Sunday, August 30, 2015

Let's Go...Now

You've probably taken a last minute trip. Was it a day trip, a week-end, or longer? Did you have time to plan what you were doing and where you were going?

With airfares on the rise, sometimes a deal pops up that's just too hard to pass. If this type of deal hits your radar, are you ready to go?

Here are some things to keep in mind when booking at the last minute.

Do you know all the costs? Do you have all the details? Will you pay by credit card?

Don't fall for an email or call that says you've 'won' a trip. Usually, if you really did win something it will be given to you as a gift...not by some unknown phone number. If you're still not sure, call your Better Business Bureau.

Do use a credit card to pay. This offers you the best protection if you change your mind or something isn't quite right.

Then, grab your to-go bag and head to the airport. You have your passport, tickets, and phone...right?

Friday, August 28, 2015

Napa Valley Artists...

September 20 and 21 and September 27 and 28 are weekends to be in Napa Valley. Open Studios is in their 27th year. Take some time and explore what 79 artists and 45 unique studio locations have to offer.

This free, self-guided tour is one of the best events ever as these artists believe in the importance of opening their studios to visitors. Even better Open Studios contributes a portion of revenues to local high school and junior college scholarships.

Check out more information on their website at

Monday, August 24, 2015

Where's My Bag?

Ever have tight connections on a flight and wonder if your checked luggage is going to make it? Did it?

On the other side of that question...ever have a tight connection and your bag made it but you didn't?

Just curious...what did you do?

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Last Call

Have you ever booked the last flight out? Maybe it was the most convenient or maybe it was the only one that day that was available. Did you need to make connections?

One of the oldest travel tips around is to avoid booking the last flight of the day out of your connecting airport. If your flight in to that airport, where you need to catch your connecting flight, is delayed for whatever reason...there's a good chance you will miss your connecting flight.

Even though the airline has to put you on the next available's not until tomorrow...sometime.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Walk...Don't Run

If you've flown, you've probably had a connecting flight. And, you've probably made that flight.

But, did you have to hurry? If you booked through either an airline's website or a travel agency, those times between flights are usually not an issue. Most airlines post their own connecting times on their websites. Some are fairly short. The airline's system automatically adjusts for minimum times at your connecting point. And, if you miss your flight due to connecting errors on their part, the airline is obligated to put you on the next available flight.

However, if you are using two different airlines you will not find the minimum connecting time on any site. Do your research and allow enough time...and then some.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Can You Find What You Need?

I've often written about packing lists and how I like them. I live by them when traveling. It just makes my life easier.

That being said, what happens when you have your list and you're looking for the one piece of electronic charging equipment, or universal adapter, or special socks you only wear with your travel shoes, or the really nice, silky top that doesn't wrinkle...ever, or your cool travel pen?

Perhaps if you kept your travel items together it would help. Or would it? It depends on how often you travel. If you go often, it might be a good idea to keep a dedicated set of toiletries in their own travel bag. It might be a good idea to keep one part of your closet for travel clothes.

Do you have certain bags for traveling domestic versus internationally? Do you have them stuffed inside each other and forget about the ones inside? How about wallets, purses, packing cubes, special electronics you use when traveling to Europe, or even pens?

Organizing these could make your life easier. First...a list. Then...organization. Ready to go somewhere? I am.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Wine & Brew Festival...FUN, FUN, FUN

Downtown Vacaville’s Wine & Brew Festival Returns!

Vacaville, California – It’s almost time once again for the annual “Wine & Brew Festival” that’s hosted by the Downtown Vacaville Business Improvement District. This group of Downtown merchants is going all out again this year to bring fantastic entertainment, great wines, sudsy brews and a variety of artisans for everyone’s’ enjoyment. It’s all happening August 21st to August 23rd.

Things kick off Friday evening, August 21st with Rhythm Method 4 and J. Silverheels at 6 pm.  These two local bands really know how to host a party. Their musical sounds are some of the best around. Show up early for a good seat!

On Saturday morning, things get started with Dead Weight at 10 am followed by the Delta Rockets at 12:30 pm. The Party Monsters bring their Motown sound to Town Square at 3 pm and Hey Hey Momma (Led Zep tribute) at 5:30 pm. Invasion, A Tribute To An Era brings their British Invasion sounds at 7 pmSaturday is slated to bring back those sounds from the 60’s and 70’s to keep you dancing!


Sunday’s fun starts at 11 am with the Afterglow duo followed by Total Recall (90’s tribute) and the Fellas closing things out 3 pm to 5 pm.


On Saturday there will be a featured wine tasting and brew tasting from 4 pm to 7 pm throughout Downtown. We’ll have more information available on it as the event draws nearer.


