Southwest Florida is a Little Slice of Paradise

I’ve just returned from a week-long family vacation in Southwest Florida and feel more rejuvenated than ever! And we averted coming into close contact with Hurricane Joaquin. (Thank goodness.)

This was my third time to Florida and my first time to Florida’s  Gulf Coast. Previously, I’ve been to Daytona Beach/St. Augustine and Fort Lauderdale/Miami. How does the SW Gulf Coast differ from the SE Atlantic Coast? I learned that the Gulf Coast is quite shallow in comparison to the Atlantic Coast. There are more conservatives in Gulf Coast FL than leftists. And SW Florida is a far more affordable place to live in. However,  both Floridian coasts have a charm about them.

For those of you who’ve yet to venture to SW FL, the region comprises the Paradise Coast (Naples, Everglades, Marco Island) and Fort Myers. We mostly stayed in Naples.



Naples Beach and Pier after heavy rains

Naples reminded me of a more laid back, tropical La Jolla (my college town). It was serene, safe, affluent, and cozy–a quiet beachside town full of surprises. The place we frequented most was Naples Beach. (Sadly didn’t have time to check out Delnor-Wiggins State Beach and Vanderbilt Beach.) Naples’ beaches stretch seven miles long and are home to sandy, white shores.


Heavenly sunset draping the Gulf of Mexico


Blue skies and ultra-violet rays above Naples Beach and Pier

Naples boasts two points-of-interests tourists should be privy on checking out by foot. (In lieu of exercise, I recommend walking around town: great way to burn calories and stay active!) One is Fifth Avenue while the other is Tin City.  The former is adorned by cute shops and restaurants. At night, lights glisten and brighten the street by making this hot-spot more romantic and inviting. The latter was a tad more underwhelming but still worth visiting. It is largely comprised of fishing boats and seafood restaurants.


I wish I had more time to explore Fort Myers as it’s got a lot to offer. I did, however, go fishing in Estero Bay and will have a post about my fishing trip up shortly for you all to read about. Historically speaking, Ft. Myers is home to the winter homes belonging to Henry Ford (“The Mangoes”) and Thomas Edison (“Seminole Lodge”). Additionally, it boasts some very beautiful beaches and other great attractions. I hope to visit again and explore more of its hidden gems.


Mangroves in Estero Bay…Abound with tranquility and good fishing


I had read extensively about the islands of Sanibel and Captiva, and felt it was imperative to pay a visit. This particular inlet is renowned for its shelling, world-class fishing, turquoise waters, pristine beaches, wildlife, and  island life. We were crunched for time and without a car – we relied heavily on Uber- so we visited Sanibel Lighthouse Beach. In order to access this island, one must cross a toll bridge.


Historic Sanibel Lighthouse

While soaking in some rays, we saw several dolphins- including a mother and her baby- frolicking near shore. It was truly a wonderful sight!


Dolphins swimming around Sanibel Island

Had there not been the aforementioned constraints, we would have visited Bowman Beach and ventured north to Captiva Island.

All in all, I could see myself coming back to SW Florida in the near future. Great beaches, great food, nice people, and superb sport fishing–I couldn’t ask for a more relaxing vacation!

Learn more about SW Florida, check out Paradise Coast and Fort  Myers-Sanibel!

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Happy 29th Freedomversary, Mom and Dad!

On this day 29 years ago, my parents arrived in the United States in search of a better life.

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[Aren’t my parents adorable? They’ll be celebrating 33 years of marriage in April.]

I often brag and boast about my parents because, well, they’re awesome. Not only that, they are the best [naturalized] Americans I know! They came here virtually penniless from the now-defunct Soviet Union in search of a better life. (Soviet attitudes still thrive in Russia today.) Their first home, Lithuania, was sadly ravaged by Soviet policies. Thankfully the country is now free.

