Sydney, Australia was amazing. I always wanted to go to this wonderful place and this year I decided to get busy with the details. I wrote this blog so you can go to. My friend Rose came along to celebrate her birthday. We had a boatload of fun and adventure (some planned and some unplanned).
When I arrived it was winter in Australia and dealing with the time zone was a little challenge for the first 2-3 days but I wasn't going to let that stop me.
Things You Can Do In Sydney (I did all of these)
A tour of the Sydney Opera House
Royal Botanic Gardens (its actually like a central park that's very nice)
The Taronga Zoo (try the rope challenge)
A Harbor Tour
A hike and visit to the Blue Mountains
Shopping at the Queen Victoria building (Dont miss this one. Just beautiful!)
Visits to the museums and art galleries
A hike/walk on the beautiful coastal trails near our residence
A visit to "The Rocks", a historical district that includes museums and shops. (I need to go back just to explore more)
The Sydney Tower Eye
Manly: I love love love Manly. Its also a favorite of Sydney residents too. Shopping was great (and inexpensive)
The Blue Mountains: Tip - Sunday has the best train rates but lots of people. Pay a few more dollars and skip long entry lines.
Transportation in Sydney was not a problem. We used a combination of Uber, boats, public bus and trains to get us around. Sydney has one of the most sophisticated transportation systems I have ever seen. Fast efficient and clean, plus lots of help when you have questions
Get a Opal Card. This is a card that can be pre-loaded and re-loaded with funds as you travel. You can buy it from any merchant. Its so much easier to get it at the airport when you arrive. Average cost per day to get around is $10 with the Opal card.
The Central business district (CBD) is the hub of town and where you find your big city shopping experience.
Download transportation apps to help with times or just wait for a bus, train or boat.
The main hub for transportation is Circular Quay. This is where all trains, buses and harbor transportation converge and meet, literally within feet of each other.
Sydney is a "water" city and eventually you will have to get on a boat, otherwise you will be in traffic for hours and hours. Get out on the harbor and take some tours. No doubt you will want to re-visit some sites so do like the locals and take the ferry. The ferry runs more often than the harbor "hop on and off" tours and its clean and just as efficient.
Food is expensive in tourist areas. Carry some snacks so you don't munch through your travel budget. I really enjoyed the food. Lots of variety for every palette.
Tell me about your experiences when you go!!
Enjoy your journey!
I Love Ice Cream
I've always loved ice cream so when my daughter invited me to the Museum of Ice Cream there was no hesitation. Its a fun place. We've got Hollywood so there was no lack of the pizzazz factor. I met her and my grand kids about a block away and then I started noticing candy sprinkles on the sidewalk and I wondered what I was getting into, but too late, I was here and we were ready to have fun.
The Museum of Ice cream is an experience
You definitely will snack your way through the building as you work your way through the exhibits. The museum artfully gratifies you with color, large exhibits and trendy places for you to stop and take pictures and selfies. So whether you come casual or fancy, with a group or by yourself, things are set up for you to look great in any setting.
Being A Kid Again
I soon found my self rolling in a pool (yes a literal pool) of sprinkles. They were in my hair, clothes, pants; everywhere but I wouldn't trade the experience of playing with my daughter and grandchildren for anything! As you exit and walk back to your car the sprinkles fall and point the way for the new-comers to the museum.
For years I've visited the Channel Islands National Park Visitors Center. I would climb the lookout tower to gaze at the islands from land and wish I could be there. One day I made up my mind to go. I am so happy I did. I invited friends and we took the Island Packers Boat from Ventura Harbor to get there. There are many choices and landings to pick from but I chose Santa Cruz after talking with a rep from the Island Packers, that takes people over to visit.
There are 3 groups of people on the boat. Day hikers, like me, campers and kayakers.
On the way over we saw Blue Whales, the largest creatures on earth and bigger than the boat I was on. The Captain stopped so we could take it all in.
My goal was to hike so I asked a lot of questions and took advantage of the official ranger orientation and the volunteer guided hike to our first point. After that the guide points you in the right direction for the hike you want to take and says goodbye. There are lots of hikes on the island so we took the series of trails that kept us on the bluffs overlooking the beautiful Pacific Ocean.
I wont spoil your trip if you want to go over, but pictures did not do justice as the scenery was breathtaking.
As we celebrate our National Parks 100th year I decided to visit Zion National Park. There are 58 National Parks in the United States and this is my 4th park. everyone of them is amazing and unique. I felt like a kid moving from one trail to another but the highlight of my trip was the hike up the Zion Narrows; hiking in the cold water of the Virgin River. Its the only way to see the slot canyon that the water runs through. My next favorite was the Emerald Pools hike. The mountains and scenery were majestic and stunning and just made you appreciate God;s majesty and beauty.
A new beginning
Im a pretty hard worker and love to enjoy the fruits of my labor. Enjoying the fruits means beautiful places, nice ambiance, lovely vacations and great food. Unfortunately the "great food" part caught up with me and my health wasn't the best in 2014-15. Toward the end of 2015 I decided to indulge in Thanksgiving and my sisters 7 layer cake before I went on a life changing plan. December 4 was my "go" day and I joined Weight Watchers for the third time in as many years.
As a business owner and educator it was becoming harder to keep up the stamina of a busy lifestyle. As a grandmother I wanted to be healthy enough to play with my grandchildren. As it was, I ran out of breath chasing them. Im an avid hiker and I was strong enough to haul all those pounds up the mountain but one day my body said NO! High blood pressure, a nemesis in my family, came in like a plague and refused to go. Increased knee pain aggravated me to no end.
After trying so many times to lose weight why was this time different?
