Where Would You Go If You Took Six Months Off?


Have you purposely made a major career change that affected your life? Or, do you ever wondered what you would do if you lost your job? A friend was laid off a few months ago and decided to re-evaluate what she wants to do for the rest of her life. Not just her career, but the rest of her life. Her words and decision have been on my mind for the past few days. My initial thoughts were,  Continue reading

Travel Diary: Hawaii, Aulani – Disney Resort & Spa



This is the last Travel Diary from our visit to Oahu, Hawaii. On this day, we visited Aulani – Disney Resort and Spa. Seeing the pictures I took at Aulani made me want to visit the Resort again!! It is destination in itself, and a wonderful hotel for families and Disney fans to stay Continue reading

Travel Diary: Hawaii – Flight Around Oahu

Do you ever take pictures on vacations and then don’t get around to printing the pictures…..or in my case posting them? That is what happened to me with two recent trips we took: Hawaii & Boston. I think I also missed posting the pictures from our visit to Nancy, in France. With digital cameras, I tend to take hundreds of pictures. As a result, it takes me quite a bit of time to look through the pictures and select which ones to share with you, and then actually do the posting. I did mean to write a blog post with the pictures, but then life got in the way 🙂  You know how that goes.

Recently, a friend asked me why I didn’t post the pictures from Hawaii. When I told her, she replied, “you should still post them now.” It is not like the island or beach have changed, ha! So true! The pictures are recent! So, I’ll post the pictures from our trip to Hawaii.

Before this trip, I had never been to Hawaii. When I was single, I’d travel often with friends. When we would plan a vacation and Hawaii would come up as one of the options, we would end up choosing other locations like Europe, Miami, Cabo, or Northern California. I am not a lay on the beach all day, for multiple days, type of a person. Also, for some reason, to me Hawaii seemed like a romantic destination, which it is, but it is also a wonderful destination for a family vacation, surfing trip, or get-away with friends! And, there is a lot to see, historic locations, gorgeous landscapes, cultural venues, tourist locations, excellent shopping and top cuisine restaurants! And, of course some of the most beautiful beaches in the world…with warm water. Would I go back? Most definitely yes!

We visited the island of Oahu. The weather was warm and humid, but bearable, it reminded me of Miami weather. The first day, we checked in, had dinner, and explored the area around the hotel. We were staying right in front of the beach, but also on one of the main streets, with lots of other hotels, shops, and restaurants, so there was a lot to see – and lots of people! It was fun to walk around and see the shops.

As a hobby, my hubby is a pilot. One of our favorite things to do when we visit new cities is make (take) an aerial flight. This was a unique flight because it was around the entire island and in about an hour we flew around Oahu. It was amazing! We saw the landscape, beaches, farms, many homes, Pearl Harbor, tourist destinations, and Disney’s Aulani. I work with the Disneyland Resort folks and interview them a couple times per year. When Aulani was about to open, I did an interview and when we went to Oahu, I was very curious to see and visit Aulani. My hubby has a friend who lives on the island and he joined us for the flight. Between him and the co-pilot, they gave us aerial tour of the island.

Here are the pics – an aerial perspective of Oahu. Hope you like them!

Have you been to Hawaii? Did you like it?



PS – Travel Diary: Hawaii Part 2; Travel Diary: Hawaii Part 3 (Ala Mona Center & Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort), and Visiting Disney’s Aulani Resort & Spa


A quick pic before the flight – next to the plane.


An interesting little fact about Oahu is that private flights also use the same landing strip as major airline flights (we flew out on a small, private plane, on the same landing strip we arrived to the island on –  while on a commercial airline flight). Usually, in larger cities, private planes are kept at smaller airports and use those landing strips, not the same landing strips as major airlines. So, in Oahu, we had to wait in line to depart after a huge plane, it was interesting.


You don’t see this type of landing strip everyday, water on both ends (sorry for the dark spots, this is the best shot I could get, the plane’s wing is visible in the right corners of the pic).


So green & tropical!

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These homes were nestled among the landscape.

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This is one of my favorite aerial shots: I like how it represents the three perspectives of ocean, land, and open space – plus the way the sun is beaming through the clouds, and the visible waves in the right side.


Sky, land, & sea.

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Nature at its best! Took my breathe away!


I was able to zoom into a catamaran that was sailing in the ocean, look at the clear water!

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The Disneyland Resort – Aulani! An aerial perspective. We visited it while we were there, I’ll post those pics in one of the next Parts of the Hawaii Travel Diary.  It has the Disney magic, captured in a resort, on its own private beach!

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Pearl Harbor.


We landed .

Thoughtful Birthday Gifts

Every year, we receive gifts on our birthday. As the years have passed and I’ve entered different stages of my life, the way I celebrate my birthday has changed. This year, my hubby offered to organize a party for my birthday or take me on a trip. I chose the trip. That was his birthday gift to me – it was a very nice gift. My family and friends also celebrated my birthday with me – on separate occasions. They each gave me very nice and thoughtful gifts. They gave me gifts from my favorite stores and very personalized gifts. It amazed me how they remembered things I had mentioned throughout the year and got me those items as gifts!

Even though my birthday was a few months ago, I had my last celebration recently, with my friend Lizeth. We spent the day together by the beach, and she surprised me by taking me to dinner and giving me my gift.  It has been a summer of birthday celebrations for me. First with my hubby. When I returned from the trip, we had a cake at work with my colleagues. A week later, with my sis and family. In July,  with Lola and Martha. In August my aunts gave me some beautiful gifts. And, just recently with Lizeth. So, I got to celebrate all summer long! Yay!

People have asked me about the birthday gifts I’ve received. I share pictures of them below. I appreciate the gifts and the thoughtfulness behind each one of them touched me!  It was nice to celebrate my birthday with family and my closest friends. I truly feel blessed.

