Nearly 11 years ago Hubby and I packed up our lives and moved across the United States from Maryland to California. While others may have thought this was a very arduous assignment – I gladly grabbed the opportunity to trade the “burbs” for a chance to live in a community that borders the Pacific Ocean. (And for the record, we don’t miss the snow, leaf raking, or buggy summer nights with heavy thick air due to the humidity and hot temperatures!)
Since becoming a “left coaster” – I have been snapping more than my share of photos. Today, I chose to post a few recent photos of “The Lady Pacific” (as I like to call her). And, if you keep scrolling you will even find a video. I hope they bring you thoughts of calm and peace.
All of these are my personal photos- so please respect my creative work and don’t “hijack” them. Thank you.
As 2022 is about to come to a close – I breathe a sigh of relief. This was the year that the Covid 19 pandemic was supposed to take a backseat and our lives were supposed to be moving forward. In some respects that did happen. A little. But, as this year ends a “trifecta’ of viruses (RSV, COVID, and INFLUENZA) has been surging – leaving many realizing that 2022 was not the year of “going back to normal” we had hoped.
But wait – so much GOOD and perhaps GREAT DID happen during 2022. We need to applaud the “wins” of 2022. During this year some people found love. Couples who postponed their nuptials during the pandemic got married. Babies were born. And kids were playing outside with other kids again! Movie theaters opened their doors, events were “in person”, and we all were thrilled to hug friends and family!
2022 also saw vaccines that were made available for younger age groups. We dusted off our passports and traveled abroad (as well as locally). Restaurants (re)opened. Many went back to work. We laughed. We danced. We celebrated. We learned to LIVE again!
So, let’s say BRAVO to all who survived and perhaps thrived during the year that was fraught with its share of sadness. And, let’s jump into 2023 with positivity!
The Big Island of Hawaii is known for volcanos, lush land of the east bordering the desert of the western side. Small towns and villages with coffee that is AMAZING! But, to really enjoy this island one must either experience it in person or take a view through the lens of another.
Below you will find a few different groupings of photos and a video. The first is a slideshow of the Kona area, including the coffee farms and “shacks” that make it extra special.
Next you will see a carousel from the Volcano National Park- yes there are ACTIVE volcanos on the Big Island.
Historical sites are throughout the island, but many are in the upper west and north quadrant. Don’t miss them. Enjoy this carousel feature, too.
Charming is how I would describe Hilo! Small town vibe with excellent beaches, shops, and restaurants. Don’t miss this part of the island or the photos in the last carousel.
The Rainbow Falls are highlighted in a serene video below. All photos and video are property of moi- Louise Sattler and not for duplication or “snatching”. Thanks!
KONA, The Big Island’s home to tourists and coffee!
THE BIG ISLAND – VOLCANO TIME!
Historic Sites (north and west shore)
Small town of Kohala
King Kamemahame in Kohala
The local dish of Loco Loco
Pu‘ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site, Hawaiʻi, Kamuela, United States
Pu‘ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site, Hawaiʻi, Kamuela, United States
Pu‘ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site, Hawaiʻi, Kamuela, United States
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 BringFido.com 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!
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
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.
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!
Antique shopping. Depending on the store and if there is an outside shopping area – Dogs are sometimes welcome.
Visiting theMission of San Miguel. We kept our Bayla confined to outside areas only – out of respect and also we believe it is a rule.
Visiting Morro Bay – a must! This place at sunset is simply gorgeous.
Recommended Resource: BringFido.com is invaluable as a resource for where “Fido” is welcome when traveling
This Summer I had the privilege to be invited to preview and review a new book – The Surfer and The Sage by Tomson and benShea. Please see the opportunity to get a copy for yourself – FREE – below. (Limited offer)
Sometimes life gives you smooth waters to navigate everyday situations. But, then there are times when a huge WAVE comes and knocks you down. You are disoriented, in disbelief, and perhaps feeling defeated. You have a choice – be resilient and keep trying or never ride another wave – play it only safe. Shaun Tomson, the former professional and medal-winning surfer, knows how real-life waves and those from grief can be life-defining. He shares his story alongside pearls of wisdom and beautiful photography in The Surfer and The Sage. Plus the photography is OUTSTANDING! This book is a keeper for your shelf (and get a second copy to share!!)
From the publisher:
Sometimes life’s waves knock you down; other times, life might seem to sweep you along powerless. But the choice is always yours to swim back up to the light. Legendary world champion surfer Shaun Tomson and international bestselling poet-philosopher Noah benShea join forces to offer you insight on a path of purpose, hope, and faith. This timely guidebook alternates between Tomson’s inspiring experiential essays and benShea’s spiritual commentary that lift the soul, all accented with stunning full-color surfing photographs.
After losing his son, Tomson walked the bitter road of loss and crossed from darkness into the light. The Surfer and the Sage addresses the eighteen relentless, breaking waves of life, from loss and aging to relationships and depression, and guides you to transformation. It is not a list of rules to follow that guarantee success, health, or wealth, but rather a collection of advice from two guides who have traveled far and wide and suffered deeply, but still look forward to tomorrow with faith and hope.