Because I came in with a different mindset. More serious, commuted and motivated to get rid of my health problems all caused by the extra weight. I also took a more humble approach to letting others teach me about healthy eating and a healthier lifestyle. I learned to enjoy the little things that would change about me over time.
A permanent change in lifestyle
To date Ive lost 41 pounds. Ive got a few more to go but I learned that this journey is not one that will end with my goal. I will continue my journey to keep it off for the rest of my life. Overtime my health problems went away, high blood pressure is gone, knee pain is gone, stamina and energy is up.....and best of all my dress size went down.
I hope you enjoy life and do the things to make healthy choices so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor. I still enjoy great food. Now I just make healthier choices and I even enjoy that cup of ice cream; or slice of pizza; just less frequently. There is life beyond the scale. Explore those options, live life to the fullest in a much more healthier way.
As an entrepreneur I find it difficult to schedule vacations but this year I promised myself to take more weekend getaways.
Ive lived in California all of my life and Ive watched enough television documentaries on Death Valley for a life time, so I thought it would be interesting to visit the place.
For years I have passed the signs for Death Valley National Park hundreds of times on the way to Las Vegas, (and so have you) but I never turned off the beaten path ....until now. Its AMAZING, BIG, BOLD and BEAUTIFUL. Mind you, it is the desert but the colors and the mountains are stunning.
Death Valley National Park is the largest national park in the lower 48 states and is also designated as an international dark sky park where you can see the stars like no where else.
The name evokes gloom and doom but its a vibrant place of life and color. One of the first things I wanted to know was: How did it get its name? History tells us that pioneers traveling through the desert in the winter of 1849 had to ditch their wagons in a effort to cross the mountains. At least one person lost their life and many feared they would never make it out. Before ascending, one of the pioneers looked back and said "Goodbye Death Valley," and the name stuck.
What was it called for a thousand years before 1849? Well the Timbisha (Shoshone) Indians called it Tümpisa, which means “rock paint,” referring to the clay in the valley they made into red ocher paint. They survived the heat by moving to cooler places in the summer near shade and spring water. They had winter homes and summer homes throughout the Valley. The scenery certainly does not disappoint and as I traveled there was no lack of water in the desert.
My goal was to see it from sunrise to sunset. Although I was on vacation it was hard to get up early but Im glad I did. The sun hitting the badlands at Zabriskie Point made up for any effort. By the time I got there the parking lot was full and I grabbed the last parking spot to get up to the vista point to wait with dozens looking for the sun to rise....and it did in all of its glory. Shining on all the tapestry in front of me and turning the hills beautiful and vibrant golds, browns and rich chocolate colors. Greens and reds doted the distance in the "artist palette" mountains.
Everything is approachable and touchable in this beautiful place.The visitors center was helpful at showing me where to go and what to enjoy. They had lots of activities for kids and families and a ranger was on hand at the sites for tours and questions.
I stayed at the Furnace Creek Ranch which was part of the Furnace Creek Inn and Resort. My room was the greatest and the grounds were historic and interesting. Customer service at both the ranch and the Inn were superb.
My trip was in mid January. I think November-March are perfect months for visiting the park. because the weather is cool. In February and March the valley show off the beautiful desert flowers. They were just coming out when I visited.
Below, Ive included a few pictures for you to enjoy and I hope you get to go and enjoy this wonderful place like I did.
All pictures wer taken on Jenai's amazing trip....by (you guessed it) Jenai Morehead
This trail is a real gem and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Its family friendly and great for a wind down after a long week. It travels along the metro rail so you will see a train once in a while but then its back to the beautiful blue. At some points you can exit the trail and get right on the beach. Pick up the trail head at the North Beach Metro Station (see map below) and goes all the way to Calafia Beach. This is about 4.5 miles round-trip. Its easy and pretty flat. when you get to the San Clemente Pier you can eat lunch or go up the hill and explore the shops in town.
The St. Regis has always been a favorite of our family. Despite is grandeur and outstanding rating you don't have to break the bank to enjoy it. I have breakfast here and then a quick jaunt to Salt Creek Beach. A path from the hotel will lead you to through the award winning golf course to the beach or you can ask the tram to take you. If you walk be sure to stay off the golf and be mindful of the carts whizzing around. Valet parking is very reasonable and make sure you get your parking ticket validated if you eat at any of the hotel restaurants. On the way to the beach there is a small botanical garden that changes with the seasons. Be sure and stop by to check out the different flora and fauna growth for each season. At Christmas be sure and visit the lighting ceremony. Its a grand affair held on the great lawn and open to the public.
This quaint place deserves more visits than I have given it but I am getting back to it after a long hiatus. This is a nice Sunday afternoon getaway. You can get her by bridge or the ferry. Its a bit tight so if you are going to visit the island for coffee or a stroll its best to leave your car at a lot or on a main street safely parked. The ferry is less than 10 minutes and very reasonable for pedestrians and automobiles. You can walk the entire islands circumference in about 2 hours via a walkway. The homes are beautiful and each one has its own personality. Its relaxing and you will get to enjoy the scenery of the Newport bay as well as the locals.
You will probably here me say this on every post, but this is one of my favorites. I like to park at the Montage Resort right along the Pacific Coast highway there is public parking on the east side of the hotel. You will have to pay at the meter before you leave your car. You can walk along the beautiful pathway behind the hotel and then down to the beach using the many stairways or ramps. The flora is beautiful and the view of the ocean is gorgeous. I always get my best sunset pictures here. At the end of the walkway is a nice public park where you can just relax. Enjoy!
Author: Jenai Morehead
Many of my students and clients have asked me to share the wonderful places I visit. These sites take the edge off of a hard days work. As an entrepreneur I believe we should take time off to rest and reflect. This page is for you and your family to do so.