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!

 

hipp

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?

Deep Dive: An Intriguing New Cocktail Bar in Seattle

Deep Dive - a new cocktail bar in Seattle

An alluring new cocktail bar in Seattle

I love discovering new places and intriguing spaces. Don’t you? If a friend shares a hot new restaurant or an insider bit of travel news, I am forever grateful. Well my friends, I too have something compelling to share!

On this recent trip to Seattle we struck new-restaurant-gold. Only a few months ago Renee Erickson chef and creator of Sea Creatures restaurant group, opened a new cocktail bar called Deep Dive. We heard it was “like a New York speakeasy”, super small and really hard to get in to. There were reports of three and four hour waits to get in! Who waits that long? Not us. But hold on, there is more…

Read moreDeep Dive: An Intriguing New Cocktail Bar in Seattle

A Luxury Getaway in Southern California at The Four Seasons Santa Barbara

a luxury getaway in Southern California
All dressed up for the holidays! Look at that incredible ceiling too!

Our luxury getaway in Southern California – The Four Seasons Santa Barbara

What is it about the wonder of the holiday season? It is such a lovely time of year to travel isn’t it? We recently returned from a very special wedding in the chic, Southern California coastal community of Santa Barbara.

Santa Barbara is rich with California history and situated on a south facing beach which is the longest on the West Coast. The climate is described as Mediterranean and the architecture reflects this description as well. The downtown buildings with white stucco walls and red tile roofs help tell the story of the city’s Spanish colonial heritage.

a luxury getaway in Southern California

In addition to the gorgeous beaches, upscale shopping and trendy restaurants, you can visit the Mission Santa Barbara which was founded in 1786!

Read moreA Luxury Getaway in Southern California at The Four Seasons Santa Barbara

Sunday in Seattle – A Christmas date with my adult daughter

date with my adult daughter at Chateau St. Michele

A date with my adult daughter

It was so easy when the kids were little. You knew the rules. You had a system. As a mom I was in charge of their calendar and almost everything else in their world.

Then they leave the nest, grow up, mature, and establish a life of their own.

It is what is supposed to happen, but no one warns you when you give birth that eighteen years later the rules change. You ultimately start over and create an adult relationship with your child.

I struggled with it at first, but now I embrace it, in a BIG way. I have written a great deal about what to do with your adult kids, as well as multigenerational travel (see links below). I see on my blog what readers search for and how they find my blog. Many parents are looking for suggestions and ideas for activities to share with their adult children.

Read moreSunday in Seattle – A Christmas date with my adult daughter

Where to travel at the holidays :: Our readers share their favorites!

 

Where to travel at the holidays!

No two people seem to have the same destination in mind. How wonderful is that? These friends of mine have offered where they have visited at this time year that tickles them and provides that special something! Have you been to any of these destinations? I have only been to a few of them.

Read moreWhere to travel at the holidays :: Our readers share their favorites!

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