Kizuna Box from Japan

Monthly Subscription Box from Japan: Kizuna Box

Kizuna Box from Japan

Being a traveler fascinated by Japanese art and culture I wanted to try out the subscription service called Kizuna Box from Japan. Each month they send your choice of a Lifestyle or Snack Box, everything 100% made in Japan. The coolest aspect is that each box is created around a cultural or seasonal theme. I think that's a fun idea to share in another culture without leaving your home. My friends at the travel website Read More

Veseckys Bakery Chicago

Authentic Old-Time Chicago: Vesecky’s Bakery

Veseckys Bakery Chicago

With my extended family hailing from the Chicago suburbs, I've come to appreciate one of the most thoughtful gifts you can send someone whom is from Chicago: edible treats from Vesecky's Bakery. If you're from Chicago and Vesecky's was not an institution in your family, it probably should have been and consider that hereby rectified. Vesecky's is a small, 100-years-old authentic Czech bakery in the Chicago suburb of Berwyn, Read More

Paris hotel Las Vegas

Secrets of the Paris Hotel Las Vegas

Paris hotel Las Vegas

From discounted rooms and show tickets, to the best views and best places to eat, please enjoy these lesser known tips to maximize your visit at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas. Get the Best Paris Hotel Rates Current promotions are offering $59/night but if you ever find a cheaper rate than what you find at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel website they will match it and throw in an extra 10% off. If you are staying for more than one Read More

Rutherford Hill Winery Picnic

Best Picnic in Napa

Rutherford Hill Winery Picnic

One of the best ways to soak up the scenery in Napa Valley is to have a picnic, and the best advice I can give you is to stock up at Oakville Grocery and head to one of the wineries mentioned below for some fantastic wine. Oops, did I say wine?  Lunch, I meant lunch. Oakville Grocery originally opened in 1881 and is the oldest continually operating grocery store in California. I always find fantastic new things to try, and Read More

traveler gifts_spices of the world

Spices of the World

traveler gifts_spices of the world

As we visit other cultures on our travels we become inspired by the intense flavors and unique traditions. Even those of us who have zero experience in the kitchen sometimes find ourselves feeling bold enough to attempt a Moroccan or Indian recipe. In a way, the flavors bring back memories of our travels and celebrate those cultures. It's always fun, but not necessarily easy to find the spices you need—and when you do find Read More

fresh berry farm on the California coast

Fresh Berry Farm on a West Coast Road Trip

fresh berry farm on the California coast

One of the great treats of a west coast road trip is the fantastic fruit stands. This one is my favorite and I can't wait to go back—that probably sounds crazy, but so be it. Their berries have such intense flavor and their shop is a welcoming break from the long drive. Located twenty miles south of Santa Cruz on the California coastal Highway 1 is the fully organic Swanton Berry Farm. They also have a second location just ten Read More

crystal_cove_binocuars

Crystal Cove, Newport Coast California

crystal_cove_binocuars

The coastal California getaway known as Crystal Cove is about as hidden as it gets; driving along the Pacific Coast Highway you would never know what awaits below unless you've been there. Each year, over 25,000 visitors stay here in California's last surviving historic beach community which flourished from 1935 to 1955. It is an excellent spot for families exploring the tide pools, cocktails with friends, passing through on a Read More

tea time in Paris_roses and pastry at Carette

Ten Excellent Paris Tea Rooms

tea time in Paris_roses and pastry at Carette

Tea. Pastries. Paris. Here is my collection of the best Paris tea rooms:   Mariage Freres Parisian tea room first opened in 1854, having been France's oldest tea importer dating back to 1660. It's hard to miss with their dozen tea emporiums in Paris, four of which have tea rooms and 500 varieties of tea. The original tea room in the Marais has a calm atmosphere and colonial decor, where experts will help you choose Read More

Rice fields in Ubud Bali

Flavors of Indonesia: Balinese Cooking Class in Ubud, Bali

Rice fields in Ubud Bali

A town located in central Bali, Ubud is popularly known as ‘The Center of Art of Culture’. It was described to me as a town made up of small villages, each of which specializes in a different creative art: silver and jewelry, basket weaving, oil painting, batik and textiles, and some seriously amazing wood carving. I am so glad I didn’t hesitate when deciding where to spend most of my time in Bali. In fact, I extended my stay Read More

Paris Grand Mosque mosaic fountain

Off the Beaten Path in Paris: The Grand Mosque

Paris Grand Mosque mosaic fountain

With Paris being today's most popular tourist destination in the world, you wouldn't think there are any 'hidden' gems to speak of. I however, may have found one courtesy of my culture-loving Parisian friends whom I visited recently. Do you know of Le Jardin des Plantes, the 69-acre botanical garden in the 5th arrondissement? Across the street from that garden is a little oasis where we spent an afternoon sipping mint tea and Read More

