the places I visit on the island paradise where I live

Having left Ohio in 1981, I have been moving south ever since. First to Florida, then for the last 17 years, I have lived on the island of Cozumel with my husband and two dogs. Expat, designer, writer, photographer ... all my passions with a Mexican twist!

Dec 28, 2014

New Christmas Memories 2014

Isabella with her new bike
It may be a trite statement but I totally believe Christmas is for kids, or for those of us lucky enough to be around children for Christmas. It is always a thrill to see the look in a child's eye when they receive their gifts. We had the pleasure of spending Christmas Eve with my sister-in-law Daisy and her family, which included our Goddaughter Isabella. 


me and Isabella riding her bike
As her feet don't quite reach all the way to get the pedals moving, I pushed the bike around the living room. It was a good thing, as it gave here something to do until she opened the rest of her presents with her mom and dad.


Jasibe and Jason opening gifts with Isabella
Jasibe and Jason, Isabella's parents, opened gifts with her as Jason and her new beau John looked on. A great time was had by all. Too much food and too late, but that is a good Mexican Christmas!


MariJo helping to prepare the Christmas feast

Another great year in Mexico for me and my hubby, Moises!


Brother-in-law Miguel on the left, hubby Moises on the right

Dec 14, 2014

My 1973 MG Midget

1973 purple MG Midget
If there was ever a car that truly fit my personality, it was my first and most beloved car, a purple 1973 MG Midget. I worked at a bank for one year after high schoool before starting college to buy it. It was a lemon, no doubt. Hardly ever started and was in the shop more than out, but I loved that car.

A fellow employee at the bank had bought the car and probably realized within six months of making payments that the car was a real dud. So she talked me in to taking over the loan and buying it. 

I used to have to start it by driving down the hill from my parents house getting it going faster and faster, until I popped the clutch and it started. How many times I got stranded on two lane roads or even the highway, I cannot count.  I don't remember much about selling it or what I got after, but I sure remember that first car. 

Nov 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!


Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. Christmas is a close second. The memories of crowding around my grandmother's warm and fragrant kitchen come back to me now. I remember the smells of the turkey, sage dressing, mashed potatoes and the pies cooling on the rack near the sink. Seeing my grandmother in apron buzzing around getting everything ready, and the place where we ate - the dining room with the too large ornate table and chairs from Uncle Joe, the people my grandmother always took in on this holiday. She was a giver, my grandmother. She was the best person I have ever known.

Happy Thanksgiving to all! 

Oct 9, 2014

Patito: Our Ironkid




Our nephew Patito (Patricio)

Last weekend was such a great time for our family, as we were so excited and proud to have our nephew, Patito, competing in the Ironkids competition here on Cozumel Island. Patito is nine. He competes in the intermediate age group, which required him to go on a 150 yard swin, a 4 mile bike ride and a 1 mile run. Times are not taken at this age, but he finished with ease and finesse. He has been traveling around the country competing for a few years now.


Patito swimming



Chankanaab Park was a real madhouse. It was a bit of a strategic nightmare as well. My husband wanted to attend and watch Patito, but the trick was his bike needed to go in the truck down south. They had brought it from Merida, but there was no parking for the event. So my husband ended up taking the bike back and forth and missing the event. But all was not lost.



Patito at the finish line


Instead we got these great photos and we spent a lot of time with his parents as well. It was a fun-filled weekend for all. We are so proud of our nephew. And I believe every great kid has at least one great parent. In this case, Patito has two great parents. Photos below.



Patito with his mom Cristina

We enoyed some wonderful times with his cousins as well after the race with a cookout at Patito's Aunt Daisy's house. 


Patito with his dad Patricio

More information on Ironkids events can be found here. What a wonderful, healthy way for kids to gain self-esteem. Hats off to Patito and his parents!

Oct 4, 2014

The Magic of Design Store

Harmony bed with great new bedding just arrived
The Magic of Design is now packed with some great merchandise. We need to make room for the new, so in November, we will be having a sale on all old inventory at 30% to 50% off. There are some great buys. 

our most comfortable recliner
Sale item

We have dining room sets, a sectional and lots of accessories and lamps on sale. Be sure to stop by and prearrange items for November. If you pay for them now, we can either hold them or go ahead and let you have the sale price now!

Accessories from Uttermost on sale

Sep 16, 2014

Kisses to Cabo

Cabo airport photo from Facebook
Living on the island of Cozumel, we all know what hurricanes are like. The devastation and fear, the worst part being after the storm passes normally. We were lucky with Wilma in one way, there was not a lot of loss of life. Property can be replace and it surely was. Now we need to send kisses to Cabo and the surrounding areas ... the Corridor, Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo and the surrounding towns. These photos are so reminiscent of what we went through here in 2005.


The flooding and downed power lines are always a major problem after a storm. Here the municipio turned off the power to the town before Hurricane Wilma arrived. It made for a lot of inconvenience after the storm as each street had to be turned back on manually. Took tons of CFE employees from all over the country and weeks to accomplish, but it really saves lives.


Our hearts go out to all the people in the Baja Sur area where this took place. We truly do understand and commiserate.


Stay safe, Cabo, and hope your recovery is speedy. I am sure there will be relief efforts set up soon, with websites for donations. When I see them, I will add the links here.


Sep 15, 2014

Viva Mexico: Independence Day 2014 Part 2

Palacio Municipal September 2014
Definitely a deja vu experience. I know I had the same subject in a blog post from two years ago. I am not quite sure what they do inside this thing. Coca Cola bottles are stacked up in a circle with a different bottle in the middle. Maybe somebody can explain it to me.