Also, in case I didn’t thank you personally, thank you for the nice birthday wishes and messages!  Hope you like the pics!

How did you celebrate your last birthday? Do you have a favorite birthday gift – of all time, including childhood?



DSCN1692 The trip my hubby took me on was to Northern California. We started with a few days in beautiful Mount Shasta. We stayed in a cute cabin.


We even went hiking! It was our first hike together.

DSCN1872From Mount Shasta, drove to Napa and stayed at Calistoga Ranch, an amazing resort! Part of my gift was a spa day!

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From Napa, we crossed over to Sonoma and ended the trip with lunch and a day of wine tasting at the Francis Ford Coppola Winery.


Some of the birthday cards were designed based on themes regarding my blog or the newspaper column I write for El Latino,  and others had personalized messages for “sister” and “daughter”.


These were the gifts from my sis & nephews/brother-in-law.


Inside the bags were these nice boxes and the card!


A few months earlier I had complimented my sister on her Tory Burch earrings and told her I wanted to get a pair for myself. She remembered and bought them for me! What a nice touch! These have become my favorite earrings, along with the one’s Lola gave me, I wear them a few times each week!


And, of course she knows I love shoes, so she gave me a gift card from DSW!


Mom gave me this beautifully wrapped gift.


Inside was this multi-patterned scarf (mom knows I like wearing scarves), two bracelets, and a silver medallion.

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It has been fun to wear the bracelet. I did not have anything similar.


The medallion is something I will wear for many years, it is a unique piece, love it!


Lola remembered I had mentioned I was running out of racks to organize my jewelry and gave me this beautifully crafted white lacquer jewelry box! She also tried to organize a dinner party for me, like she has done in past years, but between my trip and other friends’ vacation schedules, it was challenging to pin down a date. So, we decide go have sushi with Martha, just the girls, no men this year.


It is completely lined, has a mirror, the middle tray is removable for additional storage underneath, and it has an adorable key with a tassle.


Inside she included these Paloma Picasso earrings, which have become my favorite, along with the earrings my sister gave me.


And these one of a kind, hand made earnings, she said “because I know you don’t have any earrings in this style.” She is correct.

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Birthday dinner with Lola and Martha (she took the pic).


My aunts Cynthia and Lorena gave me gifts from Mexicali in incredibly nice wrapped boxes.


My aunt Cynthia have me this one of a kind, hand made necklace from a boutique in Mexicali. This will look nice with a white top & jeans, or a dress! It will be fun to wear in the fall! She reads my blog and knows that I like unique necklaces.


My aunt Lorena remembered a compliment I have her on a small barrette she was wearing. I mentioned that I had a hard time finding small barretes that would stay in my hair, since my hair is fine. She gave me these pretty & small barrettes! Such a nice and personalized gift!  I was touched that she remembered my comment.


Lizeth and I spent a casual day in Coronado, and she surprised me by treating me to dinner by the beach at the Hotel Del Coronado as part of my birthday gift! She had planned it all along!


Lizeth also gave me a gift card from Ann Taylor, she knows it is one of my favorite stores.

Birthday Vacation: Francis Ford Coppola Winery

Hi friends –

My hubby and I had been wanting to visit the Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Northern California for some time. He had already been to the Winery about five years ago, but we wanted to go wine tasting together. During one of our visits to San Francisco last year, we had made a dinner reservation at the Winery, but decided to stay in the city instead and ended up canceling the reservation. When we were planning the trip for my birthday this year, my hubby suggested we visit the Winery. It was a wonderful way to spend our last day in wine country!

The Francis Ford Coppola Winery is owned by Coppola – the famous movie director. We have enjoyed their wines over the years and it was a treat to visit the Winery. It is a unique winery, because it has a Hollywood twist to it, with memorabilia from many of Coppola’s & his daughter Sofia’s movies. The views of the vineyard are breathtaking and there is a pool where families can enjoy their day. The history of the Winery and Coppola’s vision for it can be found on the website.

The Winery is a destination worth visiting! You can spend the entire day there…..do some wine tasting, take a tour, have an Italian lunch, visit the Movie Gallery (museum), buy some wine or movie related gifts, take a dip in the pool or catch some rays in a lounge chair as you relax….then do some more wine tasting at one their multiple bars.

I’ve been to multiple wineries and this one is a special one! If you visit wine country in Northern California, this is a must see winery! The visit will be memorable!

Here are some pics from our visit, hope you like them!

Have you tried the Coppola wines? Do you have a favorite winery?



PS – Birthday Vacation at Calistoga Ranch in Napa, the The Auberge Spa, and Mount Shasta. Plus, thoughtful birthday gifts I received.


Arriving at the Winery.

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The gates at the entrance are a popular picture spot


The first thing you see when you arrive is the guest services area, like you would see at a theme park. Staff is super friendly and one of them even walked us to the restaurant.


We had lunch at Rustic – it is traditional Italian cuisine & delicious!


My hubby opted for the Tasting Menu.

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My hubby’s main entree – rigatoni and meatballs.


I ordered a caesar salad as my entree.


We tried the wine flight.


And, he selected Panna Cotta for dessert.


They also brought me a little cake because we were celebrating my birthday!


The restaurant also offered an assortment of wines and cocktails.

DSCN2044 The patio seating at Rustic – with an amazing view!

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The bar located just outside of Rustic.


The exhibits from the Movie Gallery (museum) – continued below.

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One of the tasting bars – located in the middle of the Movie Gallery.

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The desk & chair from The Godfather movie! Awesome! Those movies are classics!


Coppola’s many awards!

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The second level of the Movie Gallery.



The gift shop.


The tasting bar located on the second level.


Poster from the movie his daughter, Sofia Coppola, directed.


Picture with his daughter.

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The pool & cabines area (cabanas).


