Giverny flowers

The price of freedom: My $9k dream vacation

betty ming liu Art, Food, Inspiration, Relationships, Travel 8 Comments

Running away from home for a 10-day painting vacation in France came with a price — $9,079.80, to be exact. But it’s what I wanted to do. I had a great time. Plus, I learned the value of letting go. “Me first” is my new mantra! Everything was new. I’d never gone on a vacation by myself before. Never went …

Honfleur waterfront

Honfleur offers 12th century charm & more

betty ming liu Art, Travel 6 Comments

Just arrived in Honfleur! It’s easy to see why the Impressionist painters loved it here. Between the ancient architecture and gorgeous light, I’m inspired too. This seaside town is located along the Seine at the point where it meets the ocean. Honfleur is tiny; the tourism board says the population is only 8,500. But 3.5 million people visit annually to …

5 reasons to love the Hastings-on-Hudson farmers market

betty ming liu Food 5 Comments

It’s that time again here in my hometown! The farmers market is setting up for the summer at its outdoor location overlooking the Hudson River. There’s something special about buying stuff grown and made only a few hours away. It makes me feel connected to the earth. Good for the soul. And, the stomach too. Through the winter, a scaled-down, …

Chuang Yen Monastery — a giant Buddha in the Hudson Valley

betty ming liu Travel 6 Comments

With the older folks in my family dying off, I’m going to a lot of funerals. They’ve become affectionate occasions to catch up with relatives. The latest gathering surprised me because I found diversity in the most unexpected location. When people from Chinatown and Queens choose cremation, their survivors make the 90-minute drive north to¬†Chuang Yen Monastery in the town …

Green Festival Expo — photos of new food & home products

betty ming liu Food, Holistic health, Money, Travel 4 Comments

For three intoxicating hours at Green Festival Expo, I stuffed my face on organic food samples and marveled at hundreds of new products. This was heaven for impulse shoppers, which meant I went home with a bunch of excitingly odd items to try out. This annual weekend event continues through today at New York City’s Javits Convention Center (April 24-26). …

How to budget a Miami vacation & not feel like a loser

betty ming liu Travel 8 Comments

My daughter and I recently discovered Miami and can’t wait to go back. This crazy, seaside metropolis delivered excellent surf, shopping and dining on a budget. The trip left us rich in memories from our first mother-daughter vacation in three years. That’s right. Three. Whole. Years. Between her doing her thing and me doing mine, our priorities and schedules just …