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todays_the_day

As soon as the hurricane would pass, I’d beg my dad to take me down to the ocean. Down to the shore, where I knew the sand would be freshly blown about, and there was a chance a treasure would be unearthed, just waiting for me, as if it had been mine for centuries.

This was life as a child growing up in Vero Beach, Florida, the famed ‘Treasure Coast’. We knew Spanish ships wrecked along our coast hundreds of years before, so we weren’t crazy to think there might be some precious coins laying in the newest layer of sand to see the light of day. We’d heard stories of people finding precious artifacts. Every now and then, I’d see the fancy metal detectors being swung back and forth, skimming the sand, and drool over the high tech tool, wishing I could also have something so fancy to help me find my share of gold. But we didn’t have money for such craziness. My only chance at treasure hunting came after a storm, when a fresh layer of sand was left behind for me to sift through without fancy tools.

I never found any, but someone else did. A fellow named Mel Fisher. He was—and is—the king of treasure hunters, at least in my book. This man dedicated decades of his life—as did his family– looking for sunken treasure, using much better tools than the metal detector I drooled over.

Each and every day, he’d wake up and declare, ‘Today’s the Day!’

silver clump

He never doubted he’d find the treasure from the Spanish shipwrecks peppering our coast. And ultimately, he did. Not on the shore, but in the water.  One was discovered right there off the shore of my hometown…in those same waters where I swam throughout my childhood. They called it the ‘1715’ wreck, because the ship went down in 1715, but locally they called it ‘Corrigan’s Wreck Site’ (I was always told it was because of its proximity to the Corrigan home nearby—others say it was because Corrigan was the guy who discovered the site). You have to understand, I went to school with a Corrigan. This was a small town, with one high school for our city and those nearby, so we all pretty much grew up together, knew each other, and this made the connection to these ship wrecks real for many of us. To me, it made it all the more sentimental when Mel Fisher’s family started selling the coins, and I knew one day I’d have to have my own.

At one point, my father even worked on Mel’s son’s car, fixing it knowing he wouldn’t be paid, because all of their money was being poured into their treasure hunting, then fighting to keep the treasure they found from the government (which insisted it should get to keep 25% of it–a judge ultimately decided otherwise on the Atocha because it was found in international waters, not Florida waters). My father was good with a promise that he’d be paid with a coin when they found the famed Atocha, another ship that sank during a hurricane back in 1622, and was said to have more treasure than any other ship that went down. And you know what? When the family did find that treasure, down near the Florida Keys, Mel Fisher honored that promise, even though his son was gone, having died when their boat sank during the quest for the treasure, just one week after having found the first cannon confirming it was the Atocha wreck site. Mel Fisher honored his promise, paying with a coin from the wreck, which my father promptly passed along to a relative who had loaned him money for the down payment on our house. Sadly, that’s as close as I got to a coin for many years.

The famed Treasure Hunter Mel Fisher made his home in our area, and to this day, the museum honoring his finds and his family is still open to visitors who want to take the time to learn more about the adventure. You may even be lucky enough to meet one of the Fisher’s while you’re there, as I did on my last visit. Mel’s grandson, Cam, was working in the shop, and it was fun sharing stories with him. I highly recommend you give it a visit.  You can even hold a gold bar while you’re there. I can’t even imagine what that’s worth (and yes, they have a guard on property to protect the treasure).

lift a gold bar

holding gold bar

That museum is also where you can buy a coin or two, if you can find the funds. I had to wait until I was much older, but I did finally buy  a coin from the 1715 wreck. I wear it around my neck nearly every day, a reminder of where I come from and the lesson to keep pursuing my dreams with that same Mel Fisher attitude that ‘Today’s the Day’.

coin front

coin back

There’s another museum in Key West, where Fisher brought up most of the treasure from the Atocha, and it’s possible to also invest in the treasure hunting that is still going on at the site, decades after the original finds.  If you invest, you can even go out to the treasure site and become part of the crew.  They’re still bringing up emeralds from the part of the ship they now call ‘Emerald City’.

emerald

I’ve bought coins from the Atocha, too, and consider them not just a great investment, but a treasured piece of the past.  But it’s not about how much it’s worth in financial terms.

I am a fan of the history of the treasure–and the story about finding it. The fact that it’s all a part of my own history in some small way just makes it that much more priceless.

