Friday, October 8, 2010

Christine's New Love

Otto the Biker Cat, celebrity guest at Le Chat Noir


He's dark, handsome, has piercing eyes, and fashionable! No it's not a Versace-wearing vampire. His name is Otto and he's from celebrity-land, Los Angeles. It's the cat!

Otto was the celebrity guest at the Le Chat Noir event and he was composed, gentlemanly and oh so charming! We rode a motorcycle together, gazed in eachother's eyes, gave nose kisses, and he allowed me to hold hands on our first date!

The event that I've been slaving away was a fabulous success! With 300 animal-loving people in attendance, the art gallery, the artwork, the swimsuit models, black cat models, and Otto's appearance, elevated the entire event and experience. It was memorable!


Susan Sonson holding black cat model (India) also awaiting adoption


Sumana Battacharya and Christine Michaels


Calvin Zook and Christine Michaels



Rodit holding Mr. Smith and Charlene holding Dusky Rose
Black kitten models awaiting adoption
 The kittens you see in these photos are awaiting adoption! Please visit http://www.thecatnetwork.org/ to learn about each of these kittens.

FOR SLIDESHOW of PHOTOS from LE CHAT NOIR
To view the 200 photos from the event including the bikini-clad models, the gorgeous black cats, and all the guests and activities, click on this link

http://cid-07a53ec79dd9ddfc.skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?page=play&resid=7A53EC79DD9DDFC!143

Special thanks to Claudia Rehder, our wonderful photographer who captured the essence of the event on photographs!

To view specialty photos by Tomas Loewy, click here (this one is short and sweet).


ALL PHOTOS  ARE COPYRIGHTED AND ARE NOT TO BE DOWNLOADED FOR GENERAL USE. For permission, please contact me, christine.michaels@yahoo.com

Friday, September 10, 2010

Le Chat Noir, October 2nd

An Evening of Cats, Cocktails & Couture

I am very excited to announce, Le Chat Noir, an elegant soiree to be held October 2nd in the Design District . While the theme is the black cat, it's really an event for ALL animal lovers to raise awareness for homeless cats. 

Our guest celebrity is  none other than Christopher R. Coppola and his biker cat, Otto. Like a parrot affixed to a pirate's shoulder, Otto rarely leaves Christopher's side. You may have seen Christopher and Otto on the Animal Planet riding a motorcycle, their favorite mode of transportation. Even Otto has his own biker seat and sports wind goggles! And he has quite a following on Facebook.



The theme is vintage Hollywood, all black and silver. So if you love to dress up in Hollywood glamour, drink  wine, Bacardi mixes and savor hors d'oeuvres by Smith & Wollensky, and mingle with art and animal lovers, this is your event! We'll even have black cats strut down the catwalk in diamond-adorned collars! That won't be the only fashion show. Eva Trubetskaya will unveil her DEVA swimwear line as well.

To learn more about this fabulous event and to order your tickets visit:
http://thecatnetwork.org/get-involved-2/events/
 
I hope to see you at the event! If for some reason you can't attend, consider making a donation to help me in my efforts to stop the cat population in downtown Miami!  Click here  http://www.riverfrontcats.com/
 
Christine Michaels
Chairperson, Le Chat Noir
The Cat Network of South Florida

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Christine Named Volunteer of the Month

Wow--what an incredible surprise! I just learned that I was named Volunteer of the Month by the Cat Network! Can you believe the tears are welling? I'm surprised I'm this emotional. Well, it's a true labor of love.  Never have I worked with a group of volunteers of this CALIBER, COMPASSION AND COMMITMENT! They have all inspired me to play a part in ensuring street cats live humanely!

The Cat Network is a small but mighty organization. There are no paid staff, no six-figure salaries for CEO, yet these volunteers give so much of themselves. In one case, a woman sacrificed her vacation time and money to help an elderly person who was dying and couldn't care for her four cats, or spending hundreds, thousands of dollars at a veterinarian to save the leg, eye or other body part of injured cat or kitten...the stories are heart-breaking.

Please CLICK HERE to learn what I do on a daily basis. Won't you consider helping a homeless cat?

"Until someone has loved an animal, part of their soul remains unawakened."

Friday, August 13, 2010

Review of Eat, Pray, Love --the Book

Aaah one of my favorite books, but if you've been following my reviews, you're probably throwing your arms up in the air "Christine you have many favorites!" You're probably right. Another story, more vicissitudes of one woman's life journey. But her obstacles are not the physical ritual of binding a woman's feet as in the Japanese culture in Snowflower and the Secret Fan, or being tortured by the Taliban in Kite Runner and so on and so on. 

The Sexy Potatoe Peel Club read this book several years ago and also had the opportunity to meet Elizabeth Gilbert at the local Books and Books. My copy of the book is autographed!

One Potatoe Peels' first reaction "She whines a lot".

My thoughts: Ok, the author is going through an emotional crisis. Doesn't she have the right to complain? It's her story, her book.

In the U.S., Elizabeth Gilbert faces a mid-mid life crisis at the age of 34. She curtails her path of conventional American life. [gasp!]She has a sterling career, a husband, nice house but comes to a screetching halt at the prospect of having children, getting stuck at home, [well you know the predictable ending].

Following the path of countless American women of job, marriage, family is not for everyone--I'm living example-- 41, single, with pets, independent in every sense, and loving life. I've never been a cookie cutter. I like to think I'm a rare gem.

But getting back to the book. Overall the book club enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love.  Gilbert was refreshingly open, humble, self-deprecating, and shared her silliest thoughts. I admire her courage to change course in life, sell her house and take a personal sabbatical and travel abroad alone in search of spirituality, inner strength, and balance between the two.

