A fresh perspective on Travel from an Entrepreneurial Mom, with a MBA, sharing tips to extend your dollars and heighten your travel experience. Artist Point on Mt. Baker is a steep climb with a gorgeous view. Join us in the Adventure. Enjoy Life. Make A Difference.

photo credit

Photo courtesy of Tom Dempsey.

Tuesday, November 22

5 Places for Travel And Photography

Traveling to me, means taking lots of pictures and the fun of discovering. I love going where the locals go to eat and have fun. It's a thrill to find the "off the beaten path" places suggested to you by new friends made along your travels. It's also visiting the "must see" sites that has made a place famous. Capturing the timeless moments is an integral part of traveling. This is a photography tribute to some of my favorite places in the world.

(1) Thailand

Temples. Monks dressed in robes. Street food.

Wat Phra Kaew, the holiest of all Thai temples. It houses the most sacred image in Thailand, the small green-jade statue of the Buddha, high on its golden altar in the Chapel Royal.
Ayutthaya is steeped in ancient royal Thai history, chosen by King Ramthibodi as the first capital of his kingdom in 1350. 

Ratchaburi, the site of Thailand’s most famous floating market has everything from fresh fruits, vegetables, and local handicrafts.

(2) Greek Isles

Fabulous sunsets. Historical sites. Greek gods.

Santorini, one of 227 inhabited islands in Greece.

Unparalleled beauty of a postcard setting. Photo by  Miles Ertman
Visit Acropolis to see the Parthenon, built in the fifth century BC. City states of ancient Greece are built around an acropolis where the inhabitants can go as a place of refuge in times of invasion.
(3) Paris

Eiffel Tower. Romance. Crepes.

Alexandre Gustave Eiffel designed the Eiffel Tower in 1889. He also designed the Statue of Liberty.
Cruising the Seine River symbolizes romance. The river divides the city of Paris in neighborhoods; with the Eiffel Tower in the south shore, Notre Dame in the center, and the Louvre on the northern shore.
Sweet or savory crepes can be found throughout the city.
(4) Grand Canyon - Bryce Canyon - Zion National Parks

Natural beauty. Hiking. Enjoying the outdoors.

The Grand Canyon is a holy site of the Pueblo people. It is 277 miles long and up to 18 miles wide. It's located in Arizona, about 300 miles southeast of Las Vegas.
Hoodoos are tall skinny spires of rock. They are most abundant in the northern section of Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah.
Emerald green swimming pool path, a backpacking adventure at Zion National Park in Utah.

(5) Cancun and Chichen Itza

Beaches. Recreation. Archaelogical sites. 
Unbelievably beautiful turquoise waters and sugary white sands of Cancun.
Parasailing is a popular pasttime, along with sport fishing, scuba diving and other water sports.

The ancient city of Chichen Itza in the Northern Yucatan of Mexico, is included in the seven wonders of the world and UNESCO's World Heritage sites.

Tuesday, October 18

Artistpoint360: 3 Must Do's in North Shore of Oahu

Having traveled to Oahu several times in the past years, some activities are definitely on the '3 Must Do's' along the North Shore. Adventure and eating go hand-in-hand while vacationing in this paradise island.

1. Surfing on Waimea Bay

Whether you're a pro chasing the big waves around the world, or a first timer on a surf board, Oahu offers the best in surfing. Top surfers head out to North Shore for the 18 foot and bigger waves that Waimea offers in the winter time. Beginners come out in the summer when the surf is tamer and lessons are available at Haleiwa, the historical town on the North Shore.

2. Snorkeling at Shark's Cove

The locals led us to this enclave off Kamehameha Highway in the Waimea area. It is a wonderful reef where a large variety of marine life frolic in their natural environment of coral and rock formations. 

Turtles frequent the cove, along with the occasional white tipped reef sharks who are not aggressive. It's advisable that they not be approached. As the reef can only be accessed during the calm seas, the best time to snorkel is from March to October. Shoes are recommended along with your snorkeling gear.

3. Macky's Shrimp Truck

All the outdoor water activities will inevitably make you hungry. Voted #1 by Trip Advisor in 2011, Macky's Shrimp Truck is off a dirt road on Haleiwa offering delightfully tender fresh shrimp in a special garlic sauce. They offer 3 types of shrimp, with the the butter garlic shrimp as the tastiest option at $10 a plate. With covered picnic tables and a faucet to wash your finger licking hands, this little piece of heaven will cater the kids and the kids in all of us.

Here is the recipe and accompanying YouTube link for your enjoyment.

1/3 cup Olive oil, garlic, 1 lemon juice, salt, pepper, 1tbs paprika, ten cloves garlic, chives (optional) and 1/4 cup dry white wine (use mirin for substitution). These are all for marinating.1 1/2 pounds large shrimp (about 16)

1) In very hot pan, fry shrimp first until half cooked and pink. Set aside.

2) Let pan cool down and set stove to 3. Add in chopped garlic and sauté slowly without browning them. Use the smell whether you over cooked the garlic. Once garlic is nice and soft, add in the shrimp. Add in the rest of the chopped garlic for crunch.

