Laguna Beach, and the surrounding Orange County areas, is the reason my husband and I moved across the continent. There are quaint shops, delicious restaurants, art galleries, beachfront beauty, year-round sunshine, and friendly people that remind me of eastern Canada. Sunset Cove Villas, located directly on the beach and minutes from the heart of downtown, are ideally situated to take full advantage of these benefits. Rising directly above Laguna Beach’s dramatic coastline, one of the most desirable beaches on the California coast, Sunset Cove Villas face the majestic beauty of the Pacific Ocean, creating a picturesque setting and romantic atmosphere. The crashing waves, white sand, spectacular sunsets, and gentle breezes make a stay at Sunset Cove Villas priceless. What nature has not graciously provided, the owners of Sunset Cove Villas have; luxury, ample amenities, and attention to every detail are all part of the Villa experience at Sunset Cove. I’ve stayed in hotels in 33 countries and countless cities, but none have compared to the 180 degree view of the ocean I experienced while waking up at Sunset Cove Villas. With a balcony on the water and access to the ocean just footsteps away, our Seychelles Villa was the kind of oceanside experience I’d associated with Southern California living, but had yet to attain. I finally soaked up the chance to spend some time living my California dream. Continue reading
We joined over a million viewers as we watched beautifully decorated yachts, boats, kayaks, and canoes sail along the harbor in the 103rd Annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade. The Christmas Boat Parade is a magical holiday tradition for all ages. Many people view the Newport Beach Christmas boat parade from the shores lining Newport Bay. The parade is free, so viewing from the shoreline is both an entertaining and a cheap family holiday activity. Instead of standing along the shore and fighting for a spot, however, we participated in the actual Newport Harbor Christmas Boat Parade on a beautifully decorated Davey’s Locker cruise. Many people assume, like I did, that the popular Newport Harbor tours would suspend their operation while the large boat procession was in progress, but, that’s not the case. In fact, taking the harbor tour was the best way to see the boat parade. We were able to get up close and personal with the other boats, making it easier to see the details of the floats and snap photos. The unique experience of being on the water viewing what the New York Times stated as “one of the top 10 holiday happenings in the nation” made a unique, lasting Christmas memory for Darren and I. Continue reading
In 2011, I went to 7 countries, got married, went sky-diving, bungee jumping, paragliding, base jumping, rock climbing, sailing, whitewater rafting, cruising, canoeing, canopy touring (zip-lining), jet skiing, windsurfing, dog sledding, helicopter touring, rappelling, trapeze swinging, caving, kayaking, and swimming with beluga whales and dolphins all with a bucket list in mind and an open heart. Continue reading
We flew with the other eagles and the clouds, over the Grand Canyon, to discover a barren rock landscape, dotted with green along the valley floors, and dusty sage on the plateaus. Enormous rock pillars rose to meet the sky as we hovered over the six-million-year-old landmark. But the best feature of our experience was the incredible vantage points offered by the Papillion helicopter ride.
