Big Week Blend Vol 1 - Issue 10 - Aug 2023

Page 1




5. Editors Block

7. Big Weekly Blend Podcast


8. The Musée Rodin in Paris

12. Composer Leah Waybright


14. Starbucks Reserve™ Roastery

16. Fresh Corn Salad & Wine


18. Visit Tulare County, California

20. CityPASS A�rac�on Tickets


22. Conscious Communica�on

24. Military Communica�on



“Family and friendships are two of the greatest facilitators of happiness.” John


Ready to create some fun and special end-ofsummer memories with friends and family? This issue will take you on some unique adventures from experiencing the Giant Sequoia Trees in central California to being immersed in sculpture at the Musée Rodin in Paris, tas�ng single-origin coffee at the Starbucks Reserve™ Roastery in Sea�le, and visi�ng museums and a�rac�ons across North America using CityPASS discounted �ckets.

If you love wine, perhaps pour yourself a glass and listen to our wine podcast with Peggy Fiandaca while making her Fresh Corn Salad recipe. It’s perfect for a backyard or poolside get-together.

And if dreamy music makes you happy, you’ll enjoy our conversa�on with acclaimed composer, pianist, and wildflower specialist Leah Waybright who talks about her latest instrumental album. It’s full of magic!

Lastly, we focus on the power of posi�ve communica�on with transforma�onal life coach Shelley Whizin, and military history author Mike Guardia.

Here's to making the rest of summer extra special!

Nancy J. Reid and Lisa D. Smith Big Blend’s mother-daughter publishing, podcas�ng, and travel team.

BIG BLENDMISSION STATEMENT: Big Blend is a company based on the belief that education is the most formidable weapon that can be waged against fear, ignorance and prejudice. It is our belief that education starts at home and branches outward. Education leads to travel, and travel leads to understanding, acceptance, and appreciation of cultures and customs different to our own, and ultimately to world peace. Our company is further based on the principle that networking, communication, and helping others to promote and market themselves leads to financial stability; thus paving the way to better education, travel, and the spirit of giving back to the community. This magazine is developed by Big Blend Magazine™, copyrighted since 1997. No part of it may be reproduced for any reason, without written permission from Big Blend Magazine. Although every effort is made to be accurate, we cannot be held responsible for inaccuracies or plagiarized copy submitted to us by advertisers or contributors.

FRONT COVER IMAGE: Go Rio San Antonio River Cruises. CityPASS story on Page 20.


From Lions, Lizards & Elephants to Books & Vinyl, this episode of the Big Weekly Blend podcast celebrates na�onal and interna�onal holidays, pop culture, birth anniversaries, and historic happenings for this week!

Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Acast.


* Listen on YouTube:

* Listen on Spo�fy:

See this week’s related podcasts, ar�cles, recipes and more on

Story & Photos by Debbie Stone

I have been to Paris a few �mes, but somehow, I never got around to visi�ng the Musée Rodin un�l my most recent visit. One of the most elegant and photogenic ins�tu�ons in the city, the Rodin Museum is in the handsome Hôtel Biron, surrounded by a lush garden dedicated to the art of the renowned and prolific French sculptor, Auguste Rodin.

Considered by many as the “father of modern sculpture,” Rodin was inspired by tradi�on yet took a stance against its idealized forms. Over the course of a career that spanned the late 1800s and early 1900s, he introduced innova�ve prac�ces that changed the way sculpture had been created and perceived.

Rodin’s work echoed his belief that art should be true to nature. He focused on the human form and sought to express the essence of the human psyche, delving into what lay below the surface. In this manner, he developed a technique to render the power of such emo�ons as turmoil, tragedy, joy, and passion.

Working primarily with bronze and marble, Rodin was known for retaining the tool marks and leaving

parts of his sculptures somewhat rough, deciding not to hide signs of his process. This was revolu�onary at the �me.

The ar�st lived in the Hôtel Biron later in his life and in 1911, the government bought the property. In exchange for being able to stay at the hotel, Rodin agreed to donate many of his works to be housed there as a museum, which subsequently opened to the public in 1919. The collec�on is vast and includes thousands of sculptures, drawings, old photos, and an�qui�es.

