Sharing & Caring With Friends

The Vacation Contest

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Well, I made it back from my lovely trip to Sanibel Island, Florida with my girlfriend, Lori.  Sun and fun, good food, laughter, 70’s tunes, lounging pool time, and long walks on the beach … what more could a girl ask for?


It’s so refreshing to walk on the beaches of Sanibel.  White sand beaches are like powdered sugar and pretty blue – green water is the color of the most exotic gem.





Now that I am refreshed and my batteries are recharged, it is time to talk CONTESTS!    Here we go!


VACATION FUN:  June 9th – 13th


  • Give your thoughts on and post your comments to this post with your most favorite vacation destination … don’t forget to tell me why it was your favorite!
  • I will draw THREE (3) winners randomly for prizes! I’ll announce the winners here on the website on Monday, June 15th!   


CONTEST RULES:  After we randomly select three (3) winners in our drawing and post the names of the winners, you have 14 days in which to claim your prize.  If you do not come forward to claim your prize within 14 days, we (Clare Speer and “Life Ain’t Easy Street”) reserve the right to draw another name for the prize.  Please e-mail me right away at with your contact information if you are one of the winners announced.  Thank you!


I am excited to read your comments and hear your vacation stories!


Your friend –




Clare is a 57-year-old fun loving Italian-American self-proclaimed “Jersey Girl” who believes, “Life ain’t easy street. Life is one of those crazy little city streets, complete with potholes that could swallow your car.” With one foot planted in fun and the other planted firmly in her Christian faith, Clare enjoys making people laugh while helping them navigate life’s “crazy little city streets”. Clare has raised two girls (now grown young adults) with her husband, Michial, Clare is ready to take on the challenges of making new friends through her blog, Life Ain’t Easy Street. With an aim to entertain while addressing topics important to women, Clare’s focus on the positive power of good stories, good friends, inspiring women, and strong faith will have you looking forward to reading the next post. Clare is a freelance writer who lives a real life in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.

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  • Sasha says:

    It’s a little closer to home, but I love going to Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia every year. It’s beautiful, peaceful, and if you get bored it’s pretty much your own fault because they have plenty to do.

    • Clare says:

      Hi Sasha – I am not familiar with that area in Georgia (even though I live in Florida).  It sounds lovely!  Thanks for responding and your name will be entered to win some great prizes  on Monday!  Thanks for sharing about your favorite spot!


  • I loved when I went to Beverly Hills all those years ago 🙂

    • Clare says:

      Wow – now that sounds like a treat Andrea!  Thanks for sharing – I probably will have to just experience Beverly Hills from TV – ha ha – but glad it was memorable!  Drawing for some great prizes on Monday!  Thanks for joining in on the fun!


  • My favorite memories are of going to Pigeon Forge as a child. We went each summer with 4H and had so much fun!

    • Clare says:

      Now that sounds nice and fun, Leanne.  Did you go to Dollywood too?  Glad you had fun and thanks so much for joining in on the contest!  🙂


  • I’d have to say my favorite vacation was when my boyfriend at the time (now hubby) took me to Italy for 2 weeks with his family. I had never been outside of the U.S. (Canada doesn’t count in my mind) so I was crazy excited! It was just so surreal and perfect and I can’t wait to take my kids there some day!

    • Clare says:

      Wow – I went to Italy for a short trip when my husband, Mike, and I were newly married.  He was still in the Navy and I got to go really cheap – Got to Rome and a few other places – I must have gained 10 pounds!  Want to go back for the scenery and the food and the beauty!  Thanks for sharing, Christine!  🙂


  • Tianna says:

    love the personal feel to your blog! my favorite vacation destination was definitely London. I loved the weather, the atmosphere, and all the history!

    • Clare says:

      Tianna – thanks for the kind words.  I bet London was really pretty and quite the experience!  Monday I will be drawing names for the contest and so appreciate your joining in on the fun!  🙂


  • I loved my vacation to Puerto Rice. The beaches were breathtaking and the food amazing. I would love to go back and relive that moment i stepped off the plane. I had just gotten married to the love of my life and was starting my honeymoon.

