• Here I Go!

    Long Beach, California…I am setting sail on my most ambitious part of my trip so far! 21 days crossing the Pacific Ocean aboard Holland America’s Volendam…

    Multiple sea days on an old style crossing that will bring me to Hawaii, Fiji, and the South Pacific before reaching the glorious Sydney Harbor!

    I have a lot of magazines, my iPad is loaded, and empty sketchbooks to keep me busy!

    It will be a total shock signing off the “grid”for awhile as I am in the middle of the ocean for days…



  • Paying Homage to the Queen!

    Los Angeles, California…I drove out to Long Beach today to embark my ship for my 21 day trans-pacific cruise to Australia!

    Permanently docked next to my ship is the grand Queen Mary! This historic seafaring vessel has become a hotel, museum, and tourist attraction. It truly is a beautiful ship that reminds me of the Titantic! Long and stately with its red funnels, this ship makes me nostalgic for the old days of cruising.

    There is a Princess Diana exhibit as well as an evening tour of ghost hunting aboard. I guess there were many deaths aboard during its years of service and those souls still haunt this grande dame!

    I imagine steamer trunks, immaculately dressed guests, and orchestras playing all night in its heyday! What a cool piece of travel history!





  • Zipping thru Tinseltown!

    Los Angeles, California…the entertainment capital is made of many distinct areas. Of course, Beverly Hills is known allover the world for its prime real estate and celebrity excesses…but, there is so much more to this city than that! I love West Hollywood and the surrounding Hollywood Hills and usually spend the majority of my time here…shopping, restaurants, and clubs predominate here and really give you a sense of the LA vibe .

    One of the thrills of any visit to Los Angeles is zipping around in a car, if you splurge for an over the top sport-car that’s even better! This town judges you by your car, so I guess my rented Corolla is definitely not earning me any fans or admirers!

    A trip through Beverly Hills and on through to the Sunset Strip gives me a glimpse of some of the beautiful old movie architecture that this town holds…the Chateau Marmont looms like a castle over Sunset Blvd and is an amazing place to celebrity spot! Further along on the way to Hollywood you see the Hollywood sign in the hills above and of course Mann’s Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Blvd known for its stars with celebrity’s feet and handprints in the cement!

    For me the true star of the show is Fred Segal on Melrose Ave! This leaf covered shopping mecca is THE place to go…it manages to showcase the perfectly curated collection of the latest styles that speak to the West Coast look that always combines relaxed casual fashion and designer chic! I have been shopping here for decades and still get a rush pulling into the parking lot.

    LA is so different to NYC, but it’s a lot of fun because of that…thats why I always enjoy my time in Tinseltown!






  • Indulging in La La Land!

    Los Angeles, California…food is a huge part of travel and I luv FOOD! I arrive to beautiful warm weather in sunny California and eating one of my West Coast favorites is on my mind…IN-N-OUT burger!

    These have to be the best fast food burgers in the USA! Fresh toppings on a yummy meat patty with their own “special spread”. I am a total burger traditionalist…no cheese, onions, lettuce, tomatoes with crisp fries on the side! But it seems most people go for the double burger with cheese…but a simple burger is $1.95! Wow! What a deal!

    I sit outside and look up at the palm trees that line Sunset Blvd and I know I am in La La Land! This is a MUST on any trip out west!





  • Pizza, Pizza, Pizza!

    Chicago, Illinois…farewell to my hometown! A trip to Chicago wouldn’t be complete without Pizza! I have a few favorites here, but my Bon Voyage meal was a family outing for traditional Chicago deep dish…Lou Malnati’s is a Windy City institution and always lives up to its fame!

    The restaurant is low key…not anything to look at…the star is the pizza! A crispy crust filled with oozing cheese and topped with fresh chopped tomato sauce and crumbled sausage! It’s truly decadent as the slice goes from pan to plate with the cheese stringing between slices. The tomato sauce is slightly tangy which creates a delicious flavor mix! We started our meal with their signature salad, which is a meal in itself, so I could only plow through two slices of pizza! We had leftovers for days!

    The Midwest is definitely a place of hearty food! Chicago definitely shines with its share of comfort foods that I long for from my youth! It was a great visit seeing family, hanging out with old and new friends, and reacquainting myself with the city I grew up in and some of my favorite memories!





  • Rise to the Top!

