Category Archives: Ca

Having Fun, Despite My Inevitable Loss!

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It doesn’t look like I’ll be winning that week long stay in a luxury suite at the Hilton Union Square in San Francisco! I’m in close 2nd, only about 350 “likes” behind the 1st place person, ha haa!

If you missed that write up, here it is again, CLICK HERE

The contest ends tonight, Friday, at Midnight PST, so it’s not too late to help me out 🙂

In the meantime, I thought I’d share a moment of crazy fun with you that helped lift my spirits!

In case you couldn’t guess, I’m the crazy in the pink tutu!

I may not be headed to San Francisco any time soon at the rate this contest is going but I AM still headed to EUROPE for two weeks in May so life is good, real good! I am blessed to be living and having fun!

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Help Me Win a Trip to San Francisco!

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I have the opportunity to win a social media contest sponsored by Hilton Union Square in San Francisco!

The past guest whose story is being currently featured on their Facebook page, has to have the most “likes” under their photo.

Can you help a fellow blogger out!? I’m currently in close 2nd place with 65+ likes!!

Food the link to the Hilton page featuring the picture of me and my friends in our Pj’s! Just click like and you are done ! So easy and it would make me so happy!

CLICK HERE TO HELP

Girls Night Out in Hollywood

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I’ve been promising my 14 year old that I would take her to see KEANE next time they hit LA. We’ve been fans of this British band for a while & I have yet to miss them when they do play here.

Paige was pretty excited to have a night out around the famous Hollywood & Vine area, which is where the beautiful Pantages Theatre is located. We ate at the bar of CLEO’S Restuarant, which is located inside the REDBURY HOTEL. Both were designed by photographer Matthew Rolston. I can’t wait to come back here with my husband for the full grown up night out experience!

Not only was the time spent with my music-loving daughter fantastic, the concert was great as usual but the highlight of the evening for her was a run in with Nick Jonas of Jonas Brothers fame. He was sitting with a friend just 3 rows up from us. He was very kind to her & indulged her with this picture!

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I think she liked him even more after she realized he appreciated the sounds of KEANE!

Take a listen!

And if you ever get a chance to see a show inside the Pantages Theatre, go for it! The space is phenomenal!

Here is the ceiling!

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Travel Crazy Chick

Living in So. Cal has it’s perks! One of them is being able to get to watch TV show tapings! I’m off to see the “Ellen Show” today with two friends & my 14 yr. old daughter.

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This is not my first time seeing her tape her show. I’ve been lucky enough, and it DOES take luck, to attend one taping per season for the last 3-4 years! I’ll get to the “luck” part later!

The picture below shows just how fun and rewarding a taping toEllen can be! During that taping, we all won the X-box 360 Kinect! Whoo hoo!!! The first time I went, we all won vacumn cleaners! You would’ve thought we won cars at how excited we were!

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Last year, we went to a taping that featured Jennifer Lopez & Marc Anthony promoting their reality show “Q Viva”. They gave us each a Samsung Tablet!…

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A Pirate’s lookout in Laguna Beach!?

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Laguna Beach is crammed with tourists most of the year. It’s nice to be local enough to know where the “off the beaten path” beaches are to escape the crowds. THIS one is really fun & definitely hard to find if you are not a local! If you find it, welcome to Victoria Beach!

Don’t be too shocked to see what looks like a pirates lookout on the edge of the cliffs overlooking the tide pools! I’ve been to many, many beaches but never one that creates such a dramatic backdrop for imaginary playtime! I had heard that it belonged to the house that sits above it, that one of the previous owners used to hide coins in and around it for children to find. I also read in THIS blog, that Bette Midler is on the list of people who have owned the home and castle tower at one time.

I stayed in a beach house on this beach for a long weekend with my family a few years back and it was one of our most memorable “stay cations”! Close enough to town but remote enough to be hidden!

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Click HERE for more information on how to find this beach & castle!

A hotel for your Pooch!

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From Pooch Hotel’s Web site:

“We Love Dogs.

As recently as a few decades ago, most dogs were “outside dogs”, and only the most privileged had dog houses in their yards. In recent years, not only have dogs made their way inside our homes, but most are now welcome in our beds, cars, laps, purses, and wherever else we can share our love together. And now, when you can’t be together with your dog, they are welcome to join our extended loving family of Pooch Hotels.

In 2004, we had a vision: to create a dream destination for dogs, where people could feel good leaving their pooches, knowing they would be loved, pampered, and cared for. Pooch Chicago was born.

By 2008, we had two locations in Chicago: Lincoln Park and West Loop. In 2009, we expanded to the Silicon Valley in Sunnyvale, California.

Shortly thereafter, Pooch was elevated from a boutique, family-run organization to a brand worthy of national recognition and scale – it was purchased by Petco to recreate the fantastic Pooch experience in more areas across the country.