    • Clare says:

      Wow, now that’s taking me back a ways!  I was stationed in Roosy Roads, Puerto Rico – a million years ago and met my husband, Mike, there while we were still in the Navy!  Beautiful beaches, great great food and lots of fun!  I loved the platanos, beans and rice and shrimp, too!

  • Sarah Willson says:

    My favorite vacation was my bf (hubby now) took me to his cousins wedding. It was in ST Pete on the beach and he paid for the hotel room for the whole weekend. The wedding was one of my favorites because I learned that weekend I was about to gain a huge family!!!! The beaches were breath taking and so were the sunsets.


    • Clare says:

      Oh, thanks Sarah for sharing!  I like St. Pete too – but now it’s been several years since I have been.  The Florida west coast beaches are so pretty – lots of white sand and beautiful water!  Glad you joined in on the contest – see you here on Monday (if not before)!  🙂


  • Gina B says:

    Our favorite vacation place is Florida (we’re from PA) and we go every year – except last year, when we were too broke! That’s making this  year’s trip to Clearwater Beach even sweeter. The kids are SO excited and so am I!

    • Clare says:

      Gina – so glad you like Florida and the west coast of Florida has beautiful beaches and white sand (as you know)!!!!!    I love our beach in Jacksonville Beach too where I live but the water is just so much prettier I think in west Florida – thanks for joining in on the fun and thanks for sharing!


  • Mary Collins says:

    My most memorable vacation was spent in New York City. Got to see all sorts of interesting things and people from various countries. That exposure to life in the big city was exciting for country girl like me. So much fun!

    • Clare says:

      Wow – New York City – I grew up in New Jersey but have been gone for years.  It’s been since I was a teenager since I’ve been into the city but a lot of it is fascinating and so much to do!  I like watching Christmas movies that show New York City!  Thanks for your comments!

  • Jenn Alex says:

    I haven’t been on a vacation since going to Vegas for a partial work vaca. But, my daughter’s and I will be going to Disney World in September and I can’t wait. I think I’m more excited than they are.

    • Clare says:

      I’ve never been to Las Vegas and really used to always want to go….. probably just to say I haven been!  Yeah – Disneyworld….. used to go often when my kids are small!  Lot’s of fun!!!!  Thanks for sharing!

  • Maria Hass says:

    I absolutely loved Hawaii.  We went to Honolulu and did a lot of sight seeing.  I’m a beach bum from FL living in Alaska, so anything with beach water and mountains (I stay in Alaska for the mountains) works wonders for me!

    • Clare says:

      Now I would certainly love to go to Hawaii and I’ve never been!  And I keep hearing that Alaska is so, so beautiful!!!!!   Thanks for sharing!  🙂  🙂


  • Tamara says:

    Galena, Illinois – amazing sleepy little historic river town with a host of bed & breakfasts and a neat little downtown full of artsy stores, antiques and boutiques. At one time a secret… this place is now a desired destination for R & R.  The walking ghosts tours guided by the town historian are worth the $10 fee… too many great things to mention- but definitely worth the visit.  (Oh- and for those who like pampering?  There are several spas, wine, and some great places to eat.  About 2.5 hours south of Chicago and just a short drive from the Iowa border.  Check it out at:

    • Clare says:

      Wow – never heard of it, Tamara!  Sounds like lots of fun but still sounds like an old gal like me 🙂  🙂 could get some serious and pampering and R&R!!!!!! Thanks for sharing!!!!  (I couldn’t go in the winter time tho – would have to go in the “warmer” months)!!!!!!  You are entered in the contest!  Thanks for joining in on the fun!  🙂


  • I would love to go back home to CA.  I went back for the first time since I was 2 in January to bring my grandmother back for her funeral.  It was so beautiful there and I would love just time to heal.

    • Clare says:

      Awwww – so sorry for your loss Cheyenne – I know California is a big, big state and I had a visit when I was young to LA area but can hardly remember it.  People seem to really love California and I would love to visit again one day!  Thanks for sharing!