I recently watched “Moscow on the Hudson” (1984) which starred the late Robin Williams. In the film, there is a profound scene featuring a swearing-in ceremony for soon-to-be naturalized Americans. Here’s a relevant quote from that scene:

 …Today you will become citizens of the United States of America. No longer are you an Englishman, Italian, a Pole or whatever, neither will you be a hyphenated American. From this day you are no longer a subject of a government, but an integral part of the government, a free man. May you find in this nation the fulfillment of your dreams of Peace and Security, and may America in turn never find you wanting in your new proud role of citizen of the United States…

This scene will certainly have an impact on you. Becoming American used to be lauded. Now, it’s “xenophobic” and “insensitive” to suggest people should assimilate to the American way of life. My parents retain many aspects of Lithuanian culture, but understand that success in America comes with blending into society. Without a doubt, American citizenship is a great privilege. Cherish it more!

I’m proud to be a daughter of legal immigrants from Lithuania. My parents sacrificed so much to come here to achieve the American dream. My sister and I are eternally grateful to them for giving us a good life here in the U.S.

Happy 29th Freedomversary, Mom and Dad!

Freedom Isn’t Freedom: 27 Years After Reagan’s Berlin Wall Speech

27 years ago today, President Ronald Reagan made his famous “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” speech.

I like to commemorate important historical events on my social media platforms because an ignorant populace is doomed to repeat the horrible mistakes of the past if history is ignored or forgotten. As some of you know, my family lived behind the Iron Curtain and immigrated here as political refugees from the Soviet Union in 1986. My family, like millions of others who’ve fled tyranny for freedom, came here for better opportunities. Reagan’s leadership, along with that of several others, propelled the physical collapse of the USSR. We must remember that freedom isn’t free, and that big government, when fully implemented, destroys liberty and kills.

Don’t discount the freedoms afforded to you here. Don’t look to our government for safety or comfort. Don’t let elected officials trample on our rights and our property.

College Board Is Lowering Standards for Advanced Placement Classes

I stumbled upon this article from Breitbart yesterday about new College Board standards for its AP U.S. History course. It’s quite troubling:

Beginning in August, such a course will be offered to 500,000 of America’s most talented high-school sophomores and juniors – the College Board’s new AP U.S. History Framework. The new College Board Framework will replace the traditional 5-page topical outline with a 98-page document that dictates how teachers should cover the required topics. George Washington gets one brief mention; other founders, such as Benjamin Franklin and James Madison, none. The Declaration of Independence is referred to in passing in one clause of one sentence.

If the Framework virtually ignores the most important men and documents in American history, what does it find worthy of attention? The answer is, pretty much anything that casts a negative light on our country. The redesigned Framework inculcates a consistently negative view of American history by highlighting oppressors and exploiters while ignoring the dreamers and innovators who built our country.

The Framework asserts that the British-American colonies were characterized by the development of “a rigid racial hierarchy” (page 27) that was in turn derived from “a strong belief in British racial and cultural superiority” (page 29) – and teaches that much of the rest of American history was shaped by those beliefs. There is much emphasis on mistreatment of slaves and native people, but none on truly revolutionary founding principles that laid the groundwork for the freest nation on earth (consent of the governed, development of democratic institutions, religious liberty). World War II was a time of racial discrimination and other inequities, not of massive sacrifice and achievement by soldiers and civilians alike.

For those of you who’ve taken Advanced Placement (AP) courses in high school–I was one of those kids–you’ll recall how time-consuming, challenging, and worthwhile these classes were. I took (and passed) most of my AP tests that resulted in me having a year’s worth of college credit completed. Despite how grueling AP classes were, I learned a lot and felt prepared for college.

I went out of my way to qualify and participate in AP classes during my time at Tesoro High School (’09) in Rancho Santa Margarita, California. The “regular” classes, as we called them, were lax and dull. Teachers who oversaw these classes were generally careless. Students who were enrolled in these classes were generally unmotivated. The coursework of regular classes was mediocre or worse–borderline propaganda. As a smart and capable student–because I’ve benefited from “white privilege” right?–I didn’t want to waste my time taking classes that would stifle my learning potential. Call it elitism, call it arrogance–I made the choice to challenge myself. Most of my leftist peers in AP classes also decided to do the same.

Why is College Board trying to shape AP classes in the mold of regular classes? Why equalize the academic field?

