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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36 hours in Vail

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Vail is my favorite winter destination, perfect for the long Martin Luther King, Jr weekend.  Mostly because of the apres ski, as an old injury sidelined me from snowboarding and winter sports a long time ago. There’s so much to eat and do here that even if you’re not partaking in the exquisite powder of the back bowls, you can fill your days and nights enjoying all the sights along the cobblestoned, European chalet lined streets.

Pierce the Vail…

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3 days in Sacramento

 

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Sacramento may seem like a random place to visit, but thanks to Greta Gerwig’s stunning (read: STUNNING) ode to cinema and her hometown, Lady Bird, California’s capital city is taking its turn to bask in its own deserved spotlight.

I think the best way to describe this city is that when you’re here, you feel like you’re in a vintage Instagram filter, a bygone era of Americana with modern splashes.  It is simply an easy place to be.  There’s that old school charm, from the architectural gems of the Fabulous Forties to the neighborhoods dotted with old neon signage (featured prominently in the movie and as you know if you’ve read this blog, are one of my favorite things) and the proximity of farms and citrus tree groves.

Beyond the capital, it is one of the top destinations for locavore cuisine, earning it the nickname of “America’s farm to fork capital.” For a city of its size, there’s every type of food you could imagine, and ingredients are so fresh due to its proximity to California’s central agriculture industry.  People forget California is one of the largest farming states in the country–next time you eat those strawberries and avocados, think of us.

Eureka, I’ve found it!

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3 days in Toronto feat. Niagara Falls

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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…

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weekend in la la land

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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).

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weekender in Omaha

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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!

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weekender in Carmel & Monterey

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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?

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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.

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how to leave your heart in SF

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San Francisco is one of the world’s great cities.  Sitting up high on the tip of a Northern California peninsula, it’s natural beauty and cooler climate is as unique as the citizens that inhabit it.  For being such a small area in terms of acreage, SF packs so many things to see and do in every square mile.  There’s no way you can see everything, or afford everything, as it is one of the most expensive places in the world.  But, there’s also many free or affordable things to do as well, which we’re all about.

One visit, one dozen visits are not enough to experience the entirety of “the city,” but this what I like to do on a weekend visiting the city by the Bay.

save me, san francisco

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