Sunday, July 31, 2011

Going Away

Going to a diversity camp this week! I'm going to have so much fun, I can't wait! It's a weeklong camp that teaches diversity and how to get along with everyone. :)  It's going to be a great trip, first time away from home for a whole week! But I think I'm really going to like it.

So since I'll be gone for a week, I won't be able to post or comment.  But feel free to keep commenting, I'll reply to all of them when I get back!

Stay happy, stay healthy, stay vegan <3 haha and don't forget to love all loving things. :)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Equality of Life

I have been thinking lately, and I think I should explain my "mission statement" of life. Hehe :D  It's what I fight for and what I believe in. 
I believe that all living things should be treated equally.

Let that go down in history.  I hope that everyone can soon realize this about me.  This is what I'm fighting for. 
All people should be treated equally and fairly.  Everyone should get an equal chance at anything, no matter what their gender, culture, personal identity, race, family income, looks, voice, intelligence, etc.  And I fight for this kind of equality too. 
At the same time, no animal should be treated below us.  Not one.  Animals should not be used in animal testing, they should not be eaten, they should not be tortured or trapped, they should not be poisoned.  Animals are living things just as much as we are.  They feel and eat and breathe and communicate just as we do.  But for some reason, we have made humans the king/queen of the chain.  And no, it's not just the food chain, it's everything.  Animals are do not belong to us. 
Thirdly, plants are living things too.  Plants grow, they breathe, and they help us breathe by taking out the carbon dioxide in the air.  So why do we cut trees down and pull out weeds and poison them and mass produce them? Not sure, but I don't believe this is right. 


So I know you all probably think I'm crazy here, but that's okay, i'm used to it.  I believe this is possible.  Do I live in my own little fantasy world?  Umm yes, I think so.  But I'm alright with that.  I just wanted to explain my thoughts on the subject of equality.  It's not limited to animals, it's all living things.

Sooo, how does this kind of world happen, anyways?  I guess with a whole lotta work.  When it comes to the human side, love eachother, will ya?  For goodness sake, we are all so similar!  So respect those who are different!  

When it comes to animals
  • Try being vegan,
  • Adopt from shelters,
  • Don't kill the mice in mouse traps, use a humane trap,
  • Don't support products that test on animals by buying them,
  • And write to your government and tell them how you feel!  Write to companies, too, they take their consumers seriously.  And don't be afraid to make yourself heard! 

As for plants,
  • Don't use pesticides or other chemicals in your yard,
  • Don't break branches off a tree cuz you felt like hanging off it- respect it. 
  • Grow plants, grow your own food (I do, it's easy!)
  • Use less paper goods
  • Recycle, so that another tree or plant doesn't have to be hurt for more of something.
  • Reuse! This can be better than recycling at times! Try to find new uses for old objects!

Life is all here for the same reason- to live.  All living things should be treated equally, and with respect.  Love those who are different than you, whether it be a person, an animal, or a plant.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Homemade mouthwash

the mouthwash :)
Today I made a homemade mouthwash.  I got the idea from the book "Homemade" from Reader's Digest.  Here's how to make it:

Ingredients:
1 cup water
1 tsp. whole cloves
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. peppermint extract (which i substituted for spearmint leaves)
2 tsp. parsley

Boil the water over medium heat in a small pan.  Then take off the heat and stir in cloves, cinnamon, spearmint, and parsley.  Let it sit there for 10 minutes.  When the time is up, strain out the liquid into an air-tight container and store it in the fridge. 

It smells really good, but it comes out brown, so I got worried.  When I tried it, though, it didn't stain my teeth! (Whew! haha)  But it did look gross in the sink.  Totally worth it though.  What do you guys think of homemade mouthwashes and things?  Are you brave enough to try this mouthwash?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Vegan Shopping

So I've been searching for some good vegan stores.  Small Footprints mentioned thrift stores as a way to shop for cheap clothing that's good for the environment.  Very true, thrift shops and consignment shops reuse clothing, which can help the environment by wasting less and can help animals by taking less from the animal if you buy these products. Thanks for the suggestion Small Footprints! :)  
If you're looking for consignment in your area, try these sites to look for some near you!



or check out Goodwill, Savers, or Salvation Army! :)