The Pavilion.

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Every detail follows the Winery’s theme – even the elevator had movie memorabilia!


It was a beautiful, warm & clear day – to visit the Winery! The perfect way to wrap up our vacation in Northern California!


We headed back to the city – San Francisco to catch our flight back home.  No matter how many times we drive over the bridge, it never gets old! We love SF!

Birthday Vacation: The Auberge Spa at Calistoga Ranch

Hi friends,

Hope you are all doing well! Sorry, I’ve been absent for a few days. I’ve been dealing with some things. For now, writing and sharing with you is a nice experience for me and brings me peace, so I will continue to share. I appreciate your support and hope you like these posts – at least as much as I like sharing them with you!

I am continuing with the pending posts from my birthday celebration – here are the pictures from The Auberge Spa at Calistoga Ranch. It was quite a treat! The spa is on the property, nestled in the wooded canyon of Napa. The Spa’s website describes it as a “rejuvenating natural Napa spa sanctuary,” and it is just that, a sanctuary! The spa is unique, it is completely open and feels like you are in a tree top in the middle of the canyon. There are multiple relaxation areas, soaking pools that overlook the creek, outdoor garden showers, and an area with lounge chairs where you can enjoy some natural rays from the sun.

Before our trip, my hubby and I had booked appointments to go to the spa together, but then he found out his favorite soccer team was playing in the finals of the World Cup, so we called to change his appointment to an earlier time so he could enjoy the game (BTW, the team he was rooting for won). My hubby got a sports massage, I got a Classic Ranch Massage (swedish massage) & customized facial. The massage was quite good, they have a signature oil, among other massage oil options. There was one unique method during the massage which I had not experienced in the past – while I was laying on my back with a massage roll under my knees, the massage therapist held my legs up and rocked them from side to side, then folded them to each side for a few seconds. It was similar to a stretch done in yoga, but she was holding the weight of my legs. She said it as a good stretch for the lower back. For the facial, I lucked out with the lead esthetician – she gave me a skin analysis and a facial which included peptides and multiple natural antioxidants. She also gave me their signature sculpting facial massage, which is used in Japan, and is supposed to tone and firm the skin. This sculpting facial massage was a first for me.

The spa feels very private and because I booked my treatments for the middle of the day, I was the only one there. I had the entire spa to myself! It was very relaxing! During my facial, I asked if the spa is open to the public. I was told the spa is reserved for the exclusive use of guests staying at the resort, which explained why felt so private and quiet. It kind of makes sense since there is only one entrance to the Resort and once you check in, you are transported everywhere on golf carts.   She did tell me that previous resort and spa guests can visit the spa by calling the spa directly and mentioning they had a treatment there in the past. So, they may make the exception for previous guests.

I bought a moisturizer for my face and a peptide cream. I started using the moisturizer recently, let’s see if I notice a difference.

Here are some pics from my visit to the spa – hope you like them!

When was the last time you went to a spa, or got a massage or facial? Do you have any spa recommendations?



PS- I’ll share pics from our last day in Napa and our visit to the Coppola Winery in one of my next posts.


Arriving at the spa – the signage says Bathhouse.

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The key for my locker – cute, a Calistoga Ranch wine cork is used as a key chain (the resort has its own wine).


The women’s dressing room area, there are only fourteen lockers, it is quite a private resort.


They have all the regular “freshen up” amenities available at a spa. I took a quick pic in the robe 🙂



Outside of the women’s dressing room area, there is a private sitting area and two outdoor showers. The other lounge areas, outdoor showers, and soaking pools at the spa are co-ed.


One of the sitting areas.


The refreshment area.


The weather was warm – I stayed refreshed with this fruit infused water.



The main lounge “relaxation” area.


There was also a variety of hot teas available.


The lounge chairs overlooking the creek.


This jacuzzi is kept hot, due to the war weather, I opted for the soaking pool (pictured below).

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I saw this beautiful dragonfly on my way to the soaking pool.


I enjoyed some time in this soaking pool. It was nice that it was covered, so I got shade (& protection) from the sun.


Behind those glass doors there is a sauna. The towels in the bowl are kept on ice.  I freshened up at this outdoor shower before I went in for my massage and facial.

Overall, the spa is amazing! Just like the spas we see in magazines!

Hope you liked these pics! I’ll share pics from our last day in Napa and our visit to the Coppola Winery in one of my next posts.

Birthday Vacation – Part 2: Calistoga Ranch

Hi friends,

For the second part of my birthday trip, we spent two days at Calistoga Ranch – An Auberge Resort, in Napa. It is an amazing Resort! This is where we celebrated my birthday. My hubby really outdid himself with this gift! Every detail was taken care of, it was a very nice & personalized experience!

The resort is set back into the mountains of Napa , with only about 60 lodges on the property, giving guests privacy and tranquility. Each lodge is located on an individual lot and guests are transported throughout the Resort on golf carts.

Here are some pictures from our stay at Calistoga Ranch! If you want to celebrate a special occasion, I recommend this resort! It will be a memorable & unique experience!

Hope you like the pics!

Have you been to Napa? What was a memorable vacation you took?



PS – I’ll share pics from our visit to the spa in the next blog post.  


Arriving at Calistoga Ranch.


This is where guests are greeted upon arrival.


The reception area.

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This was our lodge – 138 Lake. It was a little piece of heaven in wine country!



We were greeted with a birthday surprise! Such a treat! My hubby had made the arrangements for this, ahhhh, so romantic!


My hubby had also gotten me a spa package for the next day.


Our room…..heaven!!!


Each lodge comes with it’s customized IPad.


This bathroom is gorgeous! With a bathtub in the middle, shower in the corner, and two separate vanity sections. It has windows looking toward the outdoor shower.


Of course, the women’t vanity is the larger one….that is what our host told us as part of the tour of the lodge.


