Valentine’s Day Around the World

Valentine’s Day is a time that gets two opposite reactions: Love or disgust. Although I enjoyed celebrating with packages of candies and Hello Kitty cards, not everyone shared my sentiments. I’d always hear, “Happy Singles Awareness Day!” or shouts of “Happy VD!” Whether you celebrate with chocolates covered in red and pink foil or groan and roll your eyes at this day, it’s still enjoyed throughout the world. As February 14th approaches, I’m taking time to enjoy and take a look at how other countries participate in the festivities of love and singlehood and perhaps inspire you to look at this day of love in a different light. Continue Reading ›

Christmas at Bellagio

Las Vegas probably seems like an unusual place to spend the holidays, but before I headed home to my family, I made a pit stop here and found the city to be sparkling with its usual elaborate decoration.  Walking with my dad along the Strip, no visit would be complete without some time at Bellagio.  Previously, my visits to their Conservatory and Botanical Gardens have transported me to Japan, but tonight, their annual Christmas display is up for show.  While the glass flowers in the lobby ceiling are another impressive arrangement from Dale Chihuly, whose work I’ve also admired in Denver and Seattle, you shouldn’t miss out on any floral display from this hotel in the Nevada desert.  A few photos from my visit will show you exactly why the Bellagio’s Conservatory and Botanical Gardens should be on your list for a future trip to Las Vegas: Continue Reading ›

It’s Christmastime in Chi-Town

Nestled in the Rocky Mountains with a fresh layer of snow, last Christmas found me in Denver, Colorado, but this holiday season I ventured on to Chicago.  Although its known for plenty of snow, it seems the unusual heat wave this winter has spread to Chicago as I found myself drenched in rain, not covered in snow.  The strong winds were up to their usual tricks, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t find the joy of Christmas spirit in the Midwest.  It was actually the opposite as I made my way through brightly lit window displays at Macy’s and Christmas trees and wreaths surrounding the hallways of the Palmer House Hilton Hotel.  This was one of the first times I experienced such great decoration and was entertained by this popular holiday.  A few photos from my walks downtown in the Loop and in surrounding neighborhoods nearby will show you just what I mean about Christmas in Chicago: Continue Reading ›

My Christmas 2015 Wish List

When it comes to Christmas lists, do you have yours well in advance, or are you always thinking of one last minute?  For me, I’m always last minute.  Whether it’s giving my mom a few ideas or if I’m finishing up a D.I.Y. project for someone else, the result is always the same.  In the past I’ve grown a little tired of Christmas and had very little time to spend with family and friends to celebrate.  During past Christmas seasons, I was lucky if I took the time to think of anything other than a day to sleep in, lounge around in PJs and do absolutely nothing.  However, this year I’ve decided it’s going to be different and rather than delay my Christmas wishes and put celebrating this holiday on the back burner, I have a couple of Christmas lists ready: Continue Reading ›

Sustainable and Ethical Shopping in Chicago

Thanksgiving is always known for being a time to gather with friends and family to stuff ourselves with mashed potatoes, turkey, green bean casserole, and pumpkin pie.  It’s also a weekend of endless shopping.  From Black Friday to Cyber Monday (and Fair Tuesday if you support fair trade), countless sales online and in stores have people eager to jump into sales and make their holiday purchases.  Getting some of the greatest deals of the season makes anyone eager to fill their cart with cheap deals from mega chain stores, but what if you’re looking for something vintage, eco-friendly, or ethically made?  If you’re heading to Chicago or live in the windy city, is there anything beyond the shopping extravaganza on Magnificent Mile?  Absolutely, and to help you find that unique gift for that someone special, I have an exclusive guide of shops featuring sustainable and ethical products to help you along your way.  Whether you’re a tourist or a local, here are a few great discoveries I’m sharing to make your Thanksgiving weekend shopping a great experience: Continue Reading ›