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I Left My Heart in Solana Beach

“Sit in reverie and watch the changing color of the waves that break upon the idle seashore of the mind.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Every so often, you come across a place that transforms you. Somewhere that changes your very essence.

I had always imagined that I would be struck by places like the Colosseum or the Taj Mahal or the Iguaçu Falls or the Great Barrier Reef. I never imagined I would be altered by somewhere so close to home. And just outside of San Diego, no less.

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The Sights and Tastes of the LINQ (A Photo Essay)

“A little bit of this town goes a very long way.”

~ Hunter S. Thompson

I frequent Vegas pretty regularly, usually a couple of times a year. On this last trip, I took some time to explore the new LINQ complex. It is an area filled with restaurants and shops connected to The LINQ Hotel & Casino. The main attraction at The LINQ is The High Roller, the world’s largest observation wheel.

So below is a photo essay of the sights and tastes of The LINQ. I will start with the tastes since it is much shorter than the sights, but be sure to scroll through for some of my favorite pics from the evening.

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A Real ‘Thriller’: ‘Michael Jackson One’ Changed My Everything

“To give people a piece of your heart is worth more than all the wealth in the world.”

~Michael Jackson

Those who know me know how much Michael Jackson means to my heart soul. As a child (and teenager), I wanted to be a background dancer for him, which is clearly the ultimate honor for a dancer. In the late 2000s, my then-fiance’ and I thought about changing our honeymoon to London when Michael announced his farewell tour, so we could see a show. And, of course, at our wedding our first dance was Michael Jackson authentic choreography (which was timely because he sadly occurred a couple of weeks before the wedding even though our dance was planned well before his death). We even spent our first morning of our honeymoon watching the funeral coverage.

So when I heard about the Michael Jackson One Cirque du Soleil show a few years ago, needless to say I was more than intrigued. Well, I finally caught the show about a week ago at The Mandalay Bay.

And… It. Was. AWESOME.

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L.A. Food Beyond Just Tacos

“When it’s done properly, taco should be a verb.”

~Jonathan Gold

Think Los Angeles food and tacos inevitably comes to mind. Now, I love a good taco (special shout out to Tacos Tumbras a Tomas in Grand Central Market downtown, not to mention the Kogi Truck). I think most everything tastes better when wrapped in a tortilla. But there are so many other amazing cuisines in LA that leave you wanting more.

So, because people always ask me for food recommendations when they are coming to town, and given that spring break is just around the corner, I have come up with a round up of my favorite L.A. food spots by category. Enjoy, because I actually made myself hungry putting this together.

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A Whale of a Good Time

“The whales do not sing because they have an answer. They sing because they have a song.”

~Gregory Colbert

It had been a long day.

Almost an hour and a half in, we had yet to see any whales and we spent our time simply trying to catch our footing on the boat. I was cold and the dead weight of my camera was tiring.

But let me back up. As I embarked on the quest to conquer various items on my Travel Goals list, about a month ago I saw a deal for whale watching off the Channel Islands. So I enlisted my buddy and we, along with her 4-year-old daughter (who is the real trooper in all of this) decided to tackle a 3-hour whale watching boat trip so I could cross that item off my list.

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My Suburban Chi-Town Food Faves

“I miss everything about Chicago, except January and February.”

~Gary Cole

Chicago is my twice-a-year food mistress, and I love her for it.

I am an Illinois girl in a California world. Having grown up outside of Chicago, I have a great appreciation for wonderful food (see my previous post). But not highfalutin food with words I can’t pronounce—No, I love the simple yet delicious foods. I relish foods that inspire a good conversation with good friends over a long meal. It’s a part of our culture, our lifestyle. The food that you eat super fast or it feels that way because it is gone before you know it. That’s why our pizza (read: the best pizza in the States) is deep dish. It’s not supposed to be eaten on the run without interaction with anyone else; it is supposed to be enjoyed, savored. It is supposed to fill you and those around you up, both literally and figuratively.

Most people write about the excellent restaurants in the city proper.  But I grew up in the burbs. So over those many years, I have some of my own local favorites that top the list of options whenever I make the trek home.

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30 Travel Goals for My Wanderlustful Soul, Part 2

LIfeChoices/Shutterstock

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”

~ Tony Robbins

In finishing up my travel goals list, I decided to focus on SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely goals. I am sure I will add more as time goes on, and maybe change or amend some, but I think it’s best to start with something rather than to have none at all. So here’s the last half of my list.

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30 Travel Goals For My Wanderlustful Soul, Part 1

“Not all those who wander are lost.”

~ J.R.R. Tolkien

With the New Year commencing and the focus on resolutions at the forefront of everyone’s mind, I decided to take a slightly different approach.  Looking back at the map from my previous post, I wanted to set goals to accomplish in my quest to see the world.  This is not my bucket list, but perhaps much of the travel portion of the list as of now. While there are many goals (and this post will be divided into two parts), I am still looking for new inspirations and ideas, so feedback is requested and appreciated. So here it goes…

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My Year-End Travel Review

“Airline travel is hours of boredom interrupted by moments of stark terror.”

~Al Boliska

Having just wrapped up another travel year, I can’t help but reflect on the trends I noted this year. It’s a natural time for that, being the New Year (have a happy one, all) just arrived. So amidst the football (go Tigers!) and resolutions, I jotted down just a few thoughts on my travel observations.

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Draw Me A Map And I’ll Show You The World

“Consulting maps can diminish the wanderlust that they awaken, as the act of looking at them can replace the act of travel. But looking at maps is much more than an act of aesthetic replacement. Anyone who opens an atlas wants everything at once, without limits–the whole world. This longing will always be great, far greater than any satisfaction to be had by attaining what is desired. Give me an atlas over a guidebook any day. There is no more poetic book in the world.”

Judith SchalanskyAtlas of Remote Islands

When I was young, my dad made a point to make sure I could read a map. He didn’t want me to be one of those women with no sense of direction. So when we got in the car for a roadtrip, usually quite early in the morning, and usually heading to Pittsburgh or Florida from Chicago, he would throw an atlas (you remember those–those books with nationwide and state maps in hard form) towards me in the backseat and say, “Okay, how do we get there?” And off I went, tracing routes with my fingers to guide our adventure.

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