San Diego Vacation

July 6, 2009

Got your summer vacation planned? Anyone still trying to decide on a great place to visit that’s jam-packed with things to do? If that’s the case, you might want to consider visiting beautiful San Diego, California. Whether you’re traveling alone or with children, there is absolutely, without a doubt, something in San Diego for all ages.

Here’s a list of just some of the main attractions that you’ll find here in San Diego.

If you’re lucky enough to have time for some fun day trips, here are a just a few ideas.

Lastly, for specific dates on events or for more information about San Diego, check out the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau site. Whether you’ve got a week or just a long weekend, you really can’t go wrong in choosing  San Diego as your vacation destination.

We’ve lived here for seven years and still haven’t managed to see or do everything on this list! :-)

~LilSis

Top 5 Airplane Travel Snacks

July 1, 2009

I like to always carry plane snacks with me so that I’m not tempted to gobble up the free honey-roasted peanuts that I don’t like that much anyway, or buy one of those uber-expensive snack packs that are full of fat, sodium and sugar.  This is my criteria for travel snacks:

  • They aren’t too messy.
  • They don’t spoil if they’re in your carry-on bag for a while.
  • They don’t have too much sodium.  I get puffy enough already from flying!
  • They keep you going until you get your next proper meal.

These are my top 5 picks for best airplane travel snacks:

  • Raw unsalted walnuts or almonds: they give you protein which keeps you satisfied longer.  Chips or crackers just make you crave more chips or crackers!
  • Trail mix: make your own with raw nuts and your favorite dried fruit.  I like blueberries, cranberries and cherries with raw nuts and sunflower seeds.  Scoop 1/3 cup of your mix into a snack size plastic baggie.  Be sure to measure, otherwise it’s really easy to eat way too many calories from this snack.
  • Low fat string cheese: great protein, plus satisfaction from the flavor and the bit of fat you get.
  • Half a whole grain bagel: either plain or spread with a little nut butter.  I like almond butter but you can use peanut butter.  The whole grains will give you steady energy and fill you up without cravings.
  • Dark Chocolate Peanut M&Ms: I know these have sugar, and caffeine and fat!  I know, I know!  But just a few are a delicious treat and a great pick-me-up at 33,000 feet!  Plus they melt in your mouth and not in your hands!  And they come in fun colors!

Whatever your snacking preference, make sure to pack a few individually-packaged antibacterial wipes in your bag so you can clean up your hands and fold down tray before having your snack.  Who knows what kind of germs are lurking on your plane, right?

~BigSis

Make me jealous with your summer vacation plans!

June 29, 2009

Happy Monday, all!  I hope you had a good weekend.  I was in a WordPress blogging conference all weekend, and oddly enough, my feline roommates didn’t get one bit of housework done while I was gone!  Not one load of laundry was done, the dishwasher still needs to be unloaded and reloaded, the bills aren’t paid, and there are hordes of dust bunnies scurrying around the wood floors.  WTF did they do all weekend?  Sleep?  Lazy buggers.

So, I spent the last two days soaking up knowledge from folks who are lots smarter than me, and very kind and generous to spend their weekend sharing what they know.  LilSis was in Chicago with the family while I was hibernating indoors with brilliant minds, and now next weekend is already July 4th.  I’m wondering…what did you do this weekend?  Do you have big plans for the summer?  Has the economy changed your plans?

I don’t have my dream trips planned for Italy or Hawaii, although I wish I did, so I’d love to live vicariously through you.  Please share your fabulous plans with me!  I know (or I think I know) that all the regular school years have ended, so your summer must be getting into full swing.

Envy by Bright_Star on Flickr

Envy by Bright_Star on Flickr

BigSis wants to know!  What are you up to this summer?  Turn me green with envy!

~BigSis

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Enter Olive Garden’s Italian Sweepstakes

March 25, 2009

LilSis and I have talked about our dream trip to Italy; the only delay is the lack of funds to make this dream come true!  Well, here is a potential solution to that little problem.  I had Food Network on Saturday while I was doing weekend cleaning, and in a commercial break during  Barefoot Contessa I saw an ad for a sweepstakes to win a trip to Italy, courtesy of Olive Garden!   I just entered and wanted to share the details with you so you can enter too!

