Month: March 2014

Some of the benefits of working at a zoo… or, Why I Love My Job

You read it in the above “About Me” section atop this blog– I’m currently the Media Relations Manager for the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society. Yep, we’re all about animals and conserving wildlife. It’s a good thing. 

I am privileged to enjoy benefits of working at a zoo, like participating in behind-the-scenes encounters, including a preview to our upcoming Capybara Encounter. I was a guinea pig to an animal that can be compared to a guinea pig! Although, technically, it’s the world’s largest rodent. 😉 Don’t be skurred, they’re really cute and sweet!

Feeding the happy capy
Watch your fingers!

This Capybara Experience is likely to be offered to the public in April. I’ve also fed our North American black bears, stroked the fur of a sedated jaguar undergoing a teeth-cleaning, and taken a Christmas photo with an 80-year-old giant Aldabra tortoise who is missing a foot. Find out how YOU can get up-close and personal with our Zoo’s animals at this link on our website.

One aspect of the job that I enjoy is working with local media, including my own former coworkers/friends from WPTV NewsChannel 5 in West Palm Beach, Florida. I got to be “Crash the Cardinal” this past weekend at the Roger Dean Stadium Zoo Day… This time, I had the fun of helping Ashley Porter with The List TV Show learn how to be a Zoo mascot! Watch the segment HERE, and yes, I have an unintentional cameo, LOL!

The List/former WPTV photographer Cody Jackson films Ashley Porter getting some love from kids

I also like giving Zoo tours to animal lovers, including the sweetest news anchor around, Ashleigh Walters. The Zoo partners with WPTV to feature a live animal in-studio every month, and Ashleigh is always so enthusiastic about the animals! Last month, she featured Wilbur the sloth, and Wilbur was a big hit! Watch the segment HERE on WPTV’s website. 

With Ashleigh and the Zoo’s black bear brothers, Lewis and Clark

Ashleigh also did a special report in November 2013 going behind-the-scenes with zookeepers… that was an amazing sweeps piece. You can still watch it online HERE— it’s worth the view!

Ashleigh was there tonight, as our Zoo held its sixth Food Truck Safari. We both had a yummy Cuban quesadilla from Crazydilla! It was a flavor explosion. 

My husband in the peach shirt, waiting in line to buy us some Crazydillas
Why is this photo from Crazydilla’s Facebook page, and not one I snapped myself? Because I ATE IT TOO FAST! So much for my Lenten resolutions of no starches…
I admit it’s hard to mess up a quesadilla, but they know how to do it RIGHT.
Check out the Food Truck Safari event photos I snapped on our Facebook album HERE. While you’re at it, follow us on social media! One part of my work day is maintaining the Zoo’s Palm Beach Zoo FacebookPalm Beach Zoo Twitter, and Palm Beach Zoo Instagram. We even started a Zoo blog HERE, to which zookeepers and other staff members have been contributing.

At the Food Truck Safari, I also got to hang out with my friend Carli Segelson, who works for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. We’re snorkeling buddies– she’s about the only person I know who is as addicted as I am to snorkeling. Almost every time we go, Carli is with us. Hey, somebody’s gotta bring the snorkel flag! 😉 

My husband Nathan, me, and Carli at the Food Truck Safari

Last, but not least, I’ll leave you with this photo that proves: You don’t need to take a selfie, you just need to teach a stranger how to use your camera… but beware the awkward photos which come from the learning curve.

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Ladies’ Lunch, and Paleo-ish dieting adventures

This has been such a great month for me, I’ve been bubbling over with happiness. There’s no other way to put it, and I am aware that it sounds cheesy and silly… but I’m full of joy. No explanation– I didn’t get a raise, I’m not preggers, I haven’t won the lottery or anything– just JOY over living in a beautiful place, surrounded by good people who make me happy, with a fulfilling career and a wonderful husband and sweet dog, along with a home (albeit rented) that’s in an amazing community.

One good aspect of today was “lunch with the ladies” Michelle, Maria and Lauren at Field of Greens on Clematis Street in West Palm Beach, Florida. OBSESSED-MUCH!! My favorite lunch spot!

L to R: Me, Lauren, Maria and Michelle

I can’t get enough of their salads, which is saying something because those salads are HUGE. I love the “Create your own” deal for $7.95. I get a hard-boiled egg on mine for protein, and I love choosing different veggies and some of their delicious dressing. I also love their cucumber-infused water, on tap at the side of the restaurant.
This time, though, I got the Classic Cobb salad, because I was craving avocado and chicken. I love the Gorgonzola cheese for that added flavor.
Field of Greens Classic Cobb Salad, to-go… nom nom nom

This is the restaurant Michelle and I love to hit up during lunchtime and take wheatgrass shots. She was bold today, and drank hers DOWN. You go, girl! I love how the servers hand the shot to you with two slices of orange, to chase down the grass taste. So helpful. 🙂 
I guess people have discovered my secret, because that restaurant was packed for lunch and the line was almost to the door. At least the service was still great, although Michelle did have to wait a few minutes for her wheatgrass. Understandable, because the demand is HIGH now.
Today, I decided I would give it a try eating Paleo-ish. I had a green smoothie for breakfast with green tea afterwards instead of coffee, the Field of Greens Classic Cobb salad for lunch (although the cheese and dressing were not Paleo), and an apple plus some homemade Chocolate “Crack” which is really just a combination of cocoa powder, stevia and coconut oil. Dinner was another salad of mixed greens with Standard Egg Salad on top.
Now, I’m chowing on a delicious recipe I found of a Cinnamon-Apple 2-Minute Mug Cake from The Paleo Mom. I replaced honey with agave nectar since I didn’t have honey– plus it gives me too much energy this late in the evening (it’s past 8pm as I type this). I also replaced the walnuts with pecans, because, again, that’s all I had. The final result was truly DELICIOUS!
My ground-up almonds made almond flour in my Magic Bullet blender

Here’s what it looked like dumped out of the mug onto a plate after microwaving

Topped it with Go Veggie cream-cheese alternative, sugar free blueberry preserves– BLISS!!!

