• Stockholm Surprise — A Visit During Midsummer

    10 Off-the-Beaten-Path Things to Do & See in Stockholm, Plus Trip Gallery Vibrant. Industrious. Eye-catching. At once cosmopolitan and down-to-earth. At least that is how I’d describe Stockholm...

  • AirHelp Can Mean Refund for Flight Delays

    Fellow travelers, if you’re flying a European airline during any part of your travels this summer (or any time of year, for that matter) and end up with flight...

  • Manarola sunrise from hotel balcony

    Beautiful Ruins & Cinque Terre

    As I turned to the last page of Beautiful Ruins, I found myself wishing desperately that I could go back in time to start it over. And...

  • New Smyrna Beach: More Than Sun, Sand & Surf

    Often the days that are ruled by spontaneity end up being among the best. Upon waking up one Sunday morning, I decided to head over to New...

  • The Market Table seared scallop in blood orange sauce

    Market Table in NYC a Gastronomical Delight

    OK, so it’s true, New York City is a gastronomical delight. People really do eat their way through the Big Apple. I’m sure part of the reason...

  • Inca Trail, Machu Picchu & My Gift to Patcha Mama

    “Haiku! Haiku!” our guide yelled. The Quechua term for “let’s go/get going” became threaded into the fabric of my days and my dreams during the passage across...

  • The Allure of Peru

    It has been four weeks since I returned home from my travels to Peru. I’m not sure why it has taken me this long to blog and...

Writing Content Services
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Welcome! Need a project-based writer, editor or consultant to help manage your content needs with experience and professionalism, attention to customer service and a passion for doing the best job possible? If we haven’t met, my name is Connie Sue White. After spending my entire career working full time for various companies in the consumer magazine editorial/publishing industry, I had the opportunity (one that I couldn’t refuse) to start my own business a few years ago as a content specialist providing an array of professional print and digital content services. So here I am, ready to assist! In the meantime,  visit my Portfolio  to view a sampling of interview profiles, feature articles, column articles and blogs that I’ve written. See my resume for complete information and client testimonials about my work. Read More

Book Reviews By C.S. White

Lady and the Panda Book CoverThe Lady and the Panda would likely have never made my Reading List but for a friend, who read it on her way to China, strongly recommended it to me. And who can resist pandas? While it’s not a nail-biting page turner and I’m typically not a fan of nonfiction, I did enjoy reading it for several reasons. First, Journalist Vicki Constantine Croke did a great job with the narrative, recounting the dramatic expedition to China that was led by America’s first female explorer — young New York socialite and flapper Ruth Harkness — who was determined to follow in her dead husband’s footsteps to bring back the first-ever live giant panda in an easy-to-read, story-like fashion. Second, the historical perspective it gives is interesting, especially if you’re someone like me who forgets the world was very different not that long ago. And, of course, it’s about what is considered the most adored animal (spoiler alert: their plight at the hands of greedy hunters was at times hard to read about — I literally had to skip parts). Not lost in this true tale, and as intriguing as what would ultimately be two such expeditions, is the lasting bond that formed between Harkness and the irresistible bears — and China itself.

Pandas Path From Extinction

It’s amazing to me to think that less than 80 years ago (the book is set in late 30s/early 40s) there were still “explorers”; that animals, even the panda, were unknown to the world (but, sadly, not to hunters); and that China still had unmapped areas. Not to mention that a woman “explorer” was a true oddity. Even so, 80 years seems like such a short time for all that has occurred since. Today, we seem light years ahead in such things. The Earth is mapped and there have been space explorers for decades, ladies among them — and conservation efforts are helping keep the giant panda from extinction. But one thing does remain the same, the panda still captures our hearts.

Interested in other books? Read about Beautiful Ruins.

10 Off-the-Beaten-Path Things to Do & See in Stockholm, Plus Trip Gallery

Vibrant. Industrious. Eye-catching. At once cosmopolitan and down-to-earth. At least that is how I’d describe Stockholm after spending 14 days there last June, during Midsummer, while visiting a friend. The Venice of the North, Stockholm comprises 14 islands in the Stockholm Archipelago, and Midsummer, the two weeks leading up to and after Midsummer’s Eve (the summer solstice) is an optimum time to visit. As a guest of a native-born Stockholmer living in the city’s trendy “SoFo” district on Sodermalm island, my visit was a fully immersive experience that is atypical for a regular tourist. Yet, there is much that is easy to discover “on your own” too. Admittedly, but for my friend, Stockholm was not on my List of Places to Visit. Surprisingly, it’s now on my List of Places to See Again — and a destination I’d strongly recommend to those who love to travel.