Here is a list of my top 5 Favorite Vegan stores:

1.) Another good online consignment shop is http://www.recycleyourfashions.com/brands.html

check out the auctions tab to look for name brand clothes or sell your own!
I like this skirt that's currently being bid here:
http://www.resaleshopping.com/index.asp?state=ma
This skirt is $9.95 and $4.95 shipping- pretty cute! I like it :)
2.)A vegan store I absolutely love is Pangea, because it sells everything vegan! it sells food that can be hard to find, clothes, shoes, body care, cosmetics, books, and sooo much more!! Plus, their stuff sells for pretty good prices! They even have a Sale/Clearance page (which i love!)  http://www.veganstore.com/ 

I want this from Pangea! hahaha so cool! It's a twist on Monopoly, about surviving from the animals point of view.  The winner is the one who owns the most vegan stores!
you can get it on http://www.veganstore.com/  for $23.95 


3.) http://www.foodfightgrocery.com/ is a vegan grocery store for vegan foods such as bee-free honee!! Love it! (If you don't know, honey isn't vegan because it comes from a bee- which are often tortured in the making of honey)  It also sells some t-shirts and things.

Bee Free Honee is made of apples, pure cane sugar, and lemon juice, that's it!

4.) A cool vegan purse and shoe store is http://www.alternativeoutfitters.com/ Their prices are great and they even have a $20 and under section!
I want these shoes!
They're $21.00 and super cute!

Feel free to check out these stores! Tell me what you think about them! What places do you like to go for cheap yet cute vegan clothes or other items?

*all pictures correspond with the store they're from (a.k.a. they're not from me)
http://www.resaleshopping.com/index.asp?state=ma
http://www.consignmentshops.com/
http://www.consignmentshops.com/

Monday, July 25, 2011

Protein in the Vegan Diet

One of the biggest concerns in non-vegans around the world is,
"But do you get enough protein?"
This is much easier than most people think.  Getting enough proteins is just eating a balanced diet.  By eating your veggies and other foods, you are getting all the protein you need.  And you know how some people say that combining certain foods is the only way to get the proteins, vitamins, and minerals you need to work correctly?  Not necessary.  As long as you get the food groups in throughout the day, you're fine.  In fact, Neal Barnard, M.D. says in his book, "Food For Life", that getting the protein you need "has turned out to be very easy." 

Where can I get Protein?
  • Protein can also come from beans, which Alicia Silverstone comments on in her book, "The Kind Diet", says, "Beans... burn cleanly in the body... They contain complex carbohydrates and fiber, beans not only supply protein to build and repair the body, they provide smooth, long-lasting energy while cleaning the engine!"

  • soy products, including Tofu (which comes from soybeans) a food that can do almost anything! and Tempeh, which is very good!

  • Seitan, the gluten in whole wheat, it is good for replacing meat. (it's yummy, too)

  • Some processed vegan foods, including: 
    • Burgers (my favorites are Morning Star Farms and Bocoa)
    • Hot Dogs (My favorite? Morning Star.)
    • Sausages (again, Morning Star and Bocoa are my faves, but there are many other brands for all of these)

So no need to worry about not getting enough protein- it's as easy as can be!  What's your favorite way to get your protein?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Hey everyone :)

First off, how do ya like the new background?  Be honest, I'm not sure how I feel about it yet.  It took a lot of work and I've wanted it for quite a while, but now that it's up.. I don't know.  What do you think?  (Please feel free to comment- I need feedback! :)) 

So I've been thinking today about cute, affordable, vegan clothing.   Abercrombie & Fitch is a cruelty-free company that doesn't test on animals, but this isn't under my definition of cheap.  I mean cheap as in "I'm a teen who can't get a job anywhere even though I've applied everywhere around me" kind of cheap.  I'm still searching for some places- so watch out for that post soon :)

I'll leave you with my
Three Things I Believe:
  1. Life has no point if you don't live it
  2. Chocolate is one of the most beautiful things ever created.
  3. There is nothing better than waking up early and watching the sunrise. :)
Ok so sometimes I'm a little random- you'll learn that as you get to know me.  Some days my post will have a definate purpose, some days they won't.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Iron. What if I'm Vegan?

