Visiting Dog Friendly Paso Robles and Morro Bay, California

Confession. Our recent trip to Paso Robles was the first vacation with our 65 pound dog that entailed staying in a hotel. Our adventure was a four- hour drive along the California coastline to Paso Robles – aka “Wine Country of the central California region”.

First off, Paso Robles is extremely dog friendly. And, thanks to we were able to download a list of attractions, restaurants, and hotels that were open to dog guests. After much consideration (and due to pup size limits at some hotels) – we decided to stay at the La Quinta – located a few minutes from downtown Paso Robles. The room was spacious, lots of areas to walk our dog, and there was NO extra charge for a dog that left the room in the same condition when entered. The people were very friendly and accommodating. Our unit had a kitchen and a large sitting area – so we had plenty of space. Bonus- we backed up to a small petting zoo with cows, sheep, and a few emu that provided endless hours of entertainment for humans and pups, alike!

Of course we didn’t drive all that distance to stay in the hotel. So explore we did!

Good Eats!

While there are many restaurants that we visited – these establishments were found to be very dog friendly and we would give them high marks for both food/ wine and flexibility.

Blast and Brew – right in the heart of the Paso Robles main square. The food (salads and pizza) were very tasty. The “pour your own brew” feature was a winner with hubby. Bayla loved the ongoing attention and treats!

The Hearst Ranch Winery – If you take a side trip to the lesser explored areas surrounding Paso Robles I hope you stumble upon the Hearst Ranch Winery. Here you will find delicious wines and cheeses. Dog friendly, quiet, comfortable, and staffed with super kind and knowledgable people. Ranay, our designated staff member, was extremely helpful with educating hubby and I about the area, wines, and history of the ranch. A ” must do” if you are “winery hopping”. Plus, dogs are welcome and spoiled here!

The Backyard at Thirteenth. This is an open air restaurant that does not provide indoor seating. So, come prepared if it is very hot or looks like rain. The food was good as I thoroughly enjoyed my veggie burger with a spicy sauce. The fries were standard. Several dogs were in the area – all leashed – so there was peace in the “backyard”.

Dog Friendly things to do in Paso Robles

  1. Wineries. There are a reported 200 plus wineries and tasting rooms with a short distance of Paso Robles or within the town itself. Pace yourself. Click here for information.
  2. Urban Adventure Quest A scavenger hunt that takes you around key areas in the downtown area of Paso Robles. Both family and fido friendly. We had a blast. All three of us!
  3. Antique shopping. Depending on the store and if there is an outside shopping area – Dogs are sometimes welcome.
  4. Visiting the Mission of San Miguel. We kept our Bayla confined to outside areas only – out of respect and also we believe it is a rule.
  5. Visiting Morro Bay – a must! This place at sunset is simply gorgeous.

Recommended Resource: is invaluable as a resource for where “Fido” is welcome when traveling

TripAdvisor – The Forum (

“Then they came for me…”


This post may be one of the most controversial posts that I have ever written. But here it goes…

This is a photograph of a poster I purchased at the  Holocaust Museum more than a decade ago.  “I didn’t speak up … and then they came for me”.

I interpret the words of  Pastor Martin Niemoller  as an important lesson. We need to be the voice for the voiceless.  We should never forget humanity and to help the less fortunate. For if we do… then what?

Yet, I am afraid that  many of us might have forgotten, as now we are filling our social media timelines, newspapers, magazines and on – air programming with comments that are often unkind words towards others or filled with vile protests. How can that be when the United States is a human tapestry full of cultural richness?  The majority of who are reading this blog can trace via their roots to a place across the great oceans of this world.  And, while most of us were not refugees,  we are largely the decedents of immigrants who may have left their homelands due to oppression or in times of war.

Related: 2013 the US accepted 2/3 of the worlds’ refugees

I know that my ancestors arrived during what we may call  “different times”.   Before the 9/11 era. Before the Paris bombings a week ago.

However, the concern a parent has over the welfare of their child is a concept that is timeless.  The hunger of a child is just as upsetting and real in 2015 as it was in 1915.  A parent who loves their child will stop at nothing to protect them.  Mothers and fathers will persevere and risk great danger solely because they are motivated by love and a dream to find for their family a safe harbor where they can raise their family in peace.

So when the refugees from Syria arrive in California  I will show my support and greet my new neighbors. I will find a way to bring food and other supplies to help out these families that have traveled so far and experienced so much adversity.

My helping those from Syria also will not mean that I am turning my back on the needs of those who are already in my community. I promise you that.  In fact feel free to join our family as we help the FRIENDS MOVEMENT feed the homeless on Thanksgiving Day.

