3 days in Toronto feat. Niagara Falls


As far as bucket lists go, Niagara Falls is typically a popular featured destination, for good reason.  I can’t believe I’d never been until now!  It’s one of the most beautiful natural wonders of the world, and it’s right in our own backyard.  *Whispers: the Canadian side is better. Sore-y, not sore-y.

Of all of the places I’ve been in our great neighbor to the north, Canada, I had never made it to the eastern side of the country.  But, with all of my immediate family out of the country for Thanksgiving, no time was better to seize the moment and head across the border to Toronto.  I traded turkey for Tim Hortons, and I regret nothing.

Oh Canada…

Continue reading

know before you go: Portland (PDX)


Portland is probably one of the best airports in which you can hope to have a layover. Two words: movie theater.  Beyond that, the airport really strives to make it about PDX eats and treats, featuring many local restaurants and breweries, including the House Spirits Distillery.  The stores featured are mostly local brands, which is great because PDX originated companies include Nike, Columbia, Pendleton and Powell’s Books. It really is a destination on its own, with a personality befitting the city it serves.

PDX also boasts incredible views as you are flying to and fro.  If you’re flying south, make sure you sit on the left side of the plane, as you’ll likely be privy to a gorgeous sighting of Mount Hood.  So amazing.

Located about 12 miles from downtown, there is one terminal building split into North and South Terminals which are connected by a walkway.  South has three concourses A (Alaska), B (American), and C (JetBlue).  North has D (Delta) and E (Southwest and United).  There’s a total of ~65 gates.

Remember: ✈️ = trapped in an episode of portlandia to ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ = just do it

Convenience to the city: ✈️✈️✈️ (not too far and there’s also light rail to downtown)

Ease of navigating through terminals: ✈️✈️✈️ (there are people movers)

Convenience of check in/security lines: ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (not too crowded, flows easily)

Dining: ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ (They also have a food truck area here! Mauritian food, Korean. Kenny & Zuke’s, Laurelwood Brewery, Rogue Brewery, Bambuza, Blue Star donuts, Rose’s.  There’s also everything from McDonald’s to sit down fare like Stanford’s surf and turf.)

Bathrooms: ✈️✈️✈️  (clean)

Charging stations/wifi: ✈️✈️✈️ (free wifi available)

Amenities: ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️  (Alaska, Delta, United Lounges.  Live music, movie theater –15 min short films, local shopping, this airport has it all!)



weekend in la la land


Growing up in Southern California, I spent some time in Los Angeles, but never actually lived there.  So, that makes me a total tourist whenever I come to town, and I love it.

It’s sun-kissed, starry-eyed and there’s literally everything you could ever want.  There’s beaches, top education, sports, movie stars, museums, shopping, innovative food and technology.  There’s perfect weather and beautiful bodies, it’s the epitome of the glamorous life.

I love LA.  (we love it).

Continue reading

know before you go: Burbank


Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR, formerly known as Bob Hope) is the small airport that also serves the greater Los Angeles area, namely more convenient for Pasadena/Glendale/Valley area.  This is the airport you want to fly into if you’re headed to LA.  I cannot stress this enough, bypass the pit of despair that is LAX (unless of course you’re international, then of course, vaya con dios).

There are two terminals, A and B.  A serves Southwest, JetBlue and American with 9 gates and B has 5 serving Alaska, Delta and United.

There’s not much to eat here, but there is Guy Fieri Burger and a Peet’s coffee, and really what more do you need in life?

