Never in my life I thought I would go visit Sacramento, it is just not a touristy place you hear about often, but we had the perfect excuse… visiting some dear friends that moved there. This ended up being a really cute place to visit, it is a decent distance from other larger cities and tourist attractions, so you can easily hop on the car and get there; but it also has this super cute area called Old Sacramento (Old Sac for short). This place looks like it was taken out of a western movie and the contrast between this and the modern buildings from Downtown Sacramento is super cool. They have all kinds of cute little shops including a really cool candy shop where you can try all kinds of taffy for free (yes, I ate way too much taffy). They also offer boat tours, restaurants, street performers, and more. Besides this cute little gem, you can also visit one of the many museums they offer, the capitol, Fairytale town, or head over to the Dive Bar for a bite, drink and to check out their large aquarium with a mermaid! talk about uniquely themed bars. Even if this is not your main destination, I definitely recommend visiting if you are in any of the surrounding areas.
Stressed out by the back to school traffic, my family and I decided to take a quick mini-vacation to Galveston Island, TX. Now, I have lived in Texas for about seven years now and I still haven’t explored much of it. I had heard a lot of mixed opinions about Galveston Beaches, so I finally got to go and see for myself. I absolutely loved my time there, stayed very close to the beach, so it was very easy to get around; I also went during a weekday after school started to avoid crowds (best idea ever!). As any other cool beach town, they offer dolphin watching boat tours, kayaking, cool museums and aquariums, boat rentals and more. What really caught my eye is the number of ghost tours they offer! We did some of the other things on the list, but I the ghost tour was definitely one of the highlights of the trip, not only because of the walk tour at night filled with creepy stories, but because it gave us insight about the island, showed us historic landmarks, and allowed me to make sense of other things I wouldn’t have known unless I did additional research.
Great Storm of 1900
When we first arrived to Galveston beach, I saw the above sculpture and I thought it was a bit depressing (though beautiful) for a beach town. Well, it seems like it is a memorial dedicated to all the lives lost during a hurricane during the year 1900. This is the deadliest natural disaster in US history which left about 10,000 people homeless, billions in damages, and over 6,000 people dead. After this storm, it was decided to raise the entire city several feet over sea level, which is also the reason why in order to get to the beach you need to go down a very steep set of stairs… isn’t this crazy! The entire project of elevating the entire city and encasing the old homes’ first floor is really worth looking into. A creepy thing to hear about is what the city did with the remains of the victims of the storm. There were too many to properly bury and they tried disposing of them in the ocean (but then they washed ashore), then burning them but couldn’t get the temperature hot enough to burn bone, and then ended up burying them in the process of elevating the city… yes this means there are random bones scattered under the city everywhere! I definitely recommend doing one of the ghost tours if you ever visit, I believe it is worth it. Here are some other pictures of creepy houses we visited, each has a creepy story.
More to Explore
I was not a big fan of the water in Galveston, but walking by the beach, visiting Pleasure Pier, souvenir shopping, the museums, and eating by the seaside made up for it. Also, you can easily take the ferry to Crystal Beach and the water there is better, no seaweed, the sand is softer, and it feels more private. The ferry to Crystal Beach is free and runs 24/7! Would I ever go back?? Absolutely! the place is super laid back, very cute, and I feel like I still have more to explore. Have you been to Galveston yet? I would love to hear what you have to say! I would also love to see people’s recommendations for trips so I can add to my bucket list and hopefully make it there sooner rather than later!
Had never been to San Francisco before and this city definitely didn’t disappoint! The weather was a bit chilly, but nothing a light jacket couldn’t solve. I was a bit disappointed because I couldn’t get tickets for the the Alcatraz tour ***SILENT CRY***, apparently you do have to book that tour way ahead of time as it is such a popular attraction, so I settled from seeing it from far away… for now! Even though I didn’t get to see Alcatraz, there was plenty to do for a full day packed of activities. Here is a recap of our visit for and things for you to do when visiting:
Golden Gate Bridge and City View
There are several stops where you can park to see the bridge, glance at the entire city and even take a look at the Alcatraz Island. Definitely great for pictures although keep in mind that San Francisco does tend to be pretty foggy due to the water in its surroundings, making the heat rise, so it is hard to get the perfectly clear image of the full bridge a lot of times.
Quick Iconic Stops
Other iconic places we visited to check off the list are:
The painted Ladies – some beautifully colored Victorian houses from the 19th Century. The park across the street provides a beautiful view of the houses as well as the city itself.
Lombard Street – This is a short drive or walk at the crookedest street in the world. It is also a very beautiful street as there are tons of beautiful colorful flowers everywhere!
