Exciting Empty Nester Travel, A Podcast Interview & Tomatoes! What?

Cheers to Summer with an Aperol Spritz

Good Morning!

I just wanted to check in to see how your Summer was coming along? Have you taken any trips? Are you attempting to #findadventure? Enjoying the peace & quiet in the empty nest?

I think we land somewhere in the middle. My travel schedule is so hectic that staying home is a real treat. Last year at this time, I was in Italy on a multigenerational trip to see The Palio with our family and then on to a hosted Viking Cruise from Berlin to Prague. It was a very ambitious, yet satisfying adventure!

However, while I was traveling, my garden suffered from the high, summer temps and we lost several plants. That may not be so tragic to some of you, but we lovingly cared for this yard from conception to planting after our home renovation. This year, the vegetable garden is beginning to bear fruit and nothing has died. Yay! Read on my friends…

Read moreExciting Empty Nester Travel, A Podcast Interview & Tomatoes! What?

A Visit to The Amazon Spheres :: A Rainforest With Coffee & Doughnuts!

 The Amazon Spheres
There are three enormous domes containing a Seattle rainforest right in the middle of Downtown.

What are The Amazon Spheres?

Once upon a time, 4 years ago, we lived in Downtown Seattle in the state of Washington while we renovated our fixer upper home in Southern California. We were up for a change and both of us could work from home, our daughter lives there and so we moved to the city. We lived in a high rise apartment and had a blast fulfilling an urban-life adventure.

Across the street from our building, Amazon (you may have heard of them) was building several enormous office buildings. Seattle was filled with cranes and one extremely unusual structure, The Amazon Spheres. There wasn’t a great deal of information available at the time so we just watched. We watched the changes of metal, glass and the unusual curve of the roof and walls. We had never seen anything like it.

Craig and I got a huge kick out of following the progress of The Spheres and how they rose from the dirt with monstrous, uniquely shaped pieces of glass which were lifted to form these glass domes. A giant terrarium? Was it just for Amazon? Surely Mr. Bezos and the good people at Amazon would share this extraordinary place with the rest of us?

 The Amazon Spheres
All live plants on this wall.

The answer was no, it was for Amazon employees only, but one Saturday a month it was open for reservations and a tour for everyone. Since it opened, it is now available two Saturdays per month. You can find the reservations info on the website=> Here.

However, there is something we did not forecast, my husband was recruited to work at Amazon and is now an employee. Yipppeee for me! I get to go inside! Truthfully, it takes time in a new position to know the rules and Craig was not about to ask about entrance to The Spheres right away, so I waited for a few long months.

By the time of my most recent trip to Seattle, he had the lay of the land (or the info for The Spheres at least) Here’s the funny part, he can go there any day of the work week and bring as many as 6 guests. So easy for him! Who knew?

Read moreA Visit to The Amazon Spheres :: A Rainforest With Coffee & Doughnuts!

My Visit to Medora North Dakota and Why You Should Go Too!

 

visit to Medora North Dakota

You may wonder why I decided to visit Medora, North Dakota. I am proud of my eclectic travel schedule and I believe that there is adventure to be found just about everywhere. Read on so you may understand a little more and also hear about an adorable place in the USA.

 

Adventures in North Dakota!

visit to Medora
Having some laughs with Teddy Roosevelt. This gentleman’s job is to help us understand more about the real Theodore Roosevelt (Did you know he did not like to be called “Teddy”?) and he is an entertaining addition to an already charming town.

 

During my visit to Medora, North Dakota, the most adorable little town you have never heard of, I was frequently asked, “Why are you here?’ Fair question. I will tell you why.

I traveled to see Medora, North Dakota, a small town on the western edge of North Dakota that no one I know was familiar with. I liked that. It’s fun to be the first in your crowd to see something new and report back. We have all heard of Fargo, but Medora? Not so much. My first impression was that it was teeny tiny and felt like Knott’s Berry Farm, but real. I will explain.