Her sassy prose keeps me smiling and chuckling. In Italy, I'm salivating at the pizza gorge. In India, I'm thankful I'm Catholic and mass is only an hour. In Indonesia, I identify with the activism in Gilbert to help a divorced, single mother and daughter who are ostracized from society, buy their first home. Gilbert is generous with her time and talent. While she may have ended her "till death do us part" wedding vows, she came through on a commitment to someone less fortunate. And in the end, I wish I were as lucky for a prince charming to unexpectedly appear. I think mine turned into a cat, named Gabriel or Romeo. These are stray cats that have crossed my pat, rubbed their silky coat against my tanned legs and fallen in love with me. Maybe I've stumbled upon a new method...

Elizabeth Gilbert was equally engaging and delightful in person when she came into town for a "Meet the Author" presentation. "I can write a book, can't I?" thinking to myself.

Our book club predicted it would make for a great movie. But I can't remember if we selected the actors for each role as we normally do.

Now, the movie is released today. I plan to see it tomorrow night. Julia Roberts was not my first choice in casting but I'll hold my opinion until after the movie.

Now below is a picture of the author Elizabeth Gilbert:





My choice for actress to play Elizabeth Gilbert is another Elizabeth--Elizabeth Mitchell from the  hit series LOST. Aside from the apparent physical similarities, I'd love to see Mitchell play a sassy journalist to add to her portfolio of intelligent women--she played a doctor in LOST and a detective in a new series "V" about aliens.

What do you think? Post your comment below!




Order your copy now of Eat, Pray, Love! Click below and order it now for low, low price of $8.80. Under $10!

Monday, August 2, 2010

D. Rodriguez Cuba restaurant in South Beach

Jennifer, Claudia, Christine


Finally my long anticipated visit to the newest upscale Cuban restaurant, D. Rodriguez Cuba came true this past weekend. 

With some help of my friends Jennifer and Claudia, we sampled, we devoured, and we delighted in plantain chips, seafood appetizers and meat entree. Oh not to forget the borderline erotic dessert--chocolate cigar.

Click here to read my full review!

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Table for Two

Recently I had the pleasure to meet the author of Table for Two, A Cook Book for Couples--Mr. Warren Caterson. He asked me if I liked to cook. Indeed I do and the more free time in the evening,  the more elaborate my dishes.

Alas my free time in evenings is dwindling and consumed with work or charity work which I take very seriously both the former and latter.

As a single person who loves to eat, I always cook for two, three or more people and therefore count on leftovers. Nowadays, cooking is about saving time than the culinary skill or the artistic blend of ingredients.

Upon slicing open the first pages, I discovered the succinctly informative opening chapters on measurements, cooking terms, and ingredients, there are 'kitchen cook friendly', step-by-step recipes from soups, salads, side dishes, and main entrees. Of special note are the chapters devoted to vegetarian dishes, desserts, and what to do with leftovers!

On the culinary scale, these are quality, gourmet recipes suitable for any couple, empty-nester, or voracious apetiter like me. Best of all the 235 classic and nouveau recipes can be prepared and served in about an hour. 

So explore this cornucopia with a special loved one. Cooking together along with dining together keeps the romance alive!

Friday, June 11, 2010

How Soccer Explains the World

Years ago,  as a member of the Sexy Potato Peel Book club, I wanted to select a book that would be an unexpected surprise. Instead of turning to the NY Times  best seller list, I visited the local bookstore and eyed the book spines for something different, original, and enlightening where my fellow book mates would say "This was great--more than I expected!"  This World Cup season, whether you're experiencing soccer fever or are a pure novice drawn by this worldly sport, I highly recommend this book!

A book I thumbed upon was titled How Soccer Explains the World. The author, Franklin Foer, was a political journalist in Washington and took a six month sabbatical to embark on an odyssey to the soccer capitals of the world.

He set out to observe soccer as a way to understand the consequences of globalization -- the increasing interdependence of the world's nations -- by studying a sport in which "national borders and national identities had been swept into the dustbin of soccer history." The result is a travelogue full of important insights into both cultural change and persistence.

So does globalization, via soccer, ensure humane order? Liberate a nation from tyranny? Or wreak havoc like an organized cult? The result is a range of the good, the bad and the ugly. From Margaret Thatcher's cry of hooliganism that emerges from soccer fanatics and claimed it the "disgrace of a civilized society"; to the fans of Red Star Belgrade in Serbia who became, as Foer puts it, "Milosevic's shock troops, the most active agents of ethnic cleansing, highly efficient practitioners of genocide."; to the sophisticated FC Barcelona Club that redeems the game "by showing that fans can love a club and a country with passion" without stirring xenophobia and that patriotism and cosmopolitanism are compatible.

Even if you're not politically or socio-economically inclined, the real stories of players, a city, an entire nation are captivating sometimes nail-biting and well worth reading. Foer saved the best for last--the story of the country of Iran that hired a Brazilian coach, and the necktie he constantly wore was considered a European imposition. The women of Iran who risked their lives by penetrating the inner sanctum of the culture, forever a man's world, and secretly dressed as men to attend the soccer games. What happened to these brave women even after Iran captured the World Cup berth in 1997? You'll have to read the book.

From Brazil to Bosnia and from Italy to Iran, How Soccer Explains the World is an eye-opening chronicle of how a beautiful sport and its fanatical followers can illuminate the fault lines of a society, whether poverty, anti-Semitism, or radical Islam.