  • Lucy says:

    Mine has got to be Sebago Lake in Maine. I spent summers there as a young girl- 11 summers to be exact. Thick with trees and boulders to climb over and scrape our toes, I learned so much there. How to play tennis, and swim butterfly, and canoe, and sail a boat. We learned archery and how to build a fire with wet wood. I watched many a gorgeous sunset descend down beyond the horizon of that big lake. I can still remember the smell of the woods on the first day of camp, and all the anticipation. In fact just the other night I had a dream that I was back there to be a counselor this summer, and almost cried when I realized it wasn’t true. I miss summers in Maine so much!

    • Clare says:

      Wow – I grew up in the Northeast – but have NEVER been to Maine but have wanted to.  You learned and did such wonderful outdoor activities – and I am glad that you have such fond memories of it!  (I was an “outdoors” kid too) and it was a great way to be brought up!  Thanks for joining in on the fun!

  • T he best vacation I can remember is when Tamy and I went to North Carolina to a woman’s conference called” Unspeakable Joy”. As well as going to the conference we went to see where the Andy Griffith show was filmed and did a lot of things there that I never dreamed  of ever getting to do, especially being a huge fan of Andy Griffith all my life.

    • Clare says:

      Wow – Andy Griffith – that takes us back awhile, Chris!  I have loved what little I have seen of North Carolina and I get the conference was wonderful too!  Thanks for sharing and you are entered into the contest to win prizes!  Blessings!  🙂  🙂


      • pam miller says:

        Well many many moons ago I went to Italy mainly to the northern mountain side. The beauty of the land, mountains, were beautiful better then any photo could describe for sure!! the people the most  warm sincere and friendly. The mountains streams were most beautiful as we took walks from one village to another. Simple living organic foods grown by each family, along with the chickens, cows on their land. Visiting Rome was a pleasure to see the most beautiful of sights, but my heart was in the countryside lands the fresh bread out of the ovens, the homemade pasta made with such pride, the afternoon siestas to refresh and then spend time with kids and family.The cantinas along the way with people drinking their favorite wines and adding which grape harvest was the best.  People of all ages out for a stroll. The people playing bocce ball taking in all that the day and evening had. Oh the memories more within my mind never to forget and hopefully someday to return to make more memories in my famlies homeland of Italy!!

        • Clare says:

          And to think – you have learned to cook all of the above very, very well dear friend!  I loved Rome too – didn’t get to too many other places – but it was beautiful – and the FOOD!!!!!  🙂  🙂  Thanks for sharing!

  • Shann says:

    Looks like you had a great vacation. My favorite vacation was from when I was little and my whole family went to Mexico. I loved having my grandparents, plus uncle with us.

    • Clare says:

      I would love to go to Mexico – my girlfriend who I go on these girls’ trips above (Lori) talked about us going to Cozumel on a cruise!  Well, we certainly would have to save our pennies for that!  Thanks for sharing!  You are entered in the contest!  🙂

  • Beh says:

    I went to the Bahamas about 10 years ago. Hands down the best trip ever.  It was completely paid for by my employer and I was PAID to go!!! lol. In all honesty, I discovered a lot those few days, even though I am a born and raised Beach Bum, my  ideal vacation still involves the sand and the waves!!

    • Clare says:

      Beh, wow the Bahamas are pretty – although really I only saw about a day or two of them on a very short cruise!  But what a blessing for it to be paid for!  Good for you and glad it was a great memory!  You will be entered into the contest!  Good luck!  🙂  🙂


  • Drema says:

    I would have to say that my most memorable vacation was with my 20 year old  daughter the weekend before she passed away.  We went to Johnson City, TN and spent some very special moments together holding hands, talking, and making plans.  Then we went to Gem Mountain in NC and found many gems like rubies, emeralds, amethyst, garnet, etc.  She passed away the night we got home from our vacation, but that weekend will always be the most memorable weekend for me as long as I live.