Before I ever visited Palm Springs, California I had envisioned it to be stuck in the 1960’s. I had thoughts of old cars with “fins” riding up and down the palm tree-lined streets. I assumed that every home was painted pink or neon green (or both). And, that the sounds of Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin were heard on stereos everywhere you turned.
You know what? I wasn’t that far off with my “visions”. You see Palm Springs is a quirky city. Parts of it are hipster 2022 while much of it seems stuck in the decade of Marilyn Monroe. In fact, the streets are often named after presidents who lived or vacationed in the area or mega-watt celebrities of past eras. And… I love it!
If you decide to visit Palm Springs (or are returning) – here are some tips on how to maximize the fun factor.
We stayed at the Shadow Ridge Resort in the Palm Desert/ Rancho Mirage area, a Marriott property. This is a timeshare resort that offers apartments, when available. You can always trust that a Marriott will be top-notch with quality amenities – like golf, pool, spa, and more. For more information go here.
(Plus, many more suggestions below)
This place is actually 45 minutes or so outside of Palm Springs. Known for being an old movie set converted to part artist colony and part honky tonk village – Pioneertown is sure to please most people. Please note that there is a lot of sand in Pioneertown. This will make mobility carts/ wheelchairs tough to get around. But, you can access the fun and delicious Pappy and Harriet’s restaurant without any problem. This place is reason alone to go to the high desert. Plus, you are very close to Joshua Tree – so consider that a bonus to your visit!
Scenes from Pioneertown
#2 The PALM SPRINGS TRAMWAY!
I absolutely love this tramway! The people are exceptionally nice and knowledgable. (A Shout-Out to a staff member – Gil!) The ten-minute tramway ride takes you to over 8 thousand feet above sea level. There are two restaurants at the top building. Plus, you can see miles and miles from the balconies and the building. The gift shop is really chocked full of fun and interesting items for all ages. And, the tramway is accessible for people who need mobility equipment. On the way down to the base building, our tramway conductor put on music, and collectively the riders sang to Neil Diamond’s, Sweet Caroline!
The Living Desert combines a wonderful eco-friendly zoo with lovely botanical gardens. It is small enough to visit in just a few hours or discover in small bites. We went with friends when it opened because the Palm Springs afternoons can be brutally hot. Easy access and multi-lingual information is available. Great for couples, families, or solo travelers! Visit their website here.
It has been more than four years since I sat with my friend Roxanne Messina Captor at the Yellow Vase in Redondo Beach to discuss a possible extension of her short film – A Couple of White Chicks at the Hairdresser. This older film with the not so politically correct title, told the story of the comings and goings of “frenemies” who routinely met at their upscale hair salon. Loosley based on Roxanne’s own experiences, the film became popular and award nominated. Fans of of principle actor, Harry Shearer loved it. Fast forward a few years to when Roxanne was being urged by her friends to continue the “chicks” storyline. With much consideration and more than a few cups of coffee- the ideas for “The Salon” began to percolate (oh come’on it was too easy to make that pun).
For me, meeting that day with Roxanne was my baptism into how one creates a digital series. This week, I found out that the arc of digital series making also can be a like a rainbow- with a pot of gold at the end. For on April 7th The Salon won the Indie Series Award for Best Ensemble – Comedy.
I have a confession. I didn’t expect us to win. The competition was fierce! In fact, I was so lackadaisical about us winning that a few minutes into the ceremony I took off my shoes. Only minutes before our category was announced by Jason Stuart and Mitch Hara did I think to put back on my shoes. That was a good call.
“And the winner for Best Ensemble – Comedy goes to … The Salon! “, announced Stuart and Hara
I couldn’t believe it! With aching feet, but exhilerated, I joined Roxanne and members of the cast, Kate Linder, Luis Jose Lopez, and Akende Munalula to receive the award on stage. When we hopped on the stage we were met with lots of cheers from the audience. Roxanne began her eloquent speech that touched on how important inclusion was to her for this project. She told the attentive audience about how she used humor juxtapose with pathos in The Salon. She added her admiration to the ensemble cast who she remarked brilliantly brought the characters they played to life. She thanked the cast and crew – who worked for SAG deferment – and gave a shout-out to all who took this journey with her.
What a night! WOW oh WOW!
What next? Well, now we are on to the next chapter for The Salon.
When an award is given as a recognition of the caliber of a project- it is the hopes of the creators that there is a “something next”. In this case, the hopes are that The Salon finds a permanent home on a streaming network in order for a large audience to enjoy it and for the story to continue with a Season 2.
I hope I piqued your curiosity. And before ending this article let me give my own thanks to all who were involved – most of all the visionary – Roxanne Messina Captor.
Here are related links followed by photos from the Indie Series Awards and behind the scenes.
