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!

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 Restaurant Called Hippo in Highland Park – Curious Name, Delicious Food!

 

a restaurant called Hippo in Highland Park

Hippo in Highland Park

Wow! We finally had a moment to visit a restaurant called Hippo in Highland Park. Highland Park is a small, but mighty foodie town just outside of Los Angeles and it is experiencing quite an exciting renaissance. Buildings are being renovated and inventive delicious restaurants are popping up very frequently. We live only a few miles east and are so fortunate to have easy access to this incredible restaurant!

What’s in a name

Why is it called Hippo? This dining treasure is in a very large building that used to be the Highland Park Post Office. Hippo is a loose and clever interpretation of the initials HPPO.

Who created Hippo?

Hippo is the creation of Chef Matt Molina who was the Chef de Cuisine at Osteria Mozza in Los Angeles where under the mentorship of the incredible Nancy Silverton, he won a James Beard Award in 2012.

Additionally, prior to opening Hippo, he started Triple Beam Pizza. TBP sits in the front of this enormous warehouse-like building and shares the space with Hippo. The delicious pizza is sold by the slice and you tell them how long your piece should be! It’s like measuring fabric at Cloth World. So fun!! The pizza is fantastic too!

Read moreA Restaurant Called Hippo in Highland Park – Curious Name, Delicious Food!

Empty Nester Travel :: A Perfect Weekend in San Diego

 

weekend in San Diego
A view of the boats in the harbor and the Coronado Bridge in the distance

 

AARP Travel Center Powered by Expedia asked me to share my adventures in San Diego. All opinions, photographs and details are my own.

As Southern California locals, we have a long list of choices for an exciting weekend getaway. How do we choose to leave when DTLA (Downtown Los Angeles) is brimming with new restaurants, artsy shopping streets, new hotels, and any kind of food we want on the planet?

Sometimes it’s nice just to step out of your world and into something calmer, like the supremely beautiful San Diego, California. Whether you arrive by plane, train or auto, this is the perfect city to reinvigorate you from a long week at work.

You can find great hotel options in San Diego for all tastes on AARP Travel Center Powered by Expedia.

Read moreEmpty Nester Travel :: A Perfect Weekend in San Diego

Happy New Year! What is it really like to see the floats at the Rose Parade?

Standing next to the Queen and Court Float on New Year’s Day

What is it really like to see the floats at the Rose Parade?

Absolutely amazing!

Are you planning to come this year? Hey Oregon! Hey Wisconsin!!

Although we rose at 6:00 am in 30 degree weather on New Year’s Day, our trip to see the floats at the Rose Parade was magical! You can feel the positive energy and excitement of the thousands of visitors. Observing the pure delight in the eyes of children as well as adults as they walk past these magnificent floats is a New Year gift. As a former Rose Princess, (celebrating my 40th anniversary) and growing up in the Pasadena area I have been privileged to enjoy an insider’s seat at the Rose Parade my entire life. Although I only watched two parades in person, rode on a float once and now for the past three years made the early morning stroll to the parade to see the floats BEFORE the parade begins – I am an expert of sorts. See below 🙂

Yep, that’s me!

I am bottom right.

 

Over one million people line the streets of Colorado Boulevard every New Year’s Day morning to watch the spectacular Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, CA. For over one hundred years, visitors from around the world have been making this journey to Southern California to experience this wondrous one of a kind event. Millions and millions more watch from their warm, cozy living room.

Read moreHappy New Year! What is it really like to see the floats at the Rose Parade?

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