Shannon DalPozzal http://www.shannonlane.com Adventures in Social Media Mon, 05 Dec 2016 17:34:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.6.7 Follow Your Dreams http://www.shannonlane.com/follow-your-dreams/ http://www.shannonlane.com/follow-your-dreams/#comments Wed, 04 Dec 2013 14:43:03 +0000 http://www.shannonlane.com/?p=3038 Follow your dreams, not your fears.

Follow Your Dreams

Image taken in Cushing, Maine at The Bee Hive.

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National Champagne Day #ChampagneDay http://www.shannonlane.com/national-champagne-day-champagneday/ http://www.shannonlane.com/national-champagne-day-champagneday/#comments Fri, 25 Oct 2013 14:42:45 +0000 http://www.shannonlane.com/?p=3027 Champers. Bubbly. Both monikers for the epitome of that libation for celebrations – sparkling white wine from the Champagne region of France. Not all sparkling wines are Champagne. And today is National Champagne Day, to recognize this special, unique adult beverage that is bottled with high standards in the traditional way and differentiates itself from all other sparkling wines.

Champagne

For me, I drink Champagne more often than not. I don’t wait for a wedding or a book deal to be signed. I celebrate the everyday: A special trip, an upgrade to Business Class on a flight, surviving a hurricane, or having a beautiful moment with someone dear to my heart.

Champagne at Houmas House Plantation

I also collect Champagne glasses from around the world. Sometimes I purchase them new, and other times I purchase them from antique or secondhand shops. I always wonder who the previous owner of the glass was and what did they celebrate when their glass was filled with this iconic bubbly beverage. Was it a wedding that lasted 50 years, or was it someone alone, contemplating life?

Shannon sipping Champagne

Today I shall open a bottle of true Champagne and toast life. I’ll celebrate the joys and the sorrows that have brought me to today, making me the person I am. I will celebrate having the strength to keep going when I sometimes wanted to drop to my knees and give up on everything. I will celebrate being a mother and having to make tough decisions, such as sacrificing my own happiness at times to make sure my children had what they needed to grow into the people they are today. I will even celebrate Mr. Miyagi, that life partner of mine that takes up a small place in my head, but such a big place in my soul. If anything, Mr. Miyagi has helped me gain wisdom on when to stay and when to walk away from things in life, no matter how hard the decision may be.

Today I celebrate being me.

The Vino Couch

It’s National Champagne Day. What will you celebrate?

Be sure to check out the Champagne Bureau twitter feed for tips on how to enjoy your Champagne.

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Romance of the South http://www.shannonlane.com/romance-of-the-south/ http://www.shannonlane.com/romance-of-the-south/#comments Tue, 17 Sep 2013 17:55:36 +0000 http://www.shannonlane.com/?p=3023 When I first entered into travel writing, I developed a channel on a major women’s website on Romantic Getaways. It was fun to not only learn about the travel industry, but I also gained so much online experience that I was able to go on to build my own properties.

Today I’ve gone back to my roots and would like to share with you my latest project: Romantic South. This website isn’t just about romantic escapes and weekend getaways around the Southern US, but it’s also about the lifestyle and essence that makes Southerners the people they are. Heck, it’s who I am!

Romantic South Logo

The Southern Style isn’t just a fashion or an idea, it’s a way of life for us. So I hope you’ll come along on this next journey and watch it grow.

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Letting It Be http://www.shannonlane.com/letting-it-be/ http://www.shannonlane.com/letting-it-be/#comments Thu, 15 Aug 2013 01:32:42 +0000 http://www.shannonlane.com/?p=2991 Sometimes we can’t understand why things happen in our lives. Why does all the shit happen at once? Like the lyrics in that Kelly Clarkson song “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” I sometime wonder if I should now be strong enough to bench press a car.

In early June, I made a visit to the Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center. I have a brain tumor that is supposed to be the best kind to be diagnosed with, should there really exist such a mythical creature (if you haven’t followed that story for the past few years, you’ll have to catch up on the details later). I’ve been all over the world trying to find answers and treatments, but that day was the day I gave up fighting, accepted my fate, and decided to live the rest of my days doing the things I had been putting off until that elusive day called Tomorrow. It’s the day I decided to live.