Explain this to me?
Of course there will be rides galore and food to carry around and eat on the run, not to mention all the drinks. Everybody is setting up now and there are limited activities. Things will really gear up tomorrow and then our big day on Tuesday. 



Viva Mexico! Enjoy everybody. This is always a great time of year.


Just love all these colors!!


Sep 14, 2014

Viva Mexico: Independence Day 2014 Part 1

Cozumel Palacio Municipal
It is that time of year, our Independence Day is once again here. What I love most about it is all the colors and the excitement in the air. I love that the name Cozumel peeks out from under the banner at the Palacio Municipal, quietly announcing yes it is Independence Day - but Cozumel style.



The bandstand is set up in anticipation, and the event is a lot bigger this year than the last two years. Booths are set up from all over the country in all their glorious colors, both for food and drinks.

Food booth

Drinks booth
There is also a reenactment of the War of Independence showing some Mexican soldiers and on the other side of the main doors to the Palacio, the Spaniards. Who can identify the guy on the horse on the Mexican side?

Mexicans fighting for Independence in front of the Palacio

Spaniards on the other side of the main doors

Aug 8, 2014

Quinceañera From a Car Window

Quinceañera photo on the Malecon

There is something amazing about entering the world of a group of young people celebrating a special event, especially here on the island of Cozumel. I took this photo from the window of our car a few nights ago, after our stroll on the Malecon with our Godchild. I have no idea this beautiful young woman's name, but look at her smile and the way her friend hugs her. Look at the proud look of the guy next to them. 


Who is this?
I would love to know their names and their story. It was a special moment I saw from the car and couldn't resist snapping a few photos with my phone. The young woman is beautiful, her dress stunning and I can just feel the hopes, anticipations and dreams. 


Cozumel beauty
I am so thrilled to live in a place where I can take a photo like this. Look at the beautiful sky, the view of the water, the smell of the salt air and the hopes and dreams of this Cozumel beauty. Congrats, young beauty, with the whole world ahead of you. (Don't you just love the dress?)

More information on this event can be found here on Wikipedia.

Jul 28, 2014

Playa del Carmen Street Art Part 2

Street art photos courtesy of India Lee
India Lee is a woman I know from Cozumel. She was living here when I arrived in 1999-2000. I think she had already lived in Cozumel a while. She and a friend moved to the Riviera Maya area to sell at one of the hotel resorts being built and we lost track of each other. I was happy to find her again on Facebook. Thanks again, India Lee, for the great photos of the new street art at Playa!





These were my favorites. Enjoy!

Jul 27, 2014

Playa del Carmen Street Art Part 1

Street Art Playa del Carmen courtesy of India Lee
Very rarely do I like to double post on both my Gargoyles & Graffiti blog and here on Design in Cozumel, but I think this is such an important phonomenon I wanted to report on both. In the process of cleaning up Playa del Carmen, in anticipation of all the new shops, plazas, hotels, and condos ... the city decided to embrace street art. Instead of trying to cover it up, they are having young people all over the city making fabulous graffiti or street art. I love it. Graffiti is a popular form of expression since Roman times, even before. Look at cave paintings.


more street art at Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Notice that the pieces are signed and adorn many of the blah or ugly concrete block walls around town. Bravo to Playa del Carmen to come up with such a colorful and fun solution.




Courtesy of India Lee
India Lee, thanks for posting on Facebook!

Jul 6, 2014

The Cozumel Art of Sarah Williams Pritchett











Sarah Willams Pritchett is a wonderful artist that lives in Cozumel. She also happens to be my neighbor. We always say hi when we meet on the street or at a birthday party. We don't really know each other very well. But I am astounded and delighted at the art she has produced over the last few years. Hers is a rare and wonderful talent.
















These are prints we have in our store for sale. They are quite wonderful. Hope you can stop by and see them. If you would like to know about purchasing one of her originals, let us know. We can put you in touch with her, or you can contact Sarah directly at cozumelwatercolors@gmail.com







Jul 3, 2014

Musings of the Day: 15 Years in Mexico


Our Godchild's Christening


My family
12 Things I have learned after living almost 15 years in Mexico

When at the grocery store meat counter, I know to order 200 or 300 grams of ham, not 200 or 300 kilos like I used to 15 years ago. (What a look of shock I saw on the women’s faces!)

I have learned how to pronounce “estacionamiento” (parking lot) and “impermeabilizante” (waterproofing … materials for our roof).

I know to order camarón (shrimp) con “un poco de ajo” (a little garlic), instead of “un poco de ojo” (a little eye).

Spanglish is okay; at least it is better than only speaking English.

I have learned to accept things the way they are, at least most of the time.

I no longer refer to the United States as my home.

I don’t mention anymore the way things are done in the states. Standard answer from my husband always was: “Where do you live? Not the USA.”

People from the states look too tall and pale.

If somebody doesn’t arrive for an appointment, just come back later.

Kissing and greeting people you barely know is acceptable behavior.

Forgiveness is a way of life.


Happiness abounds.

Jun 9, 2014

The Magic of Design: What's New

Square dining table with upholstered chairs from Ashley
Moises has pulled out his new camera with tripod to take a few photos of our store. We have items at both 30% off and 50% off throughout the store. We have accessories at 30% off. 

We are excited to be working on two new projects for clients as well, so it is a busy time. Very grateful to be so busy at this time of the year!

Wonderful Indonesian rocker from Pelican Reef
Don't forget as well the hundreds of options we have for blinds. We work with Gabin from Puebla, Mexico - great prices, fast delivery and if there is any problem, replacing parts is not a problem. Come on by to see all the options.

Gabin blinds books galore