Starting more than six million years ago, the Colorado River, and its sister streams, began flowing through the Colorado Plateau, through what is now northern Arizona. Bits of sediment and rock were carried downstream, gradually deepening the canyon. As the water table lowered, the result of sediment deposits over eons, was revealed in colorful striations of the canyon walls. From above, these walls resemble a layer cake of rusts and creams. Continue reading
The Venetian and The Palazzo, the world’s largest Five Diamond resorts, magically transformed into the most majestic winter surroundings Las Vegas has ever seen, creating Winter in Venice. An outdoor wonderland complete with a skating rink, charming string lights, brilliantly lit trees, holiday music, holiday treats, and displays set the scene. We were greeted by colorful characters wandering the property, spreading good cheer; we were dazzled by a spectacular light show performance; we were blessed with Santa’s presence during the Santa Story Readings; we indulged in chocolate chips cookies and milk; we relaxed at the Canyon Ranch SpaClub; and we gazed into our future together while being serenaded by a gondolier. Winter in Venice made romance and our wildest imagination collide during our four night stay at the Palazzo in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Splashing around in the ocean, jumping off of cliffs, learning how to roll in a wave, boogie boarding, and water chicken fights were all part of our daily beach adventures when I was a child. Singing, dancing, playing horse shoes or cards, and drinking until the wee hours of the morning filled my early adult life and shaped the bond between my family members. All of my fondest family memories took place in one location. When I think about being “home” or reflect on my greatest form of happiness it is Ingonish, Nova Scotia that holds my heart and it was with great anticipation that I introduced Darren, my husband, to my happy place and a large piece of my past. On our first vacation to Ingonish together, I knew that Darren needed to experience Smokey Mountain, Black Brook Beach, Black Brook Falls, and Ingonish Beach to have a glimpse of my life and become part of it. Continue reading
Soaring above the congested traffic amidst the Los Angeles skyscrapers was an exhilarating experience made possible by Celebrity Helicopter Tours. The VIP Grand Tour covered all the destinations I wanted to see in the LA area. With a little bit of beach, Beverly Hills, Hollywood, and the heart of downtown, this thrilling tour featured an exciting jaunt around LA. With a bird’s eye view of one of the most amazing metropolis cities in the US, Chief Pilot Robin Petgrave gave us an extravagant helicopter tour. Continue reading
Life in eastern Canada was simple and connected. Teaching high school English in Moncton, New Brunswick was a challenging yet rewarding experience. I loved my students and my co-workers, some more than others of course, and the benefits of being a full-time, pension-receiving teacher who enjoys stress free summers and all of the holidays are ample to say the least. The short, two hour drive to see my family was a breeze and made “family time” a regular event. My boyfriend, now husband, Darren, was more than I ever thought possible in a man other than my grandfather and he made me see how beautiful life can be. His IT position allowed him to work from home and give us the quality time that I always desired. We’d traveled to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Florida, and the Bahamas during my summer vacation and he worked during the day from the hotel rooms. We owned a house, we finally paid off our cars, and we spent our evenings walking in the park where we first met.; but there was one thing missing – the sunshine! New Brunswick is not a frozen tundra with 24 hours of darkness, snow, ice, and cold. It has gorgeous summers with light winds that make for a spectacular day sailing or boogie boarding in the Atlantic Ocean, but was that enough? Two months of sunshine followed by a cold, dreary season of extended winter was not my idea of a dream location. I was living a beautiful life and I wasn’t willing to settle for anything else, including my environment.
I’ve had a Bucket List for years, but I’ve never created something with definite times. In the last year, I’ve been to 7 countries, got married, got pregnant, went sky-diving, bungee jumping, paragliding, base jumping, rock climbing, sailing, cruising, canoeing, canopy touring (zipping), jet skiing, windsurfing, dog sledding, helicopter touring, rappelling, trapeze swinging, caving, kayaking, and swimming with beluga whales and dolphins all with a bucket list in mind and an open heart.
My husband and I consciously thought about where we’d like to live in the world, chose southern California, quit our permanent positions, sold everything we owned, packed the car with what was left, and moved across the continent to our dream location. We want to live a life of fairy-tales with attention to every spectacular moment along the way.
Our only Saturday morning goal in Palm Springs, CA was to rise 8,516 feet aboard the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and take in the breathtaking journey above the sheer cliffs of Chino Canyon.
We begin the 12 minute ride at the Valley Station, elevation 2,643 feet, by way of the largest rotating aerial tramway in the world. The tram swayed when we passed over each tower and it was fun… at first. It took about four minutes of spectacular 360 degree views and the floor spinning slowly to remind me that morning sickness and motion sickness are not a thing of the past. As the spinning quickened and excessive heat flushed over my face and body, I knew that I either needed to proudly sit down and announce that I’m pregnant or pass out and chance getting hurt. Well… the view from the floor was just as breathtaking and others not only seemed to understand but offered their sympathies. Continue reading