournament: 3rd place out of 20 professional photographers; $21,500 cash prize; month long, invitation-only event for professionals. (2011)

 Nature’s Best Windland Smith Rice Awards: Honorable Mention in ‘Birds’, professional division

(Exhibited at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum) (2009)

 Nature’s Best Windland Smith Rice Awards: Two images received ‘Highly Honored’ in ‘Birds’ (Exhibited at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum) (2007)

 Nature’s Best Windland Smith Rice Awards: Winner of ‘Animal Antics’ (Exhibited at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum) also received a ‘Highly Honored’ image in ‘Birds’ category (2006)

Nature’s Best Windland Smith Rice Awards: Honorable Mention in ‘Birds’ category (2013)

Nature’s Best Windland Smith Rice Awards: Honorable Mention in ‘Small World’ category (2011)

International Wild Bird Photographer: Winner of the ‘Best Artistic Image’ (2006)

National Wildlife Magazine: Honorable Mention in ‘Birds’ category (2010)

National Wildlife Magazine: Second place in ‘Birds’, professional division (2008)

North American Nature Photographers Association Member Competition: ‘Top 10’ from 4,120 images, as judged by professional photographers of the North American Nature Photographers Association (2009)

Visit <>  to read more about Laura Crawford Williams and her photography.

You can purchase a copy of her book on when you click on this link.


Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase but at no additional cost to you. I have experience with all of these companies and by linking to their product or a party that sells their products, I recommend the product based on their helpful and useful nature, and definitely not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something.

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