The Palace of Fine Arts – This is an incredible architectural master piece at a park. It s so peaceful, breathtaking, and just perfection. There was nothing going on when I visited, but they do have various community events throughout the year.
Full House House – Now, if you don’t have visiting this place in your bucket list… you are a psycho! lol I do feel for the neighbors though.
Pier 39 – Fun and delicious food right by the ocean, nothing more perfect!
The Ice Cream Museum recently found a permanent home in San Francisco and it is a really cool place to get some sweet treats, learn about the history of ice cream, have some family fun, take colorful fun pictures, and even swim in a sprinkle pool!
Food With a View
We enjoyed a delicious dinner at The Cheesecake Factory rooftop restaurant in downtown San Francisco while enjoying the view of the city. Rooftop dinner or partying is definitely a must!
I fell in love with this beautiful fun city for sure and can’t wait to go back. What’s your favorite city to visit?
If any of y’all are in the DFW area or are ever visiting – I have the PERFECT spot for you! Be sure to head on up to Frisco and check out “The Star.”
It’s the new Cowboys practice facility/HQ.. but even more than that, it’s a hot spot for great brunches, happy hours, and photo ops (for all of you basic people like me).
You can take a stop at Tupelo Honey for some BOMB biscuits and honey, or have a late night out at Concrete Cowboy. There’s also a ton of shopping and events that go on there. Parking is super easy, too.. which is a huge plus in the Dallas area!
And don’t forget.. take some pictures on the green!
Have you ever been to The Star? What are your favorite DFW stops?
While visiting some friends in Cali, we took a road trip to Napa Valley, and let me tell you, if you are a wine lover… this place is a must! We went to this beautiful castle called Castello di Amorosa, we toured the place, enjoyed the scenery, tasted some delicious wine and chocolate, purchased some adorable souvenirs, and admired some very appealing bartenders (can I get some water please? getting thirsty over here, ha!). This place was so magical, I felt like we had a little piece of Italy here in the US with the medieval style castle and the picturesque vineyards. No joke, my ultimate dream would be to retire, move to a nice property in Italy with a small vineyard, and have a cute stone house with a terrace overlooking the entire thing… just chilling and living the life, ahhhhhhhhh 😊
Their wines are very good too and the owner is a 4th generation winemaker. You can definitely see and feel the passion and hard work that go into producing these delicious wines and keeping up with the place. Not only that, but looking at their website, it looks like they are also quite involved in charitable work within their local community, which is really cool to see. I was bummed to learn you can’t purchase their wines (specially the La Fantasia sweet wine, my fave!) at any store, but thankfully you can taste their deliciousness during your visit, join their wine club subscription or purchase them online at www.castellodiamorosa.com. This place also hosts themed events during the year including a Halloween party and a New Year’s Masquerade Ball, how cool is that?! I just can’t wait to go back to this place and hopefully attend one of their events. I encourage you to check this place out next time you are planning a visit to Napa, and if you are not yet planning to visit… it is time for you to start!
If you’ve made your way to the wine
country already, I would love to hear your story! What place did you visit? What
were the highlights of your trip?
If you’re ever in the LA area – the Griffith Observatory is a MUST. SEE!
You can go inside the observatory, but in my opinion, the best views are from the outside. You can hike around the area to see downtown LA, or hop onto the other side for a view of the Hollywood sign.
Be aware that the crowds are crazy! Parking is terrible, so I’d recommend taking an uber up to the top. They’ll take you the entire way there.. so don’t worry about driving your own car!
There are also some great photo ops right at the front near the Hollywood sign, or around the back overlooking the city. This day, the skies were super grey, but the views were still amazing – so I can only imagine how great they’d be on a sunny day!
Have you been to Griffith Observatory? Let us know!
Big outdoor fan? Make sure you add Lake Tahoe to your list of places to visit! I just visited for the first time and had the most amazing time. This place was not only fun, but the breathtaking views while approaching and on the sandy waterside made it that much better. Note the beautiful mountains still with some snow, they are even more beautiful in person! I’m not going to lie, the water is freaking cold and your body will go numb when you first get in, but there are tons of water activities to do (not necessarily swimming), the water is crystal clear, there’s a nice bar to get food and drinks while you sun bathe, and you can even go hike and explore this amazing place.
Travel Guide Tips
Must do water activity: Jet Skiing. The water activities here are on the pricier side since it is a popular attraction, but if you can, make sure to do it. There’s paddle boarding too, but after getting in that freezing water there was no way I would risk falling in.
At the mountain: Try the ski lift for an even better view !
Take a bite and more: Make sure you don’t eat too many snacks while at the lake and head over to the Shops at Heavenly Village for a nice dinner, more fun activities and even live music.