And if you wish – check out these websites that are ways to help refugees from all over the world be safe.


INTERNATIONAL RESCUE ORG  (providing help to those already in California)

Thank you for being a reader of my blog.  Happy Thanksgiving to all –




When Smoke Gets in Your Eyes- The Glendora /Colby Fires

2013 and 2014 has been exceptionally dry years here in California – resulting in drought conditions throughout the state. And, where there is a drought there is bound to be high potential for fire. So it was no surprise when fires did erupt,  due to careless human misconduct, throughout the area known as Glendora- Colby.  I live more than  thirty miles away from where these fires started and I can tell you that in my “neck of the woods” smoke got in my eyes! Ash dropped like snow flurries on to cars all throughout the South Bay area and everyone seemed to be able to smell the essence of smoke and cinder for miles.

I captured the impact of the fire on our skies Thursday, January 16th and Friday, January 17th.  You can see how the skies over Torrance, CA were almost the color of caramel just hours after the fire began.  In Palos Verdes there is a distinct line of demarcation between “clear skies” and the smoke.

As always I like to provide an ounce of education for those who read this blog. Read more about fire safety and disaster preparedness here: National Fire Protection Association

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Top Ten Reasons Why I Love California!

Two years ago my hubby was offered an opportunity to move to California.  He asked me if I was ready to make the leap from being an East (Right) Coaster to a Left Coaster – I didn’t hesitate long enough to even blink and before I knew it we were sorting and packing 17 years worth of “stuff” (most of it useless, I must add). That was nearly two years ago and we haven’t looked back.

When I landed at Los Angeles airport (LAX) hubby greeted me and said words that to this day make me smile – “Welcome home“.  Now before you think this is a naive love-fest for California, note we had longed to be residents of California for quite some time.  Many family vacations were spent in some of our favorite places such as Laguna, Coronado and San Juan Capistrano.  So, when opportunity knocked I bought another bathing suit, checked out places to move that would have walkability, safe neighborhoods with a view and started to pack! (The makers of Rubbermaid pack and stack tubs thank me to this day!)

I started to write my “What I love about California list” before the moving van actually arrived.  And, I add to it on a regular basis.  Without any further adieu and in the spirit of David Letterman’s Top Ten Lists,  here are my Top Ten Reasons Why I Love California!

#10 – Weather. This is obvious and why anyone would love to move to Southern California. The weather is glorious most days and even the bad days are not all that awful.

#9- The weathermen on TV.   Not such an obvious choice. I get a kick out of watching the weather forecasters on Los Angeles TV.  Let’s face it – what exactly can they do to make SoCal weather sound exciting day after day? Well, it appears that they spice up the broadcast by offering up the  weather forecasts for other cities, mostly in other states.  Last week alone we covered Dallas to Portland, Maine on our local weather.  If nothing else, my geography has really improved in the past two years.

#8 – Thai food.  I do love Thai food and this area has such an abundance of great Thai food restaurants! In fact,  Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, etc. food is top notch here!

#7 – The beaches. Enough said.

#6- Parking at the beaches.  Almost always a great spot can be found.  Easy to walk to on to the beach and in some cases you can even bring your dog! Jones Beach, New York  – I love you, but there is much to learn here!

#5 – Movie galas. Where else can you see one movie premiere after another – only here in LaLaLand!

#4- The people are nice.  I have heard mixed reviews on the “warmth” of LA folks.  Yet, I have lived in a lot of places and LA may not get the “congeniality” award, but it is not the worst either. People in LA are fine by me!

#3- Traffic.  If you think that LA traffic is bad I want to offer a comparison.  Go ahead and drive the Washington DC beltway at 5pm on a weekday.  Better yet, do it when snow is PREDICTED and see how it compares to LA.  Want to triple the fun? Try NYC anytime on Thanksgiving weekend.  Or I double dare you to do drive through Staten Island and Brooklyn en route to Long Island – any time of any day!  And, if you are in a rush to get to an airport skip Chicago! If you are a doubting Thomas by all means read this traffic comparison report.

#2. Sunrise, Sunset.  I could snap a photo a day of the sunrises and sunsets and never get tired of it! (Enjoy my pics on this blog, by the way.)

#1- I love that in California there is no reason to ever say, ” I am bored.”   If you do it is your own fault. Grab your keys and ride to the mountains or the beaches. Go walk, hike, bike ride or swim.  The outside is your playground and healthy living reigns here.

I will end my tribute to California with just a little caveat – other states have wonderful attributes, too. So, Californians don’t forget that planes can fly outside of our sunny state and the roads do go east, north and south.

