Monday, January 31, 2011

Hills Around Sonoma

Rains turned into clouds in the hills and then to sunshine...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Monday, January 24, 2011

Buying Luggage

If your travel has increased over the years...your luggage probably has changed to meet your travel needs. Luggage has become lighter and more efficient. Wheels, handles, colors, pockets, sizes and functions have all improved.

If you are in need of new luggage...take some time to figure out what you need or want. Maybe you thought you wanted an 18 inch carry on...only to get to the luggage store and find out there are 16, 18, 20, and 22 inch carry on pieces.

Recently I was in need of a new carry on piece and thought I knew what I wanted. Even with research, options were amazing. And so were prices!

Some have many outside pockets...too many zippers and pockets to even know what you might put in them. Some had shiny gold zippers...too shiny for my taste. And how long would that shine last in case I checked that bag?

Some have wheels that rotate...great for walking, but a real problem if you stop on an incline. You'll soon have a run-away bag. There are hard cases and soft cases...pretty colors and black. Most seem to be a whole lot lighter than the last bag I bought.

Some warranties are better than others. Do I really want to keep the box it came case I need to ship it back for repairs?

In the end the bag I bought will soon get its test voyage...stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Marine's Memorial Theatre

San Francisco has more than hills...although the hills are impressive.

And views from those hills are equally as impressive.

Located in the heart of San Francisco's Theatre District , between Union Square and Nob Hill, is the Marine's Memorial Theatre. This historic landmark is a major player in the regional theater scene, bringing New York and regional performances.

Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" and "Death of a Salesman", Tennessee Williams "Camino Real", "Mother Courage" by Bertholt Brecht, and "Becket" by Jean name a few from 1955 to 1965.

From 1967 to 1982 other famous plays and actors appeared on stage. "Long Day's Journey Into Night" by Eugene O'Neill and "The Boys of Autumn" starring Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas are just a couple. Many more have followed since then.

This 650 seat theater, built in 1926, originally was home of the national radio broadcasts featuring Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra.

Shows, including "Forever Tango" and upcoming 10th Annual Sketchfest bring celebrities, dancers, and actors to the stage. It is definitely worth a stop when in San Francisco. Better yet...make it your destination.

Check out the upcoming performances at

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Farmers Market San Francisco

When visiting a city, check out their farmer's markets. Depending upon the part of the country or world you are visiting, there may be produce to flowers to breads to live chickens! You get a glimpse of local people, food items, entertainment, and cultures.

Flowers like these orchids brighten any one's day.

Check out the interesting what would you do with those?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Ski Tips

Planning a ski vacation this year? Check out these common sense tips before you go...or purchase those lift tickets.

One suggestion by avid skier and author Larry Olmsted is to take one longer ski vacation instead of two shorter ones. You can get better deals on multi day lift tickets and some places even offer stay five and get one night free deals.

Some airlines or travel sites put package deals together as well. See if booking your flight, hotel and lift tickets together is cheaper.

Have your own skis, boots and equipment? Check with your airline to see what the fees are for checked luggage of that size.

Often midweek is cheaper than week-ends. And it's definitely less crowded.

Check out coupons for ski rentals and lift tickets. Supermarkets in Denver, for example, offer deals for Summit County. Or look at websites like and Not going to ski all day? Ask about half day passes.

Taking your kids? Be sure to ask if there are discounts available for them as well.

Be sure to ski in an area where you are the most comfortable. Not a black diamond slope person? Then you could try out a lesser known place with less steep slopes and prices. Maybe you need a variety of slopes for the whole group. Make sure the place you are going has a variety. That way everyone will have a great vacation.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tea Tasting

What better place to taste tea than in Chinatown, San Francisco? Rows and rows of jars filled with tea leaves take over this tiny space. Ital Tealeaf, located at 509 Grant Avenue, beckons you first with its warm atmosphere. Enter...and all of a sudden the hustle and bustle of Chinatown streets are left outside. You don't even know you're in the middle of a busy city.

Know nothing about tea and its nuances? That's okay. Helpful staff walk you through tasting as many kinds as you like. Jotting down kinds of tea, their smells and finally my likes and dislikes made it easier for me to remember. Just like wine tasting...the smell and the taste do not always correspond. In fact, there are many similarities in tasting tea to tasting wine or food. That's why it's a good idea to taste several kinds...maybe even go back and taste a couple for a second time.

These tiny cups pack a world of flavor. Take a deep breath when you enter Ital Tealeaf...sit down...relax...and explore the world of tea.