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Cat Caboodle Ranch

I have a dream. A dream to build a cat Disneyland, a sanctuary.  While there are many organizations dedicated to rescuing and caring for dogs, there are fewer ones for cats.  But one man built his field of dreams! You're going to love these videos!

After watching this video, please consider a donation, perhaps more than you normally give. As a caretaker of 17 outdoor cats, it's a tremendous job. It's always a few people that carry the burden when caring for the cats that live in our community-- a result of irresponsible cat owners who don't take the time and the few dollars to spay/neuter their cats. 

There are two videos. Watch them both!


Feeding a colony of cats takes a lot of money and work. I know I do it almost every day in my neighborhood. I feed 17 cats which takes almost an hour. I can only imagine feeding 500!!!

The reward is great as you see the immediate results--animals living humanely, healthy and happy. If you do not have the spare time to help the cats in your neighborhood, please consider donating to the Cat Network or Caboodle Ranch.

For Cat Network send checks to 90 SW 3rd Street, #3905, Miami, FL  33131

Many blessings!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Do You Give Back to Your Community?

This kitten may grow up wild in the streets near your home, licking its paws from car oil and discharge, suffering from agonizing pain, afraid of humans, or it may be lucky and find a loving home and grow up healthy and playful.


Are you looking to give back to your community? To volunteer your time or offer your skills to make a difference? Do you have strong desire to do more than just write a check?

In this economy many are grateful for their jobs, their health, their families. I know I am truly blessed for all of the above. My mother always raised me to give thanks for what I have, to give back, even in time of need. But writing a check was too easy and not as joyous. Then I stumbled upon a cause by accident where I make a tremendous difference with my time and skills and it is so rewarding! Won't you join me?

If you're an animal lover and like cats, then you can help with just a couple of hours of your time. Even if you think you're not a cat person, believe me, spending one day with these creatures and you will discover their unique traits, personalities, habits, antics, and a possibly a new love! This is a great way for students to fulfill their community service requirements!



"What's a home?"

      The Cat Network is in desperate need of volunteers!
 It's kitten season, and hundreds of homeless kittens are born everyday that shelters and organizations are overflowing. You can help in different ways and it's so easy and fun! Best of all--it's absolutely uplifting!

a. Foster a kitten or a few (we'll teach you how) until they are old enough to be adopted. You do have to be a CN member but it's only a $25 fee.

b. Supervise and show kittens at pet store adoption centers once a week or once a month. So they are not cooped up all day, that human touch and interaction is important to keep them socialized.

c. Help with TNR (Trap-Neuter-Release) homeless cats in your neighborhood or nearby. Cat Network will teach you how.



What a difference a home makes!
Pebbles used to be scared and timid. Now she's an entertainer!


We are a network of volunteers from all professional backgrounds--teachers, lawyers, small business owners, housewives, scientists and other professionals. We are too few volunteers to care for record number of homeless kittens due to the recession--people dumping their indoor cats, unspayed/un-neutered, into the streets!

For example, the PetSmart in Midtown, PetSmart across from the Falls, and the new PetSmart in Coral Way are in need of volunteers! The Cat Network operates the adoption centers and we need responsible, animal-loving volunteers to help supervise, show cats to potential adopters and/or clean cages.



What a difference a home makes!

Misha is an older cat saved from the clutches of euthanasia after her owner passed away. She now lives in mid-Atlantic and loves the spring weather to explore outside, climb trees and watch the birds and butterflies.

Please know that the Cat Network does NOT have a physical facility to house cats. All cats temporarily live with volunteers or foster families or reside at the adoption center at pet stores. That's why we need more volunteers!

To volunteer in the Kendall area, please call Agnetta at the Cat Network at 786-380-1196 and leave a message. To volunteer at the PetSmart in Midtown Miami, please email Tia or Alan at midtowncats@hotmail.com
Thank you for considering! You can make a difference! And if you work insane hours with little free time to spare, then please don't hesitate to write that check!

Make check payable to CAT NETWORK and mail to:
90 SW 3rd Street
#3905
Miami, FL 33130



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I Am An Animal Rescuer




Sent by: Annette Kincker

I am an animal rescuer.

I will never bring about world peace.

I will not save the rain forest.

I'm not a brain surgeon and I'll never transplant an organ to save a life.

I don't have the ear of a powerful politician or world power.

I can't end world hunger. I'm not a celebrity, and God knows I'm not glamorous!

I'm not looked up to by millions around the world. Very few people even recognize my name.

I'll never win the Nobel Prize.

I'll never save the rain forest or end global warming.

There are a lot of things that I'll never do or become.

But today I placed a cat in a loving home!!!

It was a small, scared, bundle of flesh and bones that was dropped off by unfeeling people that didn't care what happened to it, but yet who were responsible for it even having existence in the first place. I found it a home. It now has contentment and an abundance of love. A warm place to sleep and plenty to eat. A child has a warm fuzzy new friend who will give them unquestioning devotion and teach them about responsibility and love. A wife and mother has a new spirit to nurture and care for. A husband and a father has a companion to sit at his feet at the end of a hard day of work and help him relax and enjoy life. And a sense of security, that when he is gone all day at work, that there is a protector and a guardian in his home to keep watch over his family.

No, I'm not a rocket scientist but today I saved one of God's precious creatures.

Today, I made a difference!
I Am An Animal Rescuer.

My job is to assist God's creatures.
I was born with the need to fulfill their needs. I take in new family members without plan, thought or selection. I have bought dog food with my last dime. I have patted a mangy head with a bare hand. I have hugged someone vicious and afraid. I have fallen in love a thousand times and I have cried into the fur of a lifeless body.