Looking for a get-away vacation? Perhaps a place to rest your weary head when traveling along the coastal highways of California? Look no further than the quaint, culturally rich, proud Danish town of Solvang.
The first time I visited Solvang, a hamlet about 40 miles north of Santa Barbara nestled in the San Inez area of California, was before my college years. The second time I was pushing a baby buggy. So, obviously, it has been a long while and I was overdue. The Solvang I remembered has grown, but still kept the charm I recalled. Ready to be enticed to visit with a Top 5 list of things to do when visiting Solvang? I hope so!
Here are my TOP 5 things to do while visiting Solvang.
Located on a side street, but close to town, is the charming Elverhoj Museum. Partly a historical homage to the city of Solvang and part art gallery, this museum was once was the home of Viggo Brandt-Erichsen and his wife, Martha Mott. Both Viggo and Martha were renowned artisans. Together they built a sensational home/art gallery packed full of photos and art but nailing together boards the “old fashioned way” – one peg at a time. The building is a testimony to the heritage of Danish culture and the history of Solvang. Well worth your time and guess what – it is FREE (but donations are welcome!)
Discovering and Creating Solvang …
When you enter the Elverhoj museum take time to chat with the uber knowledgeable docents, Linda and Kirsten. They relay and weave many that may you feel as if you are being transported in time. After you have completed touring the rooms – be sure to stop in the art gallery. Currently, they have an exhibit titled Fables, Foibles, and Fairy Tales by Susan Read Cronin. These whimsical sculptures just add to the charm of this lovely experience!
The Old Mission of Santa Ynes is a lovely place to go and visit a true California relic. However, due to Covid 19, it would seem that the mission has restricted tour hours. But, the grounds are open and they welcome guests walking about.
The Solvang Visitor Center offers a variety of tours throughout the year. The walking tours are under two hours and stop at a variety of “hot” spots (Most stops are yummy bakeries and candy shops – my kind of tour!).
Along the way, you can spot the Hans Christian Anderson bookstore, see the horse-drawn trolleys, and visit the Water Tower. (Langauge aficionados will want to try to read the various inscriptions on the side of the tower – representing a variety of cultures). Oh, guess what?! Kirsten (from the Elverhoj) and her dad, Dean, were our tour guides!
Wineries and taverns with tastings are throughout this area. From small bistros downtown to the large vineyards that adorn the perimeter of the towns – you will find a wine for nearly every palate. Many establishments serve small bites – while others are minimalistic. Prices vary. Ask around. The local folks have their favorites!
Solvang is known for being a town with top-notch restaurants- including the First and Oak – a restaurant with a Michelin star. And you can’t miss the smell of sweet delights that waft the streets from morning through the day due to the local bakeshops. Yes, the bakeries are filled with creamy this and bready that… all delicious. (Rumor has it that the Danish elves remove all the calories!?!)
Despite the Danish bakeries and great local fare restaurants, our favorite place to eat was Ramen Kotori a noodle shop nestled on a side street. This place knows how to “heat things up” – so be sure to order the Thai Tea, too!
In closing, Solvang is a great place to relax, eat delicious food, and learn about Danish culture. But, most of all – it is about the people. And for that reason alone- we will be back!
Did you know that there is awesomeness in your own backyard? Really! Some of the most interesting places to visit may be within 30 minutes of your home. You don’t need to travel far to have a “mini-vacation” or a “staycation”! And if you are in the Los Angeles area – check out the venues Hubby and I recently have visited- the Descanso Gardens (La Canada) and the South Coast Botanical Gardens (Rolling Hills).
These two places have a rotating set of exhibits. Recently, they offered a walk-through of the parks with holiday/winter-themed exhibits. Of course, we went and I took this as an opportunity to check out the night mode on my iPhone 11 Max camera.
I have learned through much trial and error that some of the best shots can be taken without a flash and/or when the lighting of the moon is “just right”. Here are some of my recent favorites. Enjoy!
GLOBE. GLOBE. globe. globe.
This first photo was taken at Descanso’s Gardens winter exhibit known as ENCHANTED. Nine individual-themed sections of this botanical garden created nine opportunities to explore and dream that you were in faraway lands. I decided with the image belowL that I wanted the tall trees to frame the image in an upside-down V formation. The globes are illuminated as part of the display.
A SciFi Movie Set?
Again taken at Descanso Gardens with purple and blue lights hitting the tall trees. Photographed after sunset and when the garden staff employed a subtle fog machine to create the “smokey” look. How did I get this shot? Well quite frankly – it was simply by luck. I raised my camera phone and took this photo – “blindly”. The result is what some of my friends are calling my “Twilight Zone” / “X-Files” pictures!
A year ago I photographed these trees at the South Coast Botanical Gardens. I virtually stood in the same area but changed the setting on my iPhone. Do you have a favorite?
The Simplicity of Illuminated Trees
Trees that are illuminated with lights can produce some awesome photos. Don’t be afraid to look beyond the trees – you may just spot something spectacular – like a full moon!