Posts with tag "Travel"


Take a trip up the Northern California Coastline

I love the Northern Coast of California probably as much as the southern coast. While it's much colder and foggier, the scenic views are simply stunning. It's a place where ocean fog rolls in to blanket hushed redwood forests and whales spout offshore. ...continue reading the story called Take a trip up the Northern California Coastline


I Love London!

If you haven't visited London then add it to your list of places to visit. There's something there for everyone (kids, teenagers, adults, singles, foodies, shopaholics, turbo tourists etc etc) plus there is no language barrier ūüôā ¬†Plan on spending at least 3-5 days if not more.¬†


The Natural Beauty of Yosemite

Just four hours east of San Francisco, you'll find the magnificence of nature at Yosemite. This national park can truly be described as heaven on earth and is the perfect getaway if you are looking for a quiet and peaceful vacation. ...continue reading the story called The Natural Beauty of Yosemite


Paris – Je t’aime!

Paris is the most enchanting, fabulous, romantic and aesthetically beautiful city in the world. There aren't enough adjectives in the dictionary to describe my love affair with this city! It truly has it all - gorgeous art & architecture, amazing food, fantastic shopping, and an incredible amount of attitude ūüôā


I Love NYC!

New York City is one of my favorite cities in the world. I find it invigorating, energizing, exciting, and sexy. I love the beautiful skyscraper skyline, the majestic Hudson river, the amazing museums, fantastic shopping and last but not least the incredible food. There is nothing like eating a NY Hotdog while walking through Central Park or a slice of the heavenly NY cheese pizza after late night clubbing!

Here are a few of my favorites....
Ritz Carlton Central Park - Can't beat the location. Across from Central Park, a block away from Fifth Avenue.
The Plaza - Landmark hotel. Absolutely beautiful and also great location.
Hotel Gansevoort - Modern, contemporary hotel located in the Meat Packing District. Walking distance to amazing restaurants and shopping.
Ritz Carlton

Buddakan - Pan Asian. Beautiful decor, Excellent food, Vibrant Scene
Roja Mexicano - Mexican. Best Guacamole made table side. Awesome Margaritas and desserts.
Koi - Sushi, Asian. Amazing, Creative Sushi.
Balthazar - French. Fabulous. Fun.

Fifth Avenue - Bergdorf Goodman, Saks, Henri Bendel, Designer Boutiques, American Girl
Soho - Quaint setting but mostly big chains like Bloomingdales, A/X, H&M. Some cute stores that I like are Olive & Bette, Frock, Custo Barcelona.
Meat Packing District - Boutique Shopping. Diane Von Furstenberg, Catherine Malandrino, Calypso St. Barth, Christian Louboutin, Stella McCartney among others


Dylan's Candy Store - Absolute fantasy for most kids.
American Girl Store - Every 7 - 11 year old girls' dream come true store!
Magnolia Cupcakes - Decadent cupcakes.


Broadway Shows - So many to choose from. My favorites include Wicked, Lion King, Mamma Mia, and Phantom of the Opera.
Museums - The Met, MoMA, The Cloisters, The Guggenheim and The Museum of Natural History are all amazing


My Guide to Vegas!

City of Sin, City of Light, City of Whatever you might....
Las Vegas is a perfect location for so many occasions be it a Bachelor/Bachelorette Weekend, Birthday, Anniversary or a just because weekend.
Its a one stop shop for some of the best dining, shopping, hotels and any kind of entertainment!!!!
Here are some of my favorites in the city currently!

1. Encore - Best overall hotel. Awesome rooms, dining, night life, pool scene, spa and shopping.
2. Cosmopolitan - Best for Bachelor/Bachelorette type weekend as it has the most happening clubs, bars, and restaurants currently.
3. Mandarin Oriental - Best for those who prefer not to have a casino where they are staying but want to be on the strip and luxurious accommodations.
Spa at the Encore

1. Tao Asian Bistro, Venetian - Pan- Asian food. Awesome ambience.
2. STK - Modern Steak house. The chef, Stephen Hopcraft, has appeared on Bravo's "Top Chef" and Food Network's "Chefs vs. City." My favorite things on the menu included the Dungeness crab salad, truffle Parmesan french fries, foie gras french toast and the mushroom potpie. 
3.  Julian Serrano - Tapas. Nice for lunch. Excellent menu and great Sangria.
Tao Asian Bistro

Night Life
1. Marquee, Cosmopolitan - Fun vibe. The club is split into four sections; the main dance floor, a smaller hip-hop dance floor, a lounge area, and an outdoor area by the pool complete with heaters and waterfalls. 
2. Tryst, Wynn - Very cool interiors with a 94-foot waterfall right in the center. 
3. Chandelier Bar, Cosmopolitan - Loved the Ambience and decor. Fun spot for people watching.
4. Hyde, Bellagio - Great spot to see the Bellagio Fountain show. Great music and overall a fun place.
Chandelier Bar

1. Le Reve, Wynn - French for "The Dream," Le Rêve combines water, fire, swimming, acrobatics and spectacular effects.
2. O, Bellagio - By Cirque du Soleil is an ethereal, visually stunning show that incorporates the elements of air, fire and - most prominently - water. 
3. Celine Dion, Caeser's Palace - Celine Dion is a fabulous entertainer and keeps the crowd engaged with her repertoire of hits and a collection of songs from other artists as well.
Le Reve Stage

Crystals Mall, City Center - Beautiful abstract mall with an amazing selection of stores paired with one-of-kind galleries from artists such as Dale Chihuly and signature restaurants from Wolfgang Puck and celebrity restaurateur Eva Longoria.


