Tag Archives: beach

Holidays in California

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in California during the holiday time. From visiting the Aquarium, spending time at the beach, going shopping, hanging out downtown and at the Farmer’s Market, enjoying home cooked meals and time with family in my hometown in Monterey; to seeing friends in LA and relaxing at Miracle Springs Resort & Spa at Desert Hot Springs; to spending Christmas with family friends, stopping by the Chumash Casinos and checking out the charming town of Solvang (Danish Capital of America), it was a wonderful mini-vacation.

Christmas in Monterey, CA

I love the glittering, dazzling lights and decorations of the Portola Hotel lobby.

xmas_monterey

This colorful and lovely Christmas tree is displayed in the middle of the Del Monte Shopping Center.

xmas_monterey2

Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, CA

aquarium_fish

Even though I have seen many of the exhibits already, I always feel a sense of wonder and magic while watching the brilliant sea life all around me. Also, I love seeing the new exhibits and activities that make the experience even more enjoyable.

Some of my favorite displays are the playful otters, cute penguins, beautiful jellyfish, brightly colored fish of hot pink/electric blue and yellow etc, mystical kelp forest, school of fish forming shapes together, formidable sharks, majestic sea turtles and the fact that the Aquarium is connected to the natural ocean front and there are outdoor areas throughout where you can witness the amazing views of the Monterey Bay/Pacific Ocean.

aquarium_me

Miracle Springs Resort & Spa in Desert Hot Springs, CA

Truly wonderful place with a beautiful lobby – Plush comfortable seats, nice Christmas tree and lights, huge windows that overlook the amazing landscaping, pools and hot tubs.

lobby
We headed to the pool and jacuzzis, which are all natural hot and cold springs. I started in one of the hot tubs which was quite warm and incredibly relaxing. It felt amazing to just soak in the hot tub and let the water and jets flow over me. After a bit I went to the biggest pool, where the temperature was cooler, but wasn’t cold by any means…It felt more lukewarm and big enough to swim back and forth, which I enjoyed. Later, we spent time in a smaller jacuzzi which was still pretty warm, but not as hot as the first one. Also, the jets were stronger in that one so it was great to feel that on my back, feet and was sort of like a massage. These hot tubs are the perfect place to unwind and take away any stress you might be feeling!

DHS

Christmas Time in Santa Rosa, CA

My mom and I joined a family friends in celebrating Christmas together, where I got to meet my friend’s adorable and sweet one year old son, Sebastian!

sebastian_me

We also had a delicious Christmas feast of two different types of prime rib, ham, stuffing, roasted potatoes, creamy mushroom dish and not pictured: Potato salad, medley of roasted vegetables, apple pie and homemade cookies!

xmas_feast
Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Inez, CA

We spent Christmas evening here since we were a few hours from home. I loved the Christmas tree in the lobby and the rooms were lovely and comfortable.

chumashlobby

Day at Solvang, CA (Danish Capital of America)

We had a nice time exploring and enjoying the cute and charming town of Solvang, in Santa Barbara County, soaking up the festive atmosphere.

solvang

At Solvang Restaurant, we had to order the famous aebleskiver, which is the traditional Danish pancake, in the shape of a ball, sitting in raspberry sauce and topped with powdered sugar. They were fluffy and doughy, though I thought the sauce was a bit too sweet and the aebleskivers themselves didn’t have a ton of flavor. But they were certainly presented beautifully.

solvang_dessert

Beaches in Monterey and Marina, CA

I also had the pleasure of spending time on the gorgeous, glorious beaches in Monterey County.

monterey_beaches

monterey_beaches2

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Food, Fun

Weekend in Warwick

I spent the past weekend in Warwick, NY with a bunch of friends. Here is an account of the fun and crazy times through pictures…

Arrival on Friday:

Barnyard that we stayed in

Outside the Barn House we stayed in

warwick_me

Posing in nature, outside the Barn House

A view of the garden

A view of the garden

Inside the spacious, roomy, high ceiling loft-like barnhouse

Inside the spacious, roomy, high ceiling loft-like Barn House

warwick_barnhouse inside

Posing at the stairs

Dinner on the grill

Dinner on the grill

Snap shot of some of us

Snap shot of some of us

Saturday:

warwick_downtown

Hanging out in downtown Warick

warwick_downtown0

Time Flies… Love Stays

warwick_downtown2

Clock Tower on Main Street in Downtown Warwick

warwick_beach

Afternoon at the beach

warwick_beachus

We had a lovely time at the beach

warwick_icecream1

Enjoying ice cream from Bellvale Farms Creamery

warwick_icecream

Close up of the Bellvale Creamery ice cream: White chocolate with raspberry and dark chocolate chunks and Dark chocolate with fudge brownie and peanut butter flavors

warwick_cow

Snap shot with the Bellvale Farms colorful cow!