Veggies
Ok, so iron is a very touchy subject with some people.  With some people, just mentioning you're vegan can start them ranting about how unhealthy it is because you don't get enough iron.  (This upsets me because I don't rant about how unhealthy their diet is, even though I'd like to!)  What many people don't know, is that we really don't need that much.  In fact, the average adult American has too much in their system- not too little.  And the average vegan or vegetarian? Surprisingly, just enough. 

What do we need Iron for? 

We need Iron to carry oxygen in our body.  Sounds important right?  Well that's because it is!  Unfortunately, people tend to take it too far with iron pills and things and that just makes it worse!  This can start an oxidation process- that's right, just like rust.  In your body.  This can start Heart Disease or Cancers.   It messes up the aging process, too. 


Why do meat-eaters have more iron in them?

The reason why vegans tend to have just the right amount and non-vegans don't is because iron is more easily absorbed in meat.  The body will always try to take what it can get of iron, so it takes all that it can and stores it away.  In vegetables, iron is less-easily absorbed, so the body tends to get just enough iron. 


How do I get rid of Iron?

Unfortunately, there really is no way for the body to release excess iron.  Most adult males have way too much, same with women after menstruation.  Of course, you can solve this by donating blood and eating a healthier, vegan diet.

But what if I am iron deficient?  What vegan foods can I eat?

Alicia Silverstone lists them, "Sea vegetables, dried fruit, lentils, chickpeas, and many other foods are high in iron.  Use a handful of parsley or pumpkin seeds for a quick iron boost."
Spinach is also very high in iron, a great vegetable to help!

Many people think of a vegan and think of a tired, skinny person with iron deficiency.  This is so far from true! Hopefully people will realize.  What are your thoughts on the matter?  What do you think about iron and the vegan diet?    (If you want to know more about the vegetarian and vegan diets, check out this post: http://eclecticteen.blogspot.com/2011/07/what-is-veganvegetarian.html)

What Are You? Quiz

Me sitting by the campfire at night
It's late at night, and I'm just sittin' on my computer, because I've got nothing better to do.  I could be sleeping, but I'm not.  I'm gonna be up late tomorrow too cuz I'm going to a baseball game with my family.  We're going to watch the Pawtucket Red Sox. :D 
Went to the Mall and Barnes & Noble today :))  I got a super cute skirt and shiny ring at Forever 21, a bathing suit top to match my bottoms and a flowy shirt at Gap, and skullcandy headphones and a USB drive at Best Buy.  Then I went to the book store and got myself my summer reading books.  This year for my Language class I am reading "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and "Frankenstein".  I can't wait- they sound like good books!

I haven't put up  any real quizzes yet, so here I go:

What Are You?  A Butterfly, A Caterpillar, A mosquito, or  a bumblebee?

  1. What do you want to be when you grow up/ in the future?
a.Something amazing! I can't wait 'til the future, it's all I ever think about!

b.I don't care.  I haven't thought of the future yet! Who cares!

c.Something that can keep me relaxed. 

d.I am already who I want to be, the rest will come in time.


  1. What is your favorite color?
        a. Yellow.  I love this color because it makes me happy!
        b. Gray or brown.  they're boring and I like standing out.
c.greens and blues, they relax me.



d.purple.  it means royalty and I am high enough to believe I can do anything!


  1. What are you most likely to be doing on a Saturday?
a.Studying for tests, learning about the job market, looking into colleges/other jobs



b.Reading those lists online about how best to annoy people and then trying some out

c.Relaxing.  It’s the best time to take a bath, read a book outside, or something like that.

d.Being with friends, working at my job, doing what I love.


  1. If you could choose to be any age, what would it be?
a.A pre-teen to teenager.  I like the fun times then and getting ready for adulthood.



b.a baby, so that I can scream and cry ALL the time!

c.Elderly.  Once you're older and wiser, you can really sit back and relax and enjoy yourself.

d.An adult, anywhere from 20's to 40's.  You've pretty much got life figured out, but still have some room to change.


  1. If you could do anything at all without any consequences, what would you do?
a.I would travel to the future to figure out what I'd become.



b.I would run around, spraying grafetti on the walls and throwing pies at people, throwing parties and have a grand old time!

c.I would travel in time or through a long distance to have lunch with someone I've missed.

d.I would perform for a day.  Singing, Dancing, Acting, etc.  Hollywood here I come!