*********************

Cleveland, Ohio

Doctor (brilliant, but with crappy bedside manner): “Ms. Lane, no doctor in their right mind would try and remove this thing. This type of brain tumor has no known treatment besides surgery and studies have shown it’s a female hormone receptor. When the body produces estrogen, it makes the tumor grow. This is what I suggest to help you live longer: No more children…”

Me: Not having any more.

Doctor: Early menopause. Are you going through early menopause? Having hot flashes?

Me: I live in Louisiana. I wouldn’t be able to tell if I had a real hot flash because it’s like living on Tatooine.

Doctor: What about hormones? Birth control?

Me: Nope.

Doctor: And stress. This is something big, you need to reduce all the stressors in your life if you want to live.

Me: I’m going through a divorce, I work in the 2nd most stressful job in the Universe according to Forbes Magazine, and I have the best kind of brain tumor anyone could have. Please, tell me, how do you suggest I reduce stress?

Doctor: Find a new job. Do the things that make you happy. That’s the only treatment I can offer you at this time. Surgical removal is the only other option and for you, it is too much of a risk. Not right now.

I sat there stunned. I had prepared myself mentally for brain surgery. This was the last place I had left to find answers and someone to fix me. I could feel my face getting red and the tears pooling in my eyes.

Doctor: You didn’t need to travel all the way from Louisiana for me to tell you this. I’m sorry, there isn’t anything we can do for you here.

As he walked out, I gathered my purse and just left, blindly walking down the hallway trying to find the exit to the waiting room. My eyes were full of tears about to flow so I stepped into the nearby restroom to grab tissue before walking out into the public area. I didn’t sob. I held it in, but the first of the tears fell down my cheeks anyway. I kept thinking to myself “I shouldn’t have come. I shouldn’t be here.”

I walked out the hallway with my head held proudly, big fat tears beginning to roll down my face and I looked around at all the older people in wheelchairs, or with someone there to hold their hand and I said to myself “Self, don’t you do it. Don’t you let them see you cry. They don’t need tears today. They have it much worse than you.”

Instead of taking the elevator, I walked downstairs like a queen still holding my shoulders back and my head high, but I could feel the sobs beginning to make their way from deep inside my lungs. I quickened my pace and ducked into the next restroom, into a stall, and let the tears flow freely. And I knew I needed to sit down but was still grossed out by a public bathroom, so took the time to line the seat with toilet paper before allowing myself the luxury of sitting to cry.

Once I had composed myself, I put on my big sunglasses as if I were an old Hollywood celebrity and began the walk back to my hotel. I had finished the sad cry and during the walk I could feel the anger and the determination begin to seep through my soul. Yes, a few tears still fell and one really good looking jogger passed by and he looked at me and made a motion with his hands to smile (which I did).

It wasn’t so bad, this visit to Cleveland. At least now I wasn’t in Limbo, not knowing where I should go, what I should do with my life. I had the answers I had been seeking. I had made a pact with God and the Universe, that if possibility A occurred (brain surgery) I would do X, and if possibility B happened (no treatment) I would do Y. I made God, the Universe, and myself a promise. And now it was time to follow through. I just need to figure out the how of it.

When I reached my hotel room I decided to change travel plans and catch an early flight home. There was no need for me to stay in Cleveland because there wouldn’t be the afternoon appointment with the neurosurgeon and there wouldn’t be any further tests. The Heavens had other plans and no matter how hard I tried, changing my flight was unsuccessful. I decided to make limoncello out of lemons that day and hailed a taxi to bring me to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Music always seemed to soothe my soul.

I paid the entry fee and with less than two hours to explore this mecca of memorabilia and music awesomeness, I began my healing journey.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is a massive collection of costumes, handwritten lyrics, quotes, concert posters, videos interviews, and hidden alcoves where one can immerse themselves in the music of their favorite artists.

I wandered from the Blues area, through the Folk Music section and enjoyed each decade until I reached the end of the exhibit halls. I found comfort and inspiration in the Jimi Hendrix quotes on the wall and reading the handwritten lyrics of The Beatles and Neil Young.

After walking through Pink Floyd’s The Wall exhibit, I stepped through a doorway of tall red lips and found myself in the temporary Rolling Stones area. I listened to almost every guitar riff or melody that was broken down into sections and then decided to take a break for a snack.

