I am excited to start the planning for a Christmas visit to New Orleans. Though we always like to stop at our tried and true favorites, I am always on the lookout for new places too. The city’s vibrant food and cocktail scene makes it very easy to have a fresh itinerary each trip, and still leave with a satisfied belly. This list from NOLA.com has some interesting leads that I hope to add to my list of new stops at some point. And by starting off with the fried chicken from Jacque Imo’s and also including the roasted cauliflower from Domenica, two of our absolutely favorite dishes, this list looks legit.
Sometimes hotel stays serve a purpose, like overnight accommodations by a convention center, or perhaps the goal is to house a large party as economically as possible, but there are times when you want to splurge. And sometimes you come across a travel lodging experience that exceeds every expectation and is worth every dime. Hotel Drisco in San Francisco is the perfect example of an above and beyond stay in my opinion. Though titled a hotel, it feels like a bed and breakfast with the luxury service of a five-star resort.
Built in 1903, the hotel has preserved all the original architectural charm while integrating in modern necessities and adorable details. Upon arrival, we were greeted with warm hand towels [...] Continue Reading…
I was so excited to bring along a new toy for our recent visit to San Francisco, CA. I got a new GoPro camera and this trip was my first time using it. Though I have room for improvement, I am overall very pleased with how my video from the Saturday Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Building came out. I like the idea of capturing the sights and sounds of a site to give a glimpse of what we are experiencing.
In general, we have been very happy with the vacation rental options in Galveston, TX for weekend getaways from Houston. However, I have had my eye on one hotel for some time, The Tremont House. Part of the Wyndham family of hotels, the reviews for this grand hotel are generally outstanding – and the price tag is double the nightly rate of our vacation rental favorites. Galveston offers lodging options with a focus on family and beach bum party accommodations throughout most of the city, but The Tremont House is an exceptional option for a romantic, luxury getaway for two.
Even before our first stay, we had visited some of their on-site entertainment and dining businesses, including jazz night at [...] Continue Reading…
I have been lost in thoughts of future travel again and wanderlust has me planning a trip that I have not even booked yet. Visions of cool summer temperatures, water adventures, and delicious seafood have me daydreaming about a visit away from the Houston heat and into the North, specifically Cape Cod. Honestly I have not even booked this trip, but as I am already deep into research and always seeking suggestions, I thought that I would share some of my Pinterest map plans.
With July 4th approaching there will be many who will partake in the lobster roll, maritime charm and ample beach loving destination. So here are some of the top to-dos that I have been researching for [...] Continue Reading…
While cruise connoisseurs adore them, a cruise vacation is not the right fit for every person. And with a recent outbreak of bad PR, lately it seems that cruise ships have been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. That won’t help anyone who is on the fence about the prospect. Cruise vacations certainly have some very valid pros (read my article here), but people have different travel styles and the cruise industry reputation has some blemishes that might be a turn-off too.
Here are the reasons why a cruise might not be right for you:
From the crowded elevators to the compact showers, there is a feeling of confinement that can leave you running to the upper decks or [...] Continue Reading…
The subject of cruise vacations is polarizing. Generally people tend to be pro-cruise or anti-cruise and, until recently, I had no opinion as I had never been on a cruise. Even now, my only experience is a one-night promotional cruise (Read about Navigator of the Seas here), though it did give me a taste for the experience. There are definitely benefits to a cruise vacation, and I hope that I get another opportunity for a normal cruise vacation that includes a destination. I want to better understand and appreciate the cruise craze.
So from my first cruise experience and from talking with cruise fans, I have come up with a few reasons why cruising might be right for you:
Royal Caribbean invited my husband and me to be guests on board their remodeled Navigator of the Seas ship. The 3,114 guest ship is based out of the Texas port city of Galveston with Caribbean itineraries leaving year-round. From what I understand, this is currently the largest and most advanced ship yet based on the island. Dave and I could not have been more excited to explore it and to have our first cruise!
Being a promotional one-night cruise, our experience was rather unique. With it being our first cruise experience, I learned a lot. As there is so much to share, I plan to have more than one article. For this article, I will stick to the facts and [...] Continue Reading…
My brother recently visited Austin, TX on his own for the first time. Knowing that Dave and I lived in Austin for 6 years, and that we visit on a regular basis, he asked me what my top picks would be for 36 hours in Austin.
While the city has grown and changed a lot over the years, I have some core suggestions that I believe have stood the test of time. That said, the city grows at a pace that is difficult to keep up with – there are always new hot spots emerging or unexpected business closings due property takeovers. And I am sure that other locals and visitors would have many others to add to this list [...] Continue Reading…
I have had some minor health issues lately, and the doctor has prescribed a bland diet and alcohol reduction. Bah-humbug! With an upcoming visit to New Orleans planned, I was so bummed – because how could I properly enjoy the Big Easy on a non-spicy, non-fried diet without a cocktail?
We decided that it would be too challenging for me to stick to my diet prescription and so we changed our plans. But it got me thinking about all the naughty food and drink that I would miss.