So who are we?

We are a family of diverse experiences, backgrounds, and interests all brought together because of our love for animals.

We are animal behaviorists, dog trainers, groomers, and veterinary technicians. We are students and doctoral scholars. We are musicians and mathematicians. We hike, bike, ski, run, and golf. We are young and we are old – but all of us (you included) share something larger: We Love Dogs.”

I LOVE this idea! I’ve only had to board a dog once & it felt like the pound, it was sterile, musty, and in no way resembled any form of fun.  Pooch Hotel feels like a home and treats your dog as if it is a family member! Locations are popping up across the country. I’m excited that I have one nearby to try out! Pooch Hotel offers 1/2 day, full day, and multi day boarding so whatever your needs are, they can meet it! Click here to see their full site with a list of services, locations, and more about the company. Next time you travel and need a place for your four legged loved one, consider finding a Pooch Hotel near you!

 

Vino Volo Wine bars at US Airports

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sf 9When Traveling at some US airports, whether your coming or going, it’s always nice to have an option for a “Wine down”!  “Vino Volo” wine bars are in over a dozen US Airports across the country, including Oakland, where this wine was enjoyed!

From their site, they say ” Vino Volo aims to revolutionize how people experience wine.  Each store is a comfortable post-security retreat for air travelers, combining a cozy wine lounge, restaurant, and boutique wine shop.  Vino Volo (derived from “wine flight” in Italian) offers wines from around the world by the glass, in tasting flights, and by the bottle for guests to take home or have shipped.  Operating successfully in airports across the nation, Vino Volo is the only airport wine bar and wine retail concept with a depth of experience and a proven track record.”

This was the 2nd time I’ve been able to relax in one of their wine bars before a flight & I look forward to them! They are much more quiet than the standard food court & the food options are WAYYYYY better. The food is good, the wine is good, the ambiance is good…I’m in! Whose with me!?

to see the list of Vino Volo Airport wine bar locations, click HERE

48 hours of fun in San Francisco!

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sf2I’m back from my whirlwind girl’s weekend in San Francisco! I’m still on a “weekend high”, that’s how much fun it was!  This shot was taken just steps from our hotel as we wandered over to our first “meal stop” of the weekend, an Irish pub, for excellent bowls of Butternut squash soup washed down with a tasty beer!

Click here for restuarant details! It was reasonable, great ambiance, centrally located, & the staff was friendly too.

Big Girl, Big City!

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I’m headed to San Francisco this weekend with 3 friends to celebrate a 40th b-day for one of them.

I’m really excited to explore and enjoy the city by the bay as a grown up without purpose, such as a soccer tournament & entertaining 3 children through a weekend!

I used to live up North so going to the city was a regular occasion for me.  Back then though, I was either driven there with my family or it was for school field trips! This picture, for example, was from a school visit to Alcatraz.  Our Psychology teacher lived on the Island as a child since his doctor was one of the primary physicians on the Island.  His real life experiences & memories that he shared with us students gave us a glimpse into Alcatraz that isn’t found on most tours!

I look so carefree in this picture, not a worry in the world! 17, just shy of graduating in a few weeks & heading to Hawaii for a grad trip!  I never got to “experience” the city as a carefree adult though! I moved south at 18 &  all of my subsequent visits to the Bay have been with my family in tow so it  usually involved many soccer fields, visits to Pier 39 & the usual tourist areas. I always enjoyed those fun weekends & we built many fond memories of our road trips.  There is something to be said though for shedding the responsibilities of your normal everyday life to enjoy a fabulous location like this!

I won’t be visiting Alcatraz this time but if you are headed to the city soon, be sure to book your tour early, they fill up fast! Click here for more information. In the meantime, my next few posts will be SF related!

Up close in Big Sur!

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I’ve lived in California since I was 10 yrs. old.  I’ve seen ALOT of amazing things and people in this state! However, this one experience really trumps the others!

On our way back to LA from Monterey, we decided to take HWY 1 back. If you’ve ever traveled it, you know it can be exhilerating and nauseating at the same time!  On this day however, it was incredible.  Each corner filled with a new view of the pacific and the coast.

As the road straightened out before us, just north of the Hurst Castle area, we stumbled upon this beach. What an amazing sight, the whole beach was covered with these seals! The best part was that only a slight burm and a rope separated us from this lively creatures! The beach had volunteer docents who shared their knowledge of the migration of the seals and their habits on shore. All of it for FREE!!

Elephant Seals

Nothern California

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Magnificent views at Nick's Cove

We had a great dinner here!

