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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

Enter to Win: Universal Orlando Resort Package

  UPDATE:  The contest has ended and Yulia (@thefoodiemiles) is the winner of this great Universal Orlando Resort vacation package. Congratulations Yulia!  You all know that I’m a big fan of Universal Orlando Resort. From the three theme parks (including the newly opened Volcano Bay water theme park) to the CityWalk entertainment area to the onsite hotels, I think they are aces when it comes to the guest experience. Today I’m excited to announce a contest that I’m running on my Instagram account – a giveaway for a package to Universal Orlando. Before you head on over there, here are the details: The Prize Two 3-Day tickets to Universal Orlando Resort parks, including Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal’s Volcano Bay! Plus, a 3-Night stay for two at one of at one of Universal Orlando Resort’s onsite […]

Read More

Splish Splash: A Review of Volcano Bay at Universal Orlando Resort

Last month I attended the media preview as well as the Grand Opening of Universal Orlando Resort’s new water theme park – Volcano Bay. I was predisposed to love it, of course, as I’m a fan of most things UOR (that’s probably why they hired me to be part of the inaugural Blog Squad ambassador program). But, I was not expecting to find so many things to love about this third theme park in the UOR brand. This review is a result of my visit to the park on the media day (with only a few hundred people in attendance) as well as the more crowded opening day. TL/DR:  Just go, it’s amazing! For those who want to know more, here are the details. The story of Volcano Bay starts with the culture of the Waturi, a fictional tribe from […]

Read More

5 Fun Facts for Friday: Irvine, California

Irvine, California, is located in the center of Orange County, just 45 miles south of Los Angeles and 90 miles north of San Diego. The center of the city is only seven miles from the . While its main activities were once missions, cattle grazing, and agriculture, today it’s the 8th largest city in the U.S. and is one of the nation’s largest planned urban communities. In 2017, Irvine has been named the 10th  “Best City to Live in America.” (Niche) and #3 on the list of  “10 Happiest Cities in the United States” (WalletHub). Yet, many travelers have still not heard of it directly, instead confusing it with neighboring Anaheim or lumping it together under the label of Orange County. John Wayne Airport (SNA) is located less than five minutes from the majority of Irvine’s hotels and is served by both […]

Read More

5 Fun Facts for Friday: Anchorage, Alaska

My high school English teacher used to start class on Friday with 5 words or phrases written on the board.  He’d then regale us with information and history about the words or phrases, varying from tidbits about their etymology to the translation of foreign phrases to quotes and more.  He called it Five Fun Facts for Friday.  If we walked into class and there weren’t 5 words on the board, we’d start asking about that day’s five fun facts. Years later, and I do mean many years, I still remember this teacher and the way he made learning fun.  I’ve also noticed when I come across little tidbits of information that I often think of them in terms of five fun facts, so today I’m going to share some fun facts with you. While I’m not promising that I’ll have […]

Read More

Sign up for the Newsletter

I’m working on the next Traveling with MJ newsletter (it comes out on the first Sunday of the month) – have you subscribed? It’s a quick read each month and recaps where I’ve been and where I’m going, highlights some key articles from across my several blogs, and provides recommendations for your next trip whether it’s across town or around the world.  

Read More

Books to Read on Your Next Flight

In honor of World Book Day, I’m updating my progress in the 2017 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge – and in doing so, giving you a list of great books to read on your next flight (train trip, cruise, or wherever you enjoy immersing yourself in a book). As a refresher, the challenge is not a list of books to read. Instead, it’s a list of book themes and you pick something within your reading preferences while still stretching your reading repertoire my getting you to look at books that you may not have considered. The list is 40 books for the basic challenge, plus an additional 12 for the advanced challenge, the latter equating to one book per week for the year. If you don’t read all 40 – or 52 books, it doesn’t matter. The purpose of the challenge […]

Read More

A Dozen Gardens From Around the World

The days are getting longer, and with flowers blooming in the yard along with a few peeks of the sun in the sky, it’s a great time to be in Seattle. Spring is finally here! Since the flowers in my garden are not terribly impressive yet – things will be in full color in another few weeks – I turned to some of my blogger friends to get a take on some of their favorite gardens around the world. I selected a dozen of them, one for each month of the year, and hope you can work a visit into one of them during your next vacation. 1.Springtime tulips at Araluen Botanic Park, Western Australia Western Australia conjures up images of red desert, barren gorges and rugged wilderness, but half an hour’s drive from Perth we found Araluen Botanic Park. […]

Read More