The outdoor shower….amazing! I showered here that evening. It was nice to look up to see the stars at night!

The walk-in closet.


During our stay, I enjoyed a relaxing bath with these citrus salts.


Our deck. We sat here to enjoy some Calistoga wine in the afternoon.


The weather was in the 90s, which is quite warm for me, so I was wearing a light summer dress with sandals. I had brought another dress & heals to change into for dinner, but it was so warm and the restaurant has an outside deck, that I decided to simply add a light scarf to my outfit and remove my hat. And, I called the restaurant ahead of time to confirm casual attire was appropriate.


Our room was turned down for the evening. Robes & slippers are always a nice touch.


Fresh water was set by our bed for the evening.


I was going to try to take a stroll before dinner….and this rascal surprised me! More like – startled me! He was on the deck located by the entrance of the lodge, I couldn’t leave without crossing his path. I am afraid of large squirrels because once in San Francisco a squirrel (a small one) climbed up my husband’s sweater and almost tried to get into his shirt! So, I stay cautiously away from them. This particular critter was quite big, it looked more like a big cat than a squirrel!


It kept running on our deck and onto the tree. I took these pictures from inside the room.


He kept me hostage for about 15 minutes!


Then, I realized he was thirsty. By that time, we were ready to head out for dinner and my hubby went on the deck to ensure the little critter went back to the canyon side (and off our deck!), before I came out of the room.


This is the walkway toward our lodge.


The wine cellar.


The restaurant. It is only available for guests staying at the Resort.


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The restaurant overlooks a lake and canyon area, these deer were just a few steps away from us.


My hubby had the three course menu – with steak as his main entree.


I stuck to one entree – a lamb dish. I rarely eat meat, this dish was tender and quite tasty, with mushrooms and pasta!


My hubby had some sorbet for dessert (sorry, not pictured)….at the end of the dinner, they brought us these little lemon tart treats, so cute! Perfect for the palette!


I went for a walk throughout the Resort in the evening. It was quiet and serene. You can definitely disconnect and relax here.


The pool was open 24 hours and lit up for the evening (but nobody was there).


The next day, we got an early start and enjoyed room service for breakfast. I started this new year right, with fresh fruit and rich coffee! It was a treat to have a relaxing breakfast with my hubby! The perfect way to start my birthday!


After breakfast, I took a yoga class on the deck. I was able to stretch, relax, and reflect. A wonderful start to a relaxing day!

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This is Brooke Bunge, the yoga instructor. Her class was excellent! She taught me some relaxation and meditation techniques. I have been using them every night before I go to sleep and they help me clear my mind.


After yoga, I changed into a summer dress and went for a walk.

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The restaurant – with the mountains in the background. This view was breath taking! I was glad I ventured over the bridge and got to see this view.

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The pool area looked even more beautiful during the day!

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Oh yes, there was a gym….an open air gym overlooking the pool. It was a little too warm for me to use the gym. There was also an enclosed section with air conditioning….in case you are wondering, because I did!


The Resort also had bicycles guests could borrow. There are some vineyards close by making for a scenic bicycle ride.

After the walk, I headed back to our lodge to change for my appointment at the spa. I’ll write about my spa experience in my next post. It is a unique & beautiful spa….I’ve never been to a spa quite like this one, it made me feel like I was at a spa located in a tree top!

Birthday Vacation – Part 1: Mount Shasta

Hi friends,

To celebrate my birthday this year my hubby asked me what I wanted to do. I chose a trip! We couldn’t go too far because both of us could only take a few days off from work. He chose the location – and I agreed! We went to Northern California for five days. Initially, we were only going to go to Napa and maybe spend a day in San Francisco, but we’ve been there multiple times, so we decided to add Mount Shasta to our mini-vacation. We went to Mount Shasta, Calistoga Ranch in Napa, and Santa Rosa in Sonoma – in that order.

Our trip started with an early morning flight to San Francisco. After landing, we picked up our rental car and drove to Mount Shasta, which is about a four hour ride. We were both in a relaxed mode. About an hour into the drive, we stopped to pick up snacks and have some breakfast. After breakfast, I took over the wheel and drove the remaining portion of the trip on interstate 5. My hubby is from San Francisco, so we visit often and have been to the surrounding cities in the past, but never as far north as Mount Shasta. It is a simple drive (once you get out of the city) on the 5, mostly passing multiple cities on the boundary of the freeway, followed by lots of open land and fields. During our drive, I saw a few sunflower fields and they reminded me of my sister, since that is her favorite flower. Once we hit the Mount Shasta area, the drive was filled with amazing landscape, it was mountainous with large forest trees as far as the eye could see.

We checked into Mount Shasta Resort. We had a cabin nestled in the mountain, right next to Lake Siskiyou. The cabin was just the perfect way to spend some time in the forest, relax, and connect with mother nature.

After we got settled into our cabin, we took a nap and then went out to explore the city and have some dinner. There wasn’t much to see, just a few little shops, restaurants, and lodges. When we returned to the to the cabin we went for a walk around the lake area.

The next day, I slept in, which was nice! My body needed the rest. Mid-morning, I went to the clubhouse to pick up some breakfast for us. We had breakfast on the patio, with a view of the lake. It was very relaxing! Later in the day, we went to Shasta-Trinity National Forest and stopped at a few of the surrounding towns. We wanted to see waterfalls and chose to go to the Middle Falls overlook trail.

That evening, we went back to Mount Shasta for dinner at Liliy’s, a cute local restaurant with a french menu. The next day, we were going to visit the Mount Shasta Museum and the Mount Shasta Trout Hashery. It is the largest trout hatchery west of the Mississippi ( located next to the Museum). Since it was still early, we decided to find the Museum, so we knew where to head the next day. To our pleasant surprise, the Museum was still open because there was a play being performed that evening.  We got to see the Museum and walk around the Hatchery. The Museum is small, but has some interesting exhibits regarding the history of the area. We really couldn’t see the trout in the water because it was getting dark, so we decided we’d come back the next day.