 

 

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Carpool Karaoke with the 2016 Olympic Swim Team (Video)

by Desiree Miller on August 8, 2016

2016 Olympic Swimmers carpool karaoke

There are certain things that bring me great joy in life…singing along to the radio at the top of my lungs is one of them, and judging by the faces of the 2016 USA Olympic Swim Team members in their Carpool Karaoke video making the rounds, it’s something they love, too.
It turns out the team recorded the video while spending time in Atlanta before heading to Rio, taking a page from James Corden’s famous fun during his CBS program, “The Late Late Show”. That makes perfect sense, because if you spent any time at all in Atlanta, you know you can be stuck on the highway for a long, long while if you don’t time it right. Carpool Karaoke is the perfect way to pass the time.
Watch the video (below this article–just click on the arrow)…all of it…and I dare you not to sing along.
I personally love their stop at Chick-fil-A, though they clearly have never tried the honey roasted barbecue sauce since I never hear them request it (and you know if you’ve ever tried it that this sauce is life-changing stuff—there’s no way to eat chicken or fries without it after you’ve had it once).
Oh, and the Pokemon song…you know most of those guys memorized that song back when they were little guys just learning to swim.
And the lobster…not sure what’s up with the lobsters, but I don’t see what could be wrong with singing lobsters, so…
Enjoy!

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Did You Know THIS About the Statue of Liberty?

by Desiree Miller on July 31, 2016

ladyliberty

lady liberty paris

Pretty much everyone knows the Statue of Liberty was a gift from France to the United States, but did you know there’s a version of our statue still in Paris, positioned on the Seine River?  That statue has her arm raised as if she’s waving hello to her twin in America, who happens to be facing her, also with an arm raised (yes, they are both holding a torch, but I can’t help but think they’d be waving non-stop if they could see each other across the ocean and beyond).   I’ve now had the honor of seeing both firsthand and truly believe every American should find a way to get up close and personal with the USA Lady Liberty, sitting next to Ellis Island off New York City, at least once in his or her life.  There are quick boat tours and special trips offered to get you over to Liberty Island (I personally recommend the Circle Line cruise, which is what I took with a friend on a recent sunny afternoon).  You’ll be impressed with her massive size–and, if you work it out to stop at Liberty Island, you can even go inside the statue and climb to the crown area, just as you would a lighthouse. lady liberty wide

lady liberty france close

 

 

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isner net return

So, you have your tickets to the BB&T Atlanta Open, the third stop in the Emirates Airline US Open Series, and are counting down the days until you can go watch the best of the best in tennis face-off in your backyard…perfect! Now, read up on some important tips that will make this a memorable experience—for all the right reasons! These are tips from people who have been there and learned a thing or two. For example, it will be HOT!! You want to prepare for that…but you’re not allowed to pack a cooler, so what can you bring? Well, we’ll get to that, so keep reading.

WHO IS PLAYING WHEN?

The players for the tournament include local favorite and previous champion John Isner, along with Nick Kyrgios, Kevin Anderson, Fernando Verdasco, Alexandr Dolgolopov and Jeremy Chardy. You can also see Taylor Fritz, Borna Coric, Marcel Granollers, Benoit Paire, and Donald Young. As for when you can see them, that’s tough to say. With a single elimination tournament, the lineup will change each day. The only matches we know about the dates on for sure are the Exhibition matches, including the John McEnroe event (he stepped in for Andre Agassi after he injured his back). Agassi was set to play Sergi Bruguera in a rematch of their 1996 Olympics match, but McEnroe will now be playing against Bruguera.

You can take a look at the overall schedule by clicking here. Then, once the tournament is underway, you’ll be able to check that link again to see the daily list of matches.

atlanticstationbbt

WHERE DO YOU GO?

The Atlantic Station is the venue for this annual tournament (for five years running now) and you can park in the parking garages on property. The first two hours are free, but after that you’ll be charged a fee. You have to pay the fee at the machines before you return to your car to exit. Lexus is a sponsor of the tournament and offers special parking zones for Lexus owners. It’s complimentary and is located at the 20th Street parking lot near the northern part of Atlantic Station. There’s also valet parking near the Target parking deck. You can also take public transportation. You can take MARTA from the Arts Center station (running from 5am to 1am daily). By bus, the number 37 DeFoors Ferry Line will get you there. And Monday thru Friday, from Woodstock you can take the Route 491 Express to Atlantic Station.

Atlantic Station is a favorite Atlanta destination for shopping and dining, so stick around a little beyond the tennis action to try some of the restaurants and stores.

WHAT TO BRING?