Mt Fuji at sunset

Beautiful Trip to Mt Fuji and Hot Springs

Mt Fuji at sunset

An unforgettable getaway from Tokyo that offers stunning views of Mount Fuji, this destination is an exceptional one. The town is Hakone (haw-cone-ay) and its centuries-old hot springs (onsen) are located in the volcanically active Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. Onsen are very popular across Japan and are a longtime fixture in Japanese culture. The number of Hakone visitors continues to grow while the number of visitors to Read More

Mt Fuji special kit kat

Unusual Souvenirs Only at Mt Fuji

Mt Fuji special kit kat

If you are planning to visit Tokyo, I highly recommend a short getaway to see the majestic Mt Fuji. It is the single-most popular tourism site in all of Japan and has been inspiring people since at least the 7th century. If aerial views of Fuji from one of the world's most breathtaking cable car rides isn't enough to convince you, these Fuji-only souvenirs might reel you in. Most of these can only be found in the shops near Mt Read More

kyoto-soba-noodles-owariya-storefront

Noodles at the Oldest Restaurant in Kyoto

kyoto-soba-noodles-owariya-storefront

I was incredibly lucky to enjoy a meal at the family owned and operated restaurant 'Honke Owariya' as a guest of one of the owners. This restaurant, which specializes in traditional soba (buckwheat) noodles, has existed in Kyoto since the year 1465! Over the centuries, Owariya has served emperors and shoguns as well as the monks of many Kyoto temples. To this day, the royal family eats here when they come to Kyoto. (The Read More

treasure_island_path_laguna_montage

Favorite Gems in Laguna Beach

treasure_island_path_laguna_montage

As a California native I have always been drawn to the coast. When I first started driving in Los Angeles, I was constantly getting lost and always ending up at the beach. Between Los Angeles and San Diego we have some epic coastal scenery; it's easy to stay on the freeway and miss some of the best places! Next time you're passing through or even doing a west coast road trip, check out these coastal gems. I promise you won't Read More

Amandine-Cafe

Los Angeles Foodie Favorites – I’ll Have The Usual

Amandine-Cafe

While Los Angeles is a major hub for food lovers and new restaurants regularly open all over the city, I stand by my long-term favorites. These are the places where I always order the same mouth-watering dishes when I visit. I day dream about them.... You know exactly what I'm talking about.  Tell me in the comment section below what your favorite restaurants and dishes are. I would love to try them and expand my list Read More

manhattan beach walking street ocean view

Taste Manhattan Beach – Award Winning Breakfast

manhattan beach walking street ocean view

I adore Manhattan Beach. One of my other loves is breakfast / brunch. Seriously, what's not to love about sunshine and a brilliant spread of waffles, veggie omelets, blueberry or banana pancakes and fresh fruit? Where am I going with this? Saturday morning breakfast in Manhattan Beach at Uncle Bill's Pancake House. Sit on the patio of this house built in 1908, soak up the ocean-air, sipping your OJ and have one of Read More

unusual flavors at the ice cream shop

500 Flavors of Ice Cream, Gelato and Sorbet in Vancouver

unusual flavors at the ice cream shop

My time in Vancouver, BC recently led me to one of my favorite things: a massive ice cream shop! It's called La Casa Gelato and they experiment with flavors like you've never seen. They've been in business here for 32 years. With a whopping 518 flavors of ice cream, gelato, frozen yogurt and sorbet, they are serving 218 flavors at any given time. By all means, sample away! (And I did!) Some of the most unusual ice cream Read More

taco plates at la taqueria vancouver

Best Mexican Tacos in Vancouver

taco plates at la taqueria vancouver

To say I love tacos is a huge understatement. I have been on the hunt for the best mexican taco shop I can find in Vancouver, and I think I found it at La Taqueria Pinche Taco Shop. The word is already out, locals and visitors continue to line up for their taco fix. I'll most definitely be back.... soon. Here is what you need to know: 1. Their produce and meats are all fresh and organic.   2. Their taco menu is a mix of Read More

Julian Famous Apple Pie Local Fruits Best in Town San Diego Travel Destination

World Famous Apple Pie – Weekend in Julian, CA

Julian Famous Apple Pie Local Fruits Best in Town San Diego Travel Destination

  Julian is a little town in the mountains about an hour from San Diego, California. It is especially picturesque if you are lucky enough to get a bit of snow, pretty common in the winter season. Actually, Julian has become a very popular getaway destination, one reason being that they have four distinct seasons. Julian was a gold mining town in the 19th century. It's actually a registered California Historical Landmark. Read More

PoliteProvisions_04

Pre-Prohibition Cocktails with a West Coast Twist

PoliteProvisions_04

  I was recently drawn to a cocktail bar in San Diego, California called Polite Provisions, who call themselves 'Manufacturers of Local Tonics, Elixirs and Cures'. Alcohol certainly has a long history of therapeutic or medicinal function, to varying degrees. In the Middle Ages, drinking distilled spirits flavored with juniper berries was thought to protect people from the mysterious and deadly plagues and was widely Read More