I have Animal Friends and friends who have Animal Friends. I don't often use the word "pet." I notice those lost at the road side and my heart aches.

I know of no creature unworthy of my time. I want to live forever if there aren't animals in Heaven but I believe there are!

Why would God make something so perfect and leave it behind? We may be master of the animals, but the animals have mastered themselves. Something people still haven't learned.

War and abuse make me hurt for the world but a rescue that makes the news gives me hope for humankind.

We are a quiet but determined army and making a difference every day.

There is nothing more necessary than warming an orphan.

There is nothing more rewarding than saving a life.

No higher recognition than watching them thrive.

There is no greater joy than seeing a baby play who only days ago, was too weak to eat.
I am an Animal Rescuer.

My work is never done. My home is never quiet.

My wallet is always empty, but my heart is always full.

In the game of life, I have already won!

~ Annette Kincker ~

As animal rescuers and caretakers, we thank Annette for her eloquent and moving words that beautifully sums up our never-ending efforts but brings us infinite joy.

Would you like to make a difference with a meager amount of your time, just a couple hours a month? Won't you consider volunteering in some way? Click here for more information.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Christine Meets Greg Mortenson

My mother Elizabeth, me, and Greg Mortenson

Greg Mortenson-- a skilled nurse, talented mountain-climber, amateur fundraiser, and possessing the patience of an old oak tree is really, for lack of a better word--a saint. Not a hero, a saint.

While some reviewers offered slight criticism of his famed book (Three Cups of Tea, click here for my review) that the storytelling was dry and read more like an upbeat news report, the story alone is a miracle. Everyone should read this book. It is educational, uplifting, powerful, riveting, breathtaking and will leave you breathless.

As it turns out, the subject of most of the books I read is about the strength of one person, usually a woman, who survives incredible obstacles, pain, suffering without shattering mentally and physically into a thousand pieces. But Three Cups of Tea is not the self depending on one's self strength, worth and atonement. Rather the livelihood of others depends on you. Parents can relate. But what about a group of people with absolutely no familial blood lines or who don't even live on the same continent, are depending on you? "The world rests on your shoulders" is but an understatement.

Three Cups of Tea breathes new life to the over-wraught dictum that "one CAN make a difference." So when my mother and I were next in line for the meet-greet-book signing, with Greg Mortenson, the first thing she exclaimed "You should have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize!" I have to agree. Greg didn't just talk the talk (sorry but with all due respect to our President, how can anyone nominate him when he hadn't accomplished anything yet), he walked the walk and single-handedly fought back the terrorists without weapons, but by providing schools for village girls.

Hmm, incorporating the intelligence of a woman into everyday community affairs including the process of fighting evil doers! What a concept!

I was honored to meet Greg, shake his hand, and thank him for his valiant efforts. He should be canonized for his heart of spirit, devotion and miraculous feats! I second my mother's nomination!
Get your issue now on Amazon for the lowest price of $9.36. Click below!
Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time


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Monday, April 26, 2010

Spirit Airlines to Charge for Carry-on Baggage

Pondering: To Carry on or Check in baggage?


Spirit Airlines' decision to charge up to $45 per carry-on bag has sparked a public outcry. This more than the $19 they charge for checked-in baggage. However five other airlines-- American, Delta, United, US Airways, and JetBlue --have vowed not to follow Spirit's lead. Will you choose these airlines instead of Spirit?
If I recall, another airline in Europe was starting at $25 a ticket and charging literally for everything including using the bathroom. Does anyone know or have flown this airline?

POST YOUR COMMENT below by clicking on "Comments".

Personally, I will never fly SPIRIT Airlines unless for absolute emergency. After my first trip flying the no-thrills airline, there's no will, no spirit to return! Read my story below!

No Speedy Gonzales in this Mexico!

Tips for Traveling Ft. Lauderdale to Cancun

Just returned yesterday from a four- day trip to Playa del Carmen (near Cancun) Mexico for a wedding. While the town was charming, and the wedding- on -a- beach a first for me, more unforgettable was the actual trip to and from. I felt I spent more time in the airport than in Playa del Carmen. Thankfully I have this blog to unload my frustration and share my nonjoyful experience to save readers from the same travel woes.

If you're planning a trip to Cancun or outlying town, please read this posting for some headache saving tips.


Never fly SPIRIT airlines for international trips.

Never fly via Fort Lauderdale airport for international trips

Avoid Cancun except in dead of summer perhaps.


First, the airline. In checking airfare, we missed the reasonable airfare on American Airlines out of Miami airport. This was a tragedy as then we were forced to fly Spirit Airlines out of Fort Lauderdale. While Spirit was $200 less per person, this does not include fees for advance seat assignments and does not include any food/snacks, not even water! Then the seats are more narrow than those at American Airlines. This is another negative but thankfully the flight to Cancun is maxium 2 hours flying westbound and 1.5 hours eastbound. To make your trip even more uncomfortable, the seats recline a couple of millimeters. Regardless of the flight time, most passengers were tired from waking up at 4am to catch their original flight. Or if you're like me, I only slept four hours the night prior in preparation, thinking I could sleep a little on the plane. The concept of Spirit airlines is definitely not for me. How I miss American Airlines!

The airports. Both the Cancun airport and Fort Lauderdale airport are not equipped with the staff to receive thousands of passengers at the same time. Beginning at the Fort Lauderdale airport, I was warned to get there at least 2-3 hours before flight promptly. Thank goodness I followed this sage advice. The security line at Fort Lauderdale airport was slower than a tortoise pace, that Christmas was going to arrive sooner! While there were physically 6-7 processing lines, only three were open.