I’m not sure what I expected to find there, as I was just trying to spend time exploring instead of sitting in a hotel room crying about something beyond my control. I nibbled on a peanut butter cookie and gazed through some of the glass ceiling panels shining with the evening sunlight. I asked myself “What am I supposed to do now? How can I fix my life and be happy in the way I truly need to be?”

Of course, there wasn’t an answer to those questions. I was at the point where I wanted to leave the job I’m in, I needed to finish up the personal life business of selling my house and moving on in the way I need to be. And I just wanted to find my peace.

Nearby, the actual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee theater entrance was beckoning. I walked the red carpet into the dark hall and sat down to watch highlights of past ceremonies. Listening to the music, I felt a quiet calm come over me, even though I still wasn’t sure which direction my life would take from that moment.

As I moved to leave, one more performance came across that big screen, from the year 1999. I stood there, listening, taking in the actual words of the performance, the stellar musicians, and the meaning of it all. I left The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum with a feeling of reassurance, that no matter what the next day, week, or year might bring, everything was going to work itself out and be okay. I no longer needed to search the world for a solution or an answer. I needed to continue live my life, following my heart, be patient as things present themselves and try to find happiness in each day that I’m given. Life is good, and even if it isn’t going by my timeline, it’s slowly but surely inching its way forward.

The next day, I boarded my flight home to continue my journey of life and daily growth, and I was content. I was happy. I was open to see what Life put in my path next. And I remembered that song and the words. It was “Let It Be.”

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Following the Passion http://www.shannonlane.com/following-the-passion/ http://www.shannonlane.com/following-the-passion/#comments Sun, 07 Jul 2013 15:56:07 +0000 http://www.shannonlane.com/?p=2981 A few years ago I was featured on Good Morning America as a success story on how to build a revenue generating blog. I remember at that time I was at Blogworld and New Media Expo as the travel track leader for the conference. That year I had the highest net income for freelancing in my career so far. And I also was losing the passion for what I was doing.

That was the year I had been interviewed so many times I quit counting regarding how to make money from travel blogging. The next year I made a third of that income. Why? I took a step back as to how I arrived at that point and what I had given up. I was a writer who loved to travel, who had wanderlust. I wasn’t a conference organizer. I wasn’t a creative consultant. I wasn’t a teacher. I wasn’t a keynote speaker. I was a writer and a traveler plain and simple. And somehow I spent more time babysitting other travel bloggers who were speaking at conferences, found my days inside an airplane flying to conferences, checking into hotels, speaking at events, networking in the evenings, and then flying back home. I didn’t even see the destinations where I traveled to anymore. And this was on my days off from the fire department.

Somehow along my journey I lost my way. And I lost myself in the process.

I no longer had those moments of wonder, sitting in the middle of nowhere watching the cotton trees shed their seeds on a riverbank where the day looked like a fragile snow floating on the breeze in the middle of summer. I no longer had that breathtaking experience of standing on the edge of the most massive gorge in Utah with a view that seemed to extend into forever. I found myself in big cities where I couldn’t get a clear view of the night sky. I couldn’t wish on a falling star. And one day I realized I forgot to dream.

I’m dreaming again. And it’s exciting. I have a plan and things are slowly but surely falling into place. It isn’t easy and my decisions are affecting more than just myself. But I know in my heart I’m doing the right thing and I have the faith and belief that it’s all going to be okay.

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Royal Princess Ship Naming Ceremony Event Coverage http://www.shannonlane.com/royal-princess-ship-naming-ceremony-event-coverage/ http://www.shannonlane.com/royal-princess-ship-naming-ceremony-event-coverage/#comments Mon, 10 Jun 2013 23:19:16 +0000 http://www.shannonlane.com/?p=2975 I’m about to board my Delta flight to London Heathrow airport where I’ll travel to Southampton and the new Princess Cruises Royal Princess Cruise ship. Media and dignitaries from all over the globe are gathering for this historic event. The ship’s godmother is Kate Middlelton, Duchess of Combridge. The Original Royal Princess cruise ship had her own special godmother, Princess Diana.

Royal Princess Cruise Ship

I’ll be there sharing moments of my experience through social media and the new Nokia Lumia 928 that takes the most amazing low light photos. So there’s no telling what I’ll be able to capture for posterity while on this adventure. I must admit, it’s very special for me to be included and I feel as if I am Cinderella going to the ball. I’ve shed my fire department uniform and will don a creation from Louisiana based designer Harold Clarke Couturier Atelier.

