Monday, March 30, 2015

Travels: Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite


Yosemite…say the name and most people come up with an image in their head. Some immediately picture sheer granite walls, some visualize seemingly endless waterfalls cascading over the edge, still others see a valley floor of forests dwarfed by those imposing granite cliffs.


Whatever you picture, how would you like to stay in a lodge where you feel like you’re immersed in part of that natural splendor? Roughing it? Hardly, although you could challenge your skills as you snowshoe through the forest or try out your ice skating ability. If it’s summer, practice your climbing skills on the climbing wall, explore the trails on a mountain bike, or take a leisurely walk. Want to experience some serious granite? If your skills are appropriate, guided rock climbing is available for all levels.
Where would you find all this? Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite offers four diamond accommodations for families, for get away vacations, and for meetings. When they say they are a place where landscape and resort become one…they mean it.


Recently, I had the opportunity to have meetings here as well as experience amenities Tenaya Lodge has to offer. If you are looking for the perfect place to immerse yourself in Yosemite and stay in comfort, Tenaya Lodge is your place. Located at the south entrance to Yosemite, use this location to explore the park. Stay several days and experience trails, waterfall hikes, photo opps, and Yosemite history tours. After a day of exploring, come back and relax in the pool, with a spa treatment, or in the lounge.

Best of both worlds…nature’s majesty and relaxed luxury. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Travels: Book Fest in Vacaville


Coming in a couple of weeks...check out this event for writers, readers, families, and more.

BookFest Solano, April 11-12, 2015 in Vacaville, CA
BookFest Solano, a free-to-the-public, family-friendly festival, will be held on April 11-12, 2015 at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Vacaville, Ca. The hours are 9:00 to 4:00 on Saturday and 10:00 - 4:00 on Sunday.  This festival is hosted by the Solano County Library Foundation, a nonprofit  corporation.  It is for readers, aspiring writers, and for sharing ideas with the theme “Growing Readers, Growing Writers.” An exhibit hall will feature booksellers,  authors, and people with book-crafting and marketing skills showcasing their products and services.  Local and regional authors will be recognized, have opportunity to network, improve their skills, gain knowledge, and promote their work.  Funds raised through BookFest Solano will aid the libraries and their literacy programs.

Workshops, presentations, and activities will nurture readers and writers of all ages. In the Jan Brett Corner for Kids there will be story times and activities based on her picture books.  Local children’s authors will read aloud from their books.  Peter Blueberry, children’s poet, will share his work and talk about illustrating his books.  A session for people who want to write children’s books will have opportunity for would-be authors to ask their questions. 


For more information go to www.bookfestsolano.com 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Travels: Advance Planning


Think about these things before you travel...some you may need to do well in advance of your next trip.

Get required immunizations: Since some immunizations require more than one dose, you don't want to wait until the last minute to see what you need. Check the CDC's Travelers Health or the State Department website to find out what is needed for the country you're going to visit.

Book your house and pet sitters. Again, waiting until the last minute may mean they are already booked.

Figure out what adapters and converters you will need for the country you are visiting.

Break in any new shoes. Blisters are no fun anywhere...and especially no fun on vacation.

If you need a special meal on the plane, book it now.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Travels: Emergency Kit


Do you have an emergency kit of some type you take with you when you travel? If not, you should think about putting one together.

Items should include:
all the medications you take on a daily basis...vitamins, prescriptions, etc.
aspirin or ibuprofen
bandages and gauze
antibacterial ointment
alcohol pads
antibacterial hand sanitizer
a copy of any prescription meds you take
sunscreen
lip screen
antihistamine

Other things to consider:
spare contact lenses
spare glasses
tweezers
cold medicine
tape
eye drops

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Travels: How to paint those wonderful Italian terracotta tile roofs

Displaying Roofs 1.png

Bill Breckon, owner of The Watermill at Posara, the world-renowned centre for the arts in rural Tuscany, Italy (www.watermill.net) sends me this lovely step-by-step guide for anyone who’s ever wanted to try to capture those wonderful Italian roofs with their paintbrush. Bill says:
 Leslie Fehling, one of America’s leading sketching book artists and a Watermill tutor , is coming to The Watermill this year to lead a unique ten-day painting holiday, called Creating your own watercolour travel journal. Participants will spend three days in glorious Florence PLUS a week-long painting workshop at the mill and in the beautiful surrounding Tuscan countryside. She has sent me  some tips vital for painting in Italy: how to capture those terracotta tile roofs.

