Pasadena is only ten miles from Downtown Los Angeles (aka DTLA) and is a popular place to visit all year round. I grew up near here and moved back to the Crown City five years ago. Historic Pasadena boasts incredible architecture and now the downtown area has been completely revitalized and has changed a great deal for the better. The shopping, dining and activity options are stellar and most people already know about the famous Colorado Blvd. This is the street where The Tournament of Roses Parade marches for 5.5 miles every year on January 1.
If you somehow missed Part One of the Trip ==> Click HERE
Travel in Japan! Riding on the Shinkansen or bullet train you will find that it is extremely clean, super fast (199 MPH) and just as cool as you think it might be. I sat there like a bullet train geek anticipating this transportation adventure as I watched many locals just chill out and read the paper. No big deal, they ride it everyday!
My trip to Japan was over the top amazing – Again!
Does a trip to Japan seem a little intimidating? I think so too, but I just returned from my second trip to this intriguing country and I believe I have the hang of it now. Or at least the cities of Tokyo, Hakone and Kyoto!
As a guest of two Japanese companies Odakyu and Keihan, rail companies who offer many kinds of transportation as well as hotels and restaurants, I discovered how much easier it can be to get around Japan, if I actually knew about these helpful ways to get there. Once introduced to these options, I now can share them with you for your next trip to my new favorite place to visit. All opinions are my own honest observations and any enthusiasm you feel from me is genuine. My trip to Japan was unapologetically fantastic.
I traveled to three cities I have visited before, but this trip was entirely different as we saw new things, stayed in new hotels and ate delectable local cuisine in totally different restaurants. However, even though I have been to Japan twice in less than two years, I still feel like I have only scratched the surface of possibilities. I am ready to go back!
Is there really great food in Kansas City Kansas? Absolutely!
We discovered unique handcrafted cocktails at The Mockingbird Lounge, artisan popcorn at Velvet Creme, the BEST tacos, and authentic family owned and operated established restaurants that will wow every single visitor. All coupled with the nicest people I’ve met in a very long time!. Have you made it over KCK? (BTW, all the cool people call Kansas City Kansas, KCK)!
A trip to the Bourbon Trail… is this on your list too? Ever since our grown kids came home from college loving this delicious brown spirit, I have been paying attention. Truthfully, at the time of their discovery, I was still favoring the ubiquitous Cosmo. I then moved on from the Cosmopolitan to a vodka martini which was made up of “Chopin, up, two olives and a twist.”
However, in the last year, my favorite adult beverage is now a Manhattan or Old Fashioned, because I love the aroma and smooth flavor of a good quality bourbon.
This leads me to the story of our most recent vacation, an adventurous trip to the Bourbon Trail. We began our tour in Louisville, Kentucky, traveled over to Lexington, KY and then finished our trip in Nashville, Tennessee. Not surprisingly, it was one of our favorite trips in years!
Our road trip through South Dakota was way bigger and way grander than we ever imagined it could be. I was in Medora, North Dakota (another place you should visit) to attend a travel conference. So because the Dakotas are so close to each other, our vacation plan was to visit Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, explore the other areas of the state we were familiar with like Custer State Park and enjoy the beautiful panorama.
What we didn’t realize was just how spectacular this South Dakota scenery would be! The sheer size (242,756 acres) and vastness of the South Dakota Badlands absolutely blew our minds. Located in southwest South Dakota, this national park protects buttes and pinnacles along with the largest mixed grass prairie in the United States.
Our Visit to Sylvan Lake, The Needles Highway and Crazy Horse
I kept thinking, “Why didn’t anyone ever tell me about this place?” Nearly speechless, I stood silently in awe. I knew the landscape was created by nature, but it was just so unusual, with the staggeringly huge rocks, so smooth and perfect it looked like a ride at Disneyland. How could this be real?
In addition to being blown away by the natural elements of the shores of Sylvan Lake, we also arrived just after a small rain shower and the sky was mostly clear and the lake like a mirror, not a ripple. The mirror image of the enormous boulders above and below on the water was magical.
A girls trip to Seattle has been on my radar for quite some time. I am kind of embarrassed to admit how long it took for me to coordinate this trip for three dear, long-time girlfriends. Two of them have been to Seattle several times, but we had one newby in the group, Barbara.
Barbara has been all over this great big beautiful globe, but never has spent any time in one of my favorite cities! We managed to coordinate three different schedules around Karin’s trip to Alaska, made a date and stuck to it! It was a miracle of timing, but we did it!
It is kind of surreal, but I am actually typing this introduction as I look across the aisle of my plane to Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman. Yes it’s true, she is on our flight home to Los Angeles. Check my Fairy Tale Ending at the bottom of the post for more details of our encounter. Our visit to The Pioneer Woman Boarding House in Pawhuska, OK was a gift to my husband’s mom, Claudia and it was an adventure of epic proportions. Please read on…
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 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?
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