Read on for a list of 10 things to see and do (numbered for list sake not by order of importance), from firsthand experience, that a typical tourist might not discover on their own. Read More

Fellow travelers, if you’re flying a European airline during any part of your travels this summer (or any time of year, for that matter) and end up with flight delays, play close attention: Airline passenger rights matter over the pond. While an airline won’t likely volunteer this information to the disappointed crowd of travelers it has just told its flight has been delayed, cancelled or overbooked, there’s a high flying chance you’re eligible to receive a refund for such occurrences. According to AirHelp, an online legal service that helps airline passengers receive compensation for flight delays, passengers could be entitled to up to $650. So hang on to your e-ticket itinerary! When AirHelp contacted me by email after my return from an amazing vacation last summer to Stockholm (Stockholm During Midsummer) and Prague to inform me that they could possibly negotiate a refund for my five-hour flight delay, the itinerary was all they required from me to begin the process.

I was lucky…AirHelp was able to identify my delayed flight (and me) as a potential source of income — for both of us.

There is a fee, however: if a refund is successfully negotiated, AirHelp receives 25 percent of the total amount — for their help, of course. For me, this was not an issue, at least this time around. The total refund translated to about $575 USD. I received a check for $425 USD. Not bad, considering it involved little effort on my part, other than the “too good to be true, is this company legit” research.

In my case, I was lucky. Because AirHelp partners with Expedia, the online travel company through which I purchased my ticket, it was able to identify my flight delay (and me) as a potential source of income — for both of us. But it could be luckier for others who already know about the company and that there is a quicker, direct route to possible recompense. Read More

Manarola sunrise from hotel balcony

As I turned to the last page of Beautiful Ruins, I found myself wishing desperately that I could go back in time to start it over. And it’s no wonder. It’s a substantive read that is at once fun and light, romantic and poignant, thanks in all parts to author Jess Walter’s artful story telling. Using the backdrop of disparate times and places, Walter weaves the lives of the novel’s characters — romantic souls that include classic movie stars (Richard Burton and Liz Taylor) and (fictional) modern day screenwriters — together skillfully in a testament to their few degrees of separation.

At once, you’ll find yourself transported back in time (the 1960s) to Porto Vergogna (Port of Shame), a tiny fishing village nestled into Italy’s Levanto Coast, where the young and ever-optimistic Pasquele Tursi awaits his newest guest at his in-decline hostel, Hotel Adequate View. But before long, the story (temporarily) fast forwards to present-day Hollywood. Here the also young, but-almost-jaded, Claire struggles with the possibility that her dream to become a screenwriter will not come true. “Where do the twain (and many others) meet?” you’ll likely wonder. Keep turning the pages, and you’ll find out. But do it as slowly as you can.

Anna Maria Island's North Shore

My backdrop while reading Beautiful Ruins.

Where Fiction & Reality Meet

Beautiful Ruin‘s Porto Vergogna and Hotel Adequate View may have been figments of Jess Walter’s imagination, but if you‘ve been to this part of Italy, you can easily conjure this village in your mind’s eye as you read along.  So much so it brought me back to my visit to the idyllic Cinque Terre, the likely inspiration for Porto Vergogna. I was easily transported from my book-reading surroundings of another idyllic coastal village, Anna Maria Island, Florida. Settled into a beach chair underneath an umbrella shading me from the day’s sunny blue sky, my toes happily burrowed into the sugar white sands with the emerald waters gently lapping against the shore spread out before me, I was suddenly caught between two places and two times.

Even though it’s been nearly 10 years since my visit, there is something indelible about this part of the wonderfully rugged Italian Rivera and the five “lands” carved into the coastal cliffs. My friend and I drove there from Venice. As we neared the coast and cautiously wended our way along the twists and turns of the narrow road to Corniglia, the “middle” land that would serve as our home base, the feeling that we had entered another time that was slower and more vibrant was palpable.  While our drive along the coast some “40 years” later was not as decadent, shall we say, as Burton’s and Tursi’s when they set off on an “errand” (nor did we have a convertible), because of it I felt as if I were there with them. Even if it meant being squinched into a tiny back seat. Walter’s words alone could have been enough to place me there, but with my added perspective, his figments became real, making the book even more enjoyable — and a chance to revisit a place in time.

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