How to plan a road trip

Now that school is out for the summer and gas is cheaper (relatively), enjoy a break and go on a road trip. Here’s how to plan an exciting adventure:

Step 1: Pick your end destination.

This is the most important because it will determine the length of time you’ll be driving. For example, if you only want to be on vacation for a week, traveling across country may not be the best idea, since you may be too time crunched.

Step 2: Pick the places that you may want to see on the way to your final destination.

Consider visiting not only the big well known sites (like the Grand Canyon), but also unique sites (like seeing the biggest rubber band ball). Both can make interesting experiences.

Step 3. Plan your route.

Remember to use both the forward trip and return trip to see the sites. Also consider traffic times and rush hour so your not wasting time on the road.  Also research traffic laws where you are traveling through. For example, lane splitting is not allowed in some states.

Step 4. Eat and rest.

Don’t ever drive tired! While you plan your route, remember to pick rest stops and where you will spend the night. Also research eateries in the areas in order to enjoy the local fare.

Step 5. Car maintenance.

Don’t forget to get your car checked before you embark on a long road trip. Prevention is better than breaking down in the middle of nowhere and no cell phone reception. If you don’t have one, consider signing up for some sort of roadside assistance.

Of course don’t forget your camera, phone, and all your personal necessities. Drive safely and enjoy your trip!

 

Divine Deviled Eggs

IMG_20170531_173750435The one thing that I love more than making deviled eggs, is eating deviled eggs. This easy recipe will add a little zip to those traditional deviled eggs.

Ingredients:

  • Eggs (hardboiled)
  • Old Bay seasoning
  • sugar
  • Mayonnaise
  • Paprika

Method:

First hardboil your eggs.  Once the eggs are hardboiled, peel off the shell and discard the shell.  Cut the hardboiled eggs in half.  Separate out the yolk into a separate bowl.  Mash the egg yolks.  Mix in mayonnaise (the amount that you put in will depend on your own taste and how many eggs you are making).  Sprinkle in some Old Bay seasoning and sugar.  Again, the amount depends on how much you are making.  For example, for 7 eggs add about half a teaspoon of sugar and a quarter teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning.  The sugar will give the deviled eggs a slightly sweet taste, while the Old Bay seasoning will add the zip! Mix well.  Spoon the mixture or pipe the mixture back into the egg white.  Sprinkle with a dash of paprika.  Enjoy!!!

Relax in Bodega Bay

One of my favorite local get-a-way locations is Bodega Bay. It makes a great place for a relaxing day trip. Take a Friday off of work and drive there in the morning. Enjoy the view and make a stop at the beach! Have lunch at the Boat House restaurant. http://www.sonomacounty.com/restaurants/boat-house The BBQ oysters, clam chowder, fish and chips are the best!
After that, head to the UC Davis Bodega Bay Marine laboratory. http://bml.ucdavis.edu/ They have tours on most Fridays from 2:00pm to 4:00pm. It is a wonderful experience for the whole family!

Best banana bread ever!

1491696246891-1440840386When life gives you overripe bananas, make banana bread! Here’s a recipe for quick, easy, and delicious banana bread. This will become a fast family favorite!

Ingredients:
3 or 4 ripe bananas (mashed up)
1/3 cup melted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg (beaten)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Method:
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 4x8in loaf pan. In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas. Mix melted butter into the mashed bananas. Mix in sugar, egg, and vanilla. Next, mix in the baking soda and salt. Finally, mix in the flour. Pour the mixture into the loaf pan. Bake for about 1hr (check to make sure the banana bread is done by sticking a knife in the center. If it comes out clean, it’s done. Otherwise, leave it in the oven for longer). Remove the banana bread from the pan and cool it on a rack. Slice to serve.

Weekend adventure in Monterey, CA

Monterey is a historic and scenic coastal city in California that is about a 2 hour drive from San Francisco, and a 5 hour drive from Los Angeles.
Start your morning off right with a wonderful breakfast at First Awakenings. The restaurant is located in an indoor shopping center in Pacific Grove, California. The lines can be long, so either get there early, or pack your patience. Your sacrifice will be rewarded with a fantastic breakfast. Their pancakes are huge. I had only one and it filled me up! http://www.firstawakenings.net/restaurant.html After breakfast, visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which is just walking distance away.

