My FIRST VIDEO!! A Different Way To Celebrate Thanksgiving…visit to Julian

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am excited to share my first video with you! I wanted to start recording videos for the blog a few years ago, but was busy with other projects and becoming a mom! Finally, I did it, my first vblog! I know it may not seem like a huge accomplishment to some, but this has been on my list of “goals” for a while. I recorded it myself and learned how to edit on my own. It took me several hours to edit but here is my first video. I recorded other videos, just need to find the time to edit and upload them. This is a start of what will hopefully be more videos in the future.

At the television station, Continue reading

Awesome Hotel I’d Stay At Again: JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa

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We visit Las Vegas a few times per year. Our trips vary, from business to simple leisure, but I always try to add some fun outings to our trips. I also have a good friend, Rossy, which lives in Las Vegas, so I try to spend time with her every time we go. Which, is also different from Continue reading

Fun Visit to Hofbrauhaus Las Vegas: A German/Bavarian Restaurant

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One of our first trips family trips with baby Alessandra was to Las Vegas. I was excited about the trip because I would get to spend time with my friend Rossy which lives in Las Vegas, plus a few days in Vegas is always fun (see another Las Vegas trip here)! This was Alessandra’s first flight, so we were a little nervous about how she would react. She was Continue reading

Las Vegas “Babymoon” Getaway

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Last week is a blur, with a doctor’s appointment, the tour of the hospital, preparing some games and thank you gifts for my baby shower, continuing to organize the nursery, and working on the San Diego Latino Film Festival (SDLFF)! I also spent several hours doing Continue reading

Enjoying Local Resorts: My Day at La Costa Resort & Spa

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My hubby had purchased a golf four-some at La Costa Resort & Spa at a charity event we attended and after several months he fit time on the course into his schedule. He asked me if I wanted to join him, but Continue reading

Visit to Heidelberg in Germany

IMG_5274Finally, I am looking through our pictures from our trip a few weeks ago to Germany. My hubby had business meetings, and I accompanied him to visit my mother-in-law and our friends. It is always nice to visit Germany with my hubby. I had been there a few times when I was single, but traveling there with him Continue reading

Where Would You Go If You Took Six Months Off?

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Have you purposely made a major career change that affected your life? Or, do you ever wondered what you would do if you lost your job? A friend was laid off a few months ago and decided to re-evaluate what she wants to do for the rest of her life. Not just her career, but the rest of her life. Her words and decision have been on my mind for the past few days. My initial thoughts were,  Continue reading

Travel Diary: Hawaii, Aulani – Disney Resort & Spa

 

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This is the last Travel Diary from our visit to Oahu, Hawaii. On this day, we visited Aulani – Disney Resort and Spa. Seeing the pictures I took at Aulani made me want to visit the Resort again!! It is destination in itself, and a wonderful hotel for families and Disney fans to stay Continue reading

Travel Diary: Hawaii – Flight Around Oahu

Do you ever take pictures on vacations and then don’t get around to printing the pictures…..or in my case posting them? That is what happened to me with two recent trips we took: Hawaii & Boston. I think I also missed posting the pictures from our visit to Nancy, in France. With digital cameras, I tend to take hundreds of pictures. As a result, it takes me quite a bit of time to look through the pictures and select which ones to share with you, and then actually do the posting. I did mean to write a blog post with the pictures, but then life got in the way 🙂  You know how that goes.

Recently, a friend asked me why I didn’t post the pictures from Hawaii. When I told her, she replied, “you should still post them now.” It is not like the island or beach have changed, ha! So true! The pictures are recent! So, I’ll post the pictures from our trip to Hawaii.

Before this trip, I had never been to Hawaii. When I was single, I’d travel often with friends. When we would plan a vacation and Hawaii would come up as one of the options, we would end up choosing other locations like Europe, Miami, Cabo, or Northern California. I am not a lay on the beach all day, for multiple days, type of a person. Also, for some reason, to me Hawaii seemed like a romantic destination, which it is, but it is also a wonderful destination for a family vacation, surfing trip, or get-away with friends! And, there is a lot to see, historic locations, gorgeous landscapes, cultural venues, tourist locations, excellent shopping and top cuisine restaurants! And, of course some of the most beautiful beaches in the world…with warm water. Would I go back? Most definitely yes!

We visited the island of Oahu. The weather was warm and humid, but bearable, it reminded me of Miami weather. The first day, we checked in, had dinner, and explored the area around the hotel. We were staying right in front of the beach, but also on one of the main streets, with lots of other hotels, shops, and restaurants, so there was a lot to see – and lots of people! It was fun to walk around and see the shops.