Read moreMy Visit to Medora North Dakota and Why You Should Go Too!

Here’s The Scoop: Our Top 5 Ice Cream Shops in Pasadena

top 5 ice cream shops in Pasadena

How to choose the top 5 ice cream shops in Pasadena? Although it was a pretty hard job, someone had to do it.

Summer is synonymous with ice cream, beach picnics, lazy days, pool parties, and so many fun activities we seem to save just for summer. Why is that? Why can’t every week feel more like summer? I realize that the weather dictates this thought process, but from a dreamer’s perspective, I vote for summer day activities all year long.

I plan to make more time for leisurely magazine reading, barbecuing, eating lots of fresh fruit, drinking cocktails on a Saturday afternoon and enjoying a little more ice cream!

Read moreHere’s The Scoop: Our Top 5 Ice Cream Shops in Pasadena

A Visit to Verona, Italy Will Amaze & Delight You, I Promise!

visit to Verona
How pretty is Verona, Italy?

A Visit to Verona –  Absolutely!

When you decide to take trip to Italy, cities like Rome, Florence and Venice come to mind immediately, don’t they? However there is a glaring omission from this list under the title of spectacular Italian cities and this charming city is Verona.

I have been to Italy six times and once each of the past three years. This is not to boast but to share that Italy draws you close like a magnet and leaves a lasting impression.I just can’t stay away! My hope is that everyone should visit, at least once many times.

farm fresh artichokes in the market

Some of what I love about Italy

The food is some of the most divine in the world and there is much more to Italian food than pizza and spaghetti. You cannot imagine how different Italian food can taste until you sit down in a small town in the Veneto Region where the artichokes were picked on a farm nearby, the tasty local cheese is organic and the olive oil came from the groves of a local family just minutes away.

I love this about Italy. The Italians are proud of their local regions and the foods that come right from home. They adhere to strict guidelines when creating cheese, olive oil, wine and sparkling wine, as well as many other products. Farmland is precious, family is the most important component of life and Sunday dinner is sacred.

I grew up in an Italian family and our gatherings were epic. Pasta, Italian cold cuts and antipasti salad always accompanied traditional American Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. I have been happy to continue these traditions with my own family as well.

Read moreA Visit to Verona, Italy Will Amaze & Delight You, I Promise!

A Cheese, Glorious Cheese Tour – Italian Cheese is the best!

Italian cheese
Cheese that has been aged in cavernous warehouses and carefully flipped, cleaned and stored in order to age it to perfection was a sight to behold.

Learning about cheese

Is learning about cheese on your bucket list? Maybe not, but let me tell you that once you know the work and craftsmanship that goes into the making of cheese, you may change your mind. I certainly did. I knew that I loved to eat and serve Italian cheese, but truthfully had no idea what it took to make authentic, real Italian cheese.  A trip to the Veneto Region of Northern Italy was the best way to learn! To get all of the delicious details of my entire tour with Oldways please click ==> HERE!

Italian cheese
Walking in the mountain pastures of Northern Italy

 

Cheese glorious cheese!

I must apologize to my lactose intolerant friends, but ooey gooey, tangy, buttery cheese is divine! Pair it with your favorite wine, grate it over pasta, bake a lasagna, melt it for sandwiches, enjoy a quesadilla or just eat a chunk with a piece of fruit. Tasty cheese is big business and nobody does cheese like the Italians!

Italian cheese
Monti Trentini is a family owned business and located at the base of the Dolomites.

Happily touring for cheese

On my recent culinary trip to Italy with Oldways, our traveling group had the pleasure of suiting up and touring a cheese plant with our new friends at Monti Trentini. Located in the Dolomites of Northern Italy, with views of craggy stone mountains in every direction, this AMAZING facility impressed us all.