Results:
Count up each letter to see what you’ve got!


Mostly A's:
You're a caterpillar.  You look to the future and shoot for your goals! You believe that anything is possible, and will do anything to get to where you want to be!  You are anxious for the future and want everything to be perfect!  You probably want to take the situation you're in now and reverse it.  Of course, keep on believing that anything is possible and keep reaching for the stars, but don't forget about today!  Live in the moment, or you'll lose your whole life.  One day you'll wake up and say, "Where did the time go?"

Mostly B's:
You are a mosquitto.  Some people look at you as an annoying little pest. And sometimes, you like it that way.  You like to do crazy pranks, and tend to get on a lot of nerves.  You just like to be jun, and "stand out" from the rest of the crowd.  There's nothing wrong with being a mosquito, except... not many like the way you act.  Try not to get on people's nerves so much, but always remember to never change who you are!

Mostly C's:
You're a bumblebee.   You like to sit back and relax.  You move about your daily chores slowly, taking your time to smell the flowers.  You like being outside and relaxing.  You enjoy those days where you have nothing to do.  It's great to be relaxed!  Stress is a huge problem today and it's great that your not affected!  But just remember to enjoy excitement too.  Don't shy away from it, embrace it! And above all, stay relaxed and calm! :)

Mostly D's:
You are a butterfly.  You have grown enough to realize that you like the person you've become.  You see no reason to change, and you enjoy being the center of attention.  of course, you had to work to get to where you are, but no you are finally happy with who you are.  It's important to always love yourself and be happy with who you are! You should always be exactly who you want to be- and that's what you are doing! Great work! Just remember not to get too carried away, sometimes you can seem to be a little self-indulged.


Hope you guys like the quiz, hope it's accurate (and fun!)  What did you guys get?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

T-shirt bags

My t-shirt tote
Ok so today I started out with this idea in my head.  I would take those old shirts, and turn them into cute little tote bags!  So I got everything out and ready and set up my sewing machine.  And of course, clumsy me breaks the needle! This was the last one I had, so I had to stop!  Very disapointing.

My broken needle :(
But, I fixed the problem by sewing it by hand! A little longer, but totally worth it.  I used my old Tinkerbell T-shirt. 

  1.  I turned it inside out and sewed the bottom. 
  2. I cut off the sleeves and sewed them from the inside out. 
  3. Then, I turned it rightside out and made sure everything looked right. 
  4. For the strap I used an old belt.  I cut slits just big enough for the belt to fit through. 
  5.  Then I buckled it right inside the tote so that I can change the belt when I need to. 
  6. To keep the tote on the right part of the belt, I put pins in it to attach on each side.  (I used my Glee ones, I'm a huge fan of Glee!)  I think it came out really good :) 
Soon I think I'm going to take the fabric from the sleeves and sew it inside to make a little pocket.  What do ya think?
Me with my t-shirt tote
Hope you guys like it! It's really easy- you should try it!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Harry Potter

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
LOVE this picture of  Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson!!

Just went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 on Friday.  It was great!  It was also the TOP opening film of all time (in America).  This past weekend it got $475.5 million in profits! That's just one weekend! I don't know about you guys, but I think it was fully deserved.  J.K. Rowling has a very interesting story that certainly inspires me.  She started off living off the streets with her kids.  To keep them entertained and to give them some happiness, she wrote stories of a boy who realized he was a wizard.  Her friends eventually read them and begged her to publish them.  Eventually she published and I'm sure that she doesn't regret it!  Hers is the best story of rising up against your situation and becoming famous.  I love her story and I love the ones she's written too!  I've read all the books and now I've seen all the movies. :)  I know, I'm a harry potter dork, but, it's ok ;)  How did you enjoy the movie?  What do you think of it's popularity and profits?

Friday, July 15, 2011

What is a vegan/vegetarian?


fruits and veggies <3
 Many people still don't know what being vegan or vegetarian really means.  There are very many misconstrued ideas on this and many people are still confused.  So I thought I'd clear up the water a bit.

