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The only Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum in the country is located in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and it’s a must-visit!

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#theretreatireland, day 3: russborough house, dublin and the marker hotel

Rossborough House

After packing up and enjoying the last thousand calorie buffet breakfast I was quickly getting used to at the Powerscourt Hotel on The Retreat Ireland, we headed off to Russborough House, a Palladian mansion rightly considered one of the most beautiful in the country. [Read more…]

#theretreatireland, day two: lainey keogh, rocco tullio and the guinness estate

Powerscourt lobby

We started Day Two of The Retreat Ireland in a quiet room at the Powerscourt Hotel doing yoga with the adorable Michael Ryan. He definitely knew his audience because his session was gentle and mindful and allowed us to spend a lot of time on our backs.

Afterwards, we went right to the buffet, where I enjoyed my already-usual meal of fruit, scrambled eggs (Powerscourt makes the best I’ve had in Europe. Usually they’re runny, which I can’t stomach, but theirs are fluffy and solid and so good. Okay, TMI.) and chocolate croissants. Those may not be part of a traditional Irish breakfast but they were delicious.

Once we were fully fortified for a very busy day, we boarded our little shuttle bus and headed out into the country to visit Lainey Keogh. Now, if you’ve never heard of Lainey, you’re in for a real treat. Start Googling her and you’ll see that she’s an amazing knitwear designer who’s created iconic pieces for some of the biggest rock stars. She’s even been featured on an Irish postage stamp! [Read more…]

48 hours in aix-en-provence: day 2

Renaissance Aix navigator

After an artful breakfast that included an obscene number of chocolate croissants, Michael and I decided to ask for some inside tips on how to spend our second — and, unfortunately, last — day in Aix-en-Provence.

Renaissance Hotels have developed the best idea ever to ensure that guests get the most out of their visit: Navigators! These concierge-like experts help customize your experience so you get to see and do the things that are most meaningful to you.

For us, that meant art and food (not necessarily in that order). [Read more…]

48 hours in aix-en-provence: day 1

Aix street

Shocking as it may be, Michael and I did leave the comfort of the gorgeous Renaissance Aix-en-Provence to go sightseeing during our fast two days there. We are so glad we did.

Aix, which is pronounced like the letter “X,” is a pretty, sophisticated little city in the South of France. The hotel is just a few minutes walk from the city center, so we spent most of our first afternoon people-watching at an outside cafe on the main boulevard, Cours Mirabeau, just like most of the locals seemed to be doing. [Read more…]

i’m off to puerto vallarta for the natja conference!

Puerto Vallarta logo

Can you believe I’ve lived in Southern California for almost 17 years and still haven’t been to Mexico?

I’m happy to say that changes today as I head to Puerto Vallarta for the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA) conference with my good friend, Ruth. [Read more…]

nice things about detroit :)

Detroit bumper sticker

After sharing Buick’s adorable new ad campaign with you yesterday, I thought it would be good to dispel some more preconceived notions — this time, about someplace near and dear to the iconic car brand’s heart.

Detroit! [Read more…]

off to detroit to #experiencebuick!

Buick preview

You may remember my amazing Buick Bucket List trip last summer, when Michael and I were given the opportunity to drive a Buick Encore through Tennessee, volunteering at the Elephant Sanctuary, visiting Loretta Lynn’s Ranch and spending a few days in Nashville, staying at Gaylord Opryland and attending the Grand Ole Opry.

And, now, true to the car’s name, it’s time for an encore! [Read more…]

a new bucket list item: a hurtigruten northern lights cruise to norway

Hurtigruten Northern Lights water

This post is sponsored by Hurtigruten Cruises. All opinions are, as always, 100% mine, and you know this is my kind of trip! I hope you’ll click on the sponsored links because this cruise sounds awesome!

I’ve been talking a lot about bucket lists the past few days and, although I’ve admitted I don’t like to add items until I can actually check them off, I do have one big one that I’ll put out there right now.

I want to see the Northern Lights. [Read more…]

me and a harley-davidson

Desert Springs Peter and me bike

If you had ever told me I would one day be whizzing down the highway on the back of a Harley-Davidson, I would have laughed and said you were crazy.

Yet, there I was yesterday, doing just that – and checking off the new addition to my bucket list.

When I told my daughter we had been offered the opportunity to take a motorcycle tour during our press trip to the J.W. Marriott Desert Springs, she said, “Mom, please say ‘no.’ I’m getting heart palpitations just thinking about you on a motorcycle.”

The idea kind of gave me heart palpitations, too. I mean, if I hadn’t done this ever before, did I need to start at the age of 55?  Of course I had to say “yes,” though, because when else would I ever get a chance to do this with a professional doing the driving?  [Read more…]

san diego restaurant week

Former SD Mayor Jerry Sanders helps Chef Mark of Fish Public!

Former SD Mayor Jerry Sanders helps Chef Mark of Fish Public!

I just came back from a press conference for one of my favorite events of the year — San Diego Restaurant Week. This year, it runs from September 21-26, and more than 200 restaurants will be offering three-course prix-fixe dinners for $25, $35 or $45 per person and/or two-course prix-fixe lunch menus for $10, $15 or $20. You can check their website to see which restaurants are participating, check out their menu and make a reservation.

This is the 10th anniversary of the twice-yearly event, and it’s how we’ve discovered some of our favorite restaurants. After today, I have a few I definitely want to try.

Because it’s also Wordless Wednesday, it seemed like the perfect time to share pictures of some of the delicious dishes we were treated to at the press conference. [Read more…]