Category Archives: photography

Beautiful Bellagio Conservatory

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Spring 09 034

I love flowers & I love Gardens…indoor or outdoors! This is one of the best displays I’ve seen on the West Coast.
This beautiful display is in the Bellagio Hotel Conservatory in Las Vegas. It’s on my daytime “day time to do” list each time I visit! It’s never the same display twice! They change the display through the seasons and also have exhibitions as well.

When everything is moving so quickly in the fast paced city, it’s a real treat to step into the conservatory and feel the tranquility around you.

Click HERE for the Bellagio’s calendar of events for the conservatory.

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It started with a Kiwi Bird!

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One little Ornament! That’s how it began! A gift from my good friend Julie who had moved back to her native New Zealand. She sent me an adorable little Kiwi Bird ornament that still adornes our tree 20 years later.

After that, Any time I went anywhere, I sought out an ornament as a keepsake. In addition to that, another good friend & I shared the memories we created on a Euro trip as students back in ’86. Since then, we try to swap unique gifts that remind us of our adventures there. It’s not always an ornament, sometimes it’s European Chocolates or tea or anything else we come across. This ornament in the photograph is one of my all time favorites that she sent me! Every time I look at it, I think of the two of us taking cover from the rain with locals under an Arc. Someone had a bottle of wine, someone else had bread, we had the chocolate…we had an impromtu picnic with complete strangers in the downpour of Paris

As I was putting up the ornaments this year w/ my family, I noticed that I have enough travel related ornaments to do a themed little tree if I wanted to. Now I’ll be on the hunt for clever DIY ideas to help bring it all together so I can make it happen in 2013! Any ideas?

eiffel

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.

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

Elephants in Kenya

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A few years ago, a good friend of mine was taken on quite a vacation by her in-laws. They invited their adult children, their spouses & grandchildren on an African Safari over Christmas time. They visited several countries, did a few safari’s, mingled with the Masi, & had the family vacation of a lifetime.  The pictures she shared with me were truly amazing! This is just one of many & was taken in Kenya.

click here to see one of the lodges they stayed at.

There are so many beautiful places to see on this planet & Africa is just one of many on my list! It’s prioritizing the list that brings me anxiety! How to choose what’s next is always  when the boxing gloves come off at my house, the art of compromise comes into full play! Africa will have to wait a little longer since next year’s trip to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary has been booked! We will be Europe bound, not quite as wild as seeing Elephants at play in their natural habitats but still full of culture & adventures for those seeking it.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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I’ll have it easy this year, we are not hosting! Instead, my dear friend has opened her home to my family, her family and a slew of others who can’t quite make it home or have families scattered about. My college aged daughter is even bringing a few of her soccer team mates who can’t make it home. I think there will be about 30 of us in total! Total chaos but total fun & great memories to be made. I’m already looking forward to leftovers and we haven’t even had the main meal yet! God Bless you wherever you spend your Thanksgiving & may it be filled with warmth, family & loved ones.

Picture is worth a 1000 words!

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looks like harmless fun!

As soon as I saw this beautiful picture, I was flooded with childhood memories from Germany. I lived there for my first 10 yrs. & one of the events I looked forward to most as a child was the day the traveling carnival came to town!

I thought it was such an exciting life to roam from city to city & set up “home” for two weeks at a time. The carnivals were filled with gypsies & they didn’t seem to mind 8 yr. old girls lingering around and watching the rides go up. My sister & I spent hours petting horses & getting excited about opening day!

The big swing was always my favorite ride hands down. I would ride it each day as if the occasion was the first! Always exhilerating with just the right amount of butterflies in my belly!

Fast forward 11 years. I was on a student EF tour of Europe. I had just celebrated my 19th b-day the night before in Prague.
The next day, I was quite hung over & was laying low. Our tour stopped in Vienna. Much to my delight, we found a carnival that had the large swing ride I had such fond memories of as a child. Naturally, I wanted to ride it & forgot all about my fragile state. My friends & I hopped on! BIG mistake!

The ride was everything I wanted it to be when it was going forward! The ride operator however, decided that he wanted to put the ride in reverse and extend our experience by another 10 minutes! To my complete & utter horror, my childhood memories of my favorite carnival ride were tarnished by the hangover that now raged for release from my body!

How I managed to hold on & not vomit all over the city of Vienna, I will never know! I did make it off the ride looking very very green & with the most quesy stomach ever! I left my friends, managed to make my way back to our hotel & did not resurface from my room for the next 48 hours!

It’s taken years for me to be able to look at a swing without feeling nauseated immediately! I’ve managed to hold on to the childhood memory instead of my more reckless young adult memory!

Fall beauty

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This is for my friend Natalie, who will be travelling to New York soon with her mom & daughter! Hopefully, she’ll have some great views like this! My version of fall In So Cal looks nothing like this!

Epic Photo Fail!

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Epic Photo Fail!

…And this is all she got!

You’d never guess who is supposed to be in this picture!? My 15 year old former self would’ve DIED at this interaction with this mega British pop star. To Be THIS close would’ve been beyond my wildest dreams!

You see, I was a teenage groupie of many many bands back in the day but there was ONE band in particular that I was CRAZY for! I even got to see them once during my junior year of high school back in 1984. It was an AWFUL experience! I brought a boyfriend who didn’t like their music, I lost my friends in the crowd, and quite frankly, the band didn’t perform well Live!

As if the experience couldn’t get any worse, when I did finally find my group of friends after the concert, they told me all about their fabulous night & how they not only met Grace Slick of Jefferson Starship fame. They also met the biggest concert promotor of the Bay Area, Bill Graham. All my concert tickets said “Bill Graham presents” so I knew he was a big deal! My friends excitedly went on to tell me that he personally invited them to return the next day to watch the band record a video in the arena. I was so green with envy and filled with so much jealousy it hurt! My friends decided to help me find Mr. Graham to request an extra ticket, I failed miserably to pursuade him after he asked if they were my favorite band. My response was “F@#K yeah!” and this did not sit well with him AT ALL! Who knew, Mr. Rock & Roll himself would take offense? He could not be swayed & I was sent away sad & dejected and of course, embarassed, I had better manners than that!

To add salt to the would, my friends called me from the taping the next day to say that the doors to the arena were WIDE OPEN and they were not even checking tickets! When the video was on heavy rotation on MTV a few months later, I got a sick feeling in my gut each time I watched it! I’ve been to hundreds of concerts since then & I have always claimed that THAT ONE was my worst!

Stay tuned until next week, when I share Part II of this story and the reveal of this “Epic Photo Fail”