Courtesy of Chef Tips on 

Tuesday, October 11

Scenic bike rides

Riding your bike to get to Point A to Point B doesn't have to be boring. Here are a few scenic routes to get you inspired.

1. North of San Francisco to Mt. Tamalpais
The birthplace of mountain biking, Mt. Tamalpais and the surrounding areas in Marin County, California offers magnificent views. The peak at 2,571 foot (784 m) overlooks the azure San Francisco Bay. 

'Mount Tam' short for Tamalpais can be reached from the new bike path that guides cyclists over the Golden Gate, through Sausalito and Mill Valley into Mt. Tamalpais State Park. Continue climbing the Panoramic Highway to Trojan Point to fully witness the great Pacific. 

The journey to Sausalito via the Golden Gate Bridge offers postcard worthy scenery. For an excellent photo opportunity, look over to the east to see the San Francisco skyline. A little coffee break can be taken at any of the numerous cafes in Mill Valley before the ascend to Mount Tam. The last restroom stop is at the Park Ranger Station. This 43 mile biking expedition is for the more advanced cylist.

2. San Juan Islands in Washington State
Another beautiful scenic bicycle route is on San Juan Island. Upon departing the ferry from Friday Harbor, one can immediately go on a bike ride on a quiet road with fairly light traffic and views of Turn Island, Jackson Beach, and Griffin Bay. It's a short easy ride, and can be combined with a trek to Lime Kiln State Park to view the orcas, which is why it's called the 'Whale Watching Park'. 

For those wanting a greater challenge which offers even more spectacular view, the Roche Harbor route through numerous farms and Lime Kiln State Park is a 28 mile trek. You'll see alpacas at the Krystal Acres Alpaca Farm and the purple wonders of Pelindaba Lavendar Farm.
Bicycling Magazine - Mount Tamalpais

REI - Turn Point Pear Point Loop

Island Bicycles - Roche Harbor Lime Kiln Route

Tuesday, October 4

Carmel: Driving the Pacific Coast Highway

A Beautiful Drive to Carmel

Carmel, a small city in California, is a must destination for those traveling the West Coast.  The image that is conjured in my mind is the sole tree swept by the winds of the Pacific Ocean. The pine tree is on its own, but, it's not lonely. It's accompanied by the waves, the flavors of the town nearby, and the golfers at Pebble Beach.

I can still remember the drive from San Francisco on the Pacific Coast Highway as if I took it yesterday. I was so in awe of the natural beauty of Monterey Bay. From downtown on Union Square, the drive took about 2 1/2 hours, counting the numerous picture taking stops along the way. 

Memorable moments included discovering a gem of a restaurant which offered you a fresh cup of coffee instead of refilling your coffee cup, and the 1920's English cottage with the beautiful gardens enclosed behind a decorative wooden fence.

For ideas on what to see and do in Carmel, the Carmel Chamber of Commerce has a list of itineraries at

Tuesday, September 27

North Cascades and Mazama: A Natural Gem

One of the beautiful areas we discovered during our travels this summer is Mazama, Washington, located along the North Cascades National Park.

 At 5,020 feet, the Goat Wall, part of the Goat Peak trail, starting from the small town of Mazama, you will see breathtaking views of pasture lands along the Methow River. The picturesque site is surrounded by jagged peaks that surround Washington Pass. As icing to the cake of natural beauty, were the bountiful wildflowers of blue, yellow and orange.

The quaint town of Mazama, which means "mountain goat" in Spanish, with a population of 230, is part of the Methow Valley trail system of nordic skiing, mountain biking, and hiking.

To get there from the Seattle area, one goes on the North Cascades Highway, a scenic route along the Cascade Loop, passing through 'Lord of The Rings' scenery as the Liberty Bell of the glacier-clad Washington Peak. National Geographic calls the North Cascades National Park the "American Alps".

Map of Goat Wall:

Tuesday, May 17

Leavenworth: Profiled Destination

Leavenworth - A destination for all seasons

What we like about Leavenworth are the various activities for all seasons. Sledding and sleigh rides in the Winter. Swimming and river rafting in the Summer. Golf and hiking in the Spring and Fall. And a sausage stand which offers a delicious respite from your activities all year round.
Courtesy of Leavenworth Visitor's Guide
Courtesy of Leavenworth Summer Theatre
You don't have to go far to go sledding. Right in the city is a hill appropriate for sledding. They even provide hay bales to cushion your ride at the bottom of the hill. Plus you will take in the fairy tale view of holiday lights throughout Main Street. There is a tubing hill at the Leavenworth Winter's Sports Club for ages 8 and up.

Sleigh rides
It is a picturesque ride with snowflakes falling on your face, and views of snow covered trees. The horses gallop along with you in tow, around the natural beauty of Leavenworth's forests.