Packing Tips for a Beach Vacation

Our family loves going on beach vacations as its a win-win formula for everyone involved.
The key for packing for a beach vacation is picking clothes that can be used in versatile ways. For example, your beach coverup when paired with accessories and heels can be worn to dinner as well or your one piece bathing suit worn with denim cut offs or a long skirt can be used as a day outfit. Its also important to pack fabrics that are durable and wrinkle free.

Here's my stress-free packing guide for a  five day trip -

  • Bathing Suits: Pick an assortment that you can mix and match.
  • Coverups: Pack at least three. Some coverups can double up as dresses for the evening when worn with heels and accessories.
  • Denim Cut offs: These worn over a one piece bathing suit can double up as a day outfit.¬†
  • Jewelry: Bangles, necklaces, hoop earrings, cocktail rings can help dress up any outfit.
  • Beach Hat: A big floppy hat looks glamorous and protects your face from the sun.
  • Sunglasses: Pack at least two - a sporty style and a trendy style.
  • Light, summer scarf.
  • Shoes: Can never pack enough but I usually carry flip flops, flat sandals, metallic heels and tennis shoes.
  • Leather jacket for cooler evenings.
  • Dressy evening clutch.
  • Fun beach bag to tote all your essentials to the pool or beach.
  • Makeup: Neutral lipstick, tinted moisturizer, bronzer, mascara, black eyeliner.
  • Sunblock

Here are a few Images I found online that best show what your beach wardrobe should look like!


Fun Summer Destinations

There are so many wonderful places to travel to in the US but here are a few of my favorites because they have all the elements I look for while picking a summer destination - beautiful beach, amazing food, great shopping and activities and people watching!!! Malibu, CA This Southern California retreat is perfect in so many ways. Located just 30 minutes from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles but feels worlds away. On one side of pch you’ll find the Pacific Ocean with point breaks of perfect surf, custom beach homes, and great beaches. On the other side of PCH you’ll find the beautiful Santa Monica mountain range that separates Malibu from the valley and is home to numerous stream filled canyons great for hiking. Laguna Beach, CA
Laguna Beach is a seaside resort city and artist community located in southern Orange County, California. This is an ideal getaway with its picturesque location and small size, combined with unique shops and fine dining make for a romantic escape for a week or just a weekend. Ocean vistas and breezes, plus a plethora of cultural festivals create a balance of natural beauty where the hours while away lazily, and intellectual activities inspire and invite involvement.
Cape Cod, MA With charming East Coast appeal, the Cape's endless shores features family friendly outings and activities. Jutting into the Atlantic, The Cape is laden with seaside cottages, sunset sailboats, and sandcastle builders. More than 400 miles of perfect coastline hug the beautiful peninsula, creating a setting with miles of picture-perfect beaches. Nearby, there’s always a trail to hike, a path to cycle, or a fishing village to explore. And the seafood? Some of the freshest available. Lively and colorful, Cape Cod pulls you in ferociously and just won’t let go.
There are fifteen towns on Cape Cod, each featuring numerous beaches and areas for outdoor recreation along with shops, restaurants, entertainment, and more.
The Hamptons, NY A mix of social scene and New York hideout, this luxe beach destination draws fans from all across the country. Known for pristine beaches and ritzy summer weekends, the Hamptons define a luxurious beach vacation. With long stretches of white sand, sparkling blue water and the perfect summer climate, it's no surprise the Hamptons are continuously ranked among the best beaches in the world. Miami, FL Miami possesses a bright and buzzing ambience loaded with Caribbean and Hispanic influences, including a wild and colourful night life and terrific dining experiences around the clock. Massive white sand Miami Beach running along much of Downtown's length is comfortable, well-serviced and great for people-watching while the unique art deco touches provide a special glamour, not to mention the chic fashionistas that make the city [one of] their homes! Miami is located near one of Florida's top natural attraction - the Everglades - and to the tropical island chain stretching south, the Florida Keys.


Half Moon Bay, The Ritzy Way!