    Chicago, Illinois…what fun playing tourist in my own hometown! I decided to visit the skyscraper formerly known as the Sears Tower; I get in a taxi and ask to go to the Sears Tower and the driver quickly reminds me it was renamed the Willis Tower years ago! Whoops! It’s now known for it’s suspended glass balconies that extend out over the city from it’s sky deck 103 stories above downtown Chicago!

    What a rush getting a 360 degree view over all of Chicago from the former tallest building in the world, now only the tallest building in the Western world.

    After a 60 second ear popping ride in the high speed elevator, I arrive at the Sky Deck. Not overly crowded, I am able to indulge easily in the views on this clear day that are totally breathtaking! I make my way to the gravity defying clear balconies…I didn’t think I would be phased, but as I took off my shoes and stepped on the glass I started to feel weak in the knees! It’s freaky to think that this can hold up and make you feel you are standing well over 1200 feet directly above the ground…

    I laugh at tourists posing in these clear box-like viewing balconies…but they probably thought I was weird too going in barefoot!

    I am on a high literally and figuratively enjoying Chi-Town!







  • My Kind of Town!

    Chicago,Illinois…I am realizing what an amazing city I grew up in! This beautiful sunny Fall day I have spent strolling through downtown Chicago…

    The lake, the river, the art installations of Millennium Park, the architecture & skyline…amazing elements that work together to create a world class city! This Midwestern hub really shines…I am strolling up the Magnificent Mile of Michigan Avenue falling in love once again with my hometown. I am amazed at how the city really combines an urban vibe but retains a Midwest sensibility!

    Leaving a place and returning with a new perspective really pays off…I am walking around wide eyed absorbing all that the Windy City has to offer!





  • Done Wright!

    Chicago, Illinois…I have travelled the world and yet so close to where I grew up is an area I took for granted for its sights and major contribution to the world of style and architecture…Oak Park is the home of Frank Lloyd Wright and the district bearing his name is a showcase for his brilliance that launched Prairie style architecture! This area served as his laboratory for him to experiment and develop his world renowned and beloved style.

    It’s a feast of housing style that lines the historic streets. I have driven by many times in my younger life and didn’t appreciate the magnitude of the impact and importance of this small artistic suburb! It’s breathtaking to walk these streets and see the different homes that explore this style of architecture.

    Beautiful modernist lines, a pre art deco vibe, and brilliant use of woodwork and masonry.

    Sometimes the best sights are not a world away, but right under your nose! We just need to slow down and take them in…20120923-113025.jpg







  • Hot Diggety Dog!

    Chicago, Illinois…I travelled from Paris to my hometown of Chicago via London! I grew up in this town and it’s nice to get back once in awhile…

    My first stop is my all time favorite and most missed thing about living here: Chicago Hot Dogs! There is nothing better than these treats and no matter how many other people try, they never seem the same anywhere else but in the Windy City…

    The poppy seed bun, that taste of the Vienna beef hotdog, and all the toppings! They make me so happy!

    Food is such a big memory of growing up and getting the opportunity to return to Chicago in order to indulge once again in the city’s famous hot dogs is a true treat of traveling!




  • Gotta Love the French!

    Paris, France…it’s a cold and rainy Friday night in the city! But I love Parisians resilience to it all…they still look chic and fill outdoor cafes with their love of life; albeit with outdoor heaters warming them as they enjoy glass after glass of wine and delicious fare! They really do know how to live and seem to truly enjoy themselves to the fullest.

    I would be painting an untrue picture if I didn’t mention that Parisians are a difficult bunch! They have zero tolerance for visitors that do not perfectly speak French and really do not go out of their way to be friendly.

    I have been yelled at more times than I can count these last few days! I had a store clerk scold me for touching the merchandise, I had a metro attendant scowl at me for asking a question, I had a waiter loose patience and walk away, and have had more stares of utter disgust than I care to remember! But that’s the uncanny charm of the whole experience…once you chill, let it roll off, and call them on their behavior it all becomes a series of funny French moments! Don’t get mad, don’t raise your voice, and don’t fight! It’s like a cat and mouse game that shouldn’t spoil a moment of your time in one of the most beautiful cities I know!

    The French and their personalities are like the memorable stars of a magical movie set to the most breathtaking cinematography! It’s all the magic that makes up the City of Light!