Bibliographies, Information, General

Add this to your Summer Reading list – Families on Foot : Urban Hikes to Backyard Treks and National Park Adventures

Families on Foot : Urban Hikes to Backyard Treks
and National Park Adventures

Thinking about hiking this summer? Here’s a book that’ll help out. From what to pack, to what to cook,
it’s all inside.

Down and Dirty Tips and Tricks for Families on the Trail Published in partnership with the American Hiking Society, Families on Foot offers practical advice and engaging activities to make hiking even more fun for families. You’ll find clever ideas and inspiration that apply to kids of all ages–from tackling diaper blowouts in the backcountry to using smartphone apps and GPS to engage teenagers with nature. Information for children with special needs and seniors also is included. Author Jennifer Pharr Davis, the former record holder of the fastest thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, together with her husband Brew Davis, marries old-fashioned know-how on safety, preparation, and trail conservation with modern day activities and technology, inspirational and interactive games, and down-and-dirty fun on the trail. Information includes smart tactics for families with kids of a variety ages on the trail–from tackling diaper blowouts in the backcountry to getting teenagers engaged in nature with smartphone apps and GPS–and is inclusive of special needs children and senior adults.

Mad props to the book for including pregnant women and folks with special needs in the book. Hiking is for everyone!


Ranger Rick’s Travels National Parks! by Stacy Tornio & Ken Keffer

I’m on vacation right now which is the perfect accompaniment for a book about National Parks.

Ranger Rick's Travels National Parks


While there’s no National Park in Aruba listed in the book, there are plenty of other beautiful parks to see across the US and the Caribbean.  I was amazed at how many beautiful parks there were! The book can be used so many different ways. I sat down and read it cover to cover which was great because of the great descriptions and the AMAZING photographs. You can read the book from A to Z and learn about every single fabulous park that exists.

Alternately, if you’re trying to plan a vacation around a National Park, you can use this book for that as well. Pick a state and the book will tell you what parks are there and what fabulous experiences they have to offer. The photos are amazing. Did I mention that? I love following Ranger Rick‘s (I used to read his magazines as a child) useful facts in each park. For example, The Capitol Reef National Park in Southern Utah is famous for “Red and rugged landscape that locals refer to as a ‘reef'”.  The incredible photos include pics of a cute little canyon treefrog, a side-blotched lizard and a golden eagle. It’s like you’re right there in Utah.

If you have a little one who can’t quite read yet, no matter! They can marvel at the beautiful photos! This book has something for everyone! The National Park Service turned 100 just a few days ago, can you believe it? 100 years of National Parks and I haven’t seen any of them (sadly there are none in PA where I live); but what are YOU waiting for! Go get a National park visit in your schedule and maybe have a slice of cake on me. I cannot resist birthday cake. But you knew that already didn’t you?

Adult Fiction

The Hamilton Affair by Elizabeth Cobbs is on my list to pack for vacation

I’m going on a late summer vacation shortly and choosing and packing books is always a chore. I want to TAKE ALL THE BOOKS!! But alas, one must pack more than one outfit for sanitary reasons and books take up so much room. Given these burdens of space I take my book packing duties very seriously.  Here’s one I’m thinking about taking:

The Hamilton Affair by Elizabeth Cobbs

I’m super excited about this book mainly because, I hear the musical is so dang fantastic. What’s the next best thing to seeing a musical? Yeppers, reading a book. Now if I could only get Lin Manuel Miranda to narrate it for me. But, Mr. Pam might not give up his seat on the plane, so I guess I’ll just hafta suffer and read it myself. No matter, I’m a fan of historical fiction and I insist on taking a romance to the beach. That’s what beaches are for, right?

Set against the dramatic backdrop of the American Revolution, and featuring a cast of iconic characters such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and the Marquis de Lafayette, The Hamilton Affair tells the sweeping, tumultuous, true love story of Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler, from tremulous beginning to bittersweet ending—his at a dueling ground on the shores of the Hudson River, hers more than half a century later after a brave, successful life.

I’m kinda digging the idea of his beloved Elizabeth Schuyler beginning an orphanage too. I think I’ll carry this book on so that I can pack more in my suitcase. Wait a minute, my husband is bringing a suitcase too!

What do you like to read on vacation?






40% off new school styles at Gymboree

2015 Diversity Reading Challenge Books

How to Pack Books for Your Vacation

It’s Summer!!! Now’s the time to get serious about your relaxing. But wait a minute, what will you read on YOUR vacation?? You can’t leave you summer reads to chance. You gotta take some serious thought to how you will fit all those books in your suitcase, right?


Oopsies, well that might not be your suitcase, but THAT’S where you’ll be wanting to relax with a smoothie and a book, right?

So. How many books do you pack?

I like to pack 3 books.


As you can see, there’s just one book packed in there. Not three. It’s an example people, work with me here!

So. I like to pack 3 books. The first book I pack goes in my carryon with me. I need quick access to a book because I start reading at the airport while waiting in line to be tortured by TSA. It should be moderately interesting.

Your 2nd and third books are the keys to vacation success.

The second book should be the one you just can’t put down! Looooooong stretches poolside are gobbled up by getting lost in a book. Whatever your genre is, THAT is your book. The one you’ve been LONGING to read.