Sitting atop a bluff, overlooking the rugged Northern California coastline, the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay is an exotic mix of Scotland and California.The Bagpiper at sunset is just the right touch to add to this experience. Only 30 minutes from San Francisco, but feels like you are in a completely different place far from high rises, traffic, crowded streets, etc. Whether you are local or from out of town and are looking for a quiet weekend with a loved one or a fun family getaway, I highly recommend it. There's something for everyone.
Here's why I love this spot for a family getaway: 
Courtesy: Ritz Carlton

      Courtesy: Ritz Carlton

    • Indoor heated pool and hot tub so usable¬†all year round.
    • The beach accessible from the hotel is absolutely lovely and pet friendly too.¬†
    • The conservatory restaurant is perfect for meals with kids - casual with an amazing view and menu. On Friday and Saturday nights they usually have a some sort of live music or band.
    • The hotel has many sports options for kids and parents - tennis, basketball, golf, soccer.
    • There is a yummy hot chocolate bar set up outside some evenings (maybe seasonal too) with all types of toppings geared for adults and kids.
    • The hotel has an amazing s'mores kit which is a fun activity to do with kids in any of their fire pits.
    • The Ritz Kid's club is a fantastic program geared for kids 5 years and older.
    • Your pooch is welcome too - it's a pet friendly hotel.

    Here's why I love this spot for a getaway with someone special:
    • Beautiful, elegant rooms with a fireplace. Some rooms also have an outdoor fire pit.
    • Great wine bar with wine pairings with cheese and chocolate.
    • Excellent food at their formal restaurant, Navio and their casual restaurant, The Conservatory.
    • Awesome spa¬†
    • Great gym and coastal walking trails
    • World class golf
    Besides the hotel, the town of Half Moon Bay is very charming with unique shops and nice restaurants. Here are some other local attractions that can be included in your itinerary given the time -
    1. Tidepools at Maverick's or Fitzgerald Marine Reserve - At low tide, visitors can explore the myriad life in the rocky tidepools: sea anemones, sea stars, hermit crabs, urchins and other species.
    2. Elephant Seals at Ano Nuevo - take a walking tour and see the elephant seals.
    3. Harley Farms in Pescadero - take a tour, visit the goats and taste their amazing goat cheese.
    4. Clam Chowder at Sam's or fish & chips at Barbara's Fish Trap.
    5. Lemos Farms - fun family outing.


    Ideas for Spring Break Travel

    Spring Break is around the corner for those of you who have kids in school, so I was tempted to write about a few of my favorite vacation getaway places that are easy to get to - either driving distance or a direct flight from California.

    Four Nights or more....

    The Big Island, Hawaii

    Why I love it: The Big Island is my favorite Hawaiian island because its an island of extremes and has so much natural beauty from the molten magma flowing into the ocean to the snow-capped heights of Maunakea, from the green rainforests of the Hamakua Coast to the jet-black sands of Punaluu Beach. I just love the landscape of the black volcanic rock against the blue ocean and tropical plants. There is something so exotic about this island that its hard to describe, you just have to go....
    Favorite Place to Stay: The Four Seasons, Hualalei
    This resort is ideal as there is something for everyone. We stayed for five nights and didn't need to leave the property. There are multiple pools, a large snorkeling pond, amazing restaurants, fabulous spa and golf and a great kid's club.
    Highlight for me: Having an evening cocktail at the beachside restaurant and watching the sunset.
    Photo Credit: Four Seasons, Big Island

    Three Nights or more.....

    Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

    Why I love it: Honestly, one of my favorite reasons to travel to Cabo is the short flight from the Bay Area and the resorts are fabulous!
    Favorite Place to Stay: The One & Only, Palmilla 
    I have been to this hotel with my kids and without and both times have had a wonderful experience. This property has absolutely incredible restaurants, two great pools (one is adult's only), awesome spa, a lovely beach and a fantastic kids club. The service is absolutely amazing and you'll feel totally pampered.
    Highlight for me: The magnificent service at this hotel. You feel completely pampered. 
    Photo Credit: One and Only, Palmilla

    Two Nights or more.....

    Healdsberg, California

    Why I love it: If you love wine and are looking for a quick get away then consider Healdsberg. Healdsberg to me is how Napa and Sonoma used to be almost 15-20 years ago. Its rustic and charming.  Some of my favorite wineries are from this area. Wine tasting experience is a lot of fun as the wineries are smaller and quaint and more than likely the wine maker would be pouring the tasting for you.
    Favorite Place to Stay:  Hotel Healdsberg
    I love the location of this hotel as it is in the main town square making it walking distance to lots of great shops and restaurants. Its a small hotel but has a wonderful spa and a great restaurant. The rooms are a great size and very comfortable.
    Highlight for me: I love the breakfast they served in their lobby!
    Photo Credit: Hotel Healdsberg

    Carmel, California

    Why I love it:  Carmel is one of those places that you can never get tired of visiting. Its just so charming! I love downtown Carmel with all its quaint shops and restaurants, the beach is just amazing and the natural beauty of the coastline is breathtaking. There is so much to do from the 17 mile drive to wine tasting to a day at the beach to visiting the Monterey Aquarium (which is close by).
    Favorite Place to Stay:  Carmel Valley Ranch
    While this hotel is not walking distance from downtown, its a great hotel to stay as a family as there is a lot to do on the property from golf, tennis, bocce ball to spa, hiking and nature tours, among many other activities.
    Highlight for me: Dogs are allowed on this property so we could take our pug with us and make it a true family vacation!