When I graduated from Tesoro High School in June 2009, I felt prepared for college at UCSD (’12) because of our Advanced Placement program. My school had a generally rigorous AP program consisting of 20 AP courses. (The exception was AP Environmental Science because the content was silly and all our class did was watch movies/bake pancakes.) I took 10 courses from 10th-12th grade, graduated with a 4.4. GPA, and received the AP Scholar with Distinction Award from College Board. One of my favorite classes was Mr. Harnett’s AP U.S. History class during sophomore year of HS. For our summer reading, we were required to read Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America (which I didn’t realize at the time was quite conservative and pro-America). He was a fair teacher who challenged his students to learn. He kept any bias he held hidden, which was greatly appreciated. Mr. Harnett never used his class to condemn America or complain about the U.S. Constitution. His class was enjoyable and one of the most sought-after classes in the entire school.

It’s a shame that the College Board has mandated AP teachers to teach students to revile and despise this country. AP U.S. History should celebrate America’s greatness and our unique political system.

Shame on you, College Board. 

All Americans Are Privileged–And It’s Not a Bad Thing

There’s all this talk of privilege these days, so I wanted to give my input on this matter:

Leftist activists who are desperate to control us and eager to suppress dissent have invented the term “white privilege” to assert themselves in the public sphere. What is “white privilege” and what does it consist of? Apparently, if your ethnic background is Jewish or European (simply put, Caucasian), you’re perceived as having an unfair advantage in society because of your skin color. This means you boast “privilege” and supposedly view other ethnic groups as “inferior.” Moreover, because we allegedly boast “privilege” everything is willingly handed to us, the government supposedly takes better care of us, and we’re all extremely wealthy and greedy. Adherents of this philosophy, which is an offshoot of critical race theory, demand that those bestowed with “white privilege” renounce their wealth, hate themselves, and perpetuate class warfare tactics. According to some “brilliant” scholars on MSNBC and similar outlets, if your family members survived the Holocaust, you’re automatically a recipient of “white privilege” because they fared better after their suffering in death camps and concentration camps.


By that logic, I must boast extra “white privilege” because members of my family were afflicted by both Hitler’s National Socialism and Stalin’s Soviet Communism. My maternal grandma who endured harsh conditions in a German labor camp around the time her husband, my maternal grandpa, endured harsh conditions in one of Stalin’s gulags overcame adversity as Christians and property owners because they were privileged rather than persecuted, right? I guess my dad’s family endured anti-Semitism and overcame it because of “white privilege,” no? When my family decided to flee the former Soviet Union, giving up their belongings and being fearful for their lives must have been a result of “white privilege.” Not to mention that when they arrived in this country they were virtually penniless and not assimilated yet. (White privilege, right?) Or the fact that my dad built his company from the ground up without a handout. Or the fact that my parents worked hard in their respective careers to give my sister and I a good life–a life they never enjoyed in their homeland.

If success is a crime in this country, we’ve surely lost our way as a civilization.

Newsflash: every American of every stripe and shade is privileged—and it’s not a bad thing. We have the privilege to express our views without retribution from the government (for now). We have the privilege to make and earn a profit. We have the privilege to right a wrong and make our country a better place. We have the privilege to pursue opportunities unseen throughout the world. We have the privilege to enjoy luxuries and goods that most people across the globe will never have access to. We have the privilege to live in the last beacon of hope, our beloved United States of America.

If you hate the rights and opportunities afforded to you in this still magnificent country, you need to check your self-hatred. Here’s my two cents.

New Freedom Center Video Confirms Obama Hates Israel

It is undeniable that President Obama is the most anti-Israel president in American history.

He has snubbed PM Benjamin Netanyahu on numerous occasions, called for Israel to return to pre-1967 borders, and recently referred to Jews as “Jew-janitors.”

It is imperative that come 2012, we elect a conservative Republican president that supports Israel, the Jewish people, and a healthy U.S.-Israel relationship.

Watch the video below and please share it with your friends.

H/T: David Horowitz Freedom Center


Glenn Beck Restores Courage in Israel, Inspires Global Movement

Cross-posted from Washington Times Communities:

Amidst criticism of his “Restoring Courage” events in Israel, Glenn Beck succeeds and inspires a new global movement.