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St. Patrick’s Day green

I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by sporting my favorite green dress from (of course) Old Navy. Jewelry is from New York and Company.

Eye shadow is from the Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette and the Coastal Scents 88 Original Palette. I have been using the heck out of the Coastal Scents Palette lately… I rediscovered it after not using it for more than a year.

Where I work at the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society, I snapped this photo of this military macaw who is mostly green, because I figured he was an appropriate representative for St. Patrick’s Day. 🙂

One good deed of the day was when I rescued this fledgling mockingbird, who was dropped off at the Zoo and needed to be transported to the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary in Jupiter, FL. This bird had probably fallen out of its nest, and wouldn’t make it on its own. Once the Zoo’s veterinary technician fed it, I took it to Jupiter and dropped it off. It didn’t make a peep! It was a happy, full bird. Cross your fingers it does well and makes it back into the wild.

Last animal photo of the day– my dog, Mogwai, looking cute as normal, all cuddled up on the top of the couch. He is a leucistic Pekingese, which is a form of albino but with a bit more pigmentation.

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Lent — ’tis the season to give something up

Thanks to Kerry Shorr of LuxeVivant for including me in this awesome blog post about what I, along with other “around-towners,” are giving up for Lent.

My healthful snack for the afternoon

Confession: I have NOT been doing a good job of keeping out the sugar and starch that I pledged I would avoid for Lent!!! At least, not until TODAY. “After all, tomorrow is another day,” said that southern belle, Scarlett O’Hara. “After all, might as well START today,” said I to myself, this morning. 

Feeling inspired to stick to my Lenten resolution– yellow is a nice color for hope, yes??

If I stay with my eating plan to avoid sugar and starch and stick with the calorie-controlled plan I like, then in exactly ONE MONTH FROM TODAY, I can relax it up a bit in preparation for our next 8-day Carnival cruise to the Southern Caribbean!

From Carnival, about the trip on the “Breeze” ship: The rainforests of Dominica, crystal-clear waters of St. Thomas, seaside villages of Barbados and white-sand beaches of Aruba are a few of the exotic treasures you’ll experience on a 3, 4, 7 or even 8 day Carnival Southern Caribbean cruise. The bounty of Southern Caribbean activities including: swimming, snorkeling, hiking, shopping and sightseeing, ensure that there’s something to suit every taste. Come see for yourself. Book your Carnival Southern Caribbean cruise vacation today.

The map of where we will cruise, courtesy of

It is motivational for me to see the photos of the Dominican Republic. I have always wanted to visit there– need to brush up on my Spanish. 

Ok, ok, so I admit that we won’t be back until Easter Sunday, and I am realistic enough to know that there is no way I will avoid sugar and starch completely on the cruise. So I shouldn’t call this a full-on Lenten set of resolutions– rather, it’s a modified Lent! I know, die-hard Catholics will realize that I’m WAY not following the full spiritual meaning of the 40 days and 40 nights that Jesus spent fasting. I admit that I am bending the rules to suit my will. I am Baptist, by the way…

Perhaps I could give it up and call it something other than a Lenten resolution… but I have been reading up on my devotional, and trying to seek God more. That’s always a good thing!!

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Busy week! TV appearance & weekend fun around South Florida

It’s been busy ever since I last blogged… and I do intend to do a follow-up post about my husband’s infamous Mardi Gras birthday party. 🙂 Better late than never! I have all those pictures to upload!

Meantime, this is one look I felt like posting because I am a huge fan of this boyfriend blazer. You may notice me wearing it a LOT– and it was from WALMART! I should have bought it in black, LOL, as frequently as I wear it!

I like this shirt, b/c it has a giraffe on it
Lip shade is a combination of Lancôme L’Absolu Rouge in Coquette, and Bath & Body Works C.O. Bigelow Mint Mentha lip gloss

This is what I wore when I was on The List TV Show on Mardi Gras Fat Tuesday, making this king cake.
You can watch the segment The List TV Show segment HERE!
Now on to another topic… weekend fun around South Florida! My husband and I love to be tourists around where we live in Palm Beach County. This past weekend, we did the Diva Duck tour that is on land and water, based out of City Place. It was $54 total, and SO worth it. I described it on my Facebook page as “cheesy, but fun,” and that’s exactly what it was– complete with interesting history, looks at mansions belonging to the likes of Celine Dion and Elizabeth Post’s granddaughter, and chock full of “ducky” jokes that had me “quacking” up. 😉 I couldn’t resist.
Two weekends ago (yes, I’m playing catch-up) we went to our favorite beach spot– Riviera Beach’s Singer Island. That’s where we snorkel. But the reason I love the beach spot there is because parking is free, and especially because there is that little strip-mall type place that has several restaurants like Two Drunken Goats and Johnny Longboat’s, and even a 7-11 and a beach-stuff store. 
We beach it up every weekend! This is Riviera Beach’s Singer Island

It is also just down the road from our favorite snorkel spot, Phil Foster Park at the Blue Heron Bridge that has the awesome snorkel trail. I just love love love going there– but I am going to hold off a few more weeks because the water has been cold lately. I’m so over it right now! Bring on the warmer water!

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