This incredible oeuvre is on display within a series of galleries, each designed in a circular format with an open layout. High ceilings and lots of windows and mirrors augment the pieces and showcase the art while reminding visitors that this was Rodin’s work environment. There’s a logical and chronological manner to their placement, demonstra�ng themes, subjects, and materials that were of interest to the ar�st. And sculptures are presented in their successive states, allowing the viewer to understand the different stages of Rodin’s crea�ve process.

Con�nued on Next Page...
Examples of Rodin's works of body pieces Immerse yourself in the works of the ‘father of modern sculpture’ at the Musée Rodin in Paris

“The Thinker” is regarded by many as Rodin’s most well-known work. Though the ar�st created many itera�ons of this sculpture of a pensive seated male, the most famous one is at this museum. Philadelphia bodybuilder Samuel Stockton White the 3rd served as Rodin’s model for the piece back in 1901.

Other highlights include “The Kiss,” “The Cathedral,” “The Age of Bronze,” “The Walking Man,” “The Three Shades,” “Monument to Balzac” and “The Gates of Hell.” The la�er piece occupied the ar�st for thirty-seven years and during this period, he added, removed, and altered the more than 200 figures that appear on the doors of the piece. Though Rodin planned to carve the work in marble, it never happened due to his failing health, so it exists only in plaster.

In addi�on to his own art, Rodin collected pieces from his contemporaries, including Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, which are on display in the museum. There is also a room solely devoted to the ar�st Camille Claudel and her works. A gi�ed sculptor in her own right, Claudel was one of Rodin’s models and students, as well as his lover; a rela�onship that was described as stormy and turbulent.

Outside is the seven-acre garden, a stunning area

with manicured hedges, tree-lined paths, flowers, and fountains. It’s a lovely area to showcase some of Rodin’s works to their best advantage and emphasizes the interac�on between nature and sculpture.

“The Thinker” takes center stage atop a pillar among trees, and faces “The Gates of Hell” on the other side of the garden. “The Burghers of Calais” stands in its own space, a large-scale sculpture of six men, represen�ng important ci�zens or “burghers” of the city of Calais in the 14th century. Story has it that the English king, Edward III, had ordered his army to lay siege to the town. The residents tried to hold out under the orders of their own king, Philip VI, but they were starving. These burghers offered their lives in exchange for an end to the siege.

Rodin depicts these courageous men going to their deaths with nooses around their necks. Though the burghers were ul�mately not executed, as the wife of Edward III interceded on their behalf, the ar�st so poignantly captures their despair.

Other Rodin sculptures are interspersed within this expansive garden. Visitors stroll or sit on the benches, contempla�ng the pieces amid the beauty of the natural se�ng.

Plan your visit: h�ps://

Rodin collected works by other ar�sts Rodin Con�nued….
Rodin was well known for his bust

Debbie Stone is an established travel writer and columnist, who crosses the globe in search of unique des�na�ons and experiences to share with her readers and listeners. She’s an avid explorer who welcomes new opportuni�es to increase awareness and enthusiasm for places, culture, food, history, nature, outdoor adventure, wellness, and more. Her travels have taken her to nearly 100 countries spanning all seven con�nents, and her stories appear in numerous print and digital publica�ons.

Portrait of Rodin The Cathedral by Rodin The Kiss by Rodin
Rodin's The Three Shades

Composer Leah Waybright Releases “Dreamed”

This episode of Big Blend Radio's "Toast to The Parks & The Arts" Show with the Na�onal Parks Arts

Founda�on features Leah Waybright, a life-long Composer, Pianist, Recording Ar�st, Teacher, Floral Ar�st, Wildflower Preserva�onist, and Dreamer. Her newest CD, “Dreamed” is out now and features members of Happy The Man, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Steely Dan. In this conversa�on Leah talks about her music, childhood in Ge�ysburg, and work in floral design and wildflowers, especially at The Wildflower Island at Teatown Lake Reserva�on in Ossining, above New York. Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Acast.

The common thread that connects Leah's many professions is her role as a Storyteller. Hundreds of lectures and the wide variety of special floral programs she has presented for Garden Clubs and Civic Groups are the most examples of her Storytelling.