I had no idea how much thought, effort and skill, mixed with a little Italian love, went in to making cheese. The cleanliness standards are extremely important and every precaution is taken to make sure the plant is germ free. This cheese is raw, not pasteurized and therefore must be aged in order to kill any possible contaminants. We all wore special clothing and fabulous hair nets.

Italian cheese

The milk comes from happy Italian cows that are only fed local, organic grasses, while they breathe fresh mountain air. They always use the freshest milk combined with certain techniques coupled with a strict aging process and this creates the most incredible cheese!

Read moreA Cheese, Glorious Cheese Tour – Italian Cheese is the best!

A Visit to Mount Rushmore: It’s even more spectacular than you imagined

 

Empty Nesters visit Mount Rushmore

A Visit to Mount Rushmore

Tomorrow is our nation’s birthday and besides slicing the watermelon and wearing red, white and blue, I will be thinking of how awestruck we were standing below the Four Presidents of Mount Rushmore, the friendly soldiers we met there and the Thomas Jefferson ice cream. Read on, it’s a great story. 

To find adventure is our personal mantra and therefore our travel plans are eclectic by choice. In just the first six months of 2019, we have been to Maui, Iceland, Seattle, Italy, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming! Pretty cool! But lately my curiosity for exploring more of our nation has intensified. I have visited 40 states thus far, so with ten left to go, traveling in the US is on my mind a great deal.

sunset at Mount Rushmore
Sunset on Mount Rushmore – Nearly 3 million people from all over the world visit and some become citizens here.

Read moreA Visit to Mount Rushmore: It’s even more spectacular than you imagined

A Visit to Bologna – A Delicious & Vibrant Must-See City In Italy!

visit to Bologna
The arched walkways are stunning in Bologna

A Visit to Bologna

This beautiful Italian city is the belly of the nation and the heart of the kitchen. Bologna is a delightful maze of narrow cobblestone streets and the best location to start your visit is in the ancient mercantile center called the Quadrilatero. It’s an easy town to navigate where a popular 11th century university brings students from around the world. We were charmed by the arched covered walkways and the large brick piazzas were filled with happy tourists and locals. Why have I not visited before?

visit to Bologna
Bologna selfie!

Read moreA Visit to Bologna – A Delicious & Vibrant Must-See City In Italy!

My Custom Made Adventure: A Culinary Tour in Italy

a culinary tour of Italy

A Well Seasoned Culinary Tour in Italy with Oldways

For me, travel should include eating, touring, learning, smiling, tasting, experiencing and a little added relaxation. Would you enjoy a tour to the Veneto Region of Northern Italy which included these satisfying ingredients? Yes, me too! Every detail of my culinary tour in Italy with Oldways was executed to perfection and I often wondered if it was custom made just for me.

Now I know this isn’t true, but the itinerary sure checked the boxes of my list of favorites. This trip to Italy focused on authentic dishes and included traveling with Chefs and Co-owners Michael Lombardi and Kevin O’Donnell from a traditional Venetian restaurant in Boston called SRV. Additionally, the creativity of the excursions and inventive itinerary were beyond anything I could envision. Imagine seeing a tour through the eyes of chef? How unique is that? It seems that every passion, every interest that I hold dear about cooking and travel, I share with Oldways

a culinary tour of Italy
Enjoying lunch on the Grand Canal in Venice with my tourmates

Read moreMy Custom Made Adventure: A Culinary Tour in Italy

Sensational Iceland: The Making of a Travel Video

 

making a travel video

A travel video – Our tour in Iceland

Craig and I are a small part of the making of a travel video of epic proportions. Nature in Iceland is so BIG, so incredible that it could be a challenge to capture it. However the professionals from Colette Travel that we worked with, brought their A game. Both Dan and Drew manage to capture the essence of the landscape as well as the sheer magnitude of our surroundings. Any traveler will jump at the chance to travel to Iceland after watching this!

Read moreSensational Iceland: The Making of a Travel Video

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