Leslie says: “Red-orange terracotta roofs are a distinctive part of the Tuscan landscape, as typical as rolling hills, vineyards and cypress trees. They add a bright spot of colour to a painting, and often may be indicated with nothing more than a splash of burnt sienna.  The rusty red colour sings in a landscape filled with its complement, green.

“When sketching distant views that include clay tile roofs, I paint them very simply…

Displaying Roofs 2.png



For a mid-range view, like the sketch below, a bit more detail can be added to suggest the dips between vertical rows of tiles. A few quick brush strokes serve to indicate individual tiles here and there. There’s no need to paint them all.


Displaying Roofs 4.png


The only time you’ll need to worry about including more details is when you’re focusing in on a roof in the foreground of your sketch. In that case, here’s an approach you may want to try:
STEP 1
·     Study the roof and note any irregularities – a broken or crooked tile, an area that’s moss-covered, etc.  You’ll want to include those unique details in your sketch. You’re not just painting any roof, you’re painting this particular roof.
·     Do a preliminary sketch in pencil. This is your chance to figure out the angles and spacing of the roof tiles.
·     Ink the sketch, if desired. (I used a Pigma Micron 01 black pen for the sketch shown here.) There’s no need to trace over every pencil line or to draw every tile.
·     Erase unwanted pencil lines.

Displaying Roofs 5.png



STEP 2
·     Paint a variegated wash for your base color, which will be the lightest tones on the tiles.
·     Use warm colors such as Winsor Orange, Burnt Sienna, Alizarin Crimson, Raw Sienna, Quinacridone Gold, or Burnt Umber.
·     Touch the lower edge of the wash with a wet brush and allow some of the color to bleed onto the wall below. This will help to unify the painting.
·     Add a pale warm tone to the wall, if desired.

Displaying Roofs 6.png


STEP 3
·     Add varying mid-tones to areas of the roof or to individual tiles.
·     Paint a variegated base wash of greys, browns, and yellow ochre for the building’s stone walls.

Displaying Roofs 7.png


STEP 4
·     Begin painting shadows. I used several different color combinations for shadows, like Ultramarine Blue + Rose Violet (or Quinacridone Violet) + Burnt Umber (or Burnt Sienna or Quinacridone Gold)
·     Add shadows between vertical rows of tiles.
·     Add shadows at the base of individual tiles. Vary the color and darkness of the shadows, so the tiles don’t look too uniform.
·     Paint the shadow under the bottom row of tiles.
·     Paint any support boards or eaves that show under the bottom row of tiles. (In the photo I worked from, a horizontal support board showed below the last row of tiles.)

Displaying Roofs 8.png

STEP 5
·     Begin painting the stone wall, indicating mortar joints.
·     Use a natural sponge to dab on some color to indicate texture on the wall.
·     Add any other detailing to the wall. (My photo showed bricks on the corners of the building, half-covered with mortar, so I painted them at this point.)
Displaying Roofs 9.png


STEP 6
·      Paint the darkest shadows on the tile roof.
·     Add a touch of very dark shadow color under the bottom row of tiles.
·     Paint the shaded side of the building with a purple-grey wash. (Ultramarine Blue + Quinacridone Violet or Rose Violet + a touch of Burnt Sienna or Burnt Umber to tone it down)
·     Use the same purple-grey to paint the shadow under the roof overhang. Run a clean, damp brush along the lower edge of the shadow to soften the line.
·     Add any final spots of color to the painting.
·     Lift highlights on the roof tiles with a damp brush, if needed.


Friday, March 20, 2015

Travels: New Luggage


Are you in need of a new piece of luggage? With so many new options available, first decide what's important to you. Do you need one with the spinner wheels feature? Or, are you more concerned with its size?

Read reviews and then go to a luggage store to try them out. Is it lightweight enough, can you easily move it around, can you lift it into the overhead bin without assistance, do you want a color other than black, do you want a piece for checked baggage only and don't care to bring it on the plane?

All of these matter. Once you decide what you're looking for, you can narrow down your search.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Travels: Flight Status




 Do you have an upcoming flight and have the information saved somewhere in your bunch of emails? Want to find out about that flight more quickly?