It’s all happening at this year’s Wine & Brew Festival in The Heart Of The City. Be sure to visit the downtown web site at  or you can call the office at 707-451-2100 for further information on this event or any of the upcoming festivals, concerts, farmers’ markets and other special events.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Dad...WWII...Red Bull Unit

This week I was featured in a blog from Folkheart Press. Actually, a book I wrote a few years ago was featured. My dad was in WWII. Typical of many Veterans from that era, he didn't talk much about his time in North Africa and Italy.

But, he had a box of old photos and mementos that he would occasionally bring out for us to see. As a little girl, these were fascinating things and fascinating stories. Now, as an adult I wish I would have written down his stories. He's I can't ask him.

That's why this book is a fiction, based on fact. Some of the stories are just like remembered them and others needed to be filled in. It was a great way to remember Dad. Hope you enjoy the blog post.

Check it our here: and let me know what you think.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Fun in Dixon

Check out this link for a fun event in Dixon this weekend...

'Best of Napa' Award

Trying to keep up with Christine George can be time consuming. For starters, she an instructor in the School of Graphic Design. That's one the reasons she is the recipient of the 2015 'Best of Napa' Award. That's not all she does, however.

You might find her riding trails in and around Napa on horseback. She's loved horses her whole life. And, she understands horses. You'll notice that when you see her paintings. Those horses look like they are looking right at you.

Again, that's not all she does. As an official track photographer for Churchill Downs Kentucky Derby and the Triple Crown, the photos hanging in her studio make you feel like you're standing at the wire with the winning horse.

Christine is known for her pro-bono work, assisting organizations and individuals with the Napa Valley Art Association and in the community. That's another reason she was this years winner of the award.

When you visit her studio in Napa, you'll quickly realize she means it when she says she's living her dream...right here in Napa Valley.

Check out more about Christine and her award at

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

App...Find Me a Park

If you like seeing National Parks and Monuments when on vacation, you've probably already figured out the ones near your vacation spot. There are many state parks worth seeing as well. How do you find out about them?

With an app, of course!

Oh, Ranger covers every national, state, and local park in the United States. You can hike, bike, swim, or ride wherever you are.

It's free and available on iOS and Android.

Let me know what you think.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

No Reservation

When you travel, do you have your hotel reservation already made? If not, this app might be a good one for you. Hotel Tonight is an app that tells you what hotels with available rooms are nearby. It focuses on major cities and their immediate metro areas, so it won't help you find a room in small towns in the middle of nowhere.

It's free and available on iOS, Android, Windows Mobile.

If you've used it, let me know how you like it.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Running Through the Airport

Have you ever made the mistake of not leaving enough time between connecting flights? Have you missed your flight because of this?

When you booked those flights, did you think 45 minutes was enough time between flights? After all, who wants to hang out in an airport for hours...right?

Before you book your connecting flights too close together, keep in mind some things. How far apart are the gates? Even if you think you know, they can change. Look at how far apart the furthest gates are from each other. Those may be yours. Then, look at the size of the airport. Lots of planes coming and going? How about the weather? Flying through Denver in the winter might cause delays. Same thing with flying through Phoenix in the summer.

Are you carrying your luggage? Can you run with it? Are you traveling with small children? Do you have to use the restroom?

Maybe a couple extra hours in the airport is better than missing your connection. Most airlines will charge you to rebook if the issue isn't their fault.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Flying and Driving

Sometimes it's cheaper to fly into a smaller airport instead of the major one. You've probably read about San Jose versus SFO or Fort Lauderdale versus Miami. And, many times it is cheaper.

Remember to figure in all the facts when looking at fares, though. Will transportation costs be greater? Will you spend more time on the road? Is there the transportation you need?

When you take into account all the fees, times, and in some cases, convenience you may be surprised which one is cheaper.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Save the Date!

The 28th annual Napa Valley Open Studios is a free, self-guided tour where you can meet local artists, learn about what they do and purchase art directly from them.

During the last two weekends in September studios all over the Napa Valley will be open to bring you up close and personal with the artists and their work.

With 79 participating artists and 45 unique studio locations, this will be a great event for collectors, artists, and those who are looking for an artistic experience.

For more information, check out the website at

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Viura...Ever Heard of it?

Ever heard of the grape Viura? Perhaps you know it as Macabeo. Either way, it’s a white wine grape used in Spain’s Rioja region and in the southernmost region of France. The Viura grape is one of the three that goes into Spanish sparkling wine, Cava. But, it can also be used on its own to make still wine.

Depending on how it is grown and used. If picked early and aged in stainless steel, the wines can be fresh, floral, and aromatic. Or, if harvested later and aged in oak you can expect heavier, more honeyed, and nuttier tastes.

This pairs nicely with grilled shrimp, mango salad, white pizza, risotto, Manchego cheese, or Gouda cheese…or an easy drink at a party. Sounds like summer time to me.