As a hobby, my hubby is a pilot. One of our favorite things to do when we visit new cities is make (take) an aerial flight. This was a unique flight because it was around the entire island and in about an hour we flew around Oahu. It was amazing! We saw the landscape, beaches, farms, many homes, Pearl Harbor, tourist destinations, and Disney’s Aulani. I work with the Disneyland Resort folks and interview them a couple times per year. When Aulani was about to open, I did an interview and when we went to Oahu, I was very curious to see and visit Aulani. My hubby has a friend who lives on the island and he joined us for the flight. Between him and the co-pilot, they gave us aerial tour of the island.

Here are the pics – an aerial perspective of Oahu. Hope you like them!

Have you been to Hawaii? Did you like it?

Hugs,

Paola

PS – Travel Diary: Hawaii Part 2; Travel Diary: Hawaii Part 3 (Ala Mona Center & Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort), and Visiting Disney’s Aulani Resort & Spa

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A quick pic before the flight – next to the plane.

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An interesting little fact about Oahu is that private flights also use the same landing strip as major airline flights (we flew out on a small, private plane, on the same landing strip we arrived to the island on –  while on a commercial airline flight). Usually, in larger cities, private planes are kept at smaller airports and use those landing strips, not the same landing strips as major airlines. So, in Oahu, we had to wait in line to depart after a huge plane, it was interesting.

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You don’t see this type of landing strip everyday, water on both ends (sorry for the dark spots, this is the best shot I could get, the plane’s wing is visible in the right corners of the pic).

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So green & tropical!

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These homes were nestled among the landscape.

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Farms.

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This is one of my favorite aerial shots: I like how it represents the three perspectives of ocean, land, and open space – plus the way the sun is beaming through the clouds, and the visible waves in the right side.

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Sky, land, & sea.

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Nature at its best! Took my breathe away!

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I was able to zoom into a catamaran that was sailing in the ocean, look at the clear water!

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The Disneyland Resort – Aulani! An aerial perspective. We visited it while we were there, I’ll post those pics in one of the next Parts of the Hawaii Travel Diary.  It has the Disney magic, captured in a resort, on its own private beach!

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Pearl Harbor.

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We landed .

Thoughtful Birthday Gifts

Every year, we receive gifts on our birthday. As the years have passed and I’ve entered different stages of my life, the way I celebrate my birthday has changed. This year, my hubby offered to organize a party for my birthday or take me on a trip. I chose the trip. That was his birthday gift to me – it was a very nice gift. My family and friends also celebrated my birthday with me – on separate occasions. They each gave me very nice and thoughtful gifts. They gave me gifts from my favorite stores and very personalized gifts. It amazed me how they remembered things I had mentioned throughout the year and got me those items as gifts!

Even though my birthday was a few months ago, I had my last celebration recently, with my friend Lizeth. We spent the day together by the beach, and she surprised me by taking me to dinner and giving me my gift.  It has been a summer of birthday celebrations for me. First with my hubby. When I returned from the trip, we had a cake at work with my colleagues. A week later, with my sis and family. In July,  with Lola and Martha. In August my aunts gave me some beautiful gifts. And, just recently with Lizeth. So, I got to celebrate all summer long! Yay!

People have asked me about the birthday gifts I’ve received. I share pictures of them below. I appreciate the gifts and the thoughtfulness behind each one of them touched me!  It was nice to celebrate my birthday with family and my closest friends. I truly feel blessed.

Also, in case I didn’t thank you personally, thank you for the nice birthday wishes and messages!  Hope you like the pics!

How did you celebrate your last birthday? Do you have a favorite birthday gift – of all time, including childhood?

Hugs,

Paola

DSCN1692 The trip my hubby took me on was to Northern California. We started with a few days in beautiful Mount Shasta. We stayed in a cute cabin.

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We even went hiking! It was our first hike together.

DSCN1872From Mount Shasta, drove to Napa and stayed at Calistoga Ranch, an amazing resort! Part of my gift was a spa day!

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From Napa, we crossed over to Sonoma and ended the trip with lunch and a day of wine tasting at the Francis Ford Coppola Winery.

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Some of the birthday cards were designed based on themes regarding my blog or the newspaper column I write for El Latino,  and others had personalized messages for “sister” and “daughter”.

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These were the gifts from my sis & nephews/brother-in-law.

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Inside the bags were these nice boxes and the card!

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A few months earlier I had complimented my sister on her Tory Burch earrings and told her I wanted to get a pair for myself. She remembered and bought them for me! What a nice touch! These have become my favorite earrings, along with the one’s Lola gave me, I wear them a few times each week!

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And, of course she knows I love shoes, so she gave me a gift card from DSW!

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Mom gave me this beautifully wrapped gift.

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Inside was this multi-patterned scarf (mom knows I like wearing scarves), two bracelets, and a silver medallion.

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It has been fun to wear the bracelet. I did not have anything similar.

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The medallion is something I will wear for many years, it is a unique piece, love it!

