3 days in Napa Valley: Memorial Day Bottlerockin’ edition

My favorite weekend of the year to visit Napa Valley is Memorial Day.  Why you ask?  Well, it’s the annual Bottlerock music festival weekend.  Alas, this year is the first year I am not attending of the past few years, as I’ve moved away from Northern California.  That means I’ll be missing out on the Killers, Bruno Mars and tomorrow’s headliner, Muse (all of whom I’ve seen before, but still).  This is the most civilized of all the festivals, with culinary stages and wineries to boot.

While you’re enjoying the festivities, don’t forget to head out from the festival grounds and explore the valley, one of the best weekender locations in the country!

Wine or wine not?

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3 days in Reykjavik

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Iceland is super trendy.  In the past decade, there’s been a >300% increase in the amount of visitors to Iceland — it’s almost to the point where you barely see any locals.  Because I have the worst FOMO ever, I needed to go here before tourists overrun everything and American chains start moving in.  Everyone in my family had already gone (which is not a reason to travel, but again, FOMO), so off I headed to Reykjavik for an Icelandic adventure.

all is full of love…

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Japan part Ni: kyoto, nara, osaka

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In honor of Sakura, the internationally renowned spring cherry blossom season, we continue our journey through Japan.  Next destination: Kyoto.  One of the most magical cities in Japan, it feels like you’re a character in a novel from eons ago when you’re here.  Literally, if this city does not make you feel like you’re in Memoirs of a Geisha or Shogun, then Sayonara, Felicia.

Kyoto has a dark magic feel to it, the city of geishas.  You just know there’s secrets hidden in the dark, wooded architecture.

If these rice paper walls could talk…

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3 days in Portland

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Portland is one of the great food cities in the country.  Add the lush backdrop of Mt. Hood and the proximity to natural beauties such as Columbia River Gorge, and you have a perfect destination to spend a few days.

There are so many distinct personalities of the city, as depicted on Portlandia.  While maybe a slight exaggeration, it certainly is an amalgam of cultures and types of people. So come with an open mind and an open stomach, grab a pair of Portland based Nikes and…

Just do it.

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3 days in Sedona feat. Grand and Antelope Canyons

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Sedona, Arizona is one of those rare, special places that has be experienced first hand to understand what people are talking about when they describe its magic.  Famous for being a “vortex,” an area where energy is entering or exiting the earth, Sedona draws millions of visitors from all over seeking its intrinsic benefits along with being a kickass vacation destination.  These energy flows are said to enhance wellness, mindfulness, and spirituality.  Those who have experienced it often feel recharged, refreshed and awakened.   And even if you don’t feel anything specific, the breathtaking views of Sedona’s natural beauty are definitely inspiring enough.

I’ve always liked heading to the desert.  There is a quiet peacefulness about it that is very calming to me.  Not a ton of chirping birds or rustling leaves, it’s very still.  I love that about Arizona.  And I especially like visiting in the winter offseason when crowds are less and it’s not a billion degrees (highly recommend).

the red sandstone it fell, right smack on top, Sedona…

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3 days in Vancouver

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I’ve been fortunate to travel to Vancouver, BC multiples times in my life for work; it’s one of my favorite destinations because of it’s ease and modern sensibilities.  And the food!

Sitting on the water, it’s an ideal metropolis that offers everything you could want. Spending a few days here will give you a great sampling of all this city has to offer, and it’ll make you want to come back again and again.  And you totally should…

They’re not canuckin’ around here.

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3 days in Napa Valley

So I have to confess something here.  I’m not much of a drinker.  I know, I know.  Is it too late now to say sorry?  Just kidding, I’m not sorry.   You’re wondering: how could a light imbiber possibly have anything to say about the most famous wine producing region in the US?

Turns out, there’s a ton of things to do here that don’t necessarily involve spirits, and don’t worry, I will feature some absolutely fantastic wineries on our journey through the beautiful Northern California countryside.  There’s just one question you have to ask yourself:

Wine or wine not?

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lovers in japan: tokyo and mt fuji

Japan is a special place.  Its culture is unique and traditions well preserved.  Tokyo is probably the most interesting city in the world, as it is a city of contradictions.  There’s an avant garde, boldness to it, but yet there’s also a timid sensibility, too.  It’s both modern and ancient, debaucherous and pious.  The food, the facilities, everything is deliberated over and planned out, but there’s spontaneity around every corner.  It’s edgy, real and fearless.  Yet, for a city of its size, it’s unimaginably safe and tidy.

Japanese citizens have a sense of responsibility in keeping their homeland organized and neat, and proudly show off their incredible technology and forward thinking nature.  I love everything about it.  There’s so much to see and do in Japan, and often times not enough money.

turning japanese

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3 days in Tucson

IMG_7488.jpgA few years ago, for her birthday, I promised my sister that I would treat her to one of her bucket list destinations, Miraval Spa near Tucson, Arizona (it was one of mine, too).  It took a few years before I became financially solvent enough, but we finally made it.

Started from the bottom, now we’re here.

So, we packed our bags for the vast, arid landscape of the Sonoran desert to enjoy some pampering, national park sights and southwestern culture.  Listen to the Blink 182 song, that you’ll beat to death in Tucson, okay?

In the desert, you can remember your name…

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