If you are logged into a Google account, type in the words flight status in the bar. From there, you have several options. You can bring up any of your emails related to any of your flights. Or you can click on the tab at the bottom of the options that says search the web for flight status. This will bring up your next flight, seat assignment, flight status, flight number, delays, etc.



Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Travels: Good Life Wine Collective

NEWS RELEASE ~ FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact:
Joel Quigley, Vice President Marketing Communications
The Good Life Wine Collective
(707) 495-0831 | joel@tglwc.com







(Napa, CA, March 16th 2015) In 2014, Humanitas Wines joined the Good Life Wine Collective with Jessup Cellars and Handwritten Wines after Judd Wallenbrock took the helm as President and CEO of the family-owned wine group in 2012. It was during this integration process that Wallenbrock realized his tiny one-man show was on path to surpass a quarter-of-a-million-dollars in donations to charitable projects. Latin for philanthropy, character and human nature, Humanitas embraces two simple ideas — craft the best vineyard designate wines possible while creating good in the world.

“After running solo for more than a decade, and now finding a home with The Good Life Wine Collective, this transition has allowed me to reflect back on my journey,” said Wallenbrock. “I’m humbled at what Humanitas has accomplished and where it can now go with a full team behind our mission. Our dream is to get enough people Drinking Charitably to raise this kind of revenue for worthy causes on an annual basis.”

Founded in Wallenbrock’s backyard shed (The Shed-Teau) in 2001 as a way to give back to those less fortunate, Humanitas donates seven percent of all revenues to charity. It’s what Wallenbrock calls, “The Seven Percent Solution.” Specifically, the monies go to solution-based organizations in health, hunger and affordable housing, with a focus on regional giving. Currently, Humanitas has fundraising partnerships with SightLife, whose mission is to eliminate corneal blindness, The Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and many regional food banks and community foundations.

At the Humanitas Tasting Annex in southern Napa, the winery offers appointment only Pay it Forward tasting experiences that feature exclusive tours of its winery facility, along with molecular gastronomy spoon bite pairings developed by master instructor and cookbook author Chef MikeC. Wine lovers who wish to Drink Charitably may order wines online or join a Humanitas Wine Club at www.HumanitasWines.com or by contacting its hospitality team directly at (707) 253-1405.

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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Travels: Save Some Money


A little advance planning might save you some money when you travel.

Face it, you can't see everything on one visit. Decide what is a must see or a must do and work those into your trip. Know how long you will be in a place and plan accordingly.

If you're of the age to use senior discounts...don't be afraid to ask. It may save you some real money.

Instead of booking your hotel or airfare from a third party site, go directly to that hotel or airline. That way you can ask if there are any additional discounts or specials available.

When you check in to a hotel, ask if there are any activities or special events in the area. Many times they offer coupons or deals.


Friday, March 13, 2015

Travels: Safety


I've posted safety tips before but always seem to have questions about these. Think about these when getting ready to travel and when you're in a different place.

Check in with the State Department before you go. Did you know the State Department provides updated safety information for every country in the world? You can find things like what vaccinations you need to travel warnings. While you're on their website, www.state.gov, also check out the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) page. You can register your travel plans. This is a good idea for you as well as people at home in case of a disaster as they will be able to get in touch with you.

Scan your passport and email it to yourself. Take a photo on your phone. It just makes life and travel easier if it gets lost or stolen. And, if it's locked in the hotel safe...you still have the information close at hand.

Find out what the local emergency number hotlines are in the country where you will be. Save them on your phone. Remember, 911 isn't the number to call in other countries.

Check the U.S. embassies or consulates in that country and save those numbers and addresses on your phone as well.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Travels: Event for Book Lovers, Children, and all Readers



BookFest Solano, April 11-12, 2015 in Vacaville, CA

BookFest Solano, a free-to-the-public, family-friendly festival, will be held on April 11-12, 2015 at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Vacaville, Ca. The hours are 9:00 to 4:00 on Saturday and 10:00 - 4:00 on Sunday.  This festival is hosted by the Solano County Library Foundation, a nonprofit  corporation.  It is for readers, aspiring writers, and for sharing ideas with the theme “Growing Readers, Growing Writers.” An exhibit hall will feature booksellers,  authors, and people with book-crafting and marketing skills showcasing their products and services.  Local and regional authors will be recognized, have opportunity to network, improve their skills, gain knowledge, and promote their work.  Funds raised through BookFest Solano will aid the libraries and their literacy programs.