Everyone can bring ONE water bottle—20 ounces or smaller—provided it’s in a clear, plastic container. You cannot bring a cooler of any kind. No food or beverage (beyond that one water bottle per person) is permitted—no glass bottles, no cans, no coolers, no ice chests, no thermoses and no picnic baskets. Got it? Good. They do sell concessions on the grounds, so you’ll have options, as long as you bring money to buy them. There’s water, soda, alcohol, ice cream, and typically burgers and other food options (in the past, that included barbecue).

WHAT TO LEAVE AT HOME OR IN THE CAR:

You cannot bring any of the following items:

Umbrellas

Sealed packages of any kind

Briefcases

Backpacks

Aerosol Cans (including suntan lotion)

Commercial photographic or video cameras or recording devices

Tripods or Monopods for cameras

Hard coolers or like containers

Glass bottles or cans

Noisemaking devices

Computers/Laptops/iPads/Kindles

Food (except for medical dietary or infant purposes)

Beverages (excluding 20 oz. or smaller sealed plastic water bottles, one per person),

Weapons (regardless of permit)

Pets (unless a service animal)

Flags, banners, or signs, laser pointing devices, tennis racquets, bicycles, scooters of any type, in-line skates, roller skates, skateboards, and any other items deemed unlawful or dangerous by the management of the BB&T Atlanta Open, in its sole discretion.

(I don’t really understand the tennis racquet rule, but they must have their reasons.)

isner cheer

WANNA BET?

Well, not here, at least not while you’re at the tournament site. It’s strictly prohibited– directly or indirectly—to wager on tennis matches while at the tournament site. In their words, “Allowing betting companies, directly or through a third party, to accept any tennis wagers (electronically or otherwise) at the tournament site or any tournament related event is prohibited.”

WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED TO KNOW?

You are allowed to leave and re-enter, as long as you hold on to your ticket stub.

You can watch matches on either competition court, but you can only watch afternoon sessions if you paid for an afternoon seat, and evening sessions if you bought an evening seat. You can’t see both unless you have a ticket for both. This really only applies to Fridays and Saturdays, since the rest of the days only have one session. Also, you can enter the stadium up to an hour before the start of the first match of the session.

WHERE DO YOU SIT?

Your ticket will designate the area where your seat is located. Everyone over the age of 12 months must have a ticket to enter.

The players and umpire sit on the West side of Stadium Court. There are eight different levels of seats:  North View VIP Suites, City View VIP Suites, Presidential VIP Suites, Champagne Tables, Lexus Inner Circle Seats, Platinum Seats, Gold Seats and Silver Seats.

City View VIP Suites are located above court level with easy access to the VIP Lounge. Lexus Inner Circle seats consist of the first row of the stadium. Platinum, Gold and Silver seats are all individual stadium seats, with backs.

North View VIP Suites, City View VIP Suites, Presidential VIP Suites, Champagne Tables and Lexus Inner Circle tickets all grant spectators access to the indoor, air-conditioned NEW Lounge overlooking the Grandstand Court with food and beverage included for each session!

WHAT SHOULD YOU WEAR?

Something lightweight that it’s ok to sweat in…a lot. I’ve been to the last six tournaments in a row and they all had one thing in common: blazing heat. I remember the first one I attended (pre-Atlantic Station days) the heat was so intense they had to call for an ambulance dozens of time for cases of heat exhaustion. I learned then to hydrate BEFORE the match, but also to try to match every alcoholic drink with a water. I also learned cups of water are magical in keeping you cool. Wear sunscreen, and pack your sunglasses and visor/hat, if you’re going to be there during the day. It’s better at night, but there are times I felt the sweat pouring down my back at evening sessions, too.

IS THERE SOMETHING BESIDES TENNIS TO SEE?

Sure! Other than the food and restaurants, CocaCola will have a special Olympics attraction set up to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Atlanta hosting this worldwide event. There will be Olympians signing autographs and meeting with fans, along with some of the memorabilia on display. It’s free and open to the public—with or without a ticket to the tennis tournament.

ALSO…

Lexus will also have its #FuzzyNX –a Lexus SUV wrapped as a tennis ball–on display, along with some other models. You can’t help but appreciate an entire car wrapped in tennis ball felt. And yes, it’s the same stuff they use on the balls. They promise.

This year’s special events will also include Ladies Day activities (this is August 4th and includes a VIP Lunch before match play begins, VIP Site Seating for the match play—its tented with fans, and you get 4 vouchers to the bar and massage services are offered, plus, there’s a Q & A with Fernando Verdasco)…

This year there will also be a Fireworks Show sponsored by Coca Cola one evening, a Family Zone by Wilson, and Tennis Night on the Town.