Your third book should be an easier book. You’ll be wrapping up your vacation and so you don’t want anything too heavy cuz you’ll prolly be packing and easily distracted and you don’t want to hafta try to keep up with a heavy story. Plus, if you doze on on the plane, you won’t struggle too hard to find your place. Aaaaaand if you’re not digging the book so much you can always leave it somewhere for someone else to treasure!

So, this year’s vacation I struggled. I had planned to take 3 books, but my husband packed too many sundresses and there wasnt enough room for three books. Plus, I didn’t want to take my iPad (which I normally take) which contains like, a skajillion books. Big mistake. I only had two books, folks. And come Wednesday I was scared that I would run out of books.

What does any good bibliophile do when she runs out of books?

She runs to the bookstore!!

Thank goodness for Books and Books on Lincoln Road in Miami, baby!


BUY!!! ALL!!! THE!!! BOOKS!!!!

just kidding. I just bought one. After I interrogated every bookseller there; cuz let’s face it. Reading preferences change regionally and there might be a book I’d not considered reading, right?

And voila! An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine.

Love!!!!! it!!!!

And? It happens to fit into the 2015 Diversity Reading Challenge! How’s that? Our heroine is from Beirut! I suspect the author might be from that region as well. I haven’t looked him up yet.

Of course, I’m not a big fan of reading electronic devices at the pool or beach, cuz I’m clumsy and spill stuff. But hey, if you trust yourself around a body of water with an expensive electronic device then more power to YA.

Plus if that’s the case, then you don’t need three books. Cuz, well, you prolly have like 3 million books on your device, like I do.




Bookish Traveler Practices Her French in Aruba

When we were in Aruba, we tried to eat a a different location each night. To be sure, since we’ve been to Aruba 5 times, we have our favorite locations but even then, we still are game to try a new place. Enter Amuse Bistro! We’ve walked past this restaurant so many times and have never gone inside; not sure why?

Take a look:



Isn’t that yummy looking? It’s a teeny glass of cold tomato soup. The waitress called it an Amuse, compliments of the chef.

Look at our yummy food.

Amuse Bistro


That was husband’s salad. Cute, right?



Tasty fish. So pretty and colorful!




I’m not sure if any of the food is truly French but who cares? It was yummy and fresh!

Bon appetit!

Have you been to Aruba? What are you fave spots to eat?


Bookish Traveler Travels to Marriott’s Aruba Surf Club

You might have figured out by now that I love to travel.  Seeing the world is so much fun and it always provides plenty of time for reading. Whether riding on the train or sitting on a plane (hey that rhymed!) I’m never far away from at least one book when I travel.

Marriott Villa View

I just recently traveled to Aruba and stayed at the Marriott Surf Club.  I love Aruba and I love Marriott. We’ve been to Aruba five times and I’ve loved every single minute of it.

Why five times you ask?

Here is the view from the villa balcony.  I’m having my coffee and looking at this stunning view for breakfast. What more could a bookish traveler like me want? If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you’ll know that I was reading a middle grade book called Remarkable which was about pirates. So, while looking at the pirate ship, I was reading about pirates. The irony was not lost on me.

But GAH! Look at that view!

When I wasn’t on the balcony enjoying the sunrise, I was at the Serenity Pool which is just for grown ups.  Why they let me in is a surprise, but since I can’t swim (shut up) I don’t go to the other pools so much. I have a scared that some little kid will knock me in and then I’ll be a drowned Pammy Pam. No fun for me.

Anyway, I’m down at the Serenity Pool, which should really be called the outdoor library, because SO many people were reading books.

Like Me.

Serenity Pool.jpg


I left my sun hat upstairs so I had to improvise.

After I spend several hours under an umbrella reading, it’s usually time for lunch.  This is the fun part. The mister and I go back to our room (or villa as Marriott calls them) and I prepare lunch in the kitchen!

photo courtesy Marriott

How cool is that? What you do is the day you arrive you go to the grocery store, which is geared toward Americans and you stock up on snacks and food. Then you cook your food in the fully equipped kitchen; how awesome is that? You know what’s even awesomer? The money that we saved fixing yummy sammies and salad, can be spent on a extra delicious Foodie dinner!

I’m not a foodie but I do like nice food. Wait, does that make me a foodie?

Anyway, mad props to the Marriott peeps because I love their consistency in quality: I try to stay in a Marriott whenever I travel. Plus, the Marriott Aruba social media team is on the ball and responsive! Check out Marriott’s website to see when you can get down to Aruba.

Stay tuned and in the coming days I’ll share more of my Aruba trip with you. Have you ever been? What do you love about it the best?


Books I’ll Take on Vacation

I’m going on VACATION!!

I’m thrilled to be heading out on vacation. My destination is the beautiful Aruba, One Happy Island! I’ve been there several times and each time I feel so relaxed upon my return. The reason I am so relaxed is I get the chance to catch up on all of my reading!

I’ve made a collage so you can see all the books I’m packing for this trip:




I know you’re prolly thinking: PAM!!! How can all of those books fit in your suitcase? It’s easy:

  • Lisa Scottoline’s book is an audiobook on CD
  • The French mysteries on on my Kindle app on my Ipad, in my purse
  • The Paris Apartment will be in my purse (will read on the plane)
  • Jennifer Weiner’s and Allie Brosh’s books will be in my suitcase

Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

How many books do you pack on your vacation?



The Upshot: Summer Vacation Reading for Tweens