More Than 25 of the Best Books Set in Washington State

We’ve narrowed this reading list down to some of the best books set in Washington State. These books will help you better appreciate not only the notable locations in Washington State but also some of its smaller cities, towns, and neighborhoods. Those of us who live in Washington State tend to take our home state for granted. It’s the birthplace of global corporations like Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon, UPS, Starbucks, and more. Washington State produces more than half of the nation’s apples. We have national parks, mountains, forests, water, with incredible bio-diversity. And the people who live here are richly diverse in background and culture. But wait – there’s more. Washington State makes regular appearances in books that make the best selling and best-of lists. Seattle, the Olympic National Park, Puget Sound, and Mount Rainier are just some of the locales that […]

Read More

Planning Your Perfect Trip to Ireland: Easy Tips & Tricks

Start planning your perfect trip to Ireland with these easy tips and tricks. These tried and true recommendations will help make your Ireland vacation full of adventure and memories. While our thoughts to turn Ireland in March because of St. Patrick’s Day, the Emerald Isle is a terrific vacation spot throughout the year. Whether you define Ireland as the Republic (an independent country) or as Northern Ireland (part of the U.K.), we have some tips and recommendations for planning your perfect trip to Ireland. So pour a cuppa (Irish Breakfast Tea, of course), grab some of those delicious shortbread cookies and start planning your perfect Ireland vacation. Are you excited to plan your Ireland vacation? Here are a few other things to keep in mind: The Republic of Ireland uses Euros as its currency, Northern Ireland uses British Pounds. There […]

Read More

The History of the Irish Coffee & the Buena Vista Cafe

Your San Francisco itinerary should include some of the city’s classic culinary dishes, drinks, and snacks. Not sure where to start? For starters, wind down a windy San Francisco day near Fisherman’s Wharf at the Buena Vista Cafe, located at the terminus of the Powell-Hyde Street cable car line. This corner spot’s allure is not just good food and fast service, but also the friendly crowd. On an average day, the old school charm of Buena Vista draws in the thirsty and hungry visitors who fill it to the brim. It can be loud and noisy, this isn’t the spot for quiet conversation. Don’t get put off if a stranger takes an empty seat at your table – patrons grab a seat where they can find it, and that might be next to you. The Buena Vista lays claim to […]

Read More

How to Make a Charcuterie Board

Cooking at home has been the most tried and tested activity while people aren’t able to travel. It’s been a means of keeping busy, a chance to learn new skills, and a way of expressing creativity. We’ve spent time trying to recreate our favorite meals from our travels. I’m relatively adept in the kitchen, we have a well-stocked pantry, and within certain broad guidelines, we’re adventurous in trying new dishes. Sometimes, though, I want something quick and easy. Something that doesn’t require hours of time in the kitchen. That’s where the charcuterie plate comes in. We’ve seen versions of the charcuterie plate in Italy, Greece, and throughout the Meditteranean. We’ve seen it at restaurants across the United States and around the world. It’s easy to assemble (even if you’re an amateur in the kitchen), doesn’t require any cooking, and can […]

Read More

How to Get to the Airport?

Whether you’re a frequent flyer or taking your first trip, you’ll need to figure out one important thing — how to get to the airport! After years of traveling, heading off to the airport is a rather routine thing for me, but you’d be surprised by how often even the most frequent fliers scramble to get packed and to their gate on time! The problem usually stems from one thing: not being prepared.  It’s tough to turn things around when travel starts off on the wrong foot. The last thing you need before your trip even begins is to arrive at the airport cranky and stressed! Getting to the airport in a relaxed state of mind sets the tone for everything that follows, which is important because, once you’re at the airport, very little will be within your control. Fortunately, […]

Read More

2021 Travel Reading Challenge (4th Annual)

Happy New Year! I am so excited to welcome in 2021. I have high hopes for the year – finishing the book that I’m writing (Secret Seattle has been delayed due to all the state restrictions), traveling again, tasting new wines, and discovering new books and authors. I did a lot of reading in 2020, completing 88 books. I did most of my reading curled up on the couch, lounging in a bubble bath, or in bed. I’m hoping this coming year, I’ll be reading on a plane, a cruise ship, or on a balcony somewhere with a great view. I’m so optimistic that we’ll be traveling again, that I’m putting together a travel list and related books so I’ll be ready to go. I’m generally a Kindle reader. I like having dozens (actually hundreds) at hand. It makes for […]

Read More

2020: A Year of Non(Travel) in Review

2020 will be known as the year that I didn’t travel. At least not much. Although I had a couple of trips in January and February, before the Coronavirus kicked us all to the curb, I checked nothing off my bucket list. I had several trips planned to check off a few of the items, including a trip to Egypt and a Nile cruise, and two European cruises, so now I’m just hoping travel will be safe again in the second half of 2021. Instead, I worked on business stuff, including cleaning up some themes on my smaller sites, worked on my Pinterest strategy and tactics, launched a new site (although the pandemic meant it’s a very, very slow launch) – My Listly, binged a lot of television and movies, read a lot of books, hosted some virtual wine tastings […]

Read More

What to See & Do in Every Region of Thailand

From ancient culture and mystic temples to lush landscapes and sugary sand beaches, a visit to Thailand offers such variety that it’s a popular vacation spot for many. The neighboring countries of Myanmar, Malaysia, Laos, and Cambodia have all had some influence upon Thailand and its people, but the Land of Smiles remains largely unspoiled by European colonialism and has preserved its own distinct culture. The country is larger than most people realize and you likely won’t see it all in one visit – unless that visit is a very long one. To plan your visit, think of Thailand as one country with five different regions, each region offering something a little different, a little special.  So, let’s discover Thailand! Information for this previously published post was updated in December 2020 and contains affiliate links. Explore Northern Thailand The North […]

Read More

15 Delicious Japanese Foods You Need to Try

From Hokkaido to Okinawa, Japan is home to some of the most flavorful dishes in the world. While each region may put their own spin on them, you’ll find certain classic meals on menus across the country. With an emphasis on using a wide variety of fresh ingredients, there are tasty options for every palate. Ready to embark on a culinary journey when visiting Tokyo? Here’s a list of the most delicious Japanese foods you need to try.  1. Sushi — One of the best-known Japanese foods, sushi consists of rice seasoned with rice vinegar combined with a variety of ingredients including raw fish, vegetables, and nori (seaweed). Sushi is commonly served with soy sauce, wasabi, pickled ginger, and other sides.  The ultimate finger food, it’s not surprising that sushi has become a popular choice for parties. In fact, sushi […]

Read More

Wine with MJ: Virtual Wine Tasting with Wilson Creek Winery, Temecula

This virtual wine tasting features Mick Wilson, co-owner of Wilson Creek Winery in Temecula, California. It’s a continuation of our celebration of the wineries in the Temecula Valley. What makes a great wine tasting for us, is learning something along with trying wines that are unfamiliar to us. That’s just what wine tasting with Wilson Creek Winery did – Mick Wilson hit it out of the park with his fun discussion style, useful information, and great wine. The story of how his family decided to change their lifestyle and go all-in on making wine is a feel-good moment at a time when there aren’t a lot of them. Here are some things we learned: Some educational resources for average wine consumers who want to learn more about wine: including the WSET program (Wine & Spirit Educational Trust), the Wine Folly […]

Read More