5 Tuscan Towns for a Perfect Day Trip

It’s been awhile since we’ve traveled to Italy and it’s time to start making plans for a return visit. Our travel preference is to travel with friends and rent a home in Italy to use as a home base. Having a home base lets us set up a combination of days at leisure to relax and soak up the Italian way of life along with busy days of day trips seeing the countryside. There are many things that we love about Italy, especially the hill towns in Tuscany. Here are a few of our favorites, perfect as a home base, day trip, or weekend getaway. Castiglione d’Orcia Where it is: In the Siena province in Tuscany. Population around 3,000. What to do: Visit the Castle of Tentennano and the Santi Stefano and Degna to see art. Relax in the baths. […]

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Gift Guide for Travelers: 2017 Holiday Edition

It’s a most wonderful time of the year! Although I much prefer experiences to just buying stuff, there’s no getting around the fact that some stuff makes traveling easier. That’s the reason for my holiday gift guide for travelers, and while this is holiday season-focused, you can file this away for gift buying all year round. I’ve divided my gift guide for travelers into six sections below, highlighting some of the products that I use (or have used) and enjoy. We all have too much stuff to bother buying things that don’t work, or don’t do what they’re supposed to do, so consider these personal recommendations. Note: Links are provided to help you get more information and do a price comparison. Some of those links may be affiliate links, which means that I may make a small commission if you […]

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Plan Your Fall Reading

I’ve been working on my 2017 Holiday Gift Guide (it’ll be out right before Thanksgiving to allow you to maximize all the sales), and since a is always top of my list (I have the , but there are numerous versions available) it seemed like a good time to share some of my reading recommendations. Here are some recommendations for your fall reading – perfect for that time spent on flights or lounging on the beach – using the 2017 Pop Sugar Ultimate Reading Challenge as a guide. Territory Author:  Emma Bull Synopsis:  Wyatt Earp. Doc Holliday. Ike Clanton. You think you know the story. You don’t. Tombstone, Arizona in 1881 is the site of one of the richest mineral strikes in American history, where veins of silver run like ley lines under the earth, a network of power that belongs to anyone […]

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CabinZero Review: Functional & Stylish

In my fairy tale world of travel, I’d be like Samantha on , who would wrinkle her nose and transport from one place of another, or like Captain Kirk on , who had Scotty to beam him up. That’s no muss, no fuss travel! Since I’m a mere mortal living in a time that teleportation is not yet available, I have to pack and tote my stuff all over the world. Over the years I’ve become an efficient packer, maximizing every inch of my space, but I’m always looking for ways to improve the toting and lugging experience. My packing preference, when traveling for longer than a weekend, is to pack and check a 22-inch roller bag. I know that I can carry it on, and there are all sorts of good reasons why I should, but the reality is […]

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Weekend Guide: Getaway to Langley, Washington

This weekend guide for your getaway to Langley, Washington, will help you plan your getaway, complete with where to stay, what to eat and drink, and what to do. Located on the south end of Whidbey Island overlooking the Saratoga Passage, Langley’s community of just over 1,000 people entice visitors with small town hospitality. With charming inns and cottages, seven wineries in the area, and a stunning natural environment, Langley is a perfect getaway destination for wine tasting, great food, and outdoor activity. This weekend guide to a getaway to Langley was written with the assistance and sponsorship of Whidbey Camano Tourism (their website is here) and its members. This guide contains affiliate links; clicking through for more information or to make a purchase may result in a small fee coming my way to help support the site. Getting There […]

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UNESCO World Heritage Site: Historic District of Panama

Panama City has two sides – the modern, with its skyscraper banks and casinos, and the old town, the historic district, referred to as Historic District of Panama, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Founded in 1519, Panama City is the oldest continuously occupied European settlement on the Pacific coast of the Americas. The city was hit many hard times – slave rebellion, fire, and an earthquake, before being destroyed in a pirate attack in 1671. The original site was laid out in a slightly irregular, somewhat rudimentary grid of colonial planning. The city was moved in 1673, about four and a half miles southeast and is known as Casco Antiguo or the old town. A sea wall was erected for protection from its enemies, the city had a central plaza with smaller plazas on the fringe. The streets were organized, […]

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Cruising: Pure Panama with UnCruise Adventure

This morning we head off to Panama City, via Miami and Hurricane Irma, for some city time followed by a week on the 65-passenger Safari Voyager cruising Panama. This expedition vessel will take us through the canal as well as to many of the smaller islands in the country. This trip is the first time that I’ve left the country this year, a rather unusual occurrence for me, but a lot of family things have been going on and it just hasn’t been the right time for me to take a trip farther than across the country for a few days. With house and pet sitter in place, we’re off. And what a trip it’s going to be! The first challenge will be to avoid Hurricane Irma. She’s rumbling it up in the Caribbean right now, and as I write […]

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Try These Summer Vacation Reading Recommendations

With the Seattle summer weather set to reach 100 degrees this week, I’m enjoying some time lounging around with a good book or two. Whether you’re looking at hours on a plane, lounging by the pool,  sacked out in a hammock, or hiding away at a cabin, here are some summer vacation reading recommendations. I’ve based these recommendations on the PopSugar 2017 reading challenge. You can find the full list of challenges at the end of this post, and previous book recommendations here and here. There’s some pretty heavy stuff on the list, but for summer, I’ve tried to keep things a little more light and breezy. There’s plenty of time to tackle heavier tomes once this heat wave passes. I’ve included affiliate links in the list below. That means if you opt to click through and buy something, a […]

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Sixty Two

Sixty-two. A cardinal number (60 plus 2) and a composite number with divisors of 2 and 31, The sum of the number of faces, edges, and vertices of an icosahedron or dodecahedron. The atomic number of Samarium, a lanthanide. The code for international direct dial calls to Indonesia. The number of home runs it took to break Roger Maris’ long standing record. And, today, sixty-two is the age that I now call my own. It was just a couple of years ago that I struggled with turning 60, recognizing that while I’m active and vitally interested in the world around me, that I’m on the downhill side of life. Nonetheless, I’m enjoying – mightily so – this sixth decade of life. It’s my plan to pack every moment of living into my remaining years, and there will be many of […]

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Five Fun Facts for Friday: Mall of America, Minnesota

The Mall of America is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2017. About one billion people from around the world have visited the largest shopping and retail entertainment center in Bloomington, Minnesota since it opened. MOA features 520 stores featuring leading designer brands and no sales tax on clothing or shoes, the largest U.S. indoor theme park and many other leading family attractions, 50 restaurants, over 400 free annual events, two luxury on-site hotels and much more. MOA features 520 stores featuring leading designer brands and no sales tax on clothing or shoes, the largest U.S. indoor theme park and many other leading family attractions, 50 restaurants, over 400 free annual events, two luxury on-site hotels, miniature golf, indoor zip line, and much, much more. It’s no wonder MOA is a top tourist and vacation destination. With all of the amazing […]

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