Airplane Encounters

I’ve been flying around a bit lately and although my head is usually buried in a book, a stack of work papers or firmly fixed on my laptop, sometimes I get to chatting with my seat mates.

In the course of two days and two flights, I met:

  • A former fire fighter who now helps design fire suppression systems for big box stores and whose work travel can include 2-3 flights per day;
  • A software engineer who plays Australian Rules Football (Footie to those in the know) on the side; and
  • A former law student who now acts as a consultant to persons setting up and running “dispensaries” (yes, we’re talking pot here).  Apparently, business is booming.

Dispensary consultant wins the award for most interesting profession and use of an almost law degree.

What’s the most interesting profession you’ve come across in your wanders?

Happy Bastille Day!

I miss Paris. I think I must go back soon.  Perhaps permanently. Voulez-vous?


Flat Stomach to Go Please

I’ve spent a lot of the last year flying up and down the West Coast for work. One of the hardest things about being on the road is maintaining an exercise routine.

For starters, I don’t really like traditional exercise. Dance, yes, especially out with cocktails. Running? Only when chased.

For me, getting into a routine is vital to making exercise happen. Throw me out of my routine and I would rather sleep in, go out with friends or read a book.

Travel poses a risky proposition. If I don’t do some form of exercise on the road I rarely slide back into a routine when I return home.

When ambitious –and delusional – I pack tennis shoes and workout clothes when I travel so I can hit the hotel gym in the mornings. But, I rarely wake up early enough and if it’s the difference between bringing running shoes and carrying on my bag – the shoes stay home.

So for years, I’ve toggled between regular exercise during months of travel hiatus and no exercise when my travel schedule kicks in. My body, as a result fluctuated. STRONG. weak. STRONG. weak. . .   Until I discovered I could take a flat abs weapon on the road.

After taking private pilates lessons for two years and watching the price go up and up and up, I discovered The Mari Winsor Pilates for Pink Core Challenge. Four 10 minute workouts you can do all at once or not.  The stomach series on the DVD is the same as the one I was guided through at the pilates studio. So, the DVD started to supplement my pilates studio sessions and then replaced them altogether.

When I needed flat abs fast for the Nudie Foodies photo shoot, that DVD became my morning ritual.  Finally, the lightbulb went off and I realized I could take it on the road.

Now, I load the DVD into my laptop before departing on a trip and start my days on the road with a core strengthening routine that flattens my abs, blasts my lower body and strengthens my upper body, all in the privacy of my hotel room. No shoes required.

What’s your tip for staying fit on the road?

Tulips are Blooming in Skagit Valley

Tulips are my favorite flower and since moving to Seattle in 2007, I’ve planned to attend and missed the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival every year.  Until this year.

I plotted my tulip viewing plan from the moment the daffodils started peeking their heads up in neighboring yards.  Using the handy online bloom map, I waited and waited and waited, for the map to tell me the tulips were finally in bloom. The blooming of the tulips happened to coincide with a singular sunny day so I convinced Jim to leave work alone for a few hours (on a Saturday) and head on over to the tulip fields.

We ditched the long line of cars heading to the tulip fields through an earlier exit and sidetrip to La Conner for an average lunch overlooking the water.  While walking around town we spied The Scone Lady and treated ourselves to a pleasurable groan inducing dessert of Hungarian Shortbread – shortbread filled with strawberry jam with a crumble topping.  We followed the La Conner roads straight to the tulip fields bypassing the highway traffic completely.

The fields were swarming with visitors, most of whom blindly ignored the frequently posted signs asking visitors to please stay out of the tulip beds.

Moderate Level Literacy in the U.S. is 31.4%

As usual, I wasn’t wearing appropriate footwear, but I muddled through anyway.  For your own tulip hunting excursion I recommend rain boots.

Bring Rain Boots

We scouted out Tulip Town but decided to skip it for a trip to the RoozenGarde Gardens and fields.  Entry is $5 per person which admits you to a wonderland of tulip gardens, fair-style snacks and a gift shop.  We viewed the gardens and then exited to explore some of the RoozenGarde fields. 

We brought home five bouquets of tulips (for only $18) in a variety of purples and red, which we distributed in every downstairs room of the house.  A flowery reminder of our sunshiny day in the Skagit Valley.

Sneak Peek: Tulips Arrive in Skagit Valley

More on Monday . . . .

Vegas Yes: Lagasse’s Stadium

For those in or going to Vegas and looking for a place to watch the Super Bowl this Sunday or any televised sporting event for that matter, look no further than Lagasse’s Stadium. Hidden in the basement of the Palazzo, Lagasse’s Stadium is a sports bar wonderland complete with a sports book.

In addition to the expected tv lined walls surrounding tables, the heart of the stadium is a 9 by 16 foot jumbotron surrounded by smaller giant tvs viewed from spaciously set levels of plush cream couches with overstuffed purple and gold pillows to recline upon.

And the food, is good.

The menu is a mix of Emeril Lagasse signature New Orleans style dishes such as New Orleans style crab cakes and sports bar favorites like Buffalo Chicken Wings and Chili Cheese Fries.

A must try appetizer is the Cheesy Beer and Warm Pretzels ($10). The pretzels are a better-than-ballpark soft pretzel with the perfect salt-pretzel ratio. Dip them in the smoky-sweet cheesey beer dip and you get a casual culinary home run.

For those seeking a light meal or a taste from their childhood with a twist, try the Virgin Bloody Mary Tomato Soup ($7). The soup gets its “Bam” from the addition of Tabasco and horseradish cream and is accompanied by petit grilled sandwiches oozing with cheese.

With beer at $7, the drinks are priced slightly lower than comparable establishments and the staff is attentive and accommodating creating a “watching tv in my mansion with my personal butler” experience. If you can’t go to the Super Bowl, this may be the next best thing.

Location, Hours, Prices:

Lagasse’s Stadium is located on the lower level of the Palazzo below Morels Steakhouse & Bistro and across from Dal Toro Ristorante.
It’s open Monday – Friday 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.; Saturday 7:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. and Sunday 8:00 a.m. -10:00 p.m.
Appetizers: $7-$16
Entrees: $12-$30 with most in the $13-$16 range.
Dessert: $7
Happy Hour: Tues-Weds from 4-8 pm on the patio.

New Year’s Eve 2011

Three words:


Need I say more?