If I had no dietary concerns then here are the very naughty, but very yummy food and drink stops on my fantasy food and drink weekend in New Orleans:
Recently I have seen a surge in pro-Houston press thanks to a conscious and determined effort by city leaders to make improvements to the quality of life in Houston, but the overall reputation of the city remains generally unpopular and under-appreciated. As a resident of the city, I am lucky to experience the city’s overlooked but exceptional qualities, including the culture of art and the amazing international cuisine. At the same time, I recognize that it is a sprawling city that requires a car (though bike culture is improving), can be a concrete jungle in areas (though parks are also increasing as well), and that economic expansion generally rules development over conservation.
While I love a fine wine and an indulgent meal on my vacation, on the other end of my travel spectrum, I really love new yoga experiences in fresh destinations as well. Some of my favorite yoga experiences have been on vacation.
We loved the Hix Island House yoga in Vieques, Puerto Rico.
We visit Yoga Haven in Galveston any time we make the short trip.
Reyn Yoga Studio in New Orleans is not only gorgeous but it is a challenging workout to balance the decadence of the city.
And while I have not yet written about our Santa Barbara experience, we loved Yoga Soup there as well.
So this article with “super-pretty” yoga studios in the Los Angeles/Bay area is one that I [...] Continue Reading…
Like its sister cities of Hermosa and Manhattan, the main draw of Redondo Beach is the beach that connects these three cities. A paved path, called The Strand runs from Torrance through South Redondo, north to Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, and eventually to Santa Monica.
This past December, I was looking for a unique accommodation that was fairly close to LAX for a one-night stay before we departed for Houston to return after the holiday break. With a little research and a Priceline deal, I decided on the Portofino Hotel & Marina in this area.
After enjoying Hermosa Beach a few days before, I was especially excited to rest and recuperate from a whirlwind California coast trip and the Portofino Hotel [...] Continue Reading…
I love New York City, but the pace, the people and the tourists can totally overwhelm my senses. So I really enjoy finding spots where I can refill my peace tank. That can be difficult to achieve, especially as I usually have multiple roommates in a tiny hotel room. Be it for work or pleasure, I never seem to have space. I would imagine that is a common feeling in the city for residents and visitors.
So, the discovery of The Cloisters was absolutely refreshing. And, yes, it is far. But I think it is worth it to find the time and make a visit the priority, especially if the weather is in your favor. Grab a book and make [...] Continue Reading…
I really can not complain about the weather compared to the rest of the country who are experiencing snowstorms and even thunder snow this winter. I am in Houston, Texas where it has been colder but in reality, it is manageable and we have had some really lovely days mixed in as well. I have even had a hard time getting the dogs to come inside because they want to bask in the sun.
But I still can have a little wanderlust and Saint Lucia has been on my radar for a very, very long time. We even considered going there for our honeymoon (opted for Zihuatenejo instead), but it is an expensive trip. I am sure it might be [...] Continue Reading…
This week, I have seen my Pinterest go viral. Not just any board though- the New Orleans board that I created for our Thanksgiving visit to the city (check it out here). It is funny how stuff catches on and then becomes a snowball. That board has gone from a few hundred followers to approximately 2,500 in a matter of days.
I have to say that I do LOVE the new Pinterest mapping feature and I am looking forward to using it again on our next visit to New Orleans, which I hope will be very soon. Despite several fabulous visits, there are still so many places to go, see and eat!
If you are planning to attend a conference at the Austin Convention Center, or looking for a Central Austin hotel in general, then most likely the Hilton Austin will be on your list of prospects. And if you plan to explore 6th Street or the newer Rainey Street, then Hilton Austin should definitely be on your list even if you are not on a business trip.
On our recent visit, it was clear from the moment we entered the lobby that there was a conference underway with a large gathering of people who were already enjoying the alcohol delights in costumes. Honestly, I had a moment of concern that we had booked a party hotel. But once we got to [...] Continue Reading…
It is the time of year when we need to start to think about our anniversary trip, and while I am not sure that we will be able to afford another island visit this year, I have thought back on our good times in Vieques, Puerto Rico.
If you look under “Locations” on my website then you can search for all the articles that I have already written. I know that there is not as much information about this undiscovered place and I leaned heavily on blogs when we visited, so please do take a look around and learn more about Vieques.
As I have mentioned before, we loved yoga at Hix Island House and hope to someday return for an [...] Continue Reading…
This review has taken me longer to write than I anticipated because I broke my right wrist over Christmas vacation, and Mrs. “Lefty” isn’t so nimble on the keyboard. To be honest, I have been antsy to get this article written. I have wanted to share my love of the Beach House Hermosa Beach for weeks!
Situated right on the Strand in Hermosa Beach, the Beach House offers ocean views and beautiful rooms that you won’t want to leave. We were lucky to have one of the most sought-after rooms, a beach-front top floor room. As with all prime locations, these rooms cost more, but I would highly recommend based on our experience. However, when booking it is important to [...] Continue Reading…