You can get tickets online at www.bbtatlantaopen.com or by calling the Ticket Hotlines: 855 307-1981 or 404-941-9202.

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stuffthebuscartoon

As July comes to a close, parents around the Atlanta area are already thinking about their children going back to school. Many counties start back to class on August 8th, while some head back as early as July 28th. My own children return August 1st.

That means the parents are making the rounds looking for school supplies, and one local station is making sure ALL students will have the supplies to succeed.

WSB’s Back to School kickoff event, Stuff the Bus, takes place Saturday, July 23 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the locations below. It’s an incredible community event, which collects school supplies for children living in foster homes.

There are 6000 children in the metro Atlanta area who are homeless or in group homes. WSB is trying to collect book bags for those children, along with supplies. The Children’s Restoration Network helps distribute them, working with people in 134 area shelters now, but it’s WSB-TV that makes the collections happen, essentially gathering the goods.

27 anchors, reporters and meteorologists will be at the locations on Saturday, July 23rd, so it’s a good time to meet them, too.

These are the locations: 

WSB-TV

o   1601 W Peachtree St NE, Atlanta, GA 30309

Kroger

o   4550 Jonesboro Rd, Union City, GA 30291

o   2875 N Decatur Rd, Decatur, GA 30033

o   6555 Sugarloaf Pkwy, Duluth, GA 30097

Northside Hospital

o   1200 Northside Forsyth Dr, Cumming, GA 30041

American Signature Furniture

o   840 Ernest W Barrett Pkwy NW, Kennesaw, GA 30144

If you’re out shopping for your own children, why not pick up a little extra something for other children in need?

stuffthebus

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Lobsters, Lighthouses and a Roadtrip in the 2016 Ford Explorer (Video)

July 19, 2016

Lobsters and Lighthouses. Two of my favorite things. And traveling with my adventure-seeking ten-year old daughter. So, imagine the fun we set out to find when we dreamed up a plan to drive up the East Coast, eating lobster, and climbing as many lighthouses as we could along the way. We were going exploring, and the only auto that made sense for this epic road trip was the 2016 Ford Explorer. Yes, it was more room than we really needed for just the two of us, but other family was […]

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An Open Letter to My Friends of Color: Black Lives Do Matter

July 7, 2016

To My Friends of Color, I am sorry. I am sorry you now live in fear. Fear that your husbands, brothers, fathers and sons may not come home tonight because of some action that is misconstrued by another. Fear that you might also be pulled over and harassed, jailed or hurt, based not on your behavior, but some false assumption. Fear that your child’s hoodie might lead someone to believe he is a criminal. Fear that your husband’s temper might set off an officer with too little patience and too […]

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Lineup Announced for 2016 BB&T Atlanta Open Tennis Tournament

June 21, 2016

This year’s BB&T Atlanta Open lineup includes four of the top 25 tennis players in the world, and 10 in the top 50, allowing Atlanta tennis fans to see firsthand what’s sure to be some of the most impressive, exciting competition in years. Those players include fan favorite John Isner, Fernando Verdasco, and Kevin Anderson. You can expect some passionate play from currently ranked #18 player Nick Kyrgios, of Australia, who will be joined by Lucas Pouille, Jeremy Chardy, and Borna Coric, among others. That action will be complimented by […]

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Cirque du Soleil Returns to Atlanta with TORUK – The First Flight

June 10, 2016

Cirque du Soleil fans can catch another show in Atlanta this month! Cirque is returning to Atlanta with their touring production, TORUK – The First Flight, which is based on the James Cameron’s record-breaking film AVATAR.  The show will be hosted at the Infinite Energy Center for seven performances. The dates are June 15-19. TORUK – The First Flight comes after their successful run of the big top production KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities this spring. If you’d like tickets, check here: https://www.cirquedusoleil.com/toruk. Tickets range from $34.50 – $125

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Alabama Beaches: A Whole Different State (of Mind)

May 25, 2016

With everything from the quirky Mullet Toss Festival at the world famous Flora-Bama bar, to kayaking among the dolphin and egrets in the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, to hanging out with ‘the cool kids’ at the chic Gulf-front restaurant “The Gulf”, where you can kick back on inflatable sofas, you can pretty much find something fun for everyone on the coast of Alabama (watch the video above for a quick look at some of the fun we found). With nearby Florida stealing all the glory for its stunning shoreline, […]

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