View of the valley from Bellvale Farms Creamery

View of the valley from Bellvale Farms Creamery

warwick_valleysun

Snap shot of the valley, clouds & sun

warwick_drivein

Saturday Night at the Warwick drive-in movie theater to see the deeply emotional “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”

Sunday:

warwick_fun

Having fun on the wooden swing and the trampoline

warwick_healthy

Eating well: Raspberries and salad

warwick_group

Group photo of all of us who stayed at the Barn House this past weekend in Warwick, NY

The weekend may have ended, but the memories will last forever!

1 Comment

Filed under Food, Fun

Trip to Florida!

I had a great time on my recent trip (end of September) to Jacksonville and Orlando, Florida to visit a close friend of mine. I was able to stay for 5 days, which sounds like a long time but definitely flew by way too fast!

Friday

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. Getting to see goats, rhinos, elephants, birds, lions, tigers, giraffes, gorillas, lemurs, panthers, leopards, kangaroos, penguins, otters… Oh my!

DSCN5961

There were also Asian gardens and koi pond, bamboo forests, Wildlife Carousel  featuring different animals, Savanah Blooms Garden, and view of the ocean.

carosel

In addition, lovely statues of elephants, jaguar, gorilla, pandas, dolphin water park!

elephantstatueFriday

SeaWorld day!

DSCN6059

Though we had a bit of a late start, we managed to pack a lot in! Beautiful water; flamingos; dolphins that came up close; underwater view of the dolphins; colorful fish; sea turtles; awesome 3D show of sea turtles hatching and their journey; sharks and cool view of them above and below us; jellyfish; awesome whale & dolphin show, with spectacular display of humans in bird costumes doing acrobatics in the air and diving into the pool; Antarctica; super cute show show on a pirate ship about treasures with pirates, seal and otters; watching pearl diving; seeing Shamu! and checking out the lovely gift shops.

DSCN6130shamu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the evening we hung out at Downtown Disney, where we visited some fun shops and had a delicious dinner.

DSCN6162

Saturday

Just hanging out in Orlando, meeting some new people, chilling out a pub, stopping by the Florida Mall, shopping around the area, and enjoying the pool!

DSCN6165Sunday

Back to Jacksonville for a friend’s BBQ – Lots of delicious ribs (three different types: Dry rub, baby back and short with special sauce), mac and cheese and peach crumble.

DSCN6170

We also spent some quality time at the beach. I loved it! The water was sooo nice and warm and fun to be in!

DSCN6178

That night we went out bar hopping, starting with Murray’s Tavern for some good hanging out, a meal (lumpia and sweet potato fries- yum!) and pool then made our way to a bunch of other places such as Metro.

DSCN6183

After going out, we spent the evening watching horror movie, The Depraved.

Monday

Spent the day at St. John’s Towncenter which is basically an outdoor stretch of a mall, with very palm trees lining the streets, a fountain area, an outdoor garden area with koi pond and a cool train shuttle and of course many shops such as Forever 21, aerie bebe, Ross, bareMinerals, Artsy Abode, Brighton Collectibles, and high end shops such as Louis Vuitton and much more!

DSCN6190

We had lunch at Cheesecake Factory, where I had herb crusted salmon with mashed potatoes and asparagus, which was delicious and very filling even though it was the Lunch Special and supposedly smaller portions. The salmon was nicely seared and wonderfully flavored, while the mashed potato and asparagus were in a rich, savory, tasty white sauce.

DSCN6210

Despite being quite full, my friend and I couldn’t resist ordering dessert as well. I picked the S’Mores Cheesecake, which was made out of delectable chocolate cheesecake with dark chocolate topping, graham cracker crust and roasted marshmallow.

DSCN6211

After our lunch, we did some more shopping and hanging out then soon enough I had to be dropped off at the airport. I had a wonderful time with my friend in Florida and hope to visit again soon!