If you ever get a chance to explore the Northern California coastline, be sure to spend some time at Dillon Beach & the surrounding area. This was taken at Nick’s Cove, near Point Reyes, in the small seaside town of Marshall. The roadhouse restaurant & Oyster Bar is adjacent to cottages for rent & look straight out of a movie set! Guess what? A friend shared with me that several films DID use this area for movie scenes. The more memorable one was Stephen King’s “The Fog”.  Fortunately for me, no fog during my visit, just beautiful clear skies and the most calm water I’ve ever seen on a Northern California beach!

For information about the cottages & restaurant, click here!

 

Lake near the Vineyards of the Central Coast, CA

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Our 3rd floor balcony in the Evan’s Home hosted this lovely view each day!

We go this lake each summer & if we’re not staying with friends on their property, we rent this house in Oak Shores. The home sits on Lake Nacimiento which is in the hills around Paso Robles. I recommend visiting Paso Robles & Lake Nacimiento in late July so that you can enjoy the California Mid-State Fair.. There are plenty of wineries to visit, just check this out!

Off to the “Ellen Show” today!

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Living in So. Cal has it’s perks! One of them is being able to get to watch TV show tapings! I’m off to see the “Ellen Show” today with two friends & my 14 yr. old daughter.

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This is not my first time seeing her tape her show. I’ve been lucky enough, and it DOES take luck, to attend one taping per season for the last 3-4 years! I’ll get to the “luck” part later!

The picture below shows just how fun and rewarding a taping to Ellen can be! During that taping, we all won the X-box 360 Kinect! Whoo hoo!!! The first time I went, we all won vacumn cleaners! You would’ve thought we won cars at how excited we were!

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Last year, we went to a taping that featured Jennifer Lopez & Marc Anthony promoting their reality show “Q Viva”. They gave us each a Samsung Tablet! Nice gift but I already owned an Ipad so I sold mine for full price, sweet! My sister still uses hers and loves it.

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We don’t always walk out with fabulous gifts and we don’t always get “in” the show! Sometimes, we end up in Ellen’s “Riff-raff” room. The Riff-raff room is the over flow room, it’s where all the Ellen gear is sold and you watch the show being taped on closed circuit TV. The nice thing about the “Riff-Raff” room, is that you are guaranteed a future ticket back. They give you a calendar with open dates and you can pick. In this case, we went in September and were offered return dates in January or February. Also, if there is a gift give away, the Riff-raffers get it too!

People ask me all the time how I get tickets to her show and the answer is easy! Go to her website and request them!
The “luck” part is that you have to time it when there is open availability. That is where patience kicks in! I typically begin checking her site DAILY in August, knowing that the new season will begin soon. Once the calendar is open, you can see what dates have ticket requests available. To better my chances, I enter a request on multiple dates and also under the names of the 3 other people I would like to bring with me. The reason for this is because not every request gets fulfilled. So if I enter 4 names under multiple available dates, it increases our chances of at least one of us being contacted. That is how my friends & I have found success.

Click HERE to get to the ELLEN Website for ticket request information & maybe my good luck will rub off on you!

Sonoma Girls trip Summer 2008

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Sonoma is where it all began…our annual girl’s trip about 9 years ago. Each summer, my closest high school friends manage to carve out a small bit of time away from our families, jobs, and other life obligations to meet up. Our first trip to Sonoma was fun but to be truthful, none of us really knew much about wine! I was content with “Franzia in a box” ( I know, sinful!)!
Aside from catching up with Karri, Lorri, Julie, and Dina, I was really excited to explore the wineries with a little bit more knoweldge under my belt! I KNOW what I like & I know what I DON’T like but I couldn’t tell you why! So, I don’t pretend to taste all the different fruits and spices within each taste but I can tell you I like one over another. So, I keep tasting until I can figure it out!
Each trip, a different girl plans our lodging and this year was Julie’s turn. We were very impressed with our first glimpse of “The Lodge in Sonoma”. It did in fact look a lodge you would imagine at the edge of the woods. It had great flowers all around the property as well as gardens for their herbs and vegetables that they used in their restaurant. 

Our only initial disapointement was our first room, which was facing the busy street below and had street noise so the spacious balcony couldn’t be enjoyed. Not to worry though, Julie to the rescue! She quickly called the front desk and secured us a “Casita” in the back of the property! We scored! It was sooo quaint and much more roomy than the hotel style room we just gave up…this was our own little apartment with a ground patio space w/ just enough furniture for us 5 ladies to relax on. It was also within walking distanc to the pool, which is always important on a girls trip!


Here are the girls enjoying some patio time before we head to the relaxing pool!

As for the wine tasting, we hit quite a few but the most memorable was The Ledson Winery In Kenwood on Sonoma hwy.( http://www.ledsonwinery.com/winery ). Not only was the property impeccable but the “castle” on the estate was breathtaking! The people were super friendly and the wine was the best that we tasted over the two days.

We had such an enjoyable couple of days here in Sonoma & you really can’t go wrong no matter where you stay or where you taste, it’s all good!