Remember:  ✈️ = bob nope ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ = bob dope

Convenience to city = ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (it cannot be overstated how much easier than LAX it is)

Ease of navigating through terminals: ✈️✈️✈️ (it is very small, so it’s easy)

Convenience of security lines: ✈️✈️✈️ (small = fast)

Dining: ✈️ (Peet’s, Fresco and Guy’s burgers)

Bathrooms: ✈️✈️ (clean, not that many)

Charging stations/wifi: ✈️✈️✈️ (free wi-fi, good amount of outlets)

Amenities: ✈️ (there’s usually some art or collections displayed)

24 hours in Prague

Prague is probably the most popular destination in Central Europe.  It’s a great city filled with spectacular vistas and bridges and churches.  It’s the city of a hundred spires, packed to the brim with Medieval churches, a castle, cobblestone paths.  It’s very walkable, and the beer is cheaper than water (it basically is water?) .   It’s a european city, so there’s also a thriving red light district and sex museums–fun for everyone, question mark.  What do you expect, it was the capital of Bohemia at one point.

Praha is a classic destination, with art, culture and architecture abound.  I spent a much too short 24 hours here, and while there are other cities I prefer, this is certain a must see for anyone traipsing around Europe looking for a good time.

The devil wears praha

Continue reading

know before you go: Bangkok (BKK)


Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand is one of the largest (4th) and busiest (20th) in the world.  Certainly it is the busiest in Thailand, as the popular tourism destination brings more than 50 million passengers through each year.  It is the hub for Thai and Bangkok airlines, so you’re likely to spend more than a few hours here if you’re heading to Chiang Mai or Phuket via those airlines.  I, in fact, have spent one night in Bangkok (Airport).  Sorry, not sorry.

Be aware that there are some unscrupulous individuals looking to pray on tourists by acting as unofficial tour guides and cab drivers.  Be safe and be careful, as these people can be very slick and in some cases have relationships with airport workers.  Check and double check that is via the most legitimate channel before going anywhere with anyone.


It is about 16 miles from the city center, and depending on the traffic, it can take a long time to get there.  You can also get to and from the airport via rail.  There is one main terminal split into 7 concourses A-G with about 120 gates, with C-G serving international flights.

There’s a ton of things to see here, and it holds the distinction of being one of the most instagrammed airports in the world.  There’s statues depicting Thai folklore, there’s Garudas in the departure ticketing area.  There’s actual plays and live music depicting Thai legends before you even enter the main terminal.  It’s a great place to have a layover, but if you’re so inclined, there’s also a Novotel Hotel on site.


There’s basically a high end mall’s worth of shops here: Armani, Burberry, Celine, Chanel, Chopard, Dior, Fendi, Ferragamo, Gucci, Hermes, Longchamp, Prada and Zegna.  There’s airline lounges abound, and I will say the Bangkok Airlines lounge has really great snacks and juices available.

The food options are just okay.  There are a lot of fast food options, asian and grab and go mostly, but there’s Burger King, Starbucks and a Kinramen, which has a decent bowl of ramen.  There’s a lot of Thai coffee shops and also a Mango Tree, which is an international chain.  The thing I don’t love is that the asian food is located near the asian airlines, while the western food is near the flights from US and Europe.  There’s a lot of walking involved in this airport.

Remember: ✈️ =  thai again to ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ = thai to stay here as long as possible

Convenience to the city: ✈️✈️  (taxi, rail, a little far from the city)

Ease of navigating through terminals: ✈️✈️✈️  (very large, a lot of walking)

Convenience of check in/security lines: ✈️✈️  (it’s a very busy airport)

Dining: ✈️✈️✈️  (could be better)

Bathrooms: ✈️✈️ (there could be more available, like I said there’s a lot of walking)

Charging stations/wifi: ✈️✈️✈️ (free wifi not available, decent amount of charging)

Amenities: ✈️✈️✈️✈️  (lots of things to see, Thai souvenir handicrafts and shops, airline lounges, observation deck)



36 hours in Rapid City, South Dakota


One of the first items I ever put on my bucket list when I was a kid was Mount Rushmore.  Growing up, it was ultimate symbol of our country, even more so than the individual monuments in Washington DC.  Even now to me as an adult, after seeing it in person, it still very stirring, very American, a grand memorial to our stalwart forefathers.  It’s certainly worth seeing once in your life, it’s beautiful country out there, with wide open spaces and plains as far as one can see.