Cancun airport. If there was a competition as to which airport is slower in terms of checking in passengers, security screening and processing at Immigration/Customs, it would be a close race between Cancun and Ft. Lauderdale. Upon arriving to Cancun airport, it took us little over two hours to pass through Immigration/Customs--LONGER THAN OUR FLIGHT! Several flights arrived at the same time. Is this peak season? Again only three lines at customs when eight lanes existed. I suppose Speedy Gonzalez is not the national motto or local hero mascot.

Thankfully we didn't have to wait long for our shuttle to the hotel. But Playa del Carmen is a solid 45 minutes away.

I woke up at 5:30am and arrived in Playa del Carmen 3pm Central time or 4pm EST. Almost the entire day gone.


THE RETURN TRIP

Waking up at 7am, we had breakfast and boarded our bus to the airport at 9am and arrived promptly at 10am. Since we did not pay for advance seat assignments on SPIRIT AIRLINES we could not sit together.

The flight was an hour late in departing due to a part replacement so the second engine would function properly. Thankfully it only took 20 minutes as the Captain mentioned. However we landed same time as a flight from Bogota, Colombia into Fort Lauderdale. The two jetways converged into the same exit tunnel towards Immigration. It was bottleneck traffic and another mindless hour waiting. Neither my mother nor I are humorous entertainers and our rollercoaster landing (forgot to mention the plane descended from cumulus bumpy clouds, then ascended abruptly, then dropped like an elephant in midair, and ascended again abruptly soaring into the sky and we circled the airport for a second attempt at landing-- some mixed signal from control tower about landing) filled me with nauseau. Green around the gills, I regretted not asking for assistance when deplaning.

In retelling my experience to coworker, she shared her positive flight experience returning from Dominican Republic into Ft. Lauderdale as a breeze. Could it be April is peak season to fly to international destinations? My last trip to Cancun was in the middle of summer (July) in 2001, NINE years ago. Of course I flew out of Miami airport (this was pre Sept 11, 2001) and Cancun airport was nowhere near as crowded. Maybe Cancun is the tropical destination of the year? Or maybe Mexicans were getting back at Americans for the Taco Bell chihuahua dog? (Actually studies showed most Mexicans were enamored with the dog).

My advice--fly out of Miami airport to Cancun. Miami airport is better equipped for mass exodus travelers. Skip Cancun at peak season unless you can spend a week or more. Otherwise you spend more time traveling than enjoying your trip.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Fabulous Miami--THE Social Network Club to Join!


Fashion Show event at South Beach December 2009
"Darn! I missed this one. Love firefighters!"

Fabulous photo isn't it? Well the above picture is taken from one of many monthly, weekly and even daily events and activities sponsored or promoted by Fabulous Miami --the most prominent and popular social networking club in Miami!

Fabulous Miami offers an array of fun and cultural events for the Miami professional. From happy hours, to fashion shows, to cooking classes, to benefits for a cause, to get togethers for watching sporting events like soccer matches, tennis tournaments, the list goes on! Some events are free, while others range in price depending if tickets are required.






Cooking class at Cavas Wine Bar


Fabulous Miami attracts professionals in their 30's, 40's and 50's, single and couples, with a common interest to learn, absorb, and appreciate the culture, the flavors, the rhythms of Miami while at the same time making new acquaintances, friendships and business relationships.



Christine with new acquaintances at Happy Hour at Four Season's Hotel

Fabulous Miami members watching the soccer match between Ecuador vs. Uruguay on the big screen TV

A definite plus are the personal introductions made by founder Fabiola Castro! She has a computer memory for names and will ensure you meet other members and newcomers. So feel free to come alone. By day's end you'll have a bulge of business cards or roster of names!



To sample a flavor of Fabulous Miami, you can request inclusion in their email announcements by emailing fabiola@fabulousmiami.com . Be sure to tell her, you read this posting by Christine Michaels! Or follow Fabulous Miami on Facebook at "Fabulous Miami LLC". (Fabiola is the brainchild of the club and the QUEEN of social networking. She literally knows everyone!).

Be sure to check out their website at http://www.fabulousmiami.com/.

See you at the next Fabulous Event!

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Helio George de Tarzan

FOR ADOPTION:
He's as fast as the Indy Champion race car driver--Helio Castroneves--zooming from room to room. Can he ballroom dance like Helio? Well in time I'm sure he will!



Helio watching “Dancing with the Stars”—maybe he’s following in the footsteps of his namesake who was the dance Champion on the show!

He's as curious as George--poking, peaking into everything--closets, cabinets, and be sure to lower the toilet bowl lid! Ladies he could be your secret weapon to train men to lower the lid. AND he has a special skill--he can open a closed door by pulling on a lever handle!



He's a climber and swinger like Tarzan of the jungle and loves other animals—including DOGS! This older kitten will steal your heart with his animated gestures and mischevious face! Oh and he's still a lover and will curl up on your bed and outstretch his paw to caress your face!
Helio (pronounced El-ee-oo) is 10 months old, healthy, neutered, litter-trained and received all vaccinations and blood tests!!


Adoption fee is only $65 from the Cat Network
At any vet you would pay on average: $335 TOTAL!
$45 office visit/examination
$50 blood test
$100 Vaccinations ( 2-3 rounds)
$140 spay/neuter
IF YOU ADOPT HELIO, you also get a
* free bag of litter
* a Whisker City cat bed (retail value $14.99 PetSmart) and an
* Iams Kit with a DVD on cat care and $10 coupon!