On our last day in Mount Shasta, we watched the World Cup match (Mexico vs. Netherlands) in the morning. I was disappointed that Mexico lost, but we never lose hope, they is always the next World Cup to play in again (I am following Mexico, USA, & Germany). After the game, we headed to the clubhouse for brunch and to check out. The Resort has a beautiful golf course, which the restaurant overlooks.

After brunch, we went back to the Museum to check out the trout hatchery. It was very interesting and fascinating. The hatchery is operated by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and funded from fishing license fees. It is open to the public and admission is free. There are small vending machines where you can buy food to feed the fish. It was interesting to see the multiple tanks that the trout are kept in and the process followed to raise them. The entire process takes 18 months, from hatching to release into a lake.  I had never seen so many trout in one place!

After visiting the Museum, we started our drive towards Calistoga Ranch in Napa.  I’ll share pictures of Calistoga Ranch-an Auberge Resort in my next post.

Hope you like these pictures from our visit to Mount Shasta!

Have you been to Mount Shasta or Northern California? Do you go camping? What do you prefer – to stay in a cabin, tent, or RV?



Mount Shasta.

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This was our cabin.

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DSCN1437My hubby’s dinner. I ate the asparagus, it was delicious!


My dinner – it was a tasty salad! The dressing was one of the best vinagrettes I’ve had!


We shared the mud pie a la mode dessert!

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Enjoying breakfast on the patio!

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We took a selfie 🙂

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Lily’s Restaurant.

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The Clubhouse at Mount Shasta Resort.


The Trout Hatchery.

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24Hour Trip to San Francisco


Hi friends,

As you probably know by now, my hubby and I travel quite a bit. He travels more than I do and often invites me to join him on trips. When my schedule permits, I go along. Sometimes the trips are too quick, like 24 or 48 hours, so I decide to pass on them. We have a second home is San Francisco, so we go there often. My hubby had to handle some matters in the city and asked me if I wanted to join him for a quick 24 hour trip. He booked the departing flights for Friday afternoon in order for me to join him. After my workday, we headed to the airport for our 24 hour visit to San Fran.

We arrived in the city in the evening and stopped for dinner, that was it – flight, meal, sleep. The next morning we handled his matters and had a few hours left in our day. I enjoy going to the Fisherman’s Wharf area and Embarcadero area. My hubby is not a big fan of going to the Fisherman’s Wharf area, he says it is too touristy and is always packed with people, and he is correct, but I still like going, ha! We agreed on going to the Marketplace at the Embarcadero. It is an indoor market with interesting shops. It is comprised mostly of shops selling: food, coffee, ice-cream, garden items, vegan or organic items, and a few restaurants. It is always fun to walk in the Marketplace, buy an ice-cream and sit outside to enjoy the view. That is exactly what we did, we also bought some sourdough bread (a must in San Fran) and some drinks. The weather was beautiful and we enjoyed the view from the bay.

Afterwards, we crossed the street to Embarcadero Center for a late lunch at a Osha Thai restaurant we visit often. The decor of the restaurant is very nice. My hubby had some fried rice and I tried something new, fried California Roll. It was not quite what I expected. I was envisioning more of a crunchy sushi roll. It was crunchy & tasty, but a bit too greasy.

After lunch, we headed back to the airport to catch our flight home. We always get a rental car and have to take the air tram to the terminal. The tram ride takes a few minutes and always reminds me of Disneyland, of course their monorail is a lot larger, but that is what I think of when we are on it. I like to sit at the front of the tram and follow the path as we pass multiple stops. It is a routine part of each trip we make to the city, but I still enjoy it.

We departed from the new terminal, it has a modern decor, with new chairs that look like pods, and long counters with plug-ins for laptops or phones. I sat in the chairs and they are quite comfortable. Luckily, we were upgraded for our flight home, which always makes for a more comfortable flying experience.

Just like that, we were back at home sleeping in our own bed 24 hours later. Even though it was a of a hectic trip and I was tired on Friday evening, it was worth it in order to spend time with my hubby and enjoy time with him in the city.

Have you been to San Francisco? Do you take quick out of town weekend trips? What is your favorite travel destination? I’d love to hear from you!


PS –  Birthday Vacation at Calistoga Ranch in Napa and Orlando Get-Away.

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The Marketplace.

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We got some organic soft-serve ice-cream….only in San Fran! The warm weather resulted in a longer line than usual.

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The other ice-cream shop also had a long line.

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We stopped for some sourdough bread, a must when in San Fran!

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Osha Thai Restaurant

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The airport tram.

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The new terminal at the SFO airport.

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Orlando Get-Away

Every so often, my hubby and I have the opportunity to go out of town. In time, we would like to try to have a baby, so I try to take advantage of opportunities to travel now because I know that in the future it may not be as easy to take these get-aways. We recently went to Orlando, a beautiful city which we have visited in the past. My husband used to live in Florida, so he has friends there. In the past few years, we have been to Orlando about two to three times per year. I have been to all the Disney World Parks and they are amazing, and to most of the top tourist attractions. Now, when we visit Orlando, we go to less “touristy” locations. We also like to enjoy the amenities at the resort, such as the pool and spa. I know, may seem funny, we live in San Diego where there are also lots of pools, spas, and palm trees, but when we get away we disconnect a bit and relax!