Olive Garden Italian Sweepstakes

Olive Garden Italian Sweepstakes

  • 4 grand prizes will be awarded, with a value of $7000 each
  • Winners get to take a guest, and spend 8 days in Rome, Florence and Tuscany on a guided tour
  • The contest is open to residents of the US and Canada who are at least 21 years old
  • You can enter once a day until April 12th
  • Check out the official rules, and enter Olive Garden’s Sweepstakes to win a trip to Italy.  You can’t win if you don’t enter!
~BigSis

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Get a Jump on Summer Vacation Plans

March 8, 2009

Did we have spring break when we were kids?  Waaayyy back when we were kids?  I don’t remember ever having a spring break; only 2 weeks at Christmas and a full 3 months of summer.  Maybe we did have spring break, and I just forgot.  Perhaps my memory lapse has something to do with all those brain cells I murdered unceremoniously in the 80s.  Surely not.

At any rate, it seems like spring break season is in full swing in school districts around the country, and spring makes me think of summer which makes me think of vacation.  I’ve heard on the news for a while that more people are doing the “staycation” thing, where they stay close to home and enjoy local attractions to save money in this treacherous economy.

But if you’re going to take a real vacation, let me share this cool site I just heard about from my friend SA.  It’s vrbo.com, which stands for Vacation Rentals by Owner.  Instead of paying exhorbitant hotel rates, this site allows you to search all over the world for condos, homes, apartments, villas, etc., that are offered for rent by the owners.  I’m not planning a vacation, but I had a ton of fun browsing all of the homes available for rent.  Someday (soon!) LilSis and I will take our dream trip to Greece and Italy, and this will be a great resource!  Here are a few of the homes I found for rent:

  • A luxury vacation log home in Wasilla, Alaska.  Yep, the same Wasilla where Sarah Palin served as Mayor before she went on to become the Governor of the state.  For $1300-$1800 per week, you get 3 bedrooms, 3-1/2 baths, a cook’s kitchen, wi-fi and cable in a woodsy setting.
  • A condo on a private island on Lake Travis in the Hill Country of Texas.  $109-$159 per night gets you 1 bedroom, 1 bath, a 42″ flat screen TV, views of the lake and marina, and access to tennis courts, fitness facilities, and hot tubs.
  • A chalet on the peak of Mt. Kanimbla in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Australia.  Talk about an escape!  For $365 Australian dollars per night (about $234 US), you get a one bath studio with a private hot tub, fireplace, and a kitchen stocked with food staples!  And you’re surrounded by the native wildlife including kangaroos, wallabies and eagles.

    Australia Chalet

    Australia Chalet

  • A villa in the village of Kefalas on the Greek island of Crete.  Check out the 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, private pool and equipped kitchen, all for 60 to 200 Euros per night (about $76 to $253 US).
  • A penthouse apartment with a view of the Coliseum in Rome, Italy.  This penthouse has 2 bedrooms and 2 baths on 2 levels, with a year-round terrace on the upper level.  It’ll run you 180 Euros per night ($228 US).

    View from Rome Penthouse

    View from Rome Penthouse

  • A villa in Tramonte in the Lucca area of Tuscany, Italy.  How about a 1600s antique villa with 4 floors, 5 bedrooms, 6 baths, a private pool, and an onsite caretaker?  The property features an antique olive oil mill, fruit trees, olives, vines, forests, and horses.   The rates start at 2380 Euros per week and go to 4760 Euros per week, depending on the season (about $3013 US to $6025 US per week).
    Tuscan Villa

    Tuscan Villa

    I’m ready to pack a suitcase, how about you?  Once you get your rental reservations made, don’t forget to check out the airfare deals available now!

~BigSis

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Happy Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2009

Psyché et l’Amour (Cupid and Psyche). Painted 1798, Oil on canvas, exhibited at the 1798 Salon.

Psyché et l’Amour (Cupid and Psyche). Painted 1798, Oil on canvas, exhibited at the 1798 Salon.

When you think of Valentine’s Day, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Flowers, chocolates, and Valentine’s cards? Probably. I think Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays that most of us don’t even think about how it actually originated.

The holiday is named after two among the numerous Early Christian Martyrs named Valentine. The Roman Martyrology, however, only mentions one Saint Valentine and he was buried north of Rome on February 14th. If you’re interested, here’s more about Saint Valentine.