However, her ability to tell a compelling story is not limited to words. Despite the instrumental nature of her music, her unique approach to composi�on and instrumenta�on means that each vigne�e reveals an ever-evolving story rich with meaning. As a steward of the Earth, Leah’s crea�vity and

mindset benefited from the pauses in older projects, and the development of new projects, but throughout she consistently creates new music through improvisa�on and then hones it with a nurturing process like the way she cul�vates her beloved plants and wildflowers.

More: h�p://


Have you ever been to a Starbucks Reserve Roastery? Although I have been to a bazillion Starbucks stores across the world, the Starbucks Reserve™ Roastery in Sea�le is quite the find. It is the original of the 6 now available to visit. According to Starbucks, “The Roasteries are "theatrical, experien�al shrines to coffee passion."

The first Starbucks Reserve Roastery was opened in December 2014 in Sea�le’s lively Capitol Hill neighborhood. It is an immersive expression of a worldwide company that has a passion for coffee. It is located just nine blocks from the original Starbucks Pike Place store. Here guests taste the results of master roasters, mixologists, and baristas all working together to create flavorful, o�en unexpectedly ar�ul expressions of coffee from rare, single-origin coffees. Every single Starbucks Reserve coffee is roasted in one of the Roastery venues.

The Sea�le Roastery is a cavernous, busy,

chao�cally tasteful place where anyone can come for a cup of coffee, an expanded food menu including pizza, fresh-baked bread, various cakes, pastry souvenirs, tours, and coffee tas�ngs. First impressions are almost sensory overload. The Roastery is huge. Roas�ng is the showpiece, taking place with the custom-designed pneuma�c tubes that usher the beans through the building.

The Main Bar is set to provide the perfect drink.

Linda Kissam on Big Blend Radio: Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Acast.
Enjoy the extended menu

Pull up a seat at the main bar and enjoy a brewed coffee or espresso drink made with their rarest, freshest coffee beans. The bar itself is a work of art, manufactured and handcra�ed in New York of solid teak and stone marble. A beau�ful spot to stop, sip and savor …if you can find a spot. Be pa�ent, come early.

I was there to be part of a coffee tas�ng at the Experience Bar. The Experience Bar offers engaging events and tas�ngs for those looking to deepen their love for coffee. The cost for my tas�ng was $65. This bar is located way in the back of the store. You'll need to weave your way through the big thirsty crowds.

Be sure to visit the Scooping Bar to consult with a Coffee Master to help choose which Starbucks Reserve coffee suits your taste. Then take home a freshly scooped bag. It’s marvelous fun and something unique to Roasteries.

At this bar, something fun and tasty happens in the theater of mixology. Six of us delved deep into the sensory experience for an hour through exploratory brew methods and origin-driven storytelling. Each coffee was paired with a selec�on of carefully chosen bakery items.

Among our tas�ngs was Americano Con Crema. Fun and informa�ve to see how this drink is constructed. The Single Origin Cold Brew Float is generally only available at the Roastery. The Shakerato Bianco was good and was shaken up like a cocktail drink. I forgot to tell my husband not to drink all the different espresso drinks as he would be lit up like a lighthouse for the rest of the day. He did...and was...that's an oops on my part...but something to remember for when you go.

The event ended with each par�cipant awarded a commemora�ve bag of hand-selected Reserve coffee to enjoy at home.

These amazing Roastery des�na�ons are nothing I've experienced before. Next �me you are in Sea�le, Shanghai, Milano, New York, Chicago, or Tokyo, book a tas�ng and indulge your inner coffee geek. Tas�ngs are booked online and change o�en.

Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’ is a professional travel, food, and wine writer who specializes in easy, breezy des�na�on stories sharing her favorite things about the places she visits. Visit h�ps://

Food and Espresso pairing Shakerato Bianco
Ending with an espresso float and a gi� bag of Ethiopian Coffee


Get a Taste of Summer in a Bowl! Serving 4-6, this recipe is from Peggy Fiandaca, co-owner of LDV Winery in Arizona. Check out her latest Big Blend Radio “Wine Time with Peggy” podcast on Arizona

Wine Vaca�ons here in the YouTube player or download it on Acast

Ingredients -

8 ears fresh corn shucked (can use frozen corn).

Finely diced red onion (medium size).