We split our seven day stay in Orlando between two hotels. First we stayed at the JW Marriott & Ritz Carlton Resort, where we have stayed before. For the second part of the trip, my husband was taking a pilot course (flying is his hobby) and we moved to the Hilton, which was on the other side of town and closer to the flight school. As we were preparing for the trip, I was making plans of what I would do while he was busy during the day attending classes – from going for long walks, enjoying the resort, floating in the lazy pool, going to the jacuzzi, maybe going to the gym, and writing some blog posts. Well, I didn’t really get around to doing it all! I did lots of relaxing, reading, and sleeping!

The first day, I slept in because I was tired from working long hours the days prior to leaving on vacation (you know how that goes) and from the flights (it takes two flights to get from San Diego to Orlando on United). We left our home about 9:00am and arrived about ten hours later in Orlando. It was about 11:30pm east coast time when we checked into our hotel. We ordered room service for dinner. I try not to eat that late, but did have half a piece of key lime pie as my dinner – I was on vacation after all – and you have to eat key lime pie when you are so close to Key West in Florida!

The first day it was raining, we had a late breakfast, watched a movie and relaxed. The room had a nice view and a couch next to the window – it was heaven! I even enjoyed watching the rainfall. Rain in Orlando is different from San Diego rain. In Orlando, it rains more often, it is a sudden storm and in a few hours it passes. We got out of the room for a long walk around the resort & surrounding area. It is a beautiful property!

The second day, we explored the Resort further. The weather was cloudy, we didn’t get in the pool, but did enjoy the jacuzzi! We did some shopping and went out to eat.

By day three, I was done with relaxing. It was the first sunny day and the weather was perfect, just the right level of warm. We got up early, packed since we were changing hotels, and went for a long walk around the resort. It was the first day that I was able to take some nice pictures to share with you. Midday we changed hotels and then drove to Palm Beach to meet friends for dinner.

The next day, my hubby went off to pilot school bright and early. I explored the Hilton resort and spent time by the pool. My hubby came back mid-afternoon and we met for a late lunch. That day definitely felt like a vacation because we ate outside by the pool and had fruity drinks! In the evening we ate ice-cream in the room and watched a movie.

By the fifth day, I wanted to visit the sights and we went to Celebration, a cute development (community) with residences and retail shops. It was like visiting the set of Wisteria Lane on Desperate Housewives. We had a delicious Italian dinner and ate ice-cream outside!

The day before we returned home, I got up early and left the hotel with my hubby. I dropped him off at the flight school and was about to head to Universal City Walk, when I read that the parking lot had been evacuated due to a bomb threat. I didn’t want to deal with the traffic and decided to visit downtown Orlando instead.

On our last day in Orlando, I decided to check out of the hotel early and accompany my husband to the flight school. I set-up my laptop on one of the desks in the library and spent some time writing on the blog. So, I did manage to write one blog post while on vacation 🙂

It was nice to get away, to disconnect and re-charge. It also helps me to clear my mind and make plans for projects I am managing at work or upcoming production shoots. It was a nice vacation, my favorite part was spending some down time with my hubby!

Hope you like the pictures – I took lots!

Have you been to Orlando? When was your last vacation? Did you go out of town or do a stay-cation?


PS – Our trip to Germany: Enjoying Sonnora Waldhotel & Restaurant and Black Forest in west Germany, spa day in Baden Baden, and visiting Kurhaus Casino & Kaefers’ Restaurant.

Below are pictures from our stay at the JW Marriott, the property is located on the same resort as the Ritz-Carlton Orlando (they are sister properties), guests can enjoy the amenities at both hotels.


The lobby at the JW Marriott – gorgeous!


This was the view from our room!


Our room.


DSCN8010 DSCN7941I enjoyed fresh fruit everyday for breakfast.


You know I love having a robe provided in the room! Gives it an extra special touch!

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I spent most of my vacation wearing these.


I enjoyed watching a few movies.


I took a book regarding WordPress with me and planned to read it….but actually spent time reading these 🙂 Hey, don’t judge  – after all, I was on vacation! I usually catch up on these magazines while getting a pedicure at the nail salon back at home.


This picture and those that follow are from my walks through the hotels and resort – beautiful!

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The children’s pool.


The pool at the Ritz Carlton.

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These little critters freak me out. There are lots of them in Florida!

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The Ritz Carlton.

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The “adults only” pool at the spa.

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The lazy river pool at the JW Marriott – it is so relaxing to float around in it!

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I did take a break from my walk to relax by the pool.



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A Night at the Piazza


Hi friends – this past week, my husband and I went to see the musical The Light In The Piazza at the South Coast Repertory. It was a wonderful performance and we had a nice evening! It was nice to get dressed up to go to the theatre and the Opening Night After Party. The play took place in a setting in Florence, Italy.

In the program, there was a post card insert that asked “What’s Your Most Memorable Travel Experience?” Attendees could fill the post card on the reverse side and post it on a special board located in the lobby of the theatre. It got me thinking about some of the trips I have taken….and in this case, due to the city where the play took place, it reminded me of my trips to Florence. It reminded me of the dinners and evenings I spent during “Nights at the Piazza – in Florence!”

The first trip to Florence was with my friend Lizeth, it was in the fall and traveled in Europe for two weeks. We visited London, Venice, Florence, and Rome. We took the train from Venice to Rome, such a scenic ride. We spent a few days in Florence, visited the sights, historic buildings, and museums. We must have eaten a gelato every day, yum! It was a nice trip, with my good friend! At the time of the trip, Lizeth was and continues to be one of my closest friends. Sometimes we reminisce about the trip with fond memories!

The second visit to Florence, was with my friend Charisse. We had been on a long trip over three weeks, during the spring, in various countries in Europe. It was an organized tour, so I was a bit hesitant initially, but was pleasantly surprised that we had a very nice vacation. I learned quite a bit on that tour since there was a guide with us at all times and all the visits to museums included a guide. We saw so many cities! We spent a few days in Florence. On one of the evenings, Charisse and I separated from the tour group and had a dinner at a cute restaurant in a piazza. We had such a pleasant evening, with wine, bread (with olive oil & vinegar to dip in), pizza, pasta, and good conversation! There was also musicians performing! Every time I visit a city for the second time, I see it in a different way. Usually, I’ll avoid the touristy activities and opt to walk around and explore the city, sit on a bench for some people watching, go shopping, and perhaps visit some secondary attractions I missed the first time.