It would be ideal if he were adopted by parent(s) with another cat, kitten or dog so he has a playmate as he has lots of energy! He's great with dogs and plays with my Maltese!




"No more pawparrazi please!"




Please contact me if you are interested in meeting Helio George de Tarzan (you can change the name) Christine 305-218-9952.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

A Review of "Going Rogue" by Sarah Palin


Given the unprecedented zealous, world-wide media attention to a U.S. Vice-Presidential candidate and realizing that the subject of Sarah Palin is like coconut--very bipolar--you either love her or hate her, I encourage anyone with an open-mind to read her book. If you are beholden to her ideals, then you'll love the book. If you are married to utmost disdain, don't waste your time.

For an open-minded person or non-Americans who are curious, you may not come to endear Sarah or agree with her political beliefs, but non-biased readers may appreciate the insider pressure-cooker tactics and strategy of a national presidential campaign, her courage and conviction to take on big oil and her own party, and her strength as a woman, wife, and mother when faced with a life or death decision!

A lesson for me: YOU CAN SEE RUSSIA FROM ALASKA!!! [Read on for more].

While I had my doubts about her, I have to say a majority of them vanished after reading her book.

A rumor to clear up before I begin the review:

One complaint I heard at the watercooler was "She didn't even write the book. Someone ghostwrote the book". This is NOT uncommon. Many politicians and celebrities and power businesspersons have either ghostwriters or SUPER editors. I once freelanced as a ghostwriter for a CEO. When you're beyond busy with break-neck speed schedules and lofty goals, you find resources. Even CEO's don't write their own content for company-wide communications. It's either a PR person or legal attorney. Bottomline, the "author" approves the book. It's still written in Sarah's folksy tone and vocabulary. She remained true to her self.

Next, after watching highlights of interviews with Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric, I instinctively suspected Sara had not received formal media training on how to handle national media. I walked in her shoes but in smaller heels and know her struggles. Dealing with media in Alaska as Mayor of Wasilla and later as Governor is nowhere near the shark tank of the national media. I choked too in my media interviews--and that was the training segment.

Did I enjoy the book? I did for many reasons.

First the book paints a picture of her childhood and upbringing and shows pictures throughout her adolescence. How many children go hunting early morning before school? Hunting was not about sport but about sustenance. The closest store was an hour away. They hunted for survival. Just reading this part and her frugal habits, you immediately know that later charges of her spending obscene amounts on suits was just poor reporting to discredit her. The book continues to unfold with how she met her husband and the small business they ran together.
(While I was impressed with Barak and Michelle Obama's no-frills clothes shopping choices such as J Crew, of all the politicians in my lifetime, Sarah Palin trumps them all in FISCAL CONSERVATIVENESS. Besides, what politician gives up a private jet and sells it on e-Bay of his/her own volition?!). I don't think I would have.

Like most of the books I read, this is about a woman of strength. Unbelievable strength. How she juggled a family of four and now five children while running for mayor, then governor and won by a landslide with bare bones funds is remarkable. She ran all her campaigns as basic grassroots. One favorite part when campaigning on her own--in the dead of winter, pitch black, knocking door to door, towing her children in a red wagon. Now that is determination and commitment!

She never waivered in her commitment to her family and children even when others in the political realm frowned upon her for "running back to Alaska" so she could say goodbye to her son before his deployment to Iraq. Sarah stuck to her priorities.


LIFE OR DEATH
Just when you wonder how a mother can juggle heavyweight responsibilities, she learns that she is pregnant with her fifth child AND that her expectant son has Down's Syndrome. Sarah's emotional struggle will drive you to happy tears.

THE INTERVIEWS
The clips of the interviews with Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric were uncomfortable for me to watch and relive in her book. Sarah shares her thought process of what was going through her mind. I could definitely relate! You more or less discuss the interview with the station beforehand. You think you're going in one direction and the reporters will try to derail you. Sarah clearly was not media trained on how to get back on track. She wanted to start with accomplishments in Alaska. When Sarah was asked about the Bush Doctrine, my immediate response was "which one?". Political analyst and commentator George Will had the same response on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopolous.

But I can see how the average person may judge her as plain stupid. What was she thinking in her response when asked about US foreign policy towards Russia? Certainly with national security and foreign policy experts like Randy Scheunemann and Steve Biegun on the campaign staff, they would have tested Sarah's knowledge and ensured she was up to snuff. Again it's cause to wonder what was happening behind the scenes.

and worse... As often happens in the media world, that dirty act of "editing". News should report a "balanced" story. But often it's slanted. I recall when I was interviewed as spokesperson for my employer during a crisis. The final interview was "edited" and most of my direct responses were left out which left doubt about my employer's integrity. It couldn't be further from the truth. The same happened to Sarah. It happens everyday to more than just politicians.

Sarah, quite knowledgeable in clean energy and oil production in her own right, was ready to discuss the issue which speaks to one of the tenets of the campaign by both camps, less dependence on foreign oil. She never had that chance during the interviews.

But the title of the book is repeated a few times for the harsh criticism by the omninous "headquarters" that lashed at her for "going rogue" or off script. In other words, when she was honest and failed to speak word-for-word from a script like a Hollywood movie actor, she was scolded. "Going rogue" was the eigth deadly sin and the wrath of HQ was boiling to mercurial levels.


SARAH PALIN IS HUMAN TOO
A few times Sarah acknowledges her limitations, and some mistakes and weaknesses. When first asked about her knowledge of the Iraq war by a McCain foreign policy adviser, her response was "I know as much as the average American".

