Honolulu City Lights 2016 at Honolulu Hale

Christmas in Paradise – Honolulu City Lights 2016

Taking a break from procrastinating on my posts for Italy, Austria, Slovenia, Aruba, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Mexico (ugh), I present to you, in the meantime, the holiday magic of the Honolulu City Lights, an annual tradition on Oahu (where I’m from). It all takes place at Honolulu Hale (city hall) where a big Christmas tree is lit out front, and decoration and wreath contests are held within. So enjoy these photos with warm thoughts, wherever you are, while listening to the classic Hawaiian song inspired by the event.

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Texas State Capitol Building in Austin

Austin – Where to Drink and Eat All of the Things (and Do Some Stuff)

One of the great clichés of travel writing is starting a story with an overly dramatic sentence meant to draw in the reader, so I won’t begin by mentioning the explosives mishap or firing a shotgun at dead cacti. But such was my Fourth of July in Austin, part of my lifelong quest for the quintessential American experience. Could anything scream red, white and blue more than Independence Day in Texas? I’ll get to that later.

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Oahu - Surfing GoPro Pic with Diamond Head in Waikiki

Visions of Hawaii: Photos to Ease Your Workweek

Having a rough day at work? Winter blues got you down? Maybe this will help warm your spirits. Take a break from your routine with this compilation of photos I took during my time back home in Hawaii (specifically on Oahu, where I grew up, and Kauai). Photos were taken with my iPhone, as I left my DSLR in San Francisco, and originally posted online (hey, follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook!).

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Colonial Williamsburg - Emily James as Edith Cumbo Inside R. Charlton Coffeehouse

Colonial Williamsburg – 5 Tips for Visiting & Photos of America’s Past

Colonial Williamsburg is heaven for anyone even remotely interested in America’s past. The living-history museum covers 301 acres of land in Williamsburg, Virginia, not far from Jamestown and Yorktown, two other notable sites. Built with no small amount of funds and effort from the philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr., along with a number of community organizations, the town meticulously preserves the sights and sounds of Williamsburg right before the American War of Independence.

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Christmas in Hawaii - Honolulu City Lights 2014

Christmas in Paradise – Honolulu City Lights 2014

It’s that time of the year again! The Honolulu City Lights at Honolulu Hale (Honolulu’s city hall) are up for the 2014 Christmas season with the traditional Hawaiian holiday displays, the Christmas tree and wreath competition, and Santa Claus for all the little kiddies. Rides and food vendors line South King Street outside. There was even a new display this year, a whole family of carolers complete with a dog and a guy fishing. Check out the photos while listening to Keola and Kapono Beamer’s classic Hawaiian hit, “Honolulu City Lights,” a song about the city lights applicable any time of the year.

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SF Giants World Series 2014 Parade

Photos from the 2014 SF Giants World Series Victory Parade

Orange October comes to a glorious end for our beloved SF Giants with a classic confetti-filled parade. Led by mascot Lou Seal, the 2014 World Series champs slowly (slowly) made their way down Market Street amidst a sea of adoring baseball fans. With three World Series wins in the past five years, San Francisco was more than prepared to host a proper homecoming celebration. The parade ended at Civic Center with a televised ceremony.

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Sunset in Decorah, IA

Romance with the Heartland, 4th of July in Decorah, IA

When thinking of great places to visit in the world, Paris, Rome, New York and London are just a few of the cities that top most lists. Rarely does one hear “Iowa” mentioned, seldom does one call out that landlocked state seen mostly from above by those traveling from coast to coast and sometimes to Chicago.

I had always romanticized the Midwest, most likely a consequence of watching one too many Westerns or my strange predilection for obscure American history, so I was more than excited when a friend invited me to stay with her on her family farm in Decorah (pop. 8109; 7.04 sq. mi.), a small town located in Northeastern Iowa.

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Trees at Dhamma Manda Northern California Meditation Center

I Went to a Vipassana Meditation Center for my Birthday and Survived

A jealous sigh of “oh mah gawd, that sounds relaxing” was the common response when I told people I was heading to Kelseyville for a meditation retreat at the Northern California Vipassana Center (Dhamma Manda) over my birthday. I had to explain it would be an intense 10 days of meditating from 4:30 am to 9 pm, living without our phones, the Internet and any contact with the outside world, including access to new episodes of Game of Thrones (but thankfully also all overzealous Game of Thrones tweets and Facebook posts — the universe has a way of balancing things out).

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