Leave a comment

Filed under Culture, Food, Fun

Atlantic City Weekend

DSCN5334

I spent a luxurious, pampered weekend at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City with a good friend of mine. We checked into our lovely room on Friday afternoon and then headed to the spa, complete with a lounging area; soft-lit mirrors with primping necessities; jacuzzi; steam room and showers. We enjoyed the trail mix, fruit and juices that were provided for our pleasure.

spaDSCN5301

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Afterwards, we headed to dinner at Rainforest Cafe. The wait was around 45 minutes, but we enjoyed the time looking around the store. We were surrounded by a forest-like atmosphere with trees, leaves, monkeys, huge butterflies, elephants, exotic parrots (all not real, of course).

DSCN5330

After we were finally seated, I ordered a fruity smoothie with orange sherbet and decided on Parmesan-crusted tilapia with lump crab meat and alfredo pasta with cream sauce as my main. It was delicious- The tilapia was perfect: Light and flaky, and the added flavor of the Parmesan was a cheesy delight. The pasta was al dente, with thick creamy white sauce that was well seasoned. And the crab was wonderfully tasty… It added to the decadence of the meal.

DSCN5316

Eating at Rainforest was a very cool experience as well. Every 20 minutes or so, there would be a simulated lightning rainstorm – The lights would dim, thunder would crash, lightning would flash, which added to the fun of being there.

DSCN5332

After our lovely meal, we got to see this ultra awesome colorful 3Dish light/music show on the building nearby. It showed different themes, from crumbling building, technology, floating shapes, to psychedelic colors and patterns.

DSCN5345

Then, we went to the shops at Caesars to check out the Water Show at the water fountain. The bright pink, purple, blue, orange meshing of colors, the water spurting up in differing heights and intermittent streams of water flowing down, the accompanying music, the smoky atmosphere, all combined to make an awe-inspiring visual experience.

DSCN5369DSCN5355

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday we spent the morning at the beach, splashing around in the waves. The water was a bit chilly, but we got used to it pretty quickly.

DSCN5442

After spending some time in the water and under the sun at the beach, we stopped by the Trump Plaza pool, which was wonderful. Large open space, high ceilings, palm trees, beach lounge chairs, slanted glass windows, and outer rooftop decks that overlook the the ocean, beach bar and Caesar’s.

DSCN5409

We took one of the push cars to The Chelsea to have lunch at a cute diner called Teplitzky’s. I had a roast beef sandwich with horseradish mayo and crispy onions, complete with garlic fries. The roast beef went really well with the crispy onions and the garlic fries were delightfully thin, crispy and delicious.

DSCN5399

After lunch we walked along the boardwalk, stopping by a couple of places along the way, such as Steel’s Fudge, where I purchased some chocolate marshmallow fudge. When back at Trump Plaza, we spent some time at the casino and tried our hand at the slot machines. We had each received $25 voucher to use on the slots, so that we used that up. I ended up winning $25, which isn’t bad considering I spent nothing to begin with!

DSCN5431

We had some time to relax after the casino, and got dolled up for dinner at Back in the Day Buffet inside Trump Plaza. The food was just okay. I think the chicken, mashed potatoes, turkey and salad were probably the best. However, dessert was delectable. I had bread pudding with thick, sweet, creamy vanilla sauce; rich and wonderful chocolate cake and a chocolate chip blondie brownie.

DSCN5434DSCN5435

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After dinner we headed to the theater in Trump Plaza to see Beatlemania! We had really good seats, near the front. These guys gave us a fabulous evening of nostalgia for Beatles lovers, or even those (like us) who aren’t the biggest fans, but have an appreciation for the band. Even though I didn’t know a lot of the songs by heart, I found myself singing along to the more popular tunes. Almost every song was catchy and fun loving. Film of 60’s era events, commercials, shows were being displayed in the background, and there were cool lighting effects on the stage. The costumes were spot on and the band played their parts well… Down to the British accents, wigs and facial hair. They sounded great together and the main singer in particular had a gorgeous melodious voice. I really enjoyed the last couple songs when they got everyone standing and dancing along.

beatlemania

Here is a set list of the Bealtemania show:

The Ed Sullivan Show (Saw Her Standing There, Eight Days a Week, Yesterday, etc)
Sgt. Pepper’s (Intro/A Little Help from Your Friends, A Day in the Life, Imagine, Here Comes the Sun, etc)
Magical Mystery Tour (All You Need is Love, Strawberry Fields, I am the Walrus, Penny Lane, etc)
Apple Studios Roof (Get Back, Come Together, Let it Be, Hey Jude, etc.) and Twist and Shout

DSCN5429

Sunday, our last day in Atlantic City, we spent at the beach and having a delicious and hearty breakfast outdoors at a Trump Plaza restaurant, EVO (Western Omelet – bacon, onion, green peppers and cheese, with potatoes and rye toast).