Before being picked as McCain's VP, Sarah admits to criticizing Hillary Clinton for the perception of whining when Clinton publicly pointed out some of the media's favoritism.


Still before criticizing her [Clinton] on this point, I should have walked a mile in her shoes. I can see now that she had every right to call the media on biased treatment that ended up affecting her candidacy. In fact, I should have applauded her because she was right--Democrats deserved to see a fairer picture of what they were getting into before they cast their primary votes.

Should Secretary Clinton and I ever sit down over a cup of coffee, I know that we will fundamentally disagree on many issues, but my hat is off to her hard work on the 2008 campaign trail. Compared to the guys she squared off against, a lot of her supporters think she proved what Margaret Thatcher proclaimed: "If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman."


Sarah Palin is no doubt a new kind of politician. She's a homegrown leader clearly not shaped by the Washington style of politics. She morally struggled with offering scripted "nonanswers" to questions rather than just answering them directly as ordered by "headquarters". She offers a few examples in the book. When I compare any number of televised debates of past presidential candidates versus Sarah's speeches in Alaska, or debates she sparred in her home state, I do not believe she is lying on this point.


SARAH IMPERSONATES TINA FEY
While not an eloquent orator like Reagan, or Clinton or Obama, throughout her book Sarah remains true to her style of speaking plainly, even if it's Alaska folksy. But in our materialistic world, we put a lot of stock in pretty packages and Hollywood, especially young people. When Tina Fey (of Saturday Night Live) did the impersonation of Sarah and said "I can see Russia from my house" (which Sarah NEVER said), viewers and voters remember that line more than the actual one. Actually Sarah impersonated Tina Fey long before the SNL skits at Halloween time.

Many voters listened to Hollywood and never did their homework. This was a flashback to my own community where residents voted for candidates with fantastical stories rather than research the facts. Or given the facts they ignore it! People love a good story, whether it's factual or grossly false. Sad but true.


WHAT OTHER BLOGGERS HAD TO SAY
In reading another blogger's review of the book, he spewed venom in every sentence with no reasoning to support them. In his least lethal comment, he referred to her "Sesame-street cadence" way of talking. This proves my point-- it's all about the packaging. Does no one care about her track record and accomplishments?

It gets worse, one "atheist blogger" claims that Jesus really hates Palin and shows a painting of Jesus giving her the finger. Where does this profound hatred stem from? She's not a hardened criminal! The ugly world of politics. It was equally wrong of media to hint Barak Obama was associated with terrorists because of his middle name. I admire politicians' strength to forge ahead despite the inherent barrage of distorted news reporting. If you give up, you never win.

Another blogger stated Sarah was "relitigating the entire campaign". OK--it's her book, her chance to share her side of the story that we didn't see or hear because she was under strict script scrutiny (say that three times fast).

As I said before, putting aside any differences in fundamental or political beliefs, one can admire her as a person, a mother. Here is one fair review by a proclaimed liberal.

For a review by a "third party" here is one by Peter Durward Harris from England.



GEOGRAPHY LESSON
Oh yes, it's fact you can see Russia from Alaska! I did not know that and admit I thought Sarah was trying to make a joke and fell flat on her face. Click here for a geography lesson. Looks like I'm the ignorant one on that point.

POST ELECTION
When I heard and now re-read the relentless, acrimonious attacks against Sarah and her family immediately AFTER the election, it was obvious that senior McCain staffers were bitter for losing and wanted to square blame on Sarah. Later she, and her staff learned of the Democrats (including current Obama staffers) who were behind the onslaught of investigations even after she lost the election! She was cleared of all ethics investigations but it cost her family dearly and even her own staff had to pay for attorneys out of their pockets. (It's Alaska law). But that was the goal--to bankrupt her financially and emotionally. A colossal waste of time for the Alaskan people. It's no wonder Sarah Palin resigned.

How did she remain kryptonite strong and teflon resilient? Much like Reagan? Most of us would have crumbled by this point, or checked into an insane asylum. Where does she find the strength? A woman secure in herself as a wife, mother and leader, her incredible discipline and work ethic, AND her solid faith and belief in God's goodness! Yes those are admirable qualities. Plus she's a runner! Ok, now I am jealous! She's in better shape than me. Good for her!

ORDER YOUR COPY NOW on Amazon for incredibly low price of $13.00!


If you read the book, please share your review. Click on "Comments" below.



Going Rogue: An American Life

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Background Celebs--Super Bowl Commercials

Adrienne, Lara Spencer, Christine


Never a dull moment when you're single and living life to the fullest!


Christine (frozen from winter breeze), Lara (fabulous pose), and Adrienne (smart fashionista)


A couple of weeks ago, my friend Adrienne and I participated in the filming of a TV program "Superbowl's Greatest Commercials". I should say we were in the background which means we were invisible on TV when it aired. But for us, it was fun to meet Lara Spencer, one of the hosts (former host of Entertainment Weekly and now current host of The Insider) and mingle with other beautiful people and we made a few friends from Los Angeles.

Malik White and Christine Michaels


The program aired Wednesday, Feburary 3, just days before the Superbowl.

Funny thing, Lara kept forgetting one line that she turned to me every time (as I was seated closest to her) and I would remind her of the phrase "Crazy Pets by Pedigree". You know I truly miss appearing on television but mostly radio as spokesperson for a company. Perhaps it was the chilly wind that we were all freezing and kept drinking wine to warm up. In other words, we acted the part of enjoying warm weather in Miami!

Adrienne and OB

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Florida Ghost Towns


As many of you know I am a proud, native Floridian, born in raised in Titusville, FL near the Kennedy Space Center.

