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Travel can be transformative — for both you and the world. Read my post on USA Today about unique voluntour trips that will change your life.

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Thursday, 28 April 2016

making an impact on a fathom cruise

Fathom Travel recycling

Thanks to Fathom for partnering with me on this sponsored post. All
opinions are, as always, 100% mine.

Fathom’s 704-passenger vessel, the Adonia returned from its inaugural voyage to the Dominican Republic last Sunday and, according to my friends who were on the trip, it was an amazing experience. I’ve been following along closely because I’m hoping to go in June.

Fathom is Carnival Corporation’s latest brand and what makes it so special is that it’s dedicated to social impact travel. Voluntourism is one of the fastest-growing trends right now, and it’s one in which I’m especially interested. In fact, I recently wrote a piece for USA Today’s 10Best about it and, of course, included Fathom. read full story »

Thursday, 21 April 2016

april is pixie tangerine month at the oaks at ojai!

Oaks at Ojai Pixie Tangerine Month

Not that you need another reason to visit the iconic Oaks at Ojai but April is Pixie Tangerine Month and that just sweetens the deal.

So, when I was invited to spend a couple of days at the spa, I booked myself a ticket on Amtrak and headed north. read full story »

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

wordless wednesday :)

Happy Wife, Happy Life by Lee Neary

Don’t you agree?!

(Note: I saw this carving by folk artist, Lee Neary, in Human Arts Gallery in Ojai and, of course, loved it. We have this piece by him. It makes me smile every time I look at it.)

empower women in china to #changedestiny

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

SK-II #ChangeDestiny parents

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are, as always, 100% mine.

Although you’d think we’d be past this by now, single women still seem to be stigmatized in most cultures. Even in the United States, women who aren’t married by a certain age are considered “spinsters.”

In China, that certain age is 25, and women who are single after that are referred to as “Sheng Nu,” which literally translates to “leftover woman.”

Imagine how devastating it would be to know you were looked upon by your culture, your friends, your family as a “leftover woman” who, despite holding an important job and being smart, funny, and loving, was simply dismissed as incomplete without a husband.

SK-II #ChangeDestiny crying

Last year, international prestige skincare brand, SK-II, launched #ChangeDestiny – an ongoing global campaign to inspire and empower women to shape their own destiny. read full story »

6 new book reviews!

Wednesday, 6 April 2016


I haven’t had a lot of time to read lately and, unfortunately, I wouldn’t recommend some of the books I actually took the time to finish. But there are a handful I think you should definitely read. This is a pretty eclectic selection, so there’s something for everyone.

Enjoy, and please let me know what you’re reading now. read full story »

“remember” movie review

Wednesday, 6 April 2016


Go see this movie.

I’m tempted to leave those four words as my whole review because I don’t want to spoil any of it for you and, really, that’s all you need to know going into it.

But, because I need to write at least 300 words for my review to count for my San Diego Film Critics Society membership, I will give you a quick synopsis. read full story »

three and a half hours at the apple store

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Apple devices

Because Michael has been having issues with his iPhone lately, we made a Genius Bar appointment at the Apple store yesterday. This was after having spent hours on the phone with a manager trying to resolve the problem — end result: “Sorry, I can’t do anything else for you” — and a Genius Bar appointment at a different store the day before — end result: “Yeah, I wish I could fix it.” And an “Oops, sorry I accidentally deleted that information you needed.”

Our appointment was for 4:40 and I didn’t even DVR The Voice because — really? It’s on at 8:00.

Yet, there we were at 8:15, three and a half hours after we were greeted by the first of three Geniuses, a term I use loosely, finally heading to the Food Court for pho — phok you, technology — hangry, frustrated and as wiped out as Michael’s phone which had to be restored to its original factory settings. read full story »

travel in style!

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Savvy Traveler

As you’ve noticed, I’ve discovered a lot of great travel gadgets — and more great travel gadgets — lately.

Today, I want to share some fantastic new finds to get you where you’re going in style and comfort. I have personally used all of them on recent trips — and I am kind of high maintenance when it comes to traveling :) read full story »

“miss india america” movie review

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Miss India America

Miss India America makes it clear that, just like all of Dostoevsky’s happy families, all beauty pageants are alike; each unhappy contestant is unhappy in her own way.

Lily Prasad (Tiya Sircar) is an overachiever who seems to excel at everything. She’s valedictorian of her high school graduating class, and is heading off to Harvard on her way to becoming a brain surgeon. Her bedroom is filled with trophies and certificates and, in her Trump-like speech, she says things like, “Winning is what drives this economy forward” and “If you’re not the best, you’re one of the rest.”

Yes, she’s a little full of herself. read full story »

“city of gold” movie review

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

City of Gold street

From the minute the opening quote — MFK Fisher’s “First we eat, then we do everything else” — appeared onscreen, I knew City of Gold would be my kind of movie.

This droolworthy documentary about LA Times food writer Jonathan Gold is a delight for the senses, filled with the sights, sounds and, most importantly, the tastes of Los Angeles.

Gold, the first food critic to win a Pulitzer Prize, revolutionized the field by going where no food critic had gone before: mini malls. And food trucks. And mom and pop holes in the wall. He firmly believed, “Extraordinary food can be found in the most ordinary places,” not just at the hoity toity, Michelin-starred restaurants that had been the previous haunts of food critics.  read full story »

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