LIFE Is The Special Occasion


I’m always one to say, “use it” or “do it,” “life is the special occasion!”

What I mean by that is don’t save the expensive jewelry or fine China or crystal for a special occasion.

Don’t wait to wear that special dress or shoes.

Try not to wait for that milestone birthday or anniversary.

Use it every day, wear it today, celebrate this weekend, go this year – Life is the special occasion, and I’ve never meant it more than this year!

Celebrate good times, anytime.

Vacation v. Stay-cation

I need a vacation. You need a vacation. I mean a real unplug yourself, R&R time away from life.

I can’t remember the last time I was on a vacation like that. Some have begun to travel again or never stopped. Within the U.S, the options are endless. Though I personally consider those “visits.” There aren’t many options outside of the U.S. currently. If you are anything like me, you require the plane to cross a large body of water to count as vacation. 

Traveling is still in the distant future for me, I’m afraid. Living here on the Gulf Coast certainly eases that reality. However, there must be a way to improve the current circumstances.

And there are.

Imagination is the key to every success, in my opinion. At least that’s the lesson I have learned from my daughter.

Parisienne Street Sign. Paris, France.

She, too, has been feeling the pressure of not making it to the beach, let alone Paris, for which she has been saving every penny. Every other weekend has either been pouring with rain or too chilly for us to descend on the white sands of the panhandle. So her solution, when the first beach day of the year was canceled due to weather, was to bring the beach to her. She informed the household of the plan, and a new way to pass the time was born.

A Day At The Beach

We made seagulls and a large sun to hang from the ceiling fan of the living room. She took a large ochre-colored blanket and created the sand on the rug. A blue school blanket became the water. All were required to “come to the beach” in swimming costumes or something appropriate. She wore her sun hat and sunglasses that were only replaced by goggles when she entered the “water” for a swim and float on her inflatable.

French Riviera. Côte d’Azur, France.

There was food and drink. Somehow we managed to tour through Paris before we made it to the French Riviera virtually. My dad even had his striped shirt on and bucket hat playing the part of the Frenchman. Or was it tourist?

And just like that, I decided, “how brilliant?!”

We are in France right now. Enjoying one another’s company, music in the background, and the sound of water hitting the shore.

Virtual Insanity or Sub-reality?

Who doesn’t like a themed party? Why can’t we do this any day of the week? With a virtual tour and some food. Dressing the part helps set the mood too. Of course, selfies are required as “proof” you were there. A fondue and trek through the Swiss Alps. A curry and tour of Rajasthan, Delhi, or Agra, and the Taj Mahal. Some Italian food and wine and a tour through Rome or Venice or Florence or all three. A paella and wine and a bullfight in Spain. Or if you have small children, you can just watch Ferdinand. How about a Sunday roast and Yorkshire pudding and a walk through central London. Or a modest picnic and a live presentation of a sunset at Stonehenge for summer solstice?

Il Ponte Vecchio. Florence, Italy.

Who’s to say we can’t or shouldn’t?  Did I have a great time at the French Riviera after a stroll through Paris? Yes. Am I seeking further adventure? Yes. Is the sky the limit? Yes! So who needs a passport or a vaccination or a Covid test to make this happen? No one. Can you be immunocompromised and still make the trip? Yes. Can you bring whomever you want along? Yes! The virtual reality of it makes the possibilities endless.

Seize The Day

So whether you are alone, or with your family or friends, you should seek adventure. Dress the part. Cater the moment, whether casually or formally. Break out the jewelry and fine china and crystal. Wear that dress you’ve been saving. Uncork that bottle of wine you saved “for a special occasion.” Let loose and live a little because LIFE IS THE SPECIAL OCCASION!

De fiesta in Frigiliana, Spain


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Bianca Bain Villegas arrived to Pensacola in 2015 and readily embraced the local culture and history. She and her husband feel genuinely grateful for the opportunity to raise their two young daughters here. Originally from Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia, her Caribbean heritage and worldly ideology imparted to her by her parents and extended family, largely influence the outlook she has on parenting, life and the experiences that they afford. Having family and friends that live around the world and having completed her education in London and Madrid, only furthers her love of travel, different cultures and the need to have a deeper understanding of it all. Locally, you can find Bianca actively participating in historic preservation, neighborhood action, or service in the community through civic engagement. Her belief is that nurturing a community is as important as the families we choose to raise in our homes - we get back what we put out.


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