DSCN5450

1 Comment

Filed under Food, Fun

4th of July Weekend

DSCN5163

BBQs and 4th of July are synonymous to me, so I was happy to attend my friend’s BBQ and enjoy bacon-wrapped mini sausages, chicken wings, salmon steak and grilled peaches. We also had a wonderful white frosted cake with red trim, and a blue flower. Inside was layered white cake with chocolate frosting in between, which was so darn delicious (however, a bit overly sweet)!

DSCN5172

We enjoyed several different street fireworks displays and the next day I prepared to go camping at Ricketts Glen State Park in Pennsylvania with a group of people.  I had a wonderful time. Once again, there was soo much food… I had salmon on top of fennel and sprinkled with thyme. There was also marinated ribs, jerk chicken, steak, sausage, corn, yams!

DSCN5194

Saturday morning dawned bright and beautiful, despite the rain from Friday night and we took a hike through the forest and along the waterfalls. There were trees and green plants, babbling streams, bridges, and more- Such a charming scene in nature. But by far the most magnificent, most glorious creations were the many waterfalls… Some were small, while others spanned the distance of entire boulders. They were absolutely breathtaking and I enjoyed being in the presence of such beauty, taking in the refreshing spray of the water and the sound of the water streaming down.

DSCN5226

After the hike, we decided to head to the beach where I enjoyed being in the lovely water and just chilling in the shade, making conversation and having ice cream.

beach

Back at the campsite, we started preparing dinner and this time I learned how to make a new delectable tasting dessert. Take a banana, split it length-wise, add a caramel piece, Reese’s Pieces (or chocolate + peanut butter), marshmallow pieces, wrap it all up in tin foil and put it atop the fire for a few minutes until everything is melted together in a wonderful gooey mess. Yes, it is over indulging, but it is so worth it!

DSCN5253
I had a great 4th of July weekend and hope you did as well!

DSCN5262

1 Comment

Filed under Food, Fun

Splish Splash & Parasailing


This past weekend was a whirlwind of water fun!

Saturday I spent the day at Splish Splash, Long Island’s premier water park. We started off with a simple ride – Two long yellow water slides and I took the one to the left, since apparently that was the “easier” of the two.  It wasn’t bad, but I closed my eyes the whole time. Instead of it being a free fall, there were two major curves that I went over super fast, and definitely made me scream.

The next ride was not scary at all, called Lazy River, in which you relax on a water tube and go through the length of it at your own pace. There are certain spots that have cold water spraying at you, which was refreshing and enjoyable.

After that we tried the Jurassic Park themed dinosaur ride, which I was a little apprehensive about going on, but agreed to do it after my friend said she’d do it with me in the double inner tube. It turned out to be much fun, and then we went to the Surf City area where there was a pool with simulated waves. That was pretty chill and enjoyed being in the waves, bopping to the loud music.

The next ride we did had a super long ride and looked a bit scary- It was inside a tunnel and complete darkness, but wasn’t so bad.

We took a break for lunch, and have to say was very upset that the Grill and ice cream truck were both there just for show. We shared Johnny  Rocket’s burger and fries meal, as well as our own mixed chocolate and vanilla shake.

After that was another scary looking ride that was quite high up and quite windy; I was most worried about the midsection, where we would be spun around. When I got up there I almost chickened out, but watched others go before me and it didn’t look so bad, so I did it. It turned out to be all good fun.

The park was close to closing at this point, but we managed to fit in two more rides. One of them was a little scary when I looked at it, but turned out to be not a problem an the last one, “Shotgun Falls,” was simply high powered short water slides that propel you into 10 feet deep water. That was all right, but since the lady didn’t have me take my flip flops off, one of the straps broke.

After we finally got out of the Splish Splash parking lot, we headed to a Japanese restaurant, Sakura something…  It was tucked away in the corner of a strip mall, so we weren’t sure about the quality of it, but was actually quite nice. We decided to get Hibachi grill, so the chefs gave us a show and cooked in front of us.