If you’d like to follow along, be sure to watch this space as everyone at the event will be using the hashtag #RoyalPrincess. Or, if you’d just like to see what shenanigans I’m up to, follow my personal Twitter account @CajunMama.




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Nokia Adds to the Lumia Family + Updates Creative Studio App http://www.shannonlane.com/nokia-adds-to-the-lumia-family-updates-creative-studio-app/ http://www.shannonlane.com/nokia-adds-to-the-lumia-family-updates-creative-studio-app/#comments Sun, 02 Jun 2013 22:50:25 +0000 http://www.shannonlane.com/?p=2949 On my way home from Scotland a couple of weeks ago, I made a detour through London for a Nokia media event. It was exciting to be there in person for the reveal of the Lumia 925 and to see the recently leaked Lumia 928 in person. I tested the new devices and experienced some of the newer features, such as enhanced low-light photography and video, interchangeable colored charging plates for the 925, and being introduced to some fun new apps.

I haven’t had the chance to fully experience these new devices in everyday use as of yet, but I did get to meet some bloggers through Nokia Connects and learn some tips and tricks for my own Lumia 920 that travels with me everywhere.

The evening of my arrival, Nokia Connects hosted a blogger networking event at Nokia’s Paddington location in London with the Nokia social team. Bloggers from all over the globe gathered to meet and network before the next day’s big event.

Tech bloggers networking at Nokia Paddington Offices

Nokia Connects blogger networking event at Nokia London Paddington office

The next morning, after a lovely breakfast with a few of my new tech blogger friends, we walked to the Nokia event in the Covent Garden area of London. It was a morning of being introduced to the newest members of the Lumia family. The Lumia 928 was announced as being available on the Verizon network here in the US and the Lumia 925 with T-Mobile available soon.

Nokia event credentials

Bloggers and tech media at Nokia Lumia 925 launch

Nokia Lumia 925 media launch in London

What were my first thoughts regarding the Nokia Lumia 925 when I first laid eyes on it? If the Lumia 925 was a man, I would probably marry it. It’s sexy, sleek, stunning, and oh so smart. I want one and I want it to travel the world with me. The Lumia line, so far, has kept me organized (with Office 365 and Skydrive), helps me take decent food photos in restaurants without all the flash annoyance (thanks to the low light photo capabilities), and I’m now able to travel with a smaller number of gadgets (I put down the large camera and now just travel with this Carl Zeiss lens smartphone).

Nokia Lumia 925 launch event in London

Now I can’t wait to actually get my hands on the Lumia 925 and take it on an adventure. Until then, I still have my trusty Lumia 920 (on the AT&T network) and was just delivered the stunning Lumia 928 on Verizon (it still needs to be unboxed). Right now I’m having fun with the updated Creative Studio app. The updates to this app have been somewhat overshadowed by the new gadgets announced, but with the app update and my discovery of Instance (an unofficial Instagram app for Windows Phones), I am one happy mama.

Here are a few examples of pics taken during my latest travels and enhanced with the Creative Studio app. It’s exclusive to Nokia and is free to download in the Windows Store.

LONDON

Original London Image taken with Nokia Lumia 920
London image taken with Nokia Lumia 920 enhanced with Color Pop option in Creative Studio app

GRAND CAYMAN ISLAND

Original image in Grand Cayman taken with Nokia Lumia 920Grand Cayman image taken with Nokia Lumia 920 enhanced with Focus Object option of Creative Studio app

LAS VEGAS

Original Las Vegas image taken with Nokia Lumia 920

Las Vegas image taken with Nokia Lumia 920 enhanced with cropping, filter, & focus object option of Creative Studio App

AT HOME IN LOUISIANA

Original Louisiana image taken with the Nokia Lumia 920Louisiana image taken with Nokia Lumia 920 edited with filter and focus object options of Creative Studio app

I’m no professional photographer, but I sure am having fun with the updated Creative Studio app for Lumia phones and traveling the globe with a Nokia Lumia device. It’s so easy and quick to edit photos and upload them to your favorite social media outlets. All it takes is a light swipe of your finger across the touchscreen. Like a fine wine, the Lumia family keeps getting better and better.

