Category Archive: Themes

Hogwart’s is Coming to Universal Hollywood

The official opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood will be Thursday, April 7th, 2016. After visiting both Harry Potter attractions at Universal Orlando earlier this year, I’m excited about having something a little closer to home. Potter fans have been eagerly anticipating this arrival to the West Coast, more than five years in the making. Inspired by J.K. Rowling’s compelling stories and characters that were brought to life in the Warner Bros. films, “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” is being masterfully recreated with impeccable detail as a real-world interpretation at Universal Studios Hollywood.  The land will be faithful to the visual landscape of the fiction and films, including Hogwarts castle which will serve as its iconic focal point. From its snow-capped roofs and cobblestone streets to the historic British sensibilities that characterize the […]

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Postcard from the Oasis of the Seas

This week I’m sailing on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas. It is a behemoth of a ship, with a capacity of 6,000 passengers and 3,000 crew members. To avoid the feeling of being overwhelmed, the ship is divided into neighborhoods – my favorites are Central Park and the Boardwalk. There are also plenty of spaces on the ship where you can grab some quiet time, to read, to reflect, or just to stare out at the gorgeous blue water.

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Is a River Cruise Right for You?

Earlier this year, I was the enthusiastic guest of Viking River Cruises onboard their longship Eistla cruising the Rhine. We started in Frankfurt and ended in Amsterdam, the trip is also offered in reverse, and, I’m told, this was a fairly typical first river cruise itinerary. River cruising is generating a lot of buzz lately, with gorgeous print ads, television sponsorships (Viking sponsors [amazon_textlink asin=’B01DRWEO6S’ text=’Downton Abbey’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’travelingwithmj-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’0d60fa0e-6e6d-11e8-a9b2-7b82edb24d11′] on PBS), and blogger campaigns. But when you strip away all that glitzy advertising, the decision to take a river cruise is a big one – one that needs to be made out of the spotlight and made with an eye toward your personal vacation preferences. Here’s my take on Viking’s Legends of the Rhine cruise. I hope it will help you decide if a river cruise is right for […]

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Hiking in Sedona is Seeing Red (Rocks)

There are plenty of reasons to make hiking part of a daily activity routine – it’s a perfect way to jump-start a healthy routine. Hiking in Sedona offers a few off-the-beaten-path trails that are not only breathtaking but also range in difficulty suitable for someone just starting out, or experienced pros looking for the next great challenge. These trails offer options ranging from biking and trail running to horseback riding and climbing and much more. With Sedona as the backdrop, visitors will rush to the illustrious trails spanning the red rock terrain, with jaw-dropping views of Sedona’s landscape and topography. Taking advantage of the backdrop, mountain-goers can bask in the sunshine while keeping their resolutions to be fit in the new year. Pro tip: If you’re not the hiker in your travel group, you can still get an appreciate for […]

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60 Years of Innovation at Disneyland’s Diamond Celebration

Walt Disney observed that Disneyland will never be complete so long as there is imagination left in the world, and since Opening Day, July 17, 1955, the Disneyland Resort tradition of innovation has continued, inspiring classic theme park attractions such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Space Mountain, Star Tours, Soarin’ Over California, Toy Story Midway Mania and Radiator Springs Racers. The Diamond Celebration continues this tradition with three fantastic new shows that expand the boundaries of after-dark entertainment – Disney’s signature “kiss goodnight.” New Shows Nighttime will glitter as never before with three, sensational shows that expand the 60-year tradition of innovative and immersive storytelling: the brilliant, high-energy “Paint the Night” parade and “Disneyland Forever” fireworks spectacular at Disneyland Park, and the all-new “World of Color – Celebrate! The Wonderful World of Walt Disney” at Disney California Adventure Park. In […]

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Happy Kahlua Day

I think I first tasted Kahlua, the coffee flavored, rum-based liqueur from Mexico, in some sort of coffee drink whose purpose was more to stave off winter chill, rather than to tantalize my taste buds. It took many years into adulthood, and many trip to Mexico where I brought home Kahlua as the value proposition souvenir that it is, before I understood the many other ways to enjoy it. Kahlua dates back to 1936 Pedro Domecq combined rum, vanilla, corn syrup, and coffee creating what was to become this popular liqueur. Named for a meso-American tribe that lived in Mexico, the drink gained popularity throughout the country, and eventually around the world. Kahlua is often enjoyed in specialized cocktails and desserts, but it is also delicious plain, drizzeled over ice cream, or added to coffee. To help you celebrate Kahlua […]

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8 Places to Celebrate National Hot Tea Month

Tea is the second most popular drink in the world, the first is water, and while here in the United States we haven’t embraced many of the rituals surrounding tea, our consumption of the drink is growing in leaps and bound. The idea of tea being for blue haired little old ladies, full of pretentious traditions, and offering tiny tasteless sandwiches, does a disservice to the many hotels and restaurants who offer fine fare to accompany their loose leaf selections. A few basic tips will help you enjoy your tea, and prevent any etiquette faux pas. Pour the tea first, then add milk. When stirring the tea, be sure not to clink the spoon against the side of the cup. That whole extended pinky thing — uh, no, just no. No dunking. Lemon should be served in slices, not wedges. […]

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Video from Athens, Greece

I was in Greece last month and have written a couple stories about my time there already, this story about the Evzoni, and this one about what I learned from a Greek cab driver. I’ve got more to come, of course, but will be spacing them out over the next few months so it’s not all Greece, all the time. However, I wanted you to see this video. It visually tells you a little bit more about what I was doing in Athens, and how important the TBEX conference was to the tourism industry of the city and country. Travel Bloggers Exchange – TBEX Europe 2014 in Athens from ACVB on Vimeo. If you’re a travel blogger, DMO, tourism professional, PR represtative working in tourism, or travel brand, and would like to know more about TBEX, please get in touch. […]

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Euphoria in Greenville, South Carolina

Come September, I’ll be heading to Greenville, South Carolina, for Euphoria, a weekend-long event that includes exclusive tasting events, cooking demonstrations and wine seminars, as well as multi-course dinners and live musical performances. Dedicated to excellence, euphoria features domestic and international wines, celebrity chefs, master sommeliers, and national recording artists. The annual event shines a spotlight on Greenville, South Carolina’s thriving Culinary and Arts Communities. Greenville, situated at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, stands out with its award-winning downtown, vast entertainment options, and diverse population. And as a charitable organization, Euphoria gives back to the community that supports it, with all net profits providing sustenance to those in need, providing educational opportunities, and supporting children.   And what about Greenville? Centrally located along I-85 between the long-standing Southern urban centers of Atlanta, GA and Charlotte, NC. Greenville and […]

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If You Hate Camping, Try Glamping

I’ve tried camping, more than just a few times, and no matter how committed I’ve been to the process, it’s just not my cup of tea. I’ve tried tent camping. Hiking and carrying all the gear on my back is a whole lot of work, only to be followed by a whole lot more work to pitch a tent. Sleeping in a wet, rainy tent, on cold rocky ground, is just not my idea of a great weekend. I hate being cold, and here in the Pacific Northwest, I’ve shivered around a campfire to stay warm (I’m talking about you Baker Lake, and in August). Hot dogs are not my idea of a great dinner, and there are only so many s’mores that a girl can eat. Granted, some good red wine will help the cause, but it’s not going […]

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