Vegetarianism:  Eating the core food groups: fruit, vegetables, grains, and protein.  The protein group consists of eggs, beans, legumes, and similar things.  It is restraining from eating most animal products.  There are different kinds of vegetarian, including:
  • Flexetarian:  Someone who isn't really vegetarian, but likes to say they "sometimes eat like a vegetarian"  I often catch these people saying that their breakfasts and lunches are usually vegetarian, except those times when they have bacon or deli meat or.....
  • Lacto-ovo-vegetarians: with this lifestyle, you don't eat meat, poultry, or fish, but you do eat dairy and eggs.
  • Lacto-vegetarian: Someone similar to Lacto-ovo, just you don't eat eggs.
  • Ovo-vegetarian: Similarly, they do not eat meat, poultry, or fish, nor do they eat dairy products.  They do, however eat eggs.
  • Pescatarian:  A vegetarian that does eat fish, but no meat or poultry.
  • Fruitarians: Quite different then the vegetarian diet, but similar in some ways, a fruitarian eats fruits (yes, tomatoes too), nuts, and seeds.  They stay away from meat, poultry, dairy, eggs, and root plants such as carrots.
Veganism is a lifestyle choice.  It is more than the food you eat, although this is a huge part of it.  In the food aspect, a vegan abstains from meat, poultry, dairy, eggs, or any product of an animal, and we eat everything else.  As a lifestyle, it is abstaining from any animal product- this means no leather, no VHS tapes (thank goodness there are dvd's now, VHS' used to have cow product-some leather- in it!!), no real feathers or fur, etc.  This also means not using any products that are tested on animals.  This is difficult at first, but once you get used to it, it gets really easy.  Of course, as with vegetarianism, there are different kinds- those that use products that test on animals, those that own leather or fur or feather earrings, etc.  There are also other types under veganism, including:
  • Raw Vegan:  Eating only raw foods.  No meat, poultry, or any other animal product, and no cooked (meaning anything cooked over 115 degrees F) or processed foods.  Based on living off of the most natural food.
  • Macrobiotic: A vegan diet based on non-processed foods.  Usually has an emphasis towards Asian vegetables (like daikon).
Those were the most kinds I could think of,  Hope I didn't leave anything out.  If you have any questions or comments or opinions, please comment! I'd love to hear from you!  Anyone know of any other information? :)
Peace & Love, Mandi

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Zombie Awareness Day

Today is Zombie Awareness Day, a day to help spread the word about veganism.  "Zombies" are those that eat flesh, because as the saying goes, "flesh is for zombies".  This day was created by PETA to help spread the word about the "zombie epidemic".  Every day, millions of animals are brutally tortured and killed for their meat.  Animals are beaten, sexually abused, stuffed into small spaces, and forced to live in ways not natural to them.  Animals should be treated with respect.  There is no reason to abuse a living thing because every living thing should be equal.  We care for our pets, why shouldn't we care for cows, chickens, pigs, and  others? Would you beat, sexually abuse, or eat your cat or dog?  There is no difference!

Myths:
  • Humans are built to eat meat.  Humans have nothing to aide in eating flesh- our teeth are not, as some say, made to cut through an animal's flesh.  Our facial structure and teeth are actually more similar to an herbivore-in some cases we are built exactly the same.
  • We need meat for protein and essential vitamins such as Iron.  This is also wrong.  We can get protein from nuts, tofu, beans, and grains.  Iron can come from spinach, but surprisingly, we do not need as much iron as the media suggests.  All vegetables and fruits have many vitamins, Kale, for instance, has Vitamins K, A, and C in high amounts, plenty enough for your daily value!!
  • But the meat I eat comes from a happy farm where the animals are treated kindly.  Sorry, but those ads that show happy small-town, family-run farms are not as kind as they seem.  And "happy cows come from California"? Not true.  Do your research. (Look at this link: origin.www.peta.org and watch the video with Paul McCartney called "Glass Walls")
  • Animals don't feel the way we do.  Now that's the biggest lie I've ever heard.  Have you ever looked at your pet, or someone else's and seen them react?  They get so happy when people are around to play with and they get so sad and are known to comfort a person when they are down.  All animals are this way.  And if you did believe this, would you really believe that slamming a pig against the ground until they died, or slicing a cow's throat while they were still concsious was ok?
Please do what you can to stop this- by becoming Vegan.  PETA has plenty of recipes and I am always putting more on.  Check out my "recipes" page!