Been anywhere exciting lately? Share your experience with us!
I had a long layover in Las Vegas, 14 hours to be exact, so took advantage of the opportunity to walk around the strip and booked a room at one of the cool themed hotels in the area. The tricky part? I was there with my 12-year-old daughter, so nightclubs, casinos, and bars were out of the question. Here is a quick bullet point review of my short child friendly experience:
The City that Never Sleeps?
12:30am and the Bellagio fountain as well as the Eiffel Tower viewing deck closed… hmmmm I guess I had the misconception that Vegas would be the one place where places wouldn’t close that early, especially being main attractions for looking at the city lights. I guess these two things will wait for my next trip there…sad, was really looking forward to this ☹
Late Night Munchies
24/7 Taco Bell Cantina! Yaaaaasssssss. I am a Taco Bell lover as it is, now you combine that plus a spiked freeze and I am hooked!! My daughter and I are on the same page here, she even got a hat with the image of a hot sauce packet.
Taking a Stroll
Walking on the strip, looooooved the lights, people watching (very interesting sights), and the city environment. After living in the suburbs for so long, you learn to enjoy the city setting at least once in a while. There weren’t as many people as I thought, but I believe this is because it was a weeknight. Loved taking pictures here, just such a fun looking place.
The highlight of my overnight stay and early morning? The Paris Hotel, Las Vegas. This hotel was beautiful, just walking around inside was entertaining enough. We met some cool people and hung out for a while by the casino and even got a room upgrade to the Imperial Suite for an even cozier stay. Breakfast was fantastic as I am a big crepe and coffee fanatic and they had some amazing options… Look at my breakfast and cry of jealousy!
This quick layover in Las Vegas wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, mostly due to timing issues, but would definitely love to go back with that as my primary destination to really enjoy what they have to offer. Many of the hotels offer a variety of shows including Cirque du Soleil, magic shows, comedy shows, and concerts as well as amazing casinos, high-end cuisine, and bars. Another cool thing? The Grand Canyon is not even too far from there, so there are tours departing from Las Vegas to go see it (bonus perk!). I do feel that this place can be enjoyed with the family if one spends more day time there or with adult friends for the fun night-life atmosphere. Care to share your favorite thing to do in Las Vegas? Would love to keep it in mind for my next visit!
There’s NOTHING better to me than having a staycation. My birthday was on June 1st, and my husband knows me well enough by now to know what I really want… a night at a hotel!
I’ve been staying at hotels since I was a little kid. Mostly local to where we lived, and there’s nothing better. It’s like a little home away from home with a treat-yo-self kind of feel. Especially if there’s a plush robe and room service!
In case you’ve never had a staycation – here are my top things to look for:
Food options – Take a look at what’s in the area or if there’s a restaurant/bar at the hotel! Nobody wants to get hangry on “vacation”!
Amenities – Personally, I love an outdoor pool (plus if it’s heated). I also look for a bathtub (always wash it first), free parking, room service breakfast, a robe, and pet friendly since our pup loves hotels as much as I do.
Style – If you’re looking to splurge on a staycation, find a place that matches your style! I love a fresh, modern feel in a hotel.
My most recent staycation was at the Sandman Hotel in Plano, TX. It was great! We got upgraded to a suite since we had a dog with us and had to stay on the first floor.. I’m not complaining! The room service was top notch and the room was super nice.
If you’re in the US – you might be thinking about your next summer vacay and which beaches to go to. I’m in TX and the beaches here are sub-par (giving too much credit..). I’ve been to almost every coast and I know my absolute favorite.. California beaches!
I personally love seeing cliffs and mountains, waves and surfers, and the people watching is PREMIUM.
So if you’re planning to go to the west coast soon, here are my fave LA area beaches:
Venice Beach – This is THE BEST people watching spot. You’ll have street performers, bodybuilding competitions, skaters, bikers, shops.. walk up and down the beach for sure.
Manhattan Beach – If you want to relax, here ya go! There are surfers to watch, a gorgeous CALM boardwalk, and a super clean beach. The sand is soft and there are amazing, nice restaurants that are walkable.
Santa Monica – The beach will be more packed here, but you’ll also be near the pier with the ferris wheel, roller coaster, and a ton more. You’ll pay more for anything in this area but it’s a must-see for sure!
Malibu – This is my personal favorite! Go to Paradise Cove for HUGE food portions at a reasonable price, then take your dranks out onto the gorgeous beach to sit in the sun for a while. It’s quaint with beautiful scenery. (PS – the pics below are all Malibu!)
What are your favorite beaches? Let us know in the comments. And have a great weekend!