8 finely chopped small mul�-color peppers seeded.

Favorite spice mix to taste.

5 tablespoons red wine vinegar.

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.

½ teaspoon kosher salt.

Freshly ground pepper to taste. Fresh basil, chiffonade.

* We use LDV Winery’s McDowell Mountain Mix which is cumin based with Cayenne pepper so very spicey.

Cook Corn – Add shucked corn to a large pot of boiling salted water and cook for about 3 minutes. We get such fresh corn that we do not have to cook it. Drain corn and immerse in cold water to stop cooking and set the color. When cool, cut the kernels off the cob.

Make the Salad – In a large bowl, add corn, onion,

and peppers. Toss with your favorite spice mix to taste. Add vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper and toss.

To Serve – Just before serving, toss salad with fresh basil.

Op�ons – Add fresh diced tomatoes, chopped feta or mozzarella cheese, black olives chopped, and/or cucumbers.

Perfect Wine Pairing

The perfect wine pairing is a summer pool-pounder wine like a crisp Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, or LDV Winery’s 2020 Rosé of Grenache. Choose a dry or semi-dry white wine.

More about LDV Winery at h�ps://


Late Summer Outdoor Adventures, Fes�vals & Family Fun!

From visi�ng the iconic Giant Sequoia Trees and Fishing on Kaweah Lake and Lake Success to Viewing the Stars at the Dark Sky Fes�val or a�ending the Annual Dinuba Raisin Day Fes�val, this episode of Big Blend Radio's 1st Thursday "Travel Tulare County" Show with the Sequoia Tourism Council focuses on the end-of-summer summer experiences you can enjoy in the parks, forest, and local communi�es.

Featured guests are Denise Alonzo - Sequoia Na�onal Forest & Giant Sequoia Na�onal Monument, Suzanne Bianco - Visit Visalia, and Heathe Jones - Dinuba Chamber of Commerce. Watch here in the YouTube player above or download the podcast on Acast.

Located in Central California, Tulare County is home to Sequoia and Kings Canyon Na�onal Parks, Giant Sequoia Na�onal Monument and Sequoia Na�onal Forest, and charming art and agricultural communi�es including Visalia, Tulare, Exeter, Dinuba, Porterville, Three Rivers, Lindsay, and Woodlake.

Plan your visit: h�ps://

This episode of Big Blend Radio’s Vaca�on Sta�on “Food Wine & Travel Show” with the Interna�onal Food Wine & Travel Writers Associa�on (IFWTWA), features Deborah Wakefield of CityPASS®, who shares how you can save BIG on the top a�rac�ons by using their discounted �cket system for in des�na�ons like Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Orlando, Tampa Bay, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, San Diego & Southern California, San Francisco, Sea�le, and Toronto.Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Acast.

Launched in Sea�le and San Francisco in July 1997, CityPASS® �ckets are the brainchild of co-founders Mike Morey and Mike Gallagher, business partners who spent much of their respec�ve careers working at, with or around a�rac�ons. Their vision was specific: handpick the very best a�rac�ons in major North American des�na�ons and then discount admission to those a�rac�ons by up to 50%.

It was something no one else had done in the United States, and it was a risk. But Gallagher and Morey believed in their goal of making travel easier, more affordable, and vastly more enjoyable. And, based on nearly 82,000 customer reviews, that

vision has succeeded. Across its 16 partner des�na�ons, CityPASS® �ckets average a 4.6-star ra�ng (out of a possible 5 stars).

But all this growth hasn’t changed the CityPASS® commitment to quality and service. When COVID shut down travel in 2020, CityPASS made the decision to return the full retail value of any unused �ckets to customers who requested refunds. In spring 2020 alone, City Pass, Inc., issued $6 million in refunds to some 50,000 travelers whose trips were disrupted by the pandemic.

S�ll family-owned and operated, City Pass, Inc., is headquartered in the small mountain town of Victor, Idaho.

Learn more at h�ps://

Kumba Roller Coaster. CBusch GardensR Tampa Bay, CityPASS

OCTOBER 1-7, 2023

Date of Departure from Vancouver, British Columbia: October 1, 2023

Date of Arrival in Los Angeles, California: October 7, 2023

Total Cruise Nights: 6


Welcome Cocktail Party with the Princess Culinary Team & Senior Officers

Two Specialty Dining Experiences & The 360 Experience

Industry Workshops & Networking Opportunities

And much more…

The International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA) is the organization of choice for food, wine, and travel writers.