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Lola remembered I had mentioned I was running out of racks to organize my jewelry and gave me this beautifully crafted white lacquer jewelry box! She also tried to organize a dinner party for me, like she has done in past years, but between my trip and other friends’ vacation schedules, it was challenging to pin down a date. So, we decide go have sushi with Martha, just the girls, no men this year.

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It is completely lined, has a mirror, the middle tray is removable for additional storage underneath, and it has an adorable key with a tassle.

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Inside she included these Paloma Picasso earrings, which have become my favorite, along with the earrings my sister gave me.

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And these one of a kind, hand made earnings, she said “because I know you don’t have any earrings in this style.” She is correct.

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Birthday dinner with Lola and Martha (she took the pic).

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My aunts Cynthia and Lorena gave me gifts from Mexicali in incredibly nice wrapped boxes.

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My aunt Cynthia have me this one of a kind, hand made necklace from a boutique in Mexicali. This will look nice with a white top & jeans, or a dress! It will be fun to wear in the fall! She reads my blog and knows that I like unique necklaces.

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My aunt Lorena remembered a compliment I have her on a small barrette she was wearing. I mentioned that I had a hard time finding small barretes that would stay in my hair, since my hair is fine. She gave me these pretty & small barrettes! Such a nice and personalized gift!  I was touched that she remembered my comment.

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Lizeth and I spent a casual day in Coronado, and she surprised me by treating me to dinner by the beach at the Hotel Del Coronado as part of my birthday gift! She had planned it all along!

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Lizeth also gave me a gift card from Ann Taylor, she knows it is one of my favorite stores.

Birthday Vacation: Francis Ford Coppola Winery

Hi friends –

My hubby and I had been wanting to visit the Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Northern California for some time. He had already been to the Winery about five years ago, but we wanted to go wine tasting together. During one of our visits to San Francisco last year, we had made a dinner reservation at the Winery, but decided to stay in the city instead and ended up canceling the reservation. When we were planning the trip for my birthday this year, my hubby suggested we visit the Winery. It was a wonderful way to spend our last day in wine country!

The Francis Ford Coppola Winery is owned by Coppola – the famous movie director. We have enjoyed their wines over the years and it was a treat to visit the Winery. It is a unique winery, because it has a Hollywood twist to it, with memorabilia from many of Coppola’s & his daughter Sofia’s movies. The views of the vineyard are breathtaking and there is a pool where families can enjoy their day. The history of the Winery and Coppola’s vision for it can be found on the website.

The Winery is a destination worth visiting! You can spend the entire day there…..do some wine tasting, take a tour, have an Italian lunch, visit the Movie Gallery (museum), buy some wine or movie related gifts, take a dip in the pool or catch some rays in a lounge chair as you relax….then do some more wine tasting at one their multiple bars.

I’ve been to multiple wineries and this one is a special one! If you visit wine country in Northern California, this is a must see winery! The visit will be memorable!

Here are some pics from our visit, hope you like them!

Have you tried the Coppola wines? Do you have a favorite winery?

Hugs,

Paola

PS – Birthday Vacation at Calistoga Ranch in Napa, the The Auberge Spa, and Mount Shasta. Plus, thoughtful birthday gifts I received.

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Arriving at the Winery.

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The gates at the entrance are a popular picture spot

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The first thing you see when you arrive is the guest services area, like you would see at a theme park. Staff is super friendly and one of them even walked us to the restaurant.

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We had lunch at Rustic – it is traditional Italian cuisine & delicious!

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My hubby opted for the Tasting Menu.

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My hubby’s main entree – rigatoni and meatballs.

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I ordered a caesar salad as my entree.

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We tried the wine flight.

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And, he selected Panna Cotta for dessert.

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They also brought me a little cake because we were celebrating my birthday!

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The restaurant also offered an assortment of wines and cocktails.

DSCN2044 The patio seating at Rustic – with an amazing view!

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Gorgeous!

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The bar located just outside of Rustic.

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The exhibits from the Movie Gallery (museum) – continued below.

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One of the tasting bars – located in the middle of the Movie Gallery.

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The desk & chair from The Godfather movie! Awesome! Those movies are classics!

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Coppola’s many awards!

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The second level of the Movie Gallery.

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The gift shop.

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The tasting bar located on the second level.

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Poster from the movie his daughter, Sofia Coppola, directed.

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Picture with his daughter.

DSCN1999 The Pool Cafe.

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The pool & cabines area (cabanas).

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The Pavilion.

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Every detail follows the Winery’s theme – even the elevator had movie memorabilia!

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It was a beautiful, warm & clear day – to visit the Winery! The perfect way to wrap up our vacation in Northern California!

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We headed back to the city – San Francisco to catch our flight back home.  No matter how many times we drive over the bridge, it never gets old! We love SF!