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welcome to the hotel la jolla

Posted on March 31, 2013


Hotel La Jolla

Every time I travel, I struggle with choosing a hotel. Should I go with a place that’s unique to that city or stick with a brand I know I can trust?

Whenever possible, I look for a Kimpton because they’ve found the ideal way to combine both of those features. Bill Kimpton opened the first boutique hotel ever – San Francisco’s Clarion Bedford in 1981– and his company has been revolutionizing the business ever since.

So, when HerHighway.com invited me for a tour of the Hotel La Jolla, the newest Kimpton in San Diego, plus lunch in the hotel’s ocean-view Cusp restaurant and a spin in the 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish, I cleared my calendar. more »

my “a-hot-stone-massage!” moment

Posted on January 29, 2013

Spa weekend

You never know when you’ll experience what Oprah likes to call “a-ha!” moments — moments, as defined by Merriam-Webster, of “sudden realization, inspiration, insight, recognition, or comprehension” — but I’ve come to expect mine when I’m in the middle of a massage. This was brought home so clearly to me during my girls’ spa weekend that I’ve decided to more accurately call those times “a-hot-stone-massage!” moments.

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titanic: the belfast exhibit, the blu-ray movie release and an interview with gaelic storm

Posted on September 24, 2012

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, so Michael and I were eager to visit Titanic Belfast when we were in Ireland this summer.

The Belfast Exhibit

The Titanic was built in Northern Ireland, and it was fascinating to stand in the spot where the highly-touted ship launched its historic journey, and imagine the hopes and dreams of the passengers as they left the port. Many of those stories are shared in the actual exhibit, and they put real, human faces on the tragic event. more »

Tiger Women by Katy Yocom

Posted on July 14, 2012

It’s a frigid January day, and I’m sitting in an open jeep on a tiger reserve in India. This is not a place I ever expected to find myself. Some women my age develop baby lust; at thirty-nine, I’ve come down with a critical case of tiger lust. I’m obsessed. A few months ago, I started writing a novel centered on tigers and quickly realized I had research to do. And so, here I am.

Much about this trip surprises me. But nothing more than the fact that I’m here with my mother.

Katy Yocom in India

When I was young, my mother seemed a force of nature. She piloted airplanes, rescued animals, lunched with the town’s most powerful businessmen. She said what was on her mind, consequences be damned. I adored her. more »

Sara Blakely of Spanx Just Joined the Forbes World Billionaires List!

Posted on March 14, 2012

Congratulations to Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, for becoming the youngest self-made woman to join the Forbes World Billionaires list this year.

I feel a special kinship to Sara whose appearance on The Oprah Show so inspired me as my partners and I were developing StyleSubstanceSoul.com. Because of this, we were chosen to accompany Oprah on the trip of a lifetime to Australia as “Ultimate Viewers.” You can read the whole amazing story here.

Using her life savings of $5000 to start her company, Sara literally changed the shape of women’s fashion. Fourteen years later, she joins Oprah – to whom she donated $1 million for her Leadership Academy for Girls in Africa – in the elite group of women making ten figures (figures probably ensconced in Spanx!). She has also taken on her own philanthropic causes, supporting a variety of charities and organizations which empower women through her Sara Blakely Foundation.

I applaud Sara, who continues to be an inspiration to me. I hope to have as great an impact on women as she has, and I hope to one day join her on this list. (Hey, putting it out into the universe is what got me to Australia with Oprah!)

This post originally appeared on my former blog, StyleSubstanceSoul.com.

Our Journey to Australia with Oprah: The Back Story Featuring Sara Blakely of Spanx!

Posted on December 6, 2011

It was one year ago yesterday we took off on our Ultimate Australian Adventure with Oprah — and it still feels surreal! We landed Down Under on December 7, and in honor of our anniversary, we will be reliving that once-in-a-lifetime trip by re-posting our day-by-day journal starting tomorrow. For those of you who weren’t with us last year, we hope you’ll come along and learn — like we did —  to dream big. For those of you who have been so supportive and have vicariously accompanied us through every step of this amazing journey, thank you. For the 299 other Ultimate Viewers who really did accompany us to Australia, we are so proud to now call you friends.

Oprah Winfrey ShowSo many of you have asked how we ended up on that Season 25 premiere to begin with, so we thought we should preface our adventure with that story. They say, “it’s the journey, not the destination,” but in this case, both were pretty remarkable. more »

Our San Diego Food Tour, a.k.a. Eat, Eat, Eat

Posted on November 17, 2011

Susan and I had such a good time on our food tour of Chicago – it was one of the highlights of our surreal post-Oprah-taping days last September (shout-out to Evie Bernard)– that when we recently received a Living Social offer for a half-price food tour right here in San Diego, we couldn’t resist.

Bite San Diego Food Tour

So, last Friday, we put on our stretchy pants and, with vouchers and husbands in tow, headed downtown. We met our Bite San Diego guide, Mindy, and the three other couples in our group at Royal India. When Mindy realized a few people were missing, we all secretly – okay, not so secretly – cheered, thinking, “More food for us!” We would quickly realize that is the last thing we would need! more »

our chicago ultimate day “o” service by julie lemerond

Posted on September 14, 2011

Last Saturday, 22 of Oprah’s Ultimate Viewers participated in the Ultimate Day “O” Service (UDOS) at PAWS Chicago, the Midwest’s largest No-Kill shelter for cats and dogs. It came on the heels of the one-year anniversary of the fateful day that we were in the audience of The Oprah Winfrey Show when she announced she was taking us all to Australia, so our hearts were overflowing with gratitude. more »

our atlanta ultimate day “o” service by priscilla nelson

Posted on September 13, 2011

There are many people who believe that no good comes from television, but this story just may turn that line of thinking upside down. For millions of people all over the world, The Oprah Winfrey Show was much more than a TV show – it was a bridge between cultures, a window into therapy and an exploration of the best and worst of human behavior. Most of all, the show was a symphony of lessons that shaped the lives of viewers for 25 years. more »

oprah told us “we’re going to australia” one year ago today!

Posted on September 9, 2011

Ultimate Australian AdventureLast September 9, we were lucky enough to be invited to what we would soon find out was the season premiere of Oprah’s 25th and final season. It was a show that would change our lives, and make us believe that anything is possible. The whole experience is still so surreal, and we are so grateful for every part of it — especially the 299 new friends we made!

We will be reliving our memories today, and you can come along. We wish we could have brought you to Australia — and you, and you, and you, and you ….!

Relive our Ultimate Australian Adventure with us:

Day 1 – Sydney Opera House and the Zoo

Day 2 – Curtis Stone Cooks Us Dinner

Day 3 – Snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef

Day 4 – Hugging Koalas

Day 5 – Lois Holds Oprah’s Hand

Day 6 – Climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge

Day 7 – Sailing Regatta with Oprah

Day 8 – Star-Studded Taping of The Oprah Show

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