Tuesday, May 10

Great Wolf Lodge: Profiled Destination

Great Wolf Lodge = Fun + Safe + Memorable

The Great Wolf Lodge is a winning combination of Fun for all ages, from babies to grandparents; Safe in the water under the eagle eyes of numerous lifeguards; and Memorable for special occasions. The only site in the West Coast at Grand Mound, Washington was our destination for a combined First Communion for my daughter and Mother's Day weekend. In fact our family had such a wonderful time, that this trip inspired me to start a series of Profiled Destinations for my readers.

Courtesy of Great Wolf Lodge

Fun Times

As a full service family resort, you don't have to leave the lodge to play, relax and eat.

Wednesday, May 4

Seattle Series: 3 "Wow" destinations in Seattle

3 Wow places to visit in Seattle

While driving the kids to their activities this week, we starting talking about places that had the "wow" factor in Seattle. Our discussion included Downtown Seattle, whale watching, and others. As the mommy blogger, I've narrowed it down to the top 3 located in the Seattle metro area, which both adults and children will delight in.

Courtesy of Chateau Ste Chateau
The Chateau Ste Michelle

The picturesque setting of the Chateau Ste Michelle winery in Woodinville tops the list. A mere 30 minutes drive from downtown Seattle takes you to a world of its own. With beautiful sprawling grounds, a lovely mansion, a resident peacock, and of course a sampling of various wine at the wine tasting, you can immerse yourself in happiness without getting a visa to Southern France. During the summer months, you can enjoy concerts on the lawn with your picnic dinner and bottle of wine which you can buy from the wine shop. Children are welcome in the winery tour and at the concerts.
Courtesy of Chateau Ste Woodinville

Wednesday, April 20

Seattle Series: Seattle Day Trips

Seattle Day Trips

Quick getaways from Seattle to experience the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest is as easy as going north to the San Juan Islands, south to Mount Rainier National Park, or east to Snoqualmie Falls. Each site offers its own uniqueness to the Seattle experience.

San Juan Islands

An archipelago comprising of four main islands of the San Juan, Orcas, Lopez, and Shaw islands, it is approximately an hour and a half drive to Anacortes, and an additional hour long ferry ride via the Washington State Ferries to the San Juan Islands. A faster route would be to take a seaplane via Kenmore Air.

Tuesday, April 5

Seattle Series: Seattle Guide for Foodies

Seattle for Foodies, a 24 hour guide

You've landed in the Emerald City. Land of Amazon, Microsoft and Starbucks. You're hungry. You only have 24 hours. This will be a journey to delight the foodie in you from a Seattlelite's point of view.

Starting Point: Pike Place Market

As a "Seattlelite", having gone to undergrad and grad school in Seattle, and having entertained clients in restaurants throughout the city in my various corporate posts, the Pike Place Market encapsulates Seattle like no other venue. We will start and end here.

At the Market, have breakfast of French cuisine at Cafe Campagne, at the foot of the Inn At The Market. If your travel isn't on a weekend, head over to Le Panier for French pastries. If snacks are what you need, sample the fresh donut holes yards away from Rachel the Pig at the Daily Dozen Donut Company.

Walking around the market is an awakening of all your senses, and inevitably, you will need coffee. Have a cup from Starbucks from a high altitude and with a fabulous view from the 40th floor of the Columbia Tower.  At the nearby International Market or Chinatown of Seattle, have a quick bite to eat at Kau Kau's for their fabulous BBQ pork and duck.

Thursday, February 3

A New Year, Finding Your Passion

Artist Point at Mt. Baker, is a steep climb with a gorgeous view. Join us in the Adventure.

It's a new year according to the lunar calendar. The year of The Rabbit. It's a great time to ask ourselves what gets us excited to get up in the mornings, or what do we look forward to in the days or weeks ahead? Could it be the simple luxury of a good cup of coffee, or the upcoming tropical vacation? 

For me finding my passion in surfing has given me a greater perspective as a mom.
Vacation in Hawaii
My last big vacation was spent in the paradise of Hawaii. For the first time in a long time, I did something for ME. What I have always wanted to try was surfing!

Surf Lessons
How does one search for the ultimate first time surfing experience? After reading great reviews about a woman-based business in Oahu called Girls Who Surf, I gave them a call. My husband and I met Cecilia, our Brazilian surf instructor at White Plains Beach, near the Ko Olina beach resort, and far away from the crowds of Waikiki. This experience was to be a private debut and not in front of a throng of beachgoers. After all this is a mom with some dignity!
The land based portion of the private lesson involved laying on top of the surfboard on the sand. Cecilia taught me how to paddle, get up on the board, and what to do when the wave is coming at you. With a rash guard on (SPF shirt as a layer), water shoes on, ankle tied to the board with a leash, I was ready to meet my first wave.

Paddle, Paddle, Paddle
A few yards away from shore, I immediately had to paddle a lot and paddle fast!  With Cecilia nearby, she positioned me for the wave. With my board pointing towards land, while I was laying down on it, and looking behind me, waiting for the "perfect" wave, I heard the words "paddle, paddle, paddle", then "stand"!

There were two ways I was taught on how to get up on the surfboard. Instinctively, I jumped on the board, without going through the moves in my head. In a split second, the wave was pushing me forward. I was gliding on top of the water!  Moments later, my first wave was over.