    • Clare says:

      Oh Drema – I love you sweet friend!  Thanks for sharing – I am  delighted you have such fond memories of your time together in Tennessee and North Carolina.

  • Pam Bovee says:

    First of all, I love your blog LifeAintEasyStreet! So true, and I can always relate to what you talk about. I have been blessed to travel to some beautiful places in my life so far. One of my favorite vacations was to the Virgin Islands with my sister when we were in our early 20’s. Carefree, beautiful, spent our days on the beach, went sailing, met some wonderful people, blue water, swimming with the fish, ate delicious food. A no worries vacation!

    • Clare says:

      Thanks Pam!  Oh – I would love to go the Virgin Islands – sounds like that was beautiful!!!!  No worries vacations are the kind we love!   🙂  🙂

  • Bette says:

    My favorite place I have been was St Thomas. The beautiful blue water, white sands, lush green hills and you can’t beat the shopping. Best deals ever!  But the beach was the best!  Trying to get back there next year.

    • Clare says:

      I should have gotten to St. Thomas when I was stationed in Puerto Rico, Bette!  I have heard it is beautiful (I know the waters and beaches in PR were beautiful as well) and I heard the shopping!  Thanks for sharing!   🙂  🙂

  • Andrea Kent says:

    I really like your blog LifeAintEasyStreet!! There is so much truth to your messages and you are hilarious!!!

    My favorite vacations are going back home to Northern California. I enjoy being outside walking, hiking, swimming and taking in all the Beautiful scenery. You have the mountains and beaches all right there!!!

    • Clare says:

      Thanks for the kind words, Andrea!  I truly appreciate it!  Wow, Northern California – I’ve never been (southern CA only for a short visit when I was a kid)- I have heard of the beautiful mountains, etc. – I hope you get to have another trip back home then sometime soon!  Thanks for joining in on the fun!  🙂  🙂


  • Beth'ny says:

    My favorite vacation destinations are Big Pine Key and Key West. My family and I stay in a house in Big Pine that doesn’t have cable or internet which really makes it a vacation for us. There’s a canal in the back and the house has a kayak and canoe that you can take out on the canal. It’s really enjoyable. Key West is a lot of fun to spend time in doing tourism things and spending time at the beach. We also go out on a friend’s charter fishing boat and spend the day fishing. Big Pine and Key West were our kids’ very first vacation! That makes it special to us.

    • Clare says:

      Oh, I have heard about many beautiful things in the Keys – I’ve never been!  I’m glad you get out boating – sounds like fun always enjoy pics of the Keys because the waters and the scenery are so pretty!  Thanks and you are entered into the contest!  🙂


  • Johnna Furman says:

    My favorite vacation spot and the best time I have had so far was in key West. The deep sea fishing and the house we stayed in was my favorite. I can’t wait to go back next year!

    • Clare says:

      Thanks Johnna  for sharing – one of the other gals above mentioned Key West was her favorite to, and I am sorry to say I have never been – this makes me want to go more!!!!!   I am glad you are looking forward to and able to go next year enjoy!  Don’t forget to check back Monday for the drawing!  Thanks – 🙂

  • Jodi Radney says:

    My favorite vacation would be Marco Island Marriot Resort . They have a beautiful beach with Tiki Huts and chairs , the pools are fabulous , and the restaurants are great too!! The best part is the beds are brand new and the rooms are so clean. So after a long day at the beach you can snuggle in and rent a movie;) I would recommend this place to everyone!