My homestate of Florida has its own rich history full of your usual: Indians and European settlers, stories of pirates and drifters, ghost towns and legends of fountain of youth.

Now available is a picture book with over 100 photos that will transport you to a yesteryear where many towns have vanished but preserved in this ideal coffee book.
Visit my Florida website, www.myfabulousflorida.com to learn more and take a historical trip dating back 100 years.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Hansel and Gretel Update-still waiting adoption

As of March 4: Adopt Both Brother & Sister for Price of One!

Hansel--isn't he handsome?!!!


As I write this, it's hard not to let the tears well up. Little Gretel is 100% recovered from her leg injury at construction sight. No fracture as the bone has rejoined and her flesh wound has seen new growth of skin and fur. She has such strength and courage. I have learned so much from a three pound kitten. She and her brother are now ready for adoption.

The kittens are 7 months old. The pictures hardly do them justice and their personalities will literally make you fall in love.

Hansel (above) is now a little taller than his sister (he's actually smaller than he appears in the picture). What presence--such regal, stately demure! He's a knight in platinum armor and protects his little sister.

Gretel no longer damsel in distress-she's growing up to be quite a lady!


Gretel is the sweetest kitten I have ever cared for. She meows, almost demanding attention and affection just like a dog. She curls up in your lap when seated and faithfully sleeps by your side when it's bedtime. I will cry many tears when giving her up but once the foster parents send me pictures of her new happy home, I will be equally happy!







If you ever wanted a cat who was like a dog without having to take it out for walks and send to groomer, then this is the cat most people dream about. Her brother is her friend, playmate when you're away from home. You'll see why it would be cruel to separate these siblings.







This brother and sister are inseparable. They are deflead, dewormed, tested negative for feline aids and leukemia and have received all vaccinations. They are also spayed and neutered!
Fostering these two kittens is no different than fostering one. Hansel is so easy--no rambunctious behavior, no tearing up the house, no demanding of attention but he can be affectionate. Just food, water, toys and his sister is all he needs.
Unlike most cats, Gretel loves to be held and caressed and baby talked to. Her varying shades of black and gray with speckles of warm caramel and white mittens combined with her personality is deserving of an artist's rendering. She is that special.


Adoption fee is normally $65 for one. You can adopt both kittens for price of one!
(Note: just to spay one cat is $200 at a vet and the cost of vaccinations, blood test and doctor exam is well over $100).

Please contact me for an application.

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Ottmar Liebert, Under the Rose


Recently I had the opportunity to attend a performance by world-renowned guitarist, Ottmar Liebert. This was the first time I ever attended a show where there was no dancing or physical movement other than the melodious vibrations of flamenco guitar notes in the air.

The music transported me to my travels in Spain, especially Andalucia, the heart of flamenco. The sight, the sounds, the rhythm, the passion...

This German-born artist is a man of deep thought and instrumental innovations to bring a world together through the universal language of music. He recently married his talent with the illustrious Iraqi oud player, Rahim AlHaj. Under the title "Under the Rose, Liebert and AlHaj unite modern flamenco with ancestral Iraqi tradition similar to the Moorish influence in the Iberian peninsula. Now you can indulge in this spectacular marriage of music.

CLICK HERE to download your free MP3 album "Under the Rose".


This also makes a great gift. How can you present this album as a customized gift? Just follow these instructions:
Go to the Under the Rose webpage.
Click on Download this album in lossless FLAC format.
Click on "Click here to download a PDF you can print out for making your own CD jewel box insert."
If you don’t have FLAC software, go to this webpage and download some.Burn an audio CD.Print the jewel box insert.Tie a ribbon around it.
Optional: make a donation to Direct Aid Iraq.
Total cost should be about a buck, for the CD-R with case, plus the donation, if applicable.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Review of Movie: NINE

Penelope Cruz




With scores of commercials with name-dropping celebs like Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench, and Sophia Loren to name a few and the comparison to the musical Chicago, expectations were set and set high.

Unfortunately I was not charmed. Where was the dazzling choreography where I long to rewind the clock 20 years and relive my dancing years? And the singing. I asked if these A- list actresses were really singing. They were. With the exception of the belting gusto of professional singer Fergie, the rest were as flat as Miami sea level land. Even the script for these phenomenal actresses was sub par. I forget that Sophia Loren is mortal but it showed. With all the plastic surgery, she was wound so tight she appeared stiff.

The heroes were Daniel Day Lewis and Judi Dench and also kudos to Oscar winner Marion Cotillard. Technically, she's the only trained singer.
Daniel Day Lewis epitomizes the character of an Italian director who spirals into a cigarette smoking frenzy when media announcement is made of his next movie but he has no script or even a title. He "dances" around questions and the lies avalanche. His muses are the various women in his life--his dead mother who appears as a ghost (Sophia Loren), his French dress maker (Judi Dench), his childhood older heartthrob (Fergie), his wife (Marion Cotillard), his mistress (Penelope Cruz), and leading actress (Nicole Kidman).

Other memorable moments: Penelope Cruz's raunchy, tit-and-ass with fishnet hose-covered- legs performance. Fergie's lustful musical score "Be Italian" makes you want to be Italian. And Kate Hudson's perky song and dance performance. But no comparison to Chicago. Even Rotten Tomatoes is scoring this at 37% right now.




Kate Hudson



Fergie


Moral of the movie (between the lessons to learn and all the sumptous women, this movie really is for men):

Don't procrastinate

Don't lie repeatedly

Don't have affairs! Sorry Tiger Woods beat the film to punchline.




The A-list actresses


My recommendation, RENT THE MOVIE!

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