IFWTWA creates programs and services to enhance professional development and facilitate networking while creating a marketplace for destinations, brands, and media professionals to collaborate.

is open to member and non-members Visit
IFWTWA All Aboard! Calling All Food, Wine & Travel Writers… You are Invited to IFWTWA 2023!


Building Deeper Connections

In today's fast-paced world, effec�ve communica�on has become more important than ever. However, it's not just about exchanging words; it's about engaging in conscious communica�on. Conscious communica�on involves being fully present, aware, and inten�onal in our interac�ons with others. In this ar�cle, we will explore the significance of conscious communica�on and how it can help us build deeper connec�ons.

Understanding Conscious Communica�on:

Conscious communica�on is about being mindful of our words, tone, and body language. It requires us to be fully present in the moment, ac�vely listening, and responding with empathy. By prac�cing conscious communica�on, we can foster understanding, trust, and respect in our rela�onships.

Benefits of Conscious Communica�on:

• Enhanced Understanding: When we communicate consciously, we ac�vely listen to others' perspec�ves, allowing us to gain a deeper

understanding of their thoughts and feelings. This leads to more meaningful conversa�ons and stronger connec�ons.

• Conflict Resolu�on:

Conscious communica�on promotes open dialogue and encourages individuals to express their needs and concerns in a non-confronta�onal manner. This approach helps in resolving conflicts more effec�vely and maintaining harmonious rela�onships.

Shelley Whizin on Big Blend Radio: Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Acast.

• Building Trust:

By being authen�c and transparent in our communica�on, we build trust with others. Conscious communica�on allows us to express ourselves honestly and encourages others to do the same, fostering trust and authen�city in our rela�onships.

Tips for Prac�cing Conscious Communica�on:

• Mindfulness:

Start by being aware of your own thoughts, emo�ons, and reac�ons during conversa�ons. This self-awareness helps you respond consciously rather than react impulsively.

• Ac�ve Listening:

Give your full a�en�on to the speaker, maintaining eye contact, and avoiding distrac�ons. Show genuine interest by nodding, paraphrasing, and asking clarifying ques�ons.


• Empathy and Understanding:

Put yourself in the other person's shoes and try to understand their perspec�ve. Validate their feelings and avoid judgment or cri�cism.

• Nonviolent Communica�on: Use "I" statements to express your thoughts and feelings without blaming or a�acking others. Focus on finding solu�ons rather than dwelling on problems.

Conscious communica�on is a powerful tool that can transform our rela�onships and interac�ons. By holding space for each other to have human experiences, and being present, empathe�c, and inten�onal in our communica�on, we can foster deeper connec�ons, resolve conflicts, and build trust. Let's embrace conscious communica�on and create a world where understanding and empathy thrive.

Shelley Whizin is a transforma�onal life coach and the founder and CEO of the Soul Diving Ins�tute™ (SDI), established to study and teach the art and science of Being Human. She’s also the author of “The Healing Journal”, “The Story of the Magical Baby Grand Piano”, and “What Do You Bring to the Table? A Savory, Sensory and Inspira�onal Guide to Living a Yummy Delicious Life”. More at


This episode of Big Blend Radio's "Military Monday" Show features awardwinning military historian and author Mike Guardia, who explains the various forms of military communica�on systems, especially during ba�les like World War II, Vietnam, and Desert Storm.

Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Acast.

Along with many other military history books, Mike is the author of the widely acclaimed biography “Hal Moore: A Soldier Once…and Always,” that chronicles the life of LTG Harold G. Moore, whose ba�lefield leadership was popularized by the film “We Were Soldiers,” starring Mel Gibson.

His latest books are “The Combat Diaries: True Stories from the Frontlines of World War II” and “Coyote Recon: The Forgo�en Wars of Colonel Jay D. Vanderpool.”

More: h�ps://

Mike Guardia appears on Big Blend Radio's military history shows every 1st Monday. Follow his podcast on Acast: h�ps://�

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