Galapagos Did Not Disappoint

By Cheryl Ryan

It turns out that I like birds now. The last thing I cared about seeing in the Galapagos were birds but watching a male Blue-footed Booby during mating season kind of captured my heart.  Like much of this trip, I had limited expectations since it could’ve easily been canceled, given the past two years.

It didn’t, and I’m so glad. To get to Galapagos, you need to go through Guayaquil, Ecuador. Then take a six hundred plus mile flight to the volcanic islands. Once there, and especially since it is a Unesco site, you are only allowed into specific areas to maintain the health of the land and wildlife population. The number of boats and places that allow non-resident visitors are also restricted.

The archipelago lies on the equator, which means it can get hot on land, yet the water is much colder than I expected. There is a  confluence of three significant currents, The Humboldt, Panama Flow and Cromwell, which converge at the Galapagos, carrying water-rich nutrients from all around the globe. It was pretty cool to learn.

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Travel Is Back: Peru & Galapagos

By Cheryl Ryan

After two years of no travel, our first trip was a doozy. We just returned from a 16-day trip to South America and I feel so fortunate that it didn’t get canceled. We met new people, saw new things, laughed a lot, ate wonderful food and learned about new places.

Usually, we plan our own trips and then shlep our bags from place to place, often grumbling about our accommodations but not this time. It was our first organized tour. Our neighbors invited us to join them using Tauck Tours. Our excursions were planned with intention and the hotels top notch. It was all rather boojie and we loved it.

First stop – Peru. It really surprised me. The sweeping Andean landscape is spectacular. The people warm, proud, and, from my perspective, living as two groups, one emerging in modern society and the other still deeply rooted in ancient ways. 

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It’s Travel Time; But First Comes the Packing

By Cheryl Ryan

It seems like everyone is hitting the road and I’m excited to join them. As I prepare for my trip, here are a few things that might work for your travels. The hardest part of traveling is the packing! I can’t wait to get on the plane and have the getting ready part behind me.

I’m looking for lightweight things that can be easily layered when transitioning from cool to warm and that I can use throughout the year for hiking or golf. I love this shirt which I bought in white and blue and these pants that I purchased in khaki and navy. Both come in SPF 40 fabrics. The shirt is offered in men’s and has even better colors. And this hat is ideal for travel. It rolls up and has excellent coverage.

I like how Aveeno 60 SPF sunscreen goes on like lotion and protects my skin. But I am also trying Sun Bum products because they use safe and coral reef-friendly ingredients. Please share if you have a good face sunscreen. I haven’t found anything that I love.

I’m working on loading my Kindle with some good summer reads. It hasn’t been a year of relaxing fiction reading for me, but I’m hoping to change that this summer. 

I did read Daisy Jones & The Six and it was pretty good. Nothing profound but enjoyable.

These are books that I haven’t read yet but just downloaded for my Kindle summer reads. I’ll let you know what I think.

Cloud Cuckoo Land 

In Five Years  

The Midnight Library

Seven Husbands by Evelyn Hugo

Also, author and blogger Tieghan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest just released a new cookbook. I haven’t bought her cookbooks yet, but plan to. Watching her prepare and cook her recipes on Instagram is basically food porn. Her photography is outstanding and I can’t take my eyes off it.

Please share any of your travel packing tips.


Easter – Food, Decor and Hunts

By Cheryl Ryan

Easter was a big travel time for our young family. Because my husband was on the road a lot back then, we saved his accumulated air miles for family trips. I used to pack everything we needed for Easter egg hunts wherever we went during spring breaks. We would hide eggs and prizes around whichever property we were staying in. The kids loved it – and I loved doing it.

Easter egg hunts were also a big deal for the Ryan clan. Lou’s Dad planned increasingly elaborate hunts for the thirteen grandchildren each year.

Writing this reminds me of how much fun it was and that I need to step up my Easter hunt game for our grandchildren. Target has always been a go-to place for me to find basket fillers and decor. But I really like these more sustainable Easter gifts this year.

And if you’re lucky enough to have your family for an Easter gathering, this would be my ideal meal plan.

Pork Tenderloin

Potato Salad

Roasted Carrots

Arugala Salad

And don’t forget dessert with this Strawberry Shortcake.

Happy celebrating to you all.


Saying Goodbye To Our Pets Is Hard

By Cheryl Ryan

The truth is that if you have a pet it’s most likely that you will be responsible for their end of life care. Of course, we all know that going in but when it actually happens it’s so hard. We’ve recently lost our loyal, loving family member. She’s been by our side for years. And yikes, let me tell you it will get you right in the heart.

We knew our girl, Ellie, was getting tired. And after a lifetime of draping herself over our laps the instant our butts hit the couch she started sitting apart from us, a little at first then edging her way further and further towards to the edge of the couch as her aches and pains became more pronounced. 

Her gallop up the stairs became slower and slower until she didn’t join me upstairs anymore. And when she lost her hearing entirely she didn’t even hear us when we came home.

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Women’s Health: Understanding Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) And How To Treat Them

By Cheryl Ryan

Women’s health has long been a less studied and less funded segment of our overall healthcare. There are several possible reasons for that, but the good news is that we see some changes. Increasingly, women entrepreneurs and women in leadership roles are beginning to address health issues that affect them personally. This, coupled with patients’ increased interest in researching proactive, less invasive solutions for their own healthcare, is leading to new research and product options. First up is the Urinary Tract System and an interview with Jenna Ryan at Uqora (

A Few Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Facts

The Urinary Tract is the body’s drainage system and comprises two kidneys, two ureters, a bladder and the urethra. It is part of the overall Urogenital Tract. A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in the urinary tract. UTIs are the 2nd most common reason for a doctor’s visit in the US, second only to the common cold. If you’ve ever had one, you understand the painful urgency of getting to a doctor as soon as possible. That translates into 7 million visits or 1.6 billion dollars annually. 50-60 percent of all women will get a UTI. And for many women, UTIs can become a recurring problem that can be difficult and painful to break. Or worse yet, it can lead to kidney disease. Unfortunately, the long-standing medical protocol has been to prescribe an ongoing, low dose of antibiotics, leading to potential antibiotic resistance. 

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Dear Hawaii, We’ll Be Back

By Cheryl Ryan

We just returned from an epic Hawaii family vacation. Our family has been growing during the shutdown. So with our new additions, Gus, 18 months and, Zoey, 3 1/2 months, we set out to stay in a house together on the big island of Hawaii. I had some concerns. After all, it’s been a generation since babies have been part of my travel plans. 

But of course, once in the tropical air of Hawaii, all concerns just drifted away in the breeze. Truthfully though, there are things that I’ve forgotten and new ways of doing things that I’ve had to adjust to, but mostly it doesn’t take long for that child-rearing muscle to kick back in and it’s just all so fun. 

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St. Patrick’s Day; A Little History

By Cheryl Ryan

Are you planning anything for St. Patrick’s Day (pronounced St. Paddy’s day in Ireland)? Drink green beer? Eat corned beef and cabbage? Unlike Cinco de Mayo, St. Patrick’s day is widely celebrated in Ireland. 

I remember breaking into a mini panic attack if I forgot to wear green to school. Some of my fellow students took the pinching thing a bit seriously. The folk story behind wearing green comes from the belief that green was supposed to make you invisible to leprechauns – the small, supernatural creatures that pinched anyone they could see. So the story goes that by wearing green, they couldn’t see you. And then some humans decided to get into the pinching mix. Luckily that’s not a thing at my age and I get to concentrate on different aspects of the holiday.

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