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If I Live the Life I’m Given http://www.shannonlane.com/if-i-live-the-life-im-given/ http://www.shannonlane.com/if-i-live-the-life-im-given/#comments Wed, 08 May 2013 15:54:58 +0000 http://www.shannonlane.com/?p=2932 People come into our lives and sometimes it takes a long time to realize what the reason might be. It might be as simple as a smile. Or it could be a small kindness. But sometimes it’s part of a chain reaction that leads you down a path to make things right in your world, or at least help find closure.

Thanks to social media, a few years ago I met a friend who was a producer at a local news station. He moved soon after to take a position in Cleveland, Ohio. We kept in touch.

In my recent travels, I met a photographer who showed me a photo of his latest commission, a newly opened brain research facility. This led to a conversation and an introduction to the facility, which led to a recommendation by the head of the facility to reach out to a leading Neurosurgery center here in the US. In Cleveland.

My friend in Cleveland was kind enough to reach out to another of his friends, and a name of a neurosurgeon was secured and went through the patient acceptance process at this hospital in Cleveland. My neurosurgeon here sent my files and scans to Cleveland and I patiently waited to see if I was a candidate for treatment in Cleveland.

One afternoon I got the phone call. I’m going to Cleveland at some point. And they’ll run more tests. And I don’t know how long I’ll be there and even if there’s anything they can ultimately do to evict Mr. Miyagi. But now I have options.

Now I have HOPE.

And deep down inside I’m very scared. Scared that I will get there and they’ll tell me they can’t do anything for me. And as silly as this may seem, I’m scared they will tell me they CAN do something for me.

So I asked myself questions. Am I living my best life? If Cleveland CAN make Mr. Miyagi disappear, then what? Will I lose this passion I have for life at the moment? Will I go back to living a life that others consider as ‘acceptable’, or will I continue to keep this wanderlust?

Will I still have courage?

“If I live the life I’m given, I won’t be scared to die.” – The Avett Brothers, The Once and Future Carpenter

This post was written while listening to The Avett Brothers on Spotify.

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Fun Moments from #LivetheMLife Media Trip http://www.shannonlane.com/fun-moments-from-livethemlife-media-trip/ http://www.shannonlane.com/fun-moments-from-livethemlife-media-trip/#comments Sun, 14 Apr 2013 20:14:52 +0000 http://www.shannonlane.com/?p=2927 Last week I participated in the MGM Resorts #LivetheMLife press trip. It was a fun group of bloggers and we had some amazing moments. Some of them were planned and some…..not planned at all! We ran into celebrities, we were treated like celebrities, and the most important thing? We learned all about MGM Resorts MLife loyalty program. Points for these MLife Moments can be earned by booking hotel stays, dining, attraction tickets, playing at the casino, and even playing their Facebook game MyVegas Slots. Check out the program and sign up at MLife.com.

Here are some select moments from the press trip to give you a sample of some of the exciting times we had.

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Testing Windows Phone WordPress App http://www.shannonlane.com/testing-windows-phone-wordpress-app/ http://www.shannonlane.com/testing-windows-phone-wordpress-app/#comments Sat, 30 Mar 2013 13:38:01 +0000 http://www.shannonlane.com/?p=2924 I’m in the process of trying to simplify my life and my travels. I want to carry around less gear and be able to share more of my experiences without having to keep up with so much stuff.

I really love my Nokia Lumia 920 phone and while I know it isn’t the complete answer to my issue, it has simplified life greatly. The only thing it’s missing is Instagram and a video editing app. Those are the two things I miss that were an integral part of my digital nomad lifestyle.

I’m trying to be more productive while mobile, and hopefully these two things I miss will be remedied soon. In the meantime, I’ll continue to test out everything I can get my hands on, including this WordPress app.

I’ve been so fortunate to be able to see so much of the world and I’m grateful for every opportunity that comes my way. I hope to have many more unbelievable and special moments.

Be sure to read about my travels here on ShannonLane.com and on TravelingMamas.com. And of course follow my adventures on Twitter: @CajunMama.

In the end when it’s all said and done, I’m just a southern mom with an intense wanderlust and plenty of dreams hanging on to life and living each moment with all the passion I have inside my soul.

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