When visiting Monterey, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is a must see attraction! The aquarium provides a thrilling experience for the young and old alike. https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/

For an early dinner, avoid the tourist trap restaurants on Cannery Row and eat where the locals eat. Head two blocks up to Foam Street and find Sea Harvest, a fish market that doubles as a restaurant. The BBQ oysters and clam chowder are fantastic. http://www.seaharvestfish.com/

Take a walk around the city. By being adventurous and exploring any city you’re in, you’ll make long lasting memories and have unique experiences!

The easiest lemon tarts that you’ll ever make!

These lemon tarts are simple to make and delicious!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup lemon curd

1/2 cup spreadable goat cheese

Mini fillo dough shells

Method:

Mix the lemon curd and goat cheese with an electric mixer. Fill ready made fillo dough shells with lemon cheese mixture. Serve and enjoy!

The fillo dough shells that I got were in the freezer section of the grocery store and already baked. They only had to be defrosted!

Recipe courtesy of Redwood hill farm.

IMG_20170213_185109

Top 3 places to buy souvenirs in San Francisco

#3 Fisherman’s Wharf
If you are looking for the quintessential souvenir, Fisherman’s Wharf is the place to go. From post cards to sweat shirts to shot glasses, this place has it all. While you are there, try the clam chowder in a San Francisco Sourdough bowl.

#2 Chinatown
San Francisco’s Chinatown is the largest and oldest Chinatown in the U.S. It is an excellent place to not only buy souvenirs, but also experience the culture and attractions. While you’re there, don’t forget to sample the dim sum.

#1 SF Art Market
The SF Art Market, just outside of the Ferry Building, is a great place to buy unique souvenirs from local artisans. These handcrafted, unique gifts are sure to bring a smile to anyone’s face. While you are there try some of the restaurants inside the ferry building.
Check out the SF Art Market’s website for more information http://sfartmarket.com/

SF Art Market

SF Art Market

3 Beauty Global Rituals that Work for Every Ethnicity

Beauty has always been one of the feminine priorities. Since the beginning of humanity, women have sought to follow the canons of what is considered attractive at the time. For example, women in prehistory sought to have large hips and breasts to attract men, which meant they were more fertile and therefore better candidates to form a family.
And yes, although technology has allowed people to have increasingly sophisticated beauty products, women of the 21st century are returning to the roots, the basics. And what are the basics? It is all the millenary secrets that women from different parts of the world have applied throughout their history to beautify themselves inside and out. These women know that nature is wise, so they take advantage of the ingredients of the place where they were and used them to their advantage.

India

One of the best secrets of India is the use of coconut oil as a conditioner. They leave it on all day long, which would be our equivalent of the comb cream. This oil is great for the scalp, strengthens the hair and makes it shine. With that secret and Ayurveda medicine, Indian women are up for the wins! The holistic approach to medicine and beauty of the Asian country are the secret to beautiful skin!

Australia

Australians use papaya ointment to soothe the skin after sunning, to reduce swelling in a wound and as a balm to moisturize the lips. They call it “pawpaw” and it has an endless amount of uses. It is among the most popular beauty products in the land of kangaroos, and it is the secret of Australian women and their beautiful and tight skin overall.

Mexico

Many Mexicans use bevel color for their cheeks and lips. With ancient Mayan and Aztec rituals, women found the coloring power of beetroot, carrots, and strawberries. They can also be used for coloring the cheeks and the color lasts all day. Sometime a little consideration is required, because especially with beetroot it is a very strong color and it may look excessive and even over-the-top. Also, wear it as a lipstick, it looks amazing!

