Tag: united states

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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Aquatic Park Sunset with Golden Gate Bridge

Fisherman’s Wharf by Night: Aquatic Park Sunset to Pier 39 After Dark

It was one of those rare San Francisco days when the approach of sunset didn’t also mean the onset of obliterating coldness. The hottest days in this city yield the most magical warm evenings, luring locals to the waterfronts to take in what would otherwise be environments far too frigid for relaxation.

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Dunes Beach in Half Moon Bay

A Magical Day in Half Moon Bay

When I was little, our school took us to Half Moon Bay, a coastal town 23 miles south of San Francisco along Highway 1, for the Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival. All I remember was standing in a field of orange globes with a bunch of other students, each of us searching for our ideal one. All the other kids took home big pumpkins, while I selected one much smaller. Maybe it was laziness, but I like to think I found value in the less desirable pick, the diamond in the rough, the scrappy upstart of a squash… No, definitely laziness.

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Golden Gate Bridge at night in the rain

Golden Gate Park & the Golden Gate Bridge in the Rain

San Francisco is one of the most magical cities in the world. It’s even more magical in the rain, should one be so brave to endure it. Here are some photos from two of SF’s most popular attractions, Golden Gate Park and the Golden Gate Bridge, in the rain, exhibited for your convenience so you can stay warm and dry while still experiencing the mystery.

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The Sunset and Sunrise in Waikiki

Sunset over Waikiki Beach on Oahu

As if I needed another reason to be homesick again, I’ve compiled a list of sunset and sunrise photos from my last trip home to Oahu, Hawaii. The sunset photos were taken along Waikiki Beach throughout our short stay in the area. The sunrise photos were captured early in the morning (anything before 9am is “early” to me) along the Ala Wai Canal on the other end of Waikiki. Continue reading “The Sunset and Sunrise in Waikiki”

Doris Duke's Shangri La on Oahu

Visiting Doris Duke’s Shangri La and Cromwell’s Beach in Hawaii

I’ve been to my fair share of mansions in my life, but few compare to Doris Duke’s impressive Shangri La, located along the Kahala coast of Oahu. The heiress fell in love with Hawaii and became the first female competitive surfer in the world. She even learned the sport under the tutelage of the legendary Duke Kahanamoku, the father of modern surfing.

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5 Things to Know Before Visiting the USS Arizona Memorial

USS Arizona Memorial

The USS Arizona Memorial, part of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument that recognizes the stories of the Pacific War, is one of the top attractions in Hawaii and arguably the most popular tourist spot on Oahu. Its significance cannot be understated, as it serves as a memorial for the “date which will live in infamy” that pushed the United States into World War II. And because it’s such a popular destination for visitors, there are more than a few things you should keep in mind before arriving to ensure your visit is as pleasant as possible.

Here are five things you should know before visiting the USS Arizona Memorial: Continue reading “5 Things to Know Before Visiting the USS Arizona Memorial”