Both of these trips left me with fond memories! They were memorable travel experiences!

What’s your most memorable travel experience? And, why? Do you have a favorite vacation destination?



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It was nice to dress up for a”date night” with my husband for an evening at the theatre.

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The program included a few pages of the historic sites in Florence, beautiful! These pictures brought back memories of my trips to Florence.


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We enjoyed some good wine, Italian food, & conversations at the Opening Night After Party at Antonello Ristorante located close to the theatre!

A few pics from my trips to Europe with Lizeth & Charisse:


In London with Lizeth, afterwards we headed to Venice, then Florence, and ended our vacation in Rome.



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With Charisse – at the Swiss Alps, visiting London, attending Moulin Rouge in Paris, and arriving in Venice. And, of course, had to include a pic of the famous David, in Florence.

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Porsche Museum – Germany


My Weekend In Photos: Visiting San Francisco


Weekend Getaway: Fairmont Newport Beach


Hi friends, during the weeks leading to Christmas our schedules got very busy with work and the normal holiday commitments, so we decided to go out of town for a weekend getaway. We went to the Fairmont Newport Beach. I’ve stayed at other Fairmont resorts Continue reading

My Week In Photos – November

azteca en la comunidad studio iterview set MMM 1 paola liz landa barbara jimenez nov 8 2013

November was a very busy month! I am usually quite busy, but during November we launched a new holiday initiative called Month of a Million Meals at the television stations where I work. I am managing the initiative, it is a large undertaking, starting the campaign from scratch and working with Feeding America San Diego to raise one million meals for local families in need. It has been a true pleasure to work with the Feeding America San Diego staff and to be part of such a good cause! This campaign was huge because it involved multiple facets, promotion on various platforms, a Holiday Celebration Event at Westfield Plaza Bonita and working with multiple departments within the stations, in addition to the external partners and cross-promotion with other media. We started from scratch, from developing the plan, the promotion, the logo, landing pages, promo spots and scripts, to working with the station anchors and reporters (as well as a national TV host & the Azteca America Network reps), and of course, translating everything to Spanish for the Azteca station….and much more! I am glad to say the campaign has been successful! We rolled out the campaign a few days early and even though it has been many, many hours of working late, it has been worth it because we will help so many families! We still have a few more weeks to go, the phone bank this coming week and some more production and web postings, but we are doing well! In addition to the campaign, I had my regular projects and television hosting responsibilities to complete, and planning for 2014, so there was lots going on during November!  Anyway, this is the reason, I have not been as active on my blog as usual, but I seem to be getting back to my normal work schedule, so I plan to post on a regular basis again! Thank you for your patience & support!

Instead of doing a “Week in Photos” post, this is “the last weeks of November.” Have you worked on any large projects that have consumed your time and required you to work longer hours?



The picture posted above is from the first Month of a Million Meals interview I hosted on Azteca San Diego (I also produce these interviews – for both ABC10 & Azteca San Diego). In total, we produced eight interviews for the campaign over a six week period….compared to the two interviews we usually do for station sponsored events – you can see why this is such a large campaign!


Due to my schedule, I haven’t been able to attend too many events these past few weeks, but did make it to Mana de San Diego’s Brindis Gala. The theme was Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and it was a fun event!


Special thanks to my hubby….he’s been very understanding of my hectic schedule, he’s been so supportive, he’s even been getting take-out for us to have for dinner on nights that I’ve had to work late! On this night, he got it at Boston Market…I had the mashed potatoes & corn for dinner, and the chicken for lunch the next day (this is a large piece of chicken).

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And he even gets dessert! This was his, but I had two spoonfuls of it, delicious! He knows I try to eat healthy, so I usually only have a bite of his dessert.


In between the other shoots for commercials and community interviews, I also had the pleasure of hosting an interview with Rafael Sigler from Freeway Insurance. He’s a pro & it’s always a pleasure to work with him!

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The time changed and it was usually dark by the time I left the office…I did catch this sunset one evening.

five guys burger & fries

Another night, my hubby took me to dinner to Five Guys Burgers & Fries, I didn’t eat a burger, but did enjoy their fries, just the right crunchiness, super tasty! I will definitely be back!

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I put out a few Thanksgiving decorations and enjoyed relaxing with a cappuccino at home on one of the weekends!

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I had the opportunity to appear with 10News’ Bill Griffith in promotional spots for ABC10 & Azteca San Diego 15 for Month of a Million Meals’ Donation Day at Westfield Plaza Bonita’s Holiday Celebration.

1456530_353988334738244_1914415482_nMy hubby & I had a trip to Hawaii planned, so in between it all, I took a few days to get away with him. I was replying to e-mail and taking calls – while sitting by the pool or on the beach, so I was able to enjoy the trip!

A Weekend in Laguna Beach

Weekend getaways with my hubby are a nice way for us to spend time together, while enjoying a mini-break away from home. Getaways sometimes take an effort to plan on both of our parts because we have to arrange our schedules ahead of time and work extra hours to prepare to be out of town, but it is always worth it!