Happy Holidays everyone and be safe wherever your travels may take you!


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Craig Ramsay- Irreverently Fabulous!

There is something about Craig Ramsay, celebrity fitness coach,  that makes you want to laugh your way through your work-outs!  Could it be that he is using techniques that are slightly irreverent? Or perhaps he has training modules and common sense health tips that make you want to laugh at yourself for ever trying those “quick fixes”.   He now even makes available five minute workouts that are hysterical and yes… irreverently fabulous (but aren’t the most effective workouts ones that keep your attention!!) I first met Craig when he was a guest, along with my pal, Heather Frey of SmashFit on the RICKI LAKE SHOW.  He impressed me on how caring and genuinely engaged he was with a future bride who truly wanted to become healthier as well as look great on her wedding day!  Together she lost weight and learned to rethink food as fuel and not as emotional comfort. I loved it! It is because Craig makes FUN and FUNCTIONAL in his everyday lifestyle plans that inspired me to become “healthier” and also have him on a guest on the LOUISE SATTLER SHOW!  To listen to the show please click HERE (or download):  CRAIG RAMSAY EPISODE on the LOUISE SATTLER SHOW, 9pET July 28th

    Connect with Craig and all his fabulousness here:

DESCRIPTION:  Craig Ramsay brings you quick, real and impactful workouts from beginning to end, complete with specific instruction on technique at a surprising location you might find yourself on any given day.
Craig Ramsay on uLive

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Discover the Mission of San Juan Capistrano

Today I spent a glorious morning with a friend at the Mission of San Juan Capistrano.  Located in Orange County, minutes from I-5 and the beaches, this is a little slice of heaven.  San Juan Capistrano is known for the annual flight of the swallows, but also for this distinguished mission which dates back to 1775.  The Mission itself has a deep history which you can read on their website. I love a great historical site, but for me today was all about the photography.

What fascinates me about this Mission is how the architecture, including the famous bells, are juxtapose with sublime gardens.  A photographers dream landscape. Also, the gardens are tended by volunteers , aptly named Gardening Angels – who today were especially helpful in teaching me the names of flowers and plants indigenous to my new Southern California home.

If you have a few spare moments, walk the rest of the town and check out the coffee shop near the train tracks and petting zoo.

Lastly, don’t forget your camera!

To learn more about the Mission of San Juan Capistrano click HERE

For information about the mission throughout California, click HERE


This blog is not new, it was offline and updated with a new image.  


Map skills.  Yep, that is the topic of this new blog.  Plain. Simple. Basic map skills. The kind you learn in third grade when the teacher points to a place on the wall sized classroom map .  Remember?  She/he then will ask where  is your school located? This then proceeds to a lively interactive lesson where each student takes turn pointing to where they were born, traveled and more!   Some lucky kids may even get to point outside of the contiguous United States.  Some teachers even asked kids to use all their colored pencils to draw maps and more! Gosh I loved map skills day!

Now keep in mind… many of the maps looked like the one above. How many third graders grew up thinking that Alaska and Hawaii were so close together and near Texas or even Mexico? Isn’t Alaska close to Russia?

Now you may be wondering why I am perseverating on map skills .  Well, quite simply it all started with a conversation between hubby, a sales clerk from a box store and myself. You see hubby and I are in the throes of moving from metro DC to metro LA. (What can I say- we like the metro- life…sorta).  Anyway- we decided to go shopping for a washer and dryer since the new digs doesn’t come equipped and I am long past laundry mat days.  While in the box store the nice sales clerk told us all about the “in store specials”. However, when we pointed out that our items were probably going to be purchased in our new home state of CALIFORNIA this was how the rest of the conversation continued:

Sales clerk:  “Electric across country may be different than we use here in Maryland.”
Hubby:   “We are only going to California

Sales clerk:” They may use a different kind of electric, like you know voltage.

Me: (Using my inside my head voice)… Seriously, we need to pull out a map and have a bit of a lesson about what constitutes the United States!


Now just in case you are wondering here are a few helpful facts….

California has been part of the United States since September 1850

Electric in New York, Maryland, Iowa and even California is the SAME.

According to the website… More than 13,000 of California’s wind turbines, or 95 percent of all of California’s wind generating capacity and output, are located in three primary regions: Altamont Pass , Tehachapi (south east of Bakersfield) and San Gorgonio (near Palm Springs, east of Los Angeles).  

And… according to an educational website 37% of United States citizens failed to find the United States on a basic world map.

Obviously, map skills need to continue beyond the third grade.  Next week maybe we will discuss basic life skills, like balancing a check book or knowing how to sew a basic hem.


map courtesy of google