Mignon Dunbar foodie blog post

New York’s Finest Food Trucks

Whether you are living in NYC or just visiting, the street food is something everyone looks forward to. A few years ago food trucks carried simple menus like burgers, fries, hot dogs and ice-cream. Not anymore. Food trucks in NYC have become elaborate feeding hungry patrons local and international cuisine. Cheesesteak, Pizza, Seafood, fresh-fried falafel accompany the traditional burger and hot dog. The food truck is simple yet elegant. You don’t have to worry about where you will sit and eat. You will find a food truck parked in all the main streets be it winter, spring, summer or fall. It gets busier in the summer months with more folks in the street and an influx of tourists.

Let us explore the city by treating our taste buds to a broad range of delicious cuisine.

Carpe Donut

Carpe Donut is a roaming truck. To get the current location you will need to check on Twitter. They make fresh, hot; handmade donuts on the streets of NYC. They are well known for using only the highest quality organic and local ingredients. In the summer they make a hand packed donut ice cream sandwich — worth a try. Their apple cider donuts were named one of 2013’s Best Donuts by New York Magazine.

The Morris Truck

Morris stands out among the fancy grilled cheese and dairy factories. The ingredients used in their signatures sandwiches are mainly sourced from local area farms. Try their classic grilled cheese with a dash of sea salt along with their unique tomato bisque.

Souvlaki GR

If you are looking for a healthy option for fast food lunch, then the two-time Vendy winner Souvlaki GR’s menu has several options out of which the vegetarian spinach and cheese pie is our favorite.

The Cinnamon Snail

If you are a vegan looking for an early breakfast, try the Snail’s breakfast platter, pastries and coffee drinks (the coffee is fair-trade). The menu is ever-changing according to the seasons.

Korilla BBQ

You will see the tiger-striped food truck from a distance. When you get closer, you see that their menu consists of burritos, tacos, rice bowls filled with Korean-style meats, spicy chicken and braised short ribs with kimchi on the top.

This is a just a sampling of the diverse cuisine of street food that you can experience in NYC. Be sure to give it a try on your next trip!

Mignon Dunbar

7 Items You Should Pack When Going on a Family Cruise

It’s that time of year again when many of us begin to plan our next big summer vacation! Whether you’re taking a trip close to home, or venturing out into open waters, there are a few things that you should pack that will make your trip more enjoyable.

For those of you who are planning on going on your first (or second) cruise this summer with family and friends, this list of 7 items to pack is for especially you!

  1. Travel Documents

Bringing your travel documents seems like a no brainer right? Well, you’d be surprised how many times the simplest documents like your driver’s license or even your passport gets lost in the packing process. Along with your passport, other travel documents that you should bring along before embarkment include:

  • Cruise confirmation info
  • Airline tickets
  • Rental car confirmation
  • Hotel reservation details
  1. Medical Cards/Medication

Many of us forget to pack important medical insurance cards or even common cold medicines. Remember that even though you’re going on a nice vacation, illness can hit you at any time and it’s always best to be safe than sorry.

  1. Casual/Formal Clothing

The amount of clothing that you bring when going on a cruise will depend on the length of your trip. For starters traveling light will always be your best bet. Packing clothes that are both appropriate for family dinners and outings is always best. If you’re traveling with children, packing their clothing along with yours will eliminate any access bags or carry-ons on board.

  1. Comfortable Shoes

If you’re into high heels and fancy shoes you might want to rethink your shoe selection when packing for a cruise. You want to keep in mind that you’ll be onshore doing many activities that involve walking. Many places that you visit when going on a cruise will not have an Uber service to get you from place to place, even on vacation.

  1. Sunscreen

Getting sunburn is not a good way to remember your summer getaway, therefore, you might not want to forget this essential item!

  1. Cabin Organizer

If you’re sharing a cabin with 3+ people then bringing along a cabin organizer will be to your benefit. This can be used to store shoes, cameras, sunglasses and much more to free up space and clutter.

  1. Camera

What would a vacation be without the ability to capture every special moment? Many of us forget to bring a camera because we think our mobile phones will do the trick. On your next cruise, invest in a sturdy camera that is preferably waterproof so that you can take pictures even in watery conditions.

 

For more related articles on travel visit my personal blog here.

 

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