    • Clare says:

      Thanks for sharing Jodi – I have heard of it but never been!  Sounds very relaxing yet fun!  You have been entered into the contest – check back in tomorrow for names of the winners!  🙂  🙂


  • My favorite vacation would have to be when my family and I took our very first cruise four years ago for 7 nights to the Southern Caribbean islands. It was amazing and the water was just gorgeous. To be able to get off on different islands each day of our cruise made it both exciting and entertaining. We stopped in St Martin, St Thomas, St Lucia, St Kitts , San Juan, and Barbados. Learning their culture was great for our children. The food on the ship was delicious , the kids had such a great time in the kids club and mom and dad even had time to ourselves too.That cruise inspired me to become a travel agent and now we are  cruises for life. ~ Winona Rogers, Busy Mom On A Budget

    • Clare says:

      Wow – it sounds like such a wonderful cruise/ trip, Winona – and all the many stops sounds so fun!  Familiar with San Juan, PR as I was stationed in Puerto Rico in the Navy many, many moons ago – but have never been to the other placed!  Glad it was fun!  Thanks for sharing! 🙂  🙂

  • I haven’t been on very many vacations. We usually do stay-cations. I love St. Augustine because it was my honeymoon. We just went to Hoover, AL and did some hiking and it was amazing. But I think our upcoming fall vacation to Boston will end up being my favorite. We have lots of hiking planned for Virginia, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Vermont, and Maine. I’m so excited.

    • Clare says:

      We love St. Augustine too (just 45 minutes from us in Jax Beach)!!!!!   My daughter went to Boston during the summer and really loved it!  Sounds like you have some great spots to visit soon in the northeast!  Thanks for sharing!


      • Clare says:

        Kate W. Shared: I’ve been trying to post on this, but not sure where? Is it me or my phone??? Any way, best vacation & most beautiful spot was Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. Would love to go back some day! These days we go to St. Simons, GA and love the quaint little town where you can park your car at the Inn or hotel & walk everywhere. There’s lots of shops, restaurants & they have arts & craft festivals, live music playing on the waterfront. Just a relaxing & rejuvenating time!

        • Clare says:

          Oh – Kate – I’ve never been to the Virgin Islands – but would love to!  I like St. Simons, GA, too, but truly enjoy Jeckyl Island – we used to go there often with the kids in the summer – especially the Summer Waves waterp ark!  Thanks for sharing!!!!  🙂  🙂


          • Clare says:

            Diana says “My favorite vacation spot is California. The drive up the Pacific Coast Highway is just Breathtaking. Favorite stops are Carmel and Monterey. There is an inn on the cliff of the Coast Called Ragged Point Inn. My room overlooked the sea with occasional whale sightings and seals playing on the rocks. The Inn has an out door dining room boasting five stars. Magical setting.” –

          • Clare says:

            Diana – you had to enter by going onto the blog website – but I have entered you with below contest!  I have heard many parts of California are beautiful!  (Only been to LA area once but I was very young and unfortunately can hardly remember)!  Thanks for sharing!


  • Barb Hawthorne says:

    My favorite vacations were to the Jersey beaches, primarily WIldwood, NJ, because I have the best memories of having fun with my husband then, our child, my stepchildren, and my husband’s nephew, who always joined us.  It was hectic, busy, but I was with people I loved and we had fun.  I would not pick that kind of vacation now for myself, nor is the Jersey Shore the same now as it was then, but I cherish the memories.

    • Clare says:

      Awwww – you make me miss the Jersey Shore, Barb!  Fun times at Lavallette every summer for two weeks!  And day trips to various other spots – not too familiar with Wildwood but I’ve heard a lot of good stuff about it… glad you have fond memories!  Thanks for sharing in the fun and the nostalgia!  🙂

  • Pam Bovee says:

    So excited! I won 1st prize a $30 Visa gift card!!! Woo hoo! I so needed it! Thank you Clare! I have been blessed to live in California and have traveled to many different places throughout California. I have seen the Giant Redwoods. I traveled up & down the coast. I have visited Las Vegas NV, Denver, Colorado, Utah. I lived in Pennsylvania, Texas,  Virginia. I have visited Germany, went on a cruise to Jamaica, the Grand Cayman Islands, another cruise to the Bahamas, just to name a few other places. I now live in Florida! I love traveling, I wish I could do more! Thanks again Clare, for your blog & my gift!

    • Clare says:

      I am so excited you are one of the winners, Pam!  Wow – congratulations and thanks too for sharing all the wonderful places you have traveled and lived!  I appreciate your participation in the contest!  🙂

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