Continue reading

weekender in Omaha


Omaha is not just something Peyton Manning yelled a lot while he quarterbacked for the Broncos.  It’s also a lovely metropolitan area in the corniest state the Midwest–literally, not figuratively.  It is comfortable, young, hip, and up and coming. So up and coming that Facebook is going to open some sort of offshoot HQ there in the next few years.

I had briefly traveled to the Cornhusker state for a weekend years ago, but one of my favorite friend couples lives there, so I visited Nebraska’s most populous city again to hang out with their family.  It’s a very family friendly place, and you can see why it’s becoming more and more popular amongst young couples.  The pace of life is decent, there’s a lot of industry and tech moving into the area, and proud Nebraskans are opening up cool restaurants and shops all over the city.

Omaha, Omaha set hut!

Continue reading

know before you go: Nashville (BNA)


In honor of the CMA’s happening tonight, there is even more travel in and out of BNA than usual.  Nashville International Airport has got to be one of the most rapidly growing airports in the world.  It is packed every time I come here, and they’re adding routes one after the other.  They will surely have to undertake a large scale addition, which is in the works for the next few years–especially since British Airways is adding flights to London in 2018 via Dreamliner.

It’s about 10 miles from Downtown and traffic usually isn’t too bad.  As it is right now, there’s one main terminal with 47 gates split amongst four concourses (although the fourth is inactive). A is United and Air Canada, B is Alaska, Frontier, JetBlue, Delta and WestJet.  C is Southwest and American.

This is a pretty fun airport in terms of layovers.  There’s not the best food, but there’s live music/entertainment, which makes the time fly, as it were.  There’s an actual branch of Tootsie’s, the famous Honky Tonk from Lower Broad.  There’s large, clean bathrooms, and it’s pretty easy to navigate.

Security can be heavy at times, and a little slow, so plan accordingly.  There’s also always a high chance you’ll see someone famous walking through the crowd, so keep your eyes peeled (flights to NY and LA are most fruitful).

Remember: ✈️ =  achy, breaky, heart to ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ = like it, love it, want some more of it

Convenience to the city: ✈️✈️ (~20 minute drive)

Ease of navigating through terminals: ✈️✈️✈️  (it’s not very big, but can be a hike to the end of the terminal)

Convenience of check in/security lines: ✈️✈️ (sometimes it can take a very long time to get through this line)

Dining: ✈️✈️✈️  (Burger King, O’Charley’s, Starbucks, Familia, Tootsie’s, Whitt’s BBQ)

Bathrooms: ✈️✈️ (could have more, but they’re pretty big)

Charging stations/wifi: ✈️✈️ (free wifi available, decent amount of charging)

Amenities: ✈️✈️✈️ (live music that is better than most popular bands, minimal shops, pretty good people watching)

Rental car facility ✈️✈️✈️ (connected to the terminal, hours can be weird)


weekender in Carmel & Monterey


Arguably some of the most beautiful spots in California, the coastal towns of Monterey and Carmel-by-the-sea near Big Sur have long been upscale havens for the jet set.  It’s definitely high end, with its ocean view cottages, European ivy wrapped cafes and the famed Pebble Beach Golf Club.  Clint Eastwood is the former mayor of Carmel for pete’s sake!  With its million dollar (baby) homes overlooking the picturesque Central Californian coast, you can see why this area is the background for many novels (notably those of native son John Steinbeck), movies and television shows, most recently Big Little Lies.

It does seem like a place to where a person with secrets would escape (just picture yourself out on a balcony, wrapped in a cashmere shawl, wind whipping through your hair, gazing wistfully over the turbulent surf–channel your inner Nicole Kidman for this).  You can see it, can’t you?


you CAN see it (photo credit: hbo)

I made my escape there for a weekend wedding, making a mini-road trip of it, Joad family style.  It is definitely doable in a weekend, but obviously the more time, the better to experience the serenity and calm of this seaside retreat.

Continue reading