We recently went to Laguna Niguel, in Orange County. We stayed at The Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel, which is a beautiful resort! We spent the morning enjoying the property, discovering the multiple recreational activities, decorations, and flowers the resort has, as well as relaxed at the spa and did some reading. One of my favorite ways to exercise is to go for long walks…and it doesn’t get much nicer than a long walk next to the beach! A close friend of mine, Susy, lives in Orange County with her husband and adorable baby. We were able to meet them for lunch over the weekend – it was nice to catch up with her! We did a little shopping…..and enjoyed the OC! Laguna Niguel is just about 90 minutes from San Diego, even if you don’t stay overnight, you can visit on a day trip, it is worth it! You can enjoy the beach, the shops, and the wonderful weather! What is our favorite weekend getaway destination?



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The flowers throughout the resort were elegant & beautiful!

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Our room was very nice and spacey, with a small walk-in closet.DSCN5730 DSCN5732

This corner cabinet was where the safe & refrigerator were located.

The view from our room….to one of the pools on the property.DSCN5747 DSCN5748

There was an art exhibit of elephants located in the lobby and main corridor area, so cute & unique!DSCN5749 DSCN5752 DSCN5756

The option for outside, casual dining. DSCN5768 DSCN5770

The gym was spacious, with an amazing view of the beach, & well supplied. This gym could almost make one want to exercise, haha!


I spent part of my day at the spa…..relaxation time!


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Walk along the beach….breathtaking views! (forgot my hat, but had on sunblock!)DSCN5803 DSCN5804 DSCN5809

The resort sits atop a hill right on the ocean.

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I love andorak chairs…and what a view you get from these & the one’s below!

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There were multiple options for recreation.

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We did a little shopping at the Fashion Island mall in Newport Beach.DSCN5874

Arriving back in Laguna Beach.


Having lunch with Suzi and her family in Laguna Beach.

DSCN5878 DSCN5876 DSCN5879 DSCN5880We also had dessert with Suzi’s family! The desserts here are a work of art! I enjoyed a fruit tart!

Sonnora Waldhotel & Restaurant and Black Forest – Germany


During our recent vacation, we spent two days in the west part of Germany, known as the Black Forest region. We visited friends at their home and had dinner with them at Sonnora Restaurant. We had dinner there two years ago, they have exquisite french cuisine! My husband has dined there many times over the years.  It is one of the best restaurants we have been to! It is elegant and beautiful, they have excellent service and the food is amazing. Sonnora is one of the top restaurants in Germany, with three star rating and international status. The Restaurant is a destination in itself. People from other countries and Germans from all over come to enjoy this experience and cuisine!  Our friends know the Chef, Helmut Thieltges (he’s also the owner), and after dinner we had the opportunity to meet him, this was quite a treat! It was a wonderful evening with friends!

We stayed at the Sonnora Waldhotel (means forest hotel) which is adjacent to the Restaurant. The area is beautiful, with tall forest trees! The gardens are so picturesque, it felt like we were in a Hansel & Gretel fairy tale! I recorded a video blog of our visit to Sonnora and will post it soon. The experience is unique and the location is breathtaking, here’s a link to the Sonnora Waldhotel & Restaurant, if you’d like more details. If you are in a foodie, chef, or just enjoy fine dining this is a must visit restaurant! Hope you enjoy the pictures!



PS – Our trip to Germany: Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, spa day in Baden Baden, and visiting Kurhaus Casino & Kaefers’ Restaurant.


The entrance to the Hotel.DSCN4982 DSCN4979 DSCN4969 DSCN4983 DSCN4966

The lobby area.DSCN4962 DSCN4985

A sitting room with views of the garden.


The entrance to Sonnora Restaurant.


The dining room at Sonnora Restaurant.


Our hotel room – a suite with a terrace. DSCN4929 DSCN4925 DSCN4930

It always a nice treat to have bathrobes & slippers!


The living room area of our suite.


Picture of the entrance, the suite has an alcove with a closet, safe, mirror, & dressing area.


It was nice to have fresh fruit provided in the room! I wasn’t hungry at breakfast time, but I took a banana & kiwi to go.


The terrace (balcony) & garden view from our room.


A picture of the beautiful garden area – so picturesque!


The view from the balcony seating area of the breakfast dining area.


More options for outside seating.


Another view of the gardens.

DSCN4958A picture of part of the breakfast dining room.


It was a “European” style continental breakfast.

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I wasn’t hungry at breakfast time, so I only had a cup of coffee. The individual coffee pot was a nice touch.

DSCN4959A private dining room located in the breakfast area.

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As we were checking out, Chef Thieltges came out to greet us.

Spa Day in Baden Baden, Germany


During our vacation to Germany, we spent a day at Baden Baden, a city known for its mineral spas. I had been there on vacation with my sister about 10 years ago. I recorded a video blog, so I wasn’t able to take many pictures and taking pictures inside the spa is not allowed. We spent the day at Caracalla Spa enjoying the mineral water pools and jacuzzis, as well as the steam rooms. Afterwards, we did a little shopping at the gift shop and headed to dinner. We found a little Prague style restaurant in town, just a few blocks from the spa. My hubby ordered  a dumpling soup and goulash. I don’t really like goulash or dumplings, so I had a broiled potato (this was pretty much what I ate daily on our vacation to Prague a few years ago). Of course, I tried a few spoonfuls of the dessert, how can you say no to a sundae? I can’t! We had a relaxing day in Baden Baden! If you visit Germany and have time to make a side trip, I definitely recommend Baden Baden. It is a cute & quaint town, with wonderful and unique spas! We’ll probably come back in a few years!



PS – Our trip to Germany: Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, enjoying Sonnora Waldhotel & Restaurant and Black Forest in west Germany, and visiting Kurhaus Casino & Kaefers’ Restaurant.


This is the entrance of the spa (picture taken from the inside looking out).


This is the lobby of the spa.


Our table had flowers and  a small candle, always a nice touch!


My hubby ordered dumpling soup and his mexo-mix soft drink (Coke & Fanta mix).

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I ordered a broiled potato, in the background you can see the goulash dish my husband ordered.


We shared dessert. The sundae was delicious….and huge!