Modern Valentine symbols include hearts, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. In Roman Mythology, Cupid is known as the God of erotic love and beauty. For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved Cupids. I’ve had a print of this painting in my bedroom for many years.

Cupid and Psyche as Children (L'Amour et Psyche, enfants) William Adolphe Bouguereau

Cupid and Psyche as Children (L'Amour et Psyche, enfants) William Adolphe Bouguereau

I’ve always admired the work of Michelangelo and have always had a fascination with Rome. This painting is one of my favorites. I have a huge print of The Creation of Adam hanging in my foyer.

Michelangelo. The Creation of Adam. 1508 - 1512. Fresco. The Sistine Chapel.

Michelangelo. The Creation of Adam. 1508 - 1512. Fresco. The Sistine Chapel.

I’ve been wanting to go to Rome for many years, mainly to see the Sistine Chapel. I just have to see this in person!

Sistine Chapel (Flikr photo by vgm8383)

Sistine Chapel (Flikr photo by vgm8383)

I hope everyone has a Happy Valentine’s Day. I’m not thinking about boxes of chocolates or a dozen roses this Valentines Day; I’ve got visions of cupids dancing in my head. I’m dreaming of the day BigSis and I are able to take our dream vacation to Italy.

~LilSis

Big Vegas Birthday

November 26, 2008

The day started off running across the street in the freezing cold rain to the Tropicana to play BigSis’ new favorite game!

Meow for Moolah!

Meowing for Moolah!

Meow meow meow!

Here’s LilSis’ favorite game! She hunts this one down in every casino she visits.

Congratulations Podnah! We're drilling for OIL!

Congratulations Podnah! We're drilling for Oil!

Who knew we would run into Luciano Pavarotti at the Venetian with a birthday greeting for BigSis!

An unexpected birthday greeting from Pavarotti!

An unexpected birthday greeting from Pavarotti!

After our meeting with one of the great tenors, we had a fabulous lunch on the canal at Taqueria Canonita.

Lunch at Taqueria Canonita

Lunch at Taqueria Canonita

Now at 9 pm, we’re back at our hotel and freshening up to go on to birthday celebration phase 2!  We’re off to the Wynn to have a birthday cocktail at Tryst, and then maybe whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!

~BigSis

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Vegas, Baby

November 25, 2008

Vegas, here I come! It’s early Tuesday morning and I’m heading to Vegas to meet BigSis and SisMama!  The minute I get on that plane, I’m leaving my worries behind! These next two days are going to be dedicated to celebrating BigSis’ birthday and having a little bit of fun!

~LilSis

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Magical Maui

October 3, 2008

Aloha! Oh how I wish I had a magic genie right now! I would close my eyes, make a wish and hope to open my eyes and find myself in Maui. In my wish, it would be 5:00 a.m. and we would be starting the day out on our balcony watching the whales play. From there, we would go for a wonderful brunch, then to the beach for the day, then walk to Hula Grill for dinner and music, watch the sunset, and finally, walk back to our room for a good night’s sleep.  A girl can dream, right?

BigSis posted some awesome photos from our previous vacations! I know we’ll be talking more about Maui in the near future. We both love it so much. I would love to talk about some of our favorite local eating places and my favorite local artists.

I don’t know what it is about Maui that is so magical, but it is a place like none other. It’s almost as if once you get off the plane there; something says to you “It’s time to slow down, enjoy life; enjoy who you’re with, and enjoy the stunning scenery.” SirHoney and I talk about retiring there someday. Who knows, some dreams do come true. Unfortunately, it’s time for me to get back to reality.

~LilSis

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Friday Favorites: Maui

October 3, 2008

We’ve been to Maui together twice now, and it’s without a doubt our favorite vacation destination!  We love it!  We could talk about what we adore about Maui for days, but for now we’ll give you a list of our 10 favorite things about Maui, plus one to grow on!

1. Hula Grill on Ka’anapali Beach

2. Life-size checkers games, with coconuts for the game pieces, at Kaanapali Beach Hotel

3. Black Beach

4. Lava fields

5. Sunsets

6. Walks along the golden sands

7. Golf courses

8. Red Beach

9. Local charm

10. Pa’ia

11. Spectacular ocean views

~BigSis

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