Here are ways of Identifying a "zombie" in this PETA pic:

(credit goes to PETA, property of PETA)
  And here are ways of being Vegan and staying that way when others try to convince you not to:
(property of PETA, credit goes to PETA)    
 And here are food options to help the transition from "zombie" to "meat-free"!:

(Property of PETA, credit goes to PETA)
 So I hope you all stand up to the zombies and become vegan!! If you are becoming vegan or have been, or have something to say, please commment below! I'm curious to see how people feel :)

"Man is the only creature that consumes without producing.  He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits.  Yet he is lord of all the animals."  ~George Orwell, Animal Farm (this is a good book- I suggest anyone who hasn't already to read it!)
 This quote is mostly true- the only thing is that we do produce milk for babies, but after this stage we no longer produce milk.  With this small exeption, the quote is true.  We are not meant to consume other animals' milk, eggs,etc.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Living with Wildlife

Living with Wildlife: "People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals"

This is a great article all about how to coexist with animals in the environment around us, because we cause so much more harm than they do to us. We will easily complain about animals in our yard or in our house, but do we ever stop to think about the amount of animal's homes we disturb and the animals we hurt on a daily basis? These are small steps we can all take to limit our destruction!

Fourth of July Weekend

Ok, so I had an amazing 4th of July weekend! On Friday, me and my family left for the beach! On the night we got there, we went to the beach in the dark and lit sparklers as we watched the house fireworks along the coast.  We built sandcastles in the dark and had a lot of fun.  The next day we went straight to the beach again.  It was a gorgeous day!  Me and my friends went swimming in the ocean, built sandcastles and buried eachother in sand and made up our own revised version of baseball- ocean style ;)  I took some pics of the beautiful view:
The Ocean

Seaweed

My favorite rock to sit on while the tide washes in.

My shadow in the sea.

A brook into the ocean...

The boats :)  In the distance is a huge flag for the 4th of July
After we got back from the beach we headed downtown, where all the shops are.  I got an awesome sweatshirt with the beach's name on the front and is super-comfy... all for $10! Score!  Afterwards, I got a henna tattoo! It's a cute little butterfly and is supposed to last like 3 weeks.  Hopefully it does.  I got it on my ankle.  unfortunately, it was $14! I thought that was a little pricey, but that's just me.  After that we window shopped around town and had lots of fun!

The next day, Sunday, we got ready to leave for home.  We said goodbye to the beach and our friends, and headed home.  When we got back in the evening, we went straight to the carnival!!

(This picture was not taken by me)
At the carnival there was the common ferris wheel and rides and it was fun! Afterwards we went to see these amazing fireworks! It was so foggy from all the smoke we could hardly see! It was so bad I got a piece of ash in my eye! Other than that though, it was amazing! At the finale, fireworks were covered by a huge cloud of smoke, but nobody cared because it was all so amazing!

The next day, the Fourth of July, I took my boyfriend (and of course my family) to six flags with me!  We went on a ton of rides and had a lot of fun.  My favorites are Batman and Catapult, although they are all awesome! The waterpark is great too!  We had so much fun! :D

My Fourth of July weekend was just amazing! How about all of yours? I'd love to hear all your stories! :)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Off to Vacation

Heading to the beach tomorrow.  Can't wait! It's the most beautiful, relaxing beach and I will post pictures as soon as I can! Tonight I'm just packing and getting everything ready.  It's past midnight already and I should be sleeping, but I really want to watch Beastly.  I haven't seen it yet and it looks good.  Maybe I'll watch it in the morning before I go.  Or in the car.  Either way, I'm sure to have a lot of fun.  Can't wait to have the ocean waves splash my feet once again, have my feet tangled in seaweed from swiming out into the ocean deep, build sandcastles with moats and seashell windows, bury people in the sand, walk the rocks out into the ocean and jump into the tide, collect seashells, and soak up some sun! So excited already and ready to roll! Can't wait for downtown either- with the candy corner and the souveneir shops; the merry go round and the henna tattoos.  Sun, sea, sand, and surf, here I come!