Workshops, presentations, and activities will nurture readers and writers of all ages. In the Jan Brett Corner for Kids there will be story times and activities based on her picture books.  Local children’s authors will read aloud from their books.  Peter Blueberry, children’s poet, will share his work and talk about illustrating his books.  A session for people who want to write children’s books will have opportunity for would-be authors to ask their questions. 

The schedule of workshops and author presentations includes Jennifer Basye Sander, author of The Complete Idiots Guide to Getting Published, and many other nonfiction books.  Her presentation will be entitled  “Could Hemingway Get a Book Deal in Our Time?”  Michael Stribling, Art Director at LeapFrog Enterprises, and well-known comic book artist will lead a session on “Working with Illustrators” and another on comic books.   Judith Michaels Simon leads a workshop on “Writing Memoirs.”  Author Jeff Dwyer, Ghost Hunter series, will talk about his books, including  Ghost Hunter’s Guide to the Wine Country.  He will also talk about his latest book, Passages Home, a novel about an Iraq war veteran and his struggles to overcome PTSD.  David Corbett will speak on his latest crime novel, The Mercy of the Night.  Writers will benefit  from the “Workshop on Editing”  by Wendy VanHatten, author and editor.  From the Bok-In-Hand Roadshow there will be two presentations: “How to Win a Book Award” and “Miffed by the Book Parts” on book layout.  Kathryn Reiss will lead a session on “Writing Suspense Fiction.”  The schedule is subject to change.  Look for the full schedule in mid-March on our festival website at www.BookFestSolano.com

Although BookFest Solano is free to the public, it does incorporate two activities with admission charges.  On Saturday afternoon from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., there will be Read and Romp activities.  The $10 charge for kids (adults are free) will benefit the national program “Reach Out and Read”.

On Saturday night, April 11, “An Evening with Todd Borg” will feature this author of twelve Tahoe thriller / mysteries featuring Owen McKenna, detective.  It starts with a wine and cheese reception at 6:00 p.m.  There will be book signing and opportunity to talk with Todd.  This will be followed by Todd’s presentation.  This event is ticketed and will be held at Epiphany Episcopal Church, located at the corner of Buck and West Streets in Vacaville.  Tickets ($15 for Foundation Members, and $20 for nonmembers) are available through the Foundation website, www.SolanoLibraryFoundation.org.  BookFest Solano Book Contest winners will be announced during this evening.

Even then the fun doesn’t end.  Barnes & Noble is doing a Book Fair in their Fairfield store on April 18-19 in conjunction with BookFest Solano and the Solano County Library Foundation.  During this weekend they will donate a percentage of their sales to the Library Foundation to benefit the libraries and literacy programs.  To make this happen, mention at the checkout when you make your purchases that you want to support the Library Foundation. 


Sunday, March 8, 2015

Travels: Amador Four Fires Wine and Food Festival




This new concept of a wine and food festival is being celebrated May 2 at the Amador County fairgrounds in Plymouth.

What is it? The Four Fires refer to the four wine making regions which inspire Amador winemakers and winegrowers: Southern France, Italy, Iberia, and heritage California. This event will be spread out across a 10 acre site, divided into those regions.

Star chefs will showcase spectacular dishes cooked over an open flame...hence the Four Fires. Everything from a whole pig roasted over an open spit to huge paella pans to barbecue.

Tickets and more information can be found at www.amadorfourfires.com.

Sounds like a good time...

Friday, March 6, 2015

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Travels: Hints


Do you check airline seating? If you haven't, check out Seat Guru.

When getting ready to stand in the security line, do you check to see which is the shortest line? What if it really isn't the quickest line? Instead, check to see how the security screener is working. Is that person in training or is he or she zipping right along?

Monday, March 2, 2015

Travels: Getting Ready to Leave


Before you leave home, combine the addresses of places you will be, such as hotels, museums, restaurants, etc. Then send yourself an email with these addresses. That way, you will have them all in one place. No wi-fi? Send yourself a text message.

Before you walk away from your parking place at the airport, take a photo of it with your smart phone. You could also leave a voice mail for yourself or a text.