A Visit to Joshua Tree National Park Should Be on Your Adventure List!

visit to Joshua Tree National Park

A Visit to Joshua Tree National Park

A visit to Joshua Tree National Park and the town of Joshua Tree will take you away from everyday stress and introduce you to a desert landscape that is so incredibly different from city life!

Recently I have written about finding adventure in woodsy, pine-smelling forests with vast lakes like Lake Tahoe and charming towns like Jackson Hole where the Grand Tetons impress and welcome you.  So today, along with my partner Hotels.com, I share one more destination inspiration! It is time to seek the sandy, rock-climbing terrain of Joshua Tree. We loved it!

Read moreA Visit to Joshua Tree National Park Should Be on Your Adventure List!

Let’s Escape to Lake Tahoe For Our Next Getaway

escape to Lake Tahoe
Photo: L. Simone

An Escape to Lake Tahoe

Let’s go to the mountains where there are fewer people, fresh air, blue skies, exceptional deep blue water, and views to make you weep. Let’s escape to Lake Tahoe! I am once again working with my friends at Hotels.com to bring you more travel inspiration.

We started visiting Lake Tahoe when our children were little, we traveled there in the winter to ski and in the summer to hike, but with Fall around the corner, it’s time to plan for the leaf-peeping season! It is best to reach out to local hotels to learn about their new COVID protocols and safety guidelines. However, it is getting easier to travel every week that passes by. Fall in Lake Tahoe could be a wonderful first step back toward our love of travel.

Read moreLet’s Escape to Lake Tahoe For Our Next Getaway

Three of Our Best Cocktail Recipes & Videos for Empty Nesters & Friends

        best cocktail recipes

More of our best cocktail recipes for you!

So the project continues.

Our little video Cocktail Adventure has been moving along and catching speed. You all have been so supportive with your comments and enthusiasm, and we aim to please! Even our non-drinking friends are enjoying this little escape as well!

We began this adventure six weeks ago to connect with everyone stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people are baking amazing new recipes, letting their creative juices flow, and investigating new personal talents. Also, liquor sales have gone up dramatically! Hello? You are making cocktails too!

Not exactly sure how we could contribute, we created Cocktail Adventures, where we film a short 4-5 minute video and offer a little cocktail history, our favorite recipes, and a travel memory that is enhanced by this drink.

My husband Craig does some research, we include our signature recipes, and I add my friendly spin on our travel memories.

Today you are in for a treat! A tasty trifecta of the perfect ingredients and stories as well as the three videos we filmed in one take. Yep, one take. Why waste time on perfection? There’s no such thing!

Read moreThree of Our Best Cocktail Recipes & Videos for Empty Nesters & Friends

Culinary Tourism is So Much Fun :: Learning How to Make Macarons

learning how to make macarons
Holding a partial tray of pistachio macarons after filling

Travel offers so many types of learning experiences

Is learning how to make macarons a worthwhile life skill? To some, not so much, but to the rest of us, baking challenges enhance our culinary skills, create BIG smiles and a happy sense of accomplishment!

As I write this post, we are in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic, and flour is at a premium. It took me two weeks to find five pounds of white flour, and I only have it because my stepfather found it for me! Whoever thought that finding baking flour would be a problem?

However, during this small window of time, many of us are turning to baking as therapy as well as a way to learn a new skill. Some are honing our baking chops to see if we can up our game as well! So far, I have tried my hand at Foccacia and Blueberry Scones – Successfully!

Just a few months ago, when flour was an ingredient I took for granted, I learned how to make macarons. I traveled to Seattle to see our daughter and included this culinary adventure. The class was held at The Pantry and was taught by Marianna Stepniewski, a skilled pastry chef, who showed us many special techniques and offered tips and tricks. After she demonstrated what we needed to do, we tried it ourselves and took turns. We divided into four groups of three and each made a flavor.

Read moreCulinary Tourism is So Much Fun :: Learning How to Make Macarons

The Tastiest Dishes & Most Delicious Cocktails of 2019

tastiest drinks
A celebratory Piña Colada on a sunny afternoon in Maui

Tasty Dishes & Enticing Cocktails

I began my search for the tastiest dishes of the year by sifting through my photos starting in January. However, by the time I reached the month of June, I had already chosen 30 different tantalizing feasts for the eyes! How to choose?

Be honest, do you want to see that many of my “highlights”? I don’t believe so. Therefore, I carefully looked for colorful, unique meals and surprisingly incredible drinks that are worth celebrating once again. A few of them are favorites due to their unique nature or element of surprise!

I have narrowed down this list to a more manageable number and I hope you enjoy revisiting them as much as I do!

Read moreThe Tastiest Dishes & Most Delicious Cocktails of 2019

A Romantic Weekend For Two – Is it time to make a plan?

a romantic weekend
Enjoying the Seattle Hyatt Regency Club Level outdoor patio

A Romantic Weekend

Is a romantic weekend for two on your travel list for this year? If it isn’t, you may want to think a little harder, be a little more creative for your sweetheart. Don’t have a significant other? Grab a friend or a grown child and go, because everyone deserves a bit of me time.

Read moreA Romantic Weekend For Two – Is it time to make a plan?

What a fantastic year! My Top Travel Highlights of 2019

 

travel highlights
Our spectacular view from the Hyatt Residence Club, Kaanapali, Maui.

Hello friends & Happy New Year – I hope that you were able to hang out with family and friends, devour some delicious meals and maybe even find a little adventure! We enjoyed all of these things too!

travel highlights in Wyoming
Grand Teton National Park, Jackson Hole, Wyoming – Absolutely breathtaking!

It has been a fabulous year of travel!

Wow, to narrow down my top travel highlights of the year was truly a challenge. 2019 was one heck of a travel adventure full of eclectic destinations, firsts and second time visits, discovery and nature so big it takes your breath away. Literally.

January began with a relaxing but rainy week in Maui and then the travel wheels got moving very quickly! No time for resting, extraordinary destinations were waiting for us to arrive.

I know that you are super busy and you cannot always make time to read every single one of my posts… so here are some of the top travel highlights and links to their respective posts. I once again want to thank you for being here and for reading and commenting on my adventures. I truly appreciate you.

My goal is to provide you with helpful, interesting info that you couldn’t find anywhere else!

Read moreWhat a fantastic year! My Top Travel Highlights of 2019

Where to Eat in Pasadena: Recommendations From a Local

Where to Eat in Pasadena!

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.

Read moreWhere to Eat in Pasadena: Recommendations From a Local

A Girls Trip to Seattle – My Favorite Itinerary Can Now Be Yours!

 

girls trip to Seattle
Sitting on the observation deck of the Space Needle -We totally embraced the moment! L to R: Debbie, Me, Barbara, Karin

 

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!

Read moreA Girls Trip to Seattle – My Favorite Itinerary Can Now Be Yours!

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!

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