I had ordered the combination of chicken and salmon. The meal came with soup, salad, fried rice, vegetables, shrimp and the meat. Everything smelled great, looked delicious and was very filling- large poritons. The chicken, however, was a bit too chewy and had a weird texture but the salmon with sauce was simply wonderful.

Sunday it was Parasailing and Beach Day in Ocean City, NJ with my friend and a bunch of new friends. I got picked up at home, which was really nice especially since we had to leave early in the morning.

We got to the Parasailing place right on time and rode a boat to the middle of the ocean and prepared to take off from the back of the boat. We got attached (two of us at a time) to a large yellow parachute and the boat took off, allowing us to be carried up high into the air (500 feet).

It was amazing feeling- I loved being up so high and being able to see that beautiful view. I just didn’t like it when the wind made us turn a  bit, but overall was a very gentle, relaxing ride. I liked when we were being lowered, and loved being dipped into the water. Such an exhilarating time! Except that I went twice because there was an odd number in our group, and during the last half of the second time, I got a little queasy but the first time was so great.

After Parasailing, we headed to a nearby seafood restaurant. Since my stomach was still a little weak, I got the chicken fingers- They allowed me to order from the children’s menu so it came with fries and applesauce. I was able to eat maybe half of it, and one of the guys actually paid for it for me to make me feel better. That was such a thoughtful gesture!

We then headed to nearby Ocean City Beach for the remainder of the afternoon, and I spent the entire time in the ocean- Swimming in the waves, splashing around in the water. It was wonderful and loved the feeling of the cool spray.

Then, started our journey back to Queens, and ended our day at A Taste of Shanghai restaurant in Flushing. It was definitely good to go with people who know what to order. We started with crab meat soup dumplings (or Xiao Lon Bao) and pan fried pork buns. The soup dumplings were just okay- They weren’t really juicy enough for me, and the meat didn’t taste like crab. Also, I’ve been spoiled by real soup dumplings in Shanghai, China. The pork buns were very tasty though.

We then shared several dishes. First came the soup with fish, pickled vegetable and see through glass noodles, which was quite good with plenty of fish. We also had a couple of side dishes:  Potato slices were okay, but really plain and bok choy with tofu was decent- Very fresh.

The main dishes were better: Pork Shoulder and whole fish. The pork shoulder was a huge piece of meat, with the skin on the outside. Delicious meat bathed in a delightful sauce was tender and flavorful. The whole crispy fish was mouthwatering — In sweet and sour sauce, and had a topping of shrimp, peas, carrots and pine nuts. Fresh and perfectly crisped, the fish meat was light and yummy.

And since we shared everything, our meal was quite affordable. What a wonderful end to a wonderful & full weekend!

 

Address: 39-07 Prince St, #1 in Flushing, Queens

Leave a comment

Filed under Food, Fun

Cape May Weekend

cape may

My friend and I went to Cape May over the weekend with the intention of doing the whale/dolphin watching tour together. However, when we got to the Marina, we found out that our vouchers were for 2 different companies. Thank goodness Utsch’s Marina, where I needed to be, was close by- Within walking distance.

I made it to the boat, American Star right on time. I sat on the upper deck towards the back and enjoyed the ride. We heard about Cape May, the surrounding nature, ocean, birds and dolphins. I loved the feeling of the cool breeze on the boat and the excitement of spotting dolphins- One of my favorite animals.

dolphins

Afterwards, we went to eat at Ocean Bar &  Grill in the outdoor section. There was live music by a great singer. I ordered 2 appetizers: Fries with melted cheese, bacon and sour cream and the crab mac & cheese. The portions were huge! And both were delicious.

We then headed back to the hotel room to take advantage of the private beach there. The water was pretty cold- but still enjoyed being in the water and the gentle waves. We also hung out in the pool which was warmer, nice and relaxing.

Later, we went out on the town to Flip Flopz, beach bar and club. Great energizing dance music, a few blue-eyed hotties (mostly taken). We also checked out Keenan’s for a bit.

Sunday was another beautiful day out! We explored the boardwalk and went to the famous Cape May lighthouse (still in operation) and climbed the 199 steps to get to the top. The view of Cape May was well worth it!

lighthouse

Before heading home, we dined at the Lobster House. I ordered the flounder stuffed with crab and scallops, along with shrimp on the top in a white sauce. The entree was mediocre but the extras were great.. A whole loaf of tasty onion bread and butter; salad; roasted potatoes and apple sauce. Mmm!

